Saturday, August 1, 2009

Mom got a phone call about 1:00 am today from her sister, Nellie, in Colorado. Lloyd and Nellie's oldest son, Murray Phariss, died suddenly in Los Angeles on July 31. Murray was born July 13, 1950 in OKC. He married Laurie M. Larson on June 4, 2009. We do not know funeral arrangements yet. Please keep our family in your prayers.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

GOD IS WITH US by Roy Lessin

"God is with us, in good times and bad times; easy times and hard times; gentle times and turbulent times.

When we face difficulties, God will sometimes remove them, sometimes He will show us the way to avoid them, and other times He will show us the way through them.

Having God’s presence is more important than the circumstances we face or the people that are around us.

When God tells you He will walk through something with you it means you have all you need—peace is there, strength is there, grace is there, love is there, because He is there."

by Roy Lessin, Co-founder of DaySpring

QUOTE by Roy Lessin

...Saul was given a very clear command from the Lord. Saul did what the Lord commanded him, but not fully. Saul added something that God did not tell him to do. When Samuel confronted Saul with his disobedience, Saul tried to explain. Samuel was not impressed with Saul’s explanation and told Saul, “Has the Lord as great a delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice…”1 Samuel 15:22

What is the best thing we can do as we follow the Lord? The answer is simple. The best thing we can do is what we have been asked to do. God does not want us to complicate things or put our own spin on it. Not doing what God asks us to do is disobedience, but adding something to what God has asked us to do is also disobedience. Let us walk with Him daily in simple trust and full obedience of faith.

When the Apostle Paul first met Jesus on the road to Damascus, he asked a very simple question; “What do you want me to do?” Paul spent the rest of his life doing what Jesus asked him to do. What is Jesus asking you to do? How does He want you to spend this day? As you do what He asks, you will find His grace to be sufficient, His strength to be abundant, His provision to be complete, His peace to be abiding, and His presence to be enough.
“Whatever He says to you, do it.” John 2:5

~Roy Lessin

QUOTE by G. Campbell Morgan

"God has foreordained the works to which He has called you. He has been ahead of you preparing the place to which you are coming and manipulating all the resources of the universe in order that the work you do may be a part of His whole great and gracious work."
~G. Campbell Morgan

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

02-10-09 Tornado near where I work! (Oklahoma)


We had a tornado warning the afternoon of February 10! Yes--in February! Not just a watch, but an actual warning!

The MDO (Mother's Day Out) director's Mom called her and told her the sirens were going off in Edmond and that there was a tornado warning. So, we all went over to MDO to help around 2:20 pm to make sure that the children were retrieved safely by their parents. Then we all packed up Emily's baby (Elliana) and Kylee's baby (Rylee) and went back to the office area to our designated tornado room, which is Ryland's office. Ryland had just come back to work today after taking his new son (Isaac ) and his wife (Mindy) to Isaac's first doctor's appointment. Isaac was born February 3 and Ryland, Mindy and Isaac stopped by the office after the doctor's appointment so we could all meet Isaac. Ryland drove Mindy and Isaac home and then came in to work.

Around 2:20, the tornado warning was issued and Mindy and Isaac were at home by themselves. She and Isaac got in their hallway and Ryland stayed at work because it was too dangerous for him to drive in the bad weather. I know his heart was aching to be home with them. Eventually he was able to drive home and everyone at the Russell household was fine. We are grateful to God for that.

The tornado touched down very near Waterloo Road Baptist Church where I work. The tornado hit just west of Waterloo Road and Broadway. WRBC is at Waterloo Road and Coltrane, which is two miles (two intersections) from the damage. (On my way home from work on 02-11-09 I took a picture from my car of a building that was totally destroyed. I will try to post the pic on this blog.)

After the tornado passed and we were out of harm's way we spent the rest of the afternoon answering phone calls and trying to work at our computers. Not only were WRBC members and our families calling, TV stations, the Red Cross, Feed the Children, and the Edmond Emergency Management Department called as well.

WRBC was opened as a designated Red Cross shelter for those whose houses were severely damaged or destroyed. When I left a little after 5:00 pm on Tuesday the Red Cross had not arrived to set up yet. I presume they finally made it 'cause the TV and radio stations were announcing that people should go to the Church if they needed a place to stay, food, etc.

If I was not still recuperating I would have stayed to help. However, I knew I would do myself more harm than good and came on home.

Ted, the husband of our receptionist (Janice) drove to WRBC so we could follow him home safely and avoid the closed roads, downed power lines, debris and trees on roads, etc. Ted is chaplain for the OKC fire department and knew the roads that would be closed. Three of us ladies followed him home. It took me 40-45 minutes and normally it takes only 20 minutes.

Fortunately everything was fine at my house when I arrived. I even had electricity!

Please pray for people whose houses were destroyed or damaged as well as for those trying to restore electricity, work at the Red Cross shelter, etc.

P.S.: I learned February 11 that at least 8 people were killed and 50 injured due to another tornado that touched down on February 10 in the small town of Lone Grove, near Ardmore. News media is reporting that the tornado near where I work was rated EF2 and the one near Ardmore was EF4! Pray especially for those people in grief due to the deaths of family and friends. Some of them also have the grief of their house and possessions being blown away.
As of February 12, 9 people have died as a result of the tornado in Lone Grove.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

January 1, 2009: "Auld Lang Syne"

“I thank my God every time I remember you.”
Philippians 1:3 NIV

“Should auld acquaintance be forgot and never brought to mind…?” I wonder how many people around the world sang “Auld Lang Syne” to welcome the New Year today. Although the language of this song is archaic to us, the question it asks continues to be one that those of us in this ninth year of the 21st century need to seriously consider. As we welcome a new year—or for that matter, as we welcome a new day—should our old acquaintances and friendships be forgotten and never thought of again?

It is my habit to pray for people each time I think of them because I believe that is Holy Sprit prompting me to pray when someone needs it the most. Paul told the Philippians that he thanked God for them every time he remembered them. Thanking God for someone every time you think of them would seem to be a simple thing to do. Or is it?

Perhaps if one of our acquaintances has wounded our heart through their words and actions, then it would be tempting in our pain to never think of them or speak to them again, let alone pray for them. However, in this situation it would be better for us to never bring to mind the painful circumstance lest a root of bitterness form in our already vulnerable, bruised heart. Let us instead remember especially these acquaintances in prayer to God.

“Dear God,
There are many people in my life that I love and for whom it is easy for me to thank You. You have placed them in my life to be a part of my family, my friends, my co-workers, and my acquaintances. But sometimes God, these same people are the very ones who bring painful grief into my heart by their unkind words and actions. I know that I am guilty of doing that in their lives too. Please forgive me and help me to forgive them with Your Strength in me. Guide me as I seek to extend Your kind grace of love and mercy. Help me to pray for everyone each and every time that I think of them, especially the ones who “…despitefully use me.” Help me to specifically thank You for them, as I should.
In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen “

©01-01-09 by Janet Faye Broyles of Edmond, Oklahoma . This devotional is protected by copyright laws and may not be reprinted or posted to a site without permission from Janet F. Broyles. All readers are welcome to forward the devotional to a friend or link to it. If you would like to seek permission to reprint the devotional in full, please leave a message for me here. ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Monday, December 15, 2008

Thank you!

Thank you seems so inadequate to say to all of you who are praying for (and with) Mom and me, loving us, encouraging us, volunteering to do things to help us, coming to see us, calling us on the phone, sending us cards--the list goes on and on. We are both so very grateful to God for you and for all the things you're doing to help us during this difficult season in our lives.

It is my understanding that the initial pathology report will come while I am still in the hospital. I don't know if I'll receive the final pathology report before being dismissed or not. I am expecting the best report possible. (Nevertheless, not my will, but God's.) I have prayed that the doctors will be surprised at how good everything looks once I am in surgery--and you know that God will get the credit, praise, and thanks for that.

A dear friend will update my CarePage as needed so you'll know what's happening as the journey continues. Thanks, Sally! You can find me by using TheTuneRoom as the page name. You must register/join to visit the page, but it is easy to do. I encourage you to leave a message for me--you can even mark it private if you want and only you and I will see it.

It is my habit to pray for people whenever they come to mind because I believe that is Holy Spirit letting me know to pray for people when they need it the most. I will continue to make that my habit during my days in the hospital as well as in the coming weeks as I recuperate.

Love & prayers to each and every one of you. You are near, dear, and precious in my life and in Mom's.

Because of Jesus,

Friday, December 5, 2008

"The Case of the Disappearing Bride Doll"

My "bride doll" had been missing for many weeks and I was angry that she was gone, yet fearful for her well-being. I knew without a doubt that I had carefully placed her (and the few clothes she owned) back into the third drawer of the marble-topped dresser. This was the bride doll’s "bedroom" and I was certain I’d put her there after my cousins and I had re-enacted yet another wedding with her in the starring role. It did not matter to any of us in her "wedding party" that she had no wedding gown nor veil because we were great at pretending and imagining. I even tried to convince myself through make-believe that my doll was missing because her "honeymoon" with her invisible "groom" had been extended. Still, I feared the worst–that I’d never be able to play with her again.

Although it was never spoken aloud, my radar-instinct told me that since my doll was not to be found in her usual location, that my Mom must believe I had lost her! How could my own Mother think such a thing? I was very careful with my toys, and the bride doll received extra-special attention and care.

"Okay" I reasoned to myself, "since I did not lose a happily-married doll, she must have been kidnapped." As a result of the fact that Mom appeared not to believe me regarding the whereabouts of my doll, I had to be my own private detective in the search for the disappearing bride doll. There was no ransom note to indicate she was kidnapped, so I assumed that one of my cousins had accidentally taken her home with their dolls and toys. By now I’d called in all the troops–aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, parents, etc.-–to help with "The Case of the Disappearing Bride Doll." Everyone assured me that the doll was nowhere to be found at any of their houses. I was discouraged and confused. Where could she be?

Christmas was quickly approaching and I was convinced I would not get any presents, since current evidence indicated that I could not take care of the toys and dolls I already had. How could I expect to get more? No adult ever said such a thing to me, but my overly-active imagination had convinced my already broken heart that nothing else could possibly happen. No gifts at Christmas? It was definitely going to be my saddest Christmas ever.

It was puzzling to me that my parents never expressed anger over the doll being lost. Daddy and Momma were not angry with me very often, but I felt so guilty that I assumed they would at least be annoyed. They weren’t, and I couldn’t figure out why. Perhaps my parents were so irritated that they couldn’t even speak about it! I was really in T-R-O-U-B-L-E if that thought were true.

Christmas Eve found me eager, and yet reluctant to go to bed. Santa most certainly would not deliver presents for me during the night because I’d been naughty and lost my most special doll. As I gazed longingly at the marble-topped chest where my doll was supposed to be, I finally fell asleep in my bed In spite of my childish worries.

On Christmas morning my bare feet were moving quickly along the cold linoleum floor of my bedroom toward the warmth of the carpeted living room. My eyes were open, so I gave the appearance of being awake, even though I did not feel very alert on the inside. (Even as a child I was never a morning person.)

The farm-cut, home-grown Christmas tree of cedar in the living room was twinkling with its multicolored lights and silver tinsel. My sleep-sluggish body contradicted the jolt I felt inside when I looked at the base of the tree. I had to be dreaming! I rubbed my eyes fast and hard to get the "sleepy-seeds" out and to make certain I was awake. Could my bride doll indeed be standing under our Christmas tree? Yet it was unquestionable–my bride doll had come home for Christmas and besides that, she had on a glamorous white-satin bridal gown and veil! She also had a wardrobe case overflowing with beautiful new clothes. In my excitement I ran to her, snatched her up and gave her my best welcome-home hug.

I heard Mom and Dad laughing in the background as they tried to explain what had happened. Grandma Dovie had made all the clothes for my bride doll and she’d needed the doll at her house for all the "fittings" required for the newly-fashioned clothing. In addition to that, all the adults in our family knew exactly where the doll was the entire time! Suddenly I knew why nobody was angry with me–they were all a part of a well-kept secret so that I could be surprised on Christmas morning!

That Christmas I learned in an unexpected way that all hearts really do try to come home at Christmas, even if the "heart" is inside a plastic doll’s body! "The Case of the Disappearing Bride Doll" had now been officially solved. Case closed.

©10-20-03 and 12-06-04 by Janet Faye Broyles of Edmond, Oklahoma . This devotional is protected by copyright laws and may not be reprinted or posted to a site without permission from Janet F. Broyles. All readers are welcome to forward the devotional to a friend or link to it. If you would like to seek permission to reprint the devotional in full, please leave a message for me here.


Even though the baby was born in His father’s hometown, no one but the novice parents knew of the baby’s exact moment of arrival. His parents were in every way fascinated with their infant’s tiny fingers and toes, His rosebud lips, His crinkly eyes, His hair that was softer than words could express. Everything about Him was absolutely perfect–a fact they would realize even more fully as he grew into a teenager. Only moments ago it had been just the two of them. In the next few moments Mary struggled to comprehend that she was a mother and Joseph, a father. But for now they were content to snuggle up together as a family of three.

As Mary wrapped Jesus in swaddling clothes and placed Him in a borrowed manger she had no idea that one day He’d be wrapped in cloth again and laid in a borrowed tomb. Joseph was with her now and Joseph of Arimethea would be with her then. For now, "The heavens–wrapped in wonder–knew the meaning of His birth. In the weakness of a baby, they knew God had come to earth!"*(1) This newborn who couldn’t speak a word was the fulfillment of The Word of God to man. As Mary watched the first light of a new day gradually appear, she joyfully accepted her first full day as a mother.

While the newborn cried softly, those in the world outside continued their morning routines as usual. Mary tried to relax and rest as she nursed Jesus, but she had so many thoughts and questions swirling through her mind that she couldn’t settle down. Instead of being anxious and concerned, she chose then and there to ponder things in her heart, a habit she’d continue for the rest of her life. Yes, the first light of this new day was very pleasing to Mary and she held Jesus even closer to her.

Little did Mary know that before the first light of a new day some three decades later, Jesus would be betrayed by one of His disciples, and yet another would deny three times that he even knew Him. Then, the first light of the next day would bring trials filled with false accusations and undeserved physical brutality. Jesus, The Word, had not been able to speak words on His birthday; He was only able to cry out to His father and mother. One day He would choose not to speak during difficult days of trial. On the day of His death, Jesus would only be able to cry out to His Father in heaven while His earthly mother stood weeping nearby.

After Jesus was born He had been placed inside a wooden cradle; in the future He’d be placed upon a wooden cross to die. Soon after His birth, the Name of Jesus was listed on the census by his proud father, Joseph. Shortly before His death thirty-three years later, a sign on a cross would list Jesus as King of the Jews.

In Bethlehem, His earthly parents were rejected at the inn. At Golgotha’s crucifixion, Jesus would be rejected by men. Shepherds had guarded their flocks and surrounded the birthplace of Jesus, The Lamb of God. Someday soldiers would guard and surround a tomb, the burial place of God’s Son, His Sacrificial Lamb.

In the first light of a future day, things would continue as they had been as the Son of God arose from the dead! Angels would be speaking at His resurrection to perplexed, terrified women: Mary Magdalene, Joanna and Mary the mother of James. At His birth angels spoke to two confused, frightened parents, Joseph of Bethlehem and Mary of Nazareth. Jesus was born into this world through a mother’s labor of love and eventually He would be resurrected into the world eternal through His Father’s labor of love.

In the first light of His first day on earth, angels announced the birth of Jesus; there were no trumpet fanfares announcing His arrival, even though He’d come from an impeccable lineage, straight from Father-God’s throne. In the first light of the last day, He will come from Father-God’s throne with trumpet sound announcing His second arrival to earth. Then our song will be greater than what the angels had to say at His first arrival on earth! Hallelujah, Hallelujah! Amen!

For then, for now, as well as for eternity–that’s why we celebrate Jesus’ coming!

*(1) based on the song "In the First Light"


©11-20-02 and 12-12-04 by Janet Faye Broyles of Edmond, Oklahoma. This devotional is protected by copyright laws and may not be reprinted or posted to a site without permission from Janet F. Broyles. All readers are welcome to forward the devotional to a friend or link to it. If you would like to seek permission to reprint the devotional in full, please leave a message for me here.


Wednesday, December 3, 2008

How God Works!

Wow--God is SO amazing! I posted my "nevertheless" prayer this morning on this blog and on my CarePage. Then I talked to some ladies here in the church building about God showing me last night that I should pray "nevertheless." When I returned to the office, the phone rang and I told Janice that I would answer it for her. Guess what--it was Dr. Rahhal's office calling w/ a surgery date! God is so wonderfully perfect in HIS timing. He wanted me to learn that lesson and I am glad that He helped me "get it!"


To find out the exact date and time of my surgery, please visit my CarePage at The name of my CarePage is TheTuneRoom. (no spaces and case sensitive.) You must register to access this page, but it is free and easy to do. I will continue to post things there as often as possible.

Thank you for continuing to intercede for me and Mom.


God has shown me in the last two days that it is okay to continue to pray that this surgery could be done in December. In addition, He has shown me that I also need to pray "...nevertheless, not my will, but Yours be done."

Monday, December 1, 2008

The Waiting Game

12-01-08 UPDATE: Today I called both surgery schedulers at both doctor's offices to let them know that I would be willing to do surgery anytime in December, even if it means that I will be in the hospital recuperating over Christmas. I haven't heard anything back though.

Please continue to pray that the surgery can be done in December so that I can start getting better sooner and so that the financial part of the $1500 deductible on my insurance can be a part of 2008 expenses instead of starting over on the deductible in 2009.

I continue to be amazed at all the wonderful messages that all of you are sending my way. Outside of the love of God and that of my parents, I have never felt so loved and prayed for in my entire life! I am humbly grateful for everything that all of you are doing to encourage my heart through your prayers, uplifting messages, and by offering to do every-day things to help me and Mom. I am blessed indeed!

Love & prayers to you and yours,
Janet =o)

11-28-08 UPDATE: We are still waiting for a phone call from Dr. Rahhal's office about the surgery date. ~~Please continue to pray that it can be done in December to help out with the insurance deductible for me. Also, a new pastor is coming in January to the church where I work and I am the pastor's secretary as well as doing publications. ~~Pray that my absence will not create a burden for anyone in the office, especially the new pastor, Griff Henderson.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

1st Appointment w/ Dr. McMeekin

~I just returned from my appointment w/ Dr. McMeekin. I will write more later about it, but this is simply to let you know that Mom and I feel more encouraged and our hearts are lighter than they were.

~I WILL have surgery w/ complete removal of uterus, tubes, ovaries, and all lymph nodes. There is an 80% cure rate from surgery alone. After final pathology reports come back we will know whether or not chemo, radiation or a combination is necessary.

~Dr. McMeekin feels that I am probably "middle of the road" as far as how far along the cancer is. There are 3 stages and grades underneath each stage.

~Here's the BEST NEWS: Dr. McMeekin WILL do surgery at Mercy Hospital, which is only 10 minutes from my house! JOIN US IN THANKING GOD FOR HIS ANSWER TO THIS PRAYER!

~Dr. McMeekin believes that the surgery can be done in December, which would be another answer to prayer. Since Dr. McMeekin has no surgery times at Mercy, it will be scheduled through Dr. Rahhal's office. Please CONTINUE TO PRAY FOR THE SURGERY TO BE SCHEDULED IN DECEMBER.

.~THANK YOU FOR PRAYING! I am excited to see how God is answering our prayers.

Love & prayers to you and yours!
Janet and Momma Faye

Saturday, November 22, 2008

New Doctor

I have an appointment with Dr. Scott McMeekin on Tuesday, November 25 at 1:15 pm. He is my new oncologist/gynecologist. I will have a 2-hour consultation/exam with him and my understanding is that by the end of this appointment I will know exactly what is going to happen medically for me. I do not know a surgery date, but it is certain that I will have surgery.

Join me in thanking God that I was able to get an appointment so quickly! I was told on November 19 that the November 17 biopsy was malignant for endometrial cancer. On November 20 I received the appointment with Dr. McMeekin! I am SO grateful to God for His intervention in all the details!

Please continue to pray for Mom and me, as I know that you will.

Love & prayers to you and yours,

Friday, November 21, 2008

Build a little fence of trust....

This morning Mom read this to me over the phone:
Build a little fence of trust
Around today;
Fill the space with loving work
And therein stay.
Look not through the protective rails
Upon tomorrow;
God will help you bear what comes
Of jor or sorrow.
by Mary Butts from Streams in the Desert by L.B. Cowman (November 21 reading)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Good News/Bad News

I went to my pre-op appointment on Monday, November 17 thinking I would do blood work, etc. Instead, my doctor had thought of another procedure he could try in the office to get a biopsy! Those biopsy results should be back by Wednesday, November 19. Pray that they will be. You'll see why this is so very important as you read on. I may still have to have the surgical biopsy on Thursday, November 20. I will not know for sure about that until the nurse calls me on Wednesday with the results from Monday's biopsy. So, I still need and appreciate your prayers. If I do have to have the hospital procedure, please pray that it can be done with no complications this time. Just like everyone who has to have a biopsy--a good, clear, benign report is something I'd like to have. I will let you know what I can as soon as I am told about if the surgery is on or off and what the biopsy report is from Monday &/or Thursday. Knowing that you are praying means so very much.

Dr. Rahhal called me around 10:50 am on Thursday, November 19 and he did not have good news. The biopsy from Monday does show malignancy for endometrial cancer. This will involve a hysterectomy and removal of nodes. He is referring me to an ob/gyn/oncologist, Dr. D. Scott McMeekin; this doctor was in surgery this morning and Dr. Rahhal was unable to discuss my case with him. When Dr. Rahhal hears back from Dr. McMeekin I will be contacted again today and I will see the new doctor as soon as we can get an appointment. Dr. McMeekin’s office is over by University Hospital and that is where he usually does surgery, but sometimes he will come to Mercy and do surgery w/ Dr. Rahhal. For my Mom’s sake, would you pray that the surgery can be done at Mercy? She just could not drive back and forth to University Hospital by herself. Pray especially for her—Momma Faye—she is taking this very hard. (She was doing better this afternoon when I called to check on her. I have stayed at work as a way of coping.) Also, please pray that I could have surgery before the end of the year because that would help out financially. My insurance deductible is $1500 and I have already met that with all of these tests this autumn. If I have to wait until January, then the deductible starts over as you know. Okay—as my grandma Dovie used to say “Take life as it comes, not as you order it.” God is still in control and is faithful and good. I was able to tell Dr. Rahhal that Christians have hope beyond today and he agreed, so there's already been an opportunity to say a good word to someone about our marvelous God. Dr. Rahhal also said that if you’re going to have to have cancer that this is the kind to have because of the high cure rate. They will not be able to stage it until the actual surgery. Thanks for your prayer support and words of encouragement. Mom and I need them now more than ever. Please check up on Mom in person, by mail, or on the phone as often as you can.

The good news? I do not have to have the hospital biopsy on November 20.

Love & prayers to you and yours,

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Making Technology Work for You Spiritually

In the "Outlook Today" calendar section on my computer at work, I have the following two questions pop up for me daily.

1. Will I do today what God says to do?

2. What lesson(s) is God trying to teach me today?

Perhaps there are some spiritual things you'd like to be reminded of daily. This is a consistent way to do it. I also have my computer remind me throughout the day of different prayer requests that have been sent to me. I have them reappear either daily or even several times a day until God answers the prayer and then I thank Him for His answer after that. Make technology work for you in causing you to grow spiritually.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Prayer Update for JFB

The next attempt to obtain a biopsy for me is on Thursday, November 20. Please pray that the procedure can be done without any complications this time. Pray for Mom and me to continue to have God's Peace that passes human understanding.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Voting Instructions

Pray for our nation.
2 Chronicles 7:14

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is
for good men to do nothing.”
Edmund Burke

Tuesday, Nov. 4 from 7:00 am to 7:00 PM

Pray for those in authority over us.
1 Timothy 2:2 

Thursday, October 30, 2008

"I Lost My Tooth!"

“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”
Jeremiah 29:13, NIV

Recently I was helping my aunt and uncle with a garage sale before they moved to Tulsa. Their neighbors next-door were having a sale also. It was a clear and bright Saturday in September, so bargain-shoppers were walking down the sidewalk between the two houses with their treasures in hand, like ants scurrying off to their ant-dens with food for the winter. Curious neighbors of all ages stopped by both garage sales and talked more than they shopped.

Grant, a child from across the street, was especially inquisitive about a portable electric typewriter at our sale. His first-grade fingers pretended to type on the unresponsive keys while he chatted with us about his family, school, etc. Suddenly Grant realized that he had not shown us his loose tooth. We were going to be privileged enough to look at his loose tooth whether we wanted to or not. It was so loose that it was lying sideways in front of the other teeth. It was obvious to us that this tooth would most certainly be underneath his pillow at bedtime. Grant was excited about that possibility and wiggled the jiggly tooth even more vigorously with one of his “typing” fingers.

Grant didn’t have enough money of his own to buy the fascinating “old-time” typewriter. “I’m flat broke,” he declared broken-heartedly, all-the-while wishing that my aunt would simply give him the typewriter. When she didn’t offer it to him free-of-charge, Grant went to check with his Mom to see if she would buy the intriguing typewriter. “I’m sure she doesn’t have one,” he declared as he ran back across the street.

The next time we saw Grant he was telling us in a dejected tone “I lost my tooth. I lost my tooth!” He was in tears and we were confused since he’d previously been so excited about putting his tooth under his pillow. “I was coming across the street to show everyone my tooth and I dropped it on the sidewalk before I got here. I can’t find it! I lost my tooth!” Grant declared unhappily from his discouraged heart.

Instead of being overcome with grief over his loss, Grant got right to work looking for his tooth. Soon, he had complete strangers from both garage sales bending down to assist in searching for his tooth. My aunt and I, as well as Grant’s entire family, took turns all morning searching for his tooth in the grassy area surrounding the sidewalk. We used our fingers and an old comb to part the blades of grass in hopes of finding the tooth. The phrase “finding a needle in a haystack” took on a whole new meaning for me that day.

The search continued past lunchtime because Grant could not be consoled until he found his lost tooth. During the tedious seeking, we discovered that in his childlike mind he thought his parents wouldn’t believe he’d pulled his tooth unless he had the tooth in his hand to show them. He didn’t realize that the greater evidence of having pulled his tooth was inside his mouth–a gaping hole in his gum-line. He wanted the evidence to be on the outside, yet the most convincing evidence was on the inside.

There are several spiritual lessons we can learn from Grant’s search for his missing tooth:
~~Our loss may be from the death of a family member instead of a lost tooth. Or, instead of not receiving a typewriter, we may not get the job we desperately want; however, as long as we seek God with all our heart, He promises that we will find Him. It is especially during these times we discover that God is bigger than our need. God Himself is our comfort in grief and our provision in loss. We must focus on Him more than on the pain of loss and the sting of sadness.
~~Just as Grant immediately started seeking in the midst of his discouragement, we need to get busy without delay or hesitation in our search for God and not be overcome by our devastating circumstances. Seeking God with all our hearts is the priority.
~~Even though it may seem impossible to find what we’re looking for when we’re seeking God, He reminds us in Jeremiah 29:14 “‘I will be found by you,’ declares the Lord ....”
~~We don’t need to always be alone in our seeking for God; we can and should enlist others to help us in our searching, using such things as group Bible study, intercessory prayer and public worship.
~~Evidence of searching for God is not always seen on the outside, but God knows what’s on the inside, deep down in our hearts. “‘...The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.’” I Samuel 16:7, NIV

Let us look for God in the same way Grant looked for his lost tooth–asking others to help us and not giving up in spite of the difficulty of searching. Grant did not find his tooth that day, but he did find that there are plenty of people who love him and are willing to help him when things seem impossible. He also discovered that there are some things worth looking for with all your heart. Grant found the greatest treasures of all. Will we?

© 10-05-04 & 10-30-08 by Janet Faye Broyles of Edmond, Oklahoma
This devotional is protected by copyright laws and may not be reprinted or posted to a site without permission from Janet F. Broyles. All readers are welcome to forward the devotional to a friend or link to it. If you would like to seek permission to reprint the devotional in full, please leave a message for me here.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A Prayer for Health

Dear God,

When we wake up each day, we never know what to expect. Thank You that we can confidently trust in You during each moment of our days and nights--in the fun times as well as in the difficult times.

Thank You that You never leave us nor forsake us.

Thank You that nothing surprises You about our lives, 'cause it sure surprises us sometimes. And every so often it's not a very happy surprise--like with a bad doctor's report that we receive.

I thank You that we are wonderfully created by You. I pray that my body would function the way that You created it to.

I ask You to provide Your healing touch for me according to your will for my life.

Please guide my earthly doctors to know the things to do that can help me the most.

I pray that You would give Mom and me Your Peace that passes human understanding in the midst of this season of great trial.

I know that You care about us and will take care of us now and forever.

Surround us with people who will do practical, helpful, and encouraging things to help us and that will remind us of Your love for us.

In Jesus' Name I pray,

"Sand or Stone?"

“Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine, and acts upon them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house upon the rock.”
“And everyone who hears these words of Mine, and does not act upon them, will be like a foolish man who built his house upon the sand.”
Matthew 7:24 & 26 (NAS)

While thumbing through a new catalog tonight (11-22-04) I noticed a quote that said “Write your hurts in the sand... Carve your blessings in stone.” I don’t know about you, but sometimes I carve my hurts in stone and write my blessings in the sand; so, this saying was a timely reminder for me to do the right thing regarding my blessings as well as my hurts.

Whatever is written in sand will soon be covered over when the first winds of painful adversity blow into our lives. Sometimes the troubles that come into our lives seem like an Oklahoma tornado in our hearts, leaving a path of destruction and devastation that only God can restore. In contrast to writing in sand, drawings, symbols and words that have been carved in stone throughout history often remain for centuries. In the same way, we have writings that have remained for centuries from Paul, King David, Moses and others. Their God-inspired communication will remain forever as a part of God’s Holy Word to each one of us. Even when the storms of life almost seem to come nonstop, if we have allowed the eternal messages from God’s Word to be carved into the tablets of our hearts, we can stand firm and have our faith in God strengthened; then those who come into our lives from all generations are able to read God’s message clearly by our actions, words and deeds in the midst of adversity and pain.

When I was a child, we learned a song in Sunday School entitled “The Wise Man and The Foolish Man.” Some of the words were “The wise man built his house upon the rock..... And the rains came tumbling down. Oh the rains came down and the floods came up, but the house on the rock stood firm." The next verse dealt with the foolish man and where he built his house: “The foolish man built his house upon the sand.... And the rains came tumbling down. Oh the rains came down and the floods came up, but the house on the sand fell flat." I may not have recalled all the words perfectly, but you get the idea–it makes a difference where we choose to establish our lives. We do have a choice on whether or not to build on the solid foundation of salvation in Jesus Christ or on the weak and insecure foundation outside of God’s will for our lives.

In this season of Thanksgiving we are often reminded to do as the hymn says–“...Count your blessings, name them one by one; Count your many blessings, see what God hath done.” Where are you keeping track of those blessings as you count them? Are they written in sand or stone? God has provided so many blessings for us that it would be difficult to keep track of them all by using only paper and pen, although it is good to do this. In addition to that, let’s ask God this Thanksgiving to write His blessings on the tablets of our hearts so that our minds can pull them up and meditate upon them at any time of the day or night. Share those blessings from God that are carved in stone upon your heart’s tablet with others, not just on Thanksgiving, but every day of the year. After all, Thanks-”LIVING” is just as important as Thanks-”GIVING.”
Dear God,
Thank You that You are teaching me how to write my hurts in the sand so that they quickly disappear. I need You, as the Author and Finisher of my faith, to carve Your blessings on the tablet of my heart so that I can truly say “Thy Word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against You.” Please help me to be strong enough to have a life of Thanks-“LIVING” as well as a life of Thanks-“GIVING.”
In Jesus’ Name I pray,

© 11-22-04 & 10-28-08 by Janet Faye Broyles of Edmond, Oklahoma
This devotional is protected by copyright laws and may not be reprinted or posted to a site without permission from Janet F. Broyles. All readers are welcome to forward the devotional to a friend or link to it. If you would like to seek permission to reprint the devotional in full, please leave a message for me here.

Monday, October 27, 2008

A Change In Plans

Unfortunately, I could not have the biopsy on October 22 because as soon as I was under general anesthesia, I started throwing up. They had to pull all the tubes very quickly in order to prevent fluids from aspirating into my lungs, which would have caused pneumonia. As a result, the biopsy could not be done AND I have one very sore throat and mouth. I am used to a sore throat after a surgery, but this one is lasting quite a long time. I am eating more solid foods, although they are still what I'd call "gentle" and soft foods.

Dr. Rahhal wants to give me a chance to recuperate and we are rescheduling the biopsy in the next week or two. He said that it will absolutely be done in a hospital this time instead of an outpatient surgery center. I'll let you know when.

Please continue to pray for me and also Mom during this time.

Thanks so much!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

"The Crescent Red Socks"

"Come now, let us reason together," says the LORD.
"Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.”
Isaiah 1:18 NIV

I grew up on a farm near Crescent, Oklahoma and when it rained, trying to walk through the red clay soil was similar to walking through a giant batch of rusty-red Play-dough with an unexpected ingredient of cement. The mud was so sticky that it could have been bottled and used for glue had it been white and a little less thick. It stuck to my pets, to the cows in the pasture, to our vehicles, to our shoes and boots, etc.

Growing up with this gummy substance provided many opportunities for me to be creative and inventive. My Mom and I formed some pottery-like dishes out of it so we could have a tea party with my dolls, using a new set of red “china.” In addition, I made numerous mud-pies to serve for dessert at the spontaneous tea parties.

Unfortunately, I never did find a successful way of arriving at the school-bus during an early-morning rainstorm without getting my shoes and socks muddied and stained. It was an extreme challenge to stay out of the red mud because there were limited numbers of grassy areas on which I could walk from our farmhouse to the end of the driveway in order to catch the mustard-yellow school-bus. Inevitably I had to step in the icky mud at some point before boarding the bus.

There were times when I got so bogged down in the gluey substance that I’d lose one of my shoes and not realize what had happened until I found myself walking onward with only one shoe. It was as if a hidden mud-monster suctioned the shoe from my foot and swallowed it for breakfast before I knew what was happening. No wonder I never had any white shoes nor socks when I was a child! They were always stained by mud the approximate color of rust due to the iron oxide in the soil.

In her attempts to make our “whites” whiter, I’m sure that my Mom used countless gallons of bleach during our years on the farm. No matter how hard she tried to get rid of that ugly reddish-brown stain in our clothing, there was always evidence that it was still there. Eventually there was nothing left to do but get a new pair of socks or shoes because the rusty stain was not removable.

Now-a-days T-shirts stained with red mud are trendy, expensive souvenir items in Oklahoma gift shops. This seems odd to me since I can go to our farm for no charge and drag a white T-shirt through the mud in order to stain it, but why would I want to? It seems like a waste of time and the ruin of a good T-shirt to me.

Even though activities and opportunities in our world may be popular and trendy like those ruddy souvenir T-shirts, oftentimes our choices regarding them result in having soul-staining sin embedded upon our souls. The stain of sin in our lives is far worse than the stain of red mud on my white socks and shoes as a child or on a T-shirt. Unless we ask God for forgiveness of sin in our lives, it is kept in our souls as a constant reminder of actions whose expensive price is not worth paying. It is like dragging our spiritual lives through the mud of sin and having the stains be approved as trendy or popular by the world, but why would we want to do that when the final cost is so much?

Sin does seem to have no price tag attached at the time, but in the end we pay with our very souls if forgiveness is not sought from God. Sin ultimately separates us from God for eternity unless we get together with Him to “reason it out” and to have Him “bleach” our scarlet sins away until our lives are clean–as purely white as freshly-fallen snow or the clean white wool on a brand-new lamb.

Sometimes we attempt to get rid of sin in our lives on our own, but no matter how hard we try to get rid of the ugly stain of sin in our souls, there will always be evidence that it is still there. Eventually we realize that there is nothing left for us to do but get a new life from God because the stain is not removable despite our best attempts. The only way to totally get rid of the sin in our souls is through God’s Son, Jesus–He is the only one that can accomplish this. Jesus is the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world.

Dear God,
My whole life seems like it is just one big blob of sin that is sticking to me like red mud on white socks. I am bogged down with the guilt of sin and my very soul is stained with it. I know that I can do nothing to get sin out of my life on my own. I thank You that You want me to come and reason together with You so that my scarlet sins can be as white as snow. I am grateful that You sent Your very own Son, Jesus, to be the sacrificial Lamb to pay the price for my sin. I am glad that because of Jesus’ birth, death, burial and resurrection I can have my crimson-red sins forgiven and taken away so that my soul is as pure as You need it to be in order to spend eternity with You. Thank You for the new life I have in You.
In Jesus’ Name I pray,

© by Janet Faye Broyles 10-26-04 & 10-25-08 Edmond, Oklahoma
This devotional is protected by copyright laws and may not be reprinted or posted to a site without permission from Janet F. Broyles. All readers are welcome to forward the devotional to a friend or link to it. If you would like to seek permission to reprint the devotional in full, please leave a message for me here.

Friday, October 24, 2008

"OK to Open"

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above,
coming down from the Father of lights....” James 1:17

What a nice surprise awaited me today (10-12-04) upon my arrival home from filling out job applications all afternoon in Oklahoma City. When I pulled into my driveway on this crisp October day, I noticed that there was a very tall box by my front door. I thought perhaps something was to have been delivered to one of the neighbors and had accidentally been placed at my address.

A message typed on the address label of the box indicated it was sent specifically to me from Colombia/Ecuador and that the U.S. Department of Agriculture said it was “OK to Open” this curious cardboard container. I was rather frightened to think that something I did not order had arrived at my house from Colombia/Ecuador. Since the days of anthrax mailings in the United States have arrived, I visually scanned the box and calmly realized that no white powder was anywhere to be found.

Taking the box inside, I could read the label more clearly. Once I realized that the two-and-one-half-feet-long container held fresh flowers, I was even more curious. Who could have had flowers delivered just for me? With my excitement building, I opened the box and joyfully discovered that a friend in Maryland had sent them my way with the following message: “To my sweetest friend, Janet. For the seedling, every drop of rain holds promise. Here’s to God’s promises.... Maureen.”

The multicolored alstroemeria flowers (Peruvian lilies) were somewhat wilted after having been pressed forcefully into a sturdy prison-like box and shipped directly from the Colombian/Ecuadorian grower. The easy-care instructions indicated that I should:
1. Fill a clean vase with room temperature water.
2. Add a flower food packet.
3. Cut the stems of each flower at a diagonal.
4. Remove any leaves that fall below the waterline.
5. Replenish the water in the vase when the water level drops.
If I followed these steps, my flowers would be rehydrated and bloom longer according to the brochure. For a brief moment I thought about taking some shortcuts by not adding the flower food packet nor cutting each flower stem at a diagonal. I relented and followed the directions completely. Within a few hours the fresh-cut flowers were responding nicely and starting to fluff up in the vase that I placed in the living room. The unique bouquet of lilies has already added splashes of joy to my heart not only because they came from a special friend, but also because they came during a season in nature (and in my life) where things are dry, seem to be dying, and looking rather drab.

“For the seedling, every drop of rain holds promise”–Maureen’s words were simultaneously intriguing and encouraging. God knew that I needed to be challenged on this autumn afternoon to remember that after a l-o-n-g season of dryness the rain eventually comes, bringing a season of promise, hope, growth and freshness along with it.

Similar to the lilies, I too was growing like a seedling in the ground. All too soon I went through a time of dryness and discouragement, with not even a drop of hope in sight when we were told that my Dad’s cancer was terminal, with only one to four months to live. Then God sent a spiritual refreshing to me in the midst of the emotional pain, reminding me of His promises to never leave us nor forsake us. When my Dad was miraculously dismissed from hospice care because there was no sign of the metastasized lesions on his liver, it seemed that I was thriving nicely once again. All of a sudden I was cruelly “cut down” and pressed forcefully into my own prison-like box and shipped directly away to places of unfamiliarity: the unemployment office, personnel agencies and tedious days of fruitless searching for jobs on the internet.

My circumstances appear to have unkindly pushed me into a time of withdrawal and isolation in the same way that the lilies were harshly shoved into their confining box. I am finding though that I have been able to spend more tranquil time with God as I try to learn from the hindrances that have been placed upon my life. It is during these times that God wants me to be cleansed by Holy Spirit and nourished with fresh spiritual food from Him. Like most people, I dread knowing that step three is inevitably coming. (Remember the one about cutting the stems again?) I will unavoidably have more times of pruning in my future, but since Jesus is The Gardener I know that it is for my best.

God, Jesus, and Holy Spirit will remove any sin in my life once I confess it and ask forgiveness. They will replenish me when my level of faith drops too low. I cannot think about taking my own shortcuts when God has better plans for me. I must relent and follow His directions completely. When I follow God’s instructions, I will be rehydrated and “bloom” according to His will for my life.

Yes–the flowers are exceptionally lovely, but not as lovely as the kind heart of my special friend Maureen, and not as exceptional as the spiritual lesson that God is teaching me–that after a l-o-n-g season of dryness, His life-giving rain does come, bringing a season of promise, hope, growth and freshness along with it.

By the way–it’s “OK to Open” an unexpected gift from God. He sends gifts directly from His throne room specifically for you. Open a surprise today!

© by Janet Faye Broyles 10-12-04 & 10-24-08 Edmond, Oklahoma
This devotional is protected by copyright laws and may not be reprinted or posted to a site without permission from Janet F. Broyles. All readers are welcome to forward the devotional to a friend or link to it. If you would like to seek permission to reprint the devotional in full, please leave a message for me here.

A Few Quotes

"Take life as it comes,

not as you order it."

~Dovie Velma Drye (Grandma)

"None of us is as effective

as all of us."

~Janet F. Broyles

"Never make a long-term decision based on

a short-term emotion."

~Janet F. Broyles


© by Janet Faye Broyles 09-29-04 & 10-23-08 Edmond, Oklahoma

These quotes are protected by copyright laws and may not be reprinted or posted to a site without permission from Janet F. Broyles. All readers are welcome to forward the quotes to a friend or link to it. If you would like to seek permission to reprint the devotional in full, please leave a message for me here.


Thursday, October 23, 2008

"Pencil Erasers"

In 1994 I was privileged to go on a mission trip to Brazil with the Singing ChurchWomen of Oklahoma. We took Bibles to give to the Brazilian people we met, as well as several small items such as book-markers, ink pens, notepads, etc. One of their favorite items to receive was a pencil. I was perplexed and wondered why they'd want an ordinary pencil more than the other things we were giving away. Finally, someone told us that the pencils the Brazilians used usually had no erasers. They wanted the pencils because of the erasers!

Think what it is like when you are writing with a pencil and make a mistake. Without an eraser, there's not a lot you can do to correct the problem. Unless someone comes along with a bottle of white-out fluid or loans you an eraser, your mistake is not fixable. About the best you can do without these correction tools is to scratch out your mistake with the pencil lead and try again. This leaves an ugly spot and spoils the appearance of what you're doing. Sometimes we do have an eraser on our pencil, yet if it is old and hard, it leaves a mark of its own and makes the mistake worse. Occasionally, we wad up the paper in frustration and start over with a fresh, clean page.

Sin in our lives is similar to writing the word “S-I-N” in the darkest, biggest letters we can on the cleanest, whitest paper we have. When we realize what we’ve done, we may try to erase the sin. As hard as we try, there is always something left on the paper to indicate that sin was there. Occasionally we get the mark of sin erased, yet there are indentations left on the paper. Even using a white-out fluid won’t cover these indentations in the paper. There is nothing left to do but to get a fresh, clean sheet of paper and start over.

Jesus is the only one who can totally erase sin in our lives. When our hearts are hardened with past, unforgiven sin we only make things more unacceptable by trying to erase sin ourselves. Our best efforts to remove sin make things worse--like using an old, hard eraser. There is no solution we can provide to fix the sin problem in our lives. Only Jesus can totally erase it or rub it out. He's the only one with an eraser that works perfectly. He’s also the only one who can give us a fresh, clean start in our lives.

The scarring indentations of sin are still upon our hearts, showing us the consequences of sin. Through Jesus’ death and resurrection, God is willing to forgive and erase sin in our lives and to give each of us a new heart so we can start over. Because He totally forgives and completely forgets our sin, it’s far better than trying to use our own eraser or a white-out fluid. Once we realize our self-efforts are unacceptable, all we have to do is ask God for His help. It’s as if God gives us a new, clean piece of paper on which to start over. Our hearts are clean, white and pure only because of Him.

"Dear God,
I know that I am a sinner and that I cannot erase sin from my heart and life by myself. I make things worse when I try to cover up my sin and I need Your help. Please forgive me of my sin and create a new, clean heart in me.
In Jesus' Name I pray,

© by Janet Faye Broyles 09-29-04 & 10-23-08 Edmond, Oklahoma
This devotional is protected by copyright laws and may not be reprinted or posted to a site without permission from Janet F. Broyles. All readers are welcome to forward the devotional to a friend or link to it. If you would like to seek permission to reprint the devotional in full, please leave a message for me here.

"Filtering Junk"

If we think of prayer to God as “knee-mail” we can draw some interesting analogies with that term and e-mail terminology.

For instance, unlike e-mail, our “knee-mail” time is free-of-charge to us because God, our Eternal Provider, sent Jesus to pay the one-time price for us to be able to connect with Him any time of the day or night.

Because God has called us by name, we have user names that He recognizes in our daily times with Him.“...Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine!” (Isaiah 43:1b, NAS) We have unlimited, direct access to God upon His throne with no password needed other than what He has provided through Himself, Jesus, and Holy Spirit. “Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. Let us therefore draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:14 & 16 NAS)

We can receive messages when we first login with God through dialing Him directly in prayer and, unlike some internet providers, we never have to wait on Him to be available and be told to try again later. “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” (Jeremiah 33:3 NIV) Also, we are able to dial specific scripture passages from God’s Word and know that they are authenticated because they are from Him.

Sometimes we have trouble signing in and getting connected with God because we are distracted and keep thinking about all the things we believe we have to do that day. We get disconnected by such mundane tasks as laundry, meal preparation, getting ready for work, errands, etc. Or, perhaps we attempt to sign-in again with God at another time during the day and Holy Spirit says that we have an unexpected error message of sin in our hearts. He reveals to us exactly what that sin is, complete with His own specific error code from the Holy Bible. At that moment, we must totally close down any distracting thoughts or activities and confess our sins to God, asking for His forgiveness and cleansing. We can then be reconnected with God in a way that is pleasing and acceptable to Him and beneficial to us. We can get in touch with God and receive the new messages that He wants us to have from Him, kind of like an inbox of messages directly from God–personalized only for us. Instant messaging with God is possible with Him at all hours of the day and night because He is never offline. He is always available.

What about the junk mail in our hearts? Holy Spirit is there to assist us in our attempts to totally filter junk out of our lives and to pray according to God’s will. Instead of junk mail however, it is yet another reminder of any sin that needs to be deleted and sent to the trash bin. Colossians 3:5 & 8-9 NIV gives a thorough list of spiritual junk mail that needs to be put into the trash bin: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, idolatry, anger, rage, malice, slander, filthy language, and lying. These junky sins get into our lives when we allow them to be forwarded into our hearts and minds and remain there long enough to cause damage. God deletes or forgives the sin in our lives when we confess it to Him. I John 1:9 NAS assures us that “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” That’s way better than an e-mail trash bin!

In our “knee-mail” times of prayer we can check the inbox from God to us and gladly receive what He has to say about His will for our lives. In addition to that, we can send a reply to God by praying to Him about our requests that are deep down inside our spirits. “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” (Philippians 4:6 NAS) During those times when we have such anguish of soul and heaviness of heart that we don’t know what to pray, God provides Holy Spirit and Jesus as our “prayer partners” to intercede on our behalf when the words just won’t come out of our mouths. “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will. ...Christ Jesus, who died–more than that, who was raised to life–is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.” (Romans 8:26-27 & 34 NIV) In addition to prayer, it is possible for us to send a new message to God in praise and worship by singing a new song to Him with thanksgiving in our hearts, as we are reminded to do in many of the Psalms.

Just like an uncontrolled computer virus that can literally spread around the world before we hardly know what’s happening, we need to realize that sin in our hearts can spread to others in our world and damage their spiritual lives before we realize what’s happening. Instead of such viruses as “...hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and the like....” we should seek only “, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control....” to share with others. (See Galatians 5:20-21 & 22-23) God, Jesus, and Holy Spirit help us detect and block any sin (virus) that would further infect, damage and corrupt our bodies, souls, minds and spirits. Philippians 4:7 NAS is a reminder that God Himself wants to be our peace and guard our hearts and minds. “And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” God is far more effective at guarding us than any anti-virus program. In addition to this, God does expect us to do our part as well and turn on our spiritual anti-virus programs so that our hearts do not become corrupted or bitter. “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” (Proverbs 4:23 NIV) We are also reminded to “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.” (I Peter 5:8-9)

When I am processing the e-mail in my computer I often refer to the “Truth or Fiction” website so I can know when to believe things that come into my e-mail box or not. I don’t want to forward something to others if it is spam mail or an e-mail hoax. In my spiritual life, God gives me a reference book called the Holy Bible so that I will know in black and white whether to believe things that come into my life or not. Nothing from God is fiction! It is all truth because He is true Truth! No spam mail or hoaxes with God! I am then confident that whatever I pass on to others directly from God’s Word is safe and true.

Perhaps we need to be like the growing child who was trying to memorize “The Lord’s Prayer” from Matthew 6:9-13. She had quoted the verses exactly right until she got to verse 13; instead of saying “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil” she prayed “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from e-mail.” Maybe the little girl was right after all, since we do need to be delivered from e-mail when it keeps us from spending time with God. As growing Christians, we need to ask ourselves some serious questions. Do we spend as much time hearing from God via “knee-mail” as we do hearing from family and friends via e-mail? Are we allowing Holy Spirit to filter the junk mail of sin out of our souls so that we can be connected with God properly? Go with God to His “chat room” soon to talk to Him about it.

© 10-22-04, 11-03-04, and 10-23-08 by Janet Faye Broyles Edmond, Oklahoma
This devotional is protected by copyright laws and may not be reprinted or posted to a site without permission from Janet F. Broyles. All readers are welcome to forward the devotional to a friend or link to it. If you would like to seek permission to reprint the devotional in full, please leave a message for me here.

"Butterfly Blessings for Wounded Hearts"

“Since, then, we do not have the excuse of ignorance, everything–and I do mean everything–connected with that old way of life has to go. It’s rotten through and through. Get rid of it! And then take on an entirely new way of life–a God-fashioned life, a life renewed from the inside. . . .” –from Ephesians 4, The Message

“. . .and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” John 8:32, NAS

I am fascinated and delighted with butterflies to such a degree that if I’m driving when I see Monarch butterflies as they migrate to Mexico I slow down, park my car on a roadside and observe them until the fluttering parade has advanced south. I am very curious as to how God puts His internal time-clock, radar and compass inside every generation of these fragile creatures with stained-glass designs for wings.

I enjoy butterflies so much that my parents have given me a couple of butterfly rings and other related jewelry. When I wear these butterfly jewelry items, I am reminded of my new spiritual life in Jesus as a Christian. Once I was like the cocooned caterpillar all bound up in my life of sin and darkness, but God gave me a new life and transformed me into a beautiful butterfly creation of His own making.

On January 1, 2003, my uncle Jim died in an Oklahoma City hospital. His family and friends surrounded him with their spoken and yet inexpressible thoughts of love, accompanied by prayers, scriptures and tears as he went to God eternally. Just after Uncle Jim died, I stepped into the hallway with my cellular phone to begin notifying various family members and friends. Before long I found myself standing in front of several plate-glass windows looking north when something caught not only my eye, but my breath also. Could it be a butterfly drifting my way? A butterfly in January? No way! However, since nothing is impossible with God, I watched the floating article with curious anticipation as it seemed to come directly toward me. Just as the wind caught this fluttering object and swirled it upward, I could see it was a leaf taking flight. Several “leafy butterflies” kept me watching in eager expectation, just in case God really did swirl in an actual butterfly amongst the leaves.

After we gathered everything and everyone up from the hospital, I was driving back to my hometown alone, using the solitude to pray for everyone. In my grief, an unexpected emotion of loneliness snuck in. Suddenly I had the distinct impression from God that I should listen to my favorite Christian radio station. Thinking there might be something playing that would comfort me, I tuned in. A song was already in progress and the first words I heard were: “Why are the days so lonely? I wonder where, where can the heart go free? And who will dry the tears that no one sees? There must be someone to share your silent dreams.”
[1] My attention had once again been caught by God since I was indeed crying tears that no one could see. The song continued with: “Caught like a leaf in the wind, looking for a friend, where can you turn? Whisper the words of a prayer, and you’ll find Him there, arms open wide, love in His eyes.”

Caught like a leaf in the wind! Are you kidding me? That’s what I had just seen from the third-floor hospital windows and dismissed it because it wasn’t a butterfly! God can use anything to draw our attention to Him–even a dried-up, brownish, lifeless leaf disguised as a butterfly.
I needed to hear especially the next part of the song on my solitary drive: “Jesus, He meets you where you are; Oh, Jesus, He heals your secret scars. All the love you’re longing for is Jesus, The Friend of a wounded heart.” All our hearts were freshly wounded, and God’s perfect timing allowed me to hear just the song I needed at precisely the moment I needed to hear it in order to remind me of His love for each of us in our family. He even went to the trouble of causing a leaf to dart and flutter in the wind as a butterfly would so that I could have a ”butterfly blessing” from Him to remind me of His promise of eternal life. It was comforting that I’d received such a gentle touch from God in the midst of the painfully harsh trial of death with its heavy-handed sting.

God and heaven seem so much closer when you have recently relinquished one of your family to go there for eternity. Because he was a Christian, Uncle Jim was released from this earthly cocoon of life and now his spirit can freely soar like a butterfly around God’s throne–free from the confining, frustrating struggles of physical pain and suffering due to polio and lung cancer. Heaven–this is where all our hearts truly can go free because God Himself completely and permanently dries our tears that nobody sees.

Maybe now is the moment you need to hear the words of “Friend of a Wounded Heart” in your life. No matter what wound you have, He sees you where you are and is waiting with His arms open wide to love you, dry your tears and hear your silent thoughts of agony and fear. The emptiness and heartfelt pain that you are living in are possibly from fresh wounds on top of old scars. Perhaps your heart is longing for Jesus to snatch you up with His perfect, unfailing love and heal as only He can.

Could it be we have looked only to other wounded hearts of family and friends to meet that need in our broken and spilled-out hearts instead of to our Heavenly Father? It’s not wrong to look to others for love and comfort, but the wounded and gaping hole in our hearts can only be perfectly changed into a whole heart by Jesus and His love!

Jesus is ready to look directly into our eyes with His eyes of love and say “I love you!” as He pulls us into His wide-open arms and holds us securely. Jesus’ own heart was wounded so that His love can make us spiritually whole from our woundings. He’s running to meet us with His nail-scarred feet and reaching out to us with His wounded hands and compassionate heart to show us how much He loves us.

All that any of us need in order to have joy, hope, peace and love flowing through us is Jesus–The Friend of a wounded heart!

[1]Words and music by Claire Cloninger and Wayne Watson. Copyright 1987, Word Music a div. of WORD, INC.

© 11-30-04 by Janet Faye Broyles Edmond, Oklahoma

This devotional is protected by copyright laws and may not be reprinted or posted to a site without permission from Janet F. Broyles. All readers are welcome to forward the devotional to a friend or link to it. If you would like to seek permission to reprint the devotional in full, please leave a message for me here.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

No Catchy Titles This Morning....

Hmmm.... I am experiencing something unusual for me. I am at a loss for words. I know--you're in shock too! =o)

I am having some health problems, which you know if you read the previous blog. Yesterday I went back to my doctor for ultrasounds since he wants to be absolutely sure what is going on inside me. Even though my biopsy was benign, he wanted more information.

He came in the examining room after looking at the ultrasound results and said, "I don't like what I see." I could tell by looking at his facial expression, even before he spoke, that he did not have a good report. There are some things that are of concern.

Because he wants all the information he can get, I am having another biopsy. This time it will be with general anesthesia, probably at an outpatient clinic. The date has not been scheduled yet because the person who does that is on vacation this week.

Thank you for agreeing with me in prayer about all this. Mom needs your prayers too.

Love & prayers to you and yours,

Thursday, September 25, 2008

"I Am Worth More Than Many Sparrows!"

This morning I looked out my back door and saw about a dozen sparrows dining on my patio. Since there's only room for two at a time at the "drive-in" bird feeder, the rest were on the patio getting grain that had spilled out from the feeder. They didn't seem to have a care in the world as they hopped about and ate breakfast.

This afternoon I have a medical procedure in my doctor's office that I'm not looking forward to because of the high potential for pain. I have had the procedure before, but I was under general anesthesia then. Today I will only have local anesthesia and I admit that I am somewhat frightened. Then I must wait for the test results to come back and this can produce anxiety if I don't cast my cares on God.

God used the sparrows this morning to calm my anxious heart and fearful mind. While watching them, I immediately smiled as I thought of the song, "His Eye Is On the Sparrow." Some of the words include "...His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me." That reminder from God has given me added peace and calmness regarding the procedure this afternoon. I will also be encouraged with God's Peace while I am waiting for the biopsy results to be reported to me.

Matthew 10:29-32 (NIV) says: "Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows."

Are you anxious and fearful about anything today? God can use even something as common as a sparrow to calm you and to give you His Peace that passes human understanding. Ask Him to reveal Himself to you in His own special way for your circumstances and He'll calm your fear and anxiety too. He specifically tells us "...don't be afraid...." With God as our Father, we too can be like the sparrow--without a care in this world, for we know He watches us and that we are valuable to Him.

Dear God,
Thank You for using your sparrows this morning to remind me that I am more valuable to you than many sparrows. Thank You that I don't have to be afraid--because You told me not to be! Thank You that You love me and care about all the details in my life. Thank You that Your eye is watching over me in all circumstances.
In Jesus' Name I pray,
© 09-25-08 by Janet F. Broyles
This devotional is protected by copyright laws and may not be reprinted or posted to a site without permission from Janet F. Broyles. All readers are welcome to forward the devotional to a friend or link to it. If you would like to seek permission to reprint the devotional in full, please leave a message for me here.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Spiritual Renewal

"Start with the realization that spiritual renewal comes from God. And don't seek the experience of spiritual renewal, but seek The One Who renews your spirit." (Steve Arterburn)

I have this quote on my desk at work so I see it many times throughout the day.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Weekly Prayer Tip from National Day of Prayer

This is one of the best things that I have read about prayer in a long time. Maybe years! Maybe ever!!

"True prayer is when God's heart is expressed through your words. Prayer in its highest form occurs when the words I articulate, with my mouth or in my mind, are merely the containers for God's thoughts and desires. (Live A Praying Life)

"I have put my words in your mouth and covered you with the shadow of my hand" (Isa. 51:16).

From: Jennifer Kennedy Dean
The Praying Life Foundation You can get your own Weekly Prayer Tip by going to this website.