The sky is always blue beyond the clouds. There is always hope and encouragement here.

Monday, March 31, 2014


Basketti, that's what my kids called it. Spaghetti is what most people call it. One of my favorite meals. My mom made the best spaghetti in the entire world. I have never, ever eaten any better. I learned to make it like her. 
I remember watching her when I was little. She always used a cast iron skillet to cook her sauce. She always used Mueller's Spaghetti #8 noodles. 
Ah, the skinny, straight, rigid noodles that snapped so easily. She would take them from the box, hold them in one hand and slowly, with a swirling motion, lower them into the boiling water. They would soften enough at first that as she swirled and lowered the whole noodle would immerse into the boiling water. Then she would give them a stir so they wouldn't stick together into a clump. 
She watched them because if they boiled too much, the starchy foam would boil up and over the pot. 
They need to boil for a while before the noodles are just right.
When the noodles came out, after being boiled, they were much different than when they went in. They were a little bigger, and much softer. And they no longer had any snap to them.
Putting spaghetti into the hot water makes it softer and stronger.

Have you ever felt like life is hot water and you're in it up to your neck;  Swirling, rolling, bubbling, ever changing?
Trials and tests, struggles and fears are not easy, nor fun. But they can change you. They can soften what is hard in you. They can make you less likely to snap. They allow you bend instead of break. 

It takes some time, getting there is a gradual process. Each trial we face and overcome builds us and strengthens us. We get stronger and stronger.
Be thankful for the afflictions that you go through and overcome. Consider it joy to be found stronger and more sure of God. 

Hear:  Romans 10:17
Believe: Hebrews 11:6
Repent: Acts 17:30
Confess: Matthew 16:16
Be baptized: Acts 2:38
Be a faithful servant: 1 Corinthians 15:58

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Fixin' Supper

I am from Western Pennsylvania. My mom fixed supper. Yes, supper, not dinner. Dinner was what we ate at noon. My dad had a dinner bucket that went to work with him. Supper was our evening meal. And mom fixed it.
Now we never asked her what was wrong with it because we knew she wasn't "repairing" it, she was "preparing" it. Fixing it. She was always "fixin'" something. "I'm fixin' to go to the store." She would say. We knew she meant that she was preparing to go. 

There are many strange ways of saying things and it seems that our area of western PA has it's own dictionary sometimes.
Another thing was she would tell us to "red up" our rooms. Trust me she wasn't wanting us to paint them. She wanted some fixin' to take place, lol. She wanted them clean. 
She would live us notes before she left for work telling us to have our rooms red up before she got home. And we got it done because we knew for sure she was coming home and we better be ready.

Jesus tells us in scripture that He has gone ahead to fix us a place. He is redding up our rooms and He wants us to be here fixin' to go with Him when He returns. He is coming back for us, of that we can be sure. Are you fixin' to go? Are you getting prepared?

And you know what? When we get there, there will be a big Supper.

My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. (John 14:2, 3 NIV)

Here is how you prepare.
Hear:  Romans 10:17
Believe: Hebrews 11:6
Repent: Acts 17:30
Confess: Matthew 16:16
Be baptized: Acts 2:38
Be a faithful servant: 1 Corinthians 15:58

Friday, March 28, 2014

A Little Yeast

I was thinking of hot homemade bread this morning. I always liked when my mom or aunts would be baking it. It smells so good from start to finish.
Can you smell the yeast as it rises? 
Can you smell it as it bakes?
How about now as it it pulled apart, steaming hot and good, soft, real butter is spread?
It's a wonderful thing. 
It's the yeast that makes good bread. You add a little in the beginning and knead it through. It causes a reaction that grows the dough. It expands and rises. It will even overflow the container sometimes.

False doctrine is like yeast. It can get into your heart and minds and expand and permeate and take shape. But it is not good at all.just a small bit of falseness can grow. 
For example, asking Jesus into your heart does not give you salvation. That is NOT scripturally accurate.
Another example, God will bless you when you become a Christian. Jesus did not have an easy life, why should we? We are to deny ourselves. We will have trials and struggles that will build and shape us. 

It is so easy to be mislead by false doctrine. And just like yeast in the dough, once a little gets in, it is practically impossible to remove all of it.
How many people live in this world thinking that they are saved because someone, somewhere told them to believe in Jesus?
Belief is not enough. Even the devil and his demons believe and tremble. Yet the rest of the plan of salvation is never spoken on TV.
You were running a good race. Who cut in on you to keep you from obeying the truth? That kind of persuasion does not come from the one who calls you. “A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough.” I am confident in the Lord that you will take no other view. The one who is throwing you into confusion, whoever that may be, will have to pay the penalty. (Galatians 5:7-10 NIV)

Let's be good yeast. Let's share God's plan, all of it. Show it to people, tell it to people. And then wait for God to knead it and bring the growth. 

Print out this image. Make copies and spread them around. It's easy as that.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Exceedingly abundantly

I recently had a heart to heart conversation with my sister. It seems like she struggles so much, with her health and so much more. She shared with me that there were two things that she was praying about and asked me to pray with her. Either of these things would delight her heart. However if One happened it seemed that the other could not because both were to take place at the same time.
I prayed.
She prayed.

She called me yesterday and told me that God had answered favorably. I was happy for her. Which one? I asked her. 
Both. She said.
One of her requests will happen but at a later time and God is giving both to her. 
How awesome! Will I ever stop being amazed at what God can do?

Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen. (Ephesians 3:20, 21 KJV)

Pray, ask, believe!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014


Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth! Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into his presence with singing! Know that the Lord, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name! For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations. (Psalm 100:1-5 ESV)

The action verbs of these verses:
1. Make a joyful noise
2. Serve with gladness
3. Sing
4. Enter His gates with thanksgiving 
5.  Enter His courts with praise
6.  Give thanks to Him
7. Bless His Name

It sure seems like a whole lot of noise is going on while we work and serve The Lord. And it sure seems to me that it is a happy joyful noise.
It doesn't sound like the, "I have to"s or the grumbling, complaining and criticizing that is sometimes heard. 

It isn't always pleasant to be working. It takes time, effort, and often money to work for The Lord. It sometimes is a sacrifice.

Monday, March 24, 2014

What's holding you back?

What's holding you back?

Yesterday at church a young mother was not in attendance. When her husband was asked about her, he explained that she had had such a busy day at opening day on the baseball field that she was just too tired to come to church.

I am not judging, I do not know her heart, but Jesus can see into our hearts. Are you hiding anything there that keeps you from coming to Him or following Him?

Let's look at a biblical example. 
And as he was setting out on his journey, a man ran up and knelt before him and asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. You know the commandments: ‘Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.’” And he said to him, “Teacher, all these I have kept from my youth.” And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” Disheartened by the saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions. (Mark 10:17-22 ESV)

This story is told in three of the gospels. It was a good teachable moment for the disciples with Jesus.
This man is described as a rich man, a young man, a ruler. He came to Jesus and bowed down and acknowledged Jesus' goodness. 
Jesus quickly left him know that only God is good. 
Jesus asked him several questions about the Law. The young man answered correctly. 
Jesus then said that he lacked one thing. He told him to sell all he had, give the proceeds away and follow Him. 
The young man hung his head and walked away. 

You see, Jesus knew that this man was not ready to sacrifice for his faith. He had things holding him back from completely giving himself to Jesus.
Our relationship with The Lord must be first and foremost EVERY day of our lives, not just one day for a few hours. 

Is anything keeping you from total commitment to Jesus?
Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. (Matthew 16:24 ESV)

Sunday, March 23, 2014


I am usually one that is resistant to change. I like smooth sailing. I like my life in a rut. I like to settle in and be comfortable. Because when something changes it almost always causes disruption in the comfortable. There is the apprehension of, what if it isn't going to be better? How will it affect me? How much struggle will be involved? Will I like it?
Are you like me?

But More often than not, change does bring about some benefits.

When we make the decision to accept Christ and follow Him. It requires a change. Repentance is by definition a totally new direction. During baptism, while our sins are washed away, we become a new creation, raised to be like Jesus.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. (2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV)

As we grow into the Grace and knowledge of God we are changing. Our thoughts, actions, and attitudes are all changing to be more like Jesus. And this begins in our head, the renewing of our minds.
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:2 ESV)

A Christian is always growing. We will not be complete until God completes us. And that will happen on the Day that Jesus returns.
And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. (Philippians 1:6 ESV)

Allow Him to be at work in you and on you. Do not be resistant. 

Friday, March 14, 2014

Get Growing

I saw a math problem on the Internet the other day. It is the "new" math. And no matter how I studied or tried to work it, I could not make it work out the way they wanted it done. 
I remember my first year of Algebra. It seemed so strange to me and I struggled with it. I would get so frustrated that I would cry over it. Finally, my teacher took me aside and explained how Algebra builds upon itself. You must learn the beginning concepts or you can never get beyond. It did eventually click in my head and I got it, so then I didn't have to work so hard to complete my assignments.
As humans, we are like Algebra in a way. We build and grew in increments. We are learning each step of the way and getting through each stage takes the learning and experience of all the other stages that we have already gone through.
Growing and maturing isn't an easy process. We struggle and get frustrated sometimes. And there will be times of tears as well. And we will ALWAYS be growing and learning and changing until the day we die. God is working on us and in us. He wants us to be perfect and complete. 
Hang on, persevere. Seek help and support from others if you have to. But hang on. Let's get growing.

Consider it pure joy, my sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. (James 1:2-4 NIV)

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Git r done

My mom worked outside the house from the time I was a child. So being the oldest child, some of the household stuff fell to me. I remember once she told me to have the laundry done before she got home.
Well, it was summer and I wanted to be outside. But when I realized the time, I hurried into the house and rushed around frantically gathering dirty clothes and schlepping them down to the basement. I was hurrying and grouchy.
I remember my dad asking me, "Why didn't you get to it sooner?"
Why hadn't I gotten to it sooner? 
Because I had my own agenda. I wanted to do what I wanted to do. It was not a priority for me.
If I had gathered and started laundry first thing, I still could have been outside while the washer was running and then moved them to the dryer and gone back outside. I could have gotten it done without the rush and grouchiness.
And over time I learned to get to it early, Whatever IT is, and make sure that it got done.

The writer of Hebrews left us this message, See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; (Hebrews 12:15a ESV) 
And notice, the writer says, "see to it." They must have been aware that people may not take this seriously enough or make it their agenda. See to it means, Get to it, make certain, get started on this, be sure to.
So it is up to me, and you, to "make sure" that no one fails to obtain the Grace of God. It is our duty to share God's love with everyone. Time is running out. Are you getting to it?

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The Bible


The B. I. B. L. E, yes that's the Book for me. I stand alone on the Word of God. The 
B. I. B. L. E.

Do you know this children's song? Probably everyone of you do. Do you really stand on the Word of God only? When you are troubled or sick or in need of help, do you seek His words and comfort? Is this all-time best selling book in the world your favorite book? Is He your favorite author? Do you use this book as a guidebook for your life?

The Bible is the written revelation of God, being fully inspired, absolutely inerrant in the original documents, infallible, and God-breathed. It is the only authority for all faith and practice (Psalm 19:1-14; Hebrews 4:12; Isaiah 30:8; 1 Corinthians 2:6-16; Matthew 5:18; Matthew 24:34-35; John 10:35; John 16:12-13; John 17:17; 2 Timothy 3:15-17; II Peter 1:20-21; Luke 24:27/, 44; John 5:39; Romans 15:4; 1 Corinthians 10:11).

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Who's to Blame?

The comedian Flip Wilson had a saying, "The devil made me do it." Thus he thought could excuse any misbehavior on his part. 
We all like to shift blame when there are mistakes and bad judgements. That is human nature. None of us want to be less than perfect. So we blame others. Think of how Adam blamed Eve, "the woman that You gave me. Was he blaming Eve or God? Eve blamed the serpent. 
Scripture tells us that we are accountable for our own actions. We cannot shift blame on to anyone else or even circumstances. When we sin, it is because WE WANT TO.
Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. (James 1:13, 14 ESV)

BE responsible and own up to your sin. You cannot hide from it. But God is sure to forgive those who come to Him with repentant hearts.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014


Usually when a woman is pregnant everyone wants to know if she has names picked out. Names are important. It is who we are, how we are identified. 
We like to know if we are named for someone and what is the meaning of our name. 
When someone speaks your name you can tell if they are angry, scared, loving, or need something.
What does Jesus hear when you speak His name? 

Jesus, Jesus, Je-sus, sweetest name I know.
Fills my every longing,
Keeps me singing as I go.

And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12 ESV)

Monday, March 3, 2014

Tiny little words

Tiny little words can carry big meaning. The Beatles sang a song, Let It Be. A very popular song. When my mom said those words I knew what she meant. If I feel argumentative and the other person says, let it be, I know what it means. Small words, simple meanings.

Remember when President Bill Clinton said, "It depends on what the meaning of is is." The word "is" seemed pretty clear to me and still does.
But sometimes people stumble over the little words and often they are the key word of a sentence. Think of the word "if." If you remove the word if from any sentence, it changes the whole meaning. 
Think and ponder on 3 little words right now. 
1. Be
2. In
3. All

What do these words mean? If you changed or removed these words, how would it change the meaning of sentences. Read the scripture below and put particular emphasis on those small words. 
Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love. (1 Corinthians 16:13, 14 ESV)

Now reread the scripture, but say your name first and make it personal.
 ( Name), Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love. (1 Corinthians 16:13, 14 ESV)

 Now pray the scripture asking God to help you BE watchful, stand firm IN the faith, to BE strong, and to let ALL that you do be done IN love.