A Still Small Voice…Under My Bed! by Mary Kane

ID-10041121We have all heard that God speaks to His people from mountain tops and burning bushes but how about from underneath a bed? God does speak in mysterious ways! However He chooses to speak, we need to be ready to hear from Him. To read the devotional, A Still Small Voice … Under My Bed, please click on the link!
“Image courtesy of Phiseksit / FreeDigitalPhotos.net”.

Is There an App for That? by Mary Kane

“Jane—is there an app for that?”

I called to my sister from her guest room while was tidying up her office across the hall. We had just returned from the Proverbs 31 She Speaks conference and were brain-storming on how to apply what we had learned to our lives and ministries. During one of ID-100157182my sessions the facilitator encouraged me to use a notebook to organize my writing ideas. I thought a computer would be more efficient than a notebook, so I asked my tech-savvy sister if there was such thing as a writer’s app.

Jane answered, “Yes, there is a writing organizer app for your Mac, but they also have apps for your Kindle.” My Kindle? I purchased a Kindle a few months ago and instantly became a Kindle fan. When I bought my e-reader, however, I thought it was only for reading books. I did not know that I could use my Kindle for other thing such as watching movies, making voice recordings, searching the Internet or editing documents.  I looked with new respect at the intricate little instrument sitting next to me on my bed. I wondered how many others untapped powers and abilities were hidden behind its glossy black screen.  Abruptly I felt my heart quicken as the Holy Spirit nudged my soul. “This is how people often live life … using only one app … John 3:16.”

 

The wheels began turning in my mind as I thought through what God was revealing to me. We app-ly John 3:16 to our hearts and get saved, but some never move on to live the abundant life. The John 3:16 app is just the beginning. Sadly, many Christians remain unaware of the powerful potential that is hidden within God’s app store, the Bible.ID-100142898

 

God has countless apps. In fact, God has an app for every need. For instance, if you have blown it big time, download Evergrace at Ephesians 1:7. Perhaps you feel lonely and need a little fellowship—purchase the app Faceinthebook at 1 John 1:3 and start interacting with social media. Maybe you are low on faith–try TheWord 2008, which must be directly downloaded to your heart from Romans 10:17. The best thing about God’s apps is they are free! (Save your coins for your tithe!)

What great need do you have today? Got to God’s app store (the Bible), and download an app (a verse) to your heart.Please remember–God’s apps are meant to be app-lied to your life. The more apps you download, the more you’ll realize there’s no limit to what God can do!

By Mary Kane

All rights reserved. Copyright 2013

 

Image courtesy of ddpavumba / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of nikorn / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Rest in His Love

Rest in His Love

by

Jane VanOsdol

“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.Matthew 11:28-30

~

It had been a rough week. Friday rolled around and I could feel the exhaustion of a week settle in on me. My time had been filled with homeschooling the kids, cooking, keeping up with loads of laundry, teaching at the co-op and preparing my lesson for my Sunday School class. I still had to pack all of our clothes for a weekend trip to visit family. As the afternoon wore on, I felt progressively worse and a fever and chills set in. It quickly became apparent that I wasn’t going anywhere.

My husband decided to still take the kids to see their grandparents so that [Read more...]

Mary’s Journey

Mary’s Journey

by

Jane VanOsdol

I will never forget the birth of my third child. It was early December, and I was 9 months pregnant with my baby. My second child had been born with a congenital heart defect and died shortly after birth. Although the doctors had assured us that everything was fine with this baby, we were all anxiously anticipating the birth. The baby was big, and I was so uncomfortable. I wasn’t able to relax in any position, sitting, standing or lying down. A few days before my due date, my husband and I were driving home. The road was full of pot holes and ruts. Every jolt felt as if it were going to send me into labor on that excruciating ride. I couldn’t wait to get out of the car.

As I was complaining to my husband about the bumpy roads (and probably grumpily about his driving!), a vision of Mary, Jesus’ mother popped into my head. In my mind I transported myself back to her journey on a donkey, of all things, into Bethlehem. I imagined what it would be like to be her. She knew the birth of her baby was imminent, and yet she found herself leaving behind her home, her family, her mother—who would have helped her in the birthing process—to begin a long, tiresome journey to another city.

I could well imagine what it must have felt like to perch atop a donkey as it plodded along, step by jolting step. The dust the donkey kicked up surely wafted around them, clinging to her garments and  scratching at her dry, dusty throat. How her back must have ached from sitting slumped on a donkey for hours, that pain being overshadowed as the force of intensifying contractions gripped her weary body.

I at least knew I would have a birthing room and expert help for my baby. Mary had no such assurances. All the women who would have helped her were back home. She had no idea of where they would be stopping and what accommodations she would have. “How did she do it?” I found myself wondering. By all accounts, she was probably only 14 years old, and this was her first baby. I can only imagine what Joseph felt as he looked back at his young wife suffering on the donkey.

We have the advantage of knowing how this story ends. There was no room in any inn, so Joseph gently settled Mary in the stable with a clean pile of straw for her bedding and the cows and bleating sheep for roommates. They had each other and God and His promises to sustain them though the most holy of nights. Despite the odds against them, God’s plan was not to be denied, and Jesus entered this world with a herald of angels melodiously announcing His birth.

Since that time, I’ve never again glossed over Luke 2:7 as I’ve read through the Christmas story. I allow myself to think about the journey and suffering and sacrifice that went on that night as the Word became flesh. Two young peasants with the love and courage to say yes to God’s miraculous plan found themselves as the earthly parents of the Messiah! And the world has not been the same since.

Prayer:  Lord, we are humbled by the birth of Your Son. We thank You for sending Him to earth so that we can be saved. We look to the example that Mary and Joseph set, and we can only pray for the same willingness to say yes to Your plans when you call on us. Amen.

Copyright 2009        Jane VanOsdol        All Rights Reserved

Seedtime and Harvest

“While the earth remains,

Seedtime and harvest,

Cold and heat,

Winter and summer,

And day and night

Shall not cease.”

Genesis 8:22

Seedtime and Harvest

by

Jane VanOsdol

Through my adult years, I’ve developed a love for gardening. There’s just something about watching a bare plot of grass transform into a flower-filled haven, alive with fluttering butterflies, birds and bees. Or you just can’t beat popping that first luscious cherry tomato still warm from the summer sun into your mouth.

When my children were little, I tried to get them interested in helping me tend the garden. They would plant a few seeds or help me transplant tender young plants into the ground for a few minutes, but soon their backs would hurt or they would be hot or their attention would wander to a more thrilling activity. And weeding? I never had any willing participants when it was time to take back control of the garden from invaders! Even at harvest time, they weren’t too enthused to help gather the vegetables. Biting chiggers, mosquitos and “itchy grass”–from all the weeds!–sent them slinking off to more fun activities. But, they were sure happy to help eat our tomatoes or beans or lettuce.

You know, I guess we adults aren’t that much different than kids when it comes to our “spiritual crops.” Most of us love to celebrate when a hard-fought spiritual victory has been won–a drug addiction beaten, a troublesome teen sees the light, a friend decides to follow Christ, or a cancer goes into remission. But I wonder, how many more victories could we be a part of if we were willing to “sow more seeds, pick more weeds and water the crops”?

Our verse from Genesis today tells us that there is a seedtime and a harvesttime. I think the time part can be a problem for all of us. It takes time and effort to hold someone accountable for an addiction, to stick by a teenager who is in “rebel-mode,” to meet at the inner-city center and develop relationships with the kids, or to hold someone’s hand while they’re throwing up from chemo. It’s hard, it’s messy and tough love isn’t a lot of fun. But, isn’t that what Jesus calls us to? Being there in the seedtime will increase the chance that we’ll get to see some harvests. Sometimes we plant a seed that someone else gets to harvest, or we get to harvest the seed that someone else planted! However God works it out, let’s think about planting a seed in a life today.

Prayer: Dear Lord, thank you for the times of sowing and harvesting that make up the cycle of life. Show us where you want us to sow some seeds this month. Amen.

Copyright 2009                            Jane VanOsdol              All Rights Reserved

Life-Long Learners

“For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.”

Life-Long Learners

by

Jane VanOsdol

As a child, I remember the days toward the end of the summer were filled with activity and excitement.  I always knew the summer would soon be drawing to an end when my mom would announce that it was time for “back to school shopping.” Back to school shopping meant a trip to Robertson’s Department Store (save a fourth, save a third, save a half in every department on every floor–I still remember their advertising song for remnant days!) in South Bend, Indiana. This was a favored activity in my life. Robertson’s was an old-fashioned department store about six stories high. My favorite floor was the girl’s department where we would head to pick out our clothes for the upcoming school year.

This was a bargaining feat, because with four girls my parents had several of us to clothe. I always had too many selections and had the difficult task of narrowing my choices down. After we purchased the clothes, we had the additional yearly delight of heading to the tea room for lunch, where we each got to pick out something yummy to eat. Lunching in the tea room let me pretend for awhile that I was quite cosmopolitan–a far cry from the small-town Michigan girl I was.

We also needed to make sure we had our school supplies, book bags (there weren’t back packs in the 60s and 70s) and lunch boxes ready to go. After accumulating all of these things, I can remember being so excited that I could barely sleep the night before school started. Off I went the next morning, ready to see my friends and crack open my new books.

As we prepare to start the 2009-2010 school year, I think about the excitement with which I approached my learning as a child. I still love to learn new things at this stage of my life. I have taken several online classes and studied subjects on my own. Part of that love of learning extends to the Bible. Even though the Bible was written a long time ago, it is still just as applicable to life today as it was when it was written. Just as 2 + 2 will always =4, so, too, will the words of the Bible always = truth.

As we send our children back to school this year, let’s use this time to also send ourselves back to school and continue our education in God’s Word.

Prayer:  Dear Lord, we thank you for the education that we are so blessed to have. We pray for our students, teachers and administration–for your protection over them and your blessing upon them. We pray that Your truth will be preached this year in our schools, homes and churches. And we ask that we will never tire of being Your students. Amen.

Copyright 2009 Jane VanOsdol All Rights Reserved

Finish Your Pie!

“That I may proclaim with the voice of Thanksgiving,

And tell of Your wondrous works.

Lord, I have loved the habitation of Your house,

And the place where your glory dwells.” Psalm 26:7-8

Finish Your Pie!

by

Jane VanOsdol

When my daughter was little, she and I loved to turn on the Christian radio station and sing away as we were in the kitchen getting lunch or cleaning around the house. One day Amber was singing the words to a song with such gusto that I just had to stop and listen to her. Her little face was beaming as she belted out the words to our current favorite song. The chorus went like this:

“Come, Lord Jesus, come and get your bride.”

However, what came out of Amber’s lips was something entirely different:

“Come, Lord Jesus, come and finish your pie!”

I could barely contain my laughter over her 3-year-old version of the lyrics. And you know, I think I could see Jesus laughing and nodding, and I bet He would have loved a piece of that pie too!

What my daughter taught me that day was that we just need to utterly, unashamedly worship God. The joy and thankfulness oozed out of her as she sang her heart out to God. She didn’t care if the words were right or wrong, she just knew she was singing with her mommy to Jesus.

I had to stop and thank God for the blessing of my daughter and the blessing of being able to sing praise songs with her. Though our house was little and certainly nothing in it matched nor was very fashionable, it was a holy house because the Lord’s glory was dwelling there in her song. That moment taught me to look for God’s blessings wherever we are, to be thankful for moments shared with loved ones and our Savior.

As we enter this month of Thanksgiving, I’d like us to go on a blessings hunt. Let’s open our eyes to all the things big and small that we have to be thankful for. Let’s dwell on those things, (add them to our list on our Thanksgiving Blog entry if you have time) and like Amber did, let’s proclaim God’s wondrous works with a voice of Thanksgiving. He’s listening.

Prayer: Lord, we just lift our voices to join the chorus around the world singing Your praises. Thank You for our innumerable blessings. Thank You for your love. May we never stop thanking You. Amen.


True Freedom

“Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.” John 8:36

True Freedom

By

Jane VanOsdol

“You stay here, and I’ll be back in a few minutes,” my relative Max said to me as he went with the East German police into a building. It was the summer of 1980. I had just graduated from high school and was visiting relatives in Germany. Max had taken me into East Berlin to meet a friend of his, and we were trying to return back to the West side after a few day’s visit. An armed guard marched around and around the car as I waited for Max.  I eyed the guard as I pondered the events of the last few days. Nothing in my life had prepared me for the palpable oppression and depression I experienced in East Berlin.

The moment we crossed the border, everything was drab and lifeless–the countryside, the buildings, even the people seemed gray and lifeless. I had even looked back behind us, trying to figure out what had happened in the last few feet to cause such a change. It slowly settled on me that this was the result of a government that robbed people of their basic freedoms. I had to guard every word that came out of my mouth–even inside our friend’s apartment–as I quickly learned the first day.

.

The minutes ticked by as I sat in the car. After 20 minutes I decided I had to go find him. I opened the door and started for the building, wondering what the guard would do. At that moment, Max flung open the office door and strode out, motioning me back into the car.

It wasn’t until we were on our way down the road that he spoke. Because I was an American, they made up some violation that Max had supposedly committed and assessed him a hefty fine. They pulled us over one more time and fined us again before we made it back to West Berlin.

Never before had I recognized the true worth of freedom in America. My eyes were suddenly opened to the value of my country compared to this stifling existence that I had lived for only a few days, that many others were trapped in forever.

Likewise, I came to recognize a few years later the ultimate gift of freedom given by Jesus. After I had spent a few miserable years wallowing in the drab gray prison of my own sinful ways, how could I not choose the One who came in, rescued me from myself and took me over the border into freedom?

Every July 4th reminds me anew of the blessing of my country. And every day lived with Jesus reminds me to be thankful for my freedom in Christ.

Prayer:  Dear Lord, we thank You for the blessing of America. Help us not to take for granted what so many others have died for. Thank You for the ultimate sacrifice You made on the cross that freed us from our sins and reconciled us to You. Amen.

Copyright 2009                    Jane VanOsdol            All Rights Reserved

Everyday Prayer

“Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” Deuteronomy 11: 18,19 (NIV)

Everyday Prayer

by

Jane VanOsdol

When my nephew Cullan was a toddler, he had a favorite stuffed toy called Dubby. Dubby had a round head and soft, drapey flannel body. He went everywhere with Cullan and was comfortable and broken in from repeated washings. One day the unthinkable happened and Dubby turned up missing. Cullan was distraught without Dubby. My sister Carol, planning ahead for just such a catastrophe, had ordered an extra Dubby. So, she presented him to Cullan as a temporary replacement until Dubby could be found. Cullan, however, was not happy. This new impostor didn’t feel, look or smell anything like his Dubby. He even took to calling him “Fake Dubby.”


In a way this story reminds me of the verses in Deuteronomy. God wants to be such an everyday part of our lives that we “take Him with us” wherever we go. We need to pass this on to our children, making God and prayer such a seamless part of their lives, that He is one of the first things they turn to when they have a problem or a joy to share. I think the idea here is that God should be so recognizable to them that they are able to sense any “impostors” that come into their lives as they get older.

One of the ways I tried to do this with my kids when they were little was by starting to pray with them as infants. I would pray over them every night. Then when they could speak, they started adding their own prayers at bedtime. We prayed before we ate our meals, the children taking turns as they could. Also, we started praying for other people too. For example, if we were out driving and heard sirens, we stopped and prayed for whomever might be hurt and for the policemen, firemen and ambulance drivers to be protected. It wasn’t long before they were asking if we could pray for their friends.

As much as we can make prayer a part of their everyday lives, our children will begin to respond in kind with God. They will know Him and turn to him.

And what of Cullan and Dubby? Happily, Dubby reappeared and “Fake Dubby” was put away.

Prayer: Dear Lord, help us to teach our children to pray at home, when we are out on the road, and when we lie down at night and get up in the mornings. Amen.

(Photo of Cullan with Dubby stretched on his head courtesy of Carol Jewell.)

Copyright 2009                        Jane VanOsdol                All Rights Reserved


Growing Pains

Growing Pains

by

Jane VanOsdol

When I was growing up, I remember that frequently at night my sister Mary would run to our mom, crying because her legs ached so badly. Mom would rub her legs and soothe her by saying that it was just “growing pains” that hurt so badly. While it didn’t make her legs stop hurting, it helped to know that there was something good that would be coming out of this painful process.

I think that we can also get growing pains [Read more...]