The Flutes

1 Peter 4:10

As each has received a gift, employ it for one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.

Thought for the Day:  God takes the talents He has given us and uses them for His kingdom

For hours, he worked in the garage on a project. From inside the house I heard a saw, a drill, and very quiet movements.   After days of dedicating his time to his new project, he was finally ready to share with me what he had been doing. My husband, David, a wonderful musician decided he wanted to learn how to make flutes out of bamboo and PVC pipe. He found the plans on how to make them using elastic, a pencil, a saw, and a drill. I remember the first time I heard his music come out of his first PVC pipe flute and how beautiful the sound was. I was amazed that it came out of a pipe. He continued learning and adapting the skills until he succeeded in making one out of bamboo. The music made through that piece of bamboo was gorgeous and I was proud of him for the music he was able to make. David had taken simple materials and with his time and diligence made something new and beautiful. After David’s death, I kept many of the flutes and shared others with his parents. It does my heart good to hear my husband, Mark, play his beautiful music on those flutes now.

God does this with us, doesn’t He. God takes us where we are with our simple talents and with time turns them into gifts that can bring people closer to Him. Those long pieces of bamboo and PVC pipe that David brought home from the store could have stayed in a corner of our garage, but he took them and masterfully made something beautiful. I want God to take the parts of me that can be used for His kingdom and to work them until they are beautiful and ready. I want to use my talents for God, and I know God wants me to use my talents for Him.

Prayer:   God, thank you for loving us enough to give us the talents we use each day. Help us know how to use those talents as gifts in Your kingdom. All glory and honor are yours. Amen.

Prayer Focus: THOSE LEARNING HOW TO USE TALENTS

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It’s Just in Him

Romans 8:28

We know that in everything God works for good with those who love him, who are called according to his purpose.

Thought for the Day:  Where will you see God today – maybe in the face of a child?

Our little boy, Jonathan, seems to have the music in him. When music comes on the television or radio, his little body immediately begins to move to the beat. When he hears a song being sung he will begin singing the words, and then we will hear him continue singing the words throughout the day. Sometimes we are amazed because he will hear a portion of a song one time, then later in the day we will hear him singing the words exactly as he heard them. He also has a love of people in him. That wonderful, outgoing little guy loves everyone and totally embraces those he meets. One evening recently, he made the day of some youth when we took a walk through a park in our town. Before we knew it, he was sitting on a bench surrounded by four youth sharing time with him. It seems that this personality is not just a part of him, it is him.

As I reflect on this little guy and how God creates each of us as a special part of His kingdom, I wonder how He is going to use Jonathan. Then, I realize that God is already using him to bring happiness to many and smiles on the faces of those who see him. This little guy, with his silly and loving personality, is becoming the face of God to many.

Prayer:   Father God, thank you for putting people, especially children, in our lives to make us feel special and loved. When we experience time with them, we see Your face and know that you are with us. Amen

Prayer Focus: THOSE EXPERIENCE GOD’S FACE THROUGH

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God Gives Us Special Friends

John 15:12-13

“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”

Thought for the Day:  God gives us friends to help us develop our faith

It was about 1944 when my mother’s family moved to Somerville after being away during her early years. My mother was rather shy and was nervous about going to school her first day in the Somerville Primary School. I love how she told the story, “During recess I was frightened and didn’t have anyone to talk to. I walked around and found myself under a tree that stood in the corner of the schoolyard. There was a little girl who was playing under the tree and when she looked at me she said, ‘I’ll be your friend.’” That little girl’s name was Margaret Ann, and that moment in time during my mother’s third grade year began a friendship that would last a lifetime.   I talked to Mrs. Margaret Ann’s husband recently giving me a warmth in my heart. Not only were my mother and Mrs. Margaret Ann lifetime friends, their husbands became the good friends as well. My Daddy and Bro. Frank were the closest of friends, calling each other every Saturday evening to talk. What a blessing it was to watch this foursome as they lived life through their faith!   What began with the words, “I’ll be your friend,” became one of the grandest relationships anyone could have.

As I look back at my life and see the relationships God placed in my path, I quickly remember the moments when I met those Christian friends. Each of those friends helped develop my Christian faith and as I think back today, I can see how my faith became deeper because of their friendships. Today, think back over your own life and the friends God gave you. Then, thank God for those friends and how they helped you in your faith journey.

Prayer:   God, thank you for friendship. Thank you for knowing the friends we needed to have in our lives who could help us through our faith journey. You knew who we needed at the time we needed them and planted them in a place and time that was perfect. Amen.

Prayer Focus: THOSE WHO HAVE SPECIAL FRIENDS

Mary Jane and Margaret Ann

Circles of Friends

John 13:34

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. (RSV)

Thought for the Day:  Love one another as I have loved you.

“Donna, have you heard anything?”, “Girl, I have been praying for you and Mark.”, “Has Mark heard anything?”… These are statements that I hear each morning as I walk through the halls at the school where I teach and then several times during the day. As I awoke this morning, I thought about the Godly people I work with and those who I know without a doubt are praying for my family every day. As we have been going through a difficult time, I have learned that those who are praying for us as we look at our situation and the likelihood that we will move away at some point are also facing difficulties and decisions in their lives. I take it as a wonderful blessing that this group of Godly people cover each other with prayer and support at all times. “Donna, will you pray for my child today?”, “Please keep my family in your prayers.” … These are statements that I also hear from my colleagues almost everyday. I feel it an honor to be asked to pray for friends. Those words make me feel very special, and help me to remember that I am a child of God in a wonderful circle of friends.

Isn’t this what Christ’s kingdom is about? Doesn’t God ask us to pray for each other and to be present for one another? And, doesn’t God want us to be Christ to our friends? I am thankful today for knowing that God placed us all together to be Christ’s hands and feet to those we work with and love.

Prayer:   Thank you, God, for placing us in situations where Your presence is felt in the friends and colleagues around us. You have given us circles of friends who pray for us and who we pray for everyday.

Prayer Focus: GODLY CIRCLES OF FRIENDS

God Will Make a Way

John 14:26

“But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.”

Thought for the Day:  The Holy Spirit is always with you

“God will make a way, where there seems to be no way. He works in ways we cannot see, He will make a way for me. He will be my guide, hold me closely to His side. With love and strength for each new day, He will make a way. God will make a way.” After reading my morning devotionals I got up from the couch and said, “I’m going outside, I don’t know what I am going to write about, but I’m not normally the one who tells me what to write.” When I sat down in my deck chair with my computer in my lap, I thought for a few minutes but couldn’t come up with anything. Then, as I do occasionally, I closed the computer, picked up my coffee cup, and began walking around the yard. As I did, I started looking at all the things that needed to be done to our house and began feeling overwhelmed. Then I started singing, “God will make a way, where there seems to be no way…” I sang the entire verse as I walked back to the deck feeling a peace that it was going to be okay.

In this time walking around the house, I not only felt the peace that everything was going to be okay, but I also realized the message God wanted me to write today. It is an amazing and beautiful thing when we put ourselves in the full presence of God and realize that He is with us in spirit to give us what we need in the moment. This morning, it was words to write and a peace that things were going to be okay. Tomorrow, who knows? God knows.

Prayer:   Thank You, God, for sending the Spirit to lead us through each day. Please help us look for You in all we do, and to observe when we feel Your Spirit move in our lives. Thank you for being present with us in all we do. Amen.

Prayer Focus: THOSE FEELING OVERWHELMED

The Chair

Jeremiah 29:12-13

Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me; when you seek me with all your heart.

Thought for the Day:  God leads us stop the perfect places in our lives when we can worship Him. 

We have two wooden chairs that sit on our patio. They are so comfortable and have become my perfect place to sit as I read my devotionals and write. Both are very worn from years of being outside and from their movement from our house to Joyner’s Campmeeting each year. I love those chairs. Recently, our family traveled to Lake Junaluska, North Carolina, for their Worship and Arts Week. I had looked forward to that time thinking that it would be the perfect time and place for devotional reading and writing. However, when we arrived for the week I realized how busy we were and I couldn’t seem to find a time to sit and write. I tried a couple of times, but the words just did not come. One afternoon, when the children were in their time of programming, I walked outside our hotel, The Lambuth Inn, and I saw it, there was one chair sitting in front of me almost exactly like the ones that sit on our patio. I moved it to a shady spot and sat down. Almost instantly, I felt at peace. I prepared the area with my devotional guides, Bible and computer. Then, I took my time in reading and was able to write about the beauty of the lake and flowers. The familiar feel of the chair placed my mind in the right place to find God. I guess the routine of spending time with God included sitting in my comfortable chair and it took that comfort for me to be able to write.

God wants us to find a routine to read scripture, study devotionals, and pray. I realized that even the special chair was a part of my routine. I always heard that if you do something for a certain amount of time that it becomes a habit. In January of this year, when I began my routine of reading, studying, writing, and praying, I never dreamed that I would need that time each day to center my heart on God. But it has and I am thankful for God’s leading me to this special time in my life. Who would have thought that I needed a special chair to help me focus on God?

Prayer:   God, thank you for giving us a time for centering our life on You. Thank you for leading us to the time and place of Worship. Our talks each day help me understand more clearly your design for my life. Help me listen to you throughout each day. Amen.

Prayer Focus: THOSE FINDING TIME TO WORSHIP GOD

Into My Heart

Revelation 3:20

Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any one hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me. (RSV)

Thought for the Day:  Into my heart, Into my heart, come into my heart Lord Jesus.

I have never found it easy to ask for things I want or need. I do not know why, but I have always been that way. As I reflect over that and I pray this morning to my God, I know I am to ask for what I desire. However, I decided that I wanted to hear words from God today. So, I prayed for my children and I prayed for my husband, and then I prayed that God would speak to me in some way before I brought my desire to Him. As I struggled to listen and heard all of my words as I listened, I had to push those away. When I did, I visualized a print that I have in my house that came from my parents. It is the print of Jesus standing at the door knocking to come in. In the print Jesus is knocking, but there is no doorknob for him to come in. It is obvious that He wants to come in but He is waiting for me to open the door to my heart for him. I thought it strange because my first thought was, “I know you are with me all the time, Jesus, why is this image in my mind?” Then I realized that maybe He is telling me that He knows I have not let him in completely. In my thoughts after that, I realized that I hold back so much of my life from God on a daily basis. Yes, I pray throughout the day, but I still hold on to worry and concern after I pray.

Today, I want to open that closed door and let Jesus come fully into my heart. I want to ask Him for the desires of my heart and to truly feel I have asked from my heart, a heart that has accepted Him fully in every aspect of my life. I ask for my desire, Lord, to move my family to a new place where my family can be apart of a new family of faith with people who will love and nurture my children, my husband, and me. I ask for a place we can continue our ministry and be there for a congregation.

Prayer:   Jesus, I want to open that closed door, right now. I want you to come fully into my heart and for me to accept your presence and feel you leading me through everything I do and say. Come into my heart, Lord Jesus.  Please Lord, I ask with an open heart for the desire in my heart, to go where You send me.  Amen.

Prayer Focus: PEOPLE WANTING TO OPEN THE DOOR TO CHRIST

The Potter and the Clay

Jeremiah 18:6-7

O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter has done? Says the Lord. Behold, like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand. O house of Israel. If at any time I declare concerning a nation or kingdom, that I will pluck up and break down and destroy it. (RSV)

Thought for the Day:  Let the potter throw out unusable parts of clay.

I loved listening to my father preach and how he occasionally did something surprising to get a point across. One Sunday, he preached on the potter and the clay. My dad held a piece of clay in his hand as he spoke, working it into a smooth ball of clay. He spoke of the potter and how he could take a somewhat unusable piece of clay and mold it into a vessel that would seem fine. At that moment in the story, my father, unsuspecting to any in the congregation, took out a lump from the ball of clay and threw it very hard across the sanctuary. It hit the sidewall of the room that made a very loud pop that made everyone in the service jump. At that point, he continued the story of the potter and the clay where God tells that He doesn’t just rework unusable clay, but He plucks it out of from the good clay to destroy it. Although this was written about the sins of a nation, it is very clear that God spoke this about his people. In my life, there are many things I am not proud of that need to be changed in my heart. When I remember that loud pop that happened in my father’s sermon, I feel that God wants to throw some bad things out of my life where I can live in the way He wants me to live.

Prayer:   God, thank you for the Word you give us in scripture and for the people who present Your Words to us in ways that we can remember. Thank you for loving us enough to pluck out our bad parts where we can live closer to you. Amen.

Prayer Focus: THOSE SURPRISE SERMONS

The Face of God

2 Timothy 2:21

Those who cleanse themselves from the latter will be instruments for special purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.

Thought for the Day:  Seeing the Face of God in others

I walked into my first day of fifth grade as a shy, new student to a school. Although my brothers were at the same school, I entered alone and was scared to death. I did not know where to go and it seemed that everyone just walked passed me. Then, out of what seemed nowhere was “Mrs. Pam”. Mrs. Pam was a member of our new church and saw me standing with my head down, not knowing a soul or where I was to go. Her remembrance of that moment was that when I saw her, my eyes got big and excited, and a big smile came across my face. I went from being sad and lonely to feeling known and accepted within a second. I just needed to see a familiar, friendly face.   She took me to my new class and made sure I felt connected to the teacher and friends in my class.

Sometimes I still feel alone, but I know that I can always look for God’s face in family and friends. That gives me the assurance that I am accepted whole-heartedly by God and that He loves me. I also know that I can pray at any moment for anything in my heart and that He will listen. As children of God, we can all have that assurance that He is listening and ready to show Himself to us. Mrs. Pam was my face of God that day. Where will we find the face of God today and who will we be the face of God for today?

Prayer:   God, thank you for those people who have helped us find security and acceptance in our lives. They have been your face to us when we have been alone. Please help us learn to be your face to those we meet. Amen.

Prayer Focus: THOSE WHO ARE SHY

Sharing God’s Love

1 Corinthians 11:1-2

Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ. Now I commend you because you remember me in everything and maintain the traditions even as I delivered them to you.

Thought for the Day:  Sharing life with a smile on our face

“My mother was a saint”, came from my lips this morning as I was talking to my husband. The first scripture I read on this day was in John 9:2 when the disciples passed by a blind man and they asked Jesus, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?’ Jesus replied, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be made manifest in him.” My brothers were both handicapped with Duchene Muscular Dystrophy and were confined to wheelchairs by the fouth grade of school. Since the disease was hereditary, my mother had some feeling of guilt, even though she shouldn’t have. More than the guilt however, she had faith in God and love for her children. When I mentioned that she was a saint, I was thinking back on how my mother managed each day, doing everything for those boys. She never complained about the difficult things she had to do each day and she did everything with a smile on her face.   She was an example to many, including me, for living life of service and love.

When I read “but that the works of God might be made manifest in him”, I think of the works of God that were made known through my mother. Where can the works of God be made known through us?

Prayer:   God, thank you for placing people in our lives who show your love to us and to others each day. Help us share our love in the same way. Amen.

Prayer Focus: THOSE SHARING GOD’S LOVE

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