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Untie the Knots

Dear God:
Please untie the knots
that are in my mind,
my heart and my life.
Remove the have nots,
the can nots and the do nots
that I have in my mind.

Erase the will nots,
may nots,
might nots that may find
a home in my heart.

Release me from the could nots,
would nots and
should nots that obstruct my life.

And most of all,
Dear God,
I ask that you remove from my mind,
my heart and my life all of the ‘am nots’
that I have allowed to hold me back,
especially the thought
that I am not good enough.
AMEN

AUTHOR:   UNKNOWN

December Devotional – The Good Shepherd

The Good Shepherd
The nocturnal evening was clear, cold, and quiet.  Except for tiny specks of twinkling light, nothing else disturbed the patent leathered sky.  Bleats filled the air as shepherds made their way to hillsides to begin their watch.  Just before darkness consumed the earth, shepherds inspected the herds one last time then resumed their position.  With a staff firmly placed in one hand, each shepherd wore a turban and a long robe, along with a scarf tucked close to their neck to shield from the cold.

Their only job:  guard and protect the sheep.

The life of a shepherd isn’t easy.  He must be alert, ready at all times to ward off the enemy.  And with certainty, he must place the sheep above himself.

Long before his birth, the Good Shepherd made careful preparation to protect his flock.  Through Abraham he promised a nation, not of Israelites, but of aliens, the children of promise(1).  As he carefully laid out his plan, he gave us a set of rules to live by so we would neither die before our appointed time, or give into temptation.  He warned us to worship him in spirit and in truth, not with the aid of objects we can see and touch.

If you’re not in the habit of studying biblical history, it may seem as though some events happened by chance, or that others had complete control.  But upon further examination and meditation on the scriptures, we find that the seemingly meaningless rule to impose a census by Caesar Augustus was all orchestrated by God to move Joseph and Mary from Nazareth in Galiee to Bethlehem where our savior was born.

For centuries, God had his people kill a sacrificial lamb, knowing full well that it was a foreshadow of what was to come.  When the true lamb arrived through the womb of a virgin, who were the first to hear of it?  The shepherds.  God didn’t choose the religious (Sadducees or Pharisees), or kings and statesmen.  He chose men who worked for a minimum wage.

From the beginning, God planned for Jesus to live so he might die.  Instead of sending him as an angel or as a full grown human being, he reduced Jesus Christ to that of a baby.  This lamb had to drink milk first before allowed to eat meat.  He lived among us and had his patience tested.  He endured ridicule, bullying, and slander.  He was called an imposter.  They talked behind his back and said he performed miracles because he was of Satan(2).  For forty days and nights, he wandered the wilderness hungry, listening to the evil one tempt him in every way.

Like the shepherds, Jesus Christ had options.  To stand ready to fight the enemy in order to protect his sheep, or cry out and be rescued by God, leaving his flock to fend for themselves.

Jesus Christ chose to live among a chaotic people.  Then he drank the bitter cup of death.

The closest I can come to that kind of love is the love I have for my children.  I’d do anything for them.  But can I?  I can’t rescue them from sin, though I want to.  I can’t forgive their sins and wash them clean, though I want to.  I can hold them.  Rock them. Sing them a song.  Read scriptures with them.  Pray endlessly for them.  But I can’t save them.

I’m not the Good Shepherd.

Sometimes when I reflect on the birth of Jesus Christ, I find that I get so caught up in the manger that I don’t see the tortuous ordeal our Lord and Savior lived through.  I’d be angry if someone tried to bait me into an argument like the Pharisees and Saducees did Jesus.  I’d definitely not spare my wrath when the disciples wanted to know who was going to be the greatest in the kingdom.  And to have fed the five thousand and the disciples turn around and not be able to heal the sick boy(3) after witnessing such a miracle, I’d be furious.

He specifically chose the twelve.  Lived with them day and night until he was arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane.  He revealed himself to them in ways he never shared with the world.  Such faithlessness had to weigh on him.  To come down to earth and show himself in the form of a man and witness such humanity had to cause him concern.

Then again, hadn’t Jesus witnessed such weakness since man’s fall from grace in the Garden of Eden?

We greive our Holy Father today with the same worldly way of thinking.  I, for one, constantly beat myself up for not reaching my goals, or consume myself with my inabilities rather than devoting myself to prayer for all that I need.

Many of us have the tendency to separate his birth from his death, compartmentalizing Jesus Christ in tiny Christmas wrappings and silly Easter bunnies then have the audacity to call it a Passover celebration.

God Almighty is Holy!  We can in no way contain him in pretty wrappings than we can restrain him to particular times of year.  God is forever.  God is here and now.  He’s not someone to be worshipped only on a festive holiday.  He’s not someone to be worshipped only when we decide we need him.  He’s not an insurance policy to be pulled out only in disastrous times.  HE IS forever.  Amen!

We don’t have the right to live frightened, doubtful lives.  Jesus Christ freed us with his death.  No matter how much I love my children, or my family, I could never give them that kind of freedom.

After examining the story of baby Jesus, I find that I can no longer look at Christmas as a day to celebrate the birth of our Lord.  I’m drawn to the life in his death.  Hidden beneath the downpour of blood and water is my life.  I’ve been made clean by his death and given hope through his resurrection.  The manger isn’t the beginning of Jesus Christ.  He has and always will be the Alpha and Omega.  Time can’t contain him.  Death can’t hold him.  Holidays can’t resurrect him.

I see how Jesus Christ puts up with my foolishness every single day.  How he endures my doubts, my fears, my carelessness, my struggles to worship him in spirit and in truth.  Every day I’m repenting.  And every moment of the day he is forgiving.

When you serve a God who loves you as deeply as he does, is it really possible to wait for a festive time of year to fall on your knees and worship him?  I can’t contain myself that long.  His love is too overwhelming.

How about you?  Can you wait?

Donna B. Comeaux
Freelance Writer, Poet, Novelist
————————
1 Romans 8:9-18 – “(8)That is, it is not the children of the flesh who are children of God, but the children of the promise are regarded as descendants. (9)For this is the word of promise: ‘AT THIS TIME I WILL COME, AND SARAH SHALL HAVE A SON.’ (10)And not only this, but there was Rebekah also, when she had conceived twins by one man, our father Isaac; (11)for though the twins were not yet born and had not done anything good or bad, so that God’s purpose according to His choice would stand, not because of works but because of Him who calls, (12)it was said to her, ‘THE OLDER WILL SERVE THE YOUNGER.’ (13)Just as it is written, ‘JACOB I LOVED, BUT ESAU I HATED.’ (14)What shall we say then? There is no injustice with God, is there? May it never be! (15)For He says to Moses, ‘I WILL HAVE MERCY ON WHOM I HAVE MERCY, AND I WILL HAVE COMPASSION ON WHOM I HAVE COMPASSION.’ (16)So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy. (17)For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, ‘FOR THIS VERY PURPOSE I RAISED YOU UP, TO DEMONSTRATE MY POWER IN YOU, AND THAT MY NAME MIGHT BE PROCLAIMED THROUGHOUT THE WHOLE EARTH.’ (18)So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires.”

2 Matthew 12:22-28 – Jesus and Beelzebub – The Pharisees Rebuked – “(22)Then a demon-possessed man who was blind and mute was brought to Jesus, and He healed him, so that the mute man spoke and saw. (23)All the crowds were amazed, and were saying, ‘This man cannot be the Son of David, can he?’ (24)But when the Pharisees heard this, they said, ‘This man casts out demons only by Beelzebul the ruler of the demons.’ (25)And knowing their thoughts Jesus said to them, ‘Any kingdom divided against itself is laid waste; and any city or house divided against itself will not stand.’ (26)’If Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself; how then will his kingdom stand?’ (27)’If I by Beelzebul cast out demons, by whom do your sons cast them out? For this reason they will be your judges.’ (28)’But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.’ (29)’Or how can anyone enter the strong man’s house and carry off his property, unless he first binds the strong man? And then he will plunder his house.'”

3 Matthew 17:18-21 – Healing of Boy with a demon – “(18)And Jesus rebuked him, and the demon came out of him, and the boy was cured at once. (19)Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, ‘Why could we not drive it out?’ (20)And He said to them, ‘Because of the littleness of your faith; for truly I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you.’ (21)[‘But this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.’]”

October Devotional – Home

I never visited often and if it hadn’t been for my grandmother’s funeral, I’m not sure I’d go back.

I remember the rush to buy something special.  I hadn’t bought new shoes or shopped for a new dress in years.  What would I pack?  Could I pack everything I needed in two small bags.  Maybe I just needed one.

Once inside the department stores, the adrenaline rush I experienced took me by surprise.  I’d entered the store thinking my emotions were intact.  I’d picked that particular day with care.  But no matter how much care I exercised, it didn’t do a bit of good.  It was hard to make decisions.  Should I buy a jacket and match it with a skirt I had in my closet?  Or should I buy a suit?  The shoes cost $89.99.  Should I buy them?  Do I leave in the morning?  In the afternoon?  Maybe mid-day.

Three-thirty on a late Thursday afternoon, my tires rolled along asphalt down Highway 75.  Hours later I merged onto I-10 and drove to Houston as if I’d done it a thousand times.  Littered all along the highway from Ennis, Texas to the Gulf of Mexico was one oil refinery after another.  Sulphur filled the air.  The refineries lit up the dark sky and guided me to my hometown like a beacon in the night.  The giant Sam Houston stature always served as my landmark.  It signified I was close to a place I’d spent years trying to forget.

Little did I know I’d never forget the places I ate, the schools I attended, the bullying I experienced, or the love of my grandparents.

When the time came, I picked up my two sons from the Houston airport the day before the funeral.  Our hearts leaped for joy when we saw each other.  We held each other tight, as though we hadn’t seen each other in years.  The circumstances which brought us together created an unbreakable bond, a soothing peace, an undisturbed oneness.

My sons’ support at a time like this was irreplaceable.  They understood everything I didn’t say.  They never offered empty words, or pressed me to feel differently about the magnitude of my loss.  We comforted each other with love and patience and constant prayers.

I felt enormous relief when my children took over the driving duties.  They drove to the coastline as if they had done it a thousand times, as if they had grown up in this part of the country.  In fact, they’d only visited my hometown a couple of times.  But they remembered every story about every empty block now filled with tall grass, broken cement, and rutted tire marks.

As always, we visited their ninety-year-old great-aunt on their father’s side, grabbed a quick bite to eat, and headed to my grandparents’ house.

The family sold the house five or six years ago, but it always stood quietly in its proper place.  It’s a long narrow house painted white with medium gray trim with a silver-painted chainlink fence surrounding it.  One side of the double-gate sagged.  The front gate squealed.  The grass had perfectly straight edges and an evenly cut lawn, ankle-deep.

My grandparents sometimes sat on the front porch after a long day of yard work.  Their kids and grandkids, including me, ran around the house playing and yelling and teasing one another into submission.  The porch was a place where you watched all the comings and goings of neighbors, strangers, and the “strangest.”  Some folks waved, keeping their stride in the direction of wherever they were headed.  Others stopped, leaned on the fence, and talk endlessly, spilling a tidbit of gossip here and there.  Some entered the squeaky gate and sat awhile, laughing over all their “remember whens,” before finally drinking the last of their lemonade or iced tea or koolaid and moving on.

It’s my recollection Granddaddy took that old porch out twice and built it up again, painting it in that same medium, steel Army-gray color.  I meticulously watched him each time he sprayed his peach trees, always warning us to stay away so we wouldn’t have an allergic reaction to the pesticide.

I never could figure out how Granddaddy cut his hedges so straight.  The tool he used looked like giant scissors to my young eyes.  He’d snip and cut and pull and tug on those hedges until every leaf and branch was in its proper place.  He even manicured the ditch to perfection. All my life I never saw a house on the block that was as well manicured as my grandparents’ house.

On previous visits, long after Granddaddy passed away, we’d stand on the sidewalk and I’d point to various windows and tell my children what we did in each room.  To the far left was my grandparents’ bedroom.  The front door opened to a combined living room and bedroom where we slept as children.  To the right of the combined living room and bedroom was the kitchen.  Farther right of it were rooms my grandmother sometimes rented to young famililes.  These rooms included a living room, a second bedroom, along with a small kitchen and shared bath.

Trying to come to peace with my grandmother’s death, I couldn’t wait to see the house.  After our late lunch, an hour before the viewing, we headed for my grandparents’ house so we’d go through the rituals of reliving my childhood.  In my mind, I smelled the moth balls Grandmother used in her closets.  I saw a back room filled with clothes she refused to give away.

Though I knew it wasn’t possible, I wanted to go inside and experience that dip in the floor right before you entered the kitchen.  I also wanted to make a beeline for a second back room so I’d dig through thousands of black and white photographs and, in my mind, plead with Grandmother to let me take some of them home with me.  Or perhaps I’d gawk at the whatnots on walls, or relieve my grandmother of the many antiques she had in the house.

Of course, none of that was possible.  Someone else owned the house now.

When we finally rounded the corner, we sat unmoved, the car motor still running. No one exhaled.  No one said a word.  We dare not look at each other.  It was as if someone had reached deep inside our souls and sucked the air right out of us.  I wanted to cry, but couldn’t.  I wanted to express how I felt, but no words, no descriptions, no language adequately expressed my devastation.

The house was gone!

Our silence continued for what seemed like an eternity.  I finally heard the car doors open and I watched as my two sons got out.  As they approached the house, I surprisingly noticed the only thing left was the fence.  It surrounded the lot in its truest form.  The double-gate still sagged; its paint barely chipped.  The front gate squealed, as it had done many years before, as my children opened and went through it. For the longest time, I couldn’t move.  I dare not think.  My hands shook.  My insides hopped around like mosquitoes looking for that perfect spot to bite and suck my blood.

When I finally spoke, all I kept asking was, “What happened?” I’d grown up in that house.  Love poured from our grandparents in that house.  I learned how to sew in one of its rooms; learned to cook; played 45s in the living room and panomized the latest love songs until I hit every single note flawlessly.

When we mustered enough courage, we asked my grandmother’s best friend what happened.

“The house burned,” her son said.  “Owner set it afire on purpose because he couldn’t get his asking price for it.”

I was sick.  I couldn’t stand.  The man who bought my grandparents’ house had no idea what he had done.  He destroyed the last connection to my past.  I remember thinking, “How could he?”

Needless to say, this made my grief all the more unbearable.

Long after my grandmother’s funeral, the house became the central theme of my existence.  I thought about it all the time.  Then one day God helped me surrender.  He took me on a journey and helped me recall Solomon’s wisdom.

“The words of the Teacher, son of David, king in Jerusalem: 2 “Meaningless! Meaningless!” says the Teacher. “Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.” 3 What does man gain from all his labor at which he toils under the sun? 4 Generations come and generations go, but the earth remains forever. 5 The sun rises and the sun sets, and hurries back to where it rises. 6 The wind blows to the south and turns to the north; round and round it goes, 7 All streams flow into the sea, yet the sea is never full. To the place the streams come from, there they return again. 8 All things are wearisome, more than one can say. The eye never has enough of seeing, nor the ear its fill of hearing. 9 What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun. 10 Is there anything of which one can say, “Look! This is something new”? It was here already, long ago; it was here before our time. 11 There is no remembrance of men of old, and even those who are yet to come will not be remembered by those who follow.”  (Ecclesiates 1:1-11)

For many weeks, I cried as I thought about that vacant lot.  I felt as though someone had taken a hammer and cracked my foundation.  My grandmother was the last one in the family to go.  No elders are left.  She validated me.  Whenever I’d talked to her, she took me back in time and rekindled my past, gave me hope for the future.

The lot upon which that narrow white house stood is empty now.  Nothing is left.  Creaks and noises and smells can’t be replicated, except in my mind.  My point of reference has gone up in smoke.  Why?  Because of someone else’s greed.

But there’s another reason my grandparents’ house is gone.  God shook my earthly tabernacle so I’d be reminded that above me is my permanent dwelling place.  Heaven has more colors than the rainbow.  Its floors, and God’s throne, are made of sapphire.  (Exodus 24:10; Ezekiel 1:26)  Every precious stone created by God will surround his kingdom.  (Revelations 21:19)  It has countless rooms.  We won’t concern ourselves with walls, tight spaces, or if we left our real estate in proper hands.

God reminded me that the only thing that matters in this life is my service to him.  Take Ecclesiates 1:1-11 to heart.  People come and go.  Houses are bought and sold.  No matter how much care you give to your earthly real estate, it will eventually be resold and have new owners.  After we die, we’ll only be remembered by the present generation, if at all.  People will go about their lives as they have since the beginning of time.

But God’s word lives forever!  Amen!

My children took it upon themselves to shovel dirt in a box so I’d plant a flower or shrub as a keepsake.  No one prodded them to do this.  My heart screamed for joy over their compassion.  In my mind, I can still see the two of them conspiring meticulously, dropping me off, then head to my grandparents’ vacant lot to dig up a small portion of the land.

It’s a sobering thought to know all that time spent clinging to my grandparents’ house was meaningless.  My times there were wonderful.  I’ll forever cherish the memories, forever remember their love.  But I have come to understand that as precious as that house was and is to me, it’s just not my . . .

Home.

Donna B. Comeaux
Freelance Writer, Poet, Novelist

[Please visit http://www.rubyforwomen.com to read Donna’s latest short story entitled “Selfish Ambition.” A new chapter is posted every Thursday.]

March Devotional – “I Don’t Need to Know Why”

I Thessalonians 5:12-28

I just read the book of Ruth.  It’s not the first time I’ve read it and I’ve heard it preached over a dozen times during my life.  But during my reading of it this time, it struck me as refreshing, encouraging prose.  Maybe it’s because I felt at war in my spirit–trying to stay positive and upbeat when I really felt like crap!  Maybe it’s because I truly am at a vulnerable place at the moment and God took this opportunity to show me something I wouldn’t have otherwise seen if I had read Ruth on a good day.  Maybe it’s because God needed to pass on some encouraging words to you.  I may never know the full purpose of His revelation, but I welcome it just the same.

When I read about the women of the bible, I find myself cringing at some of the things they did to survive.  To be completely fair to them, I cringe at some of the things we do today.  The Kardashians come to mind–flaunting their beauty to make money.  I wonder now if survival has turned to greed.  We may never know.  I also think of Miley Cyrus and her need to prove to the world that she’s all grown up now.  By the way, Miley, we get it.  You can stop now.  Some of the things we do and have seen our parents do for survival can be downright embarrassing.  I’m all about doing things right, meticulous, on time.  But as we all know, where I think I’m perfect in one area, I’m flawed in another.  And so we are as a people.

Let’s go back a bit and look at Tamar.  Her story still jabs me in my ribs.  I have tried to imagine disguising myself as a prostitute.  Are you kidding me?  My heart stops at such a thought.  In my mind, I’m asking “How could you?  How disgusting?”  What Ruth did to ensure her security, pales in comparison to what Tamar did.

How am I Iooking at this?  Through worldly eyes, of course.  I don’t see these events as God sees them.  Surely, these people acted of their volition and God had to clean up their mess.  Hmmm . . .  Let’s think about that for a moment.

Could it be that God is telling us that He can use the foulest of man as well as a true believer to fulfill His plan?  There seems to be a mixture of both among these beautiful women of God.  How dare I call what God made foul?  Isn’t that the way you and I would characterize Rahab?  And yet, she is the great+grandmother of David and, Jesus is the descendent of David.  Hmm . . .

God’s way and His plans can be difficult to understand.  Very difficult.  How in the world can my God ask me to live chaste, mind my own house, live a godly and pure life, AND accept Tamar sleeping with her father-in-law, or Ruth making advances on her husband’s relative.

The thing we must remember is that centuries ago women had no rights.  They couldn’t own property.  And their struggle reminds me that a man during that time wouldn’t put up with a sassy, smart-mouth like me.  I assure you, I’d be nailed to a post and burned at the stake.  Or they’d probably stone me to death.  Either way, I wouldn’t survive pass my twelfth birthday.  I barely survived my momma’s backhand.  And every backhand I got, I deserved.

I’m certain somewhere along the lines, there’s an exception to the rule that women were forbidden to own property, though I haven’t found one yet.  (Believe me, I’m searching.  The woman who sold “purple” goods in the New Testament comes to mind, though.)  At any rate, the only way a woman could be guaranteed financial stability was through her father, her husband, or other male relative(s).  Otherwise, she became homeless, destitute, a prostitute, or died of starvation and deprivation.  Brave women such as Ruth, Tamar, Rahab, and Naomi had to use whatever was at their disposal.  Using today’s terminology we might be tempted to say these women used “trickery” to ensure their financial stability.

But the question still remains, “Why would God allow such behavior and then turn around and warn me (us) to live a clean, wholesome life?”

I don’t know if I can fully and intelligently answer that question.  Since I don’t have the mind of my God, this question may haunt me ’til the end of my days.  However, here is what I do know.  Each one of these women had God at the center of their hearts.  Even Rahab, though a prostitute, had heard about God and His power and she believed.  (Joshua 2:8-13)  And Rahab’s belief spurred her into action–to save the spies sent to Jericho.  Because of these women’s belief, which had to be strong, they were obedient and active servants of God.  I don’t think for one minute these women had the wisdom to know beforehand where their faith would lead them.  But this lack of knowledge didn’t discount their faith.  They walked through faith under the veil of darkness until light came forth.  And it did indeed.  And they praised God for it!

What’s my point?

God doesn’t have to lay His entire plan before me in order for me to believe.  I don’t need to know the end result in order to ACT on my faith.  Knowing what I need to do is hard enough.  What good would it do me to know His full plan?  I’m not sure our souls could take in all of what He’d have to say.  Our carnal minds can’t handle it.  We have a hard enough time obeying the scriptures we do understand.

I Thessalonians 5:12-22 is powerful.

Now we ask you, brothers, to respect those who work hard among you, who are over you in the Lord and who admonish you.  Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work.  Live in peace with each other.  And we urge you, brothers, warn those who are idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone.  Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else.  Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances for this is God’s will for you in Christ JesusDo NOT put out the Spirit’s fire; do not treat prophecies with contempt.  Test everything.  Hold on to the good.  Avoid every kind of evil. . . .”

The question remains:  “Why would God allow such behavior and then turn around and warn me (us) to live a clean, wholesome life?”  After I read I Thessalonians 5:12-22, I realized that I will never know the answer to that question, and I don’t need to know.  The example that Rahab, Ruth, Tamar, and Naomi left me is this:  “to be thankful in all circumstances for this is God’s will for you in Christ”; and “. . . pray continually.”  You and I, just like Rehab, Ruth, Tamar, and Naomi have NO IDEA what goodness will come from our trials.  If you and I give up now, God’s goodness will only sprout through someone else.  How terrible would it be to miss God’s blessing because I got in a hurry?  The mere suggestion of such a scenario is heart-wrenching.

You must understand there is something very powerful in the waiting process.  Though trying and sometimes long, and many of you know I can truly attest to this, He will bring forth a harvest so plentiful that we will not be able to speak of it intelligently.  Our English language would only restrict all efforts to describe HIS goodness.  Sometimes all you can do is sit back and be in awe and smile at His revelation.

This is why God wants us to wait on Him.  He doesn’t want us to fix it for Him, to hurry His plan, to think we know better than He does.  His plan and His ways are perfect!  His timing, impeccable!  Do I wish He’d hurry?  You bet I do.  But to miss the opportunity to journey with Him, is to miss the whole point of the wait.  It would be as if I had an appointment with Him in the garden, but I got in a hurry and had to leave.  What was the point of going to the garden?  It’s like making plans for a wedding, the wedding day arrives, and you decide to grab hold of the preacher and say your vows in a bathroom and scurry off to the honeymoon.  What was the purpose for all the preparations?  The point of my wait is to grow in Him; to fall in love with Him; to understand and give to those who have no hope.

You see, it’s not all about you and me.  It’s about our relationship with God and His will for us.

So, take another look at the road map God has provided you.  No matter which direction He’s steering you in, follow.  Maybe God will allow you to wander in the wilderness for awhile.  Maybe He’ll give you a map that only reveals the longest route to the promised land.  Wherever your map leads, you can’t spend all of your time wondering why.  You’ve got to get moving.  If you’re not careful you’ll be so consumed with the whys that you’ll end up missing the journey.

KNOW THIS:  “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  (Jeremiah 29:11)

So, can you run that by me again.  You can’t wait on the Lord because–what?

Donna B. Comeaux
Freelance Writer, Poet, Author

Ruby for Women

To those of you who give of your generous time to read my blogs and short stories, I want to introduce you to “Ruby for Women,” a Christian web magazine that includes short stories, poems, how-tos, recipes, arts and crafts, words of encouragement, biblical editorials, and other spiritual benefits to help us through our Christian journey.  The content is encouraging and uplifting.  The hard work put into the production of this web magazine is shown through its colorful artwork and professional display.  Last year “Ruby for Women” published my short story, “A Thanksgiving Tradition.”  The artwork added to its warmth and down-home feel.

Please visit http://rubyforwomen.com/ .  There is no “sign-in.”  You won’t be disappointed.  I am on their Blogger Team and there’s a good chance you might see stories I’ve written for this magazine that may not be published anywhere else.   If you decide to sign up, you will get a message when new issues are published.  I have a short story to be published in the fall issue entitled “Selfish Ambition.”  You can go to the summer issue of the magazine and read a synopsis of the story.  Look in the summer issue’s Table of Contents and look for “Selfish Ambition.”

“Ruby for Women” also posted my Christmas story, “A Change of Heart” in December 2013.  Please leave comments and let Ruby for Women know what subjects you would like writers to address.  We’d be happy to accommodate.

Enjoy!

Donna B.  Comeaux
Freelance Writer, Author, Poet

Enoch

One Hit Wonder

“Enoch”

Not much is said about Enoch.  That makes him what our preacher has called a “One Hit Wonder.”  He lived 365 years and what little we know about him speaks volumes.  We know with certainty Enoch wasn’t a nomad living on a far off mountainside detached from society.  He had a family, possessions, neighbors, friends and foes.  The peculiar thing about Enoch seems to be his rise above the fray to maintain a great relationship with God.  However you may describe that relationship, it’s one to be envied. Don’t you wish you had that kind of relationship with God? One of the things we may not realize is that our faith influences our actions.  Consider Noah who built an ark at a time everyone surely thought he had lost his mind.  A boat?  In the middle of dry land?  What did he have at stake?  His reputation.  His pride.  Yet, his faith compelled him to build the ark anyway.

Moses, a man who didn’t speak well, hesitated.  “…Oh Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant.” (Ex. 4:10)  What did he have at stake?  His life.  Pharaoh could have killed him.  A legitimate fear.  Yet, Moses’ faith compelled him to go forth anyway and free his people.

Mary, a devout woman, was chosen by God to become pregnant with our Savior.  What would something so public cost her?  Humiliation.  The thought of being pregnant with no husband would threaten her good standing in the community.  She ran the risk of being stoned to death.  Yet, her faith compelled her to remain faithful and believe all that God had told her.

Paul, a Pharisee, felt righteous in his persecution of his fellow Jews for going against their religious traditions.  What was at stake?  Status.  He’d be the laughing stock of the synagogue and probably put to death.   Yet, Paul surrendered his will and obeyed God, facing ridicule from both Jews and Christians at the beginning of his ministry.  And even when the Christians finally believed he had indeed been chosen by God to lead the Gentiles to the faith, he still paid the ultimate price.  Death.

Each of these devout followers had something to lose if they chose to live for God.  Whether they ran the risk of being publicly humiliated or faced death, they remained faithful to the end.

It is not a question of IF we will be tested.  But rather, how will our faith influence our walk with God during that test?  Will our hearts pant for the Holy One amid our trials?  Please, let us not be caught sleeping (Luke 22:46), but let us always be in prayer.  Walk with God, not ahead of Him.

Donna B. Comeaux

Freelance Writer, Author

Written for Park Plaza Church of Christ

Tulsa, Oklahoma

August 18, 2013

GO TO Parkplaza.org to hear the sermon on Enoch. Once on the website, click “Media,” then click “One Hit Wonders.”  There is NO signin or registration.  ENJOY!

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