Saturday, December 31, 2011

Benediction

From our family to yours,
In 2012, 
May
The LORD bless you and keep you;
The LORD make His Face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;
The LORD lift up His Countenance upon you,
And give you peace.

A New Year has arrived,
A new beginning has dawned!
And 
With God ALL things are possible
in this new year!

Because of Him and Unto Him,
                  Diane


Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Unveiling of A Word

My One Word for 2012 is actually two.  Last week I was reading The Scriptures and I looked up the Message Bible version of I Corth. 13. My heart leapt within me as I read vs. 13 and I immediately knew this was my One Word for 2012:
Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love.  ~ I Corth. 13:13
I have read this passage of Scripture countless times in my life, just not that version.  I've written about it and taught from it; I've prayed it over other's lives and prayed for it for my own life.  And always from the standpoint of loving each other.  But, not until last week did I see it in whole other Light. What spoke to me was the wording "love extravagantly".  And I understood it, for the first time, to also mean love GOD extravagantly.  We trust in Him, hope in Him, and we should love Him, which we all know and do (hopefully).  But, to love God extravagantly?! If I love Him extravagantly, then that love with overflow to people...Oh, my, what am I committing to?!

I'm a very plain and simple woman.  There is not an extravagant thing about me in the natural.  Nothing about my clothes or home; I don't shop or do anything in an extravagant way. I have, at times, been so caught up in the Spirit during worship, that I would say I've experienced worshiping The LORD extravagantly. But, that's been The Holy Spirit's doing.

My One Word 2012 goal may change more than I think...
I really don't know what loving God with an extravagance looks like, but I've already started praying.  I want this to be my major goal this coming new year. I want to live my life in such a way that I can be called an extravagant lover!  But, it scares me...What if I don't really have it in me?  What if my walls and other emotional barriers won't allow extravagance to come through?  That will mean those walls have to come down...oh, no!...What if...? What if...? But, what if I do accomplih my goal?  How will I impact my world?  How will I change?  How awesome will my relationship with Jesus become? Will it change the dash on my headstone when I'm gone...?

I feel like I'm standing on the edge of a cliff ready to jump off, trusting Jesus' Arms to catch me; trusting my blog family to be supportive. It's one thing to have your list of goals to accomplish or not, quite another to publish it for the world to see it.  I am now accountable to work at loving my God with an extravagance, but with no picture of that looks like in my mind.  The Holy Spirit is really going to have to teach me.  This is truly scary to me...aahhhh....here I go...

My official One Word for 2012 is Love Extravagantly!

It might change what I accomplish and how I touch humanity!
With only a few days left, I hope you will join me.  Please share your One Word for 2012 (no explanation necessary if you don't want) or share it on your blog.  Then we can hold hands and encourage one another on our journey into a brand new year and all that may bring.

Because of Him and Unto Him,
                  Diane

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

ONLY One Word Is Needful for 2012

With the ending of Christmas, we began to think about ringing in the New Year. Here in New York, we watch the infamous "Ball" drop in Times Square to signal the moment of this year's end with a simultaneous beginning of the new.  This has been a long, difficult year for me and quite frankly, I'm ready for a new "beginning" and some positive change.

This week brings a myriad of new resolutions resounding all over this planet. I don't think it matters what country you live in. It's human nature to desire positive changes. If you are like me, you have great intentions for the new year and so the list-making begins. I remember a few years ago I wrote resolutions for all areas of my life - physically, emotionally, spiritually. It was quite an extensive list! Next year will be a better year because I will do...And the only thing that long list produced was guilt. Rarely, have I ever kept more than one resolution on my well-intentioned list each and every year.  If even that!

Two New Years' ago, my daughter, Alece, came up with a a one-word resolution for her personal life - something that was uncomplicated and that she could focus on all year long. She posted her word at home and on her blog. Her readers encouraged her along the way, as she would intermittently share her challenges and successes in meeting her one-word goal. Alece was successful.  So, last New Year's, Alece began the "One Word" Resolution on her blog, Grit and Glory

Her post and encouragement caused her readers to do the same.  It sparked something world-wide.  Individuals, churches, ministries, and even corporations are now planning their One Word New Year's resolutions.  I even saw online that there are calendars and all kinds of commercial things for, and I quote, "One Word".  

Please take time to check out Alece's last year's post and start thinking and praying about what your One Word will be.  It can literally be one word or a phrase or a Scripture. Something that you can keep before you and focus on throughout the year, without complication.  Maybe it, too, will have a chance to truly become your reality. 

Alece is preparing her site for "One Word 2012".  I would like to participate and ask you, my family of readers, to do the same.  Hopefully, I will be able to have Alece explain to me how to put the "button" on my blog.

Please let me know your thoughts after you click on One Word 2011 . Do any words come to mind?  I read a Scripture a couple of weeks ago and had a real "Ah ha" moment.  I had read that same Scripture many, many times, but now I saw a meaning in a whole different Light. I knew in that moment, it was to be my One Word for the new year ahead. I will share my revelation and One Word (which is actually two) in a couple of days. 

Let's journey into 2012 focused and resolute to encourage each other in the twelve months ahead.  We are a small group so I think we shall gain great traction in encouraging each other's One Word goals throughout the coming year.  We can pray for one an other's One Word to come to pass in each of our lives.  Maybe...just maybe...our one little words will bring much needed positive changes. 

Will you please join me?

Because of Him and Unto Him,
                   Diane
              


Sunday, December 25, 2011

And the Consensus Is?


I am a glove - a leather glove - girl.  My grandma bought me my first pair of leather gloves the first winter after my Confirmation.  I took it as a sure sign of coming into womanhood. I've worn only leather ones since then.  Except, if I'm about serious winter activities. Then my mittens come out.
Walking through the snow to take in it's magic, serenity, and beauty - I seem to enjoy the walk so much more in my cozy, comfy mittens. 
Nothing like a snowball made from mittened-hands...and for rounding out a snowman's head!  (Not that I've done much of this winter activity in many years.)
          Aah...snow angels...you have to wear mittens to make a perfect snow    
          angel.  I did this a few years ago with my niece who grew up in
          Florida. She had never seen snow before.
And for the dreaded shoveling!  My hands stay much warmer in my mittens.  The rest of me is freezing, but my hands are nice and warm.
I guess you can tell we're not an outdoor-activity family.  But, I do love my gloves and mittens!

          My mittens do have leather on the palms. :0)

          My son wears gloves with no fingertips.  :0(

          My daughter wears the new - but much needed - gloves with
          thingamajigs in the fingertips so she can use her iPhone and not have
          to take her gloves off.  :0?

Are you a glove, mitten, fingerless, or finger-thingamajig person?

Because of Him and Unto Him,
                  Diane

From Our Family to Yours...


Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Untraditional Christmas Carol

I was singing my usual worship song in the shower this morning. Even though it's not a traditional Christmas carol, it is one nonetheless.  Merry Christmas!

Willow Tree Nativity
Hallelujah! My Father

Hallelujah! My Father
for giving us Your Son
Sending Him into the world
to be given up for man

Knowing He'd be wounded 
and crucified on earth
Hallelujah! My Father 
in His death is my birth


Because of Him and Unto Him,
                   Diane

Thursday, December 22, 2011

It's a Christmas Secret


When I was in 9th grade, I desperately wanted to learn to play the drums.  However, my parents weren't about to have all that racket disturbing their peace, so I was persuaded to learn the flute.  I think that backfired somehow because my flute practicing certainly wasn't peaceful to the ears! However, the flute and I just didn't bond; so the end of 9th grade brought the end of my musicality.  

Over four decades later, drumming is still a part of my soul.

I'm going to share a secret with you...

When I worship, I picture myself playing the drums.  I can hear them, feel them, flow with them.  As I picture myself playing for the King of kings and Lord of lords, I lose myself in His Presence.  Sometimes, afterwards, I am left wondering if maybe that's what happened to King David as he worshiped...

Josh Groban's passionate rendition of The Little Drummer Boy stirs my soul no matter what season of the year I listen to it. I turn up the music LOUD and I sing.  I sing and I play.  With eyes closed and hands drumming, I'm the little drummer playing and signing to my King. Playing my best for Him; playing to honor Him. 

I usually end up weeping and praying that Jesus is blessed with my make-believe drumming. It truly is a soul-gift that I offer to Him and Him Alone.

I invite you to sing (and "play", if you're so inclined) along with us...


Merry Christmas!

You're welcome to share any Christmas secrets you may have!  I won't tell anyone...hee hee...

Because of Him and Unto Him,
                  Diane

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Whimsical Christmas Thought

In Christian circles, we've all heard - and maybe even our cars have the bumper stickers - "Keep Christ In Christmas" and "Jesus Is The Reason for The Season".

I certainly understand - and agree - that sometimes we need to remind people that Christmas is about the birth of Jesus Christ and that it has nothing to do with the commercial Santa Claus.

But, hopefully, Jesus doesn't get put away with the Nativity, lights, and ornaments come the first week of January. 


Let's Keep Christ In Us
and
In Every Season!

New bumper sticker anyone? 

Because of Him and Unto Him,
                   Diane

Saturday, December 17, 2011

It's In Us All

I saw the movie, The Help, yesterday and it has stirred a myriad of emotions within me. I've started several posts each stemming from what was going on within my soul from watching the movie.  I even managed a whole Christmas message through it.  But, I wasn't at peace with any of them, so I knew that wasn't what The Holy Spirit wanted me to share. So, I deleted again, and here I am this morning typing out yet another portion of what watching The Help caused to surface in my heart.  Please bear with me as I try to communicate it...

One of the things that impacted me from the movie was the courage of these every-day women. African-American women lived life as they did in the 1950-60's, because society was slow to change.  But, these women found courage from deep within and regardless of what could have been a life-threatening outcome, they courageously moved forward. It resulted in history being changed. There was a high cost to their courageous acts. There always is. Courage and cost go hand-in-hand.


After watching the movie, I went to sleep thinking, I don't have courage.  I've never faced insurmountable odds and had to take a stand for something like these women did.  I haven't changed history.  I fell asleep feeling so inadequate in comparison to these courageous, risk-taking women.  As a result, the wonderful The Holy Spirit played some of my life back to me this morning.  He reminded me that I am an intercessor and it's in prayer that I am most bold and courageous.  I've taken stands against evil in the Spirit realm on behalf of many. I have plowed through the realms of darkness so that other's could get a glimpse of God's Light. Many have been set free or had dramatic, miraculous changes in their lives. And as a result, their personal history's changed. This morning The Holy Spirit also reminded me of the occasions when I've taken bold, courageous risks in the natural world as well.  One in particular changed our personal history.

Thirty one years ago, my father did the unspeakable to one of my children.  After many agonizing hours on my face in prayer, I made a decision. A war raged in my soul as I counted the cost and mustered all the courage I could to implement my decision. I severed all ties to my immediate family. Extended family members and friends of the family didn't understand my actions, so they, in turn, wrote me off. Through all these years of raising my children, I had none of my family to rely on. I had none to visit with, no birthdays to celebrate, no one to chit chat on a phone with, no one to get angry with, or to laugh or cry with. And now that I'm an empty-nester, it seems the loneliness can be soul crushing at times with no family to interact with. That was the cost of my stand. It's only through The Holy Spirit showing me this morning that I realize it was a courageous act on my part.  With all my fear and trembling back then, it certainly didn't seem so at the time.  I've paid a high personal price to keep my children safe from the deviant predators in my family line, but I would do it again in a heartbeat. The Holy Spirit showed me this morning that taking that stand against evil did require courage and it did change history. l know my children probably don't fully realize what they were spared from. And that is a good thing. Only I know - all too intimately - what perverted harm my family was capable of inflicting upon my children.  I thank God our history was changed.

Courageous acts come in all forms, shapes, and sizes.  What makes the act courageous, is that you take that risk knowing that there could be some perverse outcomes. Jesus was a risk-taker, as were the Apostles. Men and women who have shaped The United States of America's story have been courageous, risk-takersWith The Holy Spirit's stamp of approval, I share a minuscule part of my history - history that was changed through a courageous act.

Courage is in us all just waiting to be needed. And when it is, that courage will be a history changer!


Because of Him and Unto Him,
                  Diane

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Word Does Glow

"The end of life is like blowing out the evening candle because the morning has come…"
Please read the Apples...of Gold blog. Pam's writing is stunning and will warm your heart this Christmas season.  She is a gifted writer who has touched my heart over and over again.


Because of Him and Unto Him,
                 Diane

Monday, December 12, 2011

A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words

Hand made by our friend, Ralph Panella

My Christmas wish for you: 
Peace to your soul as you take a few moments throughout this harried Christmas season to reflect on the true meaning of Christmas.   

Because of Him and Unto Him,
                    Diane

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Ripple Effect

i love to gaze upon droplets hitting the surface of still waters
there is a simple profoundness to my soul as i behold 
the gentle drops producing circles of ripples - tiny
wave-like effects - in constant motion.


as I stare into the ripple effect, 
I am drawn to ponder...
what are these droplets saying to me?

a still, small voice speaks to my heart, 
"Thoughts be silenced.
Peace. Be still."


Because of Him and Unto Him,
                Diane

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Angels from the Realm of Glory

Willow Tree.  Do you like Willow Tree figurines?

I do. I just purchased a small Willow Tree Nativity along with two angels. I set the scene up up in-between my living room and dining room, so I pass by it many times throughout my day. The "Song of Joy" and the "Dance of Life" are in the background of the Nativity. Each time I stop for a moment to ponder the scene, I am mesmerized by the angels dancing with delight at the birth of our Saviour.

www.willowtree.info
I have a healthy love of angels - the Scriptural kind - not the kind that man has made them to be. We turned these Glory-realm beings into a commercial gimmick. The "now thing" is to wear an angel on your lapel or hang one in your car; have an angel bookmark or one on your coffee mug. I don't worship them, but I certainly do rely on them as the ministering spirits "who minister to the heirs of salvation" (Heb. 1:14). I am blessed to have a handful of my own testimonies involving angels.  So, every time I pass these Willow Tree angels dancing over the Infant Jesus, I am deeply moved. Angels, who from the realm of Glory, worshiped the King of kings and Lord of lords at His human birth.  Angels, who in the realm of Glory, still worship The Almighty. I believe if our planet's atmosphere were silenced, we would hear their worship. And from experience, they sound like a Divine, reverential, philharmonic choir.  The realm of Glory is a vibrant, worshipful sphere. And from the realm of Glory, the angels came. They prophesied.  They worshiped. They protected. Restrained, they stood by in silent obedience as The Holy Christ was crucified. They heralded the news to mankind of Jesus' resurrection. The angels worship The Glorified Jesus Christ back in the realm of Glory...

Hallelujah! Glory to God in the Highest!
"Angels we have heard on high,
sweetly signing ore the plains... 
Gloria in excelsis Deo!
Gloria in excelsis Deo!"
I cannot look upon the Nativity scene without my heart standing still in reverence. And I cannot think of the Nativity without thinking of angels.  Angels, who from the realm of Glory, danced and sang in unrestrained, majestic veneration.
Glory to God in the Highest!

Because of Him and Unto Him,
                Diane

Sunday, December 4, 2011

'Tis the Season...

Wow...December is here. My son's birthday is this month as well as The Son's Birthday.  Ideas for a present for a family member is not usually a problem.  But, what can I possibly give to Jesus Christ that conveys my love and gratitude for my eternal salvation and my changed heart and life?
"Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me." 
Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, "Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me." ~ Jesus Christ, as recorded in Matt. 35:34-40
The way I live my everyday life is my thank you to Jesus Christ for all He has done for me. 

'Tis the season to be kind and generous.  
'Tis the season to be an open present!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A Mom's Story

A friend, Sheryl, from Broken Bonds, Healing Hearts blog, had her story published in Guideposts magazine a while back.  Guideposts put out an online Thanksgiving magazine and republished her story.  Please take a moment to read Mom, Interrupted on Page 28. It brought tears to my eyes and a sigh to my heart. God is faithful. Sheryl's story is most encouraging for anyone believing for reconciliation. It will help build faith.

Please read her story and maybe take a moment to stop by her blog to leave her a note.  Click here for the Guideposts link.

Because of Him and Unto Him,
              Diane

Friday, November 25, 2011

The Morning After...

It's the morning after Thanksgiving and here I sit - on my couch, typing away.  I've been viewing life from the couch for the last five weeks because of an injury to my leg. I've been discontent and whiny that I cannot do for myself; angry because I've been experiencing such pain; wallowing in self-pity because I looked terrible and felt just the same. However, as of yesterday, my leg seems so much better.

My eldest son, Michael, has come week after week (sometimes staying over night) to do household chores, run my errands, take care of the dogs, cook, and serve me couch-side. Yesterday was Thanksgiving and I was depressed that someone else was going to have to do what I normally would do.  My pride seemed as wounded as my leg and I was fighting laying on this couch every step of the way.

Last Thanksgiving there were 13 family and friends at my joyous table.  With lying on the couch and unable to do even the smallest of things, I was not looking forward to Thanksgiving at all. I couldn't decorate or unbox and clean my holiday dinnerware.  I was huffy that I had to use my everyday dishes. But, Michael, came. Stayed. Cleaned. Cooked. Served. As difficult as it was for me, I finally surrendered to God about my situation, and I finally allowed myself to receive being served. It truly is a blessing to be served instead of doing the serving, once pride is out of the way.  As the four of us held hands at the dinner table, I was urged to give thanks.  I opened my mouth and the tears flowed in grateful appreciation for God's blessings; especially, for my son who has served me for all these weeks so that I could rest and heal.  Rest, heal, and be humbled.

It's been a most humbling five weeks. Maybe, just maybe, on this morning after, God feels I've learned my lesson. After all, He tells us to humble ourselves.  If we don't, He will.
God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.  Therefore, humble yourselves under the mighty Hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time. ~ I Peter 5:5-6
The morning after...My leg is much better today. Thank You, Father!  This morning, for the first time in five weeks, I came down the stairs normally.  WAHOO! (I've been crawling up and down the stairs as the dogs wait patiently behind me, concerned over the injured one.) Today, I've been up and around. Doing. Even outside on this beautiful Long Island autumn day - doing.  And grateful to be able to just "do".

Sometimes I've wondered if any of my adult children have any of me in them.  Do you ever wonder that?  Each one is so individual and I see the character likeness of their father in them, but I've wondered about me.  The last few weeks, I've seen me in Michael and I'm blessed that my Heavenly Father has allowed me to see the answer to that nagging question of my heart.  Had I not be couch-ridden, I never would have "seen".  Instead of just indignantly viewing life from the couch, now I see the blessings I would have missed had I not been on the couch.  Thank You, my Lord!  God has mysterious ways; but always with our best interest at heart. And always, He adds unexpected, undeserved blessings upon us.

So what I couldn't do from a true heart yesterday morning, I can this morning. And that is truly praise God, from Whom all blessings flow!


Because of Him and Unto Him,




~~~
This post was shared on Tell Me A Story

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Grateful Hearts...

May you have a blessed
Thanksgiving
with family and friends.

Because of Him and Unto Him,
               Diane

Saturday, November 19, 2011

And After the Tears...


The soul would have no rainbow
if the eyes had no tears.
~ Native American Proverb


Amen and Amen!


Because of Him and Unto Him

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Six Little Words

Oh, God, how I need You!




Because of Him and Unto Him 

Monday, November 14, 2011

One Shoe Can Change Your Life!

As the evening climaxed, Cinderella thought she may be dreaming.  For a few hours, her life was transformed.  As the Prince whisked her around the dance floor to the envy of every aristocratic woman awaiting her chance to dance with him, she felt beautiful and experienced joyful bliss. Dare I even dream that the Prince will pick me as his wife? she breathlessly wondered. All things are possible, her gleeful mind assured her. Her bliss was jarred as her mind picked up the sound of the clock striking midnight. Oh, no! I knew this was too good to last, she sobbed as she ran back home. Misfortune is my lot in life. Who am I to expect anything different?

Back in the old familiar place she knew as home, Cinderella quickly fell into despair. She assumed she lost it all - the prince, the castle, the magical lifestyle. With no token of the surreal ball, and back under the tyranny of her circumstances, Cindy fell into hopelessness and self-pity. I don't even have my glass shoes to pretend dance with. As time wore on, she began to think, All things really aren't possible. She resigned herself to this unhappy life and dancing with only an old, dirty mop for the rest of her life. Despondent at life's cruelty, she no longer allowed herself to imagine dancing with the Prince, let alone being his wife and living in the castle. I will never be free from this bondage that enslaves me!  Her bitter disappointment caused her ability to imagine herself living in any other manner to shut down.

Suddenly...

and seemingly out of nowhere...

there came a knock on the door...

"Anyone missing a glass shoe?"

As the Prince's attache slipped the missing shoe on Cinderella's foot, he knew this one shoe was going to change everything in her life.  As he explained why he was seeking the woman who fit the shoe, hope began to arise within her heart again - hope that she could have a better life, a bright future. It took a seemingly insignificant item - one lost shoe - to bring about restoration and positive change in Cinderella's life. And, as we all know, Cinderella's story had a fairytale ending!

In Scripture, there are many references to God moving suddenly in a situation.  He does restore and bring positive change in our lives, just not always in our timing. We may feel like we're at the midnight hour and that we are losing the strength to keep believing, but suddenly, God will peform the miraculous.
"For I know the thoughts that I think toward you", says the LORD, "thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope."                  ~ Jeremiah 29:11
So keep imagining, keep believing, because when you least expect it - suddenly - something as simple as one missing shoe can change your life.

Because of Him and Unto Him

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Listening, As Jesus Did

Have you ever been alone in the woods?  
As silence enfolds you, you intently strain and listen for the slightest whisper of sound.  


The LORD God Almighty didn't speak to Elijah through the wind, 
earthquake, or fire.  
He spoke to him in a "still, small voice".  (I Kings 19:12)

In decision making or in daily routine,
Listen for the whisper of The Holy Spirit
and then
follow your heart.

Because of Him and Unto Him

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Oh, Those Eyelashes!

Would you like to read about my giraffe story?  It is one of the highlights of my life and I’d like to share it with you. God has answered many prayers in my life, but this answer showed me how intimately our Heavenly Father truly cares for us. May you find the inspiration from this story to pray about the tiniest, seemingly insignificant things in your life. As God's Word says, "You do not have, because you do not ask." (James 4:2) It is our Heavenly Father’s pleasure to bless us.


My only daughter was a Missionary to South Africa. She had left home and country at 19, giving a year of her life to serve The Lord.  One year turned into twelve.  In 2001, Alece was getting married in South Africa, so her dad and I, and her two brothers flew over for the wedding.  Alece and Niel planned a magnificent two-day safari for the bridal party and our family prior to the wedding.

On day one of the safari, the trackers gave us fare warnings: do not get out of the jeeps and we had to be back at the chalets before darkness set in. They found all kinds of animals for us – elephants, hippos, and rhinos.  (And earlier that week we had seen lions.)  It was the most incredible experience.  But, as day one came to a close, we still had not seem my favorite, the giraffe. The trackers were driving us to the two chalets within the reserve that Alece and Niel rented for us.  The sun had set and it was dusk. Our family was riding in the second jeep. Suddenly, the first jeep stopped and the bridal party hopped out and were running into the bush yelling, “Giraffes!” With cameras in hand, we followed blindly and without thought. But, it was darkening quickly. We could only make out the form of the giraffes running (in a slow lope) away from these screaming humans. The trackers rounded us back up into the jeeps, giving us fare warnings - again.

Upon reaching the chalets, the trackers asked what animals we wanted to see in the morning.  I shouted, “Giraffes!”  Then under my breath, I asked my Father to please bring giraffes into our path on tomorrow’s safari, so we weren’t wasting our time looking for them.  “Please bring the giraffes to us", was the desire and prayer of my heart.

The women settled into one chalet, the men into the other.  My daily routine in those days was to be up at 4 AM to spend time in the Presence of The LORD and His Word.  So, I asked the women in my room if they would mind if I set the alarm.  I was encouraged to sleep in; after all, I was on vacation.  I was so tempted!  It had been a full few days and I knew I could probably use the extra sleep.  But, after climbing into bed, I hit the “on” button.

The alarm rang on time. Trying not to wake anyone, I grabbed my Bible and very quietly worked my way through the house to kitchen to make some coffee. In the dawn of early morning (the sun rises early at that time of year in South Africa), the only place I could find an outlet to plug in the coffee maker was in the dining room.  I bent down on the floor to inset the plug and I turned my head to the right toward the large picture window.

There, bent down, and looking directly into the dining room, was a huge giraffe. His nose had to be a ½ inch from the window. Holding my breath, I slowly I stood up and went to the window. Our eyes met and we just beheld each other - God’s creature meeting God’s creature. He stood there so still - as if he was allowing me to absorb his every detail.  Oh, those eyelashes!  They had to be two inches long. Tears streamed down my face as I gazed on this gentle giant of Africa. It was one of the most stunning moments of my life.

I ran through the house screaming, "Giraffe!  Get your cameras!", jolting all the women awake. I then ran next-door, pounding on the door and windows, to awaken the men. I didn't want anyone to miss this Divine Appointment we had with the giraffe. We all gathered outside in our PJs, camera ready.  To our great surprise, God had not just brought one giraffe to us, He brought a family of seven - all who seemed not to notice the flashes from the cameras. Eating breakfast from the tops of the trees, they just naturally went about their business, as if their Creator had whispered in their ears, "It's OK. Just let them watch you." And there we stood in the midst of them for about 45 minutes until, as a group, they stopped eating and went their way.

I specifically asked my Father to bring the giraffes to us. In my wildest dreams, I couldn’t have thought that this is how He would do that.  He bestowed a gift upon me, His daughter, just because He loves me and wanted to bless me.  I will never, ever forget His loving, intimate answer to my prayer; and I will never, ever forget those eyelashes!

Because of Him and Unto Him,







This was posted over on Tell Me a Story on 4/3/12

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

SIGH!

In quietness and confidence shall be your strength. ~Isaiah 30:15
God's Word always encourages me and I sure do need strength for this journey.  The LORD knows that, so I awoke this morning with this Scripture playing over and over in my head like a broken record (for those of you who remember records!) I know it was Him just encouraging me by letting me know that He was waiting for me this morning.  I've had the I'm-moving-to-Alaska-and-living-out-in-the-woods-all-by-myself silent tantrum the last few days. As silent as it was, God heard it. Running away seems to be a strong pull for me at the moment. But, my "maturity" won't allow that. So, I've been sharing my heartaches with my Heavenly Father. And what does He do? He puts a Scripture on my heart when I wake up.

I opened my eyes way before dawn this morning with God's Word already on my mind.  I knew He was calling me to come and just sit in the stillness.  I poured a steamy hot cup of coffee into my favorite elephant mug and snuggled down in my only chair facing the picture window.  I can't wait for sunrise. It will be beautiful this morning. So, I settled into the dark - in the stillness - and quieted my soul.  My heart and mind turned toward Jesus and praise and thanksgiving bubbled out from my lips. Before I realized it, the room was illuminated, but there is no beautiful sky this morning. Just massive, cold clouds that look like they want to dump snow on us. Okay, that's not what I expected. My stillness and quietness was then interrupted by the twanging of the radiators as the heat was coming up.  My soul sighed... actually, I think it was more of a huff.

My confidence is in God's Love for me. I know He knows what my yesterdays were like and what today will be. He knew there would be massive winter cloudage today instead of a crisp, beautiful autumn morning. I know He knows I won't actually pack and move to Alaska. With a smirk, He waited for me in quiet stillness and then listened to my aching heart, beckoning me to still be still. Just remain still, Diane. So, I continued to sit. Sit still and enjoy His Presence. And now I'm strengthened.

I started my day out on the right foot.  I started it with Jesus, with His Word, and in quietness, allowing my confidence in Him to rise above all the other noise in my head.  Now, Alaska seems way too cold a place to run to. Oh, Thank You, my Father!  Thank You for the blessing of a nice warm home on Long Island.  Thank You for strengthening me.  Thank you for waking me with Your Word and then waiting for me to join You this morning. I am blessed.
I pray for you today that in quietness and confidence you will find strength for your journey-day.  God bless you!


Because of Him and Unto Him

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Precious Collectibles

Tears are words the heart can't express.
~ Author Unknown

There is a sacredness in tears.  
They are not a mark of weakness, but of power. 
 They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues.  
They are the messengers of overwhelming grief, of deep contrition, and of unspeakable love. 
~ Washington Irving

God loves you so. He cares so much about you and I, and what we are going through, to collect all of our tears and keep them in His bottle. Like an adoring mother watching over her infant and recording all his precious moments, God records all of our shed tears. 
You number my wanderings; put my tears into Your bottle. Are they not in Your book? - Psalm 56:8

Don't ever be ashamed of your tears. They are most precious to our loving God, Who sees and knows all - even the tears we cry in secret.  May you be comforted in knowing your Heavenly Father cherishes you so!




Monday, October 24, 2011

Food for Thought

President John F. Kennedy said in his inaugural speech to our nation: "Ask not what the country can do for you. Ask what you can do for the country." His statement caused a shift in American hearts and it was a game-changer for our nation.  

So, with a twist on President Kennedy's words, I say to you:
Ask not what The Lord can do for you.  Ask what you can do for The Lord.  
It may cause a shift in your heart and be a game-changer, once again, to our nation.  You never know how God will use you. 

Because of Him and Unto Him

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Autumn's Reminder

It's about this time every year that I think of him.  The changing hues of autumn brings the memory up to my consciousness. I close my eyes and take a deep breath. The crisp air fills my lungs and my attention gets diverted to all the magic of fall around me. This time of year marks the anniversary. It's 46 years this fall and so I honor a sweet, tender-hearted boy who impacted my life as no other has.

It's the anniversary of two 12-year olds. Two 12-year olds - each of who finds a different way to escape the torment and humiliation of bullying.  I chose to walk the two miles home from school everyday instead of getting on the afternoon school bus.  A few weeks later, Danny made a different choice.

I have no recollection of Danny and I ever conversing. He wasn't even a classmate. Usually, I would be on the bus first and through the dirty, smudged windows my eyes would follow him as he trudged his way carrying his heavy load of books onto the bus. Selfishly, I would think, "Oh, good, I'm glad Danny is here today". That meant the brutality would be shared. Danny would sit on the opposite side of the bus isle with his head down, as did I. It was self-preservation not to have eye contact with anyone. But, I do remember the one time our eyes and souls met.  It's a moment in time etched on the tablet of my heart. For a brief moment, with our eyes locked, each of us in unspoken anguish, pleaded with each other for help. But, we were helpless. So, we turned our eyes away and endured.

From the time I began walking home from school that fall, I never saw Danny again. I never even thought much about him.  I was just glad the torture for me on the afternoon bus was over. Now, I only had to contend with the morning bus ride.  A few weeks later, I came into school and found out twelve-year old Danny committed suicide. I was horrified and scared. In my own 12-year old mind, I was a coward - I never fought back; I left Danny alone to take the brunt of our peer's anger and sadistic pleasures when I started walking home; I was a coward when the school was a buzz with gossip about why Danny would do such a thing - I still didn't speak up; and I was scared that I may do the same thing. I grieved in silence and anguish for a very long time and became more and more introverted by my secret, guilt, selfishness, and shame.

Secrets are to torment, what truth is to freedom. Truth will set you free, secrets will torment you.  I was finally set free from the agony of the secret about 30 years later.  Joe and I were high school youth pastors.  Jesus cradled me with courage as I told my concealed story to our teens.  As the secret was expelled from my lips, Jesus began His healing process. The teens gathered compassionately around me and prayed while I dissolved in tears. I knew that I knew I was forgiven and that God had just used our story as a powerful life-lesson to our teens. There were cleansing tears and sobs all around the room. Hopefully, life changing for some - whether they be abuser or victim.  For all those years, I envied Danny because he was free. On that fall Sunday morning with our youth group, I was finally free. And I could feel that soul-bond with Danny once again.  This time as victors rather than victims.

Danny and I are both champions of anti-bullying.   May God, once again, use our story...


Because of Him and Unto Him,
Diane
~~~~
This post is linked up to Tell Me A Story

Saturday, October 15, 2011

God's Hello

I've been stuck on my couch for two days now.  I injured the muscle behind my right knee. It's excruciating to walk, so I lay here on the couch with ice as my companion, bored out of my mind. But, my living room is aglow as the sunbeams dance across my hardwood floor.  It is as if joy is streaming in through the large picture window and two french doors of my living room to brighten my spirits.

This is a stained glass piece
I have on my dining room window
Today is a beautiful, crisp, clear, breezy - typical Long Island - fall day. The kind of day that makes me want to go for a walk and bask in the sights, sounds, and smells of fall; the kind of day that can set my soul free. But, here I lay.

From my couch-view, I've watched the trees outside begin to change hue since yesterday morning. Every now and then a yellow or orange leaf, gently spiraling and swirling to the ground, catches my eye. My attention is drawn to the leaves waving in the breeze. It is as if God had Creation wave hello to this lonely, couch-bound soul, letting me know I'm not forgotten.

Thank You, Father, for sending me this beautiful day and your note of hello. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Imitator Series

"Imitate me, as I, also, imitate Christ."  The Apostle Paul wrote that in his letter to the Corinthian church, in I Corinthians 11:1.  It is also written it to you and I.  Is there someone you "imitate" because of their Godly walk?
Once a month I'm going to share the heroes of my faith - those who have helped shape my faith and my Christian walk; those I have chosen to imitate because I see the character of Jesus Christ in them.  Jesus Christ is, of course, my Hero above everyone else. But, He has brought people into my life who were imitators of Him, that I may learn, in practicality, from them.

April 15, 1892 - April 15, 1983
Imitator #1


Corrie ten Boom (also known as The Tramp for The Lord) was the first hero of my faith as a new Believer of Jesus Christ 28 years ago, and someone I still seek to emulate.  I read her book, The Hiding Place, and it set my life on it's course.  Reading her story caused me to decide what kind of Christian I wanted to be - a casual Christian or a radical one. Because of "meeting" Corrie through her book, I chose to walk in radical faith, love, and forgiveness.

The "hiding place" in Corrie's
bedroom
Corrie ten Boom and her family were Bible-believing Christians in Harrlem, Netherlands (Holland).  During the German occupation of Holland in WWII, the ten Boom family made a small, secret hiding place in Corrie's bedroom where they hid Jews who were being rounded up, tortured, and sent to death camps.  They would move the hidden ones to safety whenever they could through the underground railroad.  Corrie, her sisters and brother - Betsy, Nollie, and Willem - were arrested, along with their 84 year old father, and nephew, Peter, after a friend betrayed them to the Gestapo.  At the time of their arrest, there were 6-7 adults concealed in the hiding spot in the ten Boom home.  After many days of living in that tiny space, each finally escaped to freedom.  However, the ten Boom family suffered mercilessly.

While each was held in solitary confinement, their father, Casper, died in that horrid, lonely place ten days later.  Nollie, Willem, and Peter were eventually released. But, Corrie and Betsy were moved to various concentration camps, ending at Ravensbruck Death Camp. Forced to do hard labor, Corrie and Betsy endured the most horrific of human conditions and torture.  Their faith, smack in the middle of the eye of evil, led Jews to their Messiah, Jesus Christ, sometimes just moments before being put to death.  Betsy, finally succumbed to the horrific conditions and died, leaving Corrie alone.  As atrocious as it was to be a prisoner in Ravensbruck, to have lost Betsy was a most crushing blow to Corrie.

Men's barracks at Ravensbruck
Hatred consumed her heart.  But, God held onto her, and through her grieving and her struggle to forgive, she became a beacon of Light  and Love in a pitch-dark, evil place.  On the evening before Corrie was scheduled to be killed in the gas chamber, a "mistake" set Corrie free. Alone, Corrie ten Boom, age 53, walked out of the Death Camp, and kept on walking for 33 years through over 60 countries bringing the message of God's love and forgiveness to all who would listen. Her radical faith and love caused her to be a "Tramp for The Lord", as she lived out of her suitcase and traveled all over the world with no home to call her own.  She authored 26 books and numerous books have been written about her life.

Corrie ten Boom "tramping"
around the world declaring
God's love and forgiveness 
It's interesting to note that having survived Ravensbruck, Corrie traveled and ministered for 33 years (the same lifespan as Jesus Christ) and that she went Home to her beloved Jesus on the same day she was born, 91 years later. The very last five years of Corrie's life were spent in silence and confined to a bed due to several massive strokes she had.  It has been said that more people accepted Jesus Christ in those last five years by sitting at her bedside, than all the years she ministered. Up until her last breath, Corrie was a Vessel of Honor (II Tim. 2:20-21) unto her Lord.  I know she heard Jesus say to her upon her arrival Home, "Well done, My good and faithful servant".

One day when I've completed my journey Home, I will hug and thank Corrie.  And may she be standing by to hear The Lord say to me, "Well done, My good and faithful servant".  After all, I am just an imitator.

Life Lessons Learned:
  • To apply God's Word to my daily life by believing the Scriptures and applying or doing that Word
  • The ascendancy of God over my life
  • The efficacy and glory of forgiving
  • No situational "pit" is so deep that the love of God cannot reach me and through me
  • Even when I don't "feel" I am being used by God, I probably am
  • To have a grateful heart in spite of circumstances
  • To take a stand for righteousness sake
  • The extraordinary power, ability, and willingness of our God to transform us
  • God's grace truly is sufficient to get me through
  • God will cause good to come from even horrific, life-altering circumstances 
  • God will lead and direct a life completely surrendered to Him
  • God can still use me in the latter part of my life  HALLELUJAH!
If you have never read The Hiding Place, it will be my privilege to send you a copy of the book.  Just leave a comment that you would like the book and I'll be in touch to get your mailing address.  You never know how your life may change by getting to know Corrie ten Boom.  If you've already read it, please share what Corrie means to you.  

Because of Him and Unto Him

Saturday, October 8, 2011

QUIRK!

d

D

d.

D.

When I'm in a hurry while emailing, I sign my name with just my first-name initial.  But, I seem to have an odd quirk:  For the most part I'll type "D." (Capital D with a period) because it's the proper way to write the initial for my name.  But, the creative side of me just wants to sign off with "d" (lower case d with no period).  So, after I type "D.", I always want to change it to "d", but rarely do.

The teacher/writer/lover of written words in me knows correct grammar is important, but the creative flow from my heart wants to just be that - creative. Quite the quandary this initial-signing thing has created for me. Who really cares anyway?  

It's simple to rectify my dilemma.  I have three choices: do not be in a hurry when emailing so I can type out my full first name or be in a hurry but take the extra second it would take to shift plus type a period and not think twice about it. After all, how much time am I really saving by just typing a "d".  Or I could stop being quirky and just type "d" - a "d" with no regrets!

Well, I hope you're having a good laugh, because I am.  I can't believe I'm even posting about this...

Someday, I'm going to ask my Heavenly Father about the quirky side of me.  Hopefully, He will not give me a long narrative on some deep psychological reason why I am the way I am, but just laugh and say, "I love that about you".  And, hopefully, you do, too - no matter how I sign my emails.

Because of Him and Unto Him

Friday, October 7, 2011

Attitude of Gratitude

I read this question on someone's FB page and It really struck my heart in a powerful way.

What if you woke up today
with only the things
you thanked God for yesterday?


Thank You, LORD, for speaking to me and letting me know I need to be more (much more!) grateful to You.   


Because of Him and Unto Him

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Just Wondering

When life gets difficult, what do you do?  Please share.

Because of Him and Unto Him



Monday, October 3, 2011

Merciful Tomorrows

I sigh when I think of Anne of Green Gables - "Anne with an 'e'."  I never read the book, but I love the movie.

Sigh...

One of my favorite quotes from the movie is: "Marilla, isn't it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?"

A new day.  A new day with no mistakes.  YET.

Mistakes are inevitable.  But, we must remember God's compassion and mercy is waiting for us in that new day - it's already there to cover our mistakes.
Through The LORD'S mercies, we are not consumed, because His compassion's fail not.  They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.                              ~ Lam. 3:22 & 23
Yes, mistakes are inevitable, but so is God's compassion and mercy. Don't forget that when tomorrow comes!

Because of Him and Unto Him

Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Transformation of Mousy-Me

Do you believe that songs can be prophetic?

Ever since I was young girl and unsaved, God has used music and songs to encourage and strengthen me; to help me discover what I believed in; and the desire to go on when all desire seemed gone.  I would sing those certain kind of songs with gusto and conviction; belting them out into my hair-brush microphone.  Something would change inside of me, because I believed the words of the songs. Sometimes, it would require replaying the song over and over 10 times in a row, until that "something" clicked in me. But, it finally would.  "Death and life are in the power of the tongue", it says in Proverbs 18:21.  And I was singing "life words" over myself without even realizing it.

One such song was Simon and Garfunkel's Bridge Over Troubled Waters.  In my junior and senior years of high school, it became my mantra.  That song, literally saved my life during very desperate moments, because I would play it, repeatedly, until the words did that "something" inside of me.  I believed God was the Bridge and He sailed right next to me. I believed I was the Silver Girl (despite the fact that I didn't feel anything close to that glorious). When I'd sing that song, it was like very cell in my being was singing, believing, and transforming.  When I would get to the last stanza, I would close my eyes, stand up straight and tall with my head back (as if caught in the wind), with my arms stretched out straight at my sides (like the scene in Titanic - but this was way before that movie came out), and allow the music and lyrics to sail me away from my reality.

Sail on Silver Girl (Yes, I'll be the Silver Girl)
Sail on by  (I'll come out of this storm into smooth sailing)
Your time has come to shine  (Mousy-me, shine?!  Yes, one day I will!)
All your dreams are on their way (One day they will come)
See how they shine (Shine!)

With all the conviction in me, I'd sing that last stanza and believe.  One day, my time will come to shine.

Health for the whole man -
spirit, soul, and body
FAST FORWARD many years of my life.  Joe and I were Assistant Pastor's in our church.  The Pastor recognized my teaching gift and sometimes offered me the privilege of teaching from the pulpit. I had just finished writing a Holy Spirit inspired, 26-week course entitled Health for Life for the Body of Christ. Pastor asked me to take the 26-week course and narrow it down to an hour's teaching for a Sunday morning service.  I was in my element.  I am a teacher and now I got to teach something that was virtually a part of my soul.

Sitting alone in the Lord's Presence before the service, I rested in His peace.  Suddenly, almost audibly, I heard the last stanza to Bridge Over Troubled Waters in my heart. I stood up and started quietly singing.  I postured my body just as I used to do when I was a teenager.  As soon as I finished singing, I knew this was the moment I had sung about so long ago: my time had come to shine; I was the Silver Girl, and I was sailing on. I wept and thanked God. What an awesome, Divine moment that was for me.  I knew in that moment that this was His Divine plan - almost as if He had this exact moment in time in mind when, as a 16-year old, He kept me motivated to keep walking one step in front of the other, through the prophetic words of this song. He already knew this day; and in that moment and for the next few years, I was sailing!

The teaching was very anointed that day and well received.  Shortly thereafter, I began two back-to-back twenty-six week courses and then two thirteen week courses for the church body. Students in the courses were from all backgrounds in life.  But, men and women were physically healing from various illnesses as they changed eating habits. And they were able to change some of those habits because they were healing emotionally from various traumas, which were the triggers for unhealthy eating habits to begin with. They applied the Word and the nutritional knowledge they gained and it brought forth health in their lives.

The week following that Sunday, I typed out the last stanza of Bridge Over Troubled Waters, dated it and framed it, then hung it in my office. No one ever knew the miraculous soul transformation that took place that Sunday morning, except my Heavenly Father. And He already knew - about 30 years earlier.

I'd love to how songs or music have impacted your life.  Please share.

Because of Him and Unto Him