Devotions by Auntie Em...

For a season, I was blessed to get to write for the Connections Magazine in SW Missouri, as their "Inspiration" writer.

Since I don't really use the "Auntie Em" name any longer, I didn't see the need to keep this at a separate site, but I wanted to be sure and have it available for you to read (if you'd like) in one place! 

Despite the issues in formatting from moving these pages from site to site, server to server, my prayer is that you'll be blessed, encouraged, inspired!

Come back again, as I'll continue to add "new old content" until it's all found here chronologically...


December 2009

Holiday traditions vary as much as families themselves....some are large and elaborate, some loud and obnoxious, some simple and quiet....yet each is a beautiful expression of  the heart based on years of favorite recipes and a blending of families. Often the thoughts and foundations of our faith are included in the mix of decorations and gatherings. Our homes might reflect a simple statement of our faith in the birth of our Savior or a loud display of the countdown to Santa’s arrival, either way - we are ready to celebrate! Some houses, like the lives living inside, are dark and empty; no reflection of hope remains.

We tend to think - living in the midwest - that our faith is found on a church membership roster and singing in the choir; but I like to reflect on the ideas of others that our faith is also a daily walk with God, more of a journey and not a destination. Our individual travels might be a series of mountaintop experiences with only an occasional dip, but more likely we are plagued with a life that resembles a Six Flags roller coaster....most of the time we are either zooming into the depths of the valleys, or creeping - with assistance - to the top of the hills. Yet somehow our holiday traditions remain the same, no matter where our lives or our hearts are along the journey.

We take time and intentional effort to plan our holiday dinner menu; each detail of every recipe made to precision. We take months (or days) to shop for family and friends, great care to place gifts under the perfectly decorated tree, gifts that are wrapped in shiny paper and tightly curled ribbons. I have to be careful to plan the celebration in my heart as well. It can often become a burden, or an afterthought; even though all around me I see “Jesus is the Reason for the Season” - I can easily put it off to an ignored corner of my life.

When God’s son came into the world there was a flurry of activity going on, and it would have been easy for many to go on clueless - this was just another day in the journey to the census in Bethlehem. There were the hassles of travel, the irritations of “no room in the inn” and dealing with making due with what little was available. Mary dealt with the real issues of delivering her first child - laboring along with only her husband’s help. Shepherd’s were working in the fields; there was nothing they could do to prepare to witness the angels’ loud celebration that was about to begin. Yet, as the festivities began in each circumstance, they responded appropriately and with all of their heart.

Whether you find yourself well planned in your spiritual celebration of Christmas, or you have not given a thought to the “reason for the season”, take time to reflect and celebrate Jesus’ birth. If you choose to party with a birthday cake, streamers and balloons, or a quiet hymn sung at midnight, I pray that it will be a reflection of your heart. 

As we turn our thoughts to the starting of the new year, my hope is that the Celebration will be renewed in your heart daily.

Grace and Peace,
Auntie Em

January 2010
I have lived some of my life as a prodigal child. I know that there are always seasons where our life with God becomes stagnant, but there have been times I’ve turned my back on Him, and had to come to a point of repentance and restoration.

Recently, I was reflecting on how it changed my heart; having lived on “that side of the fence” and making poor choices that affected my relationship with my Heavenly Father. I was surprised by a few things while reading in Luke 15, that I had not applied before.

I have embraced the theology of “love the sinner, and despise the sin”, but I noticed that the example of loving the prodigal son was a “tough love” and did not enable him to continue to abuse the father’s resources or relationship. The father didn’t travel to see the son and pay for his bar tab; he didn’t track him down and offer him work when he heard others were going hungry. He simply allowed him to “lie in the bed he made for himself.”

I believe that the father never stopped loving his son, and thought of him every single day, but he held himself back and allowed him to live his life. Only then was the son able to realize how much better off the servants were in his father’s house; and it was THEN that he was able to be changed, capable of taking on the task of returning home with a servant’s heart. 

The son could have hid his misfortune, and arrogantly attempted to blow off any sense of failure. I’m sure that the smell of working with the hogs would have preceded him, but often we do try to pretend that we have had a great journey despite the real outcome.

Yet here we get to see repentance and restoration, the way it’s supposed to happen. So why is it that many of us who want to return “home to our Father” are held back?

Is it that many of us feel that we need to clean up our act before returning home? We want to give up this habit, or that addiction. We want to make that move to make us look a little cleaner on the outside, create some illusion that our life away from Dad wasn’t all that bad. If the prodigal son did any cleaning up, it wasn’t mentioned in the story. 

Often it’s the fear of facing that brother who remained in Father’s house and worked the whole time we were away. Boy, we CAN be judgmental when our dirty brother walks in off the streets! I love the way Jesus portrays the father’s response though, ‘“We had to celebrate this happy day! For your brother was dead and has come back to life! He was lost, but now he is found!’” (Luke 15:32, NLT)

The road to Father’s house is short. I promise He is there, standing in the driveway, waiting to embrace you. Come dirty, smelling of hogs. Come penniless and hungry. Just come home, wherever that may be. Repent and be restored. We’ll celebrate with Father!!

Grace and Peace, 

Auntie Em

February 2010
It’s really easy for most of us to tag February as the “month of love” due to the simple fact that we celebrate Valentine’s Day in the middle of the month. The reality is that many other months can also justify a lot of “love” in them too - like May and June, known for their weddings; but truth be told, we need to practice love qualities year around.
In 1 Corinthians 13 we pull verses 4 through 7 often for wedding ceremonies and love notes, but it’s really something that can be used in a more practical way. This is how the verses read: 
“ Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.” (NLT)
Jump aside from these verses for a moment, and let me extend to you a challenge that was given to me; If God is perfect love, and we are the reflection and action of that love, then we can safely use these verses to measure how we are doing in that area. I offer this example: 
“I am patient. I am being kind. I am not jealous. I do not boast. I am not proud. I am not rude. I do not demand my own way. I am not irritable. I do not keep record of things others do to me that are wrong. I will not rejoice about injustices, but I will rejoice when the truth wins out. I don’t give up. I won’t lose faith. I am hopeful. I will endure through every circumstance.”
You might want to add your own name to the “I” spot to personalize it even more, or ask it as a question (i.e.: Am I kind? Am I patient? or Is Auntie Em irritable? Is Auntie Em hopeful?)
I found this is an easy way to put a practical application to work in my life. I hope that with continued practice, a lot of prayer, and more time with Him, my life will someday set a better example of His perfect love in my home, my community, and in my church. Perhaps I’ll be able to set a higher standard at work, in school, with my parents, or my own kids. I think it’s something that will benefit ME more than anyone else for I know that when I am acting jealous and irritable it is not good for my own mind, my own heart. 
Ultimately others will see my attitude and judge me by it - for better or worse. More importantly, we are setting an example and will lead others by our actions . We WILL lead others, either TO God, or AWAY from Him, simply by how we act, by what we do. Ralph Waldo Emerson said, 'What you do speaks so loudly I can't hear what you say.” We may want to spend time telling people who we are, or what we believe, but if our actions don’t SHOW that we are loving the way Jesus loved, people won’t bother listening to us.... they won’t even stop long enough to know that we are trying to talk. Our actions will always speak louder than words, and we are called to be people of action.
Grace and Peace,
Auntie Em 


April 2010

When I first became a believer in Jesus, I met a girl named Maria that exhibited traits of having a “meek and gentle spirit” - something so opposite of me it was intimidating. I had been raised to “speak my mind”, especially if it irritated others and stirred up conversation. For several years my parents called me a “Philadelphia Lawyer” - I’d argue that the sky was green, just for the sake of the argument; so to meet someone that was sweet, gentle, soft-spoken, tender hearted, compassionate and humble - well I was a bit out of my element! The funny thing was the more I saw Maria and how others were drawn to her, the more I recognized that her being that way was not an act - it was genuinely her reflection of Jesus and it took years of spending time with Him to pick up that quality. 

I can remember praying over and over again for ME to have a “meek and gentle spirit”,  barely grasping hold of how that would impact my life, or those around me. I knew that Jesus exhibited it often; an open display of humility and merciful living that He showed to the woman at the well, in patience towards his disciples, and when He let the children come to Him.

In Matthew 5 we read about Jesus teaching the “Sermon on the Mount”, and He teaches the Beatitudes there (I like to think of them as “BE - attitudes”, the way we are supposed to BE). Specifically we are told that we should: be poor in spirit, recognizing our need for Him (v 3); mourn (v 4); be meek or humble (v 5); hunger and thirst for righteousness or justice (v 6); be merciful (v 7); be pure in heart (v 8); and be peacemakers, working for peace (v 9). All of these things can cause conflict in our daily lives on earth when we practice them around those that don’t understand. I think that’s why verse 10 is the capstone of the teaching, “that we will be persecuted because of righteousness (some translations read, ““God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers.”). 

He gives us the benefits for living this way too; that we “will see God”, “be shown mercy”, “inherit the earth”, “be satisfied”, and the others. Heavenly motivation is how I think of it....things that can not be measured in earthly ways, for they don’t make much sense to the non- believer in Christ; but to the one who lives for Jesus - they make all the sense in the world, and when we keep it in perspective it roots us on to righteous living.

When I think of my favorite “spiritual giants” of the past century, each of these people exhibit the “BE - Attitudes” in their lives. These are not for show, but in genuine living; a reflection of God-qualities that came from spending time with Him. Looking at the people I want to spend time with in my life, they exhibit these same characters. Whether they are friends from work, mentors from church, favorite teachers at school, or people of integrity that I admire in the community, they exhibit the same great “BE -Attitudes” and their lives radiate the same reflection of our Father, and I am once again drawn to spend more time with Him. 
--Grace and Peace, 
Auntie Em


May 2010

I am a book nut, and have always looked for books to improve myself, my marriage, my parenting skills or my cooking; to name just a few of my favorite topics. 

Several years ago a book came out to improve your marriage relationship entitled  The 5 Love Languages, by Dr. Gary Chapman. Now you can go on-line ( and take an an assessment  to see what your dominant love language is, and there are a variety of books with different focuses - for kids, singles, etc. that expound on the gifts and their application in your life. The 5 Love Languages that are discussed are: Quality Time, Receiving Gifts, Words of Affirmation, Gifts of Service, and Physical Touch. We can have a language that we speak more often to others that is different than what we want to receive too! For instance, I may respond best by hearing words of affirmation (you need to tell me that you love me and appreciate me), but the language I use towards others may be gifts of service (I will show you I love you by doing things for you). 

I knew from the moment I heard the phrase “Quality Time” that this was the primary love language of my own heart. You can do things for me, or tell me how much you appreciate me, and that’s ok; but nothing means more to me than when you take an afternoon off and spend a few hours with me face to face over a cup of tea, or side by side walking in the sunshine or going for a drive. 

I think that although God has a bit of all these “Love Languages” in Him, one of His strongest is also “Quality Time”. Our God is a God that speaks to us, but in order for us to hear Him we must find a quiet time in our hectic lives to spend that time with Him. 
Although the Old Testament is full of encounters with God, I think that the historical reminder in 2 Samuel 3 is a great example of God using His love language. It was a time that “messages from the Lord were very rare, and visions were quite uncommon.” (v 1). It took the boy Samuel an act of obedience to be willing to wake up and listen, and then respond, in order for him to fully hear what God was saying to him. 
All through the New Testament we see that it took a daily PHYSICAL walk  for the disciples to “get” what Jesus was saying. If it were not for their obedience to follow, listen, and then to painstakingly write about these meaningful encounters that they had during Jesus’ time on earth, our knowledge of Jesus would be lacking today. 
It would be shameful for us to take for granted the importance of what the Bible tells us. Our lives will always be a reflection of our time spent with Him; by reading His inspired Word, obeying what He instructs, believing in His promises, and being disciplined in our time of prayer and being still.  The best relationships take two to communicate; so let’s remember to not only speak, but to listen too.
Grace and Peace,
Auntie Em


June 2010

Living in this area I’ve met many people with their own ideas of where they can go to “meet God” on the Sabbath, whether it’s to meet Him in a tree stand, meet Him at the river, or the general “meeting Him in a field”.

There are many reasons that people stop going to church altogether- feelings get hurt by others in the congregation, the pastor teaches something that convicts our hearts and offends us, or we push the “day of rest” command to the limit - yet don’t hesitate to run to the store!

As I’ve matured (as a person AND as a Christian) I’ve grown to love our time of “church”. But the seasons where I wasn’t so mature, ouch! It was hard to keep in perspective that the church is a hospital for sinners...not a place for saints. I’ve learned to realize that when worship isn’t exactly the way that I like it - then it’s my attitude that needs to change most of all! It’s not the job of the choir or worship team to be blessing me - but for ME to be blessing God with my “spiritual act of worship”.  We are fortunate to get to bring a “sacrifice of praise” to Him - no matter what style it’s done in or what songs are sung- it’s the attitude of my heart that determines the value of that sacrifice.

Then there’s the time of many times I’ve thought “this lesson again?” or gripe about the lack of involvement of others to help out in needed areas of ministry. What I needed to see was that as a maturing Christian MY OWN heart’s cry should have been to get out there and serve on His behalf, to be His hands and feet to the body of Christ (and those not yet in the fold); and to be praying for my minister/pastor/teacher every day through the week as he prepared his lessons. I also needed to pray for my heart, head, ears and eyes to be opened to receive whatever it was that I needed to learn from that be willing to be changed by the Word of God; not for the Word to change everyone I knew BUT me!

Year’s back I read that we should not pray for someone else what we were not willing to let God change in ourselves, and we can all learn to live by this wisdom. “Change me!” has to be our battle cry, as we face spiritual warfare daily in our fallen world. God is so good to provide our “spiritual armor” of Ephesians 6:10 - 18 as we face the world; but to own it, or to hold it, is not enough, we have to USE it! We can then use the spiritual fruits of Galatians 5 as measuring tools to see how far we’re being changed to be more like Him.
So I challenge you, and me, this month - seek God where you may - but go to the church of your choice with an attitude of serving God by serving others. We have a Heavenly Father that loves us, and He wants to spend time with us, to hear from us, and change us - to be more like Him.
Grace and peace,
Auntie Em


Here is the December 2010 article...

“As Jesus continued on toward Jerusalem, he reached the border between Galilee and Samaria. As he entered a village there, ten lepers stood at a distance, crying out, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” He looked at them and said, “Go show yourselves to the priests.”  And as they went, they were cleansed of their leprosy. One of them, when he saw that he was healed, came back to Jesus, shouting, “Praise God!”  He fell to the ground at Jesus’ feet, thanking him for what he had done. This man was a Samaritan. Jesus asked, “Didn’t I heal ten men? Where are the other nine? Has no one returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?” And Jesus said to the man, “Stand up and go. Your faith has healed you.”  Luke 17:11 - 18 (NLT)

I wonder what was going through these 10 men’s minds as they approached the priest. What did that moment of healing feel like? How long had they been separated from their loved ones, prior to their cleansing? I can only justify that they were overwhelmed with emotion at the thought of returning to their loved ones, and that is what kept 9 of them from returning to Jesus to say “thanks”.

One of the first songs I learned to teach little kids in Sunday school was the action song to tell this part of the Bible. I was always told, as a child, to say “please and thank you” so it struck me as odd that nine out of ten people would go on without expressing thanks.

As I’ve grown older, I have realized how easy it is to get distracted and simply forget to say “thank you”. I am guilty of not sending thank you cards when appropriate, and have never gotten in the habit of mailing cards. To make up for my lack of card etiquette, I have always tried to verbalize my thanks as soon as possible.

How often do I take for granted what the Lord has done for me, and fail to say “thanks” in an adequate way. I remember learning ways to pray, and more than once was “saying thank you to God” in the mix. We ALL like to be told “thank you” when we have done something out of the ordinary for others; and I think God likes to be told “thank you” too!

As we celebrate Christmas, and approach the New Year, let’s make a point to be a gracious giver and receiver, and to say thank you in many ways to those that have blessed our lives. I pray that we can each remember to send out a few cards of thanks, especially when they are deserved.

Let’s say thanks to God too, for providing a Redeemer for us through Jesus, and not holding us to the death we deserve for our own sins. Whether it’s carols sung by a fire, hymns of worship at church, during the retelling of Jesus’ birth to our children and grandchildren - let us remember to say THANK YOU for all He has done for us. Let’s have a grateful heart of thankfulness, and praise God for the many ways He blesses our lives throughout the year.

Happy Birthday Jesus!!
Merry Christmas,
Auntie Em


February 2011

“Don’t imagine that I came to bring peace to the earth! I came not to bring peace, but a sword. ‘I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. Your enemies will be right in your own household!’

“If you love your father or mother more than you love me, you are not worthy of being mine; or if you love your son or daughter more than me, you are not worthy of being mine. If you refuse to take up your cross and follow me, you are not worthy of being mine. If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it.” Matthew 10:34-39

It can be so hard to get along with family members - I think that this problem has gone on as long as man has walked the earth!

Sometimes we’re surprised when situations arise, especially if we have good memories of peaceful times, but Jesus reminds us that He made it this way. After all, if we got along too well, we might put our love for our family above our love for Him.

I think too, that He intended it to be this way so that we would turn to Him during times that we would want to turn to others. How often we want to ask and take other’s opinions and advice to heart, when possibly we are simply to turn to our Savior and wait on His movement in our lives.

Recently I heard a teaching on who we are wanting God to be for us. The pastor  pointed out how we often are wanting God to provide a matchmaker, a career counselor, a financial advisor or a marriage counselor for us...but what God gave us - through Jesus - was a Savior. THAT is what we need the most, and if we draw near to Him, believe His words, follow His teachings and examples - THEN all these other things will be taken care of. It might not be in the standards we are wanting today, and He may change our hearts (and priorities) to reflect the influence He is having in our lives, but He WILL provide.

Often we treat our parents, or children, the same way. We confide in them, expect them to meet all our needs, are disappointed when they let us down, and hold them to an unrealistic standard. I think that sometimes we get in the way of the work that God is trying to do in our family. I’m convicted of this often in my own life, and see the strife it causes in relationships. Perhaps this is why Jesus spoke this teaching to us, to remind us that we are always called to loved HIM more than our own family members.

Although this is the “month of love”, perhaps we ought to turn our hearts to the One that loves us the best, knows our deepest needs, and created us to worship Himself. Instead of asking Him to be our matchmaker, our marriage counselor, or any of the other “positions” we expect Him to be, let’s simply love Him as our Savior, with “all our heart, soul, strength, and mind...” (Luke 10:27).
Grace and peace,
Auntie Em


April 2011
“I tell you the truth,” Jesus said, “this poor widow has given more than all the rest of them. For they have given a tiny part of their surplus, but she, poor as she is, has given everything she has.” Luke 21:3-4
I love my husband. A lot. He is so gifted and talented and does so many things better than good...he’s artistic, can fix anything, and is a hard worker - and works with integrity.  He’s a better housekeeper than I am, and was a “house-husband” for a few years early in our marriage...he is amazing!!
Now don’t worry - I’ve asked him for permission to write about the thing I’m going to share...what he does NOT do well...sing. Well, honestly - he isn’t a great dancer either, but singing is something he enjoys doing - but sadly he can’t carry a tune in a bucket. It’s just not something he has figured out how to do....singing in tune.
We went to a church years ago that passed around a survey on “spiritual gifts”. One of the questions was “Do you enjoy singing?” and the next question was “Do the people around you enjoy you singing?”. Ouch.
It actually hit me in church, hearing my wonderful husband singing incredibly off tune, among all the angelic voices singing praises to our God....a sacrifice of it was...and then I realized that his sacrifice was worth much more than mine. Off tune and everything, his had more value. I could sing anytime, and that day - I was not doing anything more than singing - I wasn’t worshiping, as I was distracted by thinking of all of this going on in my head...”can the people in front of him hear him they it throwing them off as much as it throws me off key...oh goodness, can anyone else hear him???”
I was embarrassed. Not by his singing, but by my own attitude, my own thoughts.
I love our church, and one of the things I love is that we don’t sing songs in our church services - we worship. The people who lead us in this weekly time, they may have some of the best voices in our area, but they aren’t up there in front of us to entertain us - or to entertain God - they are humbly leading us into the presence of God...and that day, sadly, I refused to go.
Then I was reminded of the Widow’s offering, in Mark 12 and Luke 21 - how Jesus watched how the wealthy gave their small offerings, yet the widow who put her 2 coins in, gave her all. It was everything she had...sacrificial giving.
Then it hit me what I was doing...when I had so much to give, I gave a small offering - and half-hearted at that, and complaining about my husband giving his ALL. His was a true worship experience...HIS best...heart, soul and spirit. I know that I learned so much in worship that day as the Holy Spirit convicted me, and that lesson has impacted my heart and mind.
I pray that as we each bring our gifts, that our offerings - whether financial, in song, or spiritual gifts - will be the best and biggest part that we can give Him. That we will live our life sacrificially, bringing honor to the One who gave it all....
Grace and peace,
Auntie Em
June 2011
Jesus called a little child to him and put the child among them. Then he said, “I tell you the truth, unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven. So anyone who becomes as humble as this little child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven. Matthew 18:2-4 (NLT)
How is a child exactly? Eyes wide open, trusting everything you say. Amazed at the simplest of things in nature; the flutter of butterfly wings, the splashing of a spring, each thing created just for them to enjoy. If they hurt, they run to their father (or mother) and want to be comforted instantly, knowing that they are the source of peace. If they lie, they show their guilt almost immediately and want forgiveness. They rarely try to make the story turn out for them to be the hero, and they aren’t really concerned that you’ve been somewhere - or done something - that they haven’t done yet. They know they don’t know it all, and just want to learn more. It’s ok for them not to be right all the time.
Kids are like that, but we grown ups are not so good at being that way. I wonder what Jesus was seeing when He thought to put in the words “humble as this little child”? Did he see men telling stories trying to outdo each other? Were they arguing over who was bigger and better? No matter what it was, He was advocating the innocence of a child to them.
We often hear about having “child-like faith”, what does this mean? I think that at the core it is believing without questioning. God said it, so I’ll believe it. If we believe that the Bible is true, then we should believe that what it says is what God means. A day is a day, a week a week, a fish a fish. Why is that so hard to do? If we believe in an omnipotent Creator, why do we second guess His abilities or motives? He can do anything! 
As we look around, the earth in full bloom, let’s believe that He has created this! Each fragrant flower, every newborn being, the colors of the sky as He paints each sunrise and sunset...all the work of His hands and created for us. 
And as we face difficult circumstances, a questioned medical test, a financial trial, anything beyond imagination, let’s not forget that we are not alone in it. He is here for us to run to, arms open, ready to comfort us and walk with us through the “valley’s of death”. He is our shepherd, and He cares for His sheep. 
If you do not know that comfort, can not look in wonder and appreciation of what He has created for you, if you are having a difficult time walking away from the sins that entangle you, I invite you to a place of child-like belief. Please call someone who you know to be a God follower, and tell them that you are tired of walking alone, that you want to know that the one true God is walking with you, that you are willing to not only believe in His son Jesus, but that you want to begin living in obedience to Him. 
If you do not know someone that is a follower of Jesus, please email me...I care, and want to put you in touch with a friend who would like to pray with you. 
Auntie Em
July 2011

Disasters seem to bring us all closer together. Something about that shared experience, going through that trial together, praying with and for each other and the needs we have in our community.

How many times have we reached out to our neighborhood businesses during times of flooding? I love the way we work together when there is a common task. We are good neighbors when we check on each other after a tornado warning or winter storm hits -  but all too often we go on our merry ways, only waving to our neighbors as we are driving down the road.

Just months ago we were all reeling from the tornado damage in Alabama, and just weeks ago the tornado in Joplin. People rushed to provide aide from around the U.S., from around the world. Chances are, YOU knew someone in Joplin from college, church, work, from camp or competing against them in a sport. Perhaps you are related to someone there, and the memory of waiting to hear their voice still sends chills down your spine. We were all prayerful, waiting on our knees to hear that they were ok, or falling to our knees when we heard that they were gone.

Today, the dust has settled on the streets of these cities. The landscape of destructed structures has been pulled into piles, neatly loaded into trucks, carried away. The process of rebuilding the physical structures has started, slowly....but what about the healing of the human spirit? 

I pray that these scriptures will motivate and move us beyond ourselves to reach out to the unknown neighbor, to the family member we dread seeing at the family reunion, and yes, to take that drive to Joplin and see what still needs to be done, today, and to take action to help in some way. It may be nothing more than listening, AGAIN, to the story of where our friend was when that tornado hit...but it’s such an important part of the healing process.
Let’s continue to be the hands and feet of Jesus, the city on a hill, HIS light in darkness, until the whole world knows...
Grace and Peace,
Auntie Em
“As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man who had been blind from birth. “Rabbi,” his disciples asked him, “why was this man born blind? Was it because of his own sins or his parents’ sins?” “It was not because of his sins or his parents’ sins,” Jesus answered. “This happened so the power of God could be seen in him. We must quickly carry out the tasks assigned us by the one who sent us. The night is coming, and then no one can work. But while I am here in the world, I am the light of the world.”” John 9:1-5 (NLT)
“Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.” Ephesians 4:31-32 (NLT)
“A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone, be able to teach, and be patient with difficult people. Gently instruct those who oppose the truth. Perhaps God will change those people’s hearts, and they will learn the truth. Then they will come to their senses and escape from the devil’s trap. For they have been held captive by him to do whatever he wants.” 2 Timothy 2:24-26 (NLT)


August 2011

A few weeks ago I had a chance to go help cook a few lunches for a conference being held on “God and Missions”.  I’ve cooked for crowds before, I thought that this small group would be a breeze,  but by the end of day two I was POOPED! I felt emotional, upset, angry, tired, cranky.. like I was 2 years old, and no one could fix me. I knew it would be ok if I could just make it to the morning with a goodnight's sleep.

I had been praying about taking a trip with church to bless some of our workers in the field and being that tired made me say "no" to everything. How could I survive traveling to the other side of the world, have a short period of time to rebound, be fruitful, and leave a wake of blessings behind me? I heard reasons for me not to go based on my own weakness. I never heard His voice say "NO",  I only heard my own toddler voice echoing inside my brain.

During a study on Ephesians 1, my heart quickened at the thought of having access to the power of Jesus' resurrection; how few times I have asked for that power...or have heard others ask for it. I needed resurrecting from these tired bones.

The next morning I still felt that oppression of “NO”. I broke open my Bible and started to do my devotion...Acts 2..powerful words to the church. I still felt no peace, no resolution to my toddler "NO".

I turned to the ministry of Facebook, where a friend posted "Saying yes— to whatever God has called us to do—is always the right choice. - “Simple obedience stamped with God’s anointing will do far more than you can imagine”." - Dan Price" (from his study on Job). WOW.

Then an email update from a missions group, telling us with how God is using that same program on “God and Missions” around the world. There was an incredible poem too, one that was written by a recent participant that moved my heart. I have included a few verses:

I would rather go into Your presence TODAY, with a burning heart, than years from now, with a luke warm one....I don’t want to live shopping trip to shopping trip. I want to live fishing trip to fishing trip. Fishing for men with You in my boat.....I am not afraid to die for You TODAY, with the gospel on my lips, but I am afraid to waste away, falling asleep to the world’s lullaby. Please don’t let the church sing me to sleep...ON THE GLORIOUS DAY OF YOUR RETURN- I do not want to be found, on a yacht, while the world is sinking. In a fine restaurant, while the world is starving. With a closet of fine clothes, while so many still naked. Caring more for my lawn than for souls. (“Show me Your Glory Today Lord”, by Anonymous, used with permission).

So, heart broken open, mind clear and awake, I sought the Lord, and clearly heard "YES".  So, yes - I will go. Willing heart, open to being grown in new ways, to be stretched in faith and draw closer to Him. To serve others, with His strength, calling on His power of the resurrection to bless those that share the gospel in far away places.
Grace and Peace,
Auntie Em
October 2011
It was a busy couple of weeks...but It wasn’t until I was in a meeting for an upcoming mission trip, that I realized it was so much more than just being busy. 
There we sat, 5 of us, and each of us were nearly in tears. Echos of exhaustion rang from each of us, complaints of distraction, overcommitment, doubts. I figured we were all suffering from lack of sleep, until one young mom spoke up, “I need to have the courage to confront Satan’s lies! I know he is lying to me, and I don’t want to give him a foothold!”.  Then another said, “I sure can tell that God wants to use us in a mighty way in that country, because Satan is trying to get to me too! If we weren’t going to make an impact for God, Satan wouldn’t care, but he’s trying with everything to distract me and pull me down!”. 
WOW. How ignorant of me! I’d been suffering for weeks, thinking it was just a busy season. I’d allowed emails to back up in my inbox and my own house was a mess. Time with my husband was near to nothing as we juggled a visitor in our home, Bible study and church, and a church retreat. The fellowship was sweet, but we needed naps once we were home. It seemed that at every turn, something negative was happening. We were all just plain ol’ worn out...nothing spiritual about it...but I was SO wrong and felt so silly, as my eyes were opened to the fact that it was ALL spiritual! Satan was in fact trying to distract us from the task God set before us! 
Isn’t this JUST how Satan works? If he wore a sign and we got an email saying “Be aware! Satan’s going to distract you, tempt you, and try to throw you off course!” we’d hit our knees in prayer! We would not hesitate to ask others to pray too, and we would live life in boldness, looking at every corner for his disguises, listening carefully to discern his lies, measuring them against God’s word. 
Dear friend, let this be your warning: Satan IS trying to distract you! Please, know that as I write this, I am praying for you; I pray that your spiritual eyes will be opened, your ears hearing God’s voice, and your feet to step only where He leads you to walk. 
I am also asking you to pray for my team, as we will soon be leaving for the mission field. There we will pray, encourage, equip, care for, and work alongside a group of wonderful, committed Christians who live life daily to share the gospel. God is at work there, and people are hungry for the Truth of Jesus Christ.
May we ALL be hungry for God’s Word, the Bible. May we each be a field worker, whether that field is around the corner, or around the world. Let’s be aware of the spiritual warfare going on around us, and always wear our armor. Let’s lay claim to Romans 16:19-20 (NLT) “But everyone knows that you are obedient to the Lord. This makes me very happy. I want you to be wise in doing right and to stay innocent of any wrong. The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. May the grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.”
Grace and peace, 
Auntie Em

November 2011
Hosea 10:12  
 “I said, ‘Plant the good seeds of righteousness, and you will harvest a crop of love.  Plow up the hard ground of your hearts, for now is the time to seek the Lord, that he may come and shower righteousness upon you.” (NLT)
Years ago, during a difficult spell in life, a dear friend gave me this verse, framed to display and remember. Just like the change of seasons, I saw that we have seasons in our lives. Just like we care for the ground, tend to our trees, or plant new seeds, we need to tend to our hearts and minds to make our walk with God, and our lives, more fruitful.
As a new homeowner, I remember learning how important it was for a tree to lose it’s leaves in the fall; so all it’s energy could go into growing good roots, making it healthier in the springtime. Sometimes life is like that for us too; we love the new blossoms of spring, the shade and colors of summer, and even the change of color in the leaves in fall, but when the trees are bare - the last of the vibrant oranges and reds and yellows turn to brown and fall to the ground - our own hearts seem to want to turn and hibernate too. Yet it’s during THIS season that God wants to do some of the deepest work in us.
Perhaps we can allow ourselves to acknowledge God’s part in our lives during our Thanksgiving Celebration, and we can let it be the start of getting our spiritual roots to run deep and grow strong, carrying us through the hardships of winter, and the droughts of life. 
I’m reminded that we have work He has asked us to do, before God can do His work in us, or through us. Just like we may divide our crowded bulbs in the fall, or turn over the soil in the fields after harvest, we should allow God to break up the “hard ground of our hearts” during this season of regeneration. 
I think that we, just like the plants in life, need to have our season of root growth. I love this from Psalm 1, “But they delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night. They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season.Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do.” (NLT) The trees bear fruit in each season, but only because they are well cared for by meditating on His law day and night! What a wonderful vision for those of us that forget to nurture our roots in His Word. 
In Isaiah 55:10-12 (NLT) “The rain and snow come down from the heavens and stay on the ground to water the earth. They cause the grain to grow, producing seed for the farmer and bread for the hungry. It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it.”  
All throughout the Bible, the authors used seeds, growing, fruit, soil, crops, and many other farming terms, to describe our life with God, our journey with Jesus. So in the cool of this season, let’s break out our Bibles, dust them off if we need to, and find a quiet place to nurture our spirits by meditating on God’s Word. Perhaps with enough tending to our roots, we can bear even more spiritual fruit when springtime comes!
Grace and peace,  Auntie Em

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