Tuesday, November 29, 2005

#22 Sheep and Shepherds

November 29, 2005

"The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and staff, they comfort me." (Psalm 23: 1-4)

I have been obsessed with sheep lately. Yes - sheep. I have researched sheep, studied about sheep, read about sheep. Sheep keep coming up in my daily devotion time. Tonight, I will probably count sheep! I figure that they must be important to God, because they are mentioned 186 times in the Bible. (The New Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, pg. 1210-1211)

I'm really not flattered by Jesus' reference to me as a sheep. Sheep are stupid. They sometimes fall on their backs and are unable to get up again by themselves. Picture that...flailing legs up in the air - it's almost comical. They will eat anywhere and drink anything. They overeat until they become sick. They wander off looking for food or romance and sometimes fall into creeks. Their wool grows heavy and they drown (Grace for the Moment, Max Lucado). Not very smart, are they?

Naturally, if you think about sheep, you must think about the shepherd. Shepherds watch their flocks in the fields to guard them. They give tender care and continuing watchfulness. A shepherd will lead his sheep into rest and reviving, provide for their needs and protect them from fear of danger.

So if I am a sheep, I must be since Jesus said I am, and if He is the Shepherd (John 10: 11,14), what does that imply?

Look at Psalm 23, verse 1: "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want." Another translation says, "I have everything I need." The shepherd leads his sheep to all that they need: food, rest, water and safety. My Good Shepherd, Jesus, provides for all of my needs. This is His job and responsibility. He leads me to all that I need. Not necessarily all that I want, but all that I need.

Verse 2 says, "He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters." Philip Keller is a modern day shepherd. Keller tells us that sheep will never lie down until four conditions are met: 1) they must be free from all fear. 2) they must be free of torment by flies or parasites. 3) they must have a full belly. 4) they must be in harmony with their fellow sheep. Green pastures means tender grass. A good shepherd leads the sheep to the best places to graze to keep them healthy. Keller says that a good shepherd will put tremendous labor into clearing rough, rocky ground into lush pasture land. Jesus, our Good Shepherd, removes our fear, fills us with His Spirit until we are full in Him and gives us peace so that we may lie down and rest.

The sheep are led to "quiet waters". Remember the running creeks - the sheep drown. Sheep also scare easily so calm waters put them at ease. If we follow Jesus, He will lead us to those calm, quiet waters where we have inner peace, calmness and stillness from the living water that only He can give - the water that when I drink, I will never thirst again (John 4:13-14).

"He restores my soul" (verse 3a). When I am heavy laden and burdened, when life bruises and batters, when I am downcast, He restores my soul. We restore things that are old, battered and in bad shape. We restore houses, cars and furniture. We make them look brand new. Jesus restores us - He makes us brand new. Remember the sheep on his back, unable to get up? That is what is meant by being downcast. In that position, they can get sunstroke, or be attacked by wild animals. The Good Shepherd will restore the sheep who has become downcast. He will set us right side up.

"He guides me" (verse 3b). He leads me. Where? Into paths of righteousness. Right paths. Sheep have no sense of direction. They need someone to lead them in paths that are right. They have to be led or they will wander. Sounding familiar? He leads us into the best places. The word "lead" literally means to "drive" us. At times He guides me gently - at times I need to be driven - pushed and prodded. But that's what a Good Shepherd does. He wants to lead me into those paths that have been marked out by Him. They have been checked for safety and only for my good. But my eyes must stay on Him as He leads.

"Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and staff, they comfort me" (verse 4). Sheep have no way to defend themselves. They have no incisors (cutting teeth) in their upper jaws. They have no claws or pointed horns. They are defenseless. The only way they can defend themselves is by running away. They need a shepherd with a rod (a stick that is used to fight enemies) and a staff (a special stick that helps people walk) to protect them. When we are afraid, when we're lost and not sure where we are or where we are going, the Lord is there. Sometimes with a gentle word and a soft touch. Sometimes poking and prodding with His rod and staff. He may also have to use his rod to get us out of deep waters or get us down from a high ledge that we are afraid to come down from. Either way - He is leading us and guiding us and protecting us. And protect us He must! Apart from Him we have no defense against the lion who is seeking after whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8).

It is important for a sheep to see it's shepherd and hear his voice to know that it is safe. In John 10:27, Jesus said, "My sheep listen to my voice. I know them and they follow me." Sheep know their shepherd's voice so well that when they get intermingled with another flock, each shepherd can call out and the sheep will quickly start following their own shepherd. Only then are they able to lie down and rest, restored, because they know their shepherd will protect them and care for them. He will lay down His life if He has to (John 10:11). He doesn't run away when the wolf comes (John 10: 12-13). And if one strays, He will leave the rest of the flock to find it. He will put it on His shoulders and carry it home. You know that wandering can be harmful and tiring - sometimes we can't even walk when we're found. But He will rejoice as He carries us and say, "I have found my lost sheep." (Luke 15: 4-6)

Just before Jacob died he said, "God has been my shepherd all my life" (Genesis 48:15). He is my Good Shepherd. Is He yours?

Until next time,

Donna Schultz

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

#21 No, Really...Give Thanks

No, Really...Give Thanks
#21 November 22, 2005
Read Psalm 98

How typical is it to write about Thanksgiving this week? Doesn't surprise you does it? Well, I think that you may find this to be a little different. Are you up for a challenge? The Lord has asked me to do something this week that is quite out of the ordinary and I invite you to accept the challenge with me. From today until next Saturday evening, give thanks. "Easy enough", you say. No, I mean ONLY give thanks. Don't ask God for anything - ONLY give thanks.

"Sing to the Lord a new song" (v. 1). The "songs" we typically sing are full of our requests and petitions to God. I would guess that your asking time outweighs your praising and thanking time when you go to God in prayer. Let's sing a new song - one of ONLY giving thanks. No whining, no complaining, no begging, no asking - ONLY thanks!

Do you believe that your Heavenly Father knows everything you need before you ask Him (Matthew 6:8)? Just because you aren't asking for a few days doesn't mean that God will not be aware of your needs. He's not going to say, "Gee, I haven't heard any requests from Sally and Joe today - wonder what's going on, wonder what they need?" How absurd! No, your Father knows! Yes, we are told to pray but I believe that it will be refreshing and pleasing to God's ears to hear nothing but our heartfelt thanks for a few days.

We can thank Him because He has done marvelous things (v.1). His right hand and holy arm have worked salvation for Him (v. 1b). He is righteous (v. 2). He is love and faithfulness to all the ends of the earth (v. 3). He is our King (v. 6). He is the judge who will judge in righteousness and equity (v. 9). He forgives all your sins, heals all your diseases, redeems your life from the pit, crowns you with love and compassion, satisfies your desires with good things (Psalm 103: 1-5) and on and on we could go. Thank Him - Praise Him!!

When I'm talking thanks, I'm talking real thanks. Look at the commands of Psalm 98. Verse 4a says, "Shout". To shout is to utter a sudden loud cry (Funk and Wagnalls Home and Student Dictionary, 1989 by Merriam-Webster, Inc.). "Burst into jubilant song with music" (v. 4b) Bursting is like an explosion - jubilant is rejoicing in triumph, so explode into triumphant rejoicing over your God! Sing - shout for joy (v. 6)! When David brought the Ark of the Lord back to Jerusalem, he was leaping and dancing before the Lord to the point that the Bible says his wife despised him. He told her, "I will celebrate before the Lord. I will become even more undignified than this" (2 Samuel Ch. 6:16,21-22). The sea, the mountains, the rivers, the whole world is commanded to sing before the Lord (Psalm 98: vs. 7-9). Jesus said that if the people didn't cry out, "the stones will cry out" (Luke 19:40). Don't be put to shame by the rocks! The praise and thanksgiving set forth in God's word is not quiet, reserved or afraid of what other people think about it. It is shouting, dancing, joyful music, exuberant praise to the One who is worthy!

Not only will days of nothing but thanksgiving be pleasing to the Lord, but I believe that it will be beneficial to us as well. Try something for me - say your name five times in your head. Now try and think about your address while still thinking your name. Can't do it, can you? We can't think about two things at the same time! While thanking God, we cannot worry. While expressing thanks, we cannot complain. We can't fret. We can't murmur or grumble. We can't work our own plans to take care of our problems. Praise God! There's freedom in the midst of the thanksgiving!

I believe that our joy will increase and overflow as we thank. If we really concentrate on what we have been given, we will become joyful. Our focus will shift from what we don't have to "every good and perfect gift" that God has given us (James 1:17).

You may be thinking that you don't have much to be thankful for today. Oh, my friend, you do! Start with your spiritual blessings; the Cross, salvation, God's love for you. His faithfulness, His mercy and compassion. The forgiveness of all of your sins. The Blessed Holy Spirit living on the inside of you. You have been blessed with a roof over your head, clothes on your back and food to nourish your body. I praise God each morning for eyes that see, ears that hear, lips that speak and a body that moves. Each breath, each heartbeat - a gift from God.

Hate laundry? Thank Him for a husband and children who wear those clothes and the means to buy them. Hate house cleaning? Thank Him for providing shelter. Hate your job? Please don't!! Thank Him that you have one -- so many do not! You get the point...

You say, "But Donna, you just don't know what I'm going through right now. It's so hard to be thankful." The Bible tells us to "give thanks in all circumstances" (1 Thessalonians 5:18). All -- not some. Even in bad situations thank Him that "in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28). Thank Him because "the testing of your faith is developing perseverance (patience). When perseverance has finished it's work you will be mature, complete, not lacking anything" (James 1: 3-4). Don't see the end from the beginning? Thank God for teaching you how to trust Him!!

Today is Tuesday. Won't you join me for the next five days on this journey of total thankfulness? It won't be easy, I assure you. We're not used to it. That old, ugly father of lies may even put on a stronger attack. Let me make a few suggestions:

When you have a thought or situation that would cause you to worry or fret or complain, just say "Jesus". There is power in that name. "There is power in the very Name, something all pagan religions know. To know someone's name means to have power over them, however external: they will, after all, turn round for you if you name them aloud, stop in their tracks, look up. Jesus has freely given us his name, which means "Savior". It has extraordinary power: do we use it?" (Sister Wendy Beckett, The Mystery of Love, Harper Collings (1996) p. 56). Say, "Jesus" and then begin to thank Him, once again.

If you are in a prayer group this week, dare to be different - tell the others that you're doing nothing this week but thanking Him. Who knows? It may catch on....Hallelujah! won't God be pleased!

Even thank Him for what He WILL do ahead of time, "calling things that are not as though they were (Romans 4:17). Thank Him for that healed marriage. Thank Him for that saved son or daughter. Thank Him for the provision He is sending...right now!

Put your laundry list of requests in your pocket, immerse yourself in the Word to see all His benefits (Psalm 103:2). Shout for joy even if you don't feel like it. Be undignified! Let "Thank you Jesus!" continually be in your mouth! Then go to worship Him on Sunday morning. Praise, sing, dance if you're not embarrassed. You will have "joy unspeakable and full of glory" (1 Peter 1:8).

I believe that God is going to do some mighty things in our lives this week. I really do. Won't you try it with me? And I would love to hear from you. E-mail me and share the awesome way that God has worked in your life and situations as you spent a week in thanksgiving. Then we will rejoice and thank Him together.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving Day,


Tuesday, November 15, 2005

#20 Just Like Our Christ

Just Like Our Christ
#20 November 15, 2005

"God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things - and the things that are not - to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him." (1 Corinthians 1: 27-29)

Mahatma Gandhi,a man viewed as the father of the nation of India once said, "You Christians are so unlike your Christ." I would take offense to that statement if it weren't so true.

What is our Christ like? The only way to find out is to search the Scriptures and hear the voices of those who have gone before you testifying to their experience with Jesus.

Listen to Peter the foul-mouthed fisherman tell you how Jesus called him from his boat. He wasn't rich. He wasn't even clean after a long day of casting nets and handling fish. When Jesus called him He already knew that twice Peter would falter in his faith and look away from Him - once walking on a night sea and again denying Him on the night He was arrested. He would even have the gall to rebuke Jesus and try to dissuade Him from fulfilling His mission here on earth. He had a temper, cutting off an enemy's ear. Jesus knew all of this - He chose him anyway. Foolishness? Or just like our Christ?

Listen to the sinful woman of Luke, Chapter 7, tell you how much courage she had to muster to go into that dinner Jesus was having with a group of Pharisees. They knew who she was. They knew what she did for a living. Some of them had even been with her. But she knew that this man was different. She had saved for a long time to buy this expensive perfume. Her broken alabaster box and poured out perfume symbolized her broken life and poured out sorrow - and she found real love and forgiveness. She ignored the degrading remarks of the men in the room. Her focus was on Jesus. And guess what? His focus was on her! When she heard Him defend her to the others, her sense of worth and value came back. This man loved her, sins and all - He forgave her. She could go on. Sin met the Savior that night. Foolishness? Or just like our Christ?

Jesus was leaving the city with a large crowd when He heard the cries of blind Bartimaeus. He was a beggar sitting by the roadside, no doubt passed by, jeered at and shunned by those who saw him. He screamed, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me." (Mark 10:47). People told him to be quiet. It just wasn't proper to cry out like that. But he shouted all the more, "Son of David, have mercy on me." Jesus stopped. He was busy. He was surrounded by a large crowd. This was one man. A beggar at that! But Jesus stopped. This man, blind, begging, insignificant and dispensable in the world's eyes stopped the Son of God in His tracks. Foolishness? Or just like our Christ?

The Samaritan woman wants to tell you about a man who told her everything she ever did. (John 4:29) In spite of the fact that He was tired and hungry, He took the time to explain things to a somewhat unseemly lady by a well. She had been married five times and was now living with a man who was not her husband. He told her the truth about Himself. He offered her a spring of water welling up to eternal life. Another sinner, another woman who needed a Savior. Instead of giving her condemnation, He gave her a gift. Foolishness? Or just like our Christ?

And how embarrassing was it to be dragged out of the bed, sheets and all? Caught in the act of adultery and made to stand before a whole group of men and Jesus. Why were all of these men at the scene of the crime anyway? Perhaps they were waiting in line! To make matters worse they were using her to trap this Man so that they could accuse Him of not following the Law of Moses. Here is where Jesus makes the most important statement of all-it is still a statement He makes to us today. "If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her." (John 8:7) She tells you that the silence was deafening. And Jesus was doodling on the ground. After a while only two were left - the Sinner and the Savior. Jesus was the only one fit to cast the stone - He was sinless. But He would rather see her saved and delivered from her life of sin than adhere to a religious rule or program. Foolishness? Or just like our Christ?

Many call out to you from the pages of your Bible. Matthew, the dishonest tax collector. Lepers. Demon-possessed men. Paralytics. The blind. The deaf. Rich. Poor. Little Zaccheus, the extortioner. A thief on a cross. All who had an encounter with the One who was never too busy. The one who never looked down on them. The One who made Himself nothing (Philippians 2:7) and paid attention to the "nothings" of this world. He was not impressed with the rich, the learned, the self-righteous. Those who were the most sinful, the most broken, the most in need - those were the people who captured our Christ's attention. Those who were on the side of the road acting undignified. These made Him stop.

Who along life's road are you passing by? Who do you stop for? Who do you seek out? Never be fooled by the "nothings" of the world. They are closer to the heart of Christ than those who are self-assured, complacent and viewed as "something".

Foolishness? I don't care! I want to be just like my Christ!

Until next week,

Donna Schultz

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

#19 The Prison of Her Soul

The Prison of Her Soul
#19 November 8, 2005
"The Scripture declares that the whole world is a prisoner of sin, so that what was promised, being given through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe. Before this faith came, we were held prisoners by the law, locked up until faith should be revealed." (Galatians 3: 22-23)
"But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:8)

The room that she sat in was small. Room for a bed, a desk and facilities was all. Kind of cold in there too as she remembers it. She had been there for 35 years. In the prison of her soul. Heaviness and hopelessness marked the days. She tried to pass the time with pursuits she hoped would numb the pain that she felt inside. Chasing after success and riches, looking for love in all the wrong places. Nothing worked there. In the prison of her soul.

The list of the charges against her was long and seemed to grow with each passing day. No matter how hard she tried to tow the line, the accuser brought another charge. GUILTY! was the sentence that left her, in the prison of her soul.

She never had an affair but she wondered what it would be like to be with that handsome man at work - GUILTY, one charge of adultery. She remembers making one of the hardest decisions of her life and signing the consent papers for the abortion. GUILTY, one count of murder. Add to that the counts of judgement, envy, hatred, inappropriate anger, gossip and selfishness. There were more, so many....screaming in her head....guilt, shame....

Banging on the bars....a voice...."You are free to go." She thinks that this must be a dream or a cruel joke. "Free? Free? I'll never be free!" They tell her that a man has agreed to take her place so that she can go free. Could it be? Who would EVER do that? And a man?? Men had only let her down. She says, "I want to meet this man." She is told that she cannot see Him because He is already taking her place. She need only believe and be set free.

Leaving her cell, she hides in the shadows and watches. She recalls an old story she heard. Peter, wasn't it? - watching from the shadows? She can scarcely watch as He is beaten - for her. Her hands go to her ears trying to quiet the voices taunting and mocking Him - for her. As if this weren't enough, they spit on him - instead of her. She hears them laugh at him because He was the one she sinned against - yet he was doing all of this - for her! They just didn't understand.

Following in the shadows she hears, "Dead Man Walking" and watches His back going to the death chamber. She wants so badly to see His face. What is He carrying? Looks like a cross - a cross with every sin, evil thought and sickness she ever had, written across its wooden beams. And as if that weren't enough, she watches the heavy nails pierce His hands and His feet as they nail Him to that same cross. He screams from pain she will never have to know. Blood flows - "I must get closer....I must see Him!"

Just then, He turns and looks at her with the most beautiful eyes she has ever seen - eyes full of love. "Is He speaking? To me?" She hears this man of quiet strength say, "My beautiful daughter, I love you so much. You are free - believe it - you are truly free. You are not only forgiven, but your sins are totally off of your record. No one will be able to accuse you ever again. And do you know what else? Every sin you will ever commit in your life is covered by the blood I am shedding for you right now!"

For a moment His words are interrupted by someone trying to give Him something to drink. But He turns back and says, "Wait. I have more to give you." She thinks, "More! What more could He give?" Getting weaker with each passing moment, He tells her that He will send what His Father promised, His Holy Spirit, who will be with her all the days of her life - to guide her and comfort her. And life eternal with Him in Heaven. She will never be alone again. She will never be abused or rejected.

He cries out one more time to His Heavenly Father. She hears Him say, "It is finished!" He is dead. She is free. There is a soldier standing nearby. A tear is falling down his cheek. She approaches him and says, "Who was that man?" The soldier replies, "Surely this man was the Son of God. His name was Jesus." Then he hands her release papers. The ones that say:

Because of this One Man, she walks out of the darkness of prison and into the light of freedom. And she can't wait for you to hear her story. She can't wait to share what has just happened. She is searching for others who need to be set free. Can you hear her telling you? Don't try to quiet her - she will not be silent. Excuse her if she seems a little radical - Radical Love touched her life, right there, in the prison of her soul.

Not guilty,

Donna Schultz

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

#18 There Is Beauty in the Dying

#18 November 1, 2005
There Is Beauty in the Dying

?There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: a time to be born and a time to die.? (Ecclesiastes 3:1-2a)

A few weeks ago I was sitting in my backyard watching the leaves just beginning to turn colors. Again marveling at the awesomeness of God manifested in creation, a word was spoken to my spirit that said, ?There is beauty in the dying.? In my mind I understood this as the beauty of the changing, falling leaves as they die and signal the approaching winter. However these words have haunted me ever since. Again yesterday, sitting at the cider mill, sipping cider and eating donuts on a date with Chuck, I noticed those leaves and signs of fall once more. It was even more beautiful this time. Out in the country where the air was just crisp enough, smelling the apples and hearing the rustling of the leaves on the ground brought these words back to me. There is beauty in the dying.

Beauty and dying?seems like an oxymoron. If you think about it, not really?Look at a seed. Jesus said that ?unless a seed falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.? (John 12:24). We all know what happens when we plant seeds in our backyard. With time and care we reap a harvest of beautiful plants and flowers. Dying seed...beauty to behold!

When we receive the gift of Jesus Christ as Lord, dying is quite evident. We become new creations..the old has gone (died)?the new has come. (2 Corinthians 5:17). The new is so much more beautiful than the old. Hence, the beauty in the death of our old self, making us alive to Christ, ?I no longer liv(ing) but Christ liv(ing) in me? (Galatians 2:20).

Death in the Bible, especially in the New Testament, was beautiful because it brought God great glory. The deaths of Lazarus, the widow?s son, and Jairus? daughter all provided Jesus the opportunity to raise them from the dead and bring His Father glory.
We can find immense beauty in the dying of Christians even today. In the process of dying, they are moving closer to Heaven. When they are gone from this world, they wake up to the face of Jesus, the most beautiful sight we will ever behold!

And let?s not forget the most beautiful death of all?that of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ! The Wycliffe Bible Commentary says that ?Nature provides a parable of Jesus? career. Apart from death his life stands in isolation, with no power of increase. Death is the key to spiritual fruitfulness? (p. 1100). Without the beauty of the death of Jesus, we would still be lost in our sin, hopeless and helpless and destined for eternal damnation. ?Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!? (2 Corinthians 9:15)

We all think about the obvious things that need to die in our lives when we commit to Christ?pride, selfishness, anger, hatred, lust, greed. But there are also many not so obvious things that will be beautiful as they die. About a year ago I prayed for the death of all of the empty things that I hold on to. I meant that prayer with all of my being and I can tell you?be careful what you pray for! Think about all of the things in your life that hold no eternal, kingdom value. Look at what occupies your time, your thoughts, your money. Remember, ?where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.? (Luke 12:34). Let those useless, empty things die. Are you busy for God and not growing closer to God? Oswald Chambers said, ?the one thing that is in greatest competition with living for God, is service to Him.? I?m not totally there yet but the beauty I?ve seen so far encourages me to keep going.

Let the status quo die. Don?t be content with your spiritual life the way it is. Tommy Tenney?s daily devotional asked, ?Are you prepared to be ?undignified? in the eyes of the spiritual elite? Are you willing to survive on starvation rations of one scant meal per week, or will you pay the cost to passionately pursue Him and enjoy the bounty of His presence more and more? That kind of desperation and brokenness can pull God from His hiding place. No wonder He said, ?Seek My face.? God is just waiting to reveal His face to somebody who is desperate enough and bold enough to pull Him out of hiding.?

I don?t know about you but I?m tired of the status quo?tired of church as usual?tired of lukewarm Christianity. I want to be like the apostles in the book of Acts who were willing to suffer anything to spread the Gospel. And I am so hungry for the presence of God in my life and I carry a burden for my Christian friends to feel His presence, to even desire to feel His presence. He has become my magnificent obsession! Is He yours? Let every other pursuit die! Go ahead, let it all go?let all of that old junk die!

And stop beating on doors that God has already closed. Revelation, Chapter 3 says that ?what he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open.? If you are no longer hearing from God in a certain area of your life, if you no longer have that peace that passes understanding about what you?ve given your life to, if you are filled with confusion?maybe Jesus has closed that door and is moving you through the death of that thing to something far more meaningful and beautiful. Only you know what that thing is that you?re trying to make happen and you?re just not getting there. Ask Him to show you. Pray and listen. Be sure that you have asked forHis guidance, then think about it?perhaps the door is closed?perhaps it has died for you?perhaps you?re ready to move on to something beautiful. If God is done with it?you be done with it too.

Thomas F. Fisher said, ?When the seed falls and dies, God is simply transforming you to the degree necessary to make you be an instrument of soul transformation.? (Ministry Health, ?Unless Your Seed Falls?, Thomas F. Fischer, M.Div.,M.S.A. #351)

The leaves are changing color and falling from the trees. Soon it will be winter. The leaves of your life are changing, falling and dying as well. At least some of them should be. Would you have it any other way? Sameness is boring, change is exhilarating! Winter is just around the corner and it may be feeling like it is winter in your soul. But remember that God is faithful and spring with all of its freshness and newness always comes. There IS beauty in the dying!

Following He who bids me come and die, and find that I may truly live!

Donna Schultz