Monday, November 24, 2008

Lessons in the Fire

I had the most awesome time last week in my retreat cottage in the mountains. I call it mine but it’s actually part of Aldersgate Camp. However, whenever I go, there is always a paper on the table that says “Welcome Home, Amy Barkman” so I figure they won’t mind me calling it mine.

I went there very tired and discouraged, realizing that although my faith was still strong as far as belief in God’s Word and His love for us, I had lost my passion for ministry, for the Word, for prayer, for everything. I was plodding through my days, trying to do His will the best I could. I knew I needed a rest physically and emotionally. I took several Christian novels with me, along with a counseling course by dvd that I intended to study, several critiques to do for the Christian writer’s groups of which I’m a part, and some programs to work on.

But God had other plans.

I got there on Monday afternoon and left Friday morning. Every day I prayed, sang along with praise and worship music, prayed, read my Bible, did a devotional in “Awaken Me” (see the link to Promise Garden) and read A.W.Tozer’s “The Pursuit of God.”, studied scripture with Strong’s Concordance and the Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, and took Holy Communion.

For the first time in a long time, I would look up a scripture and get so interested that the next thing I knew I had devoured several chapters. There is nothing more exciting than having that kind of hunger for the Word.

What happened? How did I get there passionless and become so filled with Himself that the days flew by in ceaseless praise and joy? It started with the fire.

One of the things I love about going there in cool weather is the large fireplace. I build a fire every afternoon and keep it going until bedtime. It’s so cozy. But this time when I got there on Monday afternoon I tried to build a fire and it wouldn’t start. I was shocked. I was a Girl Scout and have always been proud of my fire-building ability. I crumpled up papers, I rolled up papers like logs, I took a knife and shaved off bits of log, I broke up small sticks. I lit papers eight times and every time they would blaze up in a lovely burst of flame and then go away without affecting the logs. Eight times of starting that fire but nothing would happen. Finally I gave up.

Sighing in disappointment, I said, “Lord, if You want me to have a fire, You’ll have to start it Yourself.”

Then I settled myself on the couch and began reading my devotional material. Every now and then I would glance over to see if a fire had started. But nothing. A couple of times I saw something shining out of the corner of my eye, but it was just the light glancing off the side of my glasses. Finally I put the fire entirely out of my mind and began focusing on the Lord. After about twenty minutes I heard a noise and looked up. The roar was from the fire as the logs were blazing with lovely dancing flames. My heart leaped in joy. He did it! He gave me my fire.

And then a still small voice in my heart said, “Your whole life is like that. You can’t start the fire yourself. When you give up and just concentrate on Me, I will fill you with passion for Me and for ministry, for My Word and for life.” And then He proceeded to do so.

From then on, each day my fires started up immediately on the first try. And… The next day in the “Awaken Me” devotional the topic was “Fan the Flames.” NOT a coincidence! In part it read “Burn off the chaff in my heart. Make my heart pure and good. Fill it with truth, compassion, tenderness and love. Melt my pride. Build a bonfire if necessary. Weld me to your ways. Let the heat of your holy flames destroy the logs of self-centeredness, the timber of wrong motives, the tinder of following others and the kindling of white lies.” And I proceeded to let Him do so.

He led the Israelites in the wilderness by fire, He proved Himself to the priests of Baal by fire, He appeared in flames of fire on the Day of Pentecost. And He taught Amy Barkman lessons in the fire at Aldersgate Camp and purged her heart as much as she would allow by the fire of His burning love. And He filled her with fire anew – a passion for Him and His people, His Word and His Will.

Praise the Lord, for His mercy endures forever.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Best Friends

I’ve had several people I’ve called best friends over the years…I usually have two or three at least. But the one who has lasted the longest and who knows all my secrets from childhood on is Jacque (pronounced Jackie, short for Jacqueline). I walked into my sixth grade class the first day of school and saw a new girl with blonde pigtails sitting at a desk near the front of the room. I’d never known anyone with pigtails and was immediately intrigued. That was fifty-five years ago and it’s been over five decades since the pigtails were traded for the short hair more conducive to the sports activities so dear to her heart.

Jacque and I were always very different so it seemed odd that we were such good friends.

I hated physical exertion of any kind, and enthusiasm about sports, even as a spectator, remains an enigma to me. Jacque, on the other hand, stays glued to the TV during basketball season and usually watches football and baseball too. A knee injury keeps her from the tennis, golf, and water skiing that were her passion for years. As kids, we’d go to the pool together and she’d swim and exercise while I went to the locker room and read. The only thing we had in common was that we laughed a lot – the whole world seemed like a comedy arranged for our amusement.

Jacque and I were not model teenagers. At Girl Scout Camp we caused so much trouble that the District Director came to our cabin and, in tears, told us that in her seventeen years of leadership, she had never run into two girls like us and she wasn’t sure what to do with us. We looked at each other in awe, with great pride that we had reduced this pillar of strength to tears. We were kind of hoping she’d expel us from camp so we could go home where there weren’t so many rules and restrictions. But she hadn’t been leading girls for seventeen years without learning some things. She kept us there and put us in different cabins and in different work/play groups. Evil woman!

Sometime in our twenties, I reconnected with Jesus, and Jacque found Him for the first time. Since then, around 40 years, Jacque and I have been prayer partners, accountability partners, and partners in the gospel. Together we founded Voice of Joy Ministries.

God had a plan for those two silly eleven-year-olds, those two rebellious teens, that we couldn’t see at the time…and neither could anybody else! Except Him.

Hopefully we’ll meet the Lord in the air together. I’ve often thought I wouldn’t know how to function in this world without Jacque if something happened to her and she left here before I do. But I remind myself that I have an even better friend. His name also starts with a J. He’s Jesus and I never have to fear separation from Him. And it’s because of Him that I have all the best friends I’ve had throughout life…they are part of His Body in the earth.

Do you have stories about best friends? If so, please share. I’m going off to be alone in a mountain retreat cottage with my very number one Best Friend, Jesus, this week. Another best friend Tracy Ruckman will be approving the publication of your responses.

God bless you.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Small Churches

I’m in my eleventh year as the pastor of Mortonsville United Methodist Church in Woodford County Kentucky. I am the first female pastor they ever had. For the previous forty years they were served by Asbury Seminary students and my opinion has always been that they would have accepted a cow if it was middle-aged and had some experience. Just kidding. There were some wonderful student pastors over those decades, some that I highly respect who have gone on to bigger – if not necessarily better – things.

I’ve turned down two bigger churches, closer to home in this last decade. And I turned them down before my husband told me that if I'd agreed to move, he would have stayed there at Mortonsville – even though it’s a 50 minute drive one way each Sunday.

It’s the first tiny church I’ve ever been in and I love it. I’ve always been a small group kind of person and our church is like a cell group in a mega church. In fact that’s exactly what we are – a cell group in THE mega church called the Body of Christ.

Since I’ve been there, morning worship has grown from an average of fourteen to an average of twenty-one. Wow! That’s a fifty percent increase. Or is at a thirty three and a third percent increase? Anyway percentage wise we’ve done great.

The other greatness I’ve seen in ten years is that we have all deepened spiritually even more percentages than we’ve grown in numbers. We can't provide all that everyone needs in a church and know it. We pray for families that need a church with youth programs etc, that they will find the right one. We take up an extra monthly offering for missionaries and people in need, on top of the tithe and a half we send to the missions and work of the United Methodist Church in Kentucky.

Most importantly we love each other. The first Sunday of each month we share Holy Communion and then afterwards have a covered dish luncheon. The third Sunday of each month those that want to, go out together to a restaurant. Even though we only meet on Sunday mornings, with our meals, phone calls, and e-mails we spend more time in the Word together than many larger churches. And we laugh a lot because in His presence is fullness of Joy.

Sometimes I feel guilty because I know that our little church out in the country, without even a parking lot, will never grow big…and I’m glad! But the Lord reminds me that I have no concept of the impact to the Kingdom of those wonderful saints of God. I am honored beyond measure to be the pastor of a small church.

This week we are saluting a small church that’s bigger than Mortonsville - but sounds wonderful. We heard of it through friends who have relatives who attend. We’d like to ask you to add your prayers to ours for their growth, both spiritually and physically. God bless you, East Cherokee Community Church! Check them out at

"And let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching." Hebrews 10:24,25 NRSV

Sunday, November 2, 2008


Wow! I wasn’t expecting my own emotional reactions to this contest. It made me want to be wealthy enough to give Applebee’s cards to everyone who wanted them. But since that hasn’t happened yet, we had to choose. In fact, I had to call in four more judges besides the three we announced because each of us had completely different choices at first. This was a very hard contest to judge because all the entries were awesome.

The winner of the Applebee’s $25 gift card is: “Mommy To Those Special Ks” posted October 28 11:32 p.m.

The first runner up was “Sandy” who posted at October 28, 7:14 p.m. My husband, who is a disabled veteran himself, said he would donate the second Applebee’s Card. So we have two winners of Applebee’s cards.

And although I don’t have a lot of money, I do have time – and can make it legally, even when I run out :-) - so you who requested the e-mail counseling sessions will all receive them. That’s Lisa, Deborah, Kathy, Elizabeth, and Ellen. Contact me by e-mail at and let me know your topic of choice – Anger Resolution, Panic Attacks, Wordtherapy, and Growing in Humility. Or feel free to ask questions concerning the topics or choose one of your own to submit and I’ll see if I feel competent to work through it with you. We’ll get started as soon as the topic is settled. The rest of you please pray that we have great breakthroughs.

The first person, CanCan – post October 28 2:30 a.m. - who requested as first choice the books by my daughter, Virginia Smith, will receive the autographed ones. The others who requested them will receive unsigned copies: Sherrylinn, Sherry B, Ellen, Sarah, Royaldixie, Jen, Sandy, Carolynn, and Tammy.

The Applebee’s card and book winners need to send me a postal mailing address so I can get your prizes out to you this week.

I want to say a special thank you to someone who did not win, but her entry was so creative that I want to applaud her for it. Elsie posted on October 29 at 2:25 p.m. She closed with the following rhyme:

I can be silly.

I am so blessed.

Am I normal?

It’s your guess…

Elsie, if you want books too, they are yours.

Thank you to all who participated and I hope you come back to join us here. I’d love to get to know each of you. Be sure and vote for God’s Word and Will on election day!

God bless you all.

In His Love, Amy

Monday, October 27, 2008

Bloggy Carnival

Hi, Friends. This week we are participating in “Bloggy Carnival” and are giving away three prizes:

1. A $25 gift certificate to Applebee’s restaurant.

2. Six prayer counseling sessions by e-mail on any of the following: Anger resolution, Wordtherapy, Panic attacks, Growing in Humility

3. Autographed copies of award winning author Virginia Smith’s “Just As I Am” and the sequel “Sincerely Mayla.”

Enter by clicking on ‘older posts’ at the bottom of this page and going to the post “Normal”. Respond with a description of how you are, or are not, normal – in 80 words or less. Be sure and put your e-mail address and your prize preference in your post (not counted in word count). The three most original entries will be the winners. Deadline is Friday October 31. Check back on Monday November 3 to see if you are a winner.

Judges are : Amy Barkman, Pastoral Counselor, Director of Voice of Joy Ministries; Beth Marlowe, Theatrical Director and Acting/Forensic/Music Coach; Tracy Ruckman, Editor, Photographer, Writer.

In case of a prize preference tie, the winning entries will be drawn from a hat - or bowl.

God bless you and may each of you who enter be blessed by considering how much God loves you as you look at the uniqueness of who you are. And remember – you are a good idea God had!

In His Love,

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Become As Little Children

Voice of Joy Ministries held our annual women’s retreat on September 27. The theme this year was “Become as Little Children” based on Jesus instruction in Matthew 19: 1-4 At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, "Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?" He called a little child, whom he placed among them. And he said: "Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes a humble place—becoming like this child—is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”

It was one of my favorite retreats because we all relaxed in the presence of our heavenly Abba Father. We even played for a while in the morning and again in the afternoon: jacks, mini-pool, Velcro darts, Crazy Eights, hoola hoop, and some made crafts.

You may say “But playing silly games wasn’t what Jesus was talking about!” And you are right. But humbling ourselves can be very difficult. Even playing can feel silly when we are all ‘grown up’. But that very playing put us in an attitude of humility so that when ministry time arrived, we were ready to humble ourselves enough to minister and be ministered to as we stood in a circle and trusted Him to help us be His voice to one another through prayer, scripture, and words of wisdom.
During the day, we looked at the humble life of Heidi who trusted the Lord through many changes of location and guardians. We looked at the submission of Pollyanna who played “The Glad Game” and always found something to rejoice about during difficult times. We looked at the humility of Winnie the Pooh, a bear of very little brain but very large heart.

Could it be that we think too much with unrenewed minds instead of trusting the Lord with all our hearts? One of my prayers for the Body of Christ is that we will truly become as little children looking not to people or governments – whether they be national, state, or church – but trusting our heavenly Father for all things: peace, joy, love, faith, health, provision, and success.
In the words of another wise child, Tiny Tim, “God bless us every one!”

Monday, August 18, 2008

Star of the Show

A few years ago I realized that I saw myself as the center of the action all around me - as if I am the star of my particular movie in life. Surely I'm not self centered??? But even though I loved serving others and giving, I still saw the movie as about me and my choices. I didn't want to be prideful or centered on self so I asked the Lord to help me.

He led me to practice seeing myself as a supporting actress in the movies of the lives of others, like my husband, children, grandchildren, close friends. Then He took me deeper and helped me see myself as filling a bit part in the lives of fellow church members, neighbors, other friends. Finally He showed me how to just be a walk on in the motion picture story of the check-out clerk or fellow shopper.

How do my actions cause joy or sorrow, confusion or peace in their lives?

This helped a lot in my attempts at unfocusing on me and focusing on Him and others. But recently there have been a lot of supporting roles and bit parts that added up to resentment of my roles in life. "Yes, we are called to be servants but does that mean I have no life of my own, uh, I mean doesn't my movie ever get shown at all?"

Finally after much grumbling and many tears of frustration and guilt on my part, the Lord spoke to my heart very clearly. "Let me be the star of the show."

Huh? Wow. It finally dawned on me: If Jesus is the star of the show, the center of the movie of my life, then I no longer have any reason to feel that servanthood steals from me. It's not my movie at all; it's His.

Hmm. That sounds familiar.

You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body. I Corinthians 6:19,20 NLT

What a relief. I can relax and let Him live His resurrection life through me and be The Star of the Show. And never be frustrated or resentful again.

Can't I?

I can do everything with the help of Christ who gives me the strength I need. Philippians 4:13 NLT

And so can you!

Jesus Others You

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

JESUS is Your: Wisdom, Righteousness, Sanctification, Redemption

In I Corinthians 1, the apostle Paul reminds us that without Jesus we are nothing. He even goes so far as to say that we are foolish and weak and base. But that even though we have nothing to be proud of in ourselves, Jesus is made to us who are in Him: wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption. (verse 30)

What does that mean? All those attributes can be looked at separately and I believe they also form a progression

Wisdom is the ability to use knowledge with love. The beginning of wisdom according to Proverbs 1:7 is the fear of the Lord. That fear means a holy respect of God based on knowledge of His nature. His nature is absolute Goodness which rejects all badness. To understand that is to acknowledge our need of a Savior from the inherent badness in us all.
To understand that God’s nature is also Love gives us hope that He will do something about our needy condition. Wisdom comes through Jesus to us to show us our need and where to find the answer. Then wisdom is our own and we look to God for salvation.

Righteousness is not only right standing with the Father but rightness or goodness itself. Jesus
“became sin so that we can become the righteousness of God.” (II Cor. 5:21) Jesus didn’t just die on the cross and take the punishment deserved for our sinfulness. He took the sin itself. To understand that takes a revelation from God. Grace and Mercy are beyond human understanding. But Praise the Lord, He did not leave us with only our human understanding. He reveals Himself and His love through His actions. “God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their sins against them.” (II Cor. 5:19) If you have received Jesus as your savior, and been born again, you are now righteous. Not only are you in right standing with the Father, you have within you a righteous or good nature.
But do you ever wonder where it is hiding?

Sanctification is the process of goodness working itself outward from your new born-again spirit through your soul nature: will, mind, and emotions. And then out further into your body, actions, and circumstances.
Think of yourself like Mary who said “Be it done to me according to your word.” And the Holy Spirit came upon her and the life within her was the child of God.
When you asked the Lord to be your Savior, God placed a new life in you. Right now that life is growing and maturing. One day you will celebrate your own Christmas when that new life has matured enough to be seen forever in the world around you.
Unlike Mary you see that new life at work sometimes now. Goodness is a process.
“Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling for it is God who works in you both to will and to do His good pleasure.” (Phil. 2:12,13)
You have to cooperate but it is His nature and life inside that is working goodness all through your nature and life.
Redemption is the result of God’s work for you and in you.
“You are not your own, you are bought with a price.”
(I Cor. 6:20) We sing “redeemed by the blood of the Lamb” but do we really know what that means?
Did you or anyone you know ever use a pawn shop. People take something precious there and leave it in exchange for money. They have a certain amount of time to redeem the item…buy it back…before it is sold.
Adam sold himself and his descendents into the hands of the enemy. But in the fullness of time, God sent Jesus to redeem - buy back- Adam’s race.
Every single result of the fall of Adam in the garden is done away with by the blood of Jesus who was given as the redemption price.
The devil is called the accuser of the brethren (Rev. 12:10) He wants you to believe that you deserve bad things. He will even try to make you think God sends bad things to you but he is a liar and the father of lies (John 8:44).
The truth is that you are redeemed (bought back) from all the bad things that happen from being separated from God.
“Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us…that the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ…” Gal. 3:13 Sometimes go back in to the Old Testament and read in Deuteronomy 28 to find out what belongs to you and what you are redeemed from.

Wisdom, Righteousness, Sanctification, Redemption – all yours through Jesus Christ.

Saturday, June 28, 2008


In our fourth FOCUS ON HIM devotional, let’s look at God as OUR LEADER. Besides His familiar promises in Psalm 23 to lead us beside still waters and in paths of righteousness, God promised to guide us with peace. “For you shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace…” Isaiah 55:12. That is one of my favorite promises. I suspect that the still waters are a symbol of the peace that the Prince of Peace puts in our hearts.

If you are confused about which path to take, stand still until you experience peace. Think over the possibilities that lie ahead with each alternative choice. And listen with your heart. The very God of Peace will connect you with His will and lead you in the right path. You can count on it!

One day I was on my way to the grocery for Thanksgiving supplies, and had a sudden urge to go by the library. It made no sense. I didn’t want anything from the library and I had a lot of preparation left for the family dinner. But I asked the Lord what He wanted me to do. I didn’t hear a voice, inner or outer, but I knew that if I didn’t go by the library my heart would be in turmoil. As soon as I made the decision, peace flooded me.
I wandered around the shelves for a few minutes, wondering why I was there, feeling a bit silly.

“Amy, is that you?” A man in his seventies who’d attended some of my Bible studies peered around a corner. After I smiled at him, he continued. “Can I talk to you?” We found two chairs in a quiet corner and he began to tell me that he’d experienced seasonal depression since he was a child. Through tears, he told me that year was the worst ever and he’d even thought about suicide. We talked a while about God’s love for him and then I prayed for him and against depression. We said goodbye and I went on to the grocery.

That was several years ago and he has never experienced seasonal depression again, and in fact is happier year round than ever before.

The Lord led me in a right path in order to minister to that beloved child of His through this part of His Body in the earth. He did it by leading me forth in peace - and I went out with joy!

“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them. And they follow me.” John 10:27

Don’t forget to Follow the Leader!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Focus on Him 3 Our Savior

This is the third in our “Focus On Him” devotional series. In the first we looked at what is meant by Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee, for he trusteth in thee. Isaiah 26:3
Peace – Shalom in the Hebrew– means wholeness. connectedness with God . nothing missing, nothing broken. When we keep our mind focused on God, He is able to keep us in perfect peace, make us perfectly whole.

Last week we focused on God as Father, the One who gave us new life and wants to give us everything else. Our heavenly Abba, Daddy of our new creation lives, sees us as beloved children. We need to study the life of Jesus as written in the Gospels for our understanding of God because He said “If you have seen me, you have seen the Father.” John 13:9

This week we are focusing on God as Savior. The very name Jesus means ‘the Salvation of Jehovah’. Christ means ‘the anointed'. Jesus Christ is the salvation available from the Father, the One anointed to bring salvation to mankind. We are told in Isaiah 59:16 "His own arm worked salvation for Him."

Jesus, the arm of God to bring salvation to you, bore the punishment of our sins on the cross of Calvary but He did much more than that. He bore the sins themselves. I like to think of Him taking that sin nature into Himself like a magnet. He has done the job but when I release the sins instead of clinging on to them, they fly to the cross and leave me, so I can walk as the new creation child of God that I am.

The word salvation is ‘soteria’ in the Greek and literally means, according to Strong’s Greek Dictionary, ‘material and temporal deliverance from danger and apprehension’ ‘spiritual and eternal deliverance” “present experience of God’s power to deliver from the bondage of sin”,” maintenance of peace and harmony”.

We often think of salvation or the answer to the question “Are you saved?” in terms of going to heaven instead of hell when we die. But as you can see from the above definitions, that is only one aspect of what God has made available to you in salvation.

One of my favorite Old Testament Stories is in II Chronicles, Chapter 20. Three armies have come against Israel, and King Jehoshaphat seeks the Lord, freely admitting that they have no power against their enemies. After studying the names of those enemy armies, I realized that they represent our genetic heritage, our cultural environment, and the forces of the devil. God’s people are told “You will not need to fight. Stand still and see the salvation of the Lord.” Instead of fighting, they appointed singers who went out in front of their army. What they sang was “Praise the Lord, for His mercy endures forever.” When they focused on the mercy of God, He caused their enemies to defeat each other and Israel prospered from the situation.

How we need to learn that lesson! We wear ourselves out trying to fight evil, within and without. But all the time God has made provision for every deliverance from danger and fear - physically, in the present, and spiritually, forever. He bore your sicknesses and diseases on the cross as well as your sins. When we release those, they too can fly to the cross and leave us to walk in newness of life. “If the Spirit that raised Christ from the dead lives in you, He will give life to your mortal body.” Romans 8:11.

Paul tells us that the weapons of our warfare are not physical but spiritual. We fight by casting down from our mind every thought that would go against the knowledge of God as revealed through Jesus Christ, the Savior, who is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

Praise Him for His aways available, always present mercy as He saves you from all danger - spirit, soul, and body.
He keeps us in perfect peace and harmony when we focus on Him as Savior, here and now.

Monday, June 9, 2008



If you have been born again from the Spirit of God by receiving Jesus Christ as your Savior, you are a child of God.

The Creator of the Universe is your Father. Paul tells us that we are not to be afraid of Him but to recognize that He is our Abba, our Daddy. (Romans 8:15; Galatians 4:6)

Once I wrote a humorous spiritual autobiography which I entitled “And God Just Shakes His Head.” It was after I completed it that I realized my picture of God was derived from my own father who often shook his head in disgust at my behavior.

Unfortunately that is usually the case with most of us. Our concept of God is distorted by the relationships we had with our earthly father.

Some of you may have been blessed with a wonderful, nurturing, loving, accepting earthly Daddy. Some of you may have been, as I was, blessed with a loving but demanding Daddy. And some of you may have had an abusive and cruel father – or an absent non-caring father. The type of father you had will influence your perception of your heavenly Father.

We need to all remember that God is the Perfect Father, better than the best Daddy anyone ever had in this earth – loving, forgiving, giving – the one who delights in you just as you are.

He gave you life, He gave His life for you, He fills you with Himself, He never leaves you, He forgives you for every infraction of His rules, He provides for all your physical needs, He provides all the education and training you will allow Him to give. He gives you everything He has as a free gift.

No matter how old you are, He sees you as His little child and loves you very much.

This winter while my husband was in VA hospital there was an older man in the same room who was in a lot of discomfort and had not been able to sleep for days. He said, “I just want to die. And I want to go home. Why stay here to die when I'm so uncomfortable?” The Spirit of the Lord rose up within me and I rushed to his bedside and put my arms around him and asked if I could pray. I already knew he was a Christian and not surprised when he said yes. The Lord had me pray “Father, remind Charlie that you are the Daddy that loves him, that no matter how old he is, you see him as your little boy. Lord, Your Spirit is the Comforter and we ask You to comfort him physically as well as emotionally.” Charlie later told his family “Peace immediately flooded me.” All we knew was that he slept pretty constantly for the next two days. Charlie got to go home for a while before he ended up back in the hospital, and we were able to visit him there three days before he ran into the arms of his heavenly Daddy to live in comfort and joy forever.

When you wake up on Father’s Day this year, before you do anything else, FOCUS ON HIM, the one who sees you as His beloved little child, and say aloud “Happy Father’s Day” to your heavenly Daddy. In fact, it’s not a bad idea to do that every morning. For He is your Daddy who loves you every day, now and forever.

Monday, June 2, 2008



Last year I put together a little meditation guide entitled FOCUS ON HIM. The Lord inspired it and has used it to change my life and bring me through some very difficult times. Those who joined me in using it daily have also experienced spiritual growth and comfort.

We’re going to talk about those principles here over the next several weeks, and I invite all readers to share their own insights by posting a comment. Before we begin looking at the different aspects of Himself, I want us to look and comment on the scripture verse that inspired me to write it.

Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee,
for he trusteth in thee.
Isaiah 26:3

I believe that Word of promise from God through the prophet Isaiah. When we fix our mind on God, we are looking to Him instead of the world, others, or ourselves for the answers we need in this life. And He will keep or protect us in perfect peace.

The Hebrew word for peace is Shalom. Shalom means connectedness with God, wholeness, completeness, health, prosperity, success. A Hebrew scholar once said the best definition of Shalom is “nothing missing, nothing broken.” When we focus on Him, He keeps us connected to Him and makes us whole and complete in every area of life. No wonder the apostle Paul opened and closed most of his letters with “Grace and Peace unto you.”

God’s undeserved favor and wholeness in every area is given to you as a free gift. Focus on Him!

If you click on the comments, you will see where I've added an exerpt from and a recommendation of Lynn Zuk-Lloyd's new release "Awaken Me: Crying out for more of the Lord.". You can purchase it by going to the link on this page Promise Garden. For some reason, possibly because I'm very new at this, my comment showed up as from Anonymous. But it was me !

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


Are you normal?

I'm not. Never pretended to be. Well, that's not true. Years ago I tried, back in my teens and twenties, to be normal or at least act it. I finally gave up when I reached my thirties. Somewhere along the way a friend gave me a little sign that still hangs in my kitchen. "I'm not weird, I'm gifted." The truth of that remains to be seen.

I believe God still talks to people. At age sixty-five, I love dolls and paper dolls and children's books, always have and always will. I love England and English authors and know more about English history than I do the history of my own country although I love the USA and have no desire to live elsewhere.

I used to write a humor column for the local newspaper. One day I got a call from an elderly woman who asked "I like your column and it's obvious you are a Christian but you say you've been married three times. How can you justify that?" I answered, "I can't. Ma'am, it's people like me who most need and appreciate a Savior."

Once I said sadly to a neighbor who was a school counselor, "I wish our family was normal." She replied, "There are no normal families. Some of us just put on a better front than others." That comment ministered grace to me - made me feel less weird.

How about you? Are you normal?

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