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

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

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

Doesn’t Get Better Than That

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Better Thing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He Watches and Waits

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Go To Your Room

My husband and I raised three children, two girls and a boy. Looking back to their childhood I remember that our girls, being less than two years apart, squabbled a lot.  I acted as referee for countless disputes doughertygirls_slidsbetween them, and on the occasions when mediation failed, I would separate the two by sending them to their rooms.

It was at this point that a remarkable phenomenon would take place in the Dougherty household – these two pint-sized opponents would, without hesitation, become the closest of friends!  The girls would crouch down on either side of the air vent that was between their bedrooms, and they would talk, whisper, and giggle for as long as I left them alone.  When isolated, the nearest voice they heard became their closest friend.

In that setting the voice and attention of one another is all they had, so they sought a means to connect.  Is it not the same between us and God?  If we intentionally separate ourselves from all others and seek Him privately, we will most certainly connect with Him.

How often were you told to go to your room as a child, and how often do you go there now?  What quiet place do you go to in order to talk, whisper, and giggle with God?

Jesus knew how important this private time was. He would often leave the crowds of people and go aside to be alone with His Father. So, follow Jesus’ example, and go to your room.  When you do, the nearest voice you hear will become your closest friend!

Mark 1:35 NLT Before daybreak the next morning, Jesus got up and went out to an isolated place to pray.

Orig Posted by Donna M Dougherty at 3/15/2009 8:07 PM

Sweet Victory

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Divine Impact

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It Can Be Better

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Guard Your Heart

The scriptures tell us in Proverbs 4:23, to guard our hearts for out of it flow the wellsprings of life.  In fact, in the Message translation of 18413182_l 200the Bible the words are, “Keep vigilant watch over your heart; that’s where life starts!”

What do you allow yourself to listen to? What words do you permit into your heart?  According to the Bible, words have the power to pierce like an arrow, cut like a sword, and trickle down into our inmost parts. They have access to our insides where they can latch onto our character, so we must learn to keep the gateways to our hearts closed to unwelcome traffic.

Our Pastor preached on the many gates that led to Jerusalem in ancient times.  Each gate was constructed and governed to allow strategic access to the interior of the holy city.  Likewise there are gateways to our human interiors. Whether the spoken words bring healing or harm, they have equal access if we do not vigilantly guard our gates.

When Nehemiah rebuilt the walls around Jerusalem, he set guards at each gate. It was the responsibility of the guards to monitor welcome and unwelcome traffic, to and from the city, and to open and close the gates accordingly.  Gates offer protection.

There are many things in life that we cannot control.  However, where we go and what we listen to are not among them. God thoughtfully designed the human body for portability, which gives us the ability to step away from unhealthy influences.

In my case I’ve learned that I am easily affected by movies, so I rarely watch them. When people say, “I was sitting at the edge of my seat”, or, “I cried through the whole thing”, it is a compliment to the effectiveness of the film. But for me, a movie can be a wild ride of emotions, exchanges, and impressions that leave me feeling undone, and sometimes haunted.

So, protect your heart by setting high standards concerning what crosses your personal gateways.  As the Proverb says, “this is where life starts”.  Guard yours.

Nehemiah 7:2-4 NLT I said to them, “Do not leave the gates open during the hottest part of the day. And even while the gatekeepers are on duty, have them shut and bar the doors. Appoint the residents of Jerusalem to act as guards, everyone on a regular watch. Some will serve at sentry posts and some in front of their own homes.”

Orig Posted by Donna M Dougherty at 2/8/2009 11:40 PM

Draw Near

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Be a Contagious Influence

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What Moves You?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Good Guys and Bad Guys

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You Can Always Find Your Way Home

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Do not Arouse or Awaken Love until it so Desires

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Contagious Message

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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