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Jan 20

Good morning, Father!
Thank you for the encouragement this morning, giving me a new outlet, a new tool, a new blessing to be grateful for! Please help me to NOT get overwhelmed and run ahead of myself, feeling like every word has to be written perfectly, the first time through. Please guide me in my writing — on that AND in my actual daily work — help me to lean on you and follow you and not get all tangled up in my own expectations. Amen!

 
Psalm 5:2-8,11-12 ERV

My God and King, listen to my prayer.
Every morning, LORD, I lay my gifts before you and look to you for help. And every morning you hear my prayers.
God, you don’t want evil people near you. They cannot stay in your presence.
Fools cannot come near you. You hate those who do evil.
You destroy those who tell lies. LORD, you hate those who make secret plans to hurt others.
But by your great mercy, I can enter your house. I can worship in your holy Temple with fear and respect for you.
LORD, show me your right way of living, and make it easy for me to follow. People are looking for my weaknesses, so show me how you want me to live.
 
But let those who trust in you be happy forever. Protect and strengthen those who love your name.
LORD, when you bless good people, you surround them with your love, like a large shield that protects them.

 
Lord, I thank you for all your mercies, especially that shield that protects me so well! Even if I do not deserve it, nor ever could earn it (hence, mercy!). I do not wish for the punishment of anyone, even those who have hurt me most, so I cut out the verses above, where David asks for you to punish HIS enemies. I hope that is okay, Lord. Please reveal it to me, if it is prideful or otherwise against you, to have absolutely no desire to see anyone, anywhere, suffer any sorrow or pain. It seems that the verses that define LOVE do not leave much room for such bitterness, and you say that vengeance belongs to YOU, yet I also know that you are righteous and “don’t want evil people near you.” Still, it does not SEEM that I need to carry around any wish for anyone’s harm. I thank you for letting me be free of that burden, Shepherd! 😀

 

Jan 19

Hello, Lord!
Thank you for the craziness of this day, for all your provisions and mercies and growth. Thank you for giving us each enough HOPE to hold onto, to be reassured that you really do care about our hearts, not just our spirits. You are so much MORE than the religious depiction of a righteous God who doles out punishments and rewards, lol! Thank you for allowing me to know you — and be known of you — on such a more intimate, moment-to-moment level. Thank you for your awesomeness, Father, and thank you for allowing me to catch a glimpse of a small corner of it. Amen! 😀

 
Psalm 68:33-35 ERV

Sing to him who rides his chariot through the ancient skies. Listen to his powerful voice!
Tell everyone how powerful he is! He rules over Israel. His power fills the skies.
God, you are awesome in your Temple! The God of Israel is the one who gives strength and power to his people. Praise God!

 
Ephesians 1:17-20 ERV

I always pray to the great and glorious Father, the God of our Lord Jesus Christ. I pray that he will give you the Spirit, who will let you know truths about God and help you understand them, so that you will know him better.
I pray that God will open your minds to see his truth. Then you will know the hope that he has chosen us to have. You will know that the blessings God has promised his holy people are rich and glorious.
And you will know that God’s power is very great for us who believe. It is the same as the mighty power
he used to raise Christ from death and put him at his right side in the heavenly places.

 
Father, I trust you completely. Please intervene into our lives and provide for our needs for shelter, food, and even transportation. Please provide a way for me to get an eye exam and new contact lenses before these ones mess up my eyes irreparably. Show me what I must do, and give me the courage and humility to obey, to choose your way over whatever I might think is right at the time. Thank you for pruning so many unnecessary things out of our lives, so that we have fewer choices and distractions. Thank you for always closing the right doors and opening the right doors, so that we know where your will lies. Please continue to guide us individually and as a family, Lord. Preserve us, for your glory. Amen.

 

Jan 18

Hello, Father!
Thank you for the awesome night, even being awake for a couple or a few hours in the night, like a little oasis of wakefulness in the sea of sleeping, lol. Thank you for making me flexible and cheerful, so that such things like that do not disturb or distract me. Thank you for making me an incurable optimist! 🙂 Father, I thank you for the awesome opportunity that is LIFE! I have an overabundance of JOY, so I thank you for giving me at least some ways to get some of it OUT, so I do not explode! Lord, I can’t help but notice that I have this overflowing joy, but NO money — even facing eviction with NO means of transportation at all — but yet I am certain that there are many people out there who have an abundance of money, and are lacking joy. I would give my joy away for free, knowing full well that I can never empty any well that YOU fill, Lord. The more joy is shared, the more it grows. There’s no escape, haha! Father, I know that you will provide. I have no doubt about that. But I do ask that you bless anyone who blesses me — let there be a way for me to “infect” others with my joy — whether they have anything to give in return or not. Amen.

 
Psalm 30 ERV

A song of David for the dedication of the Temple. LORD, you lifted me out of my troubles. You did not give my enemies a reason to laugh, so I will praise you.
LORD my God, I prayed to you, and you healed me.
LORD, you lifted me out of the grave. I was falling into the place of death, but you saved my life.
Praise the LORD, you who are loyal to him! Praise his holy name!
His anger lasts for a little while, but then his kindness brings life. The night may be filled with tears, but in the morning we can sing for joy!
When I was safe and secure, I thought nothing could hurt me.
Yes, LORD, while you were kind to me, I felt that nothing could defeat me. But when you turned away from me, I was filled with fear.
So, LORD, I turned and prayed to you. I asked you, Lord, to show me mercy.
I said, “What good is it if I die and go down to the grave? The dead just lie in the dirt. They cannot praise you. They cannot tell anyone how faithful you are.
LORD, hear my prayer, and be kind to me. LORD, help me!”
You have changed my sorrow into dancing. You have taken away my sackcloth and clothed me with joy.
You wanted me to praise you and not be silent. LORD my God, I will praise you forever!

 
Lord, I thank you that you literally DID save me from the grave! When I was only 5 years old, and barely that, the crazy old people put me in the ground for their stupid sacrifice, probably assuming I would not live through it. But you came to me, Lord. When I felt I could not hold onto life, and no longer wanted to, when the bugs had begun to penetrate by body and I could not stop them, you appeared to me like a little child, the most beautiful form of “human” I have ever seen, and your presence and your words gave me LIFE! I still wish I could have stayed with you then, especially since they pulled me out of the ground, found me breathing, and plunged me into icy water which I will never forget! The reality of this life is harsh in many ways, but I thank you that you do not give me ALL those harshnesses all at once. I may be facing homelessness for the umpteenth time in my life — this time without a car! — but right now, I am WARM, and dry, and I have enough food, and my daily contact lenses are lasting for weeks at a time, each one — and I still have a couple left — and above all, I feel abundantly RICH with love and joy and peace. Father, if it be possible, I ask you to let me give away some of these uncountable blessings in exchange for some money or other help, for my family. Help my husband and daughter. Provide for them, Father, as you have always provided for me. I know you will. I trust you completely. Amen. 😀

 

Jan 17

Good morning, Father!
Thank you so much for the breakthrough in thought yesterday, prompting my husband to start cleaning up his houseload, and both of us to start thinking of the REAL possibility of moving SOON! Lord, I trust you completely. You have never let me down, my entire life! I know that wherever you have me to move, it will be just right for my needs. And wherever you have my husband and daughter to stay — either with me or apart for a time — will be just right for them, as well. Father, I ask you to work some miracles in our lives, bring the right people to purchase all my husband’s items that he’s accumulated these past 7 years, and perhaps even some people to purchase my art. Bring us bearded dragon lovers to purchase our remaining animals, and give them good homes. And help me to find a way to get my books and craft supplies — most of which is already packed and ready to go, thanks to your provision — into storage unless I will be moving to a place where they will fit just fine. Thank you, Lord. I trust you completely.

 
Proverbs 3:3-8 ERV

Don’t ever let love and loyalty leave you. Tie them around your neck, and write them on your heart.
Then God will be pleased and think well of you and so will everyone else.
Trust the LORD completely, and don’t depend on your own knowledge.
With every step you take, think about what he wants, and he will help you go the right way.
Don’t trust in your own wisdom, but fear and respect the LORD and stay away from evil.
If you do this, it will be like a refreshing drink and medicine for your body.

 
Lord, I thank you for teaching me more and more all the time, how to trust you completely. Even before all but one of my children were born, over two decades ago now, when I found myself unexpectedly homeless with a young child, I danced down the road, carrying my things and singing, “God’s gonna do something COOL!” and a man picked us up and let us sleep in his living room until we could get a car (and sleep in that, lol). I trusted you then, and I trust you sooooo much more now! Thank you for giving me more safety and security than I’ve ever felt in my life. Thank you, because I know you will lead myself and my husband to the right places to stay while we recover from our financial disasters and lack of transportation. Haha, I’ve been almost an entire year now without a car — many times longer than I’ve ever been since I was 16 years old! And I have way MORE joy and peace and contentment than I ever thought possible. Thank you, Lord. I trust you with my life AND with my heart. Amen. 🙂

 

Jan 16

Good morning, Lord.
Thank you for a very quick but good night of sleep, and thank you for getting me up a bit earlier today so I can get busy, busy, busy building, building, building! 🙂 Thank you for giving me so much work to do, so I can not have idle time to sit and mull over all the things that COULD happen in the coming months. Instead, I have a FUN idea of what could happen, and I just stay excited about that. Thank you for making me an incurable optimist, Father! Please show me how to best share with others all the gifts you have given me. Teach me how to “infect” other people with my joy and peace and enthusiasm, and HOPE! Thank you for your awesome care and guidance, faithful Shepherd. 😀

 
Galatians 4:6-9 ERV

Since you are now God’s children, he has sent the Spirit of his Son into your hearts. The Spirit cries out, “Abba, Father.”
Now you are not slaves like before. You are God’s children, and you will receive everything he promised his children.
In the past you did not know God. You were slaves to gods that were not real.
But now you know the true God. Really, though, it is God who knows you. So why do you turn back to the same kind of weak and useless rules you followed before? Do you want to be slaves to those things again?

 
Lord, my greatest delight is that I am known of you, that your Spirit bubbles up within me with such joy, bringing me peace even when there is none to be found in the external world. I delight in seeing you in your Creation, in the crinkle of an old man’s happy eyes, in the tough, weathered rocks jutting out from the landscape, in the shiny wet moss of a forest floor — and so many more things that I could never even see them all! I thank you for these treasures, and the ability to appreciate them. Thank you for making me yours, so that there is so much in this world to LOVE!

 

Jan 15

Good morning, Father!
Thank you for the awesome delight of knowing you, and being known by you, Father! I honestly feel more safe and secure than at any other time of my life, despite the fact that we are once again facing eviction, and this year, we do not have ANY transportation besides our own feet! Haha, still, despite all the crazy losses and supposed lackings in my external life, I feel like I have an overabundance on the inside, Lord! What need do I have that you do not fill? I have peace, I have joy, I have HOPE! I even have a phone that will allow me to continue to work, best as I can, from just about anywhere. I have this awesome clarity of sight, looking back and seeing how you have been faithful and taken such awesome good care of me, all these long years of my life. My only prayer is that you help me to always be faithful to YOU! 😀

 
Job 5:9-26 ERV

People cannot understand the wonderful things God does. His miracles are too many to count.
He sends rain all over the earth and waters the fields.
He raises up the humble and makes sad people happy.
He spoils the plans of even the smartest people so that they will not succeed.
He catches those who think they are wise in their own clever traps and brings to an end their evil plans.
Daylight will be like darkness for them. Even at noon they will have to feel their way as in the dark.
God saves the poor from the hurtful words of the wicked. He saves them from those who are powerful.
So the poor have hope; God shuts the mouths of those who would cause them harm.
“You are fortunate when God corrects you. So don’t complain when God All-Powerful punishes you.
God might injure you, but he will bandage those wounds. He might hurt you, but his hands also heal.
He will save you again and again. No evil will harm you.
God will save you from death when there is famine. He will protect you from the sword when there is war.
People might say bad things about you with their sharp tongues. But God will protect you. You will not be afraid when bad things happen!
You will laugh at destruction and famine. You will not be afraid of wild animals!
It is as if you have a peace treaty with the wild animals and the rocks in the field.
You will live in peace because your tent is safe. You will count your property and find nothing missing.
You will have many children. They will be as many as the blades of grass on the earth.
You will be like the wheat that grows until harvest time. Yes, you will live to a ripe old age.

 
Lord, I am in awe of your mercy, your grace, your awesomeness!! This morning in the shower I felt prompted to read Job chapter 4, not knowing what was there. I really did not think that ANY of Job’s friends were wise, that they all just made it even harder for him to be faithful to you. But here is this man Eliphaz, and at least in chapters 4 and 5 he sounds very wise, indeed. He reminded Job that Job himself had encouraged others when they fell upon hard times. And now Eliphaz is encouraging Job to put his trust and hope in God, reminding Job of God’s kindness, mercy, and righteousness. And I could hardly choose a part of those wonderful two chapters to paste in this post, but of COURSE I had to include the part about nature, lol. Thank you, Lord, for all the treasures you have hidden in my heart, even the ones I have received in abundance, this very morning. I trust you completely. Amen.

 
For my own future reference:
“God saves the poor from the sword, from their mouth, and from the hand of the mighty” (v.15KJV) = He keeps SAFE and FREE the acquiescent ones (those who accept and obey without protest) [from the mini blade, the mini tongue, the mini hand of the violent ones). {Job 4:9 = mini wind/breath/spirit of God}

 

Jan 14

Good morning, Lord!
Thank you for your care, and for strengthening my husband and myself and my children. Thank you for keeping us all safe and nurturing us, Father. Thank you, awesome Shepherd, for leading me gently each day, showing me where you would have me to walk, and how to do things your way. Thank you for giving me courage, hope, and joy. Thank you for peace in the house and peace inside me. Thank you, for the wonderful gift of learning, and my delight and enthusiasm for it! 😀

 
Psalm 19 ERV

To the director: A song of David. The heavens tell about the glory of God. The skies announce what his hands have made.
Each new day tells more of the story, and each night reveals more and more about God’s power.
You cannot hear them say anything. They don’t make any sound we can hear.
But their message goes throughout the world. Their teaching reaches the ends of the earth. The sun’s tent is set up in the heavens.
It comes out like a happy bridegroom from his bedroom. It begins its path across the sky like an athlete eager to run a race.
It starts at one end of the sky and runs all the way to the other end. Nothing can hide from its heat.
The LORD’S teachings are perfect. They give strength to his people. The LORD’S rules can be trusted. They help even the foolish become wise.
The LORD’S laws are right. They make people happy. The LORD’S commands are good. They show people the right way to live.
Learning respect for the LORD is good. It will last forever. The LORD’S judgments are right. They are completely fair.
His teachings are worth more than pure gold. They are sweeter than the best honey dripping from the honeycomb.
His teachings warn his servants, and good things come to those who obey them.

People cannot see their own mistakes, so don’t let me commit secret sins.
Don’t let me do what I know is wrong. Don’t let sin control me. If you help me, I can be pure and free from sin.
May my words and thoughts please you. LORD, you are my Rock–the one who rescues me.

 
Father, I thank you so much for helping me to completely quit drinking all alcohol last year, for it seems to be one of the keys to being productive and joyous and FREE! Still, I realize that it is really YOU, Lord, who has set me FREE, and who is filling me with YOUR goodness and mercy and Light! Despite all the negative things that surround me in this physical world, every day I have a measure of joy that I feel is spilling over into my work, my words, my art, my hands, and even coloring my eyesight, lol. For the first time in my life, I feel like I am protected with some kind of armor that goes with me, shielding me, wherever I go and whatever I do — and even whatever thoughts come into my head! Even if this sensation of safety were to dissipate this very day, Lord, I thank you for allowing me to taste of this sweet wine of your love and favor THIS day, this moment, and in this life. It is ENOUGH. Help me to continue to accept whatever comes of your hand and your will, Lord. I completely trust you. Amen.

 

Jan 13

Good morning, Father!
Thank you so much for all the good fellowship in the early hours of this day, thank you for laughter and gentle understandings. Thank you for working on me and on my family, Lord. Thank you for your awesome care and growth! Lord, I feel so content and lacking nothing, but I still ask that you provide enough money for rent, so we do not get evicted. Thank you for providing what I needed to pay the super-overdue internet bill, so I can continue to work from home. Thank you for giving me stamina and a supreme love of learning, making it easy and even FUN to work at all hours of the day — even waking up at 3am to write the beginning of my next piece, lol. I am very encouraged, and I trust you completely, Lord. Please comfort and encourage my husband’s heart, draw him ever closer to you during this time that he is struggling, Oh Lord. Amen!

 
1 Peter 3:10-22 ERV

The Scriptures say, “If you want to enjoy true life and have only good days, then avoid saying anything hurtful, and never let a lie come out of your mouth.
Stop doing what is wrong, and do good. Look for peace, and do all you can to help people live peacefully.
The Lord watches over those who do what is right, and he listens to their prayers.
But he is against those who do evil.”
If you are always trying to do good, no one can really harm you.
But you may suffer for doing right. If that happens, you have God’s blessing. “Don’t be afraid of the people who make you suffer; don’t be worried.
But keep the Lord Christ holy in your hearts. Always be ready to answer everyone who asks you to explain about the hope you have.
But answer them in a gentle way with respect. Keep your conscience clear. Then people will see the good way you live as followers of Christ, and those who say bad things about you will be ashamed of what they said.
It is better to suffer for doing good than for doing wrong. Yes, it is better if that is what God wants.
Christ himself suffered when he died for you, and with that one death he paid for your sins. He was not guilty, but he died for people who are guilty. He did this to bring all of you to God. In his physical form he was killed, but he was made alive by the Spirit.
And by the Spirit he went and preached to the spirits in prison.
Those were the spirits who refused to obey God long ago in the time of Noah. God was waiting patiently for people while Noah was building the big boat. And only a few–eight in all–were saved in the boat through the floodwater.
And that water is like baptism, which now saves you. Baptism is not the washing of dirt from the body. It is asking God for a clean conscience. It saves you because Jesus Christ was raised from death.
Now he has gone into heaven. He is at God’s right side and rules over angels, authorities, and powers.

 
Lord, you know all, you see all, and I trust you. Please strengthen the heart of my husband, encourage him and help him to accept the peace that comes of a clean conscience, from acknowledging Jesus and from realizing that what has already been accomplished is ENOUGH. We forget, Lord. It’s not that we humans do not value what Christ did for us, it is that we think we should do something ourselves, something to earn it, or at least something that WE can be proud of. But that’s a trap. It keeps our hearts HERE, and our eyes on ourselves. Help us, Holy Spirit, to instead put our hearts and minds on you, and only desire to please you, not ourselves, and not our fellow humans. We need your mercy and grace to guide us, Shepherd. Amen.

 

Jan 12

Good morning, Lord!
Thank you for the awesome warm weather lately – 80 degrees yesterday, in January!! And now it is already 69 degrees, while I sit on the porch, typing on my phone and listening to birds sing and the distant train rumble. Father, you see that my computer is on the fritz again, and you know everything I can and cannot do on my phone, if I were to lose my computer all together. I trust you, Lord. Completely. It was so peaceful yesterday, going for a 3 hour walk, and even stopping to sit on a bench and actually do some work! That was so cool! Thank you for providing this phone for me, and the awesome service that you led me to, for only $13/month! I am truly grateful, Father! 🙂

 
Matthew 11:25-30 ERV

Then Jesus said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth. I am thankful that you have hidden these things from those who are so wise and so smart. But you have shown them to people who are like little children.
Yes, Father, you did this because it’s what you really wanted to do.
“My Father has given me everything. No one knows the Son–only the Father knows the Son. And no one knows the Father–only the Son knows the Father. And the only people who will know about the Father are those the Son chooses to tell.
“Come to me all of you who are tired from the heavy burden you have been forced to carry. I will give you rest.
Accept my teaching. Learn from me. I am gentle and humble in spirit. And you will be able to get some rest.
Yes, the teaching that I ask you to accept is easy. The load I give you to carry is light.”

 
Thank you, Lord, for making me like a little child, full of wonder and excitement and thrill at the world around me. Thank you for giving me a heart filled with thankfulness, lol! Father, I lift my needs and the needs of my family up to you, and I ask you to provide for our needs, and make our hearts strong. Help us to trust you no matter what, Lord. Because you ARE faithful. You have never left us nor forsaken us, and truly the load you give us to carry is light. You are there beside us, and when we stumble, you offer to help. If we are humble and accept your way instead of fighting to do things our own way, then we have peace, and we are free enough to feel JOY! Thank you for making things so simple, Lord. It may not always be easy, but it IS simple. 🙂

 

Jan 11

Good morning, Father!
Thank you so much for the nice, encouraging dream, which truly seems to reflect my life in a way that I could not even try to explain. It was like a mirror, and very encouraging indeed! Thank you, Lord, for teaching me even as I sleep. I still remember the lessons and practice from a few hours before I got out of bed. How awesome you are, my Shepherd! Lord, I am nearly overwhelmed with all the things I want to do today — my regular 3 dailies, plus working on Spanish Trading Cards, plus I really want to go for a nice long walk today, seeing as it is supposed to be in the upper 70’s! And I have been so excited about all the awesome things I’m learning through The Great Courses, too! Father, I give you my time, my mind, my body, my heart. Show me what YOU would have me do today, and let me be content with that. I trust you, Lord!

 
Isaiah 35 ERV

The dry desert will rejoice. The desert will be glad and blossom.
It will be covered with flowers and dance with joy. It will be as beautiful as the forest of Lebanon, the hill of Carmel, and the Sharon Valley. This will happen because all people will see the Glory of the LORD. They will see the beauty of our God.
Make the weak arms strong again. Strengthen the weak knees.
People are afraid and confused. Say to them, “Be strong! Don’t be afraid!” Look, your God will come and punish your enemies. He will come and give you your reward. He will save you.
Then the eyes of the blind will be opened so that they can see, and the ears of the deaf will be opened so that they can hear.
Crippled people will dance like deer, and those who cannot speak now will use their voices to sing happy songs. This will happen when springs of water begin to flow in the dry desert.
Now people see mirages that look like water, but then there will be real pools of water. There will be wells in the dry land where water flows from the ground. Tall water plants will grow where wild animals once ruled.
There will be a road there. This highway will be called “The Holy Road.” Evil people will not be allowed to walk on that road. No fools will walk on it. Only good people will walk there.
There will be no dangers on that road. There will be no lions there to hurt people or any dangerous animals on it. That road will be for the people God saves.
The LORD will make his people free, and they will come back to him. They will come into Zion rejoicing. They will be happy forever. Their happiness will be like a crown on their heads. Gladness and joy will fill them completely. Sorrow and sadness will be far, far away.

 
I have highlighted my favorite parts of this awesome promise from God’s heart. What are your favorite parts, Dear Reader? 😀

 

Jan 10

Good morning, Lord.
Thank you for your kindness, your faithfulness, your nurturing care. Thank you for warmer weather again today! Please help me to feel strong and enthusiastic, to go for a nice walk today! Thank you for filling my heart with love, even for those who might consider me an “enemy” without even knowing me. Thank you for always faithfully protecting me, not allowing things that are not of you to attack me or wear me down. Thank you for giving me a measure of discernment and wisdom, just enough to keep standing, but still holding tight to you, so I don’t get prideful, thinking I don’t need help. I DO need help, Lord. I DO need YOU! 😀

 
Proverbs 30:9-16 ERV

If I have too much, I might deny that I need you, LORD. But if I am too poor, I might steal and bring shame to the name of my God.
Never say bad things about a slave to his master. If you do, he will curse you, and you will suffer for it.
Some people curse their fathers and refuse to bless their mothers.
Some people think they are pure, but they have done nothing to remove the filth of their sin.
Some people are so proud of themselves, and they look down on everyone else.
There are people whose teeth are like swords and their jaws like knives. They take everything they can from the poor.
Greedy people know only two things: “Give me,” and “Give me.” There are three other things that are never satisfied–really, four things that never have enough:
the place of death, a woman with no children, dry ground that needs rain, and a fire that will never stop by itself.

 
Lord, I thank you that I have never been so poor that I had to steal to stay alive, or to keep my children alive. I do see my husband struggling, however, knowing he could make money by doing illegal things, but choosing not to. Please reward him, Father, with your help and your provision. Show him that you are caring for him, and help us to find a way out of our financial troubles. I know you will provide, Lord, for you always have. I have always had everything I need, even as a small abused child of only 3 or 4 or 5 years of age. You took care of me then, in a lot the same way that you take care of me now — I have peace that passes all comprehension, and joy that is not explained by my circumstances. Thank you for your closeness and your care, Lord God. I trust you completely. Amen. 🙂

 

Jan 9

Hello, Father!
Thank you for the awesome comfort I felt this morning, sooooo peaceful and cozy! Thank you for a nice shower and the ability to go outside and sit on the porch in the SUN! Thank you for peace in the house, enough food to eat, and enough work to keep me busy indefinitely! Father, I am growing more concerned about money, not being able to pay rent or get myself much-needed contact lenses, or even to pay my internet bill! I give these needs to you and ask you to provide, as I know that you will. You have never let me down, Lord. You are always ENOUGH. Thank you for your daily care and encouragement. Thank you for taking such good care of me and my husband and my children. Please bless my friend in New York with peace and HOPE and a lifting of her spirits. Amen! 🙂

 
Hebrews 11:1-6 ERV

Faith is what makes real the things we hope for. It is proof of what we cannot see.
God was pleased with the people who lived a long time ago because they had faith like this.
Faith helps us understand that God created the whole world by his command. This means that the things we see were made by something that cannot be seen.
Cain and Abel both offered sacrifices to God. But Abel offered a better sacrifice to God because he had faith. God said he was pleased with what Abel offered. And so God called him a good man because he had faith. Abel died, but through his faith he is still speaking.
Enoch was carried away from this earth, so he never died. The Scriptures tell us that before he was carried off, he was a man who pleased God. Later, no one knew where he was, because God had taken Enoch to be with him. This all happened because he had faith.
Without faith no one can please God. Whoever comes to God must believe that he is real and that he rewards those who sincerely try to find him.

 
Lord, I ask you to touch the ones who are struggling with faith today. Lift up their eyes to see your glory and help them to truly understand your faithfulness. Let your Holy Spirit minister to your children, Lord, and guide us in the path you would have each of us to walk. Reward our obedience with a sense of your presence, your closeness, your breath. Encourage our hearts to stand and not grow weary or faint, no matter how we are challenged today in this world. Amen.

 

Jan 8

Hello, Father.
I thank you for working on me, still. I thank you for healing me so much already. I thank you also for all the healing you’ve done in my daughter, most of which I haven’t even been aware was needed. Thank you for her calm demeanor in dealing with her father who has been trying to insert himself back into her life. She does seem to have more bitter desire for revenge than I have ever tasted myself, and less willingness to forgive, so I ask you to heal her of that, Father. Please work on her, so that her joy is not swallowed up in sorrow. Lead her to a place of forgiveness and letting go, as you have with me so many countless times. And help me to rest in that place of forgiveness as well, that I may be strong and not weakened by my own sorrow or anger. Strengthen us with your peace and goodness, and help us to walk in your mercy, Lord, showing mercy to all others, abundantly. Amen.

 
James 1:19-27 ERV

My dear brothers and sisters, always be more willing to listen than to speak. Keep control of your anger.
Anger does not help you live the way God wants.
So get rid of everything evil in your lives–every kind of wrong you do. Be humble and accept God’s teaching that is planted in your hearts. This teaching can save you.
Do what God’s teaching says; don’t just listen and do nothing. When you only sit and listen, you are fooling yourselves.
Hearing God’s teaching and doing nothing is like looking at your face in the mirror
and doing nothing about what you saw. You go away and immediately forget how bad you looked.
But when you look into God’s perfect law that sets people free, pay attention to it. If you do what it says, you will have God’s blessing. Never just listen to his teaching and forget what you heard.
You might think you are a very religious person. But if your tongue is out of control, you are fooling yourself. Your careless talk makes your offerings to God worthless.
The worship that God wants is this: caring for orphans or widows who need help and keeping yourself free from the world’s evil influence. This is the kind of worship that God accepts as pure and good.

 
Lord, I thank you for giving me a husband who is humble enough to look at himself in the mirror of your perfect liberty, growing more free all the time. I thank you for giving me the courage to stand boldly before that same fault-revealing mirror as well, knowing that it is your strength and your mercy that sets us free, and the blood of your Son that cleanses us. Father, I ask you to reveal these same liberating truths to each of my children, and help them to be humble enough to stand before your mirror and allow you to cleanse and heal them as well. And Father, if it be possible, if he has not already committed “the sin unto death”, I ask you to touch the heart of my children’s father some day and help him to stop resisting your mirror and take a good hard look at himself, so that he can be set free, as well. Thank you for loving us crazy little humans, Lord! Amen. 🙂

 

Jan 7

Good morning, Father!
Thank you for the crazy snow yesterday, and for keeping my family warm and safe. Thank you for the HOPE that is 70 degree weather coming back in a few days! Thank you for giving us just enough food to make it, while it is so cold and hard to walk to the store. Please be with each of my children, Lord, and help their lonely hearts. Please prepare the way for each of them to have a good mate, someone just right for them, handpicked by you, Lord. And thank you for restoring the peace and lightheartedness between my husband and myself. Thank you for helping me in my work and in my art, and for showing me new things to do, little bit by little bit, learning more as I walk forward. Thank you for all your awesome blessings, Father!

 
2 Thessalonians 1:11-12 ERV

That is why we always pray for you. We ask our God to help you live the good way he wanted when he chose you. The goodness you have makes you want to do good. And the faith you have makes you work. We pray that with his power God will help you do these things more and more.
Then the name of our Lord Jesus will be honored because of you, and you will be honored because of him. This can happen only by the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.

 
Lord, I thank you that you make us able to love, able to have faith, able to do good things that are pleasing to you. I thank you for growing love in me, Father. Please touch each of my children’s hearts and plant your seeds of love in them as well. Nurture the seeds you plant and help them grow into a fullness and fruitfulness for you. Bring each of my children into an intimate, trusting relationship with you, Lord. Teach them your voice and how to hear and to trust you, Shepherd. Amen. 🙂

 

Jan 6

Brrrrrr… it is COLD today! Thank you though, Lord, for the warm bed where I didn’t have to feel the cold until I got up. Thank you for the nice dream I had, such a peaceful, serene place and a gentle spirit! Thank you for healing the hurts of the last couple days, establishing growth where only pain existed. Truly you are amazing, Lord God! I see now how the times when things seem raw and “chewed up” are actually just ground being prepared for new seeds, and even fertilizer being added to places in the heart where you are making all things new. It may hurt, and it may stink a bit, but if we just yield to your touch, we grow. Thank you, loving Shepherd! I actually feel closer to you and to my earthly husband — BOTH! — than I ever thought possible. I feel full and complete and at peace and content. I keep thinking, how can I possibly grow any more? Am I near the end of my life already? Lord, please bring more people into my life, so that I have somewhere to overflow, some purpose for the overabundance of love and joy and peace in my heart. Thank you, Father. Amen! 😀

 
2 Corinthians 8:11-15 ERV

So now finish the work you started. Then your “doing” will be equal to your “wanting to do.” Give from what you have.
If you want to give, your gift will be accepted. Your gift will be judged by what you have, not by what you don’t have.
We don’t want you to have troubles while others are comforted. We want everything to be equal.
At this time you have plenty and can provide what they need. Then later, when they have plenty, they can provide what you need. Then everyone will have an equal share.
As the Scriptures say, “Those who gathered much did not have too much, and those who gathered little did not have too little.”

 
Wow, how cool is that?! I have sooooo much been feeling like I have an abundance of “wanting to do” and that my “doing” is finally starting to catch up again — more than it has in almost a decade! And here I am, overflowing. And ya know what, I am also finally starting to pay more attention to what I have, than what I do NOT have. I don’t mean in tangible things like what money can buy, but in so called “talent” or “gifts” — that which comes naturally to me, the “skills” or “interests” that are at my very CORE, making up who I AM, as an individual. Even the dream I had last night was in part about giving freely of what comes naturally to me — from a well that I KNOW can never run dry — and having all my other needs met, abundantly. I didn’t want to leave the dream, it felt so much like HOME, a place where I FIT! My strengths were being used to their potential, and everything else I had need of was supplied in return. Simple. Peaceful. And now I see, biblical! 😀

 
Lord, I see evidence in my house and in my past of things I have begun in order to try to make a better income, to support my family. And they sit there, unappreciated and some of them even unfinished. I see things I am doing every single day, with my full heart put into it, giving of the abundance of my strengths that you have given me. But they are not making an income, not as yet anyways. I feel so much joy and love and peace, using my strengths and sharing the unique blessings you have given me! Yet we do not have enough money to pay rent, and even our internet connection is threatened, as I am late paying the bill that was due LAST month, and I don’t have enough to pay it. Yet, peace remains steady, unmovable in my heart like at no other time in my life. Father, I lay the verses above at your feet, alongside my needs, and I ask you in faith, to provide. Amen. Thank you, Shepherd. 🙂

 

Jan 5

Good morning, Father.
Thank you for caring for my heart, all these years. Thank you for being there for me, comforting me with nature, when I was only 3 and 4 and 5 years old. Thank you for helping me yesterday, researching & composing one of my longer posts, despite the hostile environment and poor working conditions. Thank you for being with me this morning, helping me take a shower and protecting me while I was most vulnerable. Thank you for being with me now, while I struggle under the weight of mine own heart, praying for you to help me act wisely despite my hurt. Thank you for caring for me, leading me forward, Shepherd! 🙂

 
Isaiah 11:1-9 ERV

A small tree will begin to grow from the stump of Jesse. That branch will grow from Jesse’s roots.
The LORD’S Spirit will always be with that new king to give him wisdom, understanding, guidance, and power. The Spirit will help him know and respect the LORD.
He will find joy in obeying the LORD. This king will not judge people by the way things look. He will not judge by listening to rumors.
He will judge the poor fairly and honestly. He will be fair when he decides what to do for the poor of the land. If he decides people should be beaten, he will give the command, and they will be beaten. If he decides people must die, he will give the command, and those evil people will be killed. Goodness and fairness will be like a belt he wears around his waist.
Then wolves will live at peace with lambs, and leopards will lie down in peace with young goats. Calves, lions, and bulls will all live together in peace. A little child will lead them.
Bears and cattle will eat together in peace, and all their young will lie down together and will not hurt each other. Lions will eat hay like cattle.
Even snakes will not hurt people. Babies will be able to play near a cobra’s hole and put their hands into the nest of a poisonous snake.
People will stop hurting each other. People on my holy mountain will not want to destroy things because they will know the LORD. The world will be full of knowledge about him, like the sea is full of water.

 
Father, I thank you for Isaiah, and for preserving his words, so that people like myself, even today in this crazy technological society, can still read the words of your heart written through Isaiah, and be comforted, encouraged by your promises, Lord. I find so much strength in reading Isaiah sometimes, Father. Thank you. Thank you for HOPE. I will NOT always hurt. There is comfort and strength in your promises, in your HEART, Lord God. Thank you for sharing your heart with us. Amen.

 

Jan 4

Good morning, Father.
Thank you for showing me some ways to stay warmer, now that the weather has turned cold. Thank you for giving me HOPE, in that next week it is supposed to be warm enough to go for a few walks perhaps! Thank you for giving my husband some hope for work again, too. Please guide him carefully and faithfully, Lord. He has really seemed to be looking to you and accepting your peace a lot more lately, Lord. I pray you help him continue in that way. Keep working on us, Lord, we love you! 😀

 
Colossians 3:1-2 ERV

You were raised from death with Christ. So live for what is in heaven, where Christ is sitting at the right hand of God.
Think only about what is up there, not what is here on earth.

Colossians 3:1-2 KJV

If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.
Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.

 
This is one case in which the King James is more accurate than the simple “Easy Read Version” — although that happens MUCH less frequently than I had ever expected! Focusing on the second verse, we see the radical difference between being told to THINK only about spiritual things, as opposed to setting our affections on them. That’s a pretty huge difference, to me. I think about things all day long, and in fact I must do so, in order to do my work, in order to WRITE about them. And I feel like I am doing what God has given me to do, in doing that work. So when I read this verse this morning, in the ERV, I figured something was “off”. I know that the Spirit and the Word agree, so I suspected there was something wrong with MAN’S interpretation, man’s word.

 
The original Greek word used here is phroneo = to exercise the mind, to have a feeling for or opinion of, or to interest oneself in. This is much more than just “thinking” — this involves your sustained attention and most likely your emotions as well. It reminds me of all the texts I’ve read that declare that we are our attention (as opposed to the more random passage of quickly evaporating thoughts and emotions, which are not really “us”) and that “what you focus on grows”. It also reminds me of several more verses, including laying up treasures in heaven rather than here on earth. And so many more… I better stop, lol.

 
This verse also brought to mind a time when someone told me “don’t be so spiritually minded that you’re no earthly good!”. That was TWENTY-some years ago…! I can’t imagine what she would think of me NOW! And that reminds me of the scene where Jesus scolded Peter, even calling him Satan, telling him he shouldn’t be caring about the things that PEOPLE think are important, but only the things GOD thinks is important. I wrote about that just two days ago… What IS it with my brain bringing up all these related verses all the sudden, lol?! 😛

 

Jan 3

Good morning, Father.
Lord, I ask you to please be near your people as they return to work and their everyday lives, after the holidays and winter break. Teach them how to “Fight off the Post-Vacation Blues“! Thank you, Lord, for teaching me how to enjoy the Little Things, the tiny pleasures of warm water, soft socks, a gentle breeze, fallen leaves, and COLORS!! Thank you for showing me, these last several months, the power of gratitude! Thank you for reminding me, when I start to fall into “the blues” myself, that all I REALLY need to do is just start thanking you for all the Little Things that do NOT suck in my life — and even some that do! — and I will “snap out of it” if I am persistent. Thank you for that little tidbit of wisdom, Father. Please continue your work in me. Amen!

 
Hebrews 13:11-17 ERV

The high priest carries the blood of animals into the Most Holy Place and offers that blood for sins. But the bodies of those animals are burned outside the camp.
So Jesus also suffered outside the city. He died to make his people holy with his own blood.
So we should go to Jesus outside the camp and accept the same shame that he had.
Here on earth we don’t have a city that lasts forever. But we are waiting for the city that we will have in the future.
So through Jesus we should never stop offering our sacrifice to God. That sacrifice is our praise, coming from lips that speak his name.
And don’t forget to do good and to share what you have with others, because sacrifices like these are very pleasing to God.
Obey your leaders. Be willing to do what they say. They are responsible for your spiritual welfare, so they are always watching to protect you. Obey them so that their work will give them joy, not grief. It won’t help you to make it hard for them.

 
Lord, I really cannot picture a time when our “leaders” were concerned with our “spiritual welfare”, but perhaps I am just misunderstanding what this means, as I KNOW your Word is truth, and your heart does not change. I know that you would have us “give to Caesar what is Caesar’s” and that includes taxes and obedience to the laws of the land, as long as they do not go against YOU, Lord. I thank you that I live in a time when my government and my “leaders” are not putting their noses into my spiritual life, demanding that I believe or worship any certain way. I appreciate the FREEDOM we have now, even when the trade-off includes having to deal with intrusive modern technology and the degradation of morals (which has been just as bad in past ages). Please help me to use wisely the freedoms and blessings you have provided for me, Lord. Thank you for showing me how to use modern technology to encourage others! 😀

 

Jan 2

Good morning, Father!
Thank you for another warm day, perhaps the last for a month or so. 🙁 But I will enjoy the indoors, and making my little daily art cards (and bigger art!) and adding to my blogs daily. I may not go for as many walks when it is cold, but I am sure I will find other awesome blessings to be thankful for! I am already grateful for all these unexpectedly warm days we’ve had, most of December! 🙂 Father, I give my work and my health to you. Work is going well, and health is good enough, but I am concerned about my lack of motivation to eat healthy lately. Sure, I eat better than most typical Americans, perhaps, but I am eating worse than I HAD been, before I quit drinking. When will I learn that I do NOT need to comfort myself with anything but YOU?! Help me learn, Father. Help me grow, so I can be more pleasing to you. Amen.

 
Matthew 16:22-27 ERV

Peter took Jesus away from the other followers to talk to him alone. He began to criticize him. He said, “God save you from those sufferings, Lord! That will never happen to you!”
Then Jesus said to Peter, “Get away from me, Satan! You are not helping me! You don’t care about the same things God does. You care only about things that people think are important.
Then Jesus said to his followers, “If any of you want to be my follower, you must stop thinking about yourself and what you want. You must be willing to carry the cross that is given to you for following me.
Any of you who try to save the life you have will lose it. But you who give up your life for me will find true life.
It is worth nothing for you to have the whole world if you yourself are lost.
You could never pay enough to buy back your life.
The Son of Man will come again with his Father’s glory and with his angels. And he will reward everyone for what they have done.

 
Lord, please help me to care more about the things YOU care about, and less about the things my stinky flesh desires. I thank you because I do seem to be growing in many ways, Lord. The love inside me seems to bubble over to people, and my joy sometimes feels like it’s gonna squirt out my ears! I have more patience, and more self-control. But I cannot seem to care enough about my body to feed it the way you taught me, Lord. I make excuses, and convince myself that it’s not so bad. Perhaps it isn’t. I cannot judge that, Lord. All I can do is give it to you, and ask you to give me wisdom and courage and whatever else I need to follow you and do things your way. Lord, I give you my time, my heart, my hands, my mouth. Help me to give you my whole body now. Help me to lose this part of me that I am holding onto, so that I can gain it back, for you. Amen.

 

Jan 1, 2017

Good morning, Lord!
Thank you for this brand-new year, so full of hope and joy! I am a little surprised to be up at 8am today, but I guess it’s not too hard to believe. My mind & heart are so excited! What will I get to create with my Creator THIS year?! I can’t wait to see all the fresh new art and interesting posts and printables we will make together this year, Lord! I have so much hope for 2017! WOOT! Thank you, Father, for this awesome enthusiasm! 😀

 
Galatians 5:22-26 ERV

But the fruit that the Spirit produces in a person’s life is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these kinds of things.
Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified their sinful self. They have given up their old selfish feelings and the evil things they wanted to do.
We get our new life from the Spirit, so we should follow the Spirit.
We must not feel proud and boast about ourselves. We must not cause trouble for each other or be jealous of each other.

 
Well, I may not have any more MONEY this year than last, but I can honestly say that I think every one of the nine fruits of the Spirit has increased in me since I started this blog exactly one year ago! I honestly do not have a clear understanding of the three “vague” fruits — gentleness, kindness, and goodness. But I have DEFINITELY increased in self-control, in faithfulness, and in patience. And my love, joy and peace have increased so much that I feel like I am not the same person at all! WOOT! God is soooooo awesome! But ya know, I am almost frightened at the levels of joy I’ve had lately. Isn’t that silly? But I HAVE said to God, more than a couple times in the last couple weeks: “Lord! Are you fixin’ to take my life soon, cuz I don’t feel like I can hold any more joy than I already have, and there are sooooo many things you COULD bless me with yet — a car, a respectable income, a place to live that is not literally falling apart, toilets that flush and a sink with an actual knob or handle… all these Little Things that I once had, but haven’t had in so long that when I DO get them again, I am concerned that my joy will overflow so much that I will BREAK!” But this morning I realized, God will just have to put more PEOPLE into my life, so that my joy and love can overflow to THEM! HaHA! I think I see how this might could work, Lord. How cool you are! 😀