Tuesday, January 30, 2024

Day By Day


Day By Day

"Day by day and with each passing moment,
Strength I find to meet my trials here;
Trusting in my Father's wise bestowment,
I've no cause for worry or for fear.
He whose heart is kind beyond all measure
Gives unto each day what He deems best--
Lovingly, its part of pain and pleasure,
Mingling toil with peace and rest.

Ev'ry day the Lord Himself is near me
With a special mercy for each hour;
All my cares He fain would bear, and cheer me,
He whose name is Counselor and Pow'r.
The protection of His child and treasure
Is a charge that on Himself He laid;
"As thy days, thy strength shall be in measure,"
This the pledge to me He made.

Help me then in eve'ry tribulation
So to trust Thy promises, O Lord,
That I lose not faith's sweet consolation
Offered me within Thy holy Word.
Help me, Lord, when toil and trouble meeting,
E'er to take, as from a father's hand,
One by one, the days, the moments fleeting,
Till I reach the promised land."

This touching hymn was written in 1865 by Lina Sandell several years after she had witnessed the tragic drowning of her father. 

I woke with it on my heart this morning and share it in hopes it will give grace and encouragement to you dear friends.



Wednesday, January 24, 2024

Don't Be Afraid or Discouraged


After forty years of wandering through the wilderness the Children of Israel stood on the brink of promise. A whole generation had died during the wandering and a new generation stood poised to enter the land flowing with milk and honey. 

" The houses will be richly stocked with goods you did not produce. You will draw water from cisterns you did not dig, and you will eat from vineyards and olive trees you did not plant."

Deuteronomy 6:10,11

It was a promise from the Lord - the One whose word never fails. 

However there was the matter of a river overflowing its banks and great armies populated by men who looked like giants that stood between them and the fulfillment of that promise. It would require something of them if they were to finally enter that land of promise.

Knowing their frailty the Father spoke another promise into their hearts:

"Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; He will neither fail you nor abandon you."

Deuteronomy 31:8

They would not be going alone. He would be with them every difficult step of the way.

We too stand on the brink of promise - a new year filled with possibility and hope. Its minutes, hours and days carry with them the gift of new beginnings, and we long to embrace it. But, in our frailty, we stand still knowing we cannot see beyond that bend in the road. There are places we know we must travel that cause us to be fearful and discouraged.

Has there been a diagnosis that brings you to your knees in fear; or a family member whose chosen path is leading them to certain grief; the uncertainty of employment or financial problems; aging family members whose health is failing - just a few of the "giants" in the land.

He sees and knows and gives us the same promise He gave to His children thousands of years ago. He will PERSONALLY go ahead of each of us; He already knows the way. But He won't get out of sight, He has promised to be WITH us. He is in the process of bringing us to a land flowing with milk and honey.

Whatever this year holds, whether great sorrow or great joy, whether riches or poverty, whether sickness or health - He has promised that He will never fail us or abandon us. We can walk into this new year with great hope and courage.

"For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope."

Jeremiah 29:11



Monday, January 15, 2024


Two weeks have passed since the 

beginning of the new year. Many came to it with hope and determination, looking forward to a fresh start. Others, jaded by years of failed resolutions, look back with feelings of discouragement, regret and guilt. Have I, they wonder, ruined the plan God had for my life by my inability to change and make right choices? Have I squandered the gifts I've been given and lost the chance to realize the dream?

On the very first page of my Bible I have a written note from a long ago sermon. It says:

"God has a plan for my life and the power to carry it out. As I obey, I walk into the plan God has for me. God's plan reaches beyond all the mistakes of my past. In redemption, there is hope of a measure of recovery. I can only overcome my past in Christ." 

I thought back to the story in scripture of one of the great heroes of our faith - Moses. God had a plan for his life. Against all odds, baby Moses survived when Pharaoh ordered the murder of every son born to a Hebrew woman. Raised in the palace by Pharaoh's daughter he became "a man of power in words and deeds." (Acts 6:22). When he turned 40 he was drawn to his own people who were suffering in slavery, and in an attempt to help ended up murdering an Egyptian.

The story is a familiar one. Moses, fearful for his life, fled to the land of Midian. There, he lived in obscurity for 40 years, until the day God spoke to him from a burning bush. This once powerful, articulate man tried to convince God he could not possibly be the man for the job. It was too late. He had ruined everything. He simply couldn't do it.

We know the rest of the story. God used Moses in a miraculous, powerful way to rescue His people from slavery in Egypt and to lead them to the Promised Land.

To all outward appearances it seemed Moses had blown it. Instead of waiting on God's timing, He had taken matters into his own hands and ended up a murderer. Surely, he had ruined the plan God had for his life.

We have heard it said that God never wastes anything in our lives. He used that long 40 years, years we might consider wasted, to shape Moses into the man He would use to deliver a whole nation of people - the man to whom He spoke "face to face, just as a man speaks to his friend." (Exodus 33:11)

We mustn't let the failures of our past rob us of the good things the Father has for us. He can redeem our mistakes and, although we may bear the scars and wounds of the wrong choices we've made, work out the beautiful plan He has for our lives.

I have another quote in my Bible I have treasured for years:

"God knows where you are, and He can get you to where He wants you to be."

 Pastor Robert Emmitt

"For I know the plans that I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you,  to give you a future and a hope."  Jeremiah 29:11



Friday, December 29, 2023

My Book Is On Sale

Amazon has put my little cozy mystery on sale at 50% off ($6.03). On the off chance anyone is interested here is a description of the book:

Sixty-two year old Matty Amoruso is still reeling from the sudden death of her husband when she discovers a hidden notebook in his file cabinet. If the message it contains is true, the man convicted of a local murder thirty-six years ago is innocent, and the real murderer is walking free. Matty must decide if she is willing to uncover the truth, whatever the cost to herself and those around her. If that wasn’t enough, there’s trouble afoot in their little country church where Matty’s friend, Willa-Mae, is leading the charge to get things back to the way they were before the new pastor arrived with his new ideas.



Saturday, December 23, 2023

Once again the green turned to red, bringing beauty to another Christmas. 

With my lack of gardening skills, it felt like nothing less than a miracle. For two years in a row this seemingly fragile plant had bloomed during Advent in a sweet celebration of Jesus’ birth. 

It had been touch and go as winter turned to spring and the red blooms gradually slipped away. When the remaining leaves turned brown on the edges, I thought the culprit was too much sunlight and moved her to another window. Then one by one the leaves turned yellow and began to die. I couldn’t decide whether I was watering too frequently or not enough. I began to think I should just put her out of her misery, but I just couldn’t do it. A tiny spark of hope persisted. So I moved her again. This time to the window in our guest room. 

The earth slowly made its journey around the sun -the days growing shorter and darker.  I left her alone in the empty, unlit guest room sometimes staying away for days. So when I went into the guest room  and saw red mingled with the new growth I could hardly believe it. 

In spite of, or perhaps because of, the months of suffering and long nights hidden away in the darkness, she bloomed - a lovely picture of the good God promises to birth out of our struggles and sorrows. We wait, not without hope but with confident expectation in the One who loves us. The One who came and gave His very life for us. 

Our hearts overflow with gratitude at His coming and with confident hope in His promise to come again.

Have a joyous Christmas dear friends.


Wednesday, December 20, 2023

Emmanuel Has Come

Mary waited, carrying the promise in her heart. She walked through her days carefully, feeling the weight of the child growing within her. Ordinary days filled with ordinary tasks, living and walking among the people she had known all her life.

Some looked at her with eyes filled with pity, while others turned aside when they saw her coming. She might have felt a tinge of anger or a longing to be understood. She did not. Instead there was a sense of overwhelming compassion - for they didn't know the secret. While they prayed for their Messiah to come and deliver them, He was already here - nestled right under her heart. The day will come, she thought, when everyone will see and know.

Two thousand years later we wait for the Savior to come again. But in the meantime He is right here with us, dwelling in the hearts of those who love Him and are called by His name. We walk among those who don't know the "secret" - who are looking for peace and hope and the answers to life's questions.

Oh, that they might see Him in us - dwelling among them.

“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.’”

Matthew 1:23

"Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel." Isaiah 7:14



Thursday, December 14, 2023

What Became of the Shepherds

"That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord's glory surrounded them. They were terrified, but the angel reassured them. 'Don't be afraid!' he said. 'I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior - yes, the Messiah, the Lord - has been born today in Bethlehem, the City of David. And you will recognize Him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.' Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others - the armies of heaven - praising God and saying, 'Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.' When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, 'Let's go to Bethlehem! Let's see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.' They hurried to the village and found Mary and Joesph. And there was the baby, lying in the manger. After seeing Him, the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child. All who heard the shepherd's story were astonished, but Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often. The shepherds went back to their flocks, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen. It was just as the angel had told them." Luke 2: 8-20

There the story of the shepherds ends. What a story it is. Heaven itself opened up to these humble men and the glory of the Lord surrounded them. Surely their lives could never be the same. I have thought about them - about what happened in the days following those miraculous encounters. 

 The scriptures tell us that after they shared the astonishing news with everyone they saw, they went back to their flocks, back to their ordinary lives. Did they wonder what would happen next? As the days slipped into weeks and eventually into years, and the images of that long ago night began to fade, did they begin to have nagging little questions and perhaps a bit of doubt? During the long lonely nights on the very same hillside, did their gaze shift heavenward hoping for a further sign? Did they long to hear news of the baby and His parents? Were they discouraged when it looked as though He had simply vanished? 

 Thirty years later, did word reach them about the young carpenter from Nazareth who said He was the Messiah? Did they hear of the miracles and did their hearts race at the news? Were they waiting expectantly for the Promised One to take His rightful place? Did their hearts break when news of His crucifixion reached their little town? 

 I wonder (I hope)if the news of His resurrection somehow reached them. If it did, did the vision of that long ago night burst into their hearts once again? Did they see, in their mind's eye, that little baby now become their Savior? Did they rejoice once again knowing the long wait was over; the promise was fulfilled? Fulfilled in a way they could not possibly have foreseen. How could they have known that the little baby they saw that long ago night would one day live in their hearts? It was even more glorious than they had imagined. 

 What does this story of the shepherds have for us? What would they like us to know and understand? Perhaps it is this: Have you ever had a glorious word from the Lord, a promise that He spoke to your heart? Perhaps the promise of something you had prayed for with great urgency or a dream He birthed in your heart. Not only did you have that word, but it was confirmed in ways that could only be from Him. You believed and waited for the promise to take form. Days slipped into weeks, weeks into years, and you began to doubt that you heard correctly. Discouragement filled your heart, and you thought the promise would never materialize. But remember... 

 The shepherds didn't know what had become of the baby. They didn't know that "...the child grew up healthy and strong. He was filled with wisdom, and God's favor was on Him." (Luke 2: 40) While they waited, the promise was taking form. While they wondered when He would appear again, He was working at a carpenter's bench. When they grew discouraged, He walked away from that bench and began His journey to the cross. 

 While we wait, the Father is working. In His way and in His time, He will do what He has promised. "Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep His promise." Hebrews 10:23 

Christmas Blessings, Linda