Category Archives: Faith

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.

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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.

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Hope

When I started the allweatherGod blog in 2008 I chose the tag line, “Those who believe that happiness comes from sunshine alone have never danced in the rain”.   I felt that the quote illustrated the freedom that we can experience when we reach beyond our circumstances into the unseen realm of hope.

Hope is that wonderfully buoyant expectation that we have in a positive outcome while we are still in a bleak or failing situation.  Hope is designed to provoke and carry us when we face the impossible or unbelievable. But what is the impetus behind being hopeful?

A primary key to hopefulness is having the insight of faith in our lives to direct our intellect.  Faith is a stabilizer and a directional.  Faith points us in a direction, and hope helps us advance.

Consider the application in these scriptures:

Psalm 119:49 ESV Remember your word to your servant, in which you have made me hope.  –  Faith in “God’s word to him” gave him hope.

Lamentations 3:24 ESV The Lord is my portion, says my soul, therefore I will hope in him.  –  Faith in “the Lord as his portion” gave him hope.

Hebrews 10:23 ESV Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.  –  Faith in “he who promised” gave him the confidence to continue hoping.

Titus 1:2 ESV In hope of eternal life, which God, who never lies, promised before the ages began.  –  Faith in “God who promised” gave him hope of eternal life.

Every living person centers his or her expectations on something … or someone. It is my belief, and has been my experience, that God is the only one worthy of this focus.

I remember a time when our family vacationed in Vermont.  We stayed at the Von Trapp Family Lodge, a 2,400-acre mountain resort.

My forestpathdreamstimehusband and I decided to hike down the mountain through one of the many trails on the property.  It lead into the forest laden with paths heading in multiple directions. Our 9-year-old daughter Asheley asked to come along and she skipped just ahead of us.  However, as dusk approached she turned onto a path and disappeared quickly from sight.

The woods were dense and threatening, and our calls to Asheley were countered with a dreadful silence.  We rushed through the woods not knowing which paths she took; my heart pounded and I began to panic. My husband’s attempts to keep calm were also futile. There were dark thoughts in our heads; was she lost, hurt, kidnapped?

As we searched and called for her the Lord brought a powerful scripture to my mind, “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”  I had been reading Deuteronomy for several weeks and this scripture surfaced like a lifeline!  We were not without hope. We didn’t know where Asheley was, but the Lord did; he went before us!

We reached the edge of the forest at the top of a huge grass hill.  Asheley was not in sight. Where was she? How did we let this happen? I rehearsed the scripture to stay focused, and we eventually rounded the vista to find Asheley sitting on a fence at the bottom of the hill.  All was right with the world.

As I said before, every living person centers his or her expectations on something … or someone. Our faithful God alone is worthy of this focus. Lord, my hope and expectation are in you (Psalm 39:7).

Psalm 39:7 AMP And now, Lord, what do I wait for and expect? My hope and expectation are in You.

Deuteronomy 31:8 NIV  The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.

Romans 15:13 NIV May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Romans 10:17 NKJ So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

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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

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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

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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

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God Sent

As a snowflake flurries down to fall upon the ground
In hoards of softening, whitening frost it falls with but a sound
To cover up a world with white through whirling turns in flight
To paint a picture through the day or secret in the night

On Christmas morning as I climbed out of bed and headed for coffee I noticed a very slow, soft, and picturesque, snowfall through the kitchen window.  It was brief, but being a native of New England, snow on Christmas brought me back in time.

25417980_sI recalled the day when I saw the largest snowflakes ever.  It was on Christmas Eve; I was about 8 years old, and we were leaving my grandparent’s house to return home. Enormous flakes fell from the sky like wafers and I was in a picture perfect world. To a young girl the experience was enchanting.

Back in my kitchen with coffee in hand …I smiled. I was glad for the nostalgic interlude as it inspired me to write and actually finish a blog for the first time in over a year.  Thank God for the ability to recall the blessed and better days of the past that so helpfully calm and stabilize the present.

Our family had been on a tumultuous journey.  During my writing hiatus my sister faced her third cancer surgery.  My mother and her husband returned to New England to be with the family and we constructed an apartment in our home where they now live.  Shortly after relocating, my mom had a cancer-infected kidney removed.  My father had a heart attack, a stroke, and open-heart surgery, and my husband, already dealing with physical disabilities, broke his neck in an auto accident.

While the years of childhood enchantment have gone, the wondrous gifts that drop from heavenly realms have not.  The Bible tells us in Isaiah 55:10-11:

“Just as rain and snow descend from the skies and don’t go back until they’ve watered the earth, doing their work of making things grow and blossom, producing seed for farmers and food for the hungry, so will the words that come out of My mouth not come back empty-handed. They’ll do the work I sent them to do; they’ll complete the assignment I gave them”.

As our purposeful God commands the rain and snow to fall – so too He sends His Word to bless, comfort and heal (Psalm 107:20).  Happy New Year friends.  Believing for a better 2012!

Psalm 107:20 NLT He sent out his word and healed them, snatching them from the door of death.

Orig Posted by Donna M Dougherty at 1/2/2012 9:57 PM

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Burden Light

Someone told me that allowing one’s self to grieve for 10 minutes a day can be beneficial and even necessary when the cares of life surmount. So I dragged my burdens before God, threw myself on His mercy and let the tears flow. With so much sadness, injustice, and destruction in the world, things can get weighty.

23145013_sWe studied the book of Genesis in our mid-week Bible study last year. Throughout those weeks I gained a deeper understanding of the physical, spiritual, and emotional damage created by the fall of man in the Garden of Eden. The crushing consequences of that first sin resonate into the lives of people even today.

It is mind-boggling to think that Adam and Eve had been given reign over a perfect world where creation flourished in all its glory. But due to their sin, the earth and its inhabitants were set on a 180 degree course for ruin. Man had become subject to death, and the earth subject to physical deterioration, or de-creation.

Science and history attest to such things as environmental disturbances, increased disease, famine, and apathy toward societal atrocities. People continue to shock us with appalling acts of greed, self-interest, and violence. The more advanced the world becomes, it seems the less virtue humanity displays.

Oh how we needed a Savior to help us bear this ever increasing load! I thank God for sending Jesus. He was the sacrifice needed to turn the tables on our despair; Jesus brought hope …with this my tears cease to flow.

While man may still be bound to a day of death, he is no longer destined to a hopeless fate. Through our belief in Jesus’ and His death in our stead, we have received the promise of a glorious forever in heaven! And while we remain on earth, He takes care to share our mortal burdens.

So friend, if you are like me and have a tendency to carry things too heavy for your size, I urge you to look intently to the Savior. He will meet you in those moments of grief, for His yoke is easy and His burden is light!

Matthew 11:28-30 NLT Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”

Romans 8:20-21 NLT Against its will, all creation was subjected to God’s curse. But with eager hope, the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay.

Orig Posted by Donna M Dougherty at 7/26/2010 7:09 AM

 

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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

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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

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Not Going to Live Small

Although I am grateful for the thread of perpetual hope that God has been faithful to weave into the days of my life, the year 2009 was nonetheless a serious one for me. Looking over the events of those 365 days, I felt sad.35941028_s

On New Year’s Eve I almost gave way to self-pity, but remembered the passage in Proverbs 24:10 that says, “If you falter in times of trouble, how small is your strength!” …I’m not going to live small; nope, not going there.

While my problems are real, they are small compared to the sufferings of others. The truth is, I know in a big way that life is not about us. God sees our plight and He cares about every hair on our heads. However, He is likewise concerned about the greater good. It’s about His focal and eternal purposes on the earth. This leads me to my next point.

In the normal course of most days I am drawn to consider the suffering of mankind – a necessary exercise for a deep-feeler like me. Before I learned of the power of prayer, I considered my emotions to be somewhat of a handicap. However, lifting the desperate needs of others up to God, the One who has the desire and power to visit and rescue people in their misery, has become my consummate duty, privilege, and comfort.

In 2009 alone I heard that we experienced close to 250 major disasters worldwide, endangering 58 million people. For example, in January, 200 people were feared dead when a passenger ferry sank off the coast of an Indonesian island during a storm. In February bush-fires in Australia rendered more than 7,000 people homeless and caused death and injury to hundreds. In March, a 28 year old man killed 10 people in the worst mass shooting in Alabama history.

Globally, wars and natural disasters have killed thousands of people and left even more impoverished, in ill health, or separated from loved-ones. The fall-out from such trauma is far reaching.

There is more. Each year in the U.S. alone, almost a million children are victimized, and 1,500 to 2,000 of them die from physical abuse. Worldwide, women and children are kidnapped or sold for exploitation. Over the course of centuries the moral fiber of mankind has degenerated to such a degree that sex trafficking has become a gainful business.

Although disheartening, we must give attention to such realities if we are to function as a society. Human rights advocate, Gary Haugen said, “God has a plan to help bring justice to the world—and His plan is us.”

We prefer to look away from these things because the truth is painful. But as responsible citizens of God’s kingdom and occupants of the earth, we must face and courageously uphold it. The convictions, passions, and love that God has placed inside of us exist for a reason. What are we doing with them?

Hebrews 10:24, says, “Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works”. Diana Scimone has made it her mission to raise the awareness of child sex trafficking. I urge you to visit her website at The Born2Fly Project. Diana does not believe that she can stop the madness overnight because the problem is mammoth. However, she is doing her part to educate and mobilize. If enough people get involved, our efforts can make a difference.

By focusing on something outside of our problems that thread of perpetual hope that God weaves through our lives can be decisively grasped.  At the end of the day we will have spent more time praying for, doing for, and concerned about God’s purposes, than our own.

So on New Year’s Eve I almost gave way to self-pity, but was reminded to think bigger than myself!  May we all vow to reach well beyond ourselves in the year 2010. The outcome promises to be no small thing!

Proverbs 24:11-12 NIV Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering toward slaughter. If you say, ‘But we knew nothing about this,’ does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who guards your life know it? Will he not repay each person according to what he has done?’

Matthew 25:35-36 NIV For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.

Orig Posted by Donna M Dougherty at 1/2/2010 8:37 PM

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Too Great to be Missed! ~ A Prayer

God, You truly are my first love. Yet in the course of each day the cares of the world overshadow my worship. Responsibilities snatch me from the secret place where I wish to remain with You.

If I had my way in the Spirit, I would stay at your feet. Your words would be my food, Your presence, my fulfillment. If I had my way in the natural I would spend each day speaking to the lost on Your behalf so that they would not miss the great gift of salvation that is 24442233_sfreely theirs. I would not turn aside to other things, I would not allow earthly turmoil to blind me to the hope that is mine, and I would make it my mission to share that hope.

If my flesh was able I would not sleep, but I would spend the quiet hours of the night listening to every sound that You breathe in my direction. Being with You is more enlivening than a night on my pillow.

The world is laden with heavy hearts, problems are weighty, and people thrash about in desperation. As we enter into a new Thanksgiving and Christmas season I pray that the visible and compelling witness of the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit shine brightly, bringing comfort, deliverance, and salvation to many. Lord, alert the sleepers, the lovers, the workers, the haters, the weak and the strong! Shine Lord, shine brightly!

Mountains, oceans, fruit bearing trees, blue skies and rainbows all speak of You! Yet, so many still wander through life needlessly lonely and lost. You are too great to be missed! Bring them to the secret place. Awaken their senses! Open their eyes to see what I see; give them a glimpse of the sunbeams through the clouds. Let them hear what I hear; open their ears to the symphony of Your natural world. Let them experience the touch of the living God; renew their senses to feel the wind of the Holy Spirit against their faces, and feed them from the banquet of Your Word!

I love you! Be glorified on the earth during this holiday season and always! I pray this in Jesus name, Amen!

Acts 14:17 NLT but he never left them without evidence of himself and his goodness. For instance, he sends you rain and good crops and gives you food and joyful hearts.

Romans 1:20 NLT For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.

Orig Posted by Donna M Dougherty at 11/23/2009 12:28 AM

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Hot or Cold

You may be familiar with the story, ALICE IN WONDERLAND. Alice is a proper young girl who traveled down a rabbit hole where she entered into a strange and unknown land. When in Wonderland, Alice spoke with a Cheshire cat.

Alice asked the cat, ‘”Would you tell me, please which way I ought to go from here?” He responded, “That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.” Alice said, “I don’t know where. . .”, and the cat replied, “Then it doesn’t matter which way you go.”

coldWhen I read the words of the cat I remembered God’s statement to the church of Laodicea in Revelation 3:16. He said, “So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth!”

God wanted those in Laodicea to make an honest decision concerning their faith in Him. He recognized as hot, those people whose commitment to Jesus was fervent, fiery and consuming, and He recognized as cold, those who willingly professed their unbelief.  But the Lord’s strongest admonition was to the lukewarm; these individuals were self-deluded, unburdened and ambiguous about their faith. He could not stomach their spiritual complacency.

To make His point God used the analogy of water, which was relatable to the Laodicean people.  Just 6 miles north was the city of Hierapolis. Hierapolis was known for its hot springs with their significant medicinal qualities, and the nearby city of Colossae was known for its cold pure waters. But Laodicea’s water supply was mineral-laden and lukewarm.  It was putrid, useful only as a means to induce vomiting.

Being the embodiment of life, breath, movement, and growth, the Lord admonished the Laodicean church to move out of their spiritually mediocre and lukewarm existence. He knew that a commitment to be hot or cold would present them with developmental opportunities.

Am I actually saying that choosing to be spiritually cold is better than remaining lukewarm?  No, I am not saying that – God is saying that! However, He is not advocating that a life devoid of faith is the best option. God would prefer that we were all decidedly on fire for Him, and all desirous to go to heaven.  But if that is not the case, at least choosing to be cold defines our position. God can work with that.

Alice, not knowing where she was going, asked the Cheshire cat for direction. In the frame of this entry I believe that the cat’s response to Alice was quite appropriate as He did not make her decision for her. Alice’s journey, like ours, had to be defined by her own choices.

How do we know which way to go? … Like the cat said, “That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.”

1 Kings 18:21 NIV Elijah went before the people and said, “How long will you waver between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him.”

James 1:6 NIV But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.

Orig Posted by Donna M Dougherty at 11/3/2009 12:29 AM

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Otherworldly, Powerful and Strategic

The time that we spend in the presence of others is meant to be influential.  After all, God created us in His likeness; since He is a relational God, so too are we relational beings.

Watching time passing by

Whether engaged in deep conversation with a close friend, or simply overhearing a comment from a stranger in a checkout line, consciously or not, our minds will actively capture and process what we hear.  And it is the trusted hand-pat on the back, or the sudden stab of an elbow on a crowded train that provoke an immediate response from us… it is natural for people to affect people.

A well-known youth minister by the name of Doug Fields said, “We have souls that thrive in the warmth of kindred spirits…God wired us this way.”  He uses the rub between people to communicate matters of relevance.  And this is not only achieved through our casual contact with one another, but also through a divinely inspired plan that is otherworldly, powerful, and strategic.

God’s primary message concerns His love for people and He counts on a perpetual chain of human influence to convey His love throughout the world. He could have burned an image of His beating heart in the sky, or whispered of His love through sound waves carried by the wind.  But instead, God thoughtfully chose to communicate the most vital message in the universe to us, through us.

Sometime between A.D, 85–95, John the disciple wrote, “God showed how much He loved us by sending His one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through Him”. John walked with Jesus.  In fact, it was John who the Bible tells us laid his head on Jesus’ chest.  He learned firsthand of God’s love.

John had been privileged to listen to the beating heart of Christ …and He was there when it stopped.  He was persuaded through his relationship with the Lord to tell us of this great love. May we adopt this same sense of duty and purpose, because in all our relational endeavors there is no communication more powerful, or more relevant.

John 3:16 NLT For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

1 John 4:9 NLT God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal lift through him.

Orig Posted by Donna M Dougherty at 10/18/2009 9:01 PM

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Managing Anxiety and Depression (Audio Message)

This audio recording is a summary of the lessons that I learned over the years concerning the management of anxiety and depression. This particular message was delivered live and was edited on the run, so please forgive any personal references between the speaker and the audience.

A great victory can be won just by understanding the truth about what we fight in the arena of anxiety and depression. By applying our faith, and by using the various tools available to us, we can be free to live a joyful and abundant life. Please click above to listen. I pray that you will be encouraged and changed by God’s power through the truth that you hear!

Psalm 94:19 NIV When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul.

Colossians 1:15-17 MSG He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created; things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.

Philippians 4:5-9 MSG Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.

Posted by Donna M Dougherty at 8/22/2009 8:02 PM – Played: 226 | Duration: 00:58:27

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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

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Ready to Live

She sat in a frozen-like position on her couch. Preoccupied and bewildered, she stared at nothing, but fearfully expected anything. Supposition rushed through her mind like frenzied traffic, terrifying and hollow. She was desperate to run anywhere, but stayed in fear of everywhere.

Her hands tingled, and chills and sweats alternately washed over her with every sound that she heard. Her body had become emotionally and physiologically reactionary; sounds were magnified and people were complicated, yet silence was stifling, and aloneness brought dread.

In moments of intense fear she would whisper the name, “Jesus”.  His name was her entire prayer.

The woman described above was me. For some of my adult years I struggled with anxiety, depression, and finally panic attacks. I was in emotional bondage; dying inside, but desperately wanting to live.

heavenly raysEverybody has their own version of happiness. Mine was to understand and liberally embrace the life that Jesus died to give me. So, even in the dark times when I could not see beyond my fears, I fumbled and reached in God’s direction. Thankfully He was there.

The Bible tells us that God would dwell in a dark cloud. So even in our most desperate times, He is with us. He became a very personal help in my time of need. He showed Himself strong when I was weak, and He embraced me with a love that radically transformed my spirit, soul and body.

I still pray the name “Jesus”, but not out of fear, as I am no longer the woman on that couch. One day I looked up and HIS light had undeniably pierced my dark cloud. I was thawed, calm and unafraid; ready to live that life that He died to give me!

2 Chronicles 6:1 NIV Then Solomon said, “The Lord has said that he would dwell in a dark cloud…”

Psalm 46:1 NKJV God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.

Orig Posted by Donna M Dougherty at 7/25/2009 11:21 PM

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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

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The Value of You

You have a matchless, purpose driven, divinely appointed place and calling in this world. Without you the world would be lacking. Without you the exact spot on earth where you are right now would be empty, and all the people who you have touched throughout your years on earth would be different.

dreamstime_8170822In fact, you are so important that God himself made it a point to become familiar with you even before you were born. He has distinguished the number of hairs on your head. His love for you is distinctive.

Sadly, people will fail you, but Jesus will not. On the contrary, as the embodiment of love He showers you with affection and fidelity; the essence of who He is protects and nurtures you as His beloved.

Put aside life’s disappointments and focus on the Lord’s rightful consideration of you today. Let the truth of the scriptures that follow find a place in your heart, and embrace your calling. Your unique imprint and unrivaled destiny cannot be fulfilled by another.

Matthew 10:29-31 NIV Are not two sparrows sold for a penny?  Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father.  And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.  So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

2 Timothy 1:9 NIV … who has saved us and called us to a holy life–not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace.  This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time…

Orig Posted by Donna M Dougherty at 6/3/2009 6:45 AM

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Evidence

God thoughtfully created earth, a visible kingdom for our pleasure and habitation. And He generously spread evidence of Himself throughout, in order to compel us toward Him. May we not take these gestures for granted.

dreamstimefree_199252 600How often do we disappoint or insult our Creator by looking upon a sunset, a waterfall, or a blossoming flower without recognizing their divine significance. God’s intricate and sustaining handiwork upon the earth is a living depiction of His creativity and love.

He has placed us in a picture full of beauty; our world is bountiful in things that are pleasant to our senses. We see His great glory through the upholding of time and the endurance of nature. What attention to detail He has illustrated in His care for us. We are warmed by the sun, and nourished by the rain; by daylight we see, and by twilight we rest.

Martin Luther said, “God writes the gospel not in the Bible alone, but on trees and flowers and clouds and stars”. Yet we still have the ability to disregard the passionate and graphic evidence of God that dances from rain to sea, and seed to plant.

I wonder what our world would be like if God decided to roll up earth’s canvas. Suppose He chose to remove the light? Without wind or rain, would the earth be clean; how would it smell? If the rivers were stilled and vegetation withered, how would we be sustained? Suppose that there was no more sound, no breaking waves or brushing leaves, no music; what if God was no longer creative, generous, playful and loving?

Such devastation cannot be imagined from One so faithful. Our God has truly given us all things to enjoy! Thank Jesus today for the touch of time, the scent of life, the vista of expectancy, and the sound of heaven.

Oh beloved, taste and see that the Lord is good! Behold the evidence!

Romans 1:19-20 NLT They know the truth about God because he has made it obvious to them. For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.

Orig Posted by Donna M Dougherty at 5/16/2009 10:31 PM

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Doesn’t Get Better Than That

pic of grandmat 200My grandmother’s death was not equal to her life on this earth. Grandma was a sweet little Italian lady who arrived at Ellis Island by boat on December 2, 1912, at the age of 12. She eventually married in America and raised 6 children through the great depression.

Grandma was tiny in stature but considerable in character. She had learned to be entirely satisfied with the simple life; she was passionate about people, not things. She loved with organic sincerity and meekness. As a compassionate woman it was not unusual to see her eyes wet with tears over someone’s family crisis, or the latest news report.

Because grandma was special I expected the moment of her death to be imposing or angelic. It seemed terribly anticlimactic and out of balance for her to simply expire like everyone else. I expected it to be better for her! Since she had lived so remarkably I assumed that her passing would be distinctive. But it was not. There was no symphony playing, and no visible light beams shone from heaven to usher her from this life to the next. The wonderful lady just stopped breathing and was no longer here.

I wrestled with confusion about the experience until God graciously put it in perspective for me. The lack of ceremonial display at her death should not be a reflection of her life in any way. Life is relevant only for as long as we are here, but eternity is forever! The real action, what truly matters at the end of an individual’s life, resides on the other side of death, so of course what we see when the soul leaves earth lacks totality.

Grandma died at age 96 of heart failure; the only time that I ever saw her ill. Several days before her death, grandma had a spiritual visitation. The incident frightened her so much that the hospital staff moved her to another room in an attempt to comfort her. She said that two women entered her room and mocked her. They told her that she would die in the hospital and that she would never see her home again. She said that they ridiculed her repeatedly until the voice of a man from outside her door demanded that they leave. She never saw the man.

I received a call regarding the incident and rushed to the hospital. On the way, I asked God for wisdom so that I would know what to do when I saw her. God was faithful. He conveyed to me that grandma did not have the assurance of salvation, and that her life was literally hanging in the balance between heaven and hell. I was surprised, as I had thought for years that she was a Christian.

When I arrived at the hospital I leaned over grandma’s frail body and asked her if she believed that she would go to heaven when she died. With minimal strength she whispered that she had not been a good enough person. Wow what a statement! All her life, she gave and gave and gave to others; she WAS a good person! But in the hours before death, when she was closest to facing her Maker, she was confronted by her unworthiness. What a beautiful example of why we need a Savior. Even the best among us cannot reach God without accepting the cleansing blood of Jesus Christ.

I said, “Oh grandma, it is not about that; nobody is good enough. Jesus is not looking for your goodness; He is looking for your heart! He will cleanse you from your sin and make you ready for heaven”. I was privileged to share God’s great love and gift of salvation with grandma, and she accepted Jesus as her Savior.

She continued to have visions until her death; however after that day they were encouraging manifestations of beautiful white horses, and friendly faces that brought her comfort. Then, one night her heart stopped beating and she quietly left.

So it is true; grandma’s death was not equal to the way that she lived. However, her time in eternity will far surpass any desires or expectations that I had for her! She lives eternally, in her eternal home, with the eternal God! It doesn’t get better than that!

Psalm 116:15 NIV Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of His saints.

2 Peter 1:11 NLT Then God will give you a grand entrance into the eternal Kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Orig Posted by Donna M Dougherty at 5/10/2009 10:26 PM

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National Day of Prayer

38652129_sbThis week, on May 7th, we observe the National Day of Prayer in America.  Established in 1952 by President Harry Truman and the U.S. Congress, this event is in its 57th year!

It is a blessing to consider the scores of people who pray throughout the country on that day.  It is a time when unity and the purposes of God are advanced, and the plans of the enemy are pushed back.  I add the prayer that is written below to the millions that will be boldly proclaimed, or silently breathed, on this powerful day.  I will be honored if you pray it with me.

FATHER we thank You for Your amazing grace that truly saved us from an eternal hell.  Your selflessness has delivered us from a life of bondage and endless suffering.  How could we repay You?  We cannot.  When we spend time with You we see glimpses of Your heart – Your thoughts – and we become very aware of who we are; how unworthy.  But yet at the same time we are stunned by the way that You love us no matter who we are, or what we do.  Full of gratitude and worship Father, we bow before You.

JESUS, we do not come to You with fluffy prayers, or eloquent words.  We do not come with a system, or a laundry list of needs.  We do not come because we expect You to perform or because You owe us anything.  We come to You because of who You are and because You have the words of life.  We come to You because You know the intents of our hearts and we empty ourselves before You for the needs of many.

We honor You as the Most High God, the One who died to prove His love, the One worthy of our lives, and the One who will never forsake us.  We regret that we have forsaken You.  We have sinned; wash us Lord with the blood spilled at Your cross. Cleanse us from human filth and selfish intents.  Purify us Lord, and give us ears to hear and eyes to see so that we can pray according to Your will.

HOLY SPIRIT, we vow to listen for Your promptings, Your direction.  We thank You for abiding so richly and faithfully within our frail tabernacles.  Thank You for never giving up on us; for seeing us through and empowering us to run this race. We honor You Lord, we desire more of You, and we seek to reflect Your love and Your power on the earth.

For the people, for the people, we cry for the needs of the people all over this world!  Such suffering, devastation, war, terrorism, sickness, oppression, broken families; sin is rampant and so many do not have the hope that You offer.  So many fear, so many do not know that they can find peace in the midst of it all. So many do not know You.

God, we plead with you today for the people.  Drop a blanket of deliverance over us all.  Release the captives from emotional, spiritual, and physical bondage.  Intervene dear Lord in the injustice and tyranny that abounds and comfort the lonely, desperate, and afraid.  As we live under Your covering, teach us quickly how to help the poor, how to feed the hungry, and how to reach the lost.  Motivate us Lord by revealing more about Yourself and Your heart’s cry to love people better, to put ourselves aside, so that we can be effective and reach beyond our human opinions and limitations.  Save, save, save the people Lord!

Lover of our souls, You deserve our faithfulness, You deserve our time, our resources, our very lives and we give ourselves to You again in this moment. Mobilize your people across the earth; let us hear the voice of our Commander; dispatch Your warriors.  We will go where You send us, and do what You ask.  We will be Your hands and feet.

We stand in Your presence willing to fight for what is right, we rebuke the enemy from coming near, and we contend for those who cannot contend for themselves.  We pray for protection from the evil one and we throw ourselves, our churches, our families, our cities, our states, our leaders and officials, our nation and our world on Your mercy!  Help us great God.

Thank you.  Mere words are not enough to express our gratitude, or your magnificence; we invite you to look upon the intent of this prayer – written across our hearts.  WE LOVE YOU FATHER, SON, AND HOLY SPIRIT, WE LOVE YOU.  May Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven!  In JESUS’ name we pray. Amen.

2 Chronicles 7:14 NLT Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.

Orig Posted by Donna M Dougherty at 5/2/2009 8:24 PM

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The Better Thing

You may be familiar with the verses in Luke chapter 10 where the Bible talks about two sisters, Mary and Martha, being blessed by a visit from Jesus.

14175665_sOnce Jesus and His disciples arrived, Martha spent her time catering to her guests.  Mary, on the other hand, sat at Jesus’ feet and listened as He spoke. When Martha complained that Mary was not helping with the preparations, Jesus pointed out that Mary had chosen to do the better thing.

I wondered if I were more like a Martha or a Mary, and quickly deduced that Martha was my girl!   It seemed reasonable.  After all, I drive myself daily at the speed of light to get things done, I bring work home.  I spend more time managing my job in the course of the week than I do reading my Bible or praying. The choice was obvious.

Yet, I took the time to re-read the passage, and this time by studying the characters and their behaviors, I realized how much I identified with Mary.  She made a decision to let her heart drive her.  Her love for Jesus compelled her.

Martha had a propensity toward service and wanted to take are of Jesus’ needs. She may have meant well, but she was missing the deeper purpose of His visit.  When Jesus comes calling it is time to turn off the stove, shut down the computer, and set our attention on the divine.  He does not come because He wants food.  He is food.

Mary craved time with the Master, so when He arrived, she gave Him her full attention.  Jesus, the Bread of Life, showed up to satisfy her hunger, not His.

Who do you relate to beloved?  If you tend toward responsibility and accomplishment, but sense a tug on your heart when you read this entry, give the passage a second look.  Awaken the Mary in you.  The chores can wait.  Join me as we sit at the Lord’s feet, and let us experience the better thing together.

 Luke 10:38 NIV As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”  “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

Orig Posted by Donna M Dougherty at 4/27/2009 11:25 PM

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He Watches and Waits

These words dropped into my heart today.  “Do not frolic in Solomon’s garden with someone else and expect to marry Jesus”.  The Lord watches the adulterous tendencies of mankind.  He sees all, yet, because of who He is, He continues to long for fellowship with us, for our most sincere adoration; He  desires to embrace us utterly.

14054179_seditWho or what draws us from our greatest love? Has something taken His place? Jesus is the bridegroom who watches us affectionately, waiting for His bride to come to Him. Yet we frolic with false gods, we satisfy our fleshly appetites and chase selfish goals.  We indulge in thoughts and activities that keep us from investing in the most important relationship of our lives.

Jesus waits for us to repent. He was waiting and watching yesterday, and He will do the same today!  He is the most faithful of all loves. In the book of Song of Solomon, chapter 5 it reads, “His eyes are like doves, soft and bright, but deep-set, brimming with meaning, like wells of water.”

Jesus looks on us with the gentleness of a dove, seeing through eyes that are untainted; His vision is unveiled, so He sees us in the purest sense. His gift of salvation presents us as faultless before the Father. His eyes are deep-set; the depth of His character beckons for our attention. His deep calls to our deep. He cries from His essence, “Come”.

Lock eyes with Jesus and let the wells of water that spring from Him cleanse and renew your human soul. Like waterfalls that rush over stone, soil, and flora, everything is washed, and your relationship with Him is refreshed once again.

Frolic with Jesus and lack no good thing. Respond, engage, and prepare for the privilege of being His bride.

Song of Solomon 4:9 NIV You have stolen my heart, my sister, my bride; you have stolen my heart with one glance of your eyes, with one jewel of your necklace.

Orig Posted by Donna M Dougherty at 3/21/2009 9:10 PM

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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

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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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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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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

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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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Through God’s Eyes

As I lay my head on my pillow last night I noticed an obscure glow outside the window of our bedroom. The bedroom is situated in such a way that from this window we can see our porch because it juts out from the back of the house.

46671533_sAfter reaching for my eyeglasses I quickly realized that what I had seen was the light from the Christmas tree that we had erected on the porch the day before.  I lay back down and considered the spiritual implications of the distraction.

In Psalms 118 the Scripture states, “Open my eyes so I can see what you show me of your miracle-wonders. I’m a stranger in these parts; give me clear directions.”  With my natural eye I could distinguish a blur of illumination; no definition, and no clarity. Even squinting I could see only obscurity and vagueness. I knew something was there, but I could not appreciate the wonder of it all until I put on my glasses.

So it is when we look through the eyes of our natural man; our vision is subject to limitations. We can only see true beauty when we view the world through God’s eyes.

Do not settle for an obscure view or veiled insight when you can have clarity. Ask the Father to show you what He sees, and peer through the eyes of the Creator. Distinguish the true splendor of your surroundings, the distinction that adorns the people in your life, the glaring intents of your own heart, and the visible expression of God’s love that decorates our great earth!

Isaiah 32:3 NIV Then the eyes of those who will see will no longer be closed, and the ears of those who will hear will listen.

Orig Posted by Donna M Dougherty at 12/6/2008 2:27 PM

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