FOOTINGS by Marion Smith

The beautifully decorated home was only two years old when we purchased it. It seemed ideal for us at this stage of our life that we bought it after the second viewing. As per standard procedure, we hired an inspector to assure all was well.

When we read the report , we were quite astonished. There was a problem with 2 of the footings. Footings are the support base, or ground work of a structure, and are extremely important in the support of the house. It seems construction code had been met, forcement pads had been poured every 8 feet and a support beam placed thereupon. The problem surfaced when we realized the beams did not line up with the main support beams for the first and second floor and also the roof. As time would elapse, the floor would sag and buckle, the walls would crack, and the weight of house would be too much to bear without proper support. Something would give. Those support beams in the crawl space of the house were just in the wrong place, eventhough they passed code.

We hired someone to correct this situation, but it was an unforeseen expense and headache.

Just like those beams, our life can appear to be "in code"when we do good deeds, act charitable and go to church. But the truth is, we can be off center, just like those support beams were. If our footings of life are not grounded in God, the eventual weight of living in this world can cause us to crumble and fall.

Proper support starts with correct foundation. There is an old hymn that says " the church's one foundation is Jesus Christ her Lord. She is his new creation by water and the word. From heaven he came and sought her to be his holy bride, with his own blood he bought her and for her life he died."

We must allow Jesus to be the"footings" in our life. With him, we will celebrate the joys of life and we will be able to face the adversities which come our way.


It takes strength to be firm.
It takes courage to be gentle.
It takes strength to stand guard.
It takes courage to let down your guard.
It takes strength to conquer.
It takes courage to surrender.
It takes strength to be certain.
It takes courage to have doubt.
It takes strength to fit in.
It takes courage to stand out.
It takes strength to feel a friend's pain.
It takes courage to feel your own pain.
It takes strength to hide feelings.
It takes courage to show them.
It takes strength to endure abuse.
It takes courage to stop it.
It takes strength to stand alone.
It takes courage to lean on another.
It takes strength to love.
It takes courage to be loved.
It takes strength to survive.
It takes courage to live. I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave younor forsake you. Be strong and of good courage...." (Joshua 1:5b-6a)

THE FATHER DIED by George Prins

Frederick Buechner tells a story about a boy of twelve or thirteen who, in a fit of anger and depression, got hold of a gun and fired it at his father, who died shortly afterwards. When the authorities asked the boy why he had done it, he said that it was because he hated his father who demanded too much of him. And then later on, after he had been placed in a house of detention, a guard was walking down the corridor late one night when he heard sounds from the boy's room, and he stopped to listen. The words that he heard the boy sobbing out in the dark were, "I want my father, I want my father."

Reading this story reminded me of how society has tried to kill off God, the Father. Faith in Him has become so meager as "enlightened" people contemplate the "fallacy" of God's existence. "Where is God?" we ask as the killings in Kosovo continue, as children are forced into drugs and prostitution at an early age, and as terrorists find nuclear toys to tinker with. The weeping of society does not abate and the
media noisemakers darken the whereabouts of a God, saying we perhaps have outgrown Him.

And yet, within each of us, there is a deep longing to find fulfillment. We are given the freedom to find gratification in anything we desire, only to discover that only God satisfies our hunger. As Augustine aptly wrote: "Our hearts are restless until they rest in Thee."

Likewise, Blaise Pascal, the French philosopher wrote: "There is in each of us a God-shaped vacuum that only God can fill."


"Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me....
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now, I see.
T'was Grace that taught...
my heart to fear.
And Grace, my fears relieved.
How precious did that Grace appear...
the hour I first believed.
Through many dangers, toils and snares...
we have already come.
T'was Grace that brought us safe thus far...
and Grace will lead us home.
The Lord has promised good to me...
His word my hope secures.
He will my shield and portion be...
as long as life endures.
When we've been here ten thousand years...
bright shining as the sun.
We've no less days to sing God's praise...
then when we've first begun."

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me....
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now, I see.

Born into a captain's family who traded at the East India Company, John Newton (July 24, 1725 - December 21, 1807) embarked on sea voyages at the young age of 11. He soon entered the prosperous slave trade until he nearly died on a voyage that would change his life forever. He proclaimed, "Only God's amazing grace could and would take a rude, profane, slave-trading sailor and transform him into a child of God." This would influence his famed hymn Amazing Grace, in which he declared he was once blind but now could see. Newton wrote the hymn after converting to Christianity in 1748 and abandoning his participation in the slave trade. Newton also wroteof his experiences in his autobiography An Authentic Narrative published in 1764, the same year he was ordained as a priest in the Church of England. John Newton went on to write many other hymns as well.


Observation: An old proverb says that "The world is a net; the more we stir in it, the more we are entangled."

Max Lucado, a prominent author and minister, tells this story about a prank that occurred years ago: It seems a couple of prowlers broke into a department store in a large city. They successfully entered the store, stayed long enough to do what they came to do, and escaped unnoticed.

What is unusual about the story is what these fellows did. They took nothing. Absolutely nothing. No merchandise was stolen. No items were removed. But what they did do was ridiculous. Instead of stealing anything, they changed the cost of everything. Price tags were swapped. Values were exchanged. These clever pranksters took the tag off a $395.00 camera and stuck it on a $5.00 box of stationery. The $5.95 sticker on a paperback book was removed and placed on an outboard motor. They repriced everything in the store!

Crazy? You bet. But the craziest part of this story took place the next morning. The store opened as usual. Employees went to work. Customers began to shop. The place functioned as normal for four hours before anyone noticed what had happened. Four hours! Some people got some great bargains. Others got fleeced. For four solid hours no one noticed that the values had been swapped.

How Does This Apply to Our Lives?

As price tags were exchanged, valuable goods became cheap, and the cheap became valuable. This can happen to us. We exchange things that are important for those that, in comparison, are unimportant- the world honors success and hard work, so we devote ourselves to jobs we can't wait to retire from, while ignoring marriages that we entered in to for a lifetime; we seek clean, healthy homes, but let them become
dumping grounds for the pollution contained in some television programs, movies and popular music; and, we want our children to have strong character traits like honesty and integrity, but spend far more time taking them to athletic events and other activities than tending to their spiritual and moral needs.

Yes, the world is a net; the more we stir in it, the more we are entangled. Seeking "happiness" and acceptance, we buy into the world's values and do what is popular. But if the world's values can produce true happiness, why is there a constant effort to create and promote new forms of amusement and entertainment?

Focus your time and attention on what is valuable to you. While doing so, put your
spiritual needs at the top of the list. Nothing should come before your relationship with a man named Jesus. Even though he was dead, he is now alive, seated at the right hand of the throne of God. He understands, he knows, he cares. And he nourishes
those who seek to be fed.

As Erwin Lutzer observed ...

If you are not nourished by the Bread from heaven, you will stuff yourself with crumbs from the world. Real nourishment comes only from Jesus Christ. You'll be eternally sorry if you exchange real nourishment for crumbs.

"What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?" (Mark 8:36)

COLOR THAT GRAY by Marion Smith

All right! I have accepted it! The time has come for me to receive professional help for this coloring the gray. I didn't much like that idea, especially the cost ,but I accepted it.

I have colored my own hair for a long time - covering the gray. It worked well for many years, but lately it has been looking dry and lifeless, bland and blah! Time for a profession to arise to the job at hand, so I went to my friends' stylist.

When I arrived, she took one look at my forlorn locks and said, "the first thing we have to do is strip away all that old buildup. Then, we can start afresh!" She applied something which removed all the impurities from my hair, and was ready to start the new treatment. The fresh materials were able to penetrate the shaft of hair, because all the old was removed. Her products were the best available and her
technique was definitely up to date. The results were just what I wanted - I had shiny, healthy looking hair.. a brand new me! I walked out of that salon with a smile on my face and a hole in my budget!

Our lives can become dry and lifeless just as my hair had become. We can try to lead a good life, do the right things, say the correct words and be, in general, a "good person." The truth of the matter is, however, that our own efforts are not effective long term. Sooner or later we will realize these efforts are not sufficient. There is still a void. The self care routine will not make it to the
finish line - no way, no how. We need to go to the professional of life - God, that is. When we call out to Him, he will answer us, and come to our aide. He will strip away all the old debris which has clung to our lives just like the impurities in my hair. He will do this by the power of Jesus' blood, which was shed for us on the cross. He will apply forgiven sin, His mercy, grace, joy and abundant love.
We will walk in the newness of life with a new attitude and a song of thanks in our hearts. Unlike the financial dent the hair episode had on my pocketbook, the freedom God offers comes to us prepaid. Jesus paid the price for us so many years ago. As he hung on that cross he paid for our sins and promised we would spend life eternal in the holy presence of The Father.

What a gift! What a Savior!

Do you need to get the impurities out of your life? I know just the one who can take care of this for you. Don't delay.....


Irish Thursdays, 02-20-08, Strong and Resilient

Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Colossians 2:7 Your roots will grow down into God's love and keep you strong. Ephesians 3:1

When the rains subsided, and the sun peeked out, roots of the mangroves were clearly visible at the canal's edge.

"Aren't they a perfect example of what it says in the Bible about roots?", I thought.

These tropical roots are strong and resilient. They are firmly entrenched, below the surface of the water, into the ground. Thick, intertwined, bunched together.

Many hurricanes have come and gone here. Houses have flooded out, trucks and cars ruined, fruit trees blasted away from the gale force winds. But the mangroves survive. They have weathered the storms. They come back. And, they flourish.

We will have adversity. One way or another. That's not the good news. If we put down roots, into the soil of God's Word, we will do OK when the storms of life come. That is good news.

BUNNY EARS By Sally I. Kennedy

And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 3:18

My friend, Tom, is a funloving guy. He entertains adults as well as kids with his napkin magic. Tom can transform an ordinary table napkin into bunny ears in the blink of an eye. Then, before you know it, he's showing everyone around him how to make their own bunny ears.

This was going on this past weekend while we were at a restaurant. Soon most everyone at the table was wearing cute bunny ears. It never fails to create a lot of laughter and it definitely creates attention.

The thought occurred to me that we can do this - take napkins and turn them into other things - but we can't turn ourselves into something else. Yes, we can read self help books and work on our personalities and attitudes, responses and actions. We can go to classes and groups and watch helpful programs and people on TV. Still we end up being the very same person.

The good news is that we can be transformed, though, and changed through the power of the Holy Spirit working in and through us. In the bible (chapter 12, Romans), Paul writes, "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. " In the letter he wrote to the Corinthians, he speaks about believers continually being transformed in an ongoing process. This is a beautiful and wonderful supernatural phenomenon, how the Holy
Spirit creates newness in us, and we change little by little into the likeness of Christ.

Maybe now sometimes, when I sit down to eat, my napkin might be a reminder that it's possible to be changed as I allow the Holy Spirit to transform me. Not just on the outside, where it shows, but from the inside out. That's good news.


One day I dug a little hole,
and put my hurt inside
I thought that I could just forget
I'd put it there to hide.

But that little hurt began to grow,
I covered it every day
I couldn't leave it and go on
It seemed the price I had to pay.

My joy was gone,
my heart was sad,
pain was all I knew.
My wounded soul enveloped me
Loving seemed too hard to do.

One day, while standing by my hole,
I cried to God above
And said, "If You are really there,
They say, You're a God of Love!"

And just like that,
He was right there,
And just put His arms around me
He wiped my tears,
his hurting child there was no safer place to be.

I told Him all about my hurt,
I opened up my heart
He listened to each and every word
to every sordid part.

I dug down deep and got my hurt
I brushed the dirt away
And placed it in the Master's hand
and healing came that day.

He took the blackness of my soul
and set my spirit FREE!
Something beautiful began to grow
where the hurt used to be.

And when I look at what has grown
Out of my tears and pain
I remember every day
to give my hurts to GOD
And never bury them again.

Have faith in our Loving God.
There is nothing in this world
too big for our LORD.
May GOD bless you each and every one.


God... commanded all men everywhere to repent (Acts 17:30b).

True repentance is keenly painful, but very beneficial in its results. Some people easily forget their period of repentance; other never do. This is referring to the period when a person fully feels what one has been. The Spirit of God allows Christians to lose all memory of horrible pit and miry clay of sins out of which God has delivered them. The apostle Paul never forgot what he was; and that memory reminded him that he became what he "now is" by the marvelous grace of God.

Repentance does not mean that you will never commit those sins again. It means that you have, by God's grace, reached a place where you do positively the other things. The only truly repentant person, in the fullest analysis, is the person who allows God to deal with what was wrong - sin.

Set your heart and mind toward God and let the holy light of Jesus Christ search through every wrong and opening. The result will be a marvelous readjustment of your whole life.

24-HOUR DAYS AND STRESS From Daily Wisdom

"There is never enough time in the day for my work. We should have 25 hours in each day." But God gave us 24 hours each day to accomplish our tasks and oh how we chafe under the restraint. Then we try to accomplish more than time allows. We place ourselves under huge amounts of self-imposed stress.

As we do so, we also fight against God. We fail to recognize it cannot be God's will to pack more into a 24 hour day than will fit. Because we don't like God's time constraints, we push ourselves. We get up early. We go to bed late. Yet the list of work grows and stress grows too.

Look at what the Bible says, "It is vain for you to rise up early, to retire late, to eat the bread of painful labors" (Psalm 127:2). The word "vain" means "deception." It is a deception to get up early, to cram the day with activities, to retire late, and to see each day as a day of "painful labor," only to repeat the cycle again. Why? You will not receive that for which you work. Because you are forgetting God, you are not using each day properly. Psalm 118:24 says, "This is the day the Lord has made."

Remembering the Author of time and setting priorities will reduce stress.


There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven. Ecclesiastes 3:1

Early last month was Labor Day, annual traditional marking of close of summer. Time to say goodbye to pinks and yellows, hello taupes and tans. I have put it off as long as possible. It is now October, fully fall. I'm always sad when I put aside the pastel clothes in my wardrobe. It means my favorite season is over for another year.

I love the lazy days of summer, when the kids are out of school and everything seems a bit slower, more casual, and less "programmed". Swimming is my favorite form of exercise, and throughout summer I feel more fit.

There is a season for everything, the Bible says. The end of one thing is the beginning of another. When I can embrace the autumn, missing summertime fades.

In the Bible, the apostle Paul says if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has gone, the new has come (2 Corinthians 5:17). This is a great example of moving on, displacing the past. Goodbye old......hello new.

This is good news.


An Angel says, "Never borrow from the future. If you worry about what may happen tomorrow and it doesn't happen, you have worried in vain. Even if it does happen, you have to worry twice."

1. Pray
2. Go to bed on time.
3. Get up on time so you can start the day unrushed.
4. Say No to projects that won't fit into your time schedule, or that will compromise your mental health.
5. Delegate tasks to capable others.
6. Simplify and unclutter your life.
7. Less is more. (Although one is often not enough, two are often too many.)
8. Allow extra time to do things and to get to places.
9. Pace yourself. Spread out big changes and difficult projects over time; don't lump the hard things all together.
10. Take one day at a time.
11. Separate worries from concerns. If a situation is a concern, find out what God would have you do and let go of the anxiety . If you can't do anything about a situation, forget it.
12. Live within your budget; don't use credit cards for ordinary purchases.
13. Have backups; an extra car key in your wallet, an extra house key buried in the garden, extra stamps, etc.
14. K.M.S. (Keep Mouth Shut). This single piece of advice can prevent an enormous amount of trouble.
15. Do something for the Kid in You everyday.
16. Carry a Bible with you to read while waiting in line.
17. Get enough rest.
18. Eat right.
19. Get organized so everything has its place.
20. Listen to a tape while driving that can help improve your quality of
21. Write down thoughts and inspirations.
22. Every day, find time to be alone.
23. Having problems? Talk to God on the spot. Try to nip small problems
in the bud. Don't wait until it's time to go to bed to try and pray.
24. Make friends with Godly people.
25. Keep a folder of favorite scriptures on hand.
26. Remember that the shortest bridge between despair and hope is often a good "Thank you , Jesus."
27. Laugh.
28. Laugh some more!
29. Take your work seriously, but not yourself at all.
30. Develop a forgiving attitude (most people are doing the best they can).
31. Be kind to unkind people (they probably need it the most )
32. Sit on your ego.
33. Talk less; listen more.
34. Slow down.
35. Remind yourself that you are not the general manager of the universe.
36. Every night before bed, think of one thing you're grateful for that you've never been grateful for before.

GOD HAS A WAY OF TURNING THINGS AROUND FOR YOU. "If God is for us, who can be against us?" (Romans 8:31)


I will not leave you comfortless. . John 14:18

Nowhere has God promised anyone, even His children, immunity from sorrow, suffering and pain. This world is a "vale of tears," and disappointment and heartache are as inevitable as clouds and shadows. Suffering is often the crucible in which our faith is tested. Those who successfully come through the "furnace of affliction" are the ones who emerge "like gold tried in the fire."

The Bible teaches unmistakably that we can triumph over bereavement. The psalmist said: "Weeping may endure for the night, but joy cometh in the morning" (Psalm 30:5).

Self Pity can bring no enduring comfort. The fact is, it will only add to our misery. And unremitting grief will give us little consolation in itself, for grief begets grief. Ceaseless grieving will only magnify our sorrow. We should not peddle our sorrows and bewail our bad fortune - that will only depress others. Sorrow, or
mourning, when it is borne in a Christian way, contains a built in comfort. "Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted" (Matthew 5:4).

There is comfort in mourning because we know that Christ is with us. He has said: "Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world" (Matthew 28:20). Suffering is endurable if we do not have to bear it alone; and the more compassionate the Presence, the less acute the pain.


A 91-year-old woman died after living a very long dignified life. When she met God, she asked Him something that had really bothered her for a very long time. "If Man was created in God's image, and if all men are created equal, why do people treat each other so badly?"

God replied that each person who enters our life has a unique lesson to teach us. It is only through these lessons that we learn about life, people and our relationships with God. This confused the woman, so God began to explain:

"When someone lies to you, it teaches you that things are not always what they seem. The truth is often far beneath the surface. Look beyond the masks people wear if you want to know what is in their hearts. Remove your own masks to let people know who you really are.

When someone steals from you it teaches you that nothing is forever. Always appreciate what you have. You never know when you might lose it. Never take your friends or family for granted, because today and sometimes only this very moment is the only guarantee you may have.

When someone inflicts injury upon you, it teaches you that the human state is a very fragile one. Protect and take care of your body as best as you can, it's the one thing that you are sure to have forever.

When someone mocks you, it teaches you that no two people are alike. When you encounter people who are different from you, do not judge them by how they look or act, instead base it on the contents of what is in their hearts.

When someone breaks your heart, it teaches you that loving someone does not always mean that the person will love you back. But don't turn your back on love, because when you find the right person, the joy that one person brings you will make up for all of your past hurts. Times a thousand fold.

When someone holds a grudge against you, it teaches you that everyone makes mistakes. When you are wronged, the most virtuous thing you can do is forgive the offender without pretense. Forgiving those who have hurt us is often the most difficult and painful of life's experiences, but it is also the most courageous thing a person can do.

When a loved one is unfaithful to you, it teaches you that resisting temptation is Man's greatest challenge. Be vigilant in your resistance against all temptations. By doing so, you will be rewarded with an enduring sense of satisfaction far greater than the temporary pleasure by which you were tempted.

When someone cheats you, it teaches you that greed is the root of all evil. Aspire to make your dreams come true, no matter how lofty they may be. Do not feel guilty about your success, but never let an obsession with achieving your goals lead you to engage in malevolent activities.

When someone ridicules you, it teaches you that nobody is perfect. Accept people for their merits and be tolerant of their flaws. Do not ever reject someone for imperfections over which they have no control."

Upon hearing the Lord's wisdom, the old woman became concerned that there are no lessons to be learned from man's good deeds. God replied that Man's capacity to love is the greatest gift He has. At the root of kindness and love, and each act of love also teaches us a lesson. The woman's curiosity deepened. God, once again began to explain:

"When someone loves us, it teaches us love, kindness, charity, honesty, humility, forgiveness, acceptance, and all of these can counteract all the evil in the world. For every good deed, there is one evil deed. Man alone has the power to control the balance between good and evil, but because the lessons of love are not taught often enough, the power is too often abused.

When you enter someone's life, whether by plan, chance or coincidence, consider what your lesson will be. Will you teach love or a harsh lesson of reality? When you die, will your life have resulted in more loving or more hurting? More comfort or more pain? More joy or more sadness? Each one of us has the power over the balance of the love in the world. Use it wisely!"

Don't miss an opportunity to nudge the world's scale in the right direction!

CALL TO ME By Sally I. Kennedy

The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. (Psalm 145:18)

We could hear it before we could see it. One lone goose, honking loudly on his way in. If any other geese had been on the small lake this beautiful autumn morning, they would have answered the call. The same would be true for ducks, such as this green-headed mallard in the photo.

"Hunters know this", my husband explained. "That's the reason for the turkey callers that they use; they can learn where the birds are."

The goose paddled around, near the water's muddy edge by the lily pads, all alone. No answer. No geese were on this lake. Perhaps they had all flown south for the winter. It was well into fall, and there'd been one chilly frost already.

I thought, good thing we can call to God ANY time at all, and He is never gone. Isn't it amazing? This almighty God of the universe, who is unchanging, sovereign, steadfast, and ever-faithful, is the same God who keeps a listening ear out for those calling out- for companions, for help, for whatever. And, He will answer. It's a promise.

That is good news.

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