Mama’s Surprise

Matthew 21:22

And all things you ask in prayer, believing, you shall receive.

Thought for the Day:  Memories

“Donna, did you and Mark find your anniversary gift”, Mama said as she lay very sick with ovarian cancer in her hospital bed.  “No, Mama, I don’t know what you are talking about.” I replied.  “It’s in the guest room closet”, she continued.  As this was one of only a few conversations Mama was able to have in the time of her sickness, we knew it was very important. Later, we drove to Mama’s house and found a beautifully wrapped gift in the corner of her guest bedroom closet.  As we opened the gift, we both teared up because it was obviously planned.  Six months before, my Mama had surprised us by driving to our house with the beginning buildings for a Dicken’s Village.  One by one Mama sent Daddy to the car to bring in another group of buildings from the car.  By the time the gift giving stopped, she had given us ten buildings.  We set up our first Dickens’s Village in our house with those pieces.  So, back to the anniversary gift.  When we opened the gift we saw that she had given us the Dicken’s Village “Kinsington Palace”.  I cried as I realized that Mama had given us a special gift that she would probably never get to see in our village.

This week, we worked hard to put up our Dicken’s Village for the first time in about four years.  As we moved a few years ago, setting up in a new place was questionable and I wasn’t sure where we were going to put it.  My husband and I continued our collection of Dicken’s Village pieces until we had over 50 buildings and who know how many accessories.  We pulled out the boxes of houses from the basement with my son’s help.  As he brought them up, I carefully took each building out of its box and took pictures of each piece where I could remember exactly what I had.  He told me, “Mama, we are missing boxes 3, 4, and 5.” I was a bit nervous when he told me that, but I continued opening the pieces.  Later, I realized why I was nervous, my Kinsington Palace was missing.  We went downstairs and continued looking for the missing boxes, but we couldn’t find them.  As I glanced around in another section of the basement, I spotted boxes 3 and 5 and excitedly pulled them out.  I tore into the boxes, but once again was disappointed…no Kinsington Palace.  We continued the search, but still couldn’t find the missing box.  I realized that I was becoming overly sad because I couldn’t find Mama’s anniversary surprise.  Later, I decided to go downstairs one more time.  As my husband was in the basement working, he overheard me say, “Mama, I would be so excited if you could lead me to Kinsington Palace. God, please help me find that box.”  Seconds later, I looked in a pile of boxes that were in totally a different place.  And, there it was, one misplaced box that had written on the top, “Box 4 of 10”. Thanks, Mama, for bringing me special memories of you as you started me on this Dicken’s Village adventure.  Not being able to find Mama’s gift made this year’s Dicken’s village in the“finding of the gift” again even more special.  We once again found “Mama’s surprise”.

The Dicken’s Village adventure continued as most of the lights did not work after being in storage for those years.  My sweet husband and son worked tirelessly to check the cords and to go in search of new bulbs.  By the time our day, and evening, ended we had the Dicken’s Village completed with all the lights in place.  So, this year’s Dicken’s Village is more special than ever because my Mama, my husband and sons, and God all took part in making it happen.

Wow, that was special.  How excited I was when I found my Kinsington Palace!   In this moment, I am amazed at how quickly I found the missing box almost immediately after I prayed for it to be found.  Why did I wait?  Why did I put off asking God for what I needed?  Aren’t we all like that?  Last week, I received a beautiful message from a dear friend asking me “How do I improve on my prayer life with God?”  Well, obviously I am not so great at it.  But eventually I remember and I pray.  And, when I pray I feel better in whatever circumstance I am going through.  Thank you, God, for answering my prayer….I’m not sure my Mama didn’t give me the nudge to pray.  I wonder…!

Prayer:  Precious God!  Thank you for memories and thank you for reminding us to pray in special ways.  Today I am thankful for surprises that come through prayer.  Amen.

Thanksgiving Memories

Colossians 2:67

As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed,and overflowing with gratitude.

Thought for the Day:  What are we thankful for?

There is a special moment, actually a lot of moments, when I remember our family traveling to my grandmother’s house.  I don’t remember any arguments before we got in the car to travel.  I don’t remember the fights in the car, although I am sure there were many.  I do remember the drive, trying to sleep or trying to entertain myself in some way.  Counting mile markers on the interstate, for one.  I remember my daddy  turning onto Brunswick Road because I knew we were almost there?  Then, I remember driving into the driveway.  Sometimes we drove in from the Brunswick Road driveway and other times taking the backroads and driving in the back driveway from Davis Plantation Road.  I always looked at the other cars, and their license plates to see which cousins were already there.  Weakley County meant that Kay, Joy, Ron, and Ann were already there.  Madison County meant that my cousins Amy and Debbie were there.  Crockett meant that Alonda, Alecia, and Reid had already arrived.  Cousins Keith, Joanne, and Vikki were always there because they lived near my grandmother. My cousin, Dan, was already working in Memphis so he would drive up in his MG which all of us thought was pretty cool. Wait, a lot of memories have already been mentioned, but the best Thanksgiving memory has not.

“Mama Ed”, my grandmother would always come to the door to greet us when we entered.  My little 4’ 9” Mama Ed had the most precious hug and we knew we were welcomed.  That was Thanksgiving!  That was Thanksgiving!  Going on in, we were welcomed by the hugs from all of our aunts and uncles.  Sitting with the other children during the meal was precious and I remember having the time of my life.  As we ate, I remember watching my brothers, who were both in wheelchairs, sharing time with the cousins nearer their ages.  There was a normalcy there that was special as they were totally a part of conversations and stories.

So much is gone now as many of my family, young and old, have passed away.  But I have those special memories that flow into my mind around this time of year.  My husband and I have a lot of memories of Thanksgivings  and tear up as we think of those who are no longer with us.  We weep each year as we make decisions on what we are going to do on THIS Thanksiving.  New traditions with our own two sweet boys have begun, but some of the new traditions are that we do something different each year, depending on other’s schedules.   Tomorrow, we will travel 2 ½ hours to the mountains to visit my sweet cousin, Teresa.  We found each other about three years ago and I am excited to meet another part of my family.  My husband is excited as we finally made a decision and that he has already found a love for Teresa and her husband.  Our boys love their “Aunt Teresa” now and look forward to walking into a house full of love.

Thanksgiving is giving thanks for where we are in the present, but remembering the past.  Thanksgiving is giving thanks to God for putting us in the places He moves us, and knowing that it was God’s hand that led us right where we are.  Thanksgiving is finding a way to give thanks even when circumstances are not perfect.  Thanksgiving is giving thanks IN all circumstances.  Happy Thanksgiving.

Prayer:  Our Father in Heaven!  Thank you for memories of Thanksgivings past.  Thank you for new memories we make during Thanksgivings present.  Be with all our family members and friends who are hurting and grieving those who are no longer with us.  Be with those who are sick and need to feel your arms around them.  Be with those who are not happy and help them feel your love.  All this we pray this Thanksgiving, Amen.

Special Memories

Fulton Parsonage (3)

Lamentations 3:21-25

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies are new every morning; great is thy faithfulness.  “The Lord is my portion”, says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.”  The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul that seeks him. 

Thought for the Day:  God lets us remember. 

The Memphis Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church took place last week.  As we have lived in Georgia for the past 2 ½ years, it was a joy to make the drive to Paducah, KY, to see lifelong friends.  A lot of hugs took place so my husband and I both felt very special.  Both being United Methodist Preacher’s Kids (PKs), it was a great homecoming.  One of our dear friends and his wife are both ordained Elders in the United Methodist Church, and he was a youth in one of the churches where my Daddy served – and he lived across the street from us.  One of those special hugs came to me from John as I love seeing him at conference.  But, he surprised me with the words, “Donna, did you know that we are living in the Fulton parsonage.”  That was where we lived from my junior year in high school through my freshman year in college.  As I took his statement in, I realized that my memory bank from those years began coming into clear view in my mind.  It was like a gift had been opened and my past memories burst out of the box.

I immediately began sharing my thoughts as they came beginning with, “Have you checked the walls and door frames for small dents?”  During our time in that parsonage, my brother received an electric wheelchair.  For a period of time, as he adjusted to driving the wheelchair, a lot of bumping into door frames took place as he drove circles through the house.  I understand the carpet had to be replaced when we moved.  As my husband and I drove around the neighborhood after conference, I told him about the time my brother decided to take advantage of his independence (in his electric wheelchair) and began a trek around the block.  After a period of time, we realized he was not in the house.  We found him with his wheel stuck in a small hole beside the road.  What a laugh we all had when we realized what he had done! What a memory!

One statement, one precious statement, “Donna, did you know that we are living in the Fulton parsonage?”, took me somewhere special.  Over time, as I no longer have my parents and brothers, I have found that many of my memories have begun to fade.   This experience caused so many memories to come clear in my mind, and to recognize that those memories are there – they just need a little jolt to come to light.  Since my Daddy died 12 years ago, I have found that some memories have faded through pain in remembering.  But now, I realize the joy in remembering can take a lot of the pain of life away.

Prayer:  God, thank you for special friends and special memories.  As we go through life and “life” takes us to new places, it is important to remember our past.  Our past made us who we are and we are your children.  Thank you for bringing our past memories to us as we remember those special times in our lives – those times You gave us.  Amen.

Prayer Focus:  Special Memories

The Ornament

2 Corinthians 1:3-5

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.  For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.

Thought for the Day: Remember with a tear, and a smile  

“Hi Donna!  I think of your mom every Christmas when we decorate our tree.  She gave us this Hallmark ornament.  The light alternates between inside the house and the light on the porch.  It is one of my favorites!  It has the year and says ‘Our First Christmas’”.  My immediate reaction to reading this message from my first cousin was tears forming in my eyes.  As I do every year during the Christmas Holidays, I think a lot about my parents, brothers, and first husband who are not with me.  On my personal Christmas tree, I have ornaments that remind me of each one.  I also have an “Our First Christmas” ornament given to my husband and me by my Mama on our first Christmas, I have Christmas ornaments made by my brothers and me when we were children, I have Christmas ornaments given to my Daddy by many of his church members, and I have ornaments that were special to my first husband and me.  It should come as no surprise to me that tears form as I realize my Mama touched others with her special ornaments given especially to them.  That is a very special thought as I know my Mama touched so many with her special and unusual gifts.

The Christmas Season comes each year bringing tears and smiles to me.  As I unwrap each ornament and decoration, my heart fills with a tiny bit of sadness as I realize how many are no longer with me but it fills even more with gladness as I remember each in special ways.  This is a very difficult time of year for so many as family members are remembered.  There is a belief with many that after the loss of a loved one that the grieving person should “be back to normal” in a “proper” amount of time.  To those who are grieving the loss of loved ones after a year, or two, or twenty, the pain still comes and it is okay.  But, to those who are grieving, remembering loved ones in special precious ways also helps.  Yes, tears come as ornaments are placed on the Christmas tree, memories flood our “eyes” as we think of those so special to us, and tenderness returns for a moment.  But, then, we realize that those memories bring those we love back to us if only for a moment to smile with and celebrate life with.  And, as we celebrate their lives, we celebrate that one day we will be back with them to feel their arms around us as they welcome us home.

Prayer:  Father God, thank you for the memories, those memories that flood our hearts when we remember loved ones.  Help us get through the hard times of the year to remember with tears but also with smiles.  Help those who are watching friends in their grief to know what to do for them.  Be with us, God, and bring us through.  Amen.

Prayer Focus:  Those grieving during the Christmas Season

Looking in the Toe of the Stocking

Titus 3:4-7

But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of deeds done by us in righteousness, but in virtue of his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal in the Holy Spirit, which he poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that we might be justified by his grace and become heirs in hope of eternal life. 

Thought for the Day:  Let God bring you joy in Christmas.

My memory flowed back about fifty years as I thought about how Christmas morning was in our house so many years ago.  When my brothers and I were young, before they were confined to wheelchairs, were like most children today. We awaited the morning, the Christmas Morning, to run to the living room to see what Santa had left under the Christmas Tree.  My parents were not rich, and we didn’t have a lot, but each year they somehow gave us the one or two things our hearts desired.  I never understood how they did it, because none of us ever really asked for anything from Santa.  My parents just knew.  After we opened the gifts, we opened our stockings and went through the little goodies.  We all found fruit, little toys, and my daddy always found his “Heath” bar that Santa always remembered to put in his stocking.  At the end of our stocking time, I remember my oldest brother, Ricky, turning his stocking upside down in the air to see if there was anything left in the toe that he had missed.  We laughed every year as that became a part of our Christmas routine.

Today, I remember these days fondly and cherish the many memories in my heart.  Those memories are all I have left of my family as my parents and brothers are gone now.  My Christmas morning now is giving me memories of my husband and my children as we awake on Christmas morning.  Now, we set up the video camera to record the memories of our boys’ faces as they walk into the Great Room and run to the Christmas Tree.  We sit on the couch with the Advent candles in front of us and read about the Birth of our Lord, Jesus Christ.  We open our gifts, and we look in our stockings.  I, as my brother did so many years ago, turn my stocking upside down to see if there is anything left in the toe.  Today, my family makes new memories of Christmas.  But, there is something familiar on these most recent Christmases that feel the same as those so many years ago, Jesus is in the Center and Jesus brings the joy and love to each of our hearts.

Prayer:  O God, thank you for Christmas.  Thank you for the memories we have of Christmases past as we think about our families.  Thank you for the new memories of Christmases present as we make new memories about our families.  Thank you mostly, for sending Your son, Jesus Christ, into the world to show us love and joy.  Help each of us feel the joy of Christ in Christmas this year.    Amen.

Prayer Focus:  Christmas Memories

Santa for a Time, Jesus for an Eternity

santa-and-nativity21 John 5:13-15

 I write this to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life.  And this is the confidence which we have in him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us.  And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have obtained the requests made of him. 

Thought for the DayJesus is with us throughout the year, and every day of our lives.

My husband loves to collect Clothique Santas.  As we decorate for Christmas each year, the boxes with the Santas are the first ones we open after the Christmas tree is finished.  As I look at them lit in our entertainment unit, I see Santas in a variety of situations.  There are several that hold Coca-Cola bottles as the Santas enjoy that refreshing drink.  There are some that show patriotism as they hold American flags or are dressed as Uncle Sam.  There are those dressed from clothing from around the world.  There are those of different jobs such as farmers, cowboys, firemen, and musicians.  Some show Santa sharing time with children with the children obviously giggling with joy.  Some show Santa on Christmas morning delivering the toys to the children, and taking happiness from riding some of the toys he just delivered.  Our favorite Santa sits in the middle of our mantle as it shows Santa bowing beside a nativity scene.  What fun we have as we decorate placing those nearly fifty Santas on the shelves.  What joy they bring to our hearts.  What memories of Christmases past!  But, after Christmas, those Santas will go back in their boxes to be hidden out of sight until next year.

Looking at that nativity scene that Santa is bowing to admire, my heart warmed as I realized that our Lord Jesus Christ never goes in a box to be hidden and forgotten for any period of the year. Santa seems so important during the month of December, and brings such smiles to the faces of children.  But what about true joy that lasts a lifetime.  Where does that come from.  It comes from God and it comes from the knowledge that His Son, Jesus Christ, came to earth to save us.  It comes from the love of Christ being shown by those around us on a daily basis.  As we go to church throughout the year, not only at Christmas, we realize that God is there through the people and through the study of the Bible. God is there through the ministries that bring love to those in the community.  God is there in the sermons and in the songs.  There are still those who only get a taste as they come at Christmas and Easter of the Joy of Jesus Christ.  Then there are those who get a lifetime of Joy as they experience God’s love every day.  So, today we feel the joy of Jesus Christ in our hearts that we can experience Him every day.  Today, enjoy Santa as he is here for a time.  Through the year, enjoy the joy we feel from Jesus Christ each day.

Prayer:  God, thank you for the Joy You bring us through the birth and life of Your Son, Jesus Christ.  Help us remember that the joy You bring is constant and is always available for us.  Amen.

Prayer Focus:  Jesus All Year Long

The Loaded Down Christmas Tree

img_9229John 1:12-14

But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God; who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.  And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth we have beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father. 


Thought for the DayRemember special times with family, and remember how God loves you.

Looking at our Christmas tree this morning brought memories of ages past and thoughts of time to come.  Each year, I take many hours to put our twenty-five year old artificial tree up wrapping each limb with lights.  Then, we begin placing the multitude of ornaments on the tree with some finding their place in the depth of the limbs while others hang closer to the outside.  After they are placed and the lights are turned on, a beautiful tree stands.  It is a beautiful tree, I must admit, but the beauty for me comes from the many memories of Christmases past.  I once had a friend who helped me put up my tree the year after my husband died and I was alone in the house.  She made the comment that the tree had too much on it and made me feel that I was wrong in placing so many ornaments on the limbs.  Today, over twenty-years later, I can almost guarantee there are double that many ornaments with each having special memories for my husband and me.  For me, there are ornaments my brothers and I made as children with my “artist” brother painting several, there are the “Mary’s Angels” that my mother gave me each year, there are all the ornaments students and choir children have given me through the years, and ornaments from my parents’ Christmas tree that I inherited.  For my husband, there are ornaments he remembers from his grandmother’s tree, there are ornaments that hung on his parents’ tree as he was growing up, and there are ornaments he was given from friends who knew he collected Coca-Cola memorabilia.  Together, there are ornaments from the first year we got married, there are ornaments from our boys’ first Christmases and those our boys made, and there are ornaments we have given each other through the years.  Do we have too many ornaments on our tree, probably to someone coming in and seeing it for the first time. Do we have too many ornaments on the tree, definitely not as each ornament represents a special time or a special person in our lives.  God has blessed us, and each ornament reminds us of a different blessing.

Christmas is a time when we celebrate the birth of the Christ Child.  Christmas is a time to remember those who are with us now and have gone before.  Amy Grant’s song, “Heirlooms”, takes the thoughts of Christmas past and puts them in perspective that the most important truth of the season is the birth of Christ, which is more than an heirloom.  God sent His precious son to us in the form of a baby, a little baby who would grow up to save us.  That is the truth of the season, and in the midst of the decorations of memories, the truth comes to light on Christmas Day as we say Happy Birthday to our Savior, our Lord.


Up in the attic, down on my knees

Life times of boxes, timeless to me.

Letter and photographs, yellowed with years,

Some bringing laughter, some bringing tears.

Time never changes, the memories,

The faces of loved ones, who bring to me,

All that I come from and all that I live for,

And all that I’m going to be.

My precious family is more that an heirloom to me.

Wisemen and shepherds, down on their knees,

Bringing their treasures to lay at His feet.

Who was this wonder, Baby yet king?

Living and dying, He gave life to me.

Time never changes the memory, the moment

His love first pierced through me.

Telling all that I came from, and all that I live for

And all that I’m going to be.

My precious Savior, is more than an heirloom to me.

My precious Savior, is more than an heirloom to me.

Prayer:  Precious God, we praise You today for this wonderful creation.  We are thankful today for the special memories You bring to us as we remember the love of our family.  We thank you for bringing Your son to us so many years ago as that tiny baby in the manger.  Help us remember throughout the Christmas Season that He is the reason we celebrate this time of year.  Amen.

Prayer Focus:   Those having special memories at Christmas

The Angel on Top of the Tree – Almost

Jeremiah 29:11-14

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, I will be found by you says the Lord.

Thought for the DayGod is with us in our wait.

 I found that cleaning after many days of working on projects was very rewarding.  Days of continued jobs in our last house and preparing for our children’s musical at church caused me to let a few things go at the house.  So, I finally cleaned and as I did I put the final touches on the Christmas Tree, well almost.  Our Christmas tree is tall and I needed to put the angel on the top.  If anyone had videoed me, I’m sure there would be a laugh.  Since we left our ladder in the last house to continue working, I had nothing tall enough to stand on.  I tried a chair, then I tried clipping kitchen tongs on the bottom of the angel to get her high enough, then I tried a long umbrella, and I tried a cane.  The angel is still not on the top of the tree.  As I looked at the angel this morning, still sitting on the mantle, I thought about my life and how I have been trying to “figure it all out”.  On a daily basis, I try to think about reasons why I still have not gotten a teaching position and, although I feel I am doing many rewarding and precious things, I find myself still trying to figure out where God is leading me.  I find myself, like that angel that sits on the mantle, waiting to be placed where God wants me.  But, like that angel, I know in time, I will find myself in the perfect place.  The angel will be placed on the tree with the help of my family, and I will find my place with the help of God.

I am thankful today for hope and faith.  Because I have hope and faith, I have the wonderful knowledge that God is leading me to his calling.  Because I try to follow God every day, I try to continue doing the things He has led me to right now.  Many days I fail as I try to get ahead of God, many days I feel it has been too long so I push too hard and cry that I am still in the same place.  Today, that angel sitting on the mantle has given me the thought of hope and faith.  Because that needlepointed angel, made by a precious pastor, sits on the mantle, I have held it and admired it many times.  It has been in a place where I could actually hold it, feel it, and love it.  Because I have not had a job, I have been able to hold my family closer, spend time preparing for children’s choir, spend time with God on my walk and in my writing, and spend time with God doing things that needed to be done.         Soon that angel will be placed atop the tree and soon I will be placed where God has called me.  Where that is, I do not know.  But, I don’t need to know because I have the hope and the faith to know that God, our Father, knows exactly where He is going to place me.  I wonder, have I been keeping God from being able to put me in my proper place, because of my wants and desires?

Prayer:  Father God, praises to You this day for all You have created.  Thank You for the love You have shown us through the years.  Knowing You have been there throughout our lives gives us the faith and hope when we don’t know where we are to turn.  Help us know that You are with us and in Your time, we will know where You are leading.  Amen.

Prayer Focus:   Those who are waiting.

Cut Apart


I want to thank you for helping me by reading my devotions and praying for my time of writing.  Today is Post 500 of “Donna’s Morning Coffee” and I want you to know how thankful I am to each of you.  You are a blessing to me each day!

2 Corinthians 5:17

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, behold, the new has come.

Thought for the DayWhat part of the cloth is God using you for today?

“Donna, have you heard anything about a teaching position or job?” Those words come up often as I attend church functions and as friends see me as I am out and about.  Many have prayed and many continue their daily thoughts about me.  I am humbled.  My response is always, “No, not yet….but I am okay!”  “I am having the time of my life as I write, take pictures, walk, and welcome my children home when they get off the school bus.”  Today, I read The Upper Room devotion with the scripture from 2 Corinthians 5, “So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation; everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new.”  The example was of a tablecloth that had been folded and tucked away.  When it was brought out and held up to the light, the tiny holes and stains from many years of use became visible.  The writer wrote that she took the tablecloth and cut it into pieces making use of the fabric in a different way.  I know this scripture is about finding flaws in the fabric and making something new, but as I reflected on my life as I read the words I realized that for many years I have been known as a teacher who loved her students and loved sharing time in the classroom with them.  That was what people, even I, saw and loved.  This time without a teaching position has brought out other areas of the fabric that I didn’t even know were there.  This time has allowed the other parts of the fabric to be used for something else.  I know people feel sorry for me when they realize I am a teacher who still does not have a teaching position – I feel sorry for myself sometimes.  But, what if…..what if God is wanting me to use the other pieces of cloth.  What if God is leading me to something else, something new?  My largest fear is that someone might think, “She must not be a good teacher if she can’t get a job in that large school system.”  My new found hope is that people will think, “I didn’t know she could do that!” or “She is so talented!” or the best thought is “Look how God is using her!”

Today, I feel newness in ways that I never dreamed.  There are many pieces of the cloth I was made from that have been cut apart to be used differently.  They are all folded and are sitting in a drawer.  As I pull them out, I wonder how God is going to use them.  One piece directs a children’s choir, another piece writes devotions, another piece takes pictures, another piece welcomes those children home, another piece prays for people, and another piece tries to show her love for her Lord in a special way.  A huge part of the tablecloth that has holes and is frayed from years of use sits folded and put aside until it is needed.  God will pull it out when and if it is needed.  The small parts have now been cut into pieces and each is being used in a different way.  Only God knows how each piece will be used.

Prayer:  God, Thank you for making us into new things and for bringing change in our lives.  Help us know what you want us to do and to lead us to the use you have for us.  You are almighty and You are our Father.  Cut us apart from the cloth and use us as You will.  Amen.

Prayer Focus:  Change

God, You are Welcome in this Place

dsc_2801-2Romans 15:5-7

May the God of steadfastness and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Welcome one another, therefore, as Christ as welcome you, for the glory of God.    

Thought for the DayGod welcomes us each day so how will we welcome Him.

What a wonderful blessing the members and visitors received as they came into the church building.  After watching the building appear through the laying of the foundation to the last chair being placed in the Worship Center, the day finally came.  The doors opened and the people came, and they came, and they came.  The children walked in to stand in their place in the front of the congregation to sing.  Their nerves showed a little bit on their faces as I am sure showed also on the faces of the adult directors and helpers.  I know I stood with a smile on my face, but with nerves going crazy inside.  Then the music started, the first music played for a traditional service in that room, and the children began to sing.  “God, You are welcome in this place” were the words the children sang.  Of course, God was already there.  He was there as that foundation was laid.  He was there when that first group of people met in a house over twenty years ago, and He was there in the heart of each person attending that Worship Service yesterday.  He was present in the two worship services that already took place that morning when the youth attended and raised their hands as they felt God welcoming them in through the glorious music played and sung.  God was there and He was the One welcoming each person in.   During the worship services on that first day in the new Worship Center, God welcomed us with beautiful hymns, scripture readings and lessons, prayers for the people, a fabulous sermon, and a full choir singing a breathtaking anthem.  In tears, the people responded as they felt the power of God welcome them into that beautiful space, and as they welcomed God into their hearts.

God welcomes each one of us every day when we wake up and open our eyes to see His glory around us.  First Days in new Worship spaces do not happen every day so when they come, they are very special.  But, God’s new days come every day for us when he brings the sunshine to welcome us and He wants us to feel Him in our hearts.  We have a decision to make each day to how we are going to welcome Him into our hearts, and what we are going to do to show that we welcome Him.  As our District Superintendent said in the benediction yesterday, we do not need to keep the celebration and excitement in that building, we need to take it outside the doors and take God out into the world.  When we wake up each day and welcome God, we need to take God with us through the day where others will feel God through us.  God welcomes you today – welcome Him into your heart.

Prayer Focus:  Those feeling God’s welcome.