Category Archives: Hope

Your Voice

I did not vote for this President because I did not believe that he was the right person for the job. However, once he was inaugurated, I vowed to pray for him and believe for the best during his time in office. This administration will soon come to an end and America will 15983745_sbe given another opportunity to speak into the matter of the presidency – and we must.

Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter”.  In the last Presidential Election (2008) only 57.1% of eligible Americans went to the polls. That means that more than 40% of our voting population turned their backs on the opportunity to be heard.  Because what we do today impacts tomorrow, such apathy can have an adverse affect on the future interests of our children and grandchildren.

We live in a serious and unpredictable time in world history when we must use our voting power to speak. Voting is a right, a privilege, and is of paramount importance to the welfare of this and future generations. Let us urge one another to examine the facts about the candidates, learn what they stand for, review their qualifications, and eliminate as best we can those who are suspect, or who take positions that oppose our beliefs and values.

Please let your voice be heard on the ballot, and believe with me that in 2016 we will elect the right person for the job.

Peter 2:13-14 NIV Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right.

1 Timothy 2:1-2 NIV I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.

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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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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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More than Coincidence

Albert Einstein said that coincidence was God’s way of remaining anonymous.  Even this esteemed twentieth century brainiac knew that some things in our physical world could not be explained by science, law, or reason.

Throughout my years as a Christian I have observed with awe, God’s considerate and deliberate dealings with man. It is impossible to ignore His purposeful intervention with people and His tenacious endeavors toward accomplishing His will on the earth.

God does nothing haphazardly, so on those occasions when our physical and non-physical worlds function synergistically and deliver uncanny outcomes, it is more than coincidence; it is divine design!

dreamstime_13391381sI recently posted an entry called Place in this World.  It concerned, Bella, our new baby grand-daughter who was adopted by our daughter and husband last month.  Something extraordinary happened shortly after that entry was posted that I would like to share.

Our daughter-in-law, Michelle, told me that she had been searching for a black baby doll to give to Julianna, Bella’s new 4 ½ year-old sister. Bella is African American and her new family members are Caucasian, so this would be a sweet and thoughtful gift for Julianna. Michelle had visited some local stores and had not yet found the doll.

As she spoke, I remembered that I played with a black doll more than 40 years ago; it was special to me so I kept it.  I immediately unpacked the doll from storage.

Similar to Bella, the doll had a beautiful face with dark curly hair, though her outfit was worn and her body needed to be cleaned. I intended to give the doll to Michelle so that she could fix her up as a gift for Julianna, but she said that she would continue her quest for another. She felt that since it was my personal doll I should be the one to pass her on.

So the next day I bought the doll some new clothes, washed her, fixed her hair, and proceeded to dress her, when I noticed the branding that was embossed on her back. I decided to read it and what I saw was undeniably divine design.

The name “Bella” was imprinted in quotes on the doll’s plastic body! I could not believe my eyes! I blinked and stared; I don’t recall for how long.  All I could say was, “Wow …God …you are amazing”!

It didn’t take a genius to recognize the author of this outcome! God set something in motion years ago that He had just brought full circle.  I grew up playing with a beautiful black doll and branded on her back was the name Bella! What a coincidence

Psalm 33:11 NIV But the plans of the LORD stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations.

Orig Posted by Donna M Dougherty at 6/12/2010 12:01 PM

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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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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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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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Attain the Crown

On July 4, 2009 in New York Harbor, after an eight-year hiatus, hundreds of people climbed the stairs to the crown of the Statue of Liberty.  Public access to the crown had been prohibited for nearly a decade after the September 11, 2001 attacks because emergency evacuation down its narrow, double-helix staircases did not meet safety codes.  Additionally, certain areas of the 354-step climb to the crown are so ominous that some visitors have been overcome by claustrophobia, panic attacks, and heat exhaustion.  And for those having such difficulty, the winding and constricted stairs allow no option to turn back.

The English Poet, Francis Quarles wrote, “He that hath no cross deserves no crown”.  The challenging ascent into the statue’s crown is an 25225243_silluminating example of man’s mounting journey through life; the higher the calling, the more arduous the climb.

Some years ago I experienced a personal struggle with anxiety and depression. Unable to change my circumstances, I became impeded and could barely function day to day.  I was emotionally stuck en-route  . . . yet, I knew that I must advance.

Fortunately, the climb is not to the swift, strong, or privileged, and it is not about skill or technique.  So I dragged myself through each second, minute, hour, and day.  My ascent was slow and clumsy, but by wholly believing God’s Word, and by earnestly applying His principles, I was able to make my upward step-by-step journey a triumphant one.

Lady Liberty continues to welcome the tired, poor and homeless, and the huddled masses yearning to breathe free.  Both structurally and symbolically, she represents a hopeful call to all people to come up higher. Regardless of your cross, attain the crown!

James 1:12 NIV Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.

2 Timothy 4:8 NIV Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.

Orig Posted by Donna M Dougherty at 7/4/2009 10:42 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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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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Looking Beyond the Jacket

How often have we misjudged people by assessing them based on susan-boyle-pic-itv-113257880-300x216what we see on the outside?  Writer Baltasar Gracian said, “Things do not pass for what they are, but for what they seem.  Most things are judged by their jackets.”

Gracian’s statement is so true. We use an eye-balling standard of judgment with people.  We myopically size them up based on a narrow list of criteria. Then, without consideration of the whole person, we mindlessly slap an invisible label on them and carelessly move on.  It is shameful how systematically we do this, overlooking the fact that every person is made up of body, soul and spirit. Oh, what substance and richness lay within people, unheard and unappreciated if we settle only for what they seem… as opposed to who they are.

Every now and then, by the grace of God, we are eclipsed by something wonderful that causes us to take a second look and hopefully lend an ear. At the time of this writing much of the free world gave that courtesy to Susan Boyle.

Susan was a 47 year old Scottish woman with a dream of becoming a professional singer.  She auditioned on the show, “Britain’s Got Talent”, and the video of her performance had circled the globe through the Internet.  The video was so stunning that it had been viewed more than 40 million times on YouTube alone.  I watched it myself a dozen times with torrential tears.

Susan’s appearance and mannerisms were unassuming and slightly peculiar.  She was an atypical contestant, because she was not outwardly glamorous or hip.  It was evident that the judges and audience were dubious about her singing ability, as she was quietly scorned up to the second that she opened her mouth.

Then came Susan’s moment; this dear lady sang, “I Dreamed a Dream” from “Les Misérables”, and her very first words caused the auditorium to literally erupt with cheers!  Her humble presence and magnificent voice sent an undeniable message of beauty and grace to every ear. Her voice opened the door for us to know her.  She was more than she had seemed!

The Bible says in James chapter 2. “… If a man enters your church wearing an expensive suit, and a street person wearing rags comes in right after him, and you say to the man in the suit, ‘Sit here, sir; this is the best seat in the house!’ and either ignore the street person or say, ‘Better sit here in the back row,’ haven’t you segregated God’s children and proved that you are judges who can’t be trusted?”

I believe that God used the fulfillment of Susan Boyle’s dream to get our attention. He expects us to care equally about all people.  He wants us to look beyond the jacket of those we meet.  It is His desire that all would have opportunity to sing!

1 Timothy 1:5 NIV The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.

Orig Posted by Donna M Dougherty at 4/22/2009 12:29 AM

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Up Where We Belong

Last spring a bird built a nest under the roof of our front porch where she laid her eggs.  Soon after, two baby birds were born.  We listened to their tiny chirps, and watched them stretch there little necks toward mama when she flew in the groceries. They seemed like a happy bird family.

40883033_sThen one day as I passed by the porch door, something caught my eye. One of the babies had fallen several feet to the concrete floor below and he was barely moving.  I alerted my husband who went out and gently lifted the little fuzz-covered guy back into the nest.

We wondered if baby had much hope of living after falling so far, and having been touched by human hands.   But thankfully after work that evening we noticed mama bird comfortably perched over both babies.  The bird emergency had passed… or so we thought.

Early the next day I checked the porch and there was baby again, limply plopped on the cement. At this point we assumed that mama must have reason to push him from the nest, but we did not have the heart to leave him for prey. So my husband returned him to the nest a second time.

Three days after the second rescue we heard a raucous on the porch.  Both mama and papa were present and flying around the nest, and the two babies were straining their necks high to watch.  They were alert, curious, and strong.  Hurray!  Baby was meant to live!

Jesus says, “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?”  He points out that birds do not process the necessary human activities of life, but they are still tended to. They simply trust their Maker for their care.  Jesus wants us to understand and apply this same principle; it is God’s provision, not our own abilities that sustain us.

Baby bird fell from great heights twice in a short period of time.  Without someone providentially appointed to lift him, he would have died.  In a similar manner people also fall.  We fall into sin and sometimes also from great heights.  Family, reputation, careers; so much is at stake when we sin that we feel hopeless and wonder if there really is a way back.

The Bible tells us that if we humble ourselves before the Lord, He will lift us up.  Like baby who needed a rescuer, we too need someone greater than ourselves.  We need Jesus!  He has been providentially appointed to lift us up where we belong!

Psalm 30:1 NIV I will exalt you, O LORD, for you lifted me out of the depths and did not let my enemies gloat over me.

James 4:10 NIV Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.

Orig Posted by Donna M Dougherty at 4/11/2009 10:16 PM

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It Takes Just a Flicker

The sun peeked through the trees onto my face as I sat on my porch.  Something so bright, beautiful and powerful must have been created by One more brilliant, exquisite and extreme!

God created light for our benefit.  He gave us physical light in the sun, and He gave us spiritual light in the “Son” – His Son Jesus Christ who came to earth as the Light of the World.

12960288_sYet, we miss the impact of His coming? He shines bright and warm, and He lights our path. So often we do not see, feel, or follow. Our world is cloaked in a deceptive darkness so pervasive that we succumb to its numbing effect. We fall into spiritual slumber; impervious to the evil that surrounds us.

Jesus warned His disciples in Mark, chapter 8 to be careful of sin.  They walked with God Himself, yet He pointed out that they had eyes that failed to see, and ears that failed to hear. As a remedy, Jesus urged them to remember what they had witnessed of Him in the past.  He encouraged them to look back; to remember a time when they had seen the light.  The flicker of light from one such memory will pierce and dispel darkness.

What do you remember of God’s goodness to you?  How have you witnessed His impact in your life?

Sitting on my porch, I remembered what God had done for me.  He has brought soothing warmth during frigid times, and He has rescued, touched and healed. He has been my strength in weakness, my teacher, my champion, and my greatest love.

Remember what He has done for you, and dispel the darkness… it takes just a flicker….

John 1:5 NLT The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.

Orig Posted by Donna M Dougherty at 3/29/2009 11:02 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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One – Two – Punch!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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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Real People, God’s World-Changers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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It’s About Who We Are

I had a thought to do an Internet search on the life of Adolf Hitler. What I read about the man inspired this entry.

42950162_sWe are all familiar with Hitler’s twisted policies of territorial conquest and racial subjugation. Under his command, approximately ten million innocent people were mercilessly massacred. Hitler murdered human beings without respect to his conscience, when at the same time he upheld a lesser principle against eating meat, because he opposed the slaughter of animals. Incredibly, he executed entire families in his death camps, yet the man went out of his way to protect animals.

Hitler claimed to be a Christian; a believer and follower of the Lord Jesus Christ. How incomprehensible to think that he could not see the disparity between his own horrific behavior, and the upright character of the Christ he claimed as his Lord. For the true Christian, there must be continuity between the two.

The Bible does not dance around this subject. We read in Titus 1:15-16, “To the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure. In fact, both their minds and consciences are corrupted. They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him. They are detestable, disobedient and unfit for doing anything good.”

Man is fully capable of professing Christ and committing dreadful acts. But Jesus seeks an authentic people to carry His name; not a perfect people, but those who earnestly endeavor to live their lives in accordance with His will. It’s not about what we claim; it’s about who we are. It is the pure in heart who will see God.

While our stories may not make the history books, our lives are nonetheless being read by people every day.  May they behold a faithful testimony from evidence burned onto the pages of our hearts that reflect nothing but our honest attempts to portray the true character of the One who we claim to follow.

2 Corinthians 3:2 NKJV You are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read by all men;

Matthew 5:8 NKJV Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

Orig Posted by Donna M Dougherty at 11/15/2008 7:37 PM

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Something to Hold

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The Only You

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Daddy’s Here

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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