Morning Time with the Cat

Psalms 69:13-18

But as for me, my prayer is to thee, O Lord.  At an acceptable time, O God, in the abundance of ty steadfast love answer me.  With thy faithful help rescue me from sinking in the mire; let me be delivered from my enemies and from the deep waters.  Let not the flood sweep over me, or the deep swallow me up, or the pit close its mouth over me.  Answer me, O Lord, for thy steadfast love is good; according to thy abundant mercy, turn to me.  Hide not thy face from thy servant; for I am in distress, make haste to answer me.  Draw near to me, redeem me, set me free because of my enemies!

Thought for the Day:  God is there, reach for Him.

Although I am not excited when I wake up in the early morning hours and realize that I cannot go back to sleep, I do recognize that is the perfect time to spend time with my sweet pets.  They seem to want to come around me as I sit on the couch hoping for a little more dozing time.  As I watched my fourteen year old tabby this morning, I saw him immediately stand up from his rest on the ottoman to jump over to his place beside me on the couch.  His purr was very loud and I found him nuzzling my hand where I would pet him under his chin.  I petted him for a few minutes then pulled my hand away only to feel him nuzzling my hand again.  He yearned for the comfort in knowing I was there.  I loved putting my arms around him feeling the softness of his fur and the warmth of his body.  We both felt the love from the other.

As I began writing, not knowing what words would come, I looked at my cat who had found his way back to the ottoman.  He looked content and at peace as he rested once again in the wee morning hours.   My relationship with God is similar in a way to that relationship my cat has with me.  When I need to feel God’s presence, I try to move to a place where He feels close.  I try to communicate with Him that I need the warmth and love that only He can give.  I wonder if God recognizes and gets excited when I begin coming closer to Him.  As I see my cat standing up from his resting place, I tend to get excited when I see him jumping over to sit beside me.  Does God get excited when we come to Him?  Does God rejoice when we come to Him for comfort?  I believe He does.

Prayer:  God, you are present and you are Almighty!  Thank you for being present for us when we reach out for you, and even when we don’t.  Your ever present in our lives and we know you rejoice when we acknowledge you.  Be with us today!  Amen.

Prayer Focus:  God is with us

The Laundromat

The Laundromat

 1 John 4:9-12

In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the expiation for our sins.  Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.  No man has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.    

Thought for the Day:  Love our brothers and sisters around the world.

 “We have to order a part for your washing machine.  It will take about a week to come in and we will call you.  You cannot use the machine until then.”  These were not the words we wanted to hear but as soon as I heard them I knew my afternoon was going to be spent at a laundromat.  After looking on the internet to find the closest ones with good reviews, I sorted and bagged all the clothes and towels, put my laundry supplies in a basket, and went by a store to get some change.  All set, I began my drive and found that the two laundromats in the little town I had driven to were covered up with people, so I got back in my car and began driving.  I ended up a long distance from where I had planned but it was good.  When I entered, I found a couple of people washing clothes, and the laundromat was clean and nice.  I began putting my clothes in the washing machines and setting them to start.  My thought was that I would study for a test I have coming up, but found that by the time I finished loading and starting the washing machines, my first load was finishing.  Then the drying began.  My process of folding and hanging the clean clothes began and continued for quite a while.  My blessing came as I shared conversations with a mother and daughter who were washing clothes for their families.  They shared about their families, including many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.  And I shared about my boys and my husband, and how they were such blessings to me.  Then, I talked to a man who was in the laundromat with his brother.  They lived together but their dryer had gone out recently.  I giggled as he asked questions to an older lady about what temperature to set the washing machine.  He was a very kind man who seemed a bit overwhelmed over his situation.  I then witnessed another lady as she and her elderly mother came into the laundromat holding a huge bedspread.  I knew she was new to going to a laundromat because she came in and went directly to one of the dryers and placed her bedspread inside.  She laughed out loud when she realized what she had done.  I’m sure she was there because her home washing machine would not hold such a large piece.  My conversations continued throughout the afternoon, and I finished my job and began to leave.  As I made the many trips to my car with the hanging clothes and baskets, I was blessed to have a couple of young men opening the door for me.  I found that my time at the laundromat was delightful and I met some pretty fascinating people.

As I left and remembered all my conversations and the people I met, I realized that I had been in the company of other God’s children.  It was obvious we came from different backgrounds, but we were all there together with the purpose of cleaning clothes for our families.  The conversations were wonderful, but just a sweet was the experience of having families of different ethnicities as one little girl shared with me that my washer had stopped, and one young man opened the door for me several times in a very polite and precious way.  I was in “the family of God” in the laundromat, and I feel very blessed today having shared that special time with them.

Prayer:  Father God, You are almighty and You are our Father.  Help us each day to remember that we are all Your children and no matter our backgrounds, we are all living together in this beautiful world.  Help us learn to better respect and love our brothers and sisters around the world.  Amen.

Prayer Focus:  Brothers and sisters in Christ.

What is Hiding God’s Calling from Us Today?

Romans 12:1-3

I appeal to you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.  Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may prove what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.  For by the grace given to me I bid every one among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith which God has assigned him. 

Thought for the Day:  Slow the earthly thoughts to be able to hear God’s calling

Substituting in a school nearby has become something I love doing.  So far, I have subbed in kindergarten and first grade.  As I substituted in one classroom for the third time, I heard “Hi, Mrs. Locke” and received hugs from several of the students as they walked in the door.  How warming that has been and how my heart has felt uplifted.  After a long time of not teaching, it has been so rewarding to pick up a book to read or to teach a lesson on sequencing or action verbs.  Memories have flooded back of students I have taught in the past and some of those fun lessons I have had the privilege to teach.  God called me those thirty or so years ago to begin teaching and through that time I felt blessed to have been called to the teaching profession.  But as time has passed of not having a teaching position that strong thought of calling has seemingly faded.  Doubt, fear, and inadequate feelings have slowly eased into my mind that I am not good enough.  But then God has reminded me of that calling once again and through enjoyment of teaching in these different classes, the warm feelings have returned.

It is amazing how our thoughts let the earthly things around us affect how we hear God’s calling for our lives.  Times of struggle, feelings of inadequacies, moments of grief, and so many more emotional elements in life block God’s calling if we let them.  Thinking back over the last year of my life, personally, I can see where God has called me and where I have felt His blessings for me.  But, I can also see where those earthly struggles have blocked me from God and have blocked my eyes from seeing His calling in my life.  In Romans 12, we read, “Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may prove what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Renewal of the mind….that’s what my “calling” is today where I can hear God’s calling for me today.

Prayer:  Father God, You are Awesome and You are our Lord and Savior.  Help us today to slow our earthly thoughts down enough to hear Your voice calling us.  Help us adjust our thoughts to feel the renewal of the mind that You desire for us.  You are calling us Lord and we want to hear You.  Let us hear You today.  Amen.

Prayer Focus:  God’s Calling


Matthew 11:28-30

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your soul.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Thought for the Day:  Where will we find rest today?

No argument came from my young sons as I told them that we would not be doing our evening activities at church so we could go to bed early.  For almost a week, our bedtimes seemed to get later and later as we traveled one last time to get our things from our old house.  When we returned to our new home, we still had to unload the truck while we continued our regular routine.  Receiving a text message from my oldest son early in the day that he could not stay awake at school and watching my youngest son act up from being “overly tired”, I realized I had to do something.  Bedtime came and my boys went to sleep with no argument and as I looked at the clock, my heart relaxed knowing their little bodies would get the rest they needed.

This morning, as I awake early with my body feeling rested and ready for my day, I think about how God wants us to come to Him and He will give us rest.   As a mother, I knew my boys needed to get sleep as I witnessed the symptoms they were showing.  All those days of too little sleep was taking its toll on them.  All those days of little sleep was also taking its toll on me.  God knows we need rest to be who He needs us to be in His kingdom, and God will give us rest.  We can be comforted in knowing that God is with us, He is our parent, and He will bring to us the rest we need if we will only rest in Him.

Prayer:  Dear God, thank you for loving us and for being near to us every moment of the day.  Thank you for knowing us and bringing rest to our bodies and souls.  Help us find the rest in You where we can be alert and awake in doing the work of Your kingdom.  Amen.

Prayer Focus:  Rest

Get It Right

Thessalonians 4:1-2

“Finally, brethren, we beseech and exhort you in the Lord, Jesus, that as you learned from us how you ought to live and to please God, just as you are doing, you do so more and more.  For you know the instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus.”

Thought for the Day:  Strive to “Get it right” but when you don’t, know that God loves you and He lets us start anew each day. 

“Get it right the first time” are words that we do not see written in the Bible about people growing in their faith.  God is perfect and we are not.  So many times, we falter.  So many times, we fail.  But the wonderful thing about God is that He doesn’t expect us to be perfect in our faith.  He only expects that we admit our mistakes to Him and then we get back on the track to faithfulness.  As I watch my children, as well as when I watch myself, I easily realize that we do not always succeed even when we have set goals and have tried our hardest.  But, as we admit our mistakes to each other we give permission to try again.  Each day, God gives us a new day and that new day lets us “try again”.  Each day, He gives us an opportunity to “get it right” knowing we are not going to get it perfect.  Each day, He only asks that we keep going and keep trying.  Each day, He wants us to strive to be faithful.  Each day, God loves us and lets us know we are His children.

“Get it right the first time!”  Thank goodness we have a loving Father who does not say that.  Thank goodness our Parent understands that growing in the faith is like growing in our knowledge of life. As parents, we see our children try and we see our children fail but we understand that each time they try they are getting closer to “getting it right.”  God sees us try to be faithful and He sees us fail but He understands that each time we try we are getting closer to “getting it right.”  “Brothers and sisters, we ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus that, as you learned from us how you ought to live and to please God (as, in fact, you are doing), you should do so more and more.”

Prayer:  Father God, You are a loving father!  You are our Almighty Lord!  Please forgive us when we have not “gotten it right”.  Be with us as we go through our day to strive to be faithful, and help us understand that when we falter that You love us.  Help us know that when we fail that we need to keep going.  We love You, God.  Amen.

Prayer Focus:  Those Trying


Isaiah 43:18-19

“Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old, Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?  I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.”

Thought for the Day:  God brings us a newness each morning

Waking up each morning, even when I haven’t slept well, is a moment when a new day is in front of me.  New possibilities, new dreams, and new thoughts.  I do have to start the same way each day, however.  Waking with the alarm clock chiming for the third or fourth or maybe even the fifth time, my thoughts are on two things.  My first thought is of that morning cup of coffee that awaits being poured in our kitchen and my second thought is of opening my computer to read devotions to start my day.  Each day begins differently as the devotions seem to take a life of their own bringing new thoughts and emotions.  It is only after these two things happen that I can begin writing.  In those early morning moments, I am sharing time with God and I am sharing time with myself.  As I write, my heart is on words I have read that morning or on emotions that come in my waking.  My writing does not have a constant theme as so many writers seem to have.  My writing fluctuates in different directions as I awake with different thoughts each morning.

Reading two devotions began my thoughts this morning.  The first devotion was The Upper Room devotion where I read the scripture from John 16, “Until now you have not asked for anything in my name.  Ask and you will receive so that your joy may be complete.”  The second devotion was from Jena Forehand’s blog where I read the scripture from 2 Corinthians 4, “The inward man is being RENEWED day by day.”  As I read and as I thought of life experiences in the past few years, I pondered deeply the meaning for me.  My first thought was, “Have I been praying wrong? – Have I not prayed in “His” name?”.  My second thought was, “Have I let the enemy wear me down through fear and insecurity so much that I am not feeling the newness God wants me to feel each morning.”  Jena’s devotion read, “When you lay hold of the grace God has given you to start each day NEW and FRESH, you actually are beating the enemy, because he can no longer pile on lie upon lie and trial upon trial.”  She said begin the day with a smile on our face because God renews us each day.

So, what do I take from reading today?  Today, I hear the words from God to me, “Go out with a smile on your face – show the enemy that he has no control over you – remember that today is a new day!  Then, think about what you truly need and ask….ask in MY name for what will truly bring you joy in Me.”

Prayer:  Thank you, Father God, for writers who bring Your words to us through their devotions.  Through them, we can look into ourselves more where we can know you better.  Be with us today, Lord, as we begin a NEW day in You.  Bring us joy, today, Lord.  Bring us that special joy in You.  Amen.

Prayer Focus:  Those who are needing to feel closer to God.



Will We See the Blessings?

Jeremiah 29:11-13

For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.  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:  Will we see the blessings around us today?

Today, awaking early, I opened The Upper Room devotional book to read the devotion for the day.  Then, I looked through Facebook entries and viewed a video that I had seen before but had forgotten about.  As I read the devotion, I quickly realized there would be a theme for the day.  As I viewed the video, that theme became more prominent.  The theme that appeared as I read the words and viewed the screen was being thankful for our blessings.  Recently, I admit, I have let other life things keep me from seeing the blessings God has given me each day.  Today, however, I want to turn my heart to see those blessings and to show my thankfulness for them.  So, what do I see?  Where are the blessings?  The blessings are found in my loving husband who loves me during good times and in bad times, my children who out of the blue will share a special hug or word of love, my family who shares time around the table laughing and talking, my church family who shows love to my family and me, our three cats who seem to know when a hug is needed, for a warm blanket to put over my legs as I write, for schools that give my children the education they need, and mostly for the love of God and the knowledge that He is our Lord and Savior.

God shows us His love every day in the blessings around us, if we will only open our eyes to see.  As I read The Upper Room devotion this morning about writing down our blessings as they happen to us, I thought that would be a good experiment for me.  As I viewed the video on Facebook, I thought it would be good to look at the “bad things” that happen in my day and look deeper to see if those things might have been God’s way of protecting us from something even worse.  God is with us every day surrounding us with his love and protection.  How we receive those things in our hearts make the difference in our perspective:  Will we see the blessings as gifts from God or will we miss the blessings and complain?

Prayer:  Our Father, thank you for the blessings You give to us each day.  Thank you for giving us the answers to prayers before we even pray the words.  Help us find thankfulness in our hearts as we receive the blessings, and help us not complain when we do not perceive them as blessings.  Be with us today.  Amen.

Prayer Focus:  Seeing the Blessings

Chat Time with God

Isaiah 41:13

 For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, “Fear not, I will help you.”

Thought for the Day:  God holds our hand

Waking, again, early as I have done almost every morning recently, I had some chat time with God.  I talked not being sure that God was listening.  Of course, I know in my heart that He is always listening but sometimes we just need to let Him know through words what we are feeling.  Today was one of those days.  Sitting in the quiet let me express my words to God that were on my heart.  As I expressed my words to Him, I held my Bible hugged against my chest.  I haven’t done that in a long time, but I truly needed to hear God’s Word to me and I was hopeful that His Words would come when I opened that Book.  After my prayer, my talk, with Him I slowly opened the Bible letting my fingers open to the unknown scripture.  When I looked, I found the page turned to Isaiah 41 and these words: “Behold, all who are incensed against you shall be put to shame and confounded; those who strive against you shall be as nothing and shall perish. You shall seek those who contend with you, but you shall not find them; those who war against you shall be as nothing at all.”  My heart sank as I read these words thinking, “This is not what I needed, Lord, is this what You needed me to hear?” But, then I read on where the next verse said, “For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, ‘Fear not, I will help you.’”  With those words, my heart relaxed.  Peace took the place of anxiety, if only for a moment, and I knew that those were the words God wanted me to hear.

Thinking about these words and praying about what they mean for me today, I heard my cell phone buzz as a Facebook memory appeared.  When I looked at my phone, the memory was about a devotion I wrote one year ago today titled, “Blank Page”, where I was excited to enter that day as I had decided to let God fill in my words for the day.  Now, I have a little smile on my face knowing two things: God has told me that I need not fear because He is holding my right hand and is going to help me, and there is a blank page in front of me that is ready for God to write what is going to take place in my life today.  God has listened to me today and has begun writing on this blank page.

Prayer:  Father God, You are so good and sometimes we do not see Your hand right in front of us.  You want us to follow You and to trust You, but sometimes we let thoughts and worries come in to our thoughts where we don’t see You.  God, let us see You today in everything we do.  We trust You, Lord.  Amen.

Prayer Focus:  Those needing to feel God.

Waiting for the Other Shoe to Drop

Isaiah 40:29-31

He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength.  Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, and they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.

Thought for the Day:  What will you do in the wait?

“But those who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.”  I shared with my husband this morning that it seems that we are always “waiting for the other shoe to drop” as we go through life together.  That is probably normal in more families that we might think, but it does seem that it happens a lot with us.  “Things will be better when ….”  As I read my devotion scripture words this morning, I once again had that unnerved feeling that I must be doing something wrong as I do seem to wait for other things to happen.  The devotion in The Upper Room today was about waiting for flower bulbs to bloom.   As I think about waiting for those bulbs to bloom, I can’t help but think about what makes my walks so wonderful.  Much of my excitement comes when I see something beautiful, but still more excitement comes from wondering what beauty I will see later.  What colors will I see next week when more leaves change color, what flower will bloom next, or what baby animals will appear soon.  So, what about this “waiting thing”?  As my husband and I shared discussion this morning he said, “Just imagine how great things are going to be when you get your answer!”  “It is going to be great!”  The wait has been long and there are many days I get down, but maybe God is letting me wait where I will realize how special His answer is when it comes.

God loves us and desires that we love and trust Him as we go through each day.  “But those who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles.”  So we wait, but how do we wait?  As we “wait for the other shoe to drop”, what do we do?  We look at other opportunities that come to us in our wait.  We enjoy doing things in the now that we might not be able to do later.  We share in new ministries or we share time in some type of mission program.  We find those unopened bulbs and watch as they open and bloom.  Watching the unopened bulbs brings excitement in the moment.  Watching for God’s answer to our wait should bring excitement in that wait.  Wait in peace, wait but do something in the meantime, wait for God’s glorious answer to come.

Prayer:  Lord God, thank You for reminding us once again that it is okay to wait.  It is hard, Lord, to wait when things seem tough.  But we trust You Lord to bring that excitement after the waiting time passes.  We love you Lord, We trust you Lord.  Amen.

Prayer Focus:  Those who are waiting

I Want to Turn Back to You

Romans 12:1-2

I appeal to you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.  Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may prove what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Thought for the Day:  Feel Closer to God today

Reading a devotional blog by a female evangelist this morning, I reflected on how her words could enter my heart to bring me closer to God.  As I read her words, her words about what happens to us when we get complacent in our relationships with those around us, I was touched.  Not only does it affect our human relationships, it also affects our relationship with God.  The last week has brought several trials for our family which have caused a few tears.  As I read the words in the devotion this morning, I realized how easily I personally can let these trials create a bitterness inside me that can affect my relationship with those around me and my relationship with God. She gave three very important instructions for getting those relationships back where they need to be and she has given me personally what I need to do right now in my life. 1) Remember – Remember how wonderful it was to walk with God and feeling the Spirit so deeply that you want it back.  2) Repent – Change our mindset that has taken our thoughts away from God and turn our thoughts back toward God. 3) Repeat – Start doing the things you did when you were closest to God and talk to Him about everything.  As I read her blog this morning and saw these three words, I began thinking about what I could do.  Today, I will strive to remember my closeness with God and talk with Him throughout the day in praise and thanksgiving.  Today, I will work to change my mindset from a “woe is me” mindset to “God, what would you have me do” mindset.  Today, I will go back and do those things that I once did that brought me close to him.  I haven’t walked and taken my pictures lately – today, that will come back.

I am thankful today for Jena, the writer of the blog I read this morning.  God brought her into my life as a conference speaker in March of last year.  I remember crying as she spoke as I was in the midst of strong questions about where God was calling me.  Now, I find that my questions about God’s calling for me are still emotionally driven as I still try to foresee His plan for me.  Her words today, written from her heart, touch my heart and bring me to a renewed mindset that God loves me and that He has a plan for me.  God is in control and God is Who brings me peace and joy.

Prayer:  Lord, God!  We praise You today and want desperately to feel Your presence.  Be with us as we remember how wonderful it feels to be present fully with You.  Be with us as we turn our mindset to run toward You instead of away.  Be with us as we repeat the things over and over that brought us closer to You.  Mostly, Lord, help us know You are walking with us and that You are the most important thought we should have at all times throughout our day.  Amen.

Prayer Focus:  Coming Back to God