Wednesday, December 29, 2010


Yesterday morning I had a doctor's visit, and during the course of the visit the doctor asked if I had made any new year's resolutions.  I told him no. This morning I was listening to the local Christian radio station and they were talking about new year's resolutions, and one of the things they brought out was -- what were your accomplishments this past year?  Don't just look at what you want to do, but at how far you have come!  Well, I can happily say that I am studying my Bible more and developing a closer, more meaningful relationship with Christ.  I am become more tender to things of God.  And I have started writing again. 

So what do I want to accomplish this coming year?  Well, I want to get my priorities straight -- God first, family, friends, etc. 

I also know that I need to make a more conscious effort to watch what I say.  Too often I speak before I think, then regret those words.  I need to remember the words of the psalmist, "Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in they sight, O Lord" Ps. 19:14.  So not just my words, but my thoughts, too.  I have this verse posted on my phone at work.  Sometimes I think I need to wear one of those sticks attached to my head that a carrot is usually attached to for horses or donkeys, and put that verse right in front of my eyes at all times! 

Of course, along with spiritual fitness, I want to get into good physical shape, too.  That means hitting the gym on a regular basis and cooking healthier meals. 

One of the last things I want to do is to allow God to guide my relationships (more specifically relationships with someone of the opposite sex), allow Him to be the One to bring someone into my life or take someone out of my life, whichever may be the case.  I want to surrender to His will for that very close, personal relationship I would love to one day have. 

What about you?  What have you accomplished this year, and what do you hope to accomplish next year?

~  Reese

Monday, December 27, 2010

Book Review: Nelson's Biblical Cyclopedic Index

Nelson's Biblical Cyclopedic Index
Published by Thomas Nelson Publishers
Copyright 1979, 1995, 2010

Nelson's Biblical Cyclopedic Index is a listing of words and definitions found throughout the Bible.  The first few pages of the books shows a listing of word studies which can be found throughout.  The word studies give depth to the meaning of the word and how it is used and where it can be found in the Bible. 

Following is an alphabetical listing of words you might want to reference.  Each word you want to look up gives in some cases a short definition, then if necessary breaks down into categories by definition where you can find each word in the Bible.  Each reference is in order of appearance in the Bible.

This book is an excellent research tool for your personal Bible study. You might even find yourself thumbing through and actually reading it!

In order to comply with new Federal Trade Commission regulations, please note that this book was provided compliments of Booksneeze.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

More Christmas thoughts

He left the splendor of heaven,
Knowing His destiny
Was the lonely hill of Golgotha,
There to lay down His life for me.
~ by Dottie Rambo

The song "If That Isn't Love" by Dottie Rambo comes to mind when I think about what Jesus left when He came to earth that Christmas so long ago.  "He left the splendor of heaven!"  How beautiful heaven must be!  And yet He gave that up, already knowing that He was going to die a horrible death on the cross, so that I can one day be in heaven with Him.  As the song says, He came "to lay down His life for me."

In order to understand what Jesus gave up, I believe you have to understand Who Jesus is.  According to the Bible, Jesus is the Word, and He was in the very beginning with God.  Everything was made by Jesus. Nothing was made without Him.  He is also life, and the light of man (John 1:1-5).   If you go back to the very first book of the Bible, the very first chapter, you find that God created the heaven and the earth.  He spoke it into being.  If Jesus created everything (based on John), and God created everything (based on Genesis), you have to understand that Jesus and God are one and the same.  Hebrews 1 tells us that Jesus is God's Son, and that He is the Heir of all things.  He is the one who upholds all things "by the word of His power."  He also "sat down on the right hand of the Mighty on high."  And He is so much better than the angels!  In John 14:8-15 Jesus further states that He and the Father are one.  If you have seen the Son, you have seen the Father.  Jesus gave up, for a time, His position in heaven, His position as the Creator, His position as the One Who holds the world together.  Oh, and He was rejected by God -- remember on the cross where He cried out "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" (Matthew 27:46)  How unspeakable that must have been!

So, why did He come?  Matthew 1:21 says "And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins."  There is no other way to everlasting life with the Father.  Jesus Himself said in John 14:6 "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me."  He is not a way out of many.  He is the only way to everlasting life with the Father. And John 3:16-17 very clearly states  "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.  For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world: but that the world through him might be saved."  He didn't come to punish us.  He came to heal us spiritually, for eternity!

Jesus sole purpose in coming to earth, being born as a baby and being tempted as we are (only without sinning), was to die on the cross as the perfect payment for our sins.  Revelation 13:8 tells us that Jesus is "the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world." Before the world was even created!!!

What did He GAIN when He came?  If you have accepted Jesus as your personal Saviour, He gained you.  For all eternity.  He was willing to lay down His life so you could be with Him!  II Peter 3:9 sums it up, "The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance."  He gives you time to make your decision, but remember indecision can become a decision, as well.

Have a very merry CHRISTmas, and a wonderful new year!  And if you haven't made the most important decision of your life, don't wait any longer.


Humor -- True Story!!

This is Chief
My dad has several miniature horses.  Most of them stand waist high at their shoulders.  The leader of his herd is a stud (until just recently) named Chief -- he still thinks he's the "chief."  Daddy had Chief for sale in the Bulletin Board, and finally sold him to some people in Destin, Florida
Sunday afternoon my dad calls out to my mom "Glenda, you are not going to believe what these people are coming in to get Chief!"  When she asked, he told her a MINI VAN!!  They pull up and the couple gets out, the woman dressed in a full length fur coat and fur boots.  They ask daddy to load Chief into the mini van, and could he please make the horse sit!  Daddy couldn't believe it (I wish I could have seen his face!).  Of course, Chief is having none of this! 
Daddy asked the couple if they had access to a trailer.  Yes, they did.  The woman's mother lives in Prattville and has lots of horses and has a horse trailer.  When they called to ask if they could borrow it, she flat out told them no!  Wonder why?
Daddy told them that if they would give him gas money, he would trailer Chief to Destin for them. 
Guess where they are going to keep the horse?  They have special permission from their subdivision home owners association to keep a miniature horse in their back yard!  I'm sure the association thought miniature horse equalled dog-size!  And what are the neighbors going to do when they start smelling horse?  And what is the horse going to do when he finds out he doesn't have 35 acres to roam anymore?

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Thoughts of the first CHRISTmas

Once again my thoughts are turned to Christmas.  Not the trappings of our modern Christmas, but that first Christmas so long ago.

Mary was such a young girl to have made such a strong decision for God!  And what did it cost her?  Her family, neighbors, village, and even Joseph probably considered her a harlot.  At least to begin with.  She was ostracized, an outcast, if not physically, surely by people's words and actions.  Mary was not perfect, she was a sinner just like us, but she made a life changing decision to obey God.

Joseph legally could have had Mary stoned for becoming pregnant out of wedlock.  Instead, he obeyed God and accepted her as his wife.  He took care of her and did not have relations with her until after Jesus was born.  Imagine how he must have felt to know that God had chosen him to raise God's own Son?  I am sure there was some fear and trepidation at the thought of that!

Although Joseph and Mary lived in Nazareth, God arranged for them to travel to Bethlehem for the birth of Jesus.  Mary was pregnant, ready to deliver Jesus, and made a hard journey of several days.  Most doctors of our time would not allow that.

Jesus was born in a BARN!  Barns STINK and are VERY DIRTY!!  Have you ever tried mucking out a stall?  And the manger was a feeding trough!  But that's all that was available for Jesus, God's Son. 

The angel, and then the heavenly host, appeared to the shepherds in their fields at night.  When I think further on this I realize that shepherds were some of the lowest of the low.  Thinking further, wasn't Jesus the great shepherd?  Didn't He call us His sheep?  By the way, I know from personal experience that sheep are VERY DUMB!!  Also, isn't Jesus called the Lamb of God?  Makes me wonder...  By the way, what would I have done if angels unexpectedly appeared to me at night?  I probably would have been frozen in fear!

The wise men who came and worshipped Jesus came from the east.  From very far away.  They were not of His own people.  But they were the ones who brought Him great gifts, and their belief in Him.

Satan tried to get rid of Jesus from the very beginning of His earthly life.  Didn't Herod, the king, have all the baby boys under two years old who were in and around Bethlehem killed?  Think of the great cry of the people that was heard that night as Joseph, Mary and the infant Jesus fled to Egypt!

God's plan for the salvation of man came long before the birth of His Son Jesus.  However, history changed forever on that lonely night in Bethlehem, and I am so glad it did!

I am sure you can come up with more thoughts for reflection about that first Christmas.  My family and I hope that the true meaning of Christmas becomes the central part of your Christmas season this year!

Merry CHRISTmas!

~ Reese

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Book Review: Jungle Warfare

Jungle Warfare
A Basic Field Manual for Christians in Sales
by Christopher A. Cunningham
Published by Thomas Nelson Publishers
Copyright 2010

This book is a 22-day Bible study for people in the area of sales.  Although I am not in sales, I found this book applicable to my own daily life. 

What makes this book unique is the use of Mr. Cunningham's grandfather's World War II basic field manual for jungle warfare.  I found this interesting and attractive, since my own grandfather served in World War II.  The book is separated into two sections, with the first section including the Bible study and the second section dedicated to questions and answers.  Each day of the Bible study begins with a section from the field manual, which is then followed by Bible passages and a lesson on how to apply both the field guide and the Bible study to your every day life.  The question and answer section brings up topics that concern salesmen such as "What if my customers don't like me?"  With scripturally based answers. 

I found this to be a very interesting book from start to finish. And as I mentioned earlier, even though I am not in sales, I found many ideas I can apply to my life. I would recommend it to any Christian salesman, or anyone who is interested in World War II.

In order to comply with new Federal Trade Commission regulations, please note that this book was provided compliments of Booksneeze.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Music for the soul

Sunday evening my church, East Memorial Baptist Church in Prattville, Alabama, had it's Christmas musical.  The mood was set, the lights were off in the auditorium, and the spots were on the choir and orchestra. Music was offered up giving praise and glory to my God and His Son, Jesus.  I had been studying all afternoon Sunday in preparation for writing yesterday's blog, and was emotionally very tender.  So as I sat listening to the musical, I was not surprised that a song or two gripped me and moved me close to tears.  I told myself I really needed to get a handle on my emotions!  Someone might see my tears!  Suddenly a song came through the air, and it sounded like what you would imagine the choirs of heaven singing!  There was a soloist with choir backup, different parts -- words, melodies -- all hitting at the same time, making such beautiful music.  I certainly can't tell you what the name of the song was, or even what the words were, I can tell you that the tears came fast!  I couldn't help thinking what my grandfather is hearing in heaven, what the heavenly choirs might be singing in the presence of God, because if what I was hearing on earth was so wonderful, what must it be like in heaven?  And to think that one day I'll be a participant!

Have you ever been deeply touched by music?

~  Reese

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

I am convinced Jesus is the Messiah!

Ever since I was a little kid, my parent's ceramic nativity set (above) has fascinated me!  There are shepherds, wise men, sheep, donkeys, camels, an angel, and of course Joseph, Mary and the baby Jesus.  I was fortunate enough to inherit this set from my parents a few years ago.  Now I set it up each year and my sons and I can admire it and remember the true meaning of Christmas. 

What makes this set so special is that it was lovingly crafted by my grandmother, Mrs. Dot Coon in 1973.  Turn each piece over and you will find her name and the year she worked on the piece.  Grandma Coon put a lot of love, preparation and time into each piece.

If you know anything about ceramics, you know you must first take a raw piece of material and clean and prepare it for painting.  All the seams and rough places have to be removed. You have to apply a base coat. You then layer on the colors, and if you are good like my grandmother was, you also apply shading and highlights for extra depth and life.  Then you must finish the piece by sealing it so your painting will last for years to come. 

Just as hours of thought, preparation and hard work went into my grandmother's work, even much greater was the thought, preparation and time put into the birth of the Saviour.  Revelation 13:8 points out that Jesus is "the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world."  God had a plan, and that plan has always been, from before the beginning of time, the death and resurrection of His Son as payment for our sins.  Also see I Peter 1:17-21.

There are many prophecies in the Bible that point toward the Messiah.  They say when He will be born, where He will be born and how He will be born just to name a few.  These prophecies begin in the very beginning of the Bible, in Genesis 3:15 right after the first sins had been committed by Adam and Eve.  God gave the promise of a Redeemer, and in God's words to Satan for his part in the sin, He said "And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel."  Genesis 12:3 says that the Messiah would be of the seed of Abraham.  Later, it was prophesied that the throne of David would be established forever.  II Chronicles 21:7 "Howbeit the Lord would not destroy the house of David, because of the covenant he had made with David, and as he promised to give a light to him and to his sons forever."

Not only does the Bible say that the Messiah would come out of the nation of Israel, it also states that the Messiah would be born of a virgin.  Isaiah 7:14 says "Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel (meaning God with us!!)."  Genesis 3:15 also hints at the same. 

Lastly, the Bible says where the Messiah would be born.  In Micah 5:1-5 the prophets say that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem.  Jeremiah 31:15 says there would be great weeping at the death of the children.   And Hoseah 11:1 says that he would be called out of Egypt. 

So how do we know that Jesus is the Messiah?  Each of the above prophecies was fulfilled through the birth of Jesus.  In Luke 1:31 the angel told Mary that she would conceive and bring forth a son, and when Mary asked how that could happen since she had never known a man (was a virgin), the angel further explained in verse 35 "The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God."  Matthew 1:18-25 tells that Mary was found to be with child BEFORE she and Joseph came together.  Joseph considered divorcing her quietly, but the angel of the Lord appeared to him in verse 20 and said "Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost."  Verse 23 of the same chapter is a direct quote of Isaiah 7:14 "Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel."  Joseph "did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife: and knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and called his name Jesus" (verses 24 and 25).

Remember that the prophecies told that Jesus would be born of the line of David?  Matthew 1:1-17 gives this genealogy.  Matt 1:1 "the book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham."  Note that verse 17 says "and Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus who is called Christ."  Joseph's right as Jesus' father was as of an adoptive father, not a physical father.  But Jesus was Joseph's son by law. Also, this verse specifically points out that Jesus was of Mary.

God moves in His own way.  He works things out to His own will.  Joseph and Mary did not live in Bethlehem at the time of Jesus' birth.  They lived in Nazareth.  But because Joseph's family was of Bethlehem they were required to travel there to be taxed, and while there God brought about the birth of Jesus.  Matthew 2:1 states that Jesus was born in Bethlehem.  This is a fulfillment of Micah 5:2.  Matthew 13-18 describes the visit of the angel to Joseph in a dream, warning him to take his family and flee to Egypt to flee death by Herod.  Verse 15 points out that they were in Egypt until the death of Herod "that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of by the Lord by the prophet, saying, 'out of Egypt have I called my Son.'"  This was a fulfillment of Jeremiah 31:15.  Verse 15 tells how Herod ordered the death of all the male children ages two and under that were in Bethlehem and all the districts, based on the time he had heard of from the wise men (Jesus' birth).  Verses 17 and 18 say this was a fulfillment of the prophecy of Jeremiah saying, "in Ramah was there a voice heard, lamentation and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not."  Jeremiah 31:15 fulfilled.

All of the prophecies concerning the Messiah's birth and early childhood were filled in the birth of Jesus.  If that wasn't enough, God gives further evidence of this with the appearance of the angels to the shepherds in Luke 2:8-20, proclaiming that something very extraordinary had occurred.  "Fear not: for behold I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.  For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord."  Upon the presentation of Jesus  at the temple (Luke 2:25-39) when He was eight days old, Simeon and Anna had the privilege of meeting Him and giving praise to God.  Simeon had been told by the Holy Ghost "that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord's Christ."  The Spirit lead him to the temple on the day of Jesus' visit, and Simeon blessed God, saying "Lord, now lettest thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: for mine eyes have seen thy salvation, which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; A light to lighten the Gentiles and the glory of thy people Israel" (verses 29-32).  Anna the prophetess was at the temple and "served God with fastings night and day," and when she saw Jesus, she "in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem " (verse 38).

There was a loving plan for salvation, the birth of the Messiah, Jesus.  And just like my grandmother marked her work, God's mark is all over His perfect plan!  He wanted to make sure we would recognize Jesus!  Do you recognize Him?

~ Reese

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Thoughts of Christmas

Daddy, Christmas early '80s, Madras, Oregon

December is here and thoughts are turning to Christmas!  For kids, it's thoughts of what Santa Claus might bring, have I been good enough to get on his list, and is there time to amend my ways?  For adults, there are thoughts of parties, gifts, budget, stress.  But what is the true meaning of Christmas? 

 My thoughts have constantly been turning to just this question.  As a Christian I want to, and should, focus on the real meaning of Christmas.  It should be my primary concern.  Sure gifts, parties, and all the trimmings should still be in my thoughts, but I need to look at them from a different perspective.  I should look at them as a result of why I celebrate Christmas. 

True Christmas celebration is about the Babe in the manager.  But Who is that Baby, and why should He be worshipped?  Was He a man?  Was He God?  Or was He both?  And if He was God (which I believe to be true), then He STILL IS GOD!
I want to personally explore several areas over the next few blog posts.  Among them are the following:

~  His birth was prophesied.  How do we know that He is the One Who was prophesied of?
~  Why should His birth have such meaning?
~  Why was He even born?
~  What did He give up to be born here on earth?
~  Who does Jesus say that He is?  And don't I also have to answer that question for myself? Doesn't that answer have an eternal impact on me?
~  He called Himself the I AM.
~  If Jesus was Who He claimed to be, what did that mean for His own personal future (death and resurrection)?

So, what is the real meaning of Christmas?  John 3:14-17 explains it all.  "And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.  For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved."

Have a wonderful CHRISTmas!!

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Autumn of Life

Cooters Pond, Alabama November 19, 2010
The weather and changing colors on the trees have been reminding me lately of death and dying  (maybe it's also that I'm missing my Papa, who died in July).  What do I want the end of my life to be like?  Do I want it to be a beautiful picture of my faith in Christ, or do I want to be ugly, shriveled up and dry?  I thought how the trees and their fall foliage reflect this.  Some trees have such beautiful fall foliage, and others do not.  I want my own personal fall foliage to be bright and shining, like the tree in the center of the above picture.  I want to stand out not for myself, but for Christ!  Wouldn't it be awesome to leave behind such a beautiful picture, a life that reflects Christ?

Another thought -- when the leaves on the tree die in the Fall, the tree itself is not dying.  So it is when we die physically. If we are Christians, we are instantly born into life eternal (II Corinthians 5:8).  As the Bible puts it, to be physically dead is to be alive WITH Christ in heaven.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Images from Lunch, Nov. 17, 2010 - Park in Cloverdale Area, Montgomery, Alabama

Here in central Alabama, it takes a while for the colors of the leaves to change.  What's changing right now are the maples and the crepe myrtles.  We really haven't had any cold weather to speak of yet, either, although it did go from the 90s to the 70s in a week's time!  God has blessed this area of the country with the color green.  Lush trees, grass, hills and valleys.  Unfortunately the last few years we have been going through a dry period, even to the point of drought for a few years.  Very unheard of in this area. 

Sort of like our seasons of life. Sometimes we are verdant and watered by the word of God, and other times we are dried up and cracking with thirst for want of spiritual rain.  It's really up to us, isn't it?

"The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever."
Isaiah 40:8

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Who do I represent?

Jeffcoat Engineers & Surveyors, LLC, Montgomery, Alabama

Ambassador:  A diplomatic official of the highest rank appointed and accredited as representative in residence by one government to another. 

Friday afternoon I was out running errands for my employer. I was driving the company pickup truck and started thinking about my actions in the truck such as: I really shouldn't run any traffic lights, and I really shouldn't exceed the speed limit, and I really need to signal properly.  If I did these things, it would get back to my boss.  After all, I was in the company truck, which has the company logo and phone number on it.  I mean, I couldn't kick the truck down a gear and just step on it, could I?  Not that I would...Driving the truck made me think about being a representative of where I work.  I realized I needed to present myself in a manner that would reflect well on the company. 

God used Friday's driving experience as a thinking time.  Thoughts carried over from me being a representative of the company I work for, to me being a representative, an ambassador of God and His kingdom.  Sure, I had heard and reflected on being a witness and ambassador for Christ before, but never had it really hit me like it did when I was driving that white truck.  I was better able to relate to my ambassadorship for Christ when I was actually being an "ambassador" for my company.

How many times have I said the wrong thing, done the wrong thing, not cared about the feelings of others?  When I do those things, I am reflecting poorly on my heavenly Father.  II Corinthians 5:19-21 says "that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people's sins against them.  And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.  We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us.  We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God.  God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God."

Matthew 5:14-16 puts it very well. "You are the light of the world.  A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.  Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.  In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven."

Not only do I need to be a good representative for my employer, but I also need to be very careful that my actions do not turn others away from Christ.  What if I am the only ambassador they meet?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Thank you for your prayers!

Thanks to all of you who were praying for my son Ben and his surgery. Surgery was Friday morning, and although it took longer than expected, everything went well.  I know that Tina mentioned making sure he followed through on rehab.  That's going to be tough, but I have some friends and family who I am sure will assist. As it is, my son is in a groin to ankle cast hopefully only for a couple of weeks, but he has to be in a cast for six weeks.  Not going to be cool for a 13 year old guy!  :-) 

It's wonderful meeting all of you special ladies on here (sorry guys, but they are the ones who posted comments)!  Please let me know when and how I can encourage each of you, too.

I Thessalonians 5:18 "In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you."

~ Reese

Book Review -- A Year with God by R.P. Nettelhorst

A Year with God
Make His Thoughts Your Thoughts
Daily Readings and Reflections on God's Own Words

by: R.P. Nettelhorst
Thomas Nelson Publishers
Copyright 2010

Open this book and you will find God speaking to you through His words in the Bible, written out in a daily format and divided into sections such as "Hope and Fear" and "Love and Hate" just to name a few.  Through this book, R.P. Nettelhorst brings God's words into today's daily living.  He asks and answers questions from a Biblical perspective using insight into Biblical times, and causes you to think in a new light about what God is saying to us. 

This is a beautifully presented book in a daily reading format.  Each page begins with a thought for the day and is followed with a good sized portion of Scripture, followed by thoughts on the Scripture.  To my surprise and delight, Scripture takes up one-third to one-half of each page! 

I personally found this book to be a timely reading source. Words jumped off the pages and into my heart, all of them applicable to what I was going through at the time of the reading.  Because of some of the reflections in this book, I was personally motivated to further study the Scripture.

A Year with God is an attractive, easily read, thought provoking book which would make a very nice addition to anyone's daily reading, as well as a wonderful gift for someone you love. I recommend this book for anyone who wants a closer walk with God, which always begins with a deeper understanding of His words to us.  Personally, I am looking forward to reading this book for many years to come.

 In order to comply with new Federal Trade Commission regulations, please note that this book was provided compliments of Booksneeze.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Heavens Declare God's Glory!

Sunset view from my parent's home in central Alabama
 "The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork. 
Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge.
There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard. 
Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world.  In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun,
Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race.  His going forth is from the end of heaven, and his circuit unto the ends of it:  and there is nothing hid from the heat thereof." 
Psalm 19: 1-6

Yesterday morning as I was driving to work, I chose a different route and was so glad I did!  As I crested a hill and looked towards the east, I saw blankets of fog tucked into the valleys below.  Just ribbons of clouds lying close to the ground.  Above you could see beautiful, clear blue skies.  The scene made me smile, and brought to mind the above portion of  Psalm 19. 

I am a very visual person.  Therefore, I think in terms of color, pattern and texture.  What if we didn't see color?  Was it necessary that we see color?  When you see what has been created, and the variety of colors, styles, smells and textures, can you believe that things just happened?  How about how far we are to the sun, or how close, for that matter?  What about the exact tilt of the earth on it's axis?  What about our placement in the Milky Way, or even in the universe?  How can a person believe that there is no God, no Creator? 

To me, this shows that Someone wanted us to have the privilege and pleasure to enjoy His creation.  God has given us the beauty of the earth to enjoy, to share, and to be used to point the way to the Lord.  Care should be taken, however, not to worship the creation, but to worship the Creator.  All praise and glory should go to Him.

Listen to the first and last verses of this hymn penned by Folliot S. Pierpoint:

For the Beauty of the Earth

For the beauty of the earth,
for the glory of the skies,
for the love which from our birth
over and around us lies;
Lord of all, to thee we raise,
this our hymn of grateful praise.

For thyself, best Gift Divine,
to the world so freely given,
for that great, great love of thine,
peace on earth, and joy in heaven:
Lord of all, to thee we raise
this our hymn of grateful praise.

Truly, "the heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork!"

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Trust Me -- I am with you

I felt overwhelmed by the news that my youngest son had fractured his knee.  He had a bicycle accident, the paramedics showed up, it was said that if he were their teen son, they would take him home and ice his leg.  I did that. Over the course of the weekend I petted and coddled, and enjoyed spending one on one time with him.  He learned to use crutches (although not very effectively), and even managed to shower and change by himself.  He enjoyed a visit from his aunt.  He enjoyed several visits from his dad.  He took pain medicine and he slept.  Most of the time he was just bored, because his older brother was spending time with their best friend! 

Sunday evening it was decided that he would go stay with his dad and work more on crutches so he would be ready for school.  Monday morning I had a phone call from his dad telling me that my son had fractured his knee!  That he had been taken to the emergency room, and that he was scheduled to see an orthopedic specialist Monday afternoon.  Of course I felt rotten for a while!  Oh, why hadn't I taken him to the doctor?!?  (Second guessing yourself is not fun at all.  I recommend you don't do it, no good can come out of it.)  It turns out my son is now needing surgery.

It seems that my first reaction is always tears and questioning.  However, on the way to the doctor yesterday morning a thought occurred to me.  I had read the night before about God allowing Satan to test Job.  Is this what was happening to me?  Wow.  Buck up, girl!  You are a child of the King and nothing can happen to you except what He allows.  God also says that He will not give me more than I can bear.  In other words, let this be a good Christian testimony.  Don't let Satan win!

Another of the other verses I have read this week, which has helped buoy me up is Genesis 46:3-4 "I am God, the God of your father, He said. Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for I will make you into a great nation there. I will go down to Egypt with you, and I will surely bring you back again. And Joesph's own hand will close your eyes."  Just the first phrase stops you.  "I AM GOD!"  Then He says He will go down with me, and HE will bring me back up. 

Again in II Chronicles 20:17 He says "You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the LORD will give you, Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the LORD will be with you."  In other words, He will fight the battle for me. Don't let my discouragement take hold of me.  Get rid of it!  Why should I be discouraged?  I am a child of the King.  Everything is in HIS control, not mine. 

Jeremiah 29:11 says "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart."  Oh, this verse brings tears to my eyes.  It needs no further explanation.  I need to let this verse sink in and write it on my heart.

Every night for the past few nights God has been bringing to me verses of this nature.  I love how He uses Scripture to comfort me!

 Let me just end by saying, "O give thanks unto the Lord; for He is good: His mercies endureth forever.  O give thanks unto the God of heaven: for His mercy endureth forever." Psalm 136:1 & 26

~ Reese

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Distorted self image

Does anyone besides me suffer from distorted feelings of self image from time to time?  Physically, that is.  I am not even close to being thin.  I am not beautiful by a long shot.  Most often in my case these feelings crop up when I think about my relationships with others.  Especially when I try to make excuses to myself of why I think people might or might not like me.  I struggle with these feelings, they are not new to me. 

Last night I started reading Stand-in Groom (Brides of Bonneterre, Book 1) by Kaye Dacus (Christian romance).  During the first few chapters the main character, a woman in her mid thirties, makes excuses to herself as to why she does not have a date.  She feels that men will not like her for who she is because her physical appearance is not good enough.  She perceives herself as too large and too tall, not the perfect size.  However, the "hero" of the story thinks she is beautiful!  Isn't it interesting that the way we see ourselves is so often not the way we are seen by others?

I am reminded of Samuel in the Bible who was told by God to anoint one of Jesse's sons as the new king of Israel.  Samuel wanted to anoint the firstborn son and when God said "no" he went down the line until there were no sons left -- but the youngest -- who was out herding sheep.  I Sam. 16:7 says "But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for (the LORD seeth) not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart." 

I need to listen to what God told Samuel.  Just think.  Someone loved me enough just as I am, sin and all,that He died for me.  John 3:16!  Guess I should revise my view of my value, change my self image and look at myself (and others!) through His eyes and not mine.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

What is your greatest treasure?

What is the greatest treasure that I have? Is it physical things like jewelry? I went through a phase of attending and hosting jewelry parties. Of course, if you go to one of these parties, you almost feel obligated to make a purchase for your friend, so she can earn prizes. And if you host one of these parties, more than likely you are going to make a purchase, plus hopefully win a lot of prizes! I ended up with a great deal of jewelry which I hardly wear anymore. So it might have been a treasure at one point, but not so much anymore.

What about my home? When I first moved in I was in awe. I finally had a home of my own. I really enjoyed having a house and taking care of it. I planted wonderful flower beds full of roses and perenials, with brick edged borders. There is even an arbor that holds a swing under one of the shade trees, with paving stones as the floor. I spread out family treasures such as the quilt made by my great grandmother. Now the newness has worn off, and even though I am still very grateful for where I live and for what I have, I don't think my home is my treasure anymore.

What about my relationships with friends and family? I was married for thirteen years. I had a son who died before we could take him home from the hospital. Even though I look at his photo and take out his baby blanket, the pain is nowhere near as bad as it was at the beginning. I prayed as Hannah did for Samuel, asking God to bless me with another son. God sent me two more sons, both of whom are now teenagers. One of those sons accepted Christ at vacation Bible school when he was four or five. The other did the same when he was about ten. Both of their salvations caused me great joy and relief! Are my sons my greatest treasure? Sometimes I wonder... What about my parents, my brothers and sister and their families, my grandparents (that's my graddad in the picture, witnessing to a homeless man at a mission)? Although I love to spend time with my family, I don't know if I would call them my greatest treasure, either.

How about my relationship with Christ? Is that it? It should be! The Bible says in Matthew 6:19-21 "Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."

I have a long way to go, and it seems that my earthly treasures change from day to day. I know I need to do my best to let my greatest treasure be my relationship with Christ and what I do to serve Him.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Losing control, when I never really had it

About three weeks ago during my personal quiet time I was convicted to trust God. Sure, I trust God, but God was asking me to trust Him more. The song "I Surrender All" had been rolling around through my head -- oh, my...I decided to trust, not knowing what was going to be happening in the upcoming weeks.
As it turns out, the very next day I was required to trust. Of course it was in an area that I had been handling "by myself." I was upset and had to tell everyone about it, and I had to lament that I didn't know how "I" was going to handle the situation. By that evening, I realized that "I" was not required to handle the sitation at all, God wanted me to trust him. That realization sort of knocked me flat!
Over the next couple of days I received two blessings I know were directly related to my trust. This past week I received a third, HUGE! Even though I was trusting God previously in this particular area, when God took me out of the equation and I still chose to trust, I received not only physical blessings, but blessings of the spirit as well.
"Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus..."

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

What Does the Cross Mean to You?

I got to thinking the other evening during my personal devotions about what the cross means. I have been guilty of just seeing "the cross" and not what the cross really meant to Jesus, and therefore to all humanity.

The Pain of the Cross:
Betrayed by one of the inner circle...
Denied three times by another in the inner circle...
Spit on....
Slapped and mocked...
Beard pulled out...
Crown of thorns driven into His head...
Beaten beyond recognition by a whip (flesh torn out at each lash,
yanked across the flesh -- not just the skin)...
Ridiculed by participants, taunted to see if He could tell who
was doing the taunting...
Murderer chosen to be released over Him...
Sentenced to death by crucifixion...
Made to carry the cross beam of His cross, until exhaustion forced
soldiers to make another carry it for Him...
Nailed to the cross through His hands and feet...
Mocked while on the cross...
Took the sins of the world on Himself...
Forsaken by God!

It is finished!
Death...Darkness...Veil in the temple torn in two...

Isaiah 53:1-12 "Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed? For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people he was stricken. And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper his hand. He shall see the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors."

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Cotton - The Fields are White

"Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh the harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on he fields; for they are white already to harvest." John 4:35

I pass this cotton field every day on my way to/from work, and since the cotton has been maturing, the Bible verse from John 4:35 keeps playing through my mind. Yesterday afternoon I stopped and went out to the field to take pictures.

The cotton was bursting from the pods, but the cotton stalks were brown and dying.

There were also weeds growing up through the cotton plants. Some were pretty, and others were tall grasses. That reminds me of Matthew 13:26 and 30, "But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also...Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn."

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Prayer Can Result In Change

What is happening in our country today? Crime is rampant, government is out of control, people are living for themselves... How can things change for our country?

II Chronicles 7:14 says "If My people, which are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land."

Genesis 18 shows Abraham arguing with the Lord. Beginning in verse 15 the Lord decides to tell Abraham that He is going to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah. Abraham's nephew Lot and his family lived there. In verse 22 Abraham stood before the Lord and began asking if there were fifty righteous people in the city, would the Lord destroy it? The Lord said no. Abraham went further and asked if there were forty-five, then if there were twenty, and finally, if there were only ten, and the Lord said, "I will not destroy it for ten's sake." God heard the pleas of Abraham and responded in a positive manner.

In the gospel of Mark a man brought his son to Jesus to cast out a demon. The man told Jesus that Jesus' disciples had not been able to cast out the demon. Jesus cast out the demon, and once he had done so, His disciples wanted to know why they had been unsuccessful. Jesus answered them in verse 29 of the 9th chapter, "And He said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting." Sometimes God moves only when we pray and fast.

Can our country change? I believe so! September 20 through October 30 has been set aside as a time of prayer and fasting on behalf of our nation. Check out the website and join fellow Christians in prayer and fasting for our country.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

It is well with my soul

This morning on the way to work I was remembering a song I have known all my life, "It is Well with My Soul" by Horatio Spafford (look it up on Wikipedia -- fascinating story on this song!).

I remembered how several years ago I was going through my divorce and it was a month before our hearing date. I was depressed and worried about the outcome and what would happen to me and to our two sons. During this time I played the piano for my church, and I needed something special for a Sunday offertory. I found a beautiful arrangement by Marilyn Ham for "It is Well with My Soul." Although the piece was difficult for me, I learned the song. Even though I learned the song specifically for a Sunday special, the song meant a great deal to me during my divorce and I played it quite frequently and with a lot of passion, even if lacking in skill. The song helped me keep my problems in perspective.

Over the past several years this has become my favorite piece of music to play, and still every time I play it I remember that whatever comes my way, no matter how bad I think it is, God's peace is there for me!

It Is Well With My Soul

When peace like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:
If Jordan above me shall roll,
No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life,
Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.

But Lord, 'tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait,
The sky, not the grave, is our goal;
Oh, trump of the angel! Oh, voice of the Lord!
Blessed hope, blessed rest of my soul.

And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.

Horatio Spafford

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Penalty for Broken Laws

What's the penalty for breaking the law? Depends on what law was broken. What if you were caught speeding? What if you stole something? You might have to pay a fine or go to jail if you can't pay that fine. What if someone offered to pay your fine for you? You could choose to refuse that payment, or accept.

The laws of man were based on the laws of God. So what are God's laws? Honor God, serve no other god than Him, don't steal, don't commit adultery, don't kill, don't covet (or want) what someone else has, don't take the name of God in vain, keep the sabbath day holy, honor your parents, don't lie. Wait, don't lie? Yep, that's a sin, too. So, what's the penalty for breaking God's laws? DEATH! Romans 6:23 says "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." That's a pretty stiff penalty for LYING! We all know that we are going to die one day. But the death spoken of here is separation from God for all eternity. Ever hear of heaven and hell? Well, this death is eternal torment in hell. Without hope of ever escaping. Romans 3:10 says "As it is written, there is none righteous, no, not one." This verse points out what we all know, we have all committed at least one sin, and more than likely we have committed a great many. So what do we have to do to have that penalty removed? Is there anything you can personally do to pay the fine God requires? Or has Someone else paid that fine for you?

Romans 5:8 says "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." While we were still sinning, or better yet, before we ever committed that first sin, Christ died for us. We don't have to clean up our act first.

John 3:16-17 says "God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on Him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved." The world, or the people in the world, have already been condemned. Romans 5:12 says "Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned." That one man was Adam, the very first man. Listen to verses 18 and 19 "Therefore, as by the offense (sin, wrongdoing) of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of One the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of One shall many be made righteous." Who was that One? God's only Son, Jesus.

God's grace sent His Son to die for us "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast." Grace is defined as mercy, pardon, clemency, freely given unearned favor and love of God. So how do you accept that gift of grace? How do you accept the payment of your sin by Another? Well, how do you accept a gift? You reach out and you take it. You don't work for it or it's not a gift.

So what do you do to accept the gift of forgiveness for your sins? Romans 10:9-13 says "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on Him shall not be ashamed...For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." It doesn't say that you might be saved, it says that you WILL be saved!

God sent His perfect Son to die for our sins. When we accept His grace, His free gift of salvation, as payment for the laws of God that we have broken, Christ's blood is what God sees. When it's our turn to enter eternity we are with God, not eternally separated from Him in a lake of fire and brimstone, a place of great darkness and torment. God did not want anyone to suffer that fate. II Peter 3:9 says "The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance."

As someone who has accepted God's gift of grace for me, it is my job to try to convince you of your need for Him. It is your job to choose, and only you can make that decision, whether or not you will accept God's gift of grace. Why not ask Him to forgive you of the laws you have broken, and to come into your heart and life and be the payment for those broken laws? He'll accept you. He's been waiting for you!

If you need more information, please send a comment!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Sealed by the Spirit

II Cor. 1:21 & 22 says "Now He which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God; Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts." It's so good to know that as a believer in Christ, my salvation has been sealed by God with the Holy Spirit! He is the earnest money, the down payment, the security of my salvation.