Category Archives: Gratitude

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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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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Stop the Bleeding

In the book of Genesis we read that God instructed Jacob to gather his wives, Rachel and Leah, and their children, and leave his father-in-law’s homeland. Laban had been unfair to Jacob over the course of several years and now God was sending Jacob to the land of Canaan.

As Jacob and his family were making their covert departure from Laban’s camp, Rachel took her father’s gods. It was believed that the gods carried prosperity and protection, so when Laban discovered that both his family and his gods were missing he pursued them. Jacob, not knowing that Rachel had the gods, challenged Laban to search his possessions.

Laban began his search, but before he entered the tent of Rachel she hid the gods beneath her saddle and sat on it. She lied persuasively to her father, claiming that she was in that time of the month and could not stand up. Thoughtfully, Laban believed her and departed from Jacob’s camp without his possessions.

In a conversation with Jacob just prior to leaving their homeland, Rachel and Leah spoke angrily about Laban. We read it in Genesis 31:14-16 as follows, “Do we still have any share in the inheritance of our father’s estate? Does he not regard us as foreigners? Not only has he sold us, but he has used up what was paid for us. Surely all the wealth that God took away from our father belongs to us and our children…” Laban’s daughters were hurt and offended by their father’s poor treatment of them, and they felt cheated out of their inheritance.

stopbleedingRachel especially compounded her heartache when she found it within herself to steal and deceive. She let the emotional impact of her unresolved hurt predispose her toward a chain of self-justified sin.

Forward to this century and we see marked evidence of these same dynamics. Negative behavior, real or perceived, has had a degenerative effect on countless relationships. If unresolved, such conditions breed more hurt and these excessive emotions hemorrhage all over our personal worlds. The more that we let our emotions bleed, the more that these destructive patterns will form; the result being a succession of self-serving behavior. As they say, “hurting people, hurt people”.

So how do we stop the bleeding? The answer is in the principle of forgiveness. You may shake your head in dismay saying, “You have no idea what has been done to me… are you kidding, I cannot forgive that person… how can forgiveness make this pain go away… and ultimately, why should I forgive, I don’t want to let the person off the hook!”

In my own journey toward forgiveness, I made these very statements. I know first-hand that they flow unreservedly from a wounded heart. But remember, the principle of forgiveness was established by God for our sake. He wants us to be whole, so He will see to it that our concerns and objections are addressed or overcome. Jesus gets it.

He chose to forgive those who humiliated Him, ripped the skin off His back, stabbed Him with thorns, put nails through His flesh and mocked His kingship. He knows what has been done to you and He identifies with your needs. Hebrews 4:15-16 tells us, “We don’t have a priest who is out of touch with our reality. He’s been through weakness and testing, experienced it all—all but the sin.

So let’s walk right up to Him and get what He is so ready to give. Take the mercy, accept the help. Rachel carried an emotional load into her future as disconcerting as the gods that she would forever have to hide. I urge you beloved, do not do the same. Apply forgiveness to your situation and with Jesus’ help you can… stop the bleeding.

Proverbs 20:22 NIV Do not say, “I’ll pay you back for this wrong!” Wait for the LORD, and he will deliver you.

Matthew 6:14 NIV For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.

Romans 12:18-20 NIV If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”

Orig Posted by Donna M Dougherty at 9/6/2009 3:57 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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More than Soup

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

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

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

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

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

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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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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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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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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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His Divine Protection

It is safe to say that we all experience close-calls in life.  Those are the frightful moments when danger brushes by. It is interesting that once the rush of anxiety passes, we wipe our brow and blithely move on.  We go about our business with little recollection of the incident.

30997809_lThose of us who are parents can relate to the near misses that our children experience.  For instance, consider the time when the baby’s walker got caught on a towel preventing her from sailing down a flight of stairs. It would have been disastrous if that towel had not fallen from the laundry basket earlier that day! We all have stories.

What about those divinely orchestrated delays that interrupt our schedules and frustrate us?  Could it be the strategic work of God’s angelic response team to disrupt our agendas and timetables?  Are they the cause of a missed appointment or wrong turn off the highway? How wonderful it is that God cares enough to assign ministering spirits to attend to us during these urgent times. At His command, they divert, catch, answer, comfort and protect. They impact our lives regularly, delivering blessings and pleasant outcomes.

We would certainly be living very different lives if even half of these threats were not averted.  So, the next time we witness a divine rescue, before wiping our brow and moving on; let’s tell God how thankful we are for His watchful eye and divine protection.

Psalm 91:11 KJV For He shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.

Orig Posted by Donna M Dougherty at 11/30/2008 9:56 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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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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