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Thursday, June 4, 2009
Thinking of You - Sue Payne
"How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them." Psalm 139:17
After my grandfather passed away, my grandmother kept a candy dish filled with foil-wrapped, flavored toffees. The beautiful cut glass jar made its home on the round table, right inside her front door. My brothers and I loved to open the wrappers and guess what flavors they contained. But I’m convinced my grandmother kept a constant supply of these treats for a reason other than just satisfying her grandchildren’s sweet tooth.
Realizing the loneliness his mother suffered, my dad would stop by to see her every day after work before he came home. He did this for years, rarely missing a day. I understand now how much this must have meant to my grandmother. It was something she could count on and look forward to every day. On days when she was not home, Dad would come in, help himself to a toffee and leave the wrapper next to the candy dish. It was his way of letting her know he had been there.
I can picture it as she arrived home, realizing her son had stopped by. I can almost see her picking up that wrapper and fondly holding it to her heart, treasuring the thoughtfulness it represented.
It’s a wonderful thing to be thought of in a loving way. A card, a phone call, a prayer, a visit, or a hug are just a few ways to let someone know they are important and valued.
God’s thoughts toward us go beyond human thoughtfulness. The Bible tells us they are vast! Immeasurable! He knows everything about us: our needs and desires, all that we think and do, our feelings and emotions. God understands them all. He is there for us and thinks of us every hour of every day, every minute of every hour, never missing a moment.
We’ve all experienced those times when we think God has failed to show up, possibly in our darkest moments, but that’s when we must look for and discover the “toffee wrapper”, the blessing he has left to let us know His Son has been there.
Do you want someone you can count on and something to look forward to each day? Treasure the precious thoughtfulness of God in your heart and remember that Jesus, The Son, has not just come to stop by, but to stay.
Sue Payne is a freelance writer whose articles have appeared in home schooling newsletters and church news bulletins. She is experienced in curriculum planning and design and uses her writing skills to encourage and teach others. Sue lives in Delaware, is married, and has two boys whom she home schooled for a total of fourteen years.
Publisher: Lighthouse PublishingISBN: 978-0-9822065-1-5
Labels: relationships, suepayne
Sunday, May 31, 2009
The Revolution Today: Carrier Pigeons - Jane Hampton Cook
“Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted” Psalm 25:16
Lucy Knox was not the only lady to experience the loneliness of war. Abigail Adams felt it, too. While men labored together on the field or in meeting rooms, women often labored by themselves at home with their children. Sometimes the weather made them even more isolated.
“We have had very severe weather almost ever since you left us,” Abigail wrote to John Adams on March 8, 1777. She had written him three letters but a heavy snowstorm had isolated her so much she had no idea if he had received any of them.
“We know not what is passing with you nor with the Army, any more than if we lived with the Antipodes,” Abigail wrote. Her loneliness was so great she might as well have been living in the Indian Ocean, the antipode, or region diametrically opposite America on the globe. Abigail, however, had a solution to her problems. “I want a Bird of passage,” she wrote satirically. But a carrier pigeon could not cure an ailment as common to humanity as loneliness. Americans today have their carrier pigeons. They are cell phones, e-mail, instant messaging and other technological wonders. Although Americans are more connected than ever, it is possible they are also lonelier than ever.
“The evidence shows that Americans have fewer confidants and those ties are also more family-based than they used to be,” Lynn Smith-Lovin, a sociology professor, reported. She was one of the authors of a study on social isolation in America published in 2006. The study compared the same survey questions asked nineteen years apart, first in 1985, and then again in 2004.
“In 1985, the typical American named three people that he or she talked with about matters that were personally important. About half of the confidants mentioned in 1985 were family members—spouses, parents, children, brothers, sisters. The other half were people they met through the community—co-workers, neighbors, people they joined in voluntary associations,” Smith-Lovin explained.
“By the time we asked the questions again in 2004, people’s most common answer (25 percent of the sample) was that they didn’t talk to anyone about things that were important to them,” she wrote, adding that people had lost about one-third of their contacts.
“Networks are important to both individuals and to our larger social system. These kinds of close relationships offer all types of benefits, including social support, help in ordinary times and emergencies, information to help solve problems and values that shape our world view and politics.”
Loneliness prevents people from talking to others about matters important to them. Isolation of this kind, whether it’s from a war, a snowstorm, or the trap of technology, is not good. God created humans as social beings and designed them for companionship, not disconnection.
PRAYER Enhance my circle of influence that I may turn loneliness—mine or someone else’s—into companionship.
Best selling author and columnist Jane Hampton Cook, janecook.com, is known for making history both memorable and relevant to today's news, political events and issues of faith. A former webmaster for President George W. Bush (1998-03), Jane is the author of “Stories of Faith and Courage from the Revolutionary War,” a 365-day devotional chronicling the story of the nation's founding from the viewpoints of 20 key players.
Publisher: Living Ink Books
©Jane Hampton Cook, used with permission.
Labels: janehamptoncook, relationships
Saturday, May 30, 2009
Perhaps Today! - Sue Falcone
“No one knows about that day or hour not even the angels in Heaven, nor the Son but only the Father.” Matthew 24:36
Do you wake up every morning thinking this could be your last day on earth? The fact is, it really could be. This point was shown to me recently by a very dear lady in my life: “Miss Maggie.”
She’s had two strokes, a pacemaker, has degenerative back disease, and walks with a cane. She still lives alone and is very independent.
One has to take a number to get on her social calendar. She doesn’t stay home and enjoy being a “senior.” She’s out with friends, visiting the sick, praying and writing notes. Despite her own physical afflictions, Miss Maggie is still actively doing for others. I’m blessed to be her accountability partner and spend at least an hour a week at her home praying and catching up on the news of our lives.
Recently she celebrated her 90th birthday. Miss Maggie has a large family and it was quite an affair. She’s a humble and caring person who doesn’t like to be the center of attention, although she admitted she enjoyed everyone celebrating with her!
Last week we couldn’t meet because Miss Maggie was ill. She told me she hadn’t felt this sick in a long time, and I was concerned about her. She wouldn’t let me visit—afraid I might catch it too. All I could do was send cards and pray for her.
When she was feeling better and let me see her, she told me what had happened to her. She explained that she’d hated missing church the previous Sunday. It was one of the worst days for her. She explained as she lay in bed that she was at total peace. Miss Maggie wondered if this was the day the Lord had chosen for her home going, or perhaps He was coming to fulfill the long awaited day of His return.
She explained she wasn’t afraid, her pacemaker worked fine, and she enjoyed thinking about the Lord—awaiting His return. Miss Maggie admitted she felt a little selfish at thinking this might be her last day on earth, but I assured her it was not selfish at all.
What a witness to so many. Miss Maggie has often shared that, as her body grows older, she doesn’t think she does enough to share her faith with others, but I assured her there is no better way to share than to live it daily and let others see her example.
I know I’m in the presence of a great lady who God loves and uses to spread the good news. If Miss Maggie can be an example, can you?
Sue Falcone is a gifted speaker and teacher. She is an inspired speaker and teacher, and author of, “The Lighthouse of Hope - A Day by Day Journey to Fear Free Living,” published by WinePress Group. Learn more about Sue at: http://suefalcone.authorweblog.com. Sue is a graduate of Dale Carnegie and is a speaker for Stonecroft Ministries - Christian Women's Clubs.Read Sue's devotions
Labels: relationships, suefalcone
Friday, November 14, 2008
She Won’t Shut Up — He Said
"There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak."
- Ecclesiastes 3:1 & 7
When it comes to talking men are at a serious disadvantage. Experts tell us that women speak, on average, 20,000 words a day. Men might utter 20. We process information, calculate our response and carefully weigh the impact of our words. Often we do this in front of the TV.
Let’s say, for example, that your wife asks if the new pair of jeans she bought makes her look fat. If you’re like most married men you may have some vague idea that a conversation is about to transpire that could seriously damage your marriage, not to mention your ear drums, so you run to the garage. But suppose, as you open the door and step into the pantry, you remember that you don’t have
a garage. Well this would be a good time to keep quiet.
The writer of Ecclesiastes didn’t have cable or TV but he did have 700 wives and 300 concubines, so in addition to having some serious dinner conflicts come Valentine’s Day, he also struggled to find a quiet place to read the sports section. This may explain why Solomon spent so much time writing things in his journal like, “Wife 587 is talking again. Oh God, can’t you make it stop?” This may also explain the origins of the garage.
If there’s one thing we can learn from the wisest king on earth it’s that there is a time to speak and time to remain silent. A few centuries later when the King of Kings was asked if the woman caught in adultery should be stoned, Christ kept quiet. When he was arrested, beaten and sentenced to death for a crime he did not commit, Jesus remained silent. When mocked and encouraged to call on His Father and save himself, our Lord refused. I’m not suggesting marriage is anywhere near as excruciating as a slow death on the cross. Okay, maybe just a little on the days when I have to vacuum, dust and fold the laundry.
But I am saying that when it comes to verbal communication Solomon provided wise council and Christ a good example to follow. Everyone needs to be noticed, understood and heard. We all need more affirmation and less confrontation. So compliment don’t criticize and if you can’t say something nice, keep your mouth shut. Or at least hide in the garage.
Labels: Eddie, relationships
He Won’t Open Up – She Said
“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven….a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak….” Ecclesiastes 3:1 & 7
I peeked around the door into the living room and saw my husband staring through, not at, the television, his brow furrowed. Obviously he had more on his mind than his team's injured quarterback who was being helped off the field. The network cut to a commercial so I walked to the couch and wrapped my arms around him, burying my face into the fold of his neck. He shifted his weight, leaning away.
"Is it my breath or are you mad at me?"
"Just trying to watch the game."
"But it's a commercial."
He shrugged and continued to stare at an ad for fabric softener. I snuggled up next to him and asked what had happened to the player, if he was out for good or just a few plays. My husband reached for the remote and changed the channel. I asked his opinion of the election, how things were going at work, and if he'd given any more thought to our travel plans for Christmas. He just glared at me with dead eyes and said, "Not now, Cin. I'm not in the mood."
Not in the mood? To talk? He has a mood for that?
I understand that women converse on a whole different level than men. When it comes to talking we got more gears than a logging truck. But I also know that solitude can be deadly, isolation the first step toward depression. Given enough time, what begins as a sulk grows into a full blown funk.
I mentioned my husband's foul mood to a co-worker. He said I should give my spouse some space; that sometimes guys just have to think things through. I thought that through and decided it was pretty lame advice from a guy with a college degree and most of his teeth, but I took his advice and kept quiet. I didn't prod, push or ask what was wrong with my husband. Just let him brood while I went about the house humming Kenny Chesney songs, as I projected a positive attitude.
I still don't know what was bothering my husband that week. He never said. I don't think it was anything I did, but I'm a wife so when he's in a bad mood I assume it's my fault. I wish he would open up, share his feelings and expose his heart the way I long to share mine with him. But he's just a guy who's not so much tall as he is handsome and quiet. The wisdom of Solomon directed us that there is a time for everything under the sun -- a time to speak and a time to be silent. I suppose this was my time to be silent. And as hard as it was....it was good advice.
If he wants to talk, I'll listen. If he wants to walk it off, I'll hike behind him. And if he just wants to be loved and left alone, I can do that, too. The important thing is that I heard him say "I do." If my husband never says another word to me he's said enough.
Eddie Jones and Cindy Sproles write the popular He Said, She Said Devotions and co-founded ChristianDevotions.us.
They host the BlogtalkRadio show, Christian Devotions Speak Up!
Labels: Cindy, relationships
Friday, November 7, 2008
We're Broke -- He Said
"God loves a cheerful giver. God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.”
2 Corinthians 9: 6-8
Financial disagreements are a normal and necessary part of any marriage, especially when you’re broke. In any discussion between two people who are, financially speaking, eating from the same dog dish, there will always be a certain amount of tension. Tension that, over time, leads to even more disagreements over such petty purchases as milk, bread and motorcycles.
That’s why when it comes to financial matters you should make every effort to show compassion, a willingness to compromise, and, if you have one, a prenuptial agreement protecting your assets. Whenever my wife calls a budget meeting I know it’s a serious matter. That’s why I pause the game, fix a snack and hide in the garage. Sometimes this strategy works but when it doesn’t I take refuge in God’s law of the harvest which says he who sows sparingly reaps sparingly so spend all you can when you can before she can.
If you’re like most couples in financial trouble you’re desperate for practical advice so here are five steps you can take that will lead to, if not financial independence, at least more arguments.
First, get rid of credit card debt. According to the latest figures, the average American household owes nearly nine million dollars in credit card debt. One way to reduce your debt is to ask Congress to assume your bad loans. Sure, they could say “no” but even if they do you can change their mind with a generous campaign contribution charged, of course, to your credit card.
Second, not all debt is bad. Spending money on golf clubs, chrome rims or a vacation in the Bahamas is okay. Borrowing for a home or college is not.
Third, make a list of long-term financial goals. Then ignore them. No point stressing over something that’s not going to happen but at least you can say you’re planning for the future.
Fourth, go shopping with your wife. Every year women spend thousands of dollars on shoes, hair coloring treatments and those little cotton balls that fill up the waste basket. Obviously, women need help in the buying department. If men understand anything it’s how to shop wisely. Just look at our huge collection of screwdrivers, socket sets and adjustable wrenches.
Finally, remember that God loves a cheerful giver so the next time your buddy needs help paying his green fees offer to split the cost of the golf cart.
God has promised to bless abundantly. We only need ask, sow generously and trust Him. That is, after all, what it says on the legal tender I once called “my allowance.” Abound in good work and if you can’t do that, then just work.
Labels: Eddie, relationships
We're Blessed -- She Said
“God loves a cheerful giver. God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” 2 Corinthians 9: 6-8
$142,048.00! I couldn’t believe the bill was so large but our insurance company was refusing to pay our son’s medical expenses. I panicked, emptied our savings and spread the rest of the costs among credit cards. Stupid? Perhaps. But a mother will do almost anything for her child. I’m not sure what my husband would have done. I didn’t ask. I just knew there was a price to pay for giving birth to a boy with a handicap and no matter what the cost, I wouldn’t deny Chase the care he needed.
I had a slush fund with $50 set aside. Mad money for me. It wasn’t much, but it was mine. With our savings gone, credit cards maxed out and creditors calling daily, we began to fall behind on the monthly interest payments. And still I wouldn’t touch my secret stash or ask God for help. I’d manage on my own, thank you.
Then one evening, in the garden, I broke down. “God, help us,” I cried. “I can’t do this anymore.” That’s when it began to rain. Not money. But cold, hard drops. I thought it was some kind of sick joke, God’s way of punishing me for… well, I wasn’t sure for what. I’d done the best I knew how. But there I was broke, wet and on my knees in the mud. That’s when I accused God of acting like a heartless bill collector.
The next day I cleaned out my slush fund. Not to pay the bills, but to help a starving college student buy food. I figured I could help someone else even if God refused to help me. I could be bigger and more charitable than God, even if I was bitter.
The next week I opened the mail and found a check for $100. Within days more money arrived from mysterious sources. Since that day on my knees in the mud God has provided thousands of dollars in ways I’d never imagined. I learned that when I give, He gives more.
I don’t look at the balance in my slush fund anymore. I just give with a joyful heart. As I write this I know that my secret stash is empty. I cleaned it out last week to help a ministry that’s dear to my heart. But I’m not worried. God will provide. He always has. He always will. I only needed to let go, trust and fall to my knees in prayer.
Eddie Jones and
Cindy Sproles write
the popular He Said, She Said
Devotions and co-founded
They host the BlogtalkRadio show,Christian Devotions Speak Up!
Labels: Cindy, relationships
Friday, October 31, 2008
Can’t Get Enough of Her, ah.... Cooking — He Said
“The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife. Do not deprive each other.”
- 1 Corinthians 7: 4-5
Listen to Can't Get Enough of Her Cooking -
by Eddie Jones
Boy do I enjoy my wife’s, ah… cooking. Some days that’s all I think about. But I’ve found she’s not all that fond of food, which is surprising giving how much time she spends basting by the pool. It’s like she wants me to notice but not nibble, you know? The other night I tried to sneak a taste but she slapped my hand away.
“But I haven’t eaten in weeks,” I said.
“And you’re not going to, now. It’s late, you’ll make a mess and I’m not in the mood.”
If I had my way my I’d eat three meals a day with snacks in between. My wife calls this gluttony. I call it a healthy diet.
The other day I complained to my pastor about my wife’s skimpy servings. I mentioned Paul’s letter to the church in Corinth, thinking that he’d be impressed with my Biblical knowledge but he only wanted to know why I was behind on my tithing. These pastors, sometimes it’s like they have a one track mind. Anyway, when I explained that I hadn’t had a decent meal in months he said I should be grateful — that his wife put him on a diet years ago. He’s an old guy with bad teeth and no hair so I can’t blame her, but still I did not leave his office encouraged.
Occasionally I’ll see my neighbor’s wife grilling on the patio. I know I shouldn’t look but a hungry man is a desperate man. Bob Marley said this I think. Or maybe it was Bob Dillon. I’m sure it was a man. I’d never steal another man’s meal because that’s just wrong but it’s hard to keep your appetite in check when the media and sports bars offer free appetizers.
The Bible says Jesus was a man, just like me, who faced the same temptations I face. I don’t know how he could, since they didn’t have Baywatch back then but that’s a doctrinal discussion for another day. Still, forty days is a long time. When He was tempted to turn rocks into bread, though, Christ refused. There are a lot of things I could say here about taking matters into your own hands, but I won’t.
What I will say is that I made a vow to my bride. I promised to honor, cherish and love her ‘till death do us part which, in my case, will probably be from malnutrition.
Look, some days call for a feast, others a snack. Both can satisfy our nutritional needs for physical affection so share up the food, wives! And guys, remember to say "thanks" after dinner.NOTE: The names, characters and incidents in this devotion are the product of the author's vivid and sometimes warped imagination. Any resemblance to actual persons, wives or food products is entirely coincidental. Speaking of dental, don' t forget to brush and floss before... you know.
Labels: Eddie, relationships
Keep Your Hands Off My Cookies -- She Said
Listen to Keep Your Hands Off My Cookies-by Cindy Sproles
“The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife. Do not deprive each other.
” 1 Corinthians 7: 4-5
I’m not the creative cook but my man’s never gone hungry, so when I go to all the trouble to wash, peel and sauté my, ah… forbidden fruit, I’d be nice if he’d show a little appreciation — or table manners.
The other night I was in the mood for “fundue.” This happens sometimes. Not often and certainly not when the kids are around but there I was lighting the burner, stirring the pot and peeling the wrappers off chocolate. When I get in the mood to cook I go all out. It’s a gourmet affair, not some fast food pit stop at a drive through window.
Just then my husband had a snack attack and stole one of my kisses. I slapped his hand and told him to wait until I was ready. He strolled back into the living room to watch TV because that’s what little boys do when things don’t go their way. They pout. In a few minutes the flame died and the “fundue” hardened.
I hope I’m not being too bold when I say this but I think my husband would eat garbage if I’d let him. He just doesn’t show any discretion when it comes to quality cuisine. The other night I caught him browsing the Internet for junk food. Do you think he was embarrassed? He was not. He said all men do it. I don’t think that’s true but even if they do, I wish my husband would show a little more taste. Or at least discretion.
I’ll be the first to admit that I’m finicky eater. I get worn out keeping the kids fed, bathed and from killing each other. I work days at a job that pays too little and nights cleaning a house that’s too messy. So when it comes to meeting the physical needs of my husband’s appetite most nights I’m just plum tuckered out.
I understand that he needs to eat a lot and often. God knows I try. But I have needs, too, and one of them is to be left alone when I’m not in the mood to cook. To be honest most evenings I’d rather take a saucer of coffee and cookies onto the front porch and talk. Not every meal has to end with a grunt, sigh and belch.
Sometimes less is more, so men, give us time to grow in our desire. You may find that the waiting makes the meal more filling.
DISCLAIMER: Did HE say the names and characters do no reflect anything that vaguely resemble our spouses? I can never be sure HE actually did it.....so just in case....the names and characters in these devotions purely fictional. Yes, fictional. We share an oddly strange sense of humor. And in case HE didn't say so, SHE SAYS, we never have to eat out! Our spouses are the best!
Eddie Jones and Cindy Sproles
write the popular He Said, She Said
Devotions and they co-founded
They host a show on BlogtalkRadio every Tuesday
at 6:30 p.m. Join them at blogtalkradio.com.
Labels: Cindy, relationships
Christian Devotions SPEAK UP!
Join us this week on Christian Devotions SPEAK UP! when host Scott McCausey interviews Chaplain Eric Dollyhigh. Eric is a graduate of Texas A&M University where he obtained a Bachelor of Science in Agribusiness. He is a graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary, earning a degree in Pastoral Ministry and Bible Exposition. He has been married to Amy for four years and enjoys their ten-month old son, Drew. Upon his graduation, he took a job as Assistant Chaplain of Interstate Battery. Interstate Battery is a Christian-operated company whose mission statement is unique: To glorify God as we supply our customers worldwide with top quality, value-priced batteries, related electrical power-source products and distribution services. Eric's work exemplifies this statement. One of the duties Eric performs is teaching Bible studies for Interstate team members. He also organizes ministry luncheons, heads a prison ministry and leads the Big Brothers/Big Sisters program for Interstate. The Chaplains' Department not only serves the Interstate employees, but organizes mission trips, raises support for Christian camps, and creates commercials to promote God's love.
To learn more about Interstate Battery and its company philosophy.
Devotions SPEAK UP! is a live call-in show. Call-in
Number: (347) 884-9367. If you know someone
who would be a great guest on the show contact Scott
Coming up on Christian
Devotions SPEAK UP!
April 27, Brad Stine, Christian Comedian
May 11 - Curt and Marybeth Whalen, Authors
May 18 - Live from Ridgecrest
May 25 - Phil Beavers, Vice President of Institutional Advancement
Tuesday evenings from 6:00 PM. to 7:00 PM.
Catch Christian Devotions Ministry at these events in 2010:
January 19, 2010, Writers Panel Discussion, Blue Mountain College, Mississippi
February 26-27, 2010 - Write2Ignite! Christian Children's Writers Conference, North Greenville University in Greenville, South Carolina. Terri Kelly/DevoKids
March 17, 2010 - The Western North Carolina Christian Writer's Fellowship, Waynesville, NC
March 24 - MOPS, at Mud Creek Baptist Church, Hendersonville, NC - Terri Kelly
March 26 - St. James School, Ormond Beach, FL - Terri Kelly
April 16, 17, 18, 2010 - FCC Annual Women's Spring Retreat, Pigeon Forge, Tennessee
May 12-15, 2010 - Colorado Christian Writers Conference, YMCA Estes Park Center
North West of Denver
May 16-20, 2010 - The Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference, Lifeway Conference Center, Ridgecrest, North Carolina
June 9-12, 2010 - Write
To Publish Wheaton College, Wheaton, Ill., a Chicago suburb
June 11-12, 2010 - Kentucky Christian Writers Conference, Elizabethtown, KY, - Andrea Merrell, Associate Editor
August 12-14, 2010 - The Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers Conference, 200 Manor Avenue, Langhorne, PA 19047
If you would like more information on when and where we'll be appearing or if you would like the staff of Christian Devotion Ministry to speak to your group
contact us at: email@example.com
Faith & FINANCES: In God We Trust, A Journey to Financial Dependence - turning the hearts of a nation back toward God one paycheck at a time. Learn more!