Category Archives: Encouragement

Sweet Victory

Processed by: Helicon Filter; KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAYou may have heard the name Rico Petrocelli.  Rico is  a retired short stop for the Boston Red Sox who played a big part in the 1967 Dream Team.  Due to his participation in that historic event, Rico has become a public speaker addressing audiences everywhere and we invited him to speak at our church.

Rico shared of the earlier days in his career, including his conversion to Christianity.  Then he delivered an insightful message about the moral decay in America over the last 40 years. He talked strikingly and convincingly of a societal war.

We are all familiar with America’s war on drugs, and the war against terrorism, but Rico spoke of another war.  He raised our awareness concerning the premeditated tactics of the pornographic industry to stalk unsuspecting youth, and imprudent adults.

Media, Internet enabled cell phones, palm devices, and other helpful hi-tech tools are being abused by misguided individuals to provide easy access to indecent content, and unsafe associations.  Unfortunately, these advances have made it easier for the immoral to target individuals across various ages and genres.

At the end of Rico’s talk our Pastor stood to dismiss the crowd.  My mind wandered back to what he had shared months before about the dangers in his world as a young man raised in Lebanon. Pastor spoke of days when gunshots prevented access to food, of bombs striking nearby buildings, and of friends being removed from their homes – never to return. The country of Lebanon has been frequently ravaged by war.

I have never experienced war first hand, but I have been affected by the distress of combat.  In 1989 I was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress syndrome.  I had experienced a string of heartbreaks that frayed my emotions to the point of illness. Mine was a different kind of war.

There are seasons in life when we are battered by hard times.  They come in various forms and are often surreptitious assaults that catch us unaware.  So, how do we fight influences that undermine our society, our country, and our personal well-being?

Rico emphasized the need to remain alert to the activities and temptations around us.  He charged us to be proactive concerning what is healthy and in the best interests of ourselves and others, and he urged us to recognize the matchless power of God through Jesus to transform individuals and nations.

Aligning ourselves with God places us in a position of wisdom, safety and strength. So regardless of enemy tactics, we can make it through the battle, to sweet victory!

Deuteronomy 20:4 NIV For the LORD your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory.

Orig Posted by Donna M Dougherty at 3/6/2009 11:05 AM

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What You Cannot See

There are times in life when even our most sincere prayer and best efforts yield no visible results.  We are confused and ask the question, “Why”?

16201596_sThis position is especially true of women because of their birthing nature. Women have an intrinsic desire to see newness brought about.  When women labor over anything they inherently expect a certain result – a baby.  So, when an experience does not bear the intended result, they wonder if the labor was in vain.  “If there is no birth, has the time been wasted”?

Let us examine the birthing process.  Birth begins with conception, an idea, a calling; something brand new, that becomes.  New life lives in a place that is not visible to the naked eye where it is incubated until delivery.  We hope to bring something forth in the end; but what if we do not see the result of our labor?  What does it mean when we carry the burden for something that is never revealed?

I was pregnant four times, but I carried only three children to full term.  My second child was miscarried.  I do not believe for a moment that the conception and early growth of that child was in vain.  In God’s infinite wisdom He simply chose to count her among the inhabitants of heaven, and I don’t have the ability to see her there.

Remember Job?  We read in the first chapter of that book, that Job lost everything he had including his 10 children.  Then, in Job 42:10 we read “… the Lord made him prosperous again and gave him twice as much as he had before”. God returned everything to Job in duplicate.  For instance, before the devastation Job owned 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels and 500 yoke of oxen. After the restoration Job had 14,000 sheep, 6,000 camels and 1,000 yoke of oxen.

But what of his children; in verse 13 we notice that God gave Job 10 children, the same number as before, not 20.  It seemed that God did not double the number of Job’s children as He did with his livestock. The fact is, God included in his count the 10 children who had died because they still existed.  Job could not see them with his human eyes, but God could. It is not always about a result that we can see.

David says in Psalm 131 …”I do not concern myself with great matters or things too wonderful for me. But I have stilled and quieted my soul…”  There are times in life when no matter how much prayer or effort we devote to a cause, the result can appear futile. The challenge is to accept outcomes that are beyond our control.  We must understand that God orchestrates the conclusions to all matters for the greater good.

Like David, we have the ability to quiet ourselves when we struggle with the “whys” of life. The scripture clearly indicates that David did this as an act of his will.  He chose to stop concerning himself with the answers. God has given us this ability.  So carry on.  Your prayer and best efforts are not in vain. What you cannot see still counts!

Psalm 131:1-2 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.

Orig Posted by Donna M Dougherty at 2/22/2009 1:07 AM

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Draw Near

When our son was 18 years old he acted in a school drama.  He played a homeless person who lived on the street.  His character did not say a word throughout the entire drama. dreamstime_xs_28054815However, from his position in the corner of the stage, he watched as a theatrical Jesus multiplied loaves and fish, raised the dead, forgave sin, died on the cross, and rose from the grave.

The interesting thing about our son’s performance was the fact that he was not a member of the drama club that year. The drama coach wrote him into the script 30 minutes before the curtain call.  It was fascinating to watch his unrehearsed character evolve.

As the streetwise, disadvantaged outcast in the corner of the stage, his character was compelled by the witness of true love that he saw among Jesus and His followers.  He very curiously observed them from afar… and then from a closer proximity until his interest drew him from the position of onlooker, to participant.

Watching this drama I wondered how many of us, regardless of status, feel like outcasts. While we may live boldly in the face of others, there are secret reserved parts of us that quietly huddle in corners, yearning for acceptance.

God wired people to desire and prize the companionship and sanction of others.  If consistent aloneness was God’s intention, He would have created one immortal man in the Garden of Eden.  But, in fact, He said, “It is not good for man to be alone”, and then He proceeded to thoughtfully execute a plan to populate earth with kindred souls.

If you find yourself on the outside looking in, it is not too late to be written into the script.  Look center stage at Jesus’ compelling message of love.  Then draw near.

Ephesians 2:19 NLT So now you Gentiles are no longer strangers and foreigners. You are citizens along with all of God’s holy people. You are members of God’s family.

Hebrews 7:19 NLT  For the law never made anything perfect. But now we have confidence in a better hope, through which we draw near to God.

Orig Posted by Donna M Dougherty at 2/2/2009 12:31 AM

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A Garden of Hope

I prayed to overcome a feeling of hopelessness and God filled my mind with a garden.  Join me in this garden of hope where our faithful Creator unshackles the mind, and renews the spirit.

~ As we wrestle with unbelief for a better day, we stumble upon a garden of hope. In this garden an array of flowers surround us OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAwith incomparable beauty, and an elevating bouquet. We feel the soft brush of virgin growth, and sense a fresh purity of life, as the flora around us wave upward toward their Maker.

The atmosphere tugs on our hearts and beckons for our participation.  Compelled, we acknowledge the wonder. We remove our shoes and dance among trusted companions.

In this garden we enjoy the freedom to dig in rich soil.  Here we unearth treasures of truth. In this garden we find the confidence to plant ourselves into the substance of God’s will.

Here we join with those who reach toward the heavens; we worship the Son, and we wait for the appointed time when He will send us a quenching rain.

The Bible tells us to, “Be joyful in hope”.  In this garden, it is easy to do. ~

Romans 5:5 NLT And this hope will not lead to disappointment.  For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.

Orig Posted by Donna M Dougherty at 1/24/2009 12:32 AM

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Be a Contagious Influence

Now that we have raised our three kids to adulthood, I marvel at the super-human efforts of my own parents.  Growing up, I figured that my parents were responsible to take care of me, so they probably knew what they were doing. When I became a parent myself I realized that parenting is mainly a “learn as you go” experience; an education gained on our knees, under-fire, and quite often, just in the nick of time.

783474_20039271It is not unusual for a parent to take a militant stand concerning a child-rearing matter, when at the same time he or she shudders at the thought that the decision could be wrong. Fortunately, we are not expected to know all the answers.  We are, however, responsible to put great faith and effort into doing our best, and living an authentic life before our kids.

Author Clarence Budinton Kelland said, “My father didn’t tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it.”  So, if your decisions are caring and deliberate, and your witness is consistent, your believability will be a contagious influence on your children.

God is a present help in the time of our need.  Pray and trust in His established and eternal principles to give you the wisdom you require. As parents it is our challenge to live the life, keep the faith, and to remain hopeful and positive while our offspring navigate through time.

As babies, they won’t know what you’re doing.  As pre-teens; they won’t want to know what you’re doing.  As teens; they won’t care what you’re doing, but as adults they will marvel at what you’ve done!

Proverbs 22:6 NIV Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.

Matthew 5:16 NIV In the same way let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.

Orig Posted by Donna M Dougherty at 1/19/2009 10:34 AM

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Suddenly Memories

The longer we live the more we understand that it really is not necessary to swim with dolphins or ski the Himalayas in order to 16798543_s editcreate lasting memories. Not everybody has those opportunities.

However, by adding a little spontaneity to any day we open the door to remarkable excitement, and adventure, and anyone can do it.  No matter what physical or financial limitations may be present, God has given each of us the ability to have a little fun on the planet that He so carefully and deliberately designed for us.

I had the pleasure of reminiscing with my three adult children over some of their childhood memories.  As they spoke, it became evident that the memories having the greatest impact on them were birthed out of spur-of-the-moment ideas.

The ones that really captured their hearts were those that transpired from what I will refer to as a “suddenly”.  A suddenly occurs when normal and expected activity is surprised and besieged by a new thing, creating an unexpected, effectual moment!

Our girls reminded me of the time when I picked them up from grade school and drove them to the zoo instead of going home.  I grabbed their play clothes on my way out the door that afternoon and announced our change in plans when I got to the school. This was a suddenly.  I did not plan the trip ahead of time; the zoo was simply a spontaneous thought that seemed worth following.  Almost 20 years later the zoo adventure remains one of their most cherished memories.

Our son reminisced about a snowy drive from school to home.  His friend and his sisters were also in the car.  The children were making a lot of noise during the drive, so I opened the skylight in the car roof to get their attention.  The sky was snowing huge flakes. The children laughed as the wind and snow blew in on them. I left the skylight open for much of the ride home and we caught snowflakes on our faces and tongues. This was a suddenly. The unusual had taken us all by surprise and lifted us to a shared sweet place.

So, make God happy and have some fun on planet earth.  Whether you swim with Flipper, or see him at the zoo, ski on snow, or eat it, “suddenly” memories are yours for the making!

Luke 12:32 NLT So don’t be afraid, little flock. For it gives your Father great happiness to give you the Kingdom.

Orig Posted by Donna M Dougherty at 1/4/2009 1:30 AM

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Good Guys and Bad Guys

dreamstime_xs_27770285Why do the bad guys seem to win?  It is not just in the movies where the bad guys get away with the goods.  We see it in our neighborhoods, our cities, our country, and in our world.  We witness the dreadful behavior of certain people who frequently prosper and slip away from well-deserved punishment.  David said in Psalm 73:12-13, “This is what the wicked are like— always carefree, they increase in wealth. Surely in vain have I kept my heart pure; in vain have I washed my hands in innocence.”

David questioned the obvious.  Why bother following the rules?  He struggled with the moral reasoning behind making right choices, because the consequences that he could see with his naked eye were not suited to the behavior of some individuals.  Quite the opposite, the wicked appeared to be enjoying the pleasures of sin and getting away with it.

If we read verses 16-19 of this same Psalm we see where David was enlightened. The Psalm reads, “When I tried to understand all this, it was oppressive to me until I entered the sanctuary of God; then I understood their final destiny. Surely you place them on slippery ground; you cast them down to ruin. How suddenly are they destroyed, completely swept away by terrors!”

As David spent private time with God, his inner-man was exposed to absolute truth and he was able to see that justice would be served. The limitations of his human condition were no longer predominant because he had been given divine insight into the heavenly realm.  This is where God lives, where He watches, and where He judges.

Be comforted friend, your obedience and sacrificial efforts to make right choices is not in vain. If you question, I encourage you to do as David did. Spend a proper amount of time in quietness with the Lord.  He will take you to a spiritual place where you will realize the short and long term benefits of being one of the good guys!

Hebrews 4:13 NIV Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

Ephesians 2:6 NIV And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus.

Orig Posted by Donna M Dougherty at 12/28/2008 1:16 PM

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One – Two – Punch!

It is Christmas week and I wanted to honor Jesus by writing about His birth in this entry.

I wrote the first draft and passed itdreamstime_xs_7533551-1 by my husband before publishing it.  He said, “It’s good, but your entries usually have a punch to them and I miss the punch.”  Then he thought about it for a moment and said, “Hmmm well, you know what, Christmas has its own punch.  How can you add to what God did at Christmas?”

Then I saw it.  That is the message of Christmas. There is nothing to add.  God sent us His Son, who, with His own one – two – punch, knocked the stuffing out of sin!  That was the very purpose of His birth.

In Matthew’s gospel we read that Mary would have a son, that His name would be Jesus, and that He would save His people from their sin.  … Mary did have a son (One!), He was called Jesus (Two!), and He came to save (Punch!).

Jesus was born in a lowly place, but He was destined to reign in power and in Kingship. He is our Savior; our Champion!  Hallelujah Jesus!  Merry Christmas everyone!

Matthew 1:12-23 NLT And she will have a Son, and you are to name Him Jesus, for He will save his people from their sins.” All of this occurred to fulfill the Lord’s message through his prophet: “Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a Son, and they will call Him Immanuel, which means ‘God is with us.’”

Orig Posted by Donna M Dougherty at 12/20/2008 4:27 PM

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Real People, God’s World-Changers

Our family watched a movie about one of the most historical events ever; “The Nativity”. The way the film portrayed the personality of Mary, the mother of Jesus, was curious to me because she rarely smiled.  Being the mother of Jesus, Mary was a world-changer, so I expected her character to meet certain expectations.

dreamstime_10092825bIn the movie Mary was portrayed as a responsible young woman who lived with her family in a region under Roman governance.  King Herod was the ruling authority at the time. Herod was considerably threatened by rumors of another King emerging in the land and he made regular attempts to identify his rival. Sadly his methods imposed treacherous and sometimes lethal assaults on the common people.

As I observed Herod’s desperate efforts to protect his monarchy, I began to see reason for Mary’s stoic countenance. It was not unusual for Roman soldiers to sweep into an area without warning in order to intimidate, capture, or kill.  Mary lived in a day when public abuse and punishment were marked. The striking sight of a human corpse in a tree or dangling from scaffolding was not uncommon, and the emotional effect of such scenes had to be reckoned with. As a result, the movie portrayed a Mary who had to manage her passions and emotions like anyone else in order to cope with the dissonance in her day.

Considering Mary’s calling to be a world-changer I was expecting a very different Mary; one protected from ugliness, pretty much glowing with joy, skipping through life under a God-beam.  With each on-screen appearance I searched Mary’s face for a hint of happiness.  And then I got the revelation; the character portrayed in the film was the more accurate one. God was identifying the disparity between the ‘human’ person, and the ‘superhuman’ or ‘supernatural’ God.

In order for Jesus to be born as both God and man, a human vessel was required.  Mary was the perfect representation of humankind.  She was a young woman living in and grieved by a sinful world, moved by humanity’s deprivation, unpretentiously waiting for the promised Savior’s appearance. God overshadowed a respectable and willing vessel to incubate the perfect union of flesh and Spirit.

So Mary did not live an advantaged life in the protective glow of a God-beam.  She was not the product of royalty, and she did not possess exceptional powers.  She was simply real, and she was willing.  God seeks real people to fulfill His sensational purposes.  They are the ones who will honestly say, as Mary did, “May it be done to me as You have said”.  From such an allegiance the world is forever changed.

Luke 1:38 NIV ”I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May it be to me as you have said.” Then the angel left her.

Orig Posted by Donna M Dougherty at 11/22/2008 11:08 PM

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You Can Always Find Your Way Home

I have a friend who has three dogs. She told me that someone opened their dog pen and the fence around her house, and the dogs dreamstime3dogsran out.  An attentive neighbor saw the dogs running through the neighborhood and caught the two oldest, but the youngest, just a puppy, ran off alone.

When my friend came home that night, she put on her sneakers and walked the streets for four hours looking for her puppy.  Sadly, she thought, “he is so cute someone probably scooped him up”, and she went home without him.

To her surprise two days later the puppy showed up at her front door.  My friend wondered how the little guy found his way home since he had never been outside the fence before, and did not know the neighborhood.  Then she remembered her four hour walk, and she realized that her puppy must have picked up on his master’s scent.

When she shared the story with me I thought of our Master, Jesus Christ. I started to wonder how attentive we are to the trail that leads to Him.  Do we read His map, the Bible? Do we discern His presence?  Are we listening to the still small voice that speaks direction to our hearts, “This is the way, walk here”?

As my friend’s presence in the street led her puppy to her door, so too the Lord’s presence leads us.  Be confident of this, no matter how far we have strayed, once we decide to return, we will find our way home.

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.”

Orig Posted by Donna M Dougherty at 11/8/2008 11:35 PM

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Do not Arouse or Awaken Love until it so Desires

This book of Song of Solomon is an intimate depiction of God’s love for His bride, the church.  The words in the book are so descriptive that many avoid dreamstime_xs_15305176it.  In fact, it is considered one of the least read books of the Bible.  The intimacy between the Bridegroom and His bride can be uncomfortable if read nonchalantly, or when the reader is not spiritually prepared.  It is in this book that the Lord graphically describes the sacred romance between His people and Himself.

“Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires”. These words are penned in more than one passage. There are precious times during our walk with the Lord when He calls us to deepen our relationship with Him, and our union becomes more meaningful.

In these times our spiritual man overtakes our soul, our humanity is exposed in His presence and we experience God more intimately.  He manifests with a perceptive fullness, a weight of spiritual love so great, that all flesh pales.  What a genuine and holy encounter.

The passage reads, “Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires.”  Our Bridegroom knows when the bride’s desire for Him is disposed for such an infilling, and He will approach at that time.

The meeting is yours for the asking. Invest time and seek God as you would any love. Chase Him and wait; when the time is right, expect to be swept off your feet!

Song of Solomon 8:4 NIV Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you: Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires.

Orig Posted by Donna M Dougherty at 11/1/2008 8:22 PM

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A Contagious Message

In 1929 Louis Armstrong recorded the song, “When You’re Smiling”.  Recently I had the pleasure of listening to this song on CD and the words got me thinking about the benefits of a smile.

Physiologically speaking, our bodies are wired with an emotional response system.  When the body is stimulated by pleasant external forces, like scent, sound or visual images, the emotions are evoked.  These stimulate a positive 20274891_sphysical expression, which is revealed on our face as visible evidence of gratification.

For some of us the smile is more frequent; perhaps we have strong smiling genes.  I actually come from a family of “smilers”.  My grandmother, mother, and sister smile more than most people.  You can find us smiling in a crowd, in the car, in the line in the grocery store, in church or at the gym.

I thought frequent smiling was normal until I became an adult and noticed that people were commenting on the fact that I smiled a lot, even strangers.  So, I started to pay attention and sure enough, I was often wearing one, but when I looked around most others were not.

Since pleasant conditions provoke smiles, you might wonder if I live in the real world.  I do, and I am grieved like you by what I see.  But I believe that God has made it possible for us to choose the focus of our conscious moments.  We can look for the good, trust in His mercy, and count our numerous blessings.  Even in this mad, mad world we can find reason to smile.

Another beautiful thing about a smile is the fact that we can have a constructive impact on others without imposing on their private space.  The smile travels; it is persuasive, and will provoke response from people simply by observation.  It is impossible to face one and ignore it.

You have probably noticed that when you smile at others they either smile back in return, or they force themselves to look away.  In each case you have challenged another individual with a positive moment.

I believe that God made the smile for sharing; it is available at no cost, it crosses all cultural barriers, is safe for all ages, and is quite easy to use.  Share your beautiful God-given expression today!

Job 29:24 MSG When I smiled at them, they could hardly believe it; their faces lit up, their troubles took wing!

Orig Posted by Donna M Dougherty at 10/25/2008 12:29 PM

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Something to Hold

There was a time when I was deeply hurt by someone who I had trusted implicitly.  Consequently, I became dreadfully distrusting of just about everyone; anxious and emotionally bankrupt.  I was paralyzed by a mind full of confusion, and a broken heart.

42516499_s 4As I struggled to move beyond the hurt, I sought frantically for hope. I told God that I wished I could touch Him – be held by Him. I prayed in desperation asking for something concrete to hold onto, and God whispered this response, “Hold onto my Word”.

At that point I began to physically carry my Bible with me wherever I went. I brought it along to the grocery store, restaurants, my workplace… wherever I took my feet, I took my Bible.  I poured through it at every opportunity, no matter where I was, and I absorbed the words like a thirsty sponge.

As a result, I became drenched full of God’s truths and promises, and it wasn’t long before my dammed up feelings of hurt and anxiety gushed free. The Lord had made Himself so tangible and undeniably present through the pages of His book, that He satisfied my need for contact. There was no doubt that I had been touched by the living God.

Twenty years later He still resides in my heart as an abiding life-force, reminding me that He is with me and I am never alone. Through His Word He has not only healed the trauma of my past, but He has strengthened and empowered me to face an undefined tomorrow.

Though heartbreak could strike again, I am ready, for I now know that my God is near; through the loving embrace of His Word, He has given me something to hold onto.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 MSG Every part of Scripture is God-breathed and useful one way or another—showing us truth, exposing our rebellion, correcting our mistakes, training us to live God’s way. Through the Word we are put together and shaped up for the tasks God has for us.

Orig Posted by Donna M Dougherty at 10/17/2008 11:19 PM

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The Only You

If I eat something sweet, can you taste it?  When the rain runs down my face, can you feel it?

We were born with the entitlement and propensity to experience life in a personal and unique way; each of us created for an incomparable destiny. Amazingly, during a lifetime we are all subject to much of the same stimuli; yet our reactions to the stimuli vary due to the uniqueness of our individual character, intellect, senses, and physiological constitution.

74962-2560x1600When God created mankind He made a conscious decision to give us exclusive DNA.  We are each a masterpiece with meaning and purpose in this life.  He could have just as easily made us all exactly the same with predictable responses and dependable behavior.  Yet, His nature compels Him to do the most wonderful, loving, and entirely perfect thing at all times.

Every person who ever lived or will live is a divine original, formed by our Creator for a purpose.  As the Shepherd of our souls, He broods over us with love and care.  The Bible refers to us as sheep, and so valued are we that if we get lost or go astray, God shows up.  It is His commitment and desire to return us to the purpose for which we were born.

I urge you to relish the taste of something sweet, and experience the fresh wash of rain on your face.  Let the things that touch your life stimulate the distinctive forces inside, and be you, the one and only.

Luke 15:4 NIV Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them.  Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it?

Orig Posted by Donna M Dougherty at 10/11/2008 8:26 PM

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Daddy’s Here

Feeling a bit sad, I spent the morning alone and in prayer, asking the Lord to talk to me. After a time, I placed my computer on my lap to check my email in case someone was trying to get in touch. The first email I opened came from a woman in my church.

I was delighted with the treasure that she sefirerainbow300nt. Her email included an image of a Fire Rainbow that had been visible in the sky for one hour on the Idaho border. This phenomenon is rarely seen, because in order for one to form the atmospheric conditions must be atypical. The clouds have to be cirrus, floating at least 20,000 feet in the air, with just the right amount of ice crystals, and the sun must strike the clouds at precisely 58 degrees.

The woman who sent the image had no way of knowing that I have a fascination with such things, yet she forwarded the email to only four people, and I was one of them!

Since my adolescence, I have been captivated by the fact that God paints extraordinary pictures in the sky to communicate with mankind. He generously displays His handiwork as evidence of His paternal nearness and certainty. The Aurora Borealis, more commonly called the Northern Lights, are another brilliant example of God releasing a most splendid color palette into the heavens. He sends these out and they wave above us as if to say… “Daddy’s here!”

At a young age such heavenly phenomenon confirmed to me that our Father God most certainly did exist. I knew that this beauty could not be a result of atmospheric chance, but that it was, in fact, fashioned and displayed by a divine hand.

I may never see such displays in person, but today I was overwhelmed by the magnificent Fire Rainbow image on my lap. When I needed Him most, the God of creation spoke to me in a language that I would understand… “Daddy’s here”.

Genesis 16:13 NIV She gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me.”

Orig Posted by Donna M Dougherty at 10/4/2008 2:33 PM

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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

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What are you Carrying?

Most people are familiar with the story about David and Goliath, where the young shepherd boy actually killed the ruthless giant with stonesa slingshot and a stone. What gave David the confidence to fight, and the ability to win?

David accomplished the unthinkable and he did it amidst the visual and audible noise of a mocking crowd. With little support, and no armor to protect him, David not only faced the vicious giant, but according to the Bible, he ran directly toward the battle line to meet the Philistine. David ran in the direction of the roar, not away from it.

We frequently find ourselves running away from far less in life; the stress of a hard day at work, the disappointment of a poor grade at school, the overwhelming feeling of responsibility, financial pressure, the need to forgive, avoidance, fatigue, guilt.  We habitually super-size our problems and let them mount like a wall of defeat before us. David was courageous, determined and secure. His giant did tower over him, yet he ran toward him with confidence.

The key to David’s confidence was in the preparation that he had prior to the battle. His God had trained him well. In order to protect the sheep in his care, he had to fight the lion and the bear, so David kept his weapons nearby.

What are you carrying that makes you ready to face a future enemy? Remind yourself of the victories that God has seen you through and don’t shy from problems. Pull out your bag of experience and run toward the roar. Knock it down and be built up in your most holy faith. With each triumph against a new giant, you will have increased confidence in the next victory.

Let those jingling stones in your pocket remind you of God’s provision. In the words of David, in 1 Samuel 17:37, “… The Lord who delivered me out of the paw of the lion and out of the paw of the bear, He will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine…”

1 Samuel 17:47 ESV And all this assembly shall know that the Lord saves not with sword and spear; for the battle is the Lord’s, and He will give you into our hands. When the Philistine came forward to meet David, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet the Philistine. David put his hand into his bag and took out a stone and slung it, and it struck the Philistine, sinking into his forehead, and he fell on his face to the earth.

Posted by Donna M Dougherty at 9/23/2008 10:18PM

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