Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Nativity


Merry Christmas dear ones!
This is a picture of my kids seventeen years ago.
Joshua(12), Ashli(10), Caleb(5), Luke(3),Josiah(3 weeks).

Cheri

Friday, December 19, 2008

Fabulous Fun Fridays/Interruptions

"Twas the Night Before Christmas when all through the house....."

She knows every word!

Have you ever heard a two year old recite 'Twas the Night Before Christmas?

It is about the cutest thing you ever heard!

Big words in a wee one's mouth........

Precious..........I could listen to it over and over and over again..........

She sees a miniature stocking hanging on my tree, then recalls,
"all the stockings were hung by the chimney with care......."

Over and over she recants the story.........delighting my soul with every word.......

Scotty comes home.........."you must hear!"..........

So we begin........again.........." 'twas the night before Christmas......" We watch the
pictures in the big picture book.......we are halfway..........

Suddenly rhyme is interrupted with reason..........

"Hey, hey!!!"

I sprung from the words to see what was the matter............

"Merry Christmas!!!" Her grin captivates my heart!

She was telling me that she was done reciting for today........the verse had been repeated long enough........the needle was being lifted from the stuck gramophone.........we were done.........

But instead of saying....."I'm tired of this!" or "No more!"

She interrupts our game with, "Merry Christmas!"

I close the book! Wrap her in my arms and wait for my next opportunity to hear her little voice ring and sing the tale once again.........

With visions of sugar plums still dancing in my head!!!!!

Especially one little sugar plum..........named Bonnie!

I hope you are very blessed with smiles, blessings, and joy this weekend!


and.........

"a Merry CHRISTmas to all, and to all a good".............day!!!


Cheri ; )

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Watching and Waiting


Finally.

He heard the message years before.

He had anticipated the moment........longing for it.........watching and waiting..........

Every  child that entered the temple courts caught his eye.......anticipation would begin to pound within him.......
this could be the One that he had been waiting for.......

Male child after male child passed by his gaze....years were escaping him....time getting away........ and he was aging as each child, all of them eight days old, were carried beyond him to the place where they would be marked......

His heart was seeking for the One....

Finally the day came..........

Suddenly the doors were opened..........Mary entered with the child in her arms, Joseph not far behind her........ instantly Simeon knew! His heart began to dance......his eyes now filling with tears.......Joy! Joy! Joy!

Mary pondered his recognition in her heart. 

He had been expecting Him........his longing intensifying with time.

God's own son, Jesus, had arrived and the watchmen's heart was satisfied...........

Tears stored up for this day were now  streaming down his time worn face.......

Glory surrounded Him..........the holy One............he felt a kindred spirit.........as if he had known Him for years.........this infant child.....the Messiah........the Saviour of the world..........

Every secret desire of Simeon's heart had already been captured in the heart of the One he now held in his arms.

He was embracing Him...... the Word made flesh.......confirming the ancient word that had been promised to him years before.....

"You will not die until you have seen the Christ," it had been promised him.

Hearing and waiting were now being rewarded with seeing.........

Nothing else mattered to him.......other expectations paled in the light of the One who had come to redeem the world.......... the Messiah.........God's proof that He is love........God had sent  a Redeemer for lost souls. Sinners. For those who were not anticipating nor recognizing Him. For those not worthy of Him....... He had been sent for those who would despise Him and reject Him......

But He came..........

Knowing there are those who would be watching for Him........waiting........expecting......desiring Him..... for those like Simeon..........

He will continue to come to the waiting heart.......to those who wait, expect, and desire Him.......He comes......that is a promise!




Until He comes......again!
Cheri

Painting by Ron DiCianni
Story based on Luke 2:25-30


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Unexpected Affections

I wasn't expecting it.......I hadn't even thought about it yet.
She ran from the door......they were leaving but first she was 
running back to my arms for one last hug goodbye....and the 
wonderful little kiss she planted on my cheek. 
It sealed it forever.......the love I have for this little Bonnie-girl is
growing and growing. She has wrapped her little self right around my
heart and tied the strings in a great big bow.

Evening came. We decided to take Josh, Martha, and Bonnie out for dinner.
Scotty blessed the food right at the beginning of our meal, before the appetizers but when the real food came Bonnie asked if she could pray. 

We all bowed our heads thanking the Lord for the words that spilled from her heart as she spoke them:

"Thank you for my mommy.....thank you for my daddy (she calls Josh daddy),
and thank you for my family.............and thank you for our food! Amen!"

"Thank you for my family....."

Our beautiful little Bonnie.........somehow she already knows that we are family.
We are all better for being together. It is a beautiful gift to all of us. 

Bonnie rolled the little lollipop she got after dinner round and round and round until
only the stick remained. "Here!" she said, handing it to me. 

Then the kisses came. More kisses on my cheek that remained for a long time......the lollipop juices dried and held them in place.

What is it about the sweet kisses of a child? They linger in your heart long after the child has forgotten them.

They prompt me to petition the Lord for her at a whole new level.

"Thank you, Lord, for my family...........how lovely and intimate are Your ways!" 


xoxoxo,
Cheri


Friday, December 12, 2008

Fabulous Fun Fridays/Granny


It looks as if I am becoming an instant grandma to a little 2 1/2 year old blue eyed, blond haired beauty!
She has a smile that could stop the Grinch in his tracks! She is simply amazing!
Her real grandparents on her real dad's side of the family are not available to her for good reasons that are private and must be contained.........so Scotty and I will indeed fill the role of paternal grandparents for her. I had no idea that this season of my life would begin in such a way.

Josh came over for coffee before work this morning with a little concern. Martha's mom wants to be "Nana" to little Bonnie. The Nana!

"This is not a problem," I say, "I truly understand........I will think of something that Bonnie can call me."

It didn't take long.......the idea.........however borrowed came back into my head........

"I have it! I know exactly what I want to be called!"

Josh grinned........."Okay????" he says........

"GG!"

"GG for 'Gorgeous Granny'..........that is what I want to be called!"

He approved! What could he say..........really????

Micca Campbell (Proverbs 31 Ministries) shared with us that she wanted her grandchildren to call her "GG" someday........and I told her right off that I was going to use her idea! So it isn't stealing!

It sounds so Patsy Clairmont to me! I bet she got the idea from her!!!!!

I didn't know if I would actually implement this idea or not but since "Nana" for a name is taken.......looks like "GG" is the next best option.

I wonder what Bonnie's Nana will think of that? I bet she'll wish she had met Micca before I did!

I hope your home is filled with laughter this weekend! Enjoy the simple joys of life!


Love to all!
GG

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Singing My Song

He didn't realize I was his audience.
I couldn't hear but I could see his performance. 
It was a drive-by performance. I was watching as he drove past me in his big red Ford pickup truck.
He was singing with everything in him. Probably practicing for American Idol.
I wanted to hear so I could join in the song.
He looked happy.  Must have been a happy tune.
I love to see people drive past me with their singing face on.
I always have to smile and then wonder who has been watching me singing my songs.

One day I passed a girl (twenty something), she had both hands in the air praising the Lord with all of her might. I strained to see if her eyes were open. Did I mention that she was driving? I guess she had set her car on auto-pilot. Or there was a supreme being helping her out! She kind of made me nervous. I went directly to prayer for her.........and for the cars behind me!

Have I ever done that? I wondered! I can get carried away with my praise in the car! It is one of my favorite places to worship.  There is such freedom in my car with an audience of One......or maybe others can see and I have been so caught up that I haven't noticed. Maybe my unsuspecting audience is going around telling others that I am practicing for tryouts on American Idol. Or maybe they are looking for a way of escape when they see both my arms in the air and are straining to see if my eyes are open.

The man I saw singing in his red truck doesn't know that he made my day! 

Thank the Lord for music! It does gracefully escort us down this path called life.........
And it lifts heaviness........
and sorrow........
it stirs joy.........and peace.........
it calms the heart and settles the mind........


Do angels sing?  A little girl asked me that question one time........
Well, angels do not try out for American Idol.........
but I believe they sing..........with all of their heart.........with hands raised.......or faces bowed.......giving praise and adoration to whom it belongs.....Yes, angels sing!

And so do men in red pick-up trucks and women on their way to town and children at play.......

and the Lord..........He sings over us!

Thank you, Lord, for the gift of song!


Fa la la la la, la la la la!
Cheri


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

His Answers

She looked at me with glassy blue eyes.
"I just couldn't do it all," she her voice dropped to a whisper hating to reveal her weakness.
She was overwhelmed with the care required to help her elderly friend.
Sunday morning came and with it a suggestion.
"Do what you can do then pray for the Lord to send help with what you are not able to handle,"
her pastor spoke to her need.
Prayer was the answer?
She carried her needs through her mediator to the Father casting every care upon Him.
Help arrived in unsuspected ways.
Needs were met almost instantly.
The Lord had heard and was responding...........
Faith increased in both of us as she shared her testimony.
"He hears, doesn't He?" I affirmed.
She could no longer speak for the emotion and gratitude that now filled her.

"Cast all your care upon Him, for He cares for you!"

Amen!
Cheri~


Saturday, December 6, 2008

Christmas Angel

I was walking down the plank for the hundredth time.

"You are doing a great job, Miss Cheri!" Mister Baity our pastor was saying to me.

My brother, Chris, had been in a car accident that nearly took his life a few months before. He was four at the time. I was six.

The hospital had sent Chris home to die. "If he lives he will be a vegetable," they said.

Unacceptable diagnosis for a small boy.

I will never forget the day we drove Chris home from the hospital. We lived in a very small white house with a large front yard. We drove in the driveway and it looked as if the whole town was standing in our yard. (The population of our town was less than 1,000 people). I didn't cry when I saw all those people then, but I do now every time I remember them standing there with such a warm welcome for us.

Now I realize that they were our prayer warriors and had come to bless us with their support!

We walked in our kitchen that day to find enough food that would last for a month! There was not one spare inch on the countertops or table. Every kind of casserole, cake, pie, bread imaginable covered everything. My little girl eyes could hardly believe how our small town was demonstrating their love to our family.

Mr. Baity was my real hero though. Forty some years ago, physical therapy was a new idea in the medical arena. Mr. Baity was our pastor, not a doctor, but I believe with all my heart that the Lord inspired him with wisdom. He built physical therapy equipment for Chris (I admit, it looked a bit crude) and then assigned the 4H Club to come in shifts to help Chris with excercise treatments that Mr. Baity had created. Everyone worked hard. After a few months Chris was walking and talking again.

All of this took lots of time and attention away from me. No one really noticed........not even me at the time......but Mr. Baity noticed, so he came to me and requested that I be the Christmas angel in the Christmas program that year. I would have to agree to practice........every day. I would have to walk down a board that he had made and practice making my announcement. I would have the only speaking part in the whole production. It would be very important that I got it just right.

I agreed to this important assignment. I met Mr. Baity every day at the church (which was right across the street from our house) and walked down the plank and said my lines. He would nod in approval, his red mustache twitching, blues eyes spiced with twinkle and say, "Let me see you do it again!"

And then, "You are going to be just perfect for this part!"

I was the only small child that was given a part in the Nativity production that year. The youth group carried out the rest of it. The BIG kids.

It wasn't until later, much later, long after Mr. and Mrs. Baity had left our small town that I really understood how very special Mr. Baity was and exactly what he had done for me. He saw that I needed some special attention because Chris was requiring so much from the rest of my family. He saw my need.......

Recognizing other's needs, then praying for solutions, then working with compassion to meet those needs.....that was Mr. Baity's way of life.

I have a picture of me in my little angel costume descending from heaven (the board was shrouded in cloud material) to make my announcement that Christ had come..........The picture is so faded.......but there is a smile on my face that really captures what is still in my heart.........

I continue to have a strong desire to be like the real Christmas Angel that shouted out the message in the night to sleeping shepherds while the glory of God filled the skies........the Good News........."He has come! He has come! The Savior of the World..........come to save lost souls!"

I think I will do some practicing on that announcement this morning!


"Glory to God in the Highest! Peace on Earth, Goodwill to Men!!!!"

Often times it is not in the shouting, but in the doing and being..........like Mr. Baity was for our family. Having compassion, loving and giving.........I think I will practice his example.......and that will take a lifetime!

Joy to the World!
Cheri


Friday, December 5, 2008

Fabulous Fun Fridays/Who is Coming Home With You?


Thanksgiving was very quiet at our house this year.

Three of our children and our son-in-law were in New York City celebrating together.
Josiah, our youngest,  wanted to go visit Caleb, Ashli and Drake in the big city  and Thanksgiving seemed the best idea because he would have some time off from school.

I sent him off on a big jet plane with his hair kind of long and out of control.........hoping that his sister would get her hands on him and convince him that he should trim up some.......

Monday, I was traveling to get Josiah from the Kansas City airport when I got the news.............

Cholo, Ashli and Drakes beloved dog was coming home with Josiah. What???????

My unspoken request had not been heard! I wanted Josiah to come home with a haircut..........not a dog!

Isn't there a verse in the Bible about making your requests known? I think there is an application here!

Well, what to do? Cholo and Josiah have arrived........

I am babysitting my granddog..........and he is getting spoiled! So spoiled! I don't know if she will want him back.........because we are spoiling him!

Ashli called last night. She said she is still talking to Cholo even though he is not there.......because he is always there!

She will be coming home and will take him back with her at the end of the month........so in January I might be talking to a dog........who is no longer here...........and there will be more fun stories!

Have a joyful, delightful, amazing weekend!

Smiles!
Cheri

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Making A List And Checking It Twice

My son has fallen head over heals in love!

He has been down this road before.....a road that had a few bumps and then the final crash........It was a hard road for all of us to travel........especially Josh.

Now he is getting a second chance at love........to a beautiful, beautiful girl.........you would love her for who she is because she is very special......

God sent.............?

It has all come upon us very fast.

She has a daughter, Bonnie, 2 1/2.......I will be an instant grandma should this all work out.......

Every night when my thoughts are trying to settle into sleep, wonder keeps my mind in a whirl.

Another daughter, a granddaughter, my son's new life.......Like the wind that is whipping my trees around this morning........big life changes......coming so quickly without a chance to hold them back.........

Years ago Josh told me that he had made a list that contained all of the things he wanted in his future wife........I asked him to read me his list........He got about halfway through........his words came to a sudden halt when I said, "Josh, that sounds just like your mother!!!!"

You should have seen the look on his face!

He didn't think so!!!!

I don't know if he still has that list or not.....I wonder if he has given that old list much thought. Martha came in and stole his heart so quickly......before his mind had much time to consider past requirements.

The first list contained things he really wanted in a wife.........

But I have been wondering if he should add things that he would choose to live with if and when he finds that Martha is not perfect...........according to his idea of perfect.......

I was wondering if he and she could live with the "naughty and nice" we all have as humans and still choose to make their home a happy haven........

It is easy to see the "nice" on this side of things..........

And the "naughty" we all have different ideas of it's real definition.......don't we?

Those things we expect from others.........standards we have set for ourselves and expect others to reach....or sometimes we expect others to reach whether we reach them ourselves or not........

Josh has made his list........I hope he checks it twice........

I hope Martha has a list.........and she is double checking as well.......

And may the Lord give His grace in abundant measures.........

because that is what we all need to make relationships survive........isn't it?

Blessings,
Cheri

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Tangles

My heart is in a mess of tangles.

Tangles from the past have lost their hold on me.

Fear is gone.......

Hopelessness gone........

Despair removed..........

New tangles have formed.....

I am tangled with joy.......like my Christmas lights from last years tree...... tangled to the point of no return but they continue shining without despair.....Your joy entangles me.........

I am tangled with your peace....... like the lovely skirt that graces our Christmas tree.......Your peace embraces me......

Tangles of love.......I risk these tangles.......knowing my heart could be broken......safe only with You........willingly I surrender to commitments, promises, friends, family........and like the ornaments that I cherish, that hang from our tree, others risk the tangle with me.........hanging in there when times are tough........

Past tangles no longer hurt..........wounds have finally rested from their throbbing.

New life breathes it's breath into me.......it is invigorating......now I am trusting the Lord with all that entangles me.........



Blessings,
Cheri

Friday, November 28, 2008

Fabulous Fun Fridays/ Just As I Am

It had been one of those days! 

Luke was a baby, number four,  the Speedy Gonzalez of our family!

The church we attended at that time had Wednesday night services.

Getting four children fed, dressed, and prepared for the public was quite the chore on some
occasions. 

One evening I didn't have time to get Caleb (2) as ready as I would have liked. I had a standard.......perfection........yep it was pretty much perfection that I was after.

This particular day it just wasn't coming together for me, but we were going to church regardless.

I dropped Caleb off at the toddler nursery whispering to the teacher as I left the room, "Caleb would like to sing 'Just As I Am' tonight."

I didn't know it then, but the teacher didn't understand which song I said so she kept trying to get him to tell her which song he would like to sing during his class time.

He just kept looking at her with those big baby blues like "I don't know what you are talking about."

After church his teacher wanted to know which song it was that Caleb wanted to sing to which I replied " 'Just As I Am'. Did you look at him? The poor child was rushed from the table to the car with a barely wet cloth that only removed the biggest remains of his dinner from his face, hair, hands, and clothing. Tonight he was arriving "Just As He Is"......... We both laughed!

Today I look back and marvel that I ever got to church on time! And usually my kids looked perfect.........(well when I still decided what they wore and such)! I probably looked a bit frazzled.......because I was! 

Hope your Thanksgiving was amazing! 

Be blessed with smiles, laughter, and many joys!

Love to all,
Cheri


Thursday, November 20, 2008

Fabulous Fun Fridays/ Josiah's Haircut

I guess this is Josiah week.
I love the memory of the day I took him to see Ray, the barber.
First of all, let me introduce you to Ray. He is the most gentle, kind, loving man you ever met. My boys really love him. He had to retire from cutting hair, but we all still adore him!
When Josiah was three........bet you all can picture him..... : ) (November 18 post)
I took him to see Ray to get his hair cut.
Ray was always so good to give the boys a piece of Super Bubble Bubblegum after their
haircut was finished. Ray stored the gum in a little round tin on the counter. After Josiah's haircut that day, Ray reached for the tin, opened it and let Josiah take his piece of gum. Ray started to put the lid on the tin when I said, "Josiah, what do you say?" He looked right up at Ray with those charming blue eyes and said, "Oh yeah, Ray, can my momma have a piece?"
It had not even occurred to the child that I wanted him to say "thank you!"

Well, girls, I got a piece of gum that day! I happen to love Super Bubble!!!!!

Oh that boy can make me smile!!!!!

Have an awesome weekend filled with bubbling laughter, sweet smiles, and a multitude of joy!

I love you all!
Cheri

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Balloon Bouquet


It had been gray for awhile.

Days had been dreary........wintry, sullen.......

Josiah, three, played about my feet, sunshine naturally beaming from his cherub face.

Giggles and smiles spilled from his joyful heart.

Our friends at the nursing home needed some of his rays.....some of his joy.

We would share.

We put his little blue hat on his head.........(the hat had been passed down from grandpa. Grandpa had worn it at the age of three...for Easter. It was a little man's hat that fit just perfect on my little man's head.).....We found his little red sweater and wrestled both arms in..............his blue eyes twinkled..........we were going to visit our friends.........

We stopped by the flower shop........balloons............that would add to our gift of joy..........
like the bow on top of a beautiful package.........

A big bouquet please...........mylars............sunshiny, bright, colorful balloons.........

Every balloon had a message......

"God Loves You!"

"This is the Day the Lord Has Made!"

"God Bless You!"

"I Love You!"

We got the biggest bouquet we could handle...........me and my little man........

Josiah's smile grew bigger, his eyes brighter as he gazed at the colorful cloud of mylar above his head....

Long faces instantly turned happy as we entered the nursing home.........Josiah handed balloons to the residents........ he sat on laps..........offering big wet kisses to time worn cheeks.......followed by a gargantuan hug, then we would move on to the next pair of open arms..........

Sonshine went before us and behind us.........giggles, momentary happiness filled the home.........

Our joy doubled as we loved on our friends............

One of our friends was losing her sight......blindness overtaking her ability to see......

Several days passed.

One day I returned to her bedside, to visit, pray, and love on her.........

The balloon we had given her days before hung on the door right in front of her bed.

It was very bright, colorful, displaying the message, "God Loves You!" in very big letters......

"Honey"..........I knelt in close to speaking softly........"I see you have your balloon on the door.......the balloon that Josiah gave you..........."

She squeezed my hand and a tear fell from her eye........."Yes, dear, it will be the last thing I see on this earth. I look at it every morning. When my eyes no longer see, I will remember what it says."

I could not swallow the lump in my throat...........tears freely fell as I left her side.......

I had been totally unaware of how much that balloon would mean to her......

It was just a balloon...........

Josiah doesn't remember that day..........

And our friends are all gone now..........

The Lord speaks in so many ways.........we do not always have the blessing of knowing how He has spoken through us.........I think we will be surprised when we get to heaven by the times others have heard Him through something we have done, said, or the way we have lived........

We will be asking Him, "When did I.........?"

He will be answering, "When you did it unto the least of these...."

And we will enter into the joy of our Master.

And sometimes He gives us glimpses while we are still here......



Blessings,
Cheri




Monday, November 17, 2008

Happy God

God is angry, isn't He?

He is ready to find a flaw that can never be corrected and squeeze it out of me until it is no more. Once that flaw is well hidden away, He discovers another one the size of Mount St. Helen's and He begins processing again, twisting, turning, challenging, forcing, hating the flaw, discontent until it is out of sight.........gone......forever.

I have seen my Lord this way in the past. 

He has been unhappy with me, wondering why I continue to fall short.

The mural painted on the coffee shop wall made me stop to ponder...........

An image of a happy Jesus was brushed upon the wall in pastels, running, skipping, laughing, singing with children....lots of children. They were having a great time.........

I have not seen very many pictures of Jesus laughing........

I have not had very many thoughts of Him laughing either...........have you?

The fruit of the Spirit is: Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Goodness, Kindness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, Self-Control...............

Did Paul leave anger out?

How about disappointment?

Fruit is produced when we are grafted into the vine........Jesus..........."it is to my Father's glory that you bear much fruit"

The fruit represents His Spirit...........His Divine Nature and Character........

He is Love:  1 John 4:7-8 "Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because GOD IS LOVE."

He is Joy:  John 15:11 "I have told you this so that MY JOY may be in you and that your joy may be complete." 

He is Peace: Ephesians 2:14 "For He Himself is OUR PEACE......."

He is Patient: Romans 15:5 "Now may the GOD OF PATIENCE and comfort grant you to be like-minded toward one another, according to Christ Jesus, that you with one mind and one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ."

He is Kind: Titus 3:4 " But when the KINDNESS and love of God our Saviour appeared, He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy."

He is Good: Psalm 136:1/ Psalm 145:9
"Give thanks to the Lord, for HE IS GOOD. His love endures forever."
"The LORD IS GOOD to all; He has compassion on all He has made."

He is Faithful: Lamentations 3:22-23 "Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for His compassion's never fail. They are new every morning; GREAT IS YOUR FAITHFULNESS."

He is Gentle: Matthew 11:28-29 "Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I AM GENTLE  and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls." 

He has Self-Control: Isaiah 53:7/Matthew 26:63
 "He was oppressed and afflicted, yet He did not open His mouth; He was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so He did not open His mouth."

"But Jesus remained silent."

He is the fruit of the Spirit.

The Great I AM is love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

Beautiful God! Joyful Redeemer! Patient beyond understanding! Providing Peace! You are kindness that leads to repentance! Faithful to the finish line! Gentle Lamb! Lover of my soul! Master of the Universe! How great is our Happy God!

Jesus is the Bridegroom preparing for a wedding. The Bride has been purchased, a feast is being prepared. He is looking forward to that day when we will stand by His side! His pure one! Made pure by His sacrifice! Precious Redeemer! 

Glory to the one who saves! He is rejoicing over me! He is smiling..............mansions rise in His presence that will soon be a holy habitation for the ones He came to save! The day is approaching..........anticipation arises in His heart! My heart beats faster with the thought!

When I stand before Him there will be the most beautiful smile on His lovely face I have ever seen. With a gleam in His eye, He will wrap me up in His holy embrace and I will see Him as He is...........not with a scornful scowl, but with a glorious smile.....the smile reserved for His beloved.......

Hasten the day, Lord!

I long to see Your happy, joyful, peaceful beautiful face!

Cheri
ps. I love the fruit of the Spirit. They are wonderful virtues that I long to have in my life. The one that has been blessing me so much lately is Patience. God is so patient. He has proven His patience with me in various ways, demonstrated through various ones. I long for a patient heart, desiring to follow in His steps........Thank you, Lord Jesus for patience.




Friday, November 14, 2008

Fabulous Fun Fridays/ Creamy Down Under

We think we will never forget.....you know those cute little things our children say, but somehow they escape. But there are a few things that are truly unforgettable!!!!

A friend of mine shared one of those moments. 

Her little girl was just learning to read when her little brother was born. My friend was a Desitin momma. You know the kind, the baby got Desitin every diaper change. (Desitin is a diaper rash cream).

One day her little girl was watching her momma change her little brother's diaper when she saw the word "creamy" on the tube of Desitin. She asked, "Momma, does it come in "crunchy" too?"

May your day be full of fun, smiles, laughter, and many joys!

Sweet blessings, 
Cheri

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Preparation For the King's Chamber

Sarah invited us to her home to celebrate her birthday.

She prepared a meal for us. It wasn't fancy, but so delicious, simple, filling, delightful. Friendships were rekindled as we, twelve ladies,  broke bread enjoying her delicious chili.

The movie, One Night With The King began to play as we gathered around the television. Our hearts were united as we watched Queen Esther being prepared for her king and then plead for her nation.........with determination, wisdom, and grace. We all wanted to be Esther. Her dresses were very pretty! She was very pretty! However every outward appearance paled compared to the  inner strength she so ravishingly demonstrated.

Next, Sarah opened the book, Finding Favor With The King by Tommy Tenney and read a few pages. The pages described the chamberlain who had prepared Esther for her night with the king. 

"We don't succeed by doing things our way to please 'me, myself, and I'. Success comes when we heed the wisdom passed down from the King's chamberlains about what most pleases the King." (T. Tenney)

Ointments described seemed to invite their fragrance into the room as we listened to the delicate words..........Esther was in the finest spa of the day.........and we all wanted to be her!!! But it was so much more than that.......Esther  surrendered to the King's ways........She wanted to please the King so she willingly bowed to the wisdom of one who knew Him well, knew Him best.....She was preparing for an encounter with the King.....an encounter that would make history turn and take a bow, so she listened to one who had been in the King's most inner courts. One who had captured His secrets.

Tears fell from Sarah's eyes as she read the words. She looked into our eyes......each one had gathered to celebrate Sarah...........and she was celebrating us...... thanking us through tears for being like chamberlains in her life like the one described from the pages she had just shared....... the one who prepared Esther to meet her king. She was gratefully celebrating that we had been mentors, friends, godly examples for her........Our hearts were humbled.......we were saying "when did we?"..........

Her gratefulness was demonstrated as she took an oil, made to be an exact representation of the anointing oil used in Bible times she had saved for this special occasion, bowing over each one of us with prayers of blessing. Tears fell, fragrance filled the room, humility danced in our hearts, wonder spilled........as she prayed over each one of us.....

She turned to me with oil in her hand, tears in her eyes, a question in her heart, "Would you anoint me?" 

I took the oil from her hand, placed a drop on her face, and began to pray as we all gathered around her..........embracing the beautiful young woman she had become........and we all wanted to be like her!

A hush settled in the room as if an unseen stranger had come to celebrate the beauty of the moment with us...........the King of glory........He had found His chamber.......

Gifts were shared......... beautiful photos Sarah had taken, given to each one.........verses chosen through prayer carefully selected for each special guest inscribed on the back.

Sarah was 22.........

Today is Sarah's 23rd birthday...........

A year has passed, but a memory is etched in my heart, treasured, archived.........I will take the gift of honor Sarah gave me that night into an eternal chamber prepared for me.

We all left Sarah's home knowing that we had been in the chambers of our King......... a fragrance escorting us home.........anointing, blessings, gifts, love, gratitude, beauty.........abundance of grace..........

Isn't that we can expect in the chamber of our King...........

Happy Birthday, Sarah!!!!

Lovingly,
Cheri

Esther 2:15 & 17 "When the turn came for Esther.............to go to the king, she asked for nothing other than what Hegai, the king's eunuch who was in charge of the harem had suggested. 
(17) And Esther won the favor of everyone who saw her.  Now the king was attracted to Esther more than to any of the other women, and she won his favor and approval more than any of the other virgins. So he set a royal crown on her head and made her queen instead of Vashti."


Monday, November 10, 2008

Sowing and Reaping

Sowing...............

Casting seed on all kinds of soil hoping to find a fertile field where roots will be nurtured, plants will thrive, fruit will form.........I pray while scattering.........

Sowing.................. 

I sow believing I will reap, in season, expecting a rich harvest.

In due time. 

Weariness threatens my step......... 

Storms mock my hope........... 

Thirst threatens my endurance.....

Is a harvest possible here, Lord? Am I wasting effort? Believing for the impossible? Expecting foolishly? Waiting, investing, hoping...........will I ever have the reward of seeing what I have believed?

You reward faith! 

You bless efforts..........

You equip me........to fertilize, provide seed for sowing, bringing rain to nourish the seed..........

I feel yoked with  You in this venture........

You do not waste time........

Glimpses........You encourage me with glimpses......... You give me a peek into a heart once appearing barren, now beginning to sprout........

It is enough for me.....I tighten the strap on my bag of seed and set out on another lap......

Scattering, praying, believing.............

Mockers come........I speak Your Word...........

Storms come........I persevere.........

Doubt comes...........I remember the glimpse..........

I pick up my pace......

I will continue to believe until I see...........what my heart is believing for..........

Should I die sowing without seeing...........I will die believing......... and expecting a harvest.......


Cheri







Thursday, November 6, 2008

Fabulous Fun Fridays/ My Momma Says!

Our fourth child, Luke, came into the world with the idea that he was going to get something accomplished.  He didn't waste any time. He began to crawl at breakneck speed at four and a half months. He would disappear in our house so fast and we would frantically have to look for him. 

He loved to hide.  Even at his very young age he could find a place to crawl into, wait silently, and enjoy our panic as we searched for him. He would be listening as we frantically called his name. He would be so very still and then burst into a rapture of giggles when we finally discovered his hiding place. After he was found he would laugh and roll all over the floor. He never hid in the same place twice!

I was very thin in those days, in the best of shape, because keeping up with Luke was a daily workout! Did I mention that he was our fourth child? He could have kept me on the run all by his little lonesome..........but there were three others that kept me on the go as well!

Luke really was an amazing child, agile, and so coordinated! We still marvel at some of his tricks. 

That was Luke in action.

He was also very vocal! He could scream...........really scream! He could twist my nerves like a pretzel. I would say, "Give him what he wants! Please stick it in his mouth! Quick!"
I never professed to be the best mother in the world. I was not thinking of my child at that time, nor the possibility that this could develop a very selfish and spoiled nature! I was thinking only of myself........I needed him to be quiet........fast.......before I had a serious breakdown!

(He fared very well, regardless. He is a very compassionate and thoughtful young man. Could we call this grace? Thank you, Jesus!)

He really was a good kid! Even at the age of two or so he was obedient and felt that everyone should be! He would say to everyone that came along, "My momma says!" Over and over that was his defense! He thought if he added "my momma says" to everything he wanted it would validate his wishes. Sometimes it worked, but sometimes it was obvious that he attached my approval when it in fact I would not have said so. For instance:

"You cannot go outside barefoot. There is snow on the ground."

His reply, "My momma says.........!"

"You cannot have ice cream because it is almost supper time."

His reply, "My momma says.........!"

"You have to go to bed now."

"My momma says.........!"

"You need to eat your green beans,"  I said.

That time he set his gaze on my face, his beautiful green eyes outlined with the most gorgeous lashes you have ever seen and said, "My momma says........!"

To which I replied, "I AM the momma!"

There is a spiritual application in this story! Really there is! I have thought about it so many times! What do you see? 

Luke was so much fun to raise! Oh, I was busy, for sure! I couldn't ever say that I was bored! There was plenty of adventure in our house. We called Caleb and Luke "Chip and Dale" and they made life very interesting! I could tell you stories! Some great stories! Another Friday will come and I will share some of them. I think they will make you smile.

For now, have a great weekend filled with many joys and smiles! Blessings to all!

I love you, Sisters!!!!!

Cheri 








How Many Praises Will I Sing?

The message was whispered to my heart at a baby shower during a prayer of blessing.

Maddilyn Rose is less than a month old and the Lord has already counted the words that will be on her tongue before she has spoken one of them. 

Psalm 139:4 "You know what I am going to say even before I say it, Lord."

He knows. 

He has counted the times we will speak His name. 

"Father............."

He knows when we will sing our next song of praise.

I know, I never thought of it this way before either. I always thought that verse meant two seconds before I speak, He will know what I am going to say.  If it were just that it would be baffling to me considering I don't always know what I am going to say!

How can I write? I am as overwhelmed as the Psalmist was.......

He knows the words I will speak. He has already counted all the praises that I will bring Him in my lifetime.  

He can hardly wait to hear my next song of praise! Words of adoration that spill from the overflow of my heart. He is bending His ear, listening.......

When my lips refuse to voice the message of my heart, He still hears. He listens to the song my heart is singing! 

Before I could speak, He counted sweet nothings, those lovely baby sounds as praise to Him. 

How He loves our praise! 

How much rejoicing will there be in heaven? More than we can imagine.  More than we have ever seen or heard. Our imagination cannot dream big enough to describe our future praise. 

For now we praise what we see in part, but then we will praise with unhindered vision as we gaze on the one who is holy........so holy.

All the praise that I will ever give Him will never be as much as He deserves! 

I have long forgotten praises from the past, but He was treasuring them before I spoke them. 

Our all-knowing God...........He knows our hearts and listens to the message they are beating. I pray that my heartbeat will be in rhythm with His........and many praises and songs and prayers will flow from my heart to my tongue. 

He already knows.........

So I ask, would you give me grace to praise you more, Lord? Moments spent in praise are never wasted. They are moments You treasure for eternity. Oh, for grace, to praise You more!

Blessed be the name of the Lord!

Rejoicing with you~
Cheri

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Exploring Foundations

Fall stopped by for a visit yesterday. 
Oranges, yellows, and reds refused to be still but soared on a gentle breeze.
Leaves dismissed from their posts skipped and danced across the ground where little bare feet used to tread. The sun kissed the maples and oaks that were wrapping a mantle of glory around the hills.

My aunt and I were in the country exploring places that few visit these days. We were back in the country on gravel roads by crooked streams that laced hills and trees. It was beautiful!

Aunt Virginia was taking me back in time exploring old home places where my ancestors used to live. Most of the houses and outbuildings have been gone for many years, but memories of them were very much alive in my aunt's mind. She delighted in sharing timeless tales with me.

One of the farms was at one time located in the most beautiful place. It was my favorite location. I don't know what it looked like back then, but today the farmhouse would sit among the most amazing surroundings.

 Most of the families had ten children. Every place we went was so quiet and peaceful now with only the leaves whispering among themselves, but I was imagining another day. A day when many voices were heard, singing, whistling, shouting, whispering, teaching, praying.......

Back to my aunt's memories.........

Story after story was passed on to me. Stories of ways of doing things, so different from today. Growing, processing, and storing food for long winters. An art somehow lost.

Later we poured over photographs that revealed faces of long ago. Character and natures were matched with the images as my aunt shared memories etched in her mind about each one.

Some were described as gentle and quiet. They were not weak as some would suppose, but very strong. They ruled their dispositions with a gentle nature. The meek.

Some were dominant, vocal, opinionated, and you might say stubborn. They were allowed to think that they had total control by the gentle, quiet ones. When it came down to the fine print, the gentle ones had the final word.

One of my great grandmother's was named Mattie Etta, but she didn't like the name Etta so she changed her middle name to Hattie. (She was one of the strong-willed ones.) Her children used to tease her in later years when she would do or say funny things (she was a funny one!) by saying, "Now, Mattie Hattie!"

I learned about Model A stories, one-room school house stories, chores and play stories. I learned that my Grandpa would go upstairs where his children slept, tuck them in and kiss them goodnight every night. That really touched my heart. I pictured him bending over their tiny little frames, assuring them of his love.

The physical structures of the farms that we saw were, for the most part, gone. I learned of one great-grandpa that had built an amazing barn, very large, on the cutting edge for its day. The barn is now gone, the whole  farm is under a lake that was built a few years ago. A barn built to last, gone forever. Even the foundation is permanently hidden.

Foundations are so important, but it is only the spiritual ones that will be eternal. Disciplines, natures, convictions were passed down in our family but houses, barns, things are gone. 

I love this scripture:

"We are God's fellow workers: you are God's field, God's building. According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building upon it. But let each man be careful how he builds upon it. For no man can lay a foundation than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man builds upon the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each man's work will become evident; for the day will show it, because it is to be revealed with fire and the fire itself will test the quality of each man's work. If any man's work which he has built upon it remains, he shall receive a reward. If any man's work is burned up, he shall suffer loss; but he himself shall be saved, yet as though by fire. Do you not know that you are a temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?"

There is a foundation which can be laid, Jesus Christ, which can never be destroyed. 

The next time I travel those country roads I am likely to find the hills wrapped in a different season, blanketed with snow, dressed in the grandeur of spring, or basking in the summer sun. Whatever season I visit, wonderings of what used to be will rise to meet me. 

I wish I could reach back to the days when there was more among the shadow of the trees. I want to see what used to be. I want to meet those who lived here, ask them questions, judge their character for myself......taking ahold of all that was good, excellent, worthy of praise. Getting a grip on the baton of the past and passing it into the future. 

A sadness comes over me as the reality settles in that just as season pass, the season to touch those generations is gone. Some of them will meet me in eternity, some I will not be able to find. Like their homesteads, not even a foundation left to explore.

Our little explore has reminded me that there is only one thing that really matters:

Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace. 

This world is not our home, we are just passing through. 
A home awaits us, with an eternal view.

Blessings, dear friends!
Cheri








Friday, October 31, 2008

Friday Fun!

I am going to share fun stories on Fridays. I hope that you will join me for laughs. There may not be anything real deep, but laughter is good for the soul. So I hope you will stop in for some good ole fashioned medicine!!!!

Last weekend was a blast!

I was supposed to go to a women's seminar in Kansas City on Friday and Saturday, but Scotty (and the Lord) had other plans. Scotty suggested that we get in the convertible and take a drive down into Arkansas to see the gorgeous trees. Did I mention that it was 40 some degrees when we left home? Well, we began our journey with the top up!

I had free tickets for a Branson music show so we decided to stop there Friday night.
The audience at the show was a lot older than we, but our numbered tickets led us to seats that were close to the only other "young" couple in the audience. It just so happens that they were not Christians........(Who do you think set that up?) We began to talk and laugh and I got to build a piece of the bridge that is leading them to Christ! Are you shouting Hallelujah about that???? Please pray for them.......I don't even know their names and they don't know mine. It didn't seem to matter.

We spent the night in Branson. Morning brought hope for a warmer day. At least the sun was shining which makes the trees much more beautiful. We journeyed around the Branson area........back roads and through the hills. It was amazing! The trees were not in their full glory yet, but they were on the way!

Well, we began to wander down more roads. One little town we found was so much fun! We found a place to eat........mmmmm! It took us awhile to find one, but it was worth the wait.

We went into a little store that was full of rustic furniture made out of trees and left in the rough. I LOVED that!!!! There were bear skin rugs on the floors and cougars on the walls perched on branches. It surprised me how much I loved that store! Having four boys has done something to my decorating taste! I was wishing I had my camera.

When we came out of the store we saw a corvette that was pretty amazing (if you like corvettes). We got closer to get a better look and the license plate said "T-Bunch". Scotty has a brother named Terry! If it is his, he is keeping secrets! Once again I was regretting not having my camera!

We decided to be brave and put the top down. I wrapped up in my black neck scarf (a big one) and Scotty put on his black stocking cap. We both put our black coats on and turned the heat up to 90. You should have seen some of the stares! We looked like Muslims. I am sure that people were praying for our souls as we passed by!

I was ready to buy a disposable camera at that point.

The many hills and curves led us to a little town in Missouri named Crane. We stopped because I spotted a doll shop on the corner and I just wanted to look. Scotty zipped around and found a spot to park.

The doll shop was closed, but the whole town was full of flea markets. Both sides of the street were lined with store after store that were filled with old treasures. We went in every one. Each store had it's own personality. It was so much fun. Scotty would say, "Look at this! I used to have one of these." So cute!

We went into one big store. He went one direction and I went the other. Pretty soon I heard him calling my name. I had just come out of the restroom.......whew, glad I wasn't there when he called. (I would have been so embarrassed!) Fortunately I was in a corner that had books from floor to ceiling. I was drooling as I skimmed the titles. I think there will be many corners like that in heaven, don't you?! Complete with an easy chair and fireplace!

Scotty had spotted a homemade gooseberry pie and wanted me to share a piece with him. Share we did. I got a bite of the most sour gooseberry in the whole pie. I told him it would surely seal my memory of that place forever. Then I went for the crust.

Someone in the town of Crane happened to mention the town of Billings for more flea market grandeur. We went on down the road and soon we spotted the sign for Billings. Scotty began to laugh and said "Where shall we go? Anywhere but Billings!" But he drove right to it. I promise I didn't say a word to influence that decision!

Again we went on a treasure hunt. My favorite find was an old text book from the 1800's that had a girl's name in the front written in the beautiful script of our ancestors, with the name Vilas, Kansas underneath it. Then it said Wilson County. Vilas is a country community that is barely there anymore. It is about four miles from our house. The book was priced at $1.50 so I brought it home with me. I would love to know the story behind the girl that the book used to belong to. I may have to do some research. Has anyone ever heard of Josephine Hagerman from way back in the day? Like a little over a century?

We spent the night in Springfield, MO. We never made it to Arkansas.

Sunday we went to church in Joplin. I had been chewing on some passages for days and the pastor just happened to teach his whole sermon on them. Glory!

The trunk of our car is very, very small. It is pretty full with just our two bags and my pillow inside, so we didn't do a lot of buying, just a lot of looking, laughing, and story telling. It was a very special time and I will treasure the memory of it.

I could have missed the Lord on this one if I had made my way to a good thing, a women's conference, instead of listening to my husband. The Lord totally blessed our choice and we came home with many treasures that cannot be bought.

I hope that your weekend is filled with many happy moments and big smiles!

Sweet blessings,
Cheri






Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Real Friends

I bought a book on friendship yesterday. 

It is all done in black and white. 

The pictures are what drew me right to it. They are pictures from the past.....
ummm I would say the '40s and '50s. The pictures are on one page and a quote and scripture are on the opposite page. Some of the pictures were really funny, like the one of the lady in cat-eye glasses (even more ridiculous than the ones I wore in the second grade). The quote next to her photo says, "A friend sees you through rose-colored glasses."

The scripture next to that one is, "Love looks for the best." 1 Corinthians 13:7 (The Message)

I love this quote: "A friend is someone who can see through you and still enjoy the show."

How about this one: "A true friend is someone who has met your family and is sure you will overcome the law of genetics."

And: "A true friend will bend over backward to give you a lift."
The scripture for that one: "Encourage one another daily." Hebrews 3:13.

One more: " You can always tell a real friend: when you've just made a fool of yourself he doesn't feel you've done a permanent job."  You should see the picture for that one!!!!

Friendship is a special gift, a treasure, a Divine set-up.

Have you ever had a friendship end? A friendship that was deep and wide, secure and steadfast?
It is very painful. I am not sure you ever really get over it. It is like a death only its not. It is just something that is lost, gone forever, no way to get it back. 

Okay, if you read my last post you are probably saying "take the spoil". And that is right. But some battles leave wounds that take longer to heal than others. I do see great gain alongside my loss........and I do consider it my loss. I miss her........my confidant, my best friend. I thought she would always be there.........You know?

So if you are hurting today, I understand. May the Lord restore your fortune like He restored the fortunes of Job.

Your Friend,

Cheri~

"Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends." Philippians 2:2 The Message






Monday, October 27, 2008

Great Gain

She entered my house with that look on her face. I knew we were heading back to an old battleground. The past was haunting her again!

Her face was draped with a veil of mourning. 

Heaviness entered with her.

She needed to talk about it...........again.

I listened. 

Hurt, rejection, regrets revisited. 

I waited.

She continued. 

Despair..........here it comes.........blame....... and the if only's..........

"He said this."

"He meant that."

"If only he would have done........."

Old song, new verse............

Finally I had a message for her.

"Take the spoil!"

She looked at me in shock her tearful eyes searching my face for an explanation.

"Take the spoil!" We both needed to hear it again.

There are many battlegrounds in life. We encounter victories and losses in every battle. It is natural to mourn our losses, but what if we celebrated our gains?

The battles I am speaking of are not necessarily huge fighting moments, (oh, but sometimes they are) but are usually small struggles. Little foxes.  You know, discord in the home, the church, the school, at work, or in the community. Misunderstandings, failure to communicate, reactions instead of healthy responses. 

We can get stuck on a battlefield if we are not careful. War continues to rage in our minds and we fear that our opponents were right about us after all. We struggle. We blame them for where we are now.  

After every battle, we must come to a place where we stop licking our wounds. Being thankful for what we have gained will help us to remember that all is not lost! The Lord will bless us with the spoil if we are willing to gather it in.

I turned to my friend.

"Let's look at what you gained there."
 
Gently I began to count the positive things that I could see that were gained through the struggle my dear friend had faced. 

"Tell me more things that you gained through your experience."

She began to smile as her list grew.

We had a breakthrough! Joy flooded the room. Peace came. We embraced.

My friend left my home with a lighter load.

I swept what she left behind in a heap, giving it to the Father and asking Him to continue to remind her of blessings and strengths she had gained through that very difficult time. 

Lord, thank you for words that set us free. Please quicken my friends to remind me to take the spoil after the battles in my life. We are more than conquerers in You! Thank you for the spoil!


Blessings,
Cheri
Psalm 119:161-162~
"Princes persecute me without cause, but my heart stands in awe of Thy words.
I rejoice at Thy word, as one who finds great spoil."

Isaiah 53:12~
"Therefore I will give Him a portion among the great, and He will divide the spoils with the strong, because He poured out His life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For He bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors."


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Giver

Standing at the counter, I was waiting for my credit card to be approved. My purchase was small, a little of this and some of that. Groceries, not that exciting of a purchase, unless you happen to be my son who gets extremely excited when the fridge offers him a variety of choices.

She came up behind me and stuck something in my hand. The grocery lanes were full, checkers were all at their posts. Where did she come from? 

I examined the wad that had been thrust into my care and looked at her with question. She had already flown back to her post. I finally spotted her. She was the one glowing. She nodded yes as she said, "Put it where it needs to go. You know!" she said.

Clearly my puzzled expression said to her that I had no idea where she wanted me to put the $10 she had placed in my hand. 

"You know, the church. You put it where it needs to go the most." 

Everyone, myself included was mind boggled by her complete trust to put her money where I thought it needed to go. I looked around at our puzzled audience and nodded my head in agreement, like this was a common trust that had been established for a long time. 

That $10 stayed in my hand for the longest time. I kept straightening it and staring at it, hoping that it would somehow speak to me of it's resting place. Alexander Hamilton continued to gaze off-center not even noticing that I needed some advice.

I finally made a temporal decision. I would not put the money anywhere.......for awhile. I would just wait and see how the Lord would direct me to a need. 

So I crammed the bill into my underwear drawer and let it be.

Should I put it in the church offering?

Missionaries came to visit our church one Sunday, should it go to them?

Suddenly a knowing settled on me. 

There is a single mom that I know that has been very, very ill and has not been able to work. 
She would be the recipient of this kind woman's generosity. 

I gave the offering to the one in need. With a grateful heart she received the small token as from the Lord. 

The Lord has opened my eyes to several applications from this experience, but there is one that weighs heavy on my mind at this time.

It was amazing that someone, she does know who I am, but does not know me well, trusted me with her money to put where I felt it would do the most good. Isn't that what the Lord does all of the time?  He is the One who gives us the power to make wealth, and then He blesses the works of our hands. On top of that He trusts us to be good stewards of that wealth. 

I must confess, I fall short of always being a good steward. My husband and I are faithful tithers and believe wholeheartedly in the promises of tithing. We have seen the Lord bless the tithe on a regular basis. But beyond the tithe, am I using what has been given me with responsible care? Not always. Not like I did with that $10 dollars that was placed in my hand. 

I felt totally responsible to place that money in the appropriate place. With great care and concern I sought the heart of the Lord on the matter. I was not disappointed where He aimed my compassion. 

Ten dollars seems so small compared to the storehouses He has entrusted to me. I desire to be more conscious of where my offerings go.

I know that I will see the giver again and I can hardly wait to report to her where her offering went. I have a feeling that she will be more than satisfied. 

I anticipate another day..........That Day when I stand before Him.......I pray that He will look upon the choices I have made and be pleased. I hope I will be among the ones who say, "When did I do that for you?" and hear Him reply, "When you did it unto the least of these."

I am pondering these things now, but I don't intend to waste this lesson. I pray that my pondering will soon be put into practice.


Selah~
Cheri

Monday, October 20, 2008

His Audience

He takes the guitar from it's case and holds it near him cradling it close to his heart. We sit in the darkened room as his fingers began to dance across the strings. Daylight is streaming through the window and rests around him like a halo.

Music begins to melt my heart as peace settles all anxiety. The beauty of his song cannot be described, it has been born in the depth of worship. The kiss of God has nestled into it and the notes are begging to enter the throne room of grace.

I feel honored to be his audience.........the only one listening this side of heaven.
His song is like an offering, a gift, a shared treasure......

Time seems to fly away. Soon he will need to leave and I just want to linger here.
Luke, is so gifted with his guitar as he creates beautiful songs that bless so many. Worship flows from him as he makes melody in his heart to the Lord. And now he is sharing it with me. It delights my soul!

I rise from the blessed moment refreshed.

Something very special has just happened........my son and I have just shared a little piece of heaven.

Will he remember this special time, continuing to ponder it as I will? It will probably escape him as he leaves the room refusing to be placed into his memory bank for recalling. However, I will refuse to let go of it, harboring and protecting it from escaping my heart forever.


Humming a new song,
Cheri


Thursday, October 16, 2008

To Be Envied

I hope you have enjoyed meditating on the Beatitudes with me. I feel strengthened as I reflect on these beautiful promises that came from the heart and lips of our Lord Jesus. He saw a multitude and so He took the time to speak on these things. 
It has been an eternal quest of the ages to seek happiness.......real happiness. These promises contain the keys to the spiritual grace of happiness. I believe the Lord wants us to be happy, joyful, complete, lacking in nothing and so He tells us exactly what it takes to achieve this much sought after state of being. 
I love the Amplified Version of these promises. I am going to continue to meditate on them........Selah! Pause and think on them, because I believe they are powerful! The promises that they declare are not only heavenly, eternal promises , but for now, this moment even as I type. They are for me and you to enjoy this side of the great expanse called time. Praise the Lord for His benefits. How great is our God to let us enjoy life now!
(If you are just joining me, please review the past devotions to get a proper balance on what I am saying here.)

When we know we are a blessed people, we will live as grateful people. Gratefulness breeds happiness.........Who can contain it?

So blessed are you who mourn............

who are meek..............

who hunger and thirst after God........

who are merciful.............

and pure in heart............

the peaceful.............

and the persecuted, falsely accused for righteousness sake.......

Blessed, happy, to be envied are you! Thus says the Lord!


~Cheri

Monday, October 13, 2008

Our Witnesses

I feel tears cloud my eyes as I try to put thoughts together that spring from a deep well in my being. 

My ear is straining to hear the great cloud of witnesses (Hebrews 12:1) today.........those who have gone on before us who have found their place in the grandstands of eternity. I see some familiar faces there, their eyes fixed on me at the moment, imploring me with all their might to fix my eyes on Jesus. Listening close now, I hear what seems like whispers, the distance drowns the volume, but I can see by the look in their eyes that they are giving it all they've got to cheer me on! 

"Don't look back!" a voice cries out! I am not certain which of my fans has spoken but his words are wise.

"Make haste!" says another. 

"Lighten your load and quicken your pace!" another pipes in.

As I force to look more intently I see a special section. It has been walled off. There are a few empty seats there among many that are filled. They have names engraved on them. My name is not there. Not yet anyway. 

This is a marked off, specially reserved section. There is a sign above it "Endured to the end!" Jeremiah is there and near him Isaiah. John the Baptist?!!!! Yes! It has to be! And Stephen (I really want to talk to him!) And there! Look! Can you see him? It is Jim Elliot. 

I wasn't expecting this vision of glory today. I didn't even ask for it, but having this divine revelation has stirred me with a new passion........to run!

I see a family now. I remember their story. A family of five who were buried alive because they refused to renounce their faith in Jesus. Several others have joined them. Witnesses...... those who saw the demonstration of their faith as they sang hymns of praise to the living God until their last breath was stolen from them.........Their faith was contagious and many were added to the Kingdom that day. Some of those who witnessed their last day are now seated with them in this special section. They experienced similar sufferings..........and they are seated with them.

"He will give you grace! Persevere! Sing! He is worthy of all praise! Remain faithful to the end! It is worth it!" they are determined for all to hear.

Persecution is hard, so I am told. I have read Voice of the Martyrs, Foxes Book of Martyrs, and Jesus Freaks. I do not fear it, because I have not experienced it........not really! Small levels perhaps, but do they really count? 

Times of persecution will bring...........

Grace, grace, grace.......... we will be baptized in it! 

And blessings!!!! Promised blessings! Jesus said:

"Blessed......happy, to be envied, and spiritually prosperous [that is, with life-joy and satisfaction in God's favor and salvation, regardless of your outward conditions].......are you when people revile you and persecute you and say all kinds of evil against you falsely on My account. 
Be glad and supremely joyful, for your reward in heaven is great (strong and intense), for in this same way people persecuted the prophets who were before you."

So if you are among the persecuted, there is a reward awaiting you in a special section of heaven. Your seat is prepared for you! Your fans are waiting for you! Press on!

~Cheri

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Seeing God pt. 2

The pure in heart...........

Jesus told a story to illustrate...........

"And He also told this parable to certain ones who trusted in themselves that they were
righteous, and viewed others with contempt:

'Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee, and the other a tax-gatherer.
The Pharisee stood and was praying thus to himself, 'God, I thank Thee that I am not like other people: swindlers, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax-gatherer. I fast twice a week; I pay my tithes of all that I get.' 
But the tax-gatherer, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast saying, 'God, be merciful to me, the sinner!'
I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself shall be humbled, but he who humbles himself shall be exalted."

Did you recognize the pure in heart?

Grateful for the cleansing fountain!

Blessings~
Cheri
ps. I will  complete our Beatitude study next week. 
I must chew on the next few verses (promises) a bit.
Scotty and I will be on vacation for a few days. Check back in soon.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Seeing God

Blessed!

What a good way to begin! Blessing! 

To be showered with goodness!

Having an umbrella of favor at all times!

God's face shining upon you!

Happy!

A state of being that most have tasted of, but few remain in........

Enjoying well-being........

Contentment.......

Satisfaction........

Enviably Fortunate!

Others are witnesses of your happiness and blessing.....

Others desire it...........

Eternally blessed with promises that will be fulfilled on earth and in heaven.....

And Spiritually Prosperous!

Having eternal riches stored in abundance........

Wealth that cannot be stolen, killed, or destroyed!

Gain that comes from repentance and fellowship and holiness........

That is,

Possessing the happiness produced by experience of God's favor!

The happiness Mary felt when told she was chosen of God for a special assignment........

The happiness that Zaccheus felt when Jesus said to him, "I am going to your house today"

The happiness that the adulterous woman felt when Jesus said to her, "Neither do I condemn you......."

The happiness the woman at the well could not contain but had to spill on a whole community...

The kind of happiness that can only be possessed by unmerited and undeserved favor!

Especially conditioned by the revelation of His grace!

Oh the precious revelation of His grace!

His divine nature extended to us because of Grace!

Spiritual eyes open wide with wonder!

Awe! 

Ephesians 1:17-19
"[For I always pray] the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of Glory, that He may grant you a spirit of wisdom and revelation........of insight into mysteries and secrets.......in the [deep and intimate] knowledge of Him,

By having the eyes of your heart flooded with light, so that you can know and understand the hope to which He has called you and how rich is His glorious inheritance in the saints........His set-apart ones...

And [so that you can know and understand] what is the immeasurable and unlimited and surpassing greatness of His power in and for us who believe...........

Seeing what those in the world cannot see or even imagine!

Regardless of their outward conditions!

Regardless of circumstances!

Regardless of conflict!

Regardless of rejection from others!

Regardless of pain and suffering!

Are the Pure in Heart!

"Katharos".........the Greek word for pure. 
Definition: Being cleansed.

A heart that has been washed.........

purified........

that is undefiled, whiter than snow, because it has known the cleansing power of the Blood of the Lamb, Jesus!

"What can wash away my sin, nothing but the blood of Jesus!
What can make me whole again, nothing but the blood of Jesus!"

"Wash me, and I will be whiter than snow" (Psalm 51:7)

"Create in me a clean heart, O God!" (Psalm 51:10)

Justified! Just as if I had never sinned!

Pure!

For they shall see God!

The purified are privileged.........

They will recognize the fingerprints of their Master........

They will experience forgiveness...............

They will witness the majesty and beauty of His handiwork.........

They will marvel at the display of His Grace and Mercy.........

They will see His works...........but more than that..........they will see HIM!

They will see God! 

They will see Him as He is!

Such special grace to see God!

And so they are:

"Blessed..........happy, enviably fortunate, and spiritually prosperous [that is, possessing the happiness produced by experience of God's favor and especially conditioned by the revelation of His grace, regardless of their outward conditions].........

are the pure in heart................


for they shall see God!"


In Awe~
Cheri






Monday, September 29, 2008

Peacemakers pt. 2

A peacemaker does not always have the solution that will solve every situation, but they are prepared to meet you with compassion that takes the edge off of the circumstance you are in. They are not pretentious, saying things just to be saying them, but protective. Your heart is a treasure to them, so rather than piercing it with the poison of hurtful, spiteful, damaging words, they season their words with grace.

They speak truth in love. 

They trust the Lord..........a lot.........and believe that He can say and reveal what they cannot.

If you know a peacemaker, you know that they know how to love unconditionally, embracing those around them with their intuitive nature.

It is easier to be a peacemaker if you know the One who is called Peace! And if you hang out with His friends you will enjoy the fruit of peace as they influence you with His sweet nature.

I grew up in a very dysfunctional home. I never knew when the last straw would be broken and all you know what would break loose. It was terrifying, but I had never known anything different.......I had never really experienced the joy of living in peaceful versus volatile surroundings.

Scotty and I had been married about a month and we were getting ready for church one Sunday morning. I began to cry rather loudly for him to hurry and come! He ran to me, ready to take on the bear that must have come in the window. He soon realized that there wasn't a bear,  only tears........I was overwhelmed. I felt peace, real peace for the first time in my life. My heart could rest in my home, unafraid that there would be disaster if someone said or did the wrong thing. I could breathe.....really breathe, because I lived with a peacemaker.

"Blessed.....enjoying enviable happiness, spiritually prosperous [that is with life-joy and satisfaction in God's favor and salvation, regardless of their outward conditions].....are the makers and maintainers of peace, for they shall be called the sons of God!"

Peace~
Cheri 

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Peacemakers

Peace is like a newborn that is sleeping, a sunrise breaking through the night, a rest that settles after a bout with strife.  Peace. It is knowing that a promise spoken will be kept by the promising one. It is rest, trust, believing that you are loved, knowing that the one who loves you is faithful. 

Peace cannot be bought or sold, only given, made, and maintained. 

Matthew 5:9~
"Blessed....enjoying enviable happiness, spiritually prosperous [that is, with life-joy and satisfaction in God's favor and salvation, regardless of their outward conditions] are the makers and maintainers of peace, for they shall be called the sons of God!"

Making peace when there is strife. Helping to settle the air instead of stirring the pot. Bringing hope instead of despair. It is they who make peace. They willingly and conscientiously make an effort to help in the matter at hand. To bring life to it, help to it, settle it. 

Sometimes it is leading them to Jesus. 

Ephesians 2:14~ "For He Himself is our peace....."

Sometimes it is reconciling the hurting. 

Sometimes it is silencing the accusing.

Sometimes it is reminding of promises.

Mending the broken.

Lifting the needy.

Surrendering a will.

Believing and walking in faith..........



.......to be continued.....


Love ya,
Cheri