Friday, November 27, 2009

Evergreen Trust (Number 44 in a series)

“Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.” Jeremiah 17:7-8 (KJV)

I’m learning about seasons in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Summer was hot and dry. Grass turned yellow and fire warnings were in effect. A big difference from the nearly constant humidity I knew growing up in New Orleans.

Then we received the blessing of rain showers in October. Only a few days of gentle downfall, but oh, the change that it made! Pastures that had been dry and brown began to show hints of green until now they are bright with new growth, even though temperatures have been running in the 50s and 60s. The hillsides are strewn with emerald growth and it’s hard to believe this is November rather than April.

Yet the trees seem to be unaffected by the showers. The deciduous trees are going through their seasonal color show; the evergreens are green just as they have been all summer long. What is it that makes the difference? Why do the trees stay green, even in the heat that sears the grass to withered wicker?

If I remember my high school biology correctly, the answer lies in the root system. The roots of the trees go deeper into the ground and can access more groundwater than the shallow rooted grasses. The trees stand a better chance in a drought.

When I think about roots, I have to think about my own spiritual roots. Are they deep enough to withstand a drought? Will my trust stay green even when the world around me is parched and brown? Have I spread my roots in the faith so that I can draw on unseen reservoirs in time of need?

That reservoir gets filled from many places: Bible study, prayer time, spending time in worship with others, listening to inspirational music, and reading inspirational books, for example. Can I get along without some of them? For a time, perhaps. But my heart always hungers to return to the resources that fill me.

Where do you go to fill your reservoir? How do you recharge your spiritual batteries so you can keep going when the conditions get rough? Don’t let other things come between you and your Source.

Father, we thank You for Your never-ending fountain of love for us. We praise You for the evergreen trust we can place in You, knowing by Your promise that we place it wisely. Keep our souls watered and our hearts reaching for You.

© Mary Beth Magee 2009

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Be Kind (Number 43 in a series)

“Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and railing, be put away from you, with all malice: and be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving each other, even as God also in Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 4:31-32 (American Standard Version)

As my mother’s dementia deepens, she is increasingly argumentative and demanding. She “sees” things and people and gets quite upset when we tell her there isn’t anything or anyone there. She has trouble completing sentences.

Verse 31 of Ephesians 4 is almost a litany of her behavior: bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, railing and malice. Not much that I do is right, according to her evaluation. Her pillows are too high, then too low. The room is too cold, then too hot. Her clothes are too big or too tight. And so the day passes.

As she goes on and on, the temptation is to respond in kind, to stand up to her and give her as good as she gives me. I am ashamed to say that there are moments when I yield to the temptation and hear myself scolding back at her, considerably louder than I ought to address her.

Then I remember the verse that was so often a memory verse: “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.” The King James Version was the one we used back when I was a Sunday School child. Ephesians 4:32 pops into my head and I remember I should be tenderhearted toward the stranger who now inhabits my mother’s body.

There are two important parts to that verse. The first is clear; we should be kind to each other. The second part is equally clear and equally important. Forgive as we have been forgiven. Oops.

There are times when I am full of those verse 31 feelings, too. I am angry that my mother is in such a condition and I am helpless against it. I clamor about the unfairness of being laid off at my age and how useless I feel to be unemployed. Yet God, through the love He bears His Son, forgives me those unkind feelings. How can I do less for my mother?

Take time to be kind to someone today, someone who doesn’t seem to deserve your kindness. I can promise you they need it. Just as you have received the kindness of God’s forgiveness because you needed it.

Father, we thank You for Your great kindness which You give to us through Christ Jesus. Help us to pass the kindness along to others, and to forgive as we have been forgiven.

© 2009 Mary Beth Magee

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Giving Thanks (Number 42 in a series)

“Give thanks unto the LORD, call upon his name, make known his deeds among the people. Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him, talk ye of all his wondrous works. Glory ye in his holy name: let the heart of them rejoice that seek the LORD. Seek the LORD and his strength, seek his face continually. Remember his marvellous works that he hath done, his wonders, and the judgments of his mouth.” 1 Chronicles 16: 8-12 (KJV)

Autumn is upon us. We’ve eaten from the bounty of our garden all summer long. Now production is slowing to a stop on the beans and tomatoes. The cucumbers have been gone for a few weeks.

The trees are beginning to show swatches of fall color and the foothills look quite festive as leaves prepare to take a dive. “Up the hill,” as the locals say, Apple Hill is gearing up for the holiday season. The orchards are heavy with apples and other fruit. The Christmas tree farms are primping for the anticipated crowds. Crafters are setting up their booths in preparation of holiday shoppers.

As we shift gears toward winter, the time is perfect for observing David’s instructions as recorded in 1 Chronicles. Although we have another month before the formal observance of Thanksgiving, it’s not too early to begin giving thanks and honoring God for all He has done.

The past year has been filled with trials and problems. Through it all, God has been faithful to keep us in His loving protection. Whatever comes, we face it through the filter of God’s love and leaning on His strength.

Enjoy the beauty of fall. Be filled with the sumptuous banquet provided to our senses. What are you most thankful for this year? What do you most appreciate of God’s creation? Remember to say “Thank You” to the Author of the story of creation.

Father, You give us so much every day. Keep us filled with gratitude for Your gracious bounty. Thank You for Your faithful care.

© 2009 Mary Beth Magee

Friday, October 23, 2009

One Door - a devotion (Number 41 in a series)

“Behold, I stand at the door and knock: if any man hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” Revelation 3:20 (American Standard Version)

Some days, Jesus taps lightly at the door of my heart, making Himself available to me but not being pushy. More a reminder of His presence than a demand for entry, His is the knock of a well-loved friend. As I rush to open the door and enter His presence, I rejoice that He would take the time to call on me, to share my day.

There are other days when I hear Jesus knocking at the door so clearly I could think it a physical barricade. Desirous of sharing my company, He is persistent in His quest. When I feel most pulled in a dozen directions by life, I could almost call out “Go away, I don’t have time to come to the door right now.” In my frustration, I consider sending Him away like an unwanted door-to-door salesperson.

Ironically, those are the days I need His fellowship most. Those terrible times when nothing is going right and I feel least lovable are the times He can show me His power most clearly, He can ease my burden most dramatically. Praise God that He doesn’t let my disarray dissuade Him from wanting me.

The odd thing is - it’s the same door. Whether I hang a beautiful wreath and put out a welcome mat, or I slide the bolt and lock it fast, the door doesn’t change. There is one door, one way into my heart and I have control over whether or not I let Him enter.

In the same way, there is one way to God and that is through His Son, Jesus Christ. God identified Jesus as His Son (Matthew 3:17 and 17:5; Mark 1:11 and 9:7; Luke 3:22 and 9:35); Jesus identified Himself as The Way (John 14:6). Just as we choose whether or not to let Him into our heart, so we also choose whether or not to accept Him as the way, the truth, the life.

Have you opened the door to Him? Are you being blessed by His presence? Or are you trying to ignore Him, hoping He’ll go away? As long as you are breathing, He’ll be knocking, offering you His salvation and His companionship. He is the way to the Father, the way to peace, the way to eternal life. Let Him in. You’ll be glad you did.

Gracious Father, we thank You for the gift of Your Son, who does not give up on us. Help us to welcome His knock as a visit from a dear loved one. Give us wisdom to open the door to Him and fall into His arms.

© 2009 Mary Beth Magee

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Gift of Receiving (Number 40 in a series)

“In all things I gave you an example, that so laboring ye ought to help the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that he himself said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Acts 20:35 (American Standard Version)

This verse is used so often to remind us to give, to share. Giving to someone else feels good; it fills us with warmth and joy. By giving, we share God’s blessings with someone else and give them an example of God’s love.

Have you ever considered receiving as a form of giving? When you receive, you give to someone else the opportunity to be a giver. This lesson has come home to me time after time. I feel uncomfortable ‘taking’ from someone, not matter how generous their intentions. A little guilt if I don’t have something to give back to them, a thought that someone else needs it (whatever ‘it’ may be) more than I do colors my appreciation sometimes.

Then the still small Voice I have come to recognize only too well reminds me that I have given someone the chance to be blessed by giving. It wasn’t about me; it was about them. My part was to be used by God to allow someone to obey His command, to allow them to experience the same joy I do when I am the one giving.

It is more blessed to give than to receive. Have you been a gracious recipient, allowing someone to be blessed by giving? Or have you let pride get in the way of being a conduit of God’s blessing? Blessings go both ways, and we must be willing to part of God’s plan whichever way the blessing is going at the moment.

Father, thank You for giving us the blessing of giving and allowing us to be a blessing by receiving. Help us to be a gracious reflection of Your love in all circumstances.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Frustration (Number 39 in a series)

“In my distress I cried unto the LORD, and he heard me. Deliver my soul, O LORD…” Psalm 120:1-2a (KJV)

My mother has good days and she has bad days. When she has a bad day, it means I will have a bad day as well. I love her dearly, but sometimes she exhausts me with her demands.

She is too cold, but the covers I put on her are too heavy.

She asks for water while I am balancing a measuring cup and her liquid medication, and gets upset when I stop to put down the cup and bottle to get her water.

She doesn’t like the clothes I picked out for her to wear, but gets angry and accuses me of being ‘mean’ to her when I suggest she pick out something she would prefer.

She is restless and goes from bed to chair to bed, up and down, a restless wraith haunting my soul with her discomfort.

Do I sound as though I’m whining? In a way, I am. I get frustrated with not being able to fix things for her, to make everything all right again. My frustration expresses itself in a ‘poor me pity party.’

Finally, I do what I should have done in the first place. I remember to turn it over to God. He feels Mama’s pain and restlessness. He knows my aggravation. He loves us both. When I ask, He calms my heart and gives me an added dose of patience to deal with Mama’s moods.

Do you have a source of frustration, a problem you can’t seem to solve? Cry out to Him. He will hear and help. Perhaps He will calm the storm, as He did for the disciples. Perhaps He will calm you.

Thank you, Father, for the peace You bring us. Help us to remember where to turn when the problems mount and aggravation grows. Thank you for loving us even when we are most unlovable. Thank you for hearing our call.

©2009 Mary Beth Magee

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Peace Like a River (Number 38 in a series)

“O that thou hadst hearkened to my commandments! then had thy peace been as a river, and thy righteousness as the waves of the sea:” Isaiah 48:18, KJV

Having grown up along the Mississippi River in New Orleans, I am familiar with the inexorable strength possessed by a moving river. I’ve often thought of the power of God’s love in those powerful terms. The peace, though, is something quite different.

I learned about that in early morning rides during a period when my father had horses. The rhythmic whisper of the waves along the levee, the call of a bird seeking a finny breakfast in the water, the majestic motion of a heavy-laden ship heading for the Gulf of Mexico - all combined with the creak of saddle leather and clop of hooves to create a peaceful haven. Although the day-to-day world existed just out of sight on the other side of a line of trees, on the levee there was serenity.

This same river could destroy with horrific force, should it breach the levees. Floodgates upriver helped to control the quantity of water reaching us in New Orleans, yet we kept an awareness of the fragility of the earthen bulwarks. (The destruction caused by levee collapses following Hurricane Katrina proved the point.) But, oh, the peace of those rides!

God promises not only a river of love to those who love Him – He offers us His peace. We can access that peace through obedience; a peace flowing as unendingly as a river and as constant as the waves on the ocean awaits us. What a promise!

Don’t confuse peace with lack of problems. Just as the world went on beyond the levee, life – and its attendant problems – goes on. Knowing God is in control and covers us with His love gives us the haven of peace we need despite the problems.

Where do you find His peace? What helps you remember His love when the going gets difficult? Think back to a time and place where you experienced His peace and remind yourself of how it felt. Hold fast to His love, even in the bad times.

Father, we thank You for Your unending love and boundless peace. Help us to focus on You when the world offers turmoil. Keep us in Your peace.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Such As I Have (Number 37 in a series)

“Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee.” Acts 3:6a (KJV)

Boy, can I identify with the first part of Peter’s statement! I’ve been out of fulltime work now for nearly ten months. Although I am sure there is something for me out there, it doesn’t seem to be in any particular hurry to reveal itself to me.

I’ve become quite saddened by many of the charity appeals I see, because I have nothing to give. No silver. No gold. No green, either. It breaks my heart to say “No.”

In the last few weeks, this verse has been heavy on my heart, so much so that I went back to look it up and read it in context. Peter is addressing a crippled beggar near the Temple. The man has asked for a handout. Instead, Peter and John give him a changed life. They heal him!

No, I’m not going around healing crippled beggars. But I have been thinking about the “such as I have” part of Peter’s speech. True, I don’t have money. I do, however, have skills and time. Those things I can give.

My mother needs care. I can do that. In fact, I worked in home health many years ago until an automobile accident left me unable to life heavy loads. But my mother weighs so little, I can manage her needs easily.

Our church is sponsoring a jobseekers ministry. I got excited about signing up as a jobseeker. Guess what they were looking for? Volunteers, including ones who could teach people basic computer skills. Aha! I can give that.

Peanut butter or canned goods on sale at the supermarket – buy one, get one free. I only need one, but the church food pantry can use the other one.

I’ve lost some weight over the last year. Some of my clothes no longer fit properly. I can’t use them, but the clothing closet at church can find someone who can.

“Such as I have” is what God has given me in this moment. What I do with it is what I give back to Him.

What are the “such as I have” things in your life? Are you making the best use of those things God has given you?

Father, thank You for the things You give us, meeting our needs. Help us to share those blessings with others and to actively look for ways to apply our gifts to meet the needs of others.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Be Still (Number 36 in a series)

“Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10 (KJV)

When I sit down to write a devotional passage, I usually have a particular point in mind – something that happened during the day, a scripture from my daily readings, a line from a hymn. My mind will say “that’s a perfect illustration of this dimension of God’s love,” or “I learned a real lesson there and I should pass it along.”

Over time, I have discovered an important truth: my point isn’t always God’s point. In the quiet prayer time before I begin writing, sometimes God will whisper to me the message he has for me at that moment. He will gently direct my awareness to something completely different from where I thought I was going.

It comes back to the necessity to “be still” and wait on His words. There are so many distractions going on around us every day that it becomes easy to overlook the whispered encouragement God gives us along the way. Yet the soft message is the most important one of all.

God will be exalted, whether I am a part of the process or not. I can choose to join in and share the joy, or I can fill my world with noises and sounds and activities that mean nothing in the eternal landscape. The decision is mine.

The most wonderful part of being a part of God’s plan is seeing the response. Inevitably, those messages that I wrote down in response to God “overriding” my plan turn out to be the ones that touch the most hearts. All I have to do is be still and let Him work.

Are there times when you have a plan but learn God’s plan for you is different? Don’t be afraid to be still and listen to His leading. He is the master cartographer, and His map will never lead you astray.

Father, thank you for the quiet times when I hear Your prompting. Please remind me to take the time to be still and listen.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

To His Glory! (Number 35 in a series)

“Commit thy works unto the LORD, and thy thoughts shall be established.” Proverbs 16:3 (King James Version)

When I first arrived at my sister’s house to help care for my mother, Mama was not doing well. She required nearly round-the-clock care, was hallucinating, incontinent and pretty helpless.

Eight months later, we are rejoicing in Mama’s rebuilt strength and capacity. She is able to attend church services now and go to the hairdresser to have her hair done. She can walk around with the aid of her walker and we have outfitted the bathtub with a tub transfer bench so that she can shower instead of being limited to sponge baths. Wearing incontinence control underwear frees her from the tyranny of needing to remain close to a toilet. Mama is not self-sufficient, but she is much less dependent on us for moment-to-moment activities.

In those first few weeks, I was worn out from lack of sleep and being unable to relax totally for fear I wouldn’t hear Mama if she needed me. I worried about making a mistake in her care through exhaustion. What if I didn’t measure her medicine correctly or gave it more often than I should? What if I stumbled while trying to help her ambulate and she fell?

God’s still small voice reminded me of many things in those days. He reinforced to me that He was the source of my strength. His love for Mama exceeded mine. He called to my mind the systems of care I had learned so many years ago, first as a candy striper and later as a home health aide. And we made it through those terrible days.

Now we have settled into a routine. The danger is the potential lack of attention to detail which often accompanies routine. How do I overcome this? Each morning, I rise and commit my day’s activities to God’s glory – the best antidote I know for the mind-numbing effects of the monotony of repetition.

How do you cope with the day-after-day routine of life? Do you seek escape through artificial means such as alcohol or drugs? Do you hide in another world, like video games? Or do you take each step in the company of the God who created you and loves you so much He sent His Son for you. He’ll gladly walk with you and make everything you do special because it glorifies Him.

Father, thank you for the opportunity of service to You through serving our fellow man in any honest capacity. Give us strength and wisdom as we work. Take the efforts of our hands and use them to turn people toward You and Your glory.

© 2009 Mary Beth Magee

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Hold Fast to the Truth (Number 34 in a series)

“He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.” Deuteronomy 32:4 (KJV)

To be unemployed is a real eye-opener. My checkbook is under new scrutiny and everything I spend is weighed strictly against what I can expect to come in. My time is at the same time valueless (in terms of earnings) and precious (because I can spend time with my mother and sister and her family). Job hunting is now my occupation.

The world has a huge tendency to judge our value in life by what we “do” for a living. In that value system, I am a failure, a waste, a loser. And oh, does the Deceiver latch on to that refrain. Fortunately, I have the God of Truth to tell me differently.

Satan says “You are useless.” God says “I have a plan for you.” (Jeremiah 29:11)

“You should worry about your finances – they aren’t getting any better,” points out Satan.

“Don’t be afraid,” God says. “I’ve loved you since before you were born.” (Isaiah 44; Psalm 139)

When Satan says that no one wants me, God reminds me that He loves me so much that He gave His Son for me (John 3:16).

As the group Casting Crowns points out in their wonderful song “The Voice of Truth,” I can choose which voice to heed. Each of us has that choice as we face the world and its voices of fear, accusation and disdain.

Who will you listen to? Who will you believe? Will you let the world tear you down? Or will you, as Casting Crowns sings, choose “to listen and believe the Voice of Truth?”

Father, thank You for being the voice of truth in a world of lies and accusations. Help me to always tune my ear to Your words and my heart to Your love.

© 2009 Mary Beth Magee

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Is It Relative? (Number 33 in a series)

“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” John 14:6 (KJV)

Some things are relative. Take speed, for example: 55 mph on an Interstate highway can seem relatively tame, compared to the other traffic on the road. That same 55 mph can feel insanely fast on a twisting, turning mountain back road.

Spice is another “relative” term. Your perception of ‘mildly seasoned’ may be over my comfort threshold. Neither of us is right or wrong in the flavor we like – it’s simply a matter of personal preference.

Other things are absolute. There are no ‘sometimes,’ ‘maybe’ or personal preference aspects up for discussion. Human beings absolutely must have an appropriate amount of oxygen in the air they breathe, or they die. They must take in enough nourishment or they waste away and eventually starve to death. They must take in enough fluid or they will dehydrate and die. There are certain non-negotiable elements to life. You may be able to hold your breath for a certain length of time or survive for a little while on no food or water, but death will come.

Jesus is another of those non-negotiable elements. He said it Himself: nobody comes to God without going through Him. All sorts of discussions have been raised about ‘sincere’ people and ‘good’ people and other paths. Jesus didn’t say “nobody except really sincere people comes to God but by Me.” He didn’t say anything about alternate paths or honestly held (even if wrong) beliefs.

Maintaining life isn’t relative. Neither is eternal life. Some things are simple, straightforward and absolute.

Which road are you on? Is it the one leading to eternal life with Him? Or is it some other road? Are you looking at eternity in relative terms or are you absolutely sure of where you’re going?

Father, we thank You for loving us so much that You gave Jesus to come and tell us in clear terms how we could come to You. Thank you for Your absolute promise of eternity with You, if we will follow the right road.

© 2009 Mary Beth Magee

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Trap of Envy (Number 32 in a series)

“Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour's.” Exodus 20:17 (KJV)

My sister has three horses: two Missouri Fox Trotters, a mare and a gelding, and a gelding Mini. The full-sized gelding is the alpha horse of the herd. At feeding time, he exercises his authority over the others by running them away from the first feed bin to be filled.

There are three feed bins, spread apart. Once he has his feed, you would think he’d be happy. But no, he is so envious of what the others have that he will abandon his bin to run them from theirs. There is no difference in what they’re getting, yet he wants what they have so much that he doesn’t enjoy his own.

Not only does he not take time to enjoy his own, but he also loses it. While he is busy stealing their food, they amble over to his and eat that instead. He doesn’t gain anything by coveting their meals.

Isn’t that what envy does in humans? Envy makes us worry so much about what someone else has that we don’t appreciate what we do have. We can easily get caught up in wanting instead of thanking God for He has already given us.

“For wrath killeth the foolish man, and envy slayeth the silly one.” Job 5:2 (KJV)

Have you fallen into the trap of ‘the silly one’ and let envy slay your joy? Take a moment to appreciate all the blessings you’ve received. Contented gratitude is the antidote to envy.

Father, thank you for all that You have given me. Help me to be grateful for what I have, not envious of what I don’t have. And please grant me an abundance of contentment, wherever I find myself.

© 2009 Mary Beth Magee

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

He is Faithful (number 31 in a series)

“I will sing of the mercies of the LORD for ever: with my mouth will I make known thy faithfulness to all generations. For I have said, Mercy shall be built up for ever: thy faithfulness shalt thou establish in the very heavens.” Psalm 89:1-2 (KJV)

Living in the foothills is an unbelievable experience. I learn new things every day. One of the biggest surprises I had was discovering the Sierra Nevada mountains are not looming over everything. In fact, I seldom see them.

The foothills are high enough around us to block the view of the mountains most of the time. But every so often, you round a curve or top a hill and find amazing beauty spread before you as the snow-frosted mountains come into view. The mountains are there, whether you see them or not. They may be out of your line of sight, but they are still rising majestically in their place.

The mountains remind me of the faithfulness of God. Even when I don’t see His hand or hear His voice, He is still there. He has promised to be with me and never to forsake me. Mountains may shift and crumble, eroded or shaved by man’s designs. God will not be moved. He is constant, dependable, faithful.

What are the signs in your life of God’s faithfulness? Have you praised Him for them lately?

Father, we thank you for Your promise to always be with us and we praise You for Your everlasting faithfulness. Keep us ever mindful of Your presence, even when unseen.

© 2009 Mary Beth Magee

Monday, May 4, 2009

Signs and Landmarks (Number 30 in a series)

“Moreover also I gave them my sabbaths, to be a sign between me and them, that they might know that I am the LORD that sanctify them.” Ezekiel 20:12, KJV

Signs and markers are an important part of getting from one place to another. Ask the people who have gone into an area following a natural disaster and tried to find their way around. When the signs and landmarks are gone, it’s hard to tell where you are or where you’re going.

Here in northern California, I’ve learned landmarks tend to have interesting names and historic connections. Some are manmade markers of human accomplishments but others are natural.

One of the best known locally is the Lollipop Tree, a tree growing with a rounded canopy, high on a hill. It is visible to the people rafting and kayaking on the south fork of the American River or riding or hiking in the public areas along the river. The tree helps people know where they are along their trip. It is a sign of their progress.

In the same way, our observance of a day of rest helps us to find out where we are along our life journey. The Sabbath is a time of reflection on our progress. It is a sign, a marker of our relationship with God. By setting aside that precious time for worship of our Lord, we acknowledge His kingship and partake of His renewing sanctification.

Too many times we let other activities interfere with our time of worship. I know from personal experience that I suffer when I let something keep me from my Sabbath time with God. A momentary pleasure costs too much in the long run.

Are you finding your weeks too full, your schedule too hectic? You won’t improve things by skipping your Sabbath. You’ll only find yourself off the path, in need of new directions.

Father, thank You for the gift of the Sabbath. Thank You for loving us so much that You gave us signposts and markers to keep us on track toward You. Give us strength, please, to follow Your path and not to be diverted by fleeting earthly interests.

© 2009 Mary Beth Magee

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Waiting for the Season (Number 29 in a series)

“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:” Ecclesiastes 3:1 (KJV)

Spring in the foothills is a glorious season. The “sticks” in the vineyards along the roads are garlanded in young leaves of rich green. The orchards have bloomed and immature fruit is beginning the process of filling out into apples and pears and other succulent delights.

The garden we’ve started in the backyard is filling in with leaves of green beans and spreading tomato plants. The lettuce is nearly mature and the peas are climbing their trellises is a riotous glory. Squash bushes are beginning to sprawl across their hills. The carrots are trying my patience – I know they are slow to sprout but I look forward to their emerald feathers gracing the garden bed.

I am accustomed to working full-time, to traveling from site to site to provide training. When I wasn’t training people, I was testing programs or helping to develop new classes and class materials. Always busy, always moving. Now my pace is much slower – I’m waiting. Waiting for Mama’s next medical appointment; waiting for a job; waiting for the carrots to appear.

This is a season of slowing down, of planting for the future harvest. Much as I want to hurry things along, I know God’s time is perfect. Some days I easily can praise Him for the opportunity to spend time with my mother and my sister’s family, and to experience the beauty of the Sierra Nevada foothills.

Other days it takes as act of will to praise Him as I grow impatient with the waiting. I want to see His purpose and I want to see it now! It's hard remember to wait and pray for God's good time.

Will I be a string bean, shooting up quickly? Or a carrot, slower to appear but sweeter to the taste? Both are valuable for our nourishment. What would you have me be, Lord?

Father, we thank You for the rich variety of Your creation and the knowledge that everything (including us!) has a purpose there. Help me to see Your purpose and to grow accordingly. And please be patient with me when I want to hurry.

© 2009 Mary Beth Magee

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Standing Up to Distractions (Number 28 in a series)

Concerning the works of men, by the word of thy lips I have kept me from the paths of the destroyer. Hold up my goings in thy paths, that my footsteps slip not. I have called upon thee, for thou wilt hear me, O God: incline thine ear unto me, and hear my speech. Psalm 17: 4-6 (KJV)

I have learned from hard experience how easy it is to be distracted by seemingly innocent behaviors. Suddenly time has passed; things I should have done are not done, while I’ve been doing something that bore no fruit. Have you ever had that happen to you? If so, you know what I mean.

There are days when it takes a concentrated effort on my part to stay on task. Some days it is easy to do. In both cases, at the end of the day I feel a deep contentment that I lack on those days when I don’t stay focused. Rather than disappointment over what I haven’t done, I have joy in what I accomplished. I like those days a lot better than the others.

There is a great deal of discussion and teaching on the subject of Christian money management. I am out of work and pretty much have no money to manage so that’s sort of a moot point for me just now. What I do have is TIME. How I manage that time is as critical to my spiritual life as any financial management skills. Am I using my time to His glory or am I ‘slipping from the path’ and frittering it away?

Computer games, hundred of TV channels, novels – these are all tools. How I use them is my choice. Am I spending a few minutes in relaxation or losing hours in unproductive pursuits? Does the pastime enrich me or leave me feeling guilty? God has given us a precious capacity for play and recreation, but we have a human tendency to lose perspective and balance.

Where are you spending your time? Are you cultivating for the Kingdom with your activities? Do you feel satisfied and fulfilled at the end of the day, or irritated and frustrated with what you’ve done?

Father, thank You for the gift of time. Help me to use it wisely and to Your glory. Keep me on the path to You. Please help me to choose rightly when faced with a choice of activities.

© 2009 Mary Beth Magee

Monday, March 9, 2009

The Godparent (Number 27 in a series)

“Come, ye children, hearken unto me: I will teach you the fear of the LORD.” Psalm 34:11, KJV

I have a godmother, my dear Nanan. She prays for me, loves me and reminds me often of how precious I am to her and to God. Nanan takes her responsibility as a godparent seriously.

Over the years, I have been privileged to stand as godmother to several children, some relatives, some not. Each of those children is my official godchild. They are on my heart and in my prayers. Some are adults now, but still a child of my heart.

In the last few years, God has laid on my heart that the “official” godchildren are not my only charges. As a professing Christian, I am called to show the same love and care to all children, whether I held them at a christening and spoke vows or not. The two girls I sponsor through World Vision are easily in my prayers. What about the others?: the teens giggling in the department store, the child who smiles at me in the supermarket, the laughing children in the schoolyard I drive past are all my godchildren. So are the little one crying his heart out in the doctor’s waiting room, the homeless children in the news, and the local sports team reeling from a loss.

So my prayers have taken a slightly different turn. I still pray for my official godchildren and other children I know by name. I pray for the others by description. There is a great comfort in knowing that, although I don’t know all of their names, God does. My job is to hold out the blanket of prayer; He wraps them in it and His love.

Look around you. There are potential godchildren all around. We can care about them, lead them by example and show them God’s love in practical ways wherever possible. Where we can’t do anything else, we still can lift them in prayer.

We serve a God who has so much love to pour out, we could never contain it all. Share the overflow with the children. They are the future of society. Be the Nanan or Paran (or whatever nickname your culture uses) to every child you come into contact with and every one you hear about.

Father, we thank You for the example of love You gave us through Your precious son. Help us to remember that each and every child in the world is one of Your children. Lead us to treat them accordingly and to be a beacon to lead them to You.

© 2009 Mary Beth Magee

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Sharing the Joy of Worship (Number 26 in a series)

“And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” Hebrews 10:24-25 (KJV)

One of the hardest parts of relocating is (for me, at least) finding a new church home. Whenever I am out of fellowship, I feel hungry. My soul misses the nourishment of sharing worship and companionship with other believers. No matter how many wonderful inspirational books I read or gospel albums I listen to, nothing replaces the joy of being with others who share my faith.

There is a mutual strengthening that takes place when we gather together to worship. We rejoice in each other’s joys, help to carry each other’s burdens and grow together in God’s Word. As we raise our voices in praise, we bring down a glimpse of the future we anticipate in heaven. Camaraderie and celebration fill the hall.

I am so blessed to have found a wonderful congregation here in California. The operating orders of this fellowship are “Love God. Love people.” As I become more acquainted with the different ministries the church supports, I will be able to find my own place to contribute to the well-being of the body of Christ. The prospect is exciting!

This is not the first church I visited since my arrival. It is the one where I heard God whisper, “Your place is here.” I knew it was Home within two visits.

Don’t be discouraged if you are seeking a church home. Here are some hints for finding the right fit:

• Commit to finding a church home and becoming involved. A “maybe one day” attitude will interfere with your search.

• Search the internet for churches in your area. Read what they say on their websites. Do their beliefs match yours?

• Visit and see if the reality matches the website. Don’t be afraid to visit several times.

• Pray for God’s direction in choosing the right fellowship.

Once you’ve found that fit, you’ll find worship is a joy, not a duty. Whether the membership is small or large, you’ll be blessed and you’ll be a blessing.

Father, we thank you for the blessings of fellowship with other believers. Help each of us to find the right place to worship and serve You. Please anoint our efforts and use them to Your glory.

© 2009 Mary Beth Magee

Monday, February 23, 2009

Crushed for the Greater Good (Number 25 in a series)

“Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.” Isaiah 53:4-5 (KJV)

Mama has several medications to take each day. Because of her swallowing problem, she has to take them through her PEG tube. Pills must be dissolved in water so they can flow through the syringe into the length of tubing we connect to the PEG.

We use a mortar and pestle to crush the pills into a powder to more easily dissolve them. The pills are of no use to my mother until they are pulverized. She cannot benefit from the medication in any other way.

Each time I prepare her medications, I am reminded of Isaiah’s description of the coming Messiah. Just as I crush the pills to help my mother, Jesus was bruised (some translations use the word “crushed”) to help us. Our healing came at a terrible cost.

This week, many of us will observe Ash Wednesday – the beginning of Lent. As we turn our hearts toward Jesus’ final days in human form let us remember the price He paid to save us. Crushed. Bruised. Beaten.

Father, we thank You for the gift of Your Son. Thank You that He was willing to suffer on our behalf and pay the ransom for us. Keep us in mind of Your never-failing love.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

The Basin, the Towel and the Heart (Number 24 in a series)

"He [Jesus] riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself. After that he poureth water into a bason, and began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded." John 13:4-5 (KJV)

The example of Jesus washing the feet of the disciples is often used as an example of servanthood. I was content with that explanation until recently. Now I see Jesus’ act as an expression of love for the disciples.

My mother is no longer able to bathe alone; I help her with a sponge bath each day. She washes what she can reach and I wash what she can’t. These days, that includes her feet. I place the little wash basin on the floor and she places her feet in the water, one at a time. I kneel beside her and first wash, then dry, each foot.

The first time she slipped a foot into the pan of warm water, she sighed with pleasure and said, “Oh, that feels so good.” I used the washcloth to let water run down her shin and calf, then wiped her leg, from knee to toes. Lifting her foot from the water, I dried it and repeated the process with the other foot. I found myself smiling at her delight.

And then it struck me: it gave me joy to wash her feet, because I loved giving her the pleasure of the warm water and massage of the washcloth and the resulting clean feet. Because I love her, I love to do things for her. I don’t mean to belittle all those theologians who use the basin and towel to demonstrate servanthood and its importance in the church. I just want to acknowledge the other part of the demonstration, the component that explains the first one – the love.

At the center of the servant heart is love. We serve those we love for their own sake. We serve those we love for God’s sake. Whether we wash their feet or donate money for their relief or serve food at their shelter or however else we may serve, we do it for love.

Father, thank you for sending us Your love in the form of Your Son. Help us to always reflect Your love in the service we perform, that we may always point others toward You.

© 2009 Mary Beth Magee

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Vines and Branches (Number 23 in a series)

“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.” John 15: 4-5 (KJV)

Although I now live in northern California – wine country – I have yet to see a vineyard in full growth. My previous visits have been in late autumn or early winter and my arrival for the move here was in late October. The vineyards are barren-looking fields, strung with horizontal wires and interspersed with vertical “sticks.” If this was the only thing I knew about vineyards, I would think them sad things indeed.

Yet Jesus likened himself to a vine. There must be more to a vine than those pitiful sticks. And there is.

The vine is the backbone of the grape plant, the starting point from which the branches spread and grow. It is the vine that endures through the winter, waiting to send out new growth in spring’s warmth. The vine is also what determines the kind of grapes are to be produced on those branches.

With Jesus as our vine, we will branch out into the kinds of activities He would have us do. Our actions and thoughts (our fruit) will reflect Him. The harvest of our lives will bring Him glory.

If we spring from some other vine, that will show as well. Our lives will be filled with things other than Jesus and the harvest from our husbandry will be much poorer.

When we lived in Mississippi, we saw scuppernong vines growing in wild abandon, a riot of elegant curves and graceful leaves. These oversized white grapes provided tasty fruit for jelly and beautiful foliage for scenery. The trellises on which they were supported created a cool, shady haven. This is the sort of multi-faceted beauty our lives can display, if we spring from the True Vine.

I’m looking forward to seeing California in full bloom, vines and all. Meanwhile, I’ll draw on the Vine for spiritual blooming.

Father, thank you for providing the Vine to anchor our lives in what is pleasing to You. Help us to always remain true to the Vine in all we say and do, that we may be judged as fruitful branches for Your kingdom.

© 2009 Mary Beth Magee

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

What are you studying? (Number 22 in a series)

“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” Philippians 4:8 (KJV)

On my cross-country drive, I played a series of CDs: my favorite gospel albums and a couple of sermons on CD given to me by a coworker. They were a tremendous encouragement when I had to drive through three day of rain with a good portion of my worldly possessions stacked on top of the car. The fourth day I was out of the rain, but had to deal with an interlude of sleet. Through it all, I was accompanied by praise and worship. I was reminded I wasn’t facing the situation alone.

When Paul wrote to the Philippians, he offered them verbal “pats on the back” and exhorted them to focus on the good and true things, not the evil and false. This strikes me as a very wise counsel for us today, as well.

What are you studying? Where are you focused? Those are the things that will color your thinking and your actions. Are you studying God’s Word or a gossip magazine? Do you listen to music that uplifts you or does it fill you with angry images? Is your time spent in positive pursuits or wasted in pointless activities?

We live in a world where many people will do almost anything in their pursuit of fame or wealth. There are game shows requiring people to win, not by playing more skillfully but by destroying the efforts of other players. Insults are the expected conversational tool. Other programs offer participants the opportunity to take physical risks, or be subjected to humiliating scenarios in hope of gain.

Much of the music today deals with unsavory language and situations. Marital infidelity, abusive treatment, drug use, promiscuous sexual relations – all of these and more are fodder for the music mill.

These sorts of “entertainment” don’t come under the heading of “good” or “true” or “virtue.” If we spend our time immersed in such things, we risk a jaundiced view of our fellow humans. Where is your focus? What are you feeding your heart and mind?

Father, thank you for encouraging words and uplifting music to keep us focused on You. Help us to think on things honoring You and to shun the things which cloud our minds. Keep our minds focused on what is pleasing to You.

© 2009 Mary Beth Magee

Monday, January 19, 2009

From A to Zebra (Number 21 in a series)

“And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.” Genesis 1: 25 (KJV)

I am enamored of zebras. There’s something about those striped equines that brings a smile to my face. Over the years, friends and family members have given me gifts of zebra-striped items and I have collected others on my own. When I was employed, I even “adopted” a zebra at Brookfield Zoo.

Evolutionists will claim the zebra’s stripes are a survival device, an adaptation to conditions. I don’t deny that zebras benefit from their stripes. I just think there’s more to them than a simple evolutionary mutation.

You see, I think our God is a God who takes joy in our enjoyment of His creation. So He made things not only functional, but entertaining as well. Would He have given us so many varieties of plant and animal life, and given them such charming ways, if He didn’t intend to give us pleasure in them? Zebras, giraffes and okapis are just three of the examples of animals with the ability to amuse us just by coming into view. Let’s not forget puffins, penguins, pandas and koalas.

Let’s face it – He fed the children of Israel for forty years on manna. He could do the same for us. Yet we have an abundance of variety in foodstuffs: fruits, vegetables, herbs, grains, meats. Think of the culinary accomplishments of any ethnic group and you’ll quickly see how great a selection of flavors and foodstuffs exists.

What about pets? There is endless discussion over the best pet, because there is such variety in the darling critters. Feline, canine, equine, aquatic, amphibious – these and more are available possibilities. How wonderful that God made each of us different, then created such an array of animals to match our lifestyles and personalities.

We serve a God who is not boring by any definition. He gives us endless sources of delight in His world. Hallelujah! We serve the God of Joy!

Dear Father, thank You for the variety of Your creation. Help us to see Your hand in each stripe and spot, each fin and feather. Thank You for the companionship and service of animals. May we always treat them with the respect Your creation deserves.

© 2009 Mary Beth Magee

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Body Beautiful (Number 20 in a series)

“I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.” Psalm 139: 14 (KJV)

A caregiver faces many issues. Beyond the physical demands of helping someone to rise from a bed or chair are the emotional demands of assisting in nutrition or personal hygiene.

For my mother, meals consist of liquids hung in a gravity-feed bag called a kangaroo pouch. The nutritional liquid goes through a tube into a valve implanted in her stomach wall – a percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG) tube. Each feeding and/or dose of medication requires exposing her upper abdomen for access to the tube.

Because she is weak and has poor balance, Mama requires help bathing and even going to the bathroom. She laments having to let me see her body, embarrassed by the lack of privacy and modesty she must experience. Although I try to be mindful of her dignity, sometimes we both fall prey to giggling fits as I wash and dry her feet, particularly between her toes. Neither of us is in a very dignified position at that moment!

Through all of this, I am amazed by her. Her limbs are wrapped in crepe-like skin, slack against out-of-tone muscles. Yet she works to pull herself up, to walk back and forth to try to build her strength. Although she’s given birth to four daughters, her stomach is still flat, although the skin is not smooth. I marvel at the grip of her gnarled hands, as we lock forearms to steady her gait.

How wondrous is the human body! Even as it winds down, it is a thing of amazing beauty. The gentleness of her touch and the comfort of her embrace are still delights. Her smile, when I can entice one from her, is as warm as June sunshine.

One day I will have to say farewell to her body. The truth which comforts me is that her soul will go on, and we will meet again in glory. How marvelous, Lord! How wondrously marvelous!

Father, I thank you for the love You put into creating each of us. We are each beautiful in our own way, by Your design. Help us to see Your creation in each other at all stages of life, and to appreciate each other in Your Name.

© 2009 Mary Beth Magee

Friday, January 9, 2009

The Value of Preparation (Number 19 in a series)

“And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.” Matthew 25: 8-13 (KJV)

My little dog is diabetic. She was diagnosed several years ago. When her veterinarian was teaching me about caring for a diabetic dog, she warned me about the signs of hypoglycemia, such as disorientation, staggering, and lack of muscle control and told me what to do if necessary. I tucked the information away in the back of my mind and went on with the day-to-day business of life. Other than minor adjustments to her insulin dosage along the way, we’ve had a pretty smooth path with her ailment.

In the past few weeks, Shady has experienced two episodes of hypoglycemia, wobbling about and falling at her hindquarters. The first incident caught me by surprise, yet the vet’s instructions came back to me. I rubbed honey on Shady’s gums, as the doctor had instructed, and within a few minutes she was back to her normal self. The vet had prepared me for the possibility of such an event and I was able to act appropriately.

I couldn’t help but think of the parable of the wise virgins and foolish virgins, as recounted in Matthew 25. The wise virgins were ready for the bridegroom’s arrival. They had the supplies they needed and were part of the celebration, whenever he got there. The foolish virgins were not.

Had the vet not taken the time to prepare me for what might happen, I wouldn’t have been ready when action was needed. Neither of us knew when Shady might have an episode. But she gave me the knowledge I needed to be ready to do what had to be done.

As Christians, we have a responsibility to be ready when the Bridegroom returns. We have a second responsibility, as well: to tell others to be ready for His coming. Jesus warned us that we would not know when He would be back, but He will be back. When the day comes, will there be people celebrating with you, because you helped them to prepare? Will there be someone missing from the celebration – someone you regret not telling about Him? The choice is yours.

Father, thank you for the knowledge You have given us, even before we need it, of Your love and care. Thank you for the assurance of Jesus’ return. Give us courage to share the Word with those who don’t know. Help us to stay prepared and to help others to be prepared.

©2009 Mary Beth Magee

Sunday, January 4, 2009

The Best Laid Plans (Number 18 in a series)

“But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee.” Luke 10: 33-35 (KJV)

When I arrived in California to help care for my mother, I envisioned hours spent in writing as I sat near her, ready to meet any need she may have. My sister had reported that Mama did little more than sleep between her feedings (through a percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy - or PEG - tube).

Reality is somewhat different than my imaginings. Mama only sleeps intermittently (even at night!). She talks in her sleep, often crying out as though in distress or pain. She requires help ambulating to and from her bedside commode chair. Sometimes we can convince her to walk a little more, into the living room or perhaps into her bathroom for a quick “spit bath” in the sink.

Occasionally, Mama develops pain in her legs or feet. We use lavender oil or a chamomile based cream to massage the ailing part. Sometimes she just craves the human touch of someone holding her hand.

She imagines strange people in the room, requiring me to order them out or check on what they are doing. There are “accidents” requiring her bed to be changed, sometimes numerous times a day. The resultant loads of laundry must be washed, dried, folded and put away.

Another problem is the blockage in her esophagus, the reason the PEG tube was installed. The tube takes care of getting her nutrition, but it cannot help her feeling of needing to burp. So we have any number of antics to try to dislodge reluctant air bubbles. We try walking, getting up and down, patting her on the back and anything else we can think of to try to clear the bubble.

These interruptions can come at any moment. My concentration gets broken; whatever I’m working on gets set aside. Most of the writing I planned to get done is still waiting for me.

I wonder if the Samaritan had plans that day, on the road between Jerusalem and Jericho? Whatever they were, he put them aside to care for the man who had fallen among thieves. In putting his own plans on hold, he kept the appointment God had for him. The compassion he demonstrated has come to mean someone who cares above and beyond expectations – the Good Samaritan. Each time my plans get rearranged, I try to remember the Good Samaritan and open my heart to God’s plans.

Father, thank you for having the Master Plan. Please forgive me those times when I consider my own plans to be the most important things in the world. Help me to look to You for the right “next step” and not my own thoughts.

© 2008 Mary Beth Magee

Saturday, January 3, 2009

The Escape Artist (Number 17 in a series)

“The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” II Peter 3:9 (KJV)

My mother has become something of an escape artist, in spite of our best efforts. She has fallen several times while trying to get out of bed during the night. My sister and I have tried any number of ways to keep her safe.

We have resorted to a baby monitor in her room so that she can call for assistance if she needs to get up during the night. We got a hospital bed with side rails to try to keep her from getting up and wandering around without someone to help her stay upright.

She evades the monitor by not saying anything as she sneaks out of the bed. She takes advantage of the foot-long gap between the end of the rail and the foot of the bed to slither, snakelike, out into the room. On occasion, she tries to slip out under the rail, resulting in being caught like a fox in a trap – unable to get out or go back into the bed.

Some mornings, I come into the room to find her sitting on the edge of the bed, feet dangling as though she were sitting at a desk. One morning, I found her on her knees, with her shoulders wedged between the rail and the frame. And some heart-stopping mornings I find her on the floor. She has made good her escape from the bed, only to find her strength spent.

God has blessed us. Mama seems to sink to the floor, rather than fall, on most occasions. She has suffered no broken bones, only some minor abrasions and bruising. But we fear the time of a solid fall or a piece of furniture in the way. So we continue trying to protect her and she continues trying to escape.

I can’t help but be reminded of God and His love for us. We keep trying to escape His love. He keeps opening His arms to bring us back to His protection. We have His promise to keep making the offer of eternal life to us, because He is faithful and unwilling to let any of us go to eternal death.

Mama has the underlying cause of dementia to spur her attempts to “escape;” what reason can any of us use to justify trying to escape God? Yet we do, more often than we would probably admit. Each time we do what we find expedient rather than what He has told us is right, we are trying to escape.

Father, please forgive me when I fight Your will and try to do things my own way. Remind me of Your constant love and care. Help me to rest in the knowledge of Your goodness. And thank you so much for watching over Mama!

© 2009 Mary Beth Magee