The Reading of the Word…

What a beautiful day it is when words come to life! In my daily reading plan this week I was directed to the book of Nehemiah. Having studied it this summer, the reading was fresh and alive!

It was particularly poignant as I listened to the Daily Audio Bible podcast present the Nehemiah passage.

Ezra, a high priest and scribe, read the words of the law to the Jews after the demolished walls of Jerusalem were rebuilt under Nehemiah’s leadership. The people gathered and listened attentively for hours after the repair of the walls was complete. (I guess that was quite a podcast!)

In those days the literacy rate is thought to have been less than 10% throughout the world. Hearing was the only way that most would know God’s teachings and their history.

I appreciate our access to the scriptures and so many other writings. It wasn’t long ago when few people could read. Even today it is estimated that 18% of the world’s population over age 15 are illiterate. That is almost 1 out of every 5 people!

To think that I have dozens of versions of the Bible available at my fingertips! What a treasure….but even having the it at my fingertips and with me virtually all the time doesn’t make me immune from being like the Jews who intently listened to the word, repented and made serious commitments to God – then after life became comfortable and they were settled and satisfied many lost their ferver and devotion…May that not be you and me.

Oh Lord, forgive us for our apathy and forgive us where we don’t shine your light and live for your glory. Let us be your hands and feet in the world and help us rebuild where you call us to rebuild as Nehemiah did. Let us honor your word and your ways. Let us feed those who are physically and spiritually hungry. Let us look after orphans and widows in distress. Let us be a people who are devoted to you. Keep us from distractions that pull us away from your plan and direction. Give us strength. 

Below are two often quoted powerful Nehemiah verses. (If you are on this scripture memorization journey with me you may want to consider them for memory verses).

This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength. Neh. 8:10 NIV

I am doing a great work and I cannot come down. Neh. 6:3 NAS

Prayers that we do the great work we are called to do this day and every day. -Madge

It’s So Hot! We Need Refreshing – and Friends!

As the second half of 2012 begins with a sizzle, we reflect on our country’s heritage and our freedom. It makes me ponder with gratitude the freedom and friendship we have in Christ.  The value of friendship is a theme that strikes a chord in my soul these days as I frequently think of its blessings and challenges. This year is chocked full of so many fresh and new jewels – one of those cherished jewels is deeper and more precious friendships.

Some with relatively new people in my life and others with those who, for years, have walked near…but now we ‘decide‘ to devote more intention to cultivate our friendships toward a new depth.

In light of the extreme heat we have experienced for the last week – with the 105° weather, even I, the heat lover, require a little water action for coolness and comfort outside…and of course, so does Tahoe.



Below are a couple refreshing verses to consider….

Reliable friends who do what they say are like cool drinks in sweltering heat – refreshing!
Proverbs 25: 13 The Message

Just as lotions and fragrance give sensual delight, a sweet friendship refreshes the soul.
Proverbs 27:9 The Message

Stay cool and refreshed as you celebrate with gratitude – your freedom, family and friends...


Scripture Memory #8 – A Sweet Relief!

I’ve been planning to get this post done all day, and now that I’ve filled up on strawberries with cream cheese frosting** for dessert – I am really ready!  I have had my fill of sweet strawberries and that decadent dip of creaminess on the bottom.  We made the frosting fresh this morning!  Come on my sweet friends, I know you want to join us on this amazing journey.

Below are a few handy sweet scriptures I like for the end of April.

How sweet are your words to my taste,  sweeter than honey to my mouth!  Ps. 119:103

When you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet. Prov. 3:24

Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.  Prov. 16:24

I’ve been laboring a bit with verses in the second chapter of Colossians for the past week or two and I’m happy to share these two verses because I love thankfulness:

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him,  rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. Col. 2:6-7

In the book One Thousand Gifts, Ann Voskamp says, “Thanksgiving creates abundance; and the miracle of multiplying happens when I give thanks – take the just one loaf, say it is enough, and give thanks – and He miraculously makes it more than enough.”


My prayer is that we overflow with thankfulness through the circumstances…today and every day, and He will make it more than enough. —-Madge

**Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe
-8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
-8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, cut into pieces, room temperature
-3 cups confectioners’ sugar
-1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Place cream cheese and butter in a mixing bowl to soften. Beat until smooth and well blended. Add confectioners’ sugar and vanilla, and continue beating until smooth. Store in container in refrigerator.  Yummy and gluten-free.

Scripture Memory #7 – Join the Team!

April is upon us with full beauty in each new blossom and bud! Spring changes are stunningly beautiful, but as with just about any change in life, there is a dusting of ‘the unwanted’ that accompanies it. The thick yellow dust may annoy us or even cause discomfort, but the pollen proclaims life and growth for that which had been dormant. Not to be over dramatic, but I truly believe that scripture pollinates us to grow toward the truly pure and beautiful even though it challenges and can cause discomfort.
Webster’s says that pollen is ‘the fertilizing element of flowering plants, consisting of fine, powdery, yellowish grains or spores, sometimes in masses’.

It’s funny to me that just when we are prone to throw out our well-meaning resolve of new year’s goals, spring roars in to freshly remind us that we need pollination…yes fertilization to grow. For me, this year’s pollination has been rooted in the Word. God grounds me firmly with his truth.

Although we may be successfully attacking some of our goals we can surely use a review and reset on others. What better time to do it than today? My list is reviewed and hope for new growth is pollinated. It’s not always easy to realign.

Praying that you’ll join me this refreshing…

Pick your seventh verse or start with your first verse! Below is a review of the verses we’ve mentioned this year…

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry. James 1:19

Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless. James 1:26

For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives… Col. 1:9

March on my soul, be strong. Judges 5:21

All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty. Proverbs 14:23

But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness. James 3:17-18

If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing right. James 2:8

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. Eph 4:29

But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do… Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.’ James 1:25, 27

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. James 1:5

Happy spring!