Category Archives: Compassion

The Light of Purpose

If you are sailing through life and every day is Christmas, today’s blog may not be for you. This entry speaks to the countless souls who live such distressing lives that they wonder why they were ever born. An unknown author wrote, “If given the opportunity to view the planet before birth, I would have said, no thank you”.

F10475012_ml reversedor some people the multiples of open-ended crisis, empty love buckets and grievous disappointments have lent more credibility to a mind-set of futility than of hope. For these, the measure of success is another week of survival. They feel invalid; they live on the edge of despair, and pray for the strength to endure the fateful passage of time.

A well-known preacher by the name of Charles Spurgeon said, “I am the subject of depression so fearful that I hope none of you ever get to such extremes of wretchedness as I go to.” Preaching to crowds upwards of 23,000 people, God used Charles Spurgeon to affect history, and his teachings are still circulated today. However, this spiritual giant fought the onslaught of despair for a great deal of his adult life.

Reverend Spurgeon struggled sorely through such times, yet, through a resolute faith in God, he was able to live a remarkable life of purpose. I too suffered this anguish for many years, and it is a tribute to God’s faithfulness that it is no longer a part of my life.

The good news is this – what is available to one of us, is available to all of us! It is a revolutionary certainty echoed in Galatians 3:26-29 where the Apostle Paul addresses believers:

For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus.  And all who have been united with Christ in baptism have put on Christ, like putting on new clothes.  There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus. And now that you belong to Christ, you are the true children of Abraham. You are his heirs, and God’s promise to Abraham belongs to you.

So regardless of where we are on the dark path of despair, a minute from now can be brighter. You and I have access to the very same God as Charles Spurgeon; and the principles that leveraged this man beyond the darkness into the light of purpose are as available to us as they were to him.

Yes, Reverend Spurgeon did say, “I am the subject of depression so fearful that I hope none of you ever get to such extremes of wretchedness as I go to”.  However he followed that statement with these words, “But I always get back again by this—I know that I trust Christ. I have no reliance but in Him, and if He falls, I shall fall with Him. But if He does not, I shall not. Because He lives, I shall live also, and I spring to my legs again and fight with my depressions of spirit and get the victory through it. And so may you do, and so you must …”.

John 14:19 NKJV A little while longer and the world will see Me no more, but you will see Me. Because I live, you will live also.

Please follow and like us:

Never Alone

Eight years ago today our niece gave birth to her second daughter.  After the birth we received a report that something was desperately wrong with the baby.  Little Caydence had been deprived of oxygen due to an extra long umbilical cord, which had been wrapped around her neck.

She could not breathe on her own so she was immediately put on life 15360238_ssupport and rushed to the nearest full-service medical center.  The test results were devastating.  Caydence showed little evidence of brain activity and she could not breathe on her own for any length of time. She was incapable of movement, had not cried, and she was blind.

At times like this our minds nearly burst with gripping questions; does God see the baby’s helpless condition?  What does this precious soul know of her unstable circumstances?  Does she dwell in personal darkness?  It would be incomprehensible to think that she was as alone as she appeared.

The family struggled with despair;  would she live?  Then slapping ourselves into reality we thankfully remember the transforming truth that we are really NEVER alone. The Bible is full of promises concerning God’s unfailing love and faithfulness.  He tells us that He will not forsake us – any of us – at any age.

The God of the universe, the Author of life, declared that He had not forsaken little Caydence; God was with her.  Though her fate eluded us, the One who loved her most pledged to comfort, protect and provide for her temporal and eternal needs.

God allowed life to be breathed into this beautiful child for a purpose, and we were given a glorious window of opportunity to exchange love and human touch with her.  These moments are timeless, leaving an indelible Caydence shaped imprint on our hearts.

Caydence abides with God in heaven now.  She is not alone…she never was, and she never ever will be.  Happy Birthday Caydence!

Matthew 19:14 NLV But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to Me. Do not stop them. The holy nation of heaven is made up of ones like these.”

Deuteronomy 31:6 NLV Be strong and have strength of heart. Do not be afraid or shake with fear because of them. For the Lord your God is the One who goes with you. He will be faithful to you. He will not leave you alone.”

Psalm 131:1 NIV My heart is not proud, O LORD, my eyes are not haughty; I do not concern myself with great matters or things too wonderful for me. But I have stilled and quieted my soul; like a weaned child with its mother, like a weaned child is my soul within me.

Please follow and like us:

Keep Swimming

If you have seen the children’s movie Finding Nemo, you are familiar with one of the main characters in the film, a female fish by the name of Dory. Dory had a mantra which she recited throughout her journey, it was “just keep swimming, just keep swimming, swimming, swimming”.

dreamstime_xs_473663Dori lacked short-term memory skills, and though her handicap made for some hysterically funny scenes, it might have been her demise if she had not found a way to keep herself in the flow of life. Fortunately, Dory kept swimming.

Having struggled with a bad cold for the past few days I woke up after a second restless night and told myself to, “just keep going”. There are times in life when putting one foot in front of the other is all you’ve got.

The same is true when we go through periods of worry or stress. In those times the mind gets clouded and it can be difficult to think. Creativity is stifled, physical strength depleted; again we just keep…

At some point in Dory’s life she must have made a decision to press on despite her limitations. She could have conceded to the fact that the people who make it in this world are the smart and quick-witted ones. She could have succumbed to a wake of popular opinions stating that she would never amount to much. But Dory stayed remarkably optimistic. She was faith-filled and just kept swimming; she chose to make her life count.

A quick internet search would give us a long list of people who, against all odds, kept their faith and overcame what appeared to be the impossible in their lives. The Bible tells us that faith is a belief in what we do not see, and the evidence of that faith is to receive what we have believed for.

Still there are those who lack faith in their purpose for being. Even Job who was a prayerful and holy man said, “Why did I not perish at birth, and die as I came from the womb?”

Our economic, societal, and domestic problems can be tremendous. We can wish even to die, but the fact is every person on earth has been born for a significant purpose. Job ultimately chose not to give up and he was rewarded by God for his faithfulness. So too were Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, David, Esther, Ruth, Nehemiah, Mary, John, and so many others; the list is endless.

Thomas Edison said, “Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.” Our lives were meant to count. It says in the book of Proverbs that the godly may trip seven times, but he will get up again.

God gives His people divine buoyancy. So, when you face life’s torrents beloved, have faith in the One who made the waters and …keep swimming!

Psalm 95:5 NIV The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land.

Isaiah 43:1-4 NIV But now, O Jacob, listen to the Lord who created you. O Israel, the one who formed you says, “Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are mine. When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. I gave Egypt as a ransom for your freedom; I gave Ethiopia and Seba in your place. Others were given in exchange for you. I traded their lives for yours because you are precious to me. You are honored, and I love you.

Proverbs 24:16 NLT The godly may trip seven times, but they will get up again.

Orig Posted by Donna M Dougherty at 2/9/2010 11:46 PM

Please follow and like us:

The Helper

America mourns over the senseless killings at the Sandy Hook Elementary School.  We cry over the loss of 20 young children and 6 adults who were massacred by a 20-year-old male.

Working in a school building I wonder what we will tell our own students concerning this news.  What will parents across our nation tell their little ones?

7977946_sI read a timely quote on Facebook that originated with the late Fred Rogers, the creator of Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood. It read, “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’”  Mr. Rogers said, “To this day, especially in times of disaster, I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world”.

We thank God for the helpers, the heroes who sacrificed their own safety to protect the students during the attack at the Sandy Hook school, including the late Dawn Hochsprung, the principal who lunged at the shooter to try to stop him. God bless the teachers who quietly hid and comforted anxious children behind closed doors, the courageous first responders, the medical personnel, counselors, clergy, and others whose vital involvement will continue for months to come.

USAToday quoted one first responder as saying, “Worst tragedy that I’ve seen…” We live in a fallen world where scary things do happen. Mrs. Roger’s gave her son good counsel. But what if there is no time to find help, or what if human intervention is not enough to deliver us?

The Bible tells us that when Jesus was preparing to go to heaven he told his disciples that he would ask God to send them a Helper so that they would not be alone – ever. John 14:16 says, And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper to be with you forever…” This Helper is the Holy Spirit and he is able to be with us at all times so we do not need to face the scary things alone.

Saint Augustine said, “O Holy Spirit, descend plentifully into my heart.  Enlighten the dark corners of this neglected dwelling and scatter there thy cheerful beams”.  The Holy Spirit is omnipresent because he is part of the Trinity; he is God. He is able to be everywhere, he can remove pain, he can bring peace that passes all understanding, and he can spiritually cradle us when we breathe our last earthly breath.

I do not believe that those who died in the Sandy Crook attack died alone. I believe that they looked for a helper and the Holy Spirit was there.  So what do we tell our children? We tell them the most truthful, powerful, and comforting story ever.

It starts with Christmas, when our Father God sent Jesus to earth in the form of an innocent baby. Jesus grew up among us as the perfect combination of God and man for the purpose of one day saving us from sin.  Hence in the most significant display of love ever known, Jesus did that very thing; he died on the cross to give hope and salvation to anyone who believes in him. Then Jesus went to heaven to be with the Father and the Holy Spirit, the Helper, came to earth to be with us forever.

This is what we tell our children. “Look for the Helper – he will always be there”.

Merry Christmas!

I John 14:16-17 NCV I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper to be with you forever—the Spirit of truth.

Orig Posted by Donna M Dougherty at 12/22/2012 7:11 PM

Please follow and like us:

Tackled by Love

dreamstime_xs_3355830bOur Bible Study ended and families began to congregate in the hallway where the buzz of indistinct chatter filled the air.  I navigated my way through the crowd when a discernible sound drew my attention.

A young girl spotted her friend and called out her name in such a way that I could almost feel the delight in her voice.  It was as if she found something that had been lost. Her spontaneity and affection were so telling that I actually said, “Wow, I wish someone would greet me that way.”

Though my tone was merely conversational, the fact that the words leaped out of my mouth was significant. In the book of Luke we read that what we say flows from what is in our hearts. It was evident that the young girl’s greeting was heartfelt; so too was my statement.

It had been less than two weeks since my sister and dearest friend Cheryl died, leaving a hole in my heart the size of a fist.  She had been ill for several years, but had recently entered the hospital with stage 4 cancer.  She had loved and served the Lord for over 30 years, both on her feet and from her sick bed.  Cheryl’s testimony was so profound that over 1,000 people attended her memorial service. Several of them sought out family members in order to share their stories about how she had impacted their lives.

My tears stream from a twisted mélange of sorrow and hope. Her death has touched parts of my soul that had been un-stirred until now.  I have prayed for hundreds of people who have lost loved ones.  How had they reconciled their losses?  The sense of unfinished business is intense when someone you love has died. There are things you want to say and do, questions you want to ask, and love you want to give.

At Cheryl’s hospice bedside the family would wait for an opportunity to communicate with her because she really did not have the strength for conversation. As I watched her sleep my thoughts would cycle through heartbreak for the family and contempt for her suffering. I prayed repeatedly, “Lord are we really going to lose her?” It felt truly unbelievable.

I braided her long wavy hair and stroked her face.  Cheryl was leaving earth and I wanted to send her off with the biggest hug ever; as her older sister it just seemed right for both of us. But her body had become too frail for that. I would settle for a kiss on her forehead, and a knowing grin.

Back in the church hallway, just seconds after I spoke, I was literally tackled from behind.  Catching my balance I turned to see a beautiful little girl peering up at me.  She was about 8 years old, African, with lovely braided hair.  I did not know her name, but she had her arms wrapped tightly around my waist.  I looked into her darling little face and said, “You heard me?  I didn’t think anyone heard me…thank you for the hug!”

She gave me a big smile and I knew immediately that God had inspired the child’s purposeful actions. Her hug was strong, affectionate, and greatly comforting. Strangely and wonderfully it was characteristic of the hug that I had hoped to give to my sister; and I was stunned once again by the thoughtful ways that God works in our lives.

We read in Ecclesiastes 11:5, “As you know not what is the way of the wind, or how the spirit comes to the bones in the womb of a pregnant woman, even so you know not the work of God, who does all”.

The child ran off to find her friend and I remained to collect my thoughts. I wondered if God had made Cheryl aware of his intervention.  Could she see what had just happened, and did she know what it represented?  I’ll be sure to ask when I get to heaven … shortly after I tackle her with a great big hug!

Matthew 5:4 NLT God blesses those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

Isaiah 55:8-9 NLT “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.  For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts …”

Luke 6:45 NLT A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart.

Orig Posted by Donna M Dougherty at 5/20/2012 8:18 PM

Please follow and like us:

Sticks and Stones

As children we recited the popular idiom, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me”.

If only we could have gossip2remained in that state of unscathed innocence. Immature and uncontaminated we launched benign attacks with words like poo poo-head and stinky-feet.

Then we grew up and our naiveté was lost. The sweet youthful banter was replaced by malignant assaults of adult gossip, lies and slander. We learned that names do hurt.

As Christians we are called to submit our hearts, minds and souls to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. When in right relationship with Him, it is not difficult to keep our tongues from evil and our lips from speaking lies (Psalm 34:13). We ought to strive to reflect His character by getting rid of anger, rage, malicious behavior, slander and dirty language (Colossians 3:8).

Then why do such things persist? According to the scriptures, the words that flow from a loose tongue are directly related to evil in the heart. “The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks” (Luke 6:45).

The issue of slander has become a serious one for the church. Author John Armstrong  writes, “While Christians currently debate a host of ethical issues that are very important to the life and well-being of the church I fear that too few of us are willing to actually address a sin that destroys the work of the Spirit as fast, if not faster, than almost any other sin. I refer to the sin of slander”.

Truly the wounds from the battering of sticks and stones are more easily treated than the damage caused by a reckless tongue. Whether couched in prayer, whispered in conversation, or openly declared, slanderous words launch a vile attack on the character and well-being of an individual. As Christians we must do better.

George J. Carroll  wrote the following poem.

Those that slander you
with lies and deceit they say,
Show them mercy God

This is my prayer. May God teach us and show us mercy. Putting aside the sticks, stones and name-calling, as Christians we can do better.

James 1:26 NIV If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless.

Matthew 12:36-37 NIV But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. For by your words you will acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.

1 John 1:9 NIV If we confess our sins he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

Orig Posted by Donna M Dougherty at 8/8/2010 5:36 PM

Please follow and like us:

Place in this World

bella5sm2God, the ultimate Father, defines the way of each child’s life. Some children are born into families, while others are born for families. Bella Rose was born for ours!

Our 4 1/2 year old granddaughter held her new baby sister just two days after her birth. Bella was born across the country to a woman who was unable to care for her. She decided to give the baby up for adoption and our daughter and son-in-law were selected by the birth mother, and by God, to be her adoptive parents.

The family received the call at 4:00 p.m. on Monday evening, and they left for the airport at 4:00 a.m. Tuesday morning. After spending a week and half in Bella’s birth state the paperwork was finalized and the new family of four flew home!

How quickly details can fall into place when God calls something into being. We could not have selected a more perfect child for our family, or orchestrated a smoother transition.

He is an amazing God; though imposing and grand, He delights personally in the purpose and placement of Bella’s tiny life.

Psalm 139:13-16 says, “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”

God knows us before we even become. He is intimately and passionately aware of us.

  • (Jeremiah 1:4-5 NLT) “The Lord gave me this message: ‘I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb. Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as my prophet to the nations.'”
  • (Galatians 1:15-16a NLT) “But even before I was born, God chose me and called me by His marvelous grace. Then it pleased him to reveal His Son to me so that I would proclaim the Good News about Jesus to the Gentiles…”

Before Bella was, God knew her and He had defined her place in this world.  She was born for a purpose and for our family!

Psalm 68:6a NKJ God sets the solitary in families;

Orig Posted by Donna M Dougherty at 5/24/2010 11:27 PM

Please follow and like us:

The God of Grace

Some people have difficulty believing in a God who was killed on a cross.  In biblical times they thought, “This Jesus cannot be a king, and He certainly isn’t God; He is more likely a wrongdoer, a criminal. Crucify Him”!

Mankind is capable of considerable error.  We fail, and we judge one another’s weakness; we fear, and we judge one another’s fate.

one crossThe religious minds of the day could not accept Jesus’ message because it did not agree with their belief system.  He professed to be their Messiah, yet He did not establish the earthly kingdom that the Jews of that day expected.  In fact Jesus became an offense to them by what He said and did.

John 1:17 says, “For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ”.  Jesus was the message of grace to a graceless crowd.  They had only known the law.  So His sentence and execution were easily justified.

They tried to use the scriptures to discredit Him.  Deuteronomy 21:22-23 states, “If a man guilty of a capital offense is put to death and his body is hung on a tree you must not leave his body on the tree overnight.  Be sure to bury him that same day, because anyone who is hung on a tree is under God’s curse …”

This scripture was indeed written about Jesus, but as a matter of truth, not for purposes of condemnation.  It was written about the amazing sacrifice that He would make.  The sin placed upon Jesus when He hung on the cross did make Him accursed.

Even God the Father separated Himself from Jesus when He was on the cross.  We read of Jesus’ distressing cry in Matthew 27:46 when He recognized the Father’s discontent; the Father was repelled and wrathful in the face of such vile and evil darkness.

As Jesus writhed on that cross He wrestled with all the powers of evil; something only God could do.  The atmosphere must have been teeming with dark spiritual activity … and then, in probably the most powerful moment on earth, He died.

Jesus truly was the God who was killed on a cross! You can believe! Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 1:3)

Acts 15:11 NLT We believe that we are all saved the same way, by the undeserved grace of the Lord Jesus.

Romans 6:17 AMP For sin shall not (any longer) exert dominion over you, since now you are not under Law (as slaves), but under grace (as subject of God’s favor and mercy).

Orig Posted by Donna M Dougherty at 4/4/2010 12:54 AM

Please follow and like us:

Just like Him

If I had followed in my father’s footsteps I would have become a plumbing contractor, but my dad discouraged it.  I eventually understood his reservations, as I was not wired for the job.

dad and donnaMy father wisely discerned the dichotomy between the raw realities of his job and my developing aptitudes.  It was not unusual for him to forge metal pipes, or to carry a bathtub up a flight of stairs on his back.  I, on the other hand, spent my time riding horses, dancing, and writing poetry.  I just wanted to be like him.

As an adolescent my desire to be like my dad meant taking on his profession and doing the job that he did each day.  I later recognized the things that I most admired about him were character traits.

I observed how he cared for others.  As a result people, even strangers quickly adopted him into their families, and they would rely on him for input or help with decisions or problems. People just seemed to feel better when he was around.

Author Maya Angelou wrote, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel”.

It is not the good works that we do for others that matter most in our relationships, though these are both necessary and beneficial; it is our manifest belief in the individual that matters. This is a Godly principle that my dad understood.  We are all created to fulfill a matchless destiny. Knowing that someone believes in our ability to fulfill that destiny is compelling.

Jesus was the absolute Master at this! Consider the sensational change in the life of Mary Magdalene … and what about the 12 disciples?  Jesus’ investment in their lives was so believable, His confidence in them so empowering, that even after He was physically taken away, they went on to revolutionize the entire world!

Following in His footsteps, the apostle Paul wrote this to the Corinthian church. “I have the highest confidence in you, and I take great pride in you. You have greatly encouraged me and made me happy despite all our troubles”.  By caring about and believing in others we validate their personal worth.  These are the sentiments that capture people’s hearts.

He learned this from Jesus … as he sought to be just like HIM!

Colossians 3:10 NLT Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him.

Matthew 4:19 NLT Jesus called out to them, “Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!”

Orig Posted by Donna M Dougherty at 11/14/2009 8:40 PM

Please follow and like us:

Amazing Grace

Reverend Tom Ascol said, “Self-deception is an insidious condition. You will never meet a person who knows he is self-deceived. By definition, those ensnared are completely unaware that they are.”

The self-deceived are often used to defy truth and reason. They employ weapons of absurdity and irrationality, yet they believe in their causes as strongly as the righteous.  But when lies are unshackled from the mouths of the unjust and truth is stomped by gracecorruption, when the innocent are assailed and wickedness is endorsed, when faith is pretentious and God is mocked, sin will abound, and… we grieve.

There is a great uneasiness that comes to God’s true followers in the face of such senselessness.  We shake our heads with wonder.  We pray.  We wait for His intervention and deliverance, but more… we learn.

We look to Jesus and learn of His grace. The Lord wants us all to make it and He is not only thoughtful, but He is proactive about it. Where the law identified and demanded punishment for sin, through our belief in Jesus’ extraordinary sacrifice on the cross, we obtain grace.

Grace is that wholly sustaining quiescent stay between where we are now and God’s unachieved expectation for us. Those who do not cling to vain beliefs or worthless idols will learn of it. God’s amazing grace intensifies against the increase of sin; it powerfully liberates, and it allows endless opportunity for change.

So, while the self-deceived may promote sin in our circles, families, government, and world, we gather our best intentions and our strongest prayers, and we bring our teachable-selves to Jesus.  We go to the One who has given us strength, considered us faithful, and has appointed us to His service (1Timothy 1:12).  We accept His amazing grace and … we believe.  May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.

Jonah 2:8 NIV “Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs…”

Romans 5:20-21 NIV The law was added so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Hebrews 4:16 NIV  Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

Orig Posted by Donna M Dougherty at 8/8/2009 3:14 PM

Please follow and like us:

A Forever Friend

It felt like my heart cracked when I read the email that Doris died, and I cried over her loss. I met Doris about 15 years ago when she came to work in our business. She was a tall, stately, German lady who always wore a smile, and invested 100 percent of herself into everything she did.

Her personality was loving and refreshingly child-like. Meeting Doris for the first time, she would embrace you as a forever friend, and she would make it a priority to celebrate you whenever dreamstime_m_22710647nsaucerpossible. She had an arthritic condition, but as a skilled seamstress and crafter she would indomitably work her crooked fingers to create amazing gifts for people. Doris’ thoughtful and generous ways were inspiring.

Throughout her bout with cancer she had the support of devoted family and friends. But Doris’ most supreme comfort and strength came from her Savior. Her relationship with Jesus was intimate and ingenuous.

As I began to process her death, I shared her story with others, but it seemed that those who heard barely acknowledged my words. I was disheartened by their lack of emotion, so I examined my expectations.

It did not take long before I realized the obvious. They didn’t know Doris personally, so they simply could not relate or empathize. No matter how much I reminisced I could not bring them to where I was. Hearing was not the same as knowing.

I applied this observation to the most important relationship ever; that of God and man. Again, just hearing about Jesus is not enough; there is no relevance without personal knowledge. We must know Him.

While I can no longer introduce you to our dear Doris, I can introduce you to Jesus. The Bible tells us that He stands at the door of your heart and knocks. If you invite Him in, you will know Him; He will become your Savior, your Comforter, and your Forever Friend!

Revelation 3:20 NLT Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends.

Psalm 116:15 NLT The Lord cares deeply, when his loved ones die.

Orig Posted by Donna M Dougherty at 6/20/2009 11:15 AM

Please follow and like us:

More than Soup

During a five day bout with the flu, on a venture from the bed to the couch, my telephone rang.  It was a friend calling to tell me that she was on my front porch. When I opened the door she greeted me with a large container soup4of homemade chicken soup; still warm. She heard that I was sick, so she made me soup to help me heal.

As I took hold of the container, I had to force away the tears of gratitude that pressed against the back of my eyes. I was privy to my friend’s hectic schedule, her personal health problems, and her family’s financial difficulties. I recognized the real value of her gesture, and I was truly stunned by her thoughtfulness.

She rushed off to work and I closed myself in with the quiet and solitude of my condition again. I expected to drag myself through the remainder of the day, but that was not the case. While my body was achy and tired, my spirit had been lifted and encouraged. Because of my friend’s gesture I felt better; she had brought me more than soup!

Proverbs 15:30 NLT A cheerful look brings joy to the heart; good news makes for good health.

Posted by Donna M Dougherty at 6/10/2009 10:36 PM

Please follow and like us:

A Divine Impact

As a practical part of my Bible college training I was required to go with one or more people to a store and purchase items as we felt directed by God. Then we were to bring the items to the home of someone who we did not know; the address being one that the Lord led us to.

dreamstime_xs_18644225It was early December and the stores were bustling with shoppers. My husband joined me and we prayed for direction concerning the excursion and visit. God was faithful to lead us.

After shopping, I knocked on the door to a white farmhouse in town, and an older man answered. He was holding a telephone to his ear, though he was not talking. The man stood a foot or two back on the other side of the storm door. I thought that he might be intimidated because the upper panel of the door was missing and there was no physical barrier between us. He stared at me as I introduced myself.

I smiled so not to worry him, and explained about the mission that I was on; telling him that the Lord led me to shop for, and deliver, gifts to his address. As I spoke, his eyes got wider and his jaw literally dropped. He continued to hold the phone to his ear; still not talking.

It appeared as though the farmhouse had been subdivided into apartments and the man was living in a one room studio. I noticed a small bed behind him pressed up against the wall. This blessed me because we had purchased a twin-size heating blanket. We knew that buying a size-specific gift was risky, but my husband and I both felt that God was leading us in that direction. Seeing this little bed confirmed to me that we had stopped at the right home.

I lifted the wrapped package to pass it through the opening in the door. The man reached for it apprehensively, in slow motion; still holding the phone to his ear, still not talking, and still staring directly at me. I assured him that there were no strings attached to the visit. I said that I was a Christian and that the visit had been ordained by Jesus solely to bless him.

Then I bent to the ground where I had placed a second gift, and raised it cautiously to the opening. It was a happy little live Christmas tree, two feet tall, and fully decorated. It was at this point in the visit that I witnessed the divine impact of my call. The man’s eyes left me for the very first time and locked onto the little tree. There was a dramatic change to his countenance. His facial expression softened, and he smiled as if the tree held particular significance to him.

Then he excitedly put down the first package and reached in my direction with his free arm, wrapping it tightly around the base of the little tree. The heating blanket purchase spoke to me, but it was the tree that spoke to the man. It appeared to be the evidence that he needed to believe my words.

As I turned to leave I said, “Jesus did this to let you know that you are loved.” With the phone in one hand and the tree in the other, he gave me a big knowing smile. We hope to visit him again one day. But until we do, I will pray for the man with the phone that didn’t talk, and the tree that did!

Isaiah 30:21 NIV Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”

1 Corinthians 12:4-7, 11 NLT There are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but the same Spirit is the source of them all. There are different kinds of service, but we serve the same Lord. God works in different ways, but it is the same God who does the work in all of us … It is the one and only Spirit who distributes all these gifts. He alone decides which gift each person should have.

Orig Posted by Donna M Dougherty at 3/2/2009 12:13 PM

Please follow and like us:

It Can Be Better

I recently celebrated my birthday and it brought back memories of a conversation that I had with my mother years ago concerning my entrance into the world.  She described my grandmother’s reaction when my mom informed her that my name would be Donna.  My little Italian grandma loved the name because it had an Italian origin. She waved her arms and joyfully skirted around her kitchen.

14464964_s(1)Then my mother said that on the day I was born my grandfather stood outside the hospital nursery and danced. She said that one of the nurses actually asked my mom if she knew who the funny little man at the window was!  That was my grandpa, loving his new baby granddaughter, and rejoicing over her entrance into the world.  Wow, what a marvelous beginning I was given to build my life upon.

As I reflect on my gratitude for this warm welcome, my thoughts drift to the harsh and cold reception that many babies face when they enter the world.  I think of those who are not received by love; those who are abandoned, thrown onto trash heaps, or born into domestic or other war-zones.

My heart would shatter if I could not raise my eyes to God and pray, confident that He holds their lives in His protective hands.

We do not have the ability to solve every injustice.  But we were given an amazing privilege to pray, and prayers absolutely do affect change.  Additionally, we can carry the hope of Christ to others by getting involved in a righteous cause, or act of kindness outside our world.

Has God called you to step out of your comfort zone to feed the hungry, serve the poor, comfort widows, spend time with orphans, or care for the sick or elderly?  Has He put a burden on your heart to pray for someone?

While not everything in life has the gift of great beginnings, with our willingness and God’s help, the end of any matter can be better than it began!

Ecclesiastes 7:8a NIV The end of a matter is better than its beginning…

James 5:16b KJV …The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

Orig Posted by Donna M Dougherty at 2/14/2009 10:18 PM

Please follow and like us:

What Moves You?

We cry for the people of Bangladesh who suffered the death of loved ones in a tragic cyclone.  We mourn for those who died without knowing Christ, whose cries from an eternal hell cannot be remedied.  Our hearts ache for the parents whose children were lost, and for the children who live in a world that they must now rebuild.

When I was a child I used to write poetry, and as I look back through the handwritten pages in my time-worn binder, I see that I wrote frequently about human suffering.  I was young and impressionable and the injustice in the world played a large part in the formation of my character.

22878268_sForty years later tragedy is still a part of life. How grateful I am, however, to know Jesus.  Through my faith in Him I now have access to the throne-room of God. In that holy and powerful place, God’s children can lay their prayers for a hurting world directly at His feet.  The Bible says in Hebrews 4:16, “So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive His mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most”.

Like the formative words in my poetry binder, I encourage you to notice what realities arrest your true character. Your natural inclinations may be bottled up. Pop the top, let the tears flow, and empty yourself at the feet of your God.

Isaiah 30:18 NLT Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; He rises to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for Him.

Orig Posted by Donna M Dougherty at 1/11/2009 12:39 PM

Please follow and like us:

A Memory of Divine Significance

There are certain events that occur in our lives that remain with us. They are the traumas, the surprises, the experiences that seem to have open-ended and sometimes divine significance. Creative thinker, Edward de Bono said, “A memory is what is left when something happens and does not completely unhappen”.

47041660_sYears ago, at the age of seventeen, I spent a day at the university campus of a friend. While she attended her classes I roamed the beautiful grounds and toured the halls. At one point I called for the elevator on the second floor in one of the buildings. The door opened, I entered and selected the button to the first level. When the elevator didn’t move I noticed an out-of-order sign, so I detoured to the stairwell where I was met with providence.

Waiting at the top of the stairs was a man in his 20’s, sitting in a wheelchair. It was obvious that he could not use his arms or legs, and I could tell from the tube and oxygen attached to his chair that he also had a respiratory disorder. He greeted me and took a breath of life from the tube. In between puffs he told me that the elevator was often out of order and, as usual, he was waiting for friends to arrive to carry him and his chair down the stairs.

Since I was in no hurry I paused to speak with him. “After all”, I thought, “it’s the least I can do. The poor guy must live a wretched life. I would rather be dead than to live like that.”

If words had hands the man’s next statement would have slapped me! Not knowing my thoughts he said, “Every time the elevator breaks my friends carry me down the stairs in my chair”. Puffing on the tube he continued, “I’m always afraid that they’ll drop me, and I don’t want to die”.

I yelled internally, “What? He wants to live?!” His words seemed to circle the halls and return to me two or three more times. He spoke on and I listened wide-eyed, struggling to reconcile the spirit and optimism of what I heard with what I saw.

After a while we said good-bye and I found my way outdoors. Challenged by the man’s comments, I sat pensively beneath a tree for the remainder of the day …growing up.

How judgmental and narrow-minded I was to have made an assumption about another individual’s intrinsic value or ability to contribute. That man was a contributor all right; in one ten minute conversation he unassumingly educated and provoked lasting change to my character.

It has been more than thirty years since the visit. I cannot remember the name of the university, or the name of the friend who invited me to the campus, but I remember the amazing man who changed my life. For me, our visit was short, poignant, and fated. It truly was a meeting of divine significance that to this day, never unhappened.

Proverbs 16:9 NIV In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.

Orig Posted by Donna M Dougherty at 9/27/2008 11:36 AM

Please follow and like us: