Friday, November 28, 2014

Lenda Blackmon: The Blessings of Luci

I'm excited to welcome my sweet friend, Lenda Blackmon, to post on my Final Friday Friends blog. 

I have many favorite verses but the ones about love speak to me the most. The whole chapter of 1 Corinthians 13 is very special to me. Especially the last verse.

"But now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love."
1 Corinthians 13:13 (New King James Version)

When I think of the greatest example of love, of course I think of God sending His only Son to die for us and of Jesus being willing to die for us. If not for them, where would we be?

Do you sometimes need a visual of that kind of sacrificial, unconditional love in the here a now?

I do. And God gives me one every day.

A dog, yes, a dog. Her name is Luci, a gift from my daughter-in-law and grandchildren.

She has been our hairy baby for six years now. She has the face and markings of a Yorkie, the body of a Dachshund, and the ears of a Chihuahua.

Luci loves us unconditionally; she doesn't care what we look like, what we smell like, or what our station in life is. We could be cruel masters and she would still love us.

Every day when my husband returns home from work, that little dog goes crazy. She wiggles and runs around and around him. Then she will run and get a toy and bring it to him. She wants to play.

She wants to be with him and love on him.

We have the opportunity to love like this every day, whether it is a rebellious teenager living in our home or a homeless person on the street.

To show them Christ's love in a way that will give them hope. .

Everyone wants and needs to be loved and, because He first loved us, we can love.

Now, I'm not saying that we should run around and around in circles and wiggle all over when we have our time with God. Although I'm sure He wouldn't mind that on occasion. What I am saying is this: we should have that same kind of eagerness and desire when we go to sit at our Master's feet to fellowship with Him and feast on His Word.

To love on Him and let Him love on us.

Love Him, with such abandon, holding nothing back. Just like He loves us!

Luci is my daily visual example of how I should loved unconditionally. What's yours?

Do you dare to be a Luci for God today and love unconditionally whoever crosses your path?

Lenda Blackmon is a homemaker and lives with her husband Eugene and their dog Luci. She has 4 children, three are married and she has 12 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. She loves spending time with her family, playing games and crafting. She is very active in her church and has published several articles on

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

M.D. Anderson Life Lessons

This time of year we all have many things to be thankful for, and family usually tops the list.

I went to work at M.D. Anderson straight out of college. I was young, idealistic, and death seemed far away. But God used my time there to teach me some valuable life lessons.

I worked with in-patients; most of them at the end of their lives. As I talked to them, God used those conversations to teach me some important truths about life.

During my six years there, I never heard:
  • I wish I'd spent more time at the office.
  • I wish I'd met my goal to be CEO of my company.
  • I wish I''d earned enough to have a bigger house or a Mercedes.
  • I always wanted to travel to Europe.

I did hear:
  • I wish I'd spent more time with my kids when they were growing up.
  • I wish I'd shown my wife how much I loved her.
  • I wish I'd been closer to my parents.
  • I wish I'd focused less on my career and more on my family.

Yes, I am thankful for my family.
  • For a marriage that's built on the Lord as our solid foundation.
  • For the strong love my husband and I share during the ups and downs of life.
  • My husband who's been a wonderful provider and companion. 
  • My two daughters who've grown to be such wonderful, responsible young ladies.
  • My two grandchildren who are my pride and joy. 
  • And, as silly as it sounds, the greyhounds who have shown me unconditional love.

And I am thankful for each of you. Without you, I would have thrown in the towel years ago! You are my friends - you encourage me, hold me accountable, and pray for me.

My prayers to you and your families and to all who are precious to you.

Photo credit: Gratitude via Creative Commons

Friday, November 21, 2014

Get to Work!!

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith. Hebrews 12:2 (NIV)

The King James Version says it this way:
Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.

Most of us understand that there's no way we can be good enough to earn God's grace and forgiveness. It's only because of Jesus' death, burial, and resurrection that we are called the children of God.


I still struggle with the idea of unconditional love. That doesn't come naturally to us humans. No matter how hard we try, there are limits and expectations that define our love. 

We assume God's the same way.

So we ask ourselves -
What do I need to do to ensure that God continues to love me?
If I want to grow in my faith, how do I work my way there?

Serve on a committee, sing in the choir, teach a Sunday school class, be there every time the church doors are open...I have to stay on God's good side, don't I?

Praise the Lord, No! His love is truly unconditional.
We don't have to earn it or work to keep it.
We can serve God until we're exhausted but He won't love us any more or less.

Rejoice in these words: Jesus is the author and perfecter, or finisher, of our faith.

He loves us. He works in us to strengthen our faith.

We don't have to show up in the boss' office for the dreaded once-a-year job evaluation.
We don't get a report card that we have to show to our parents.
He doesn't sit on His throne and rate our performance.
He doesn't leave us on our own.

We spend time with Him.
We pray.
Read our Bibles.
Worship Him.
Gather with other believers.

He uses these things to strengthen our faith.

He finishes it. He perfects it.

That doesn't mean we can flop down in the nearest easy chair and nap all day long. Jesus works in us because we hunger for Him. Because we desire to live for Him.

He satisfies our hunger by increasing our faith.

You don't have to spend your days afraid that God is judging your every move.

You don't have to work to stay on His good graces.

Trust Him, relax in His love, seek to know Him, and leave the faith-building to Him.

Photo credit 1  2

Friday, November 14, 2014

God's Love in the Desert

Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the desert 
and speak tenderly to her. Hosea 2:14

I discovered Hosea 2:14 when I was wandering blindly in a desert of loneliness and isolation. Things are better now so I set it aside, put it out of my mind. Isn't that what we always do? God uses a verse to guide us through a difficult time and, as soon as things calm down, we forget the words and the healing He brought to us. 

Please tell me I'm not the only one who does this.

A couple days ago, I read David Brannock's latest post on his blog Set Free to Soar. God brought this verse to mind and I remembered how He'd used it to help me in a hard time. I share it with you now because I believe it will encourage you when you're roaming in the desert. 

Allure...lead...speak tenderly

These aren't words we typically associate with the desert. A desert is dry, dusty, barren, 

We've all wandered in the desert. 
  • A desert of pain because of a broken relationship. 
  • A desert of depression. It all seems hopeless, helpless, so we try not to feel at all. It's better to hide in the desert rather than face life.
  • A desert of fear because financial problems, a rebellious child, or an illness leave us in shock.
  • A desert of waiting when nothing seems clear and life seems purposelessness. 
  • A desert of our own making. Hard consequences often result from our actions.
Into the desert comes the words of Hosea 2:14

Allure - think about that word for a minute. To entice, attract, fascinate. We usually think of temptation but is that how God is using it? Yes, He draws us in, not to tempt us but to love on us. He can't minister to us when fear, pain, or hopelessness deafen us to His voice. In the quiet of the desert, we can hear Him.

He leads - purposefully. . Intentionally. Away from despair to a place He chose. No distractions, no panic. We see the stars - and maybe a glimmer of hope. We notice a few green plants that thrive, even in this harsh environment - maybe a bit of relief begins to grow. Days go by, maybe weeks, and slowly we begin to strengthen.

Speak tenderly - There's a story in 1 Kings 18 about a man named Elijah. The Lord used him to pull off a major victory. Elijah should have been on cloud nine. But - there's always a but, isn't there - his enemies heard about it, they vowed to hunt him down and kill him. Poor Elijah didn't even think about trusting God, he ran into the desert in fear and hid in a cave. God came and met Elijah in the cave and revealed Himself by a whisper.

I've hid in a few caves in my time. But, God showed up to see Elijah and He shows up to see me. He speaks tenderly about how He loves me. He reminds me that I am His child and He is my Father. Hardship comes, pain comes, consequences come but God is always there, speaking tenderly.

He draw us out into the desert, lead us to the perfect spot, and whispers to us. Love, comfort, peace, forgiveness. We can't hear Him in the midst of our problems. Sometimes it takes a desert experience to be healed. 

How has God used deserts in your life to draw you closer to Him?

David's blog is a blessing; I encourage you to check it out.

Photo Credits  123, 4

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

I remember...

Because of my experiences as a child, growing up overseas in the military, I am fiercely patriotic and feel a deep sense of gratitude to the men and women who have sacrificed to ensure our freedoms.

I remember...
  • Huge celebrations on holidays that honored America - Independence Day, Memorial Day. No matter which country we were in, the base opened up and welcomed the citizens of the country to join the festivities. Fireworks, airshows, parades, ceremonies of pride and patriotism. And, of course, ice cream. 
  • Soldiers in green berets who were always treated with utmost respect. I didn't know about special forces then, but I thought the insignia on their berets were awesome.  
  • In Morocco, being air-lifted from the Air Force base outside of Casablanca because the communists overthrew the government and began to kill Americans. To a 10-year old, it was all very exciting - I had no idea of the danger.
  • In Spain, when Mom and I shopped on base, occasionally the sirens wailed and pilots dropped everything to tear out, leaping over a young girl who had the good sense to stand still. As the air filled with the sound of the scrambling fighter jets, I knew I was safe. 

And then there was the flag. By order of Spain's dictator Franco, the American flag couldn't be flown unless it was flown under the Spanish flag.

Excuse Me??? 

Of course, the flag was flown at the command building on base but it didn't fly at each security entrance or in off-base housing where we lived.

The main exception was in downtown Madrid atop the Hilton Hotel. Money talks, right?

Occasionally, my family would pack a picnic and go to the park by the hotel to see the flag. Can you imagine the impression that made on a young girl? A special trip to see my flag. It became a sacred symbol of America and our freedoms.

Please remember, friends, that you are safe and free because of the men and women who have served all over the world and here at home to protect our country.

Hug a family member who has served. Send a letter to a family member or friend who is stationed overseas. The next time you see a veteran or an active-duty soldier, stop and say, "Thank you."

Photo Credit 

Friday, November 7, 2014

Katy's favorite: Psalm 107:9

Today's guest post is by my friend, Katy Kauffman, sharing her favorite verse in Scripture. 

“For He satisfies the longing soul, and fills the hungry soul with goodness.” (Psalm 107:9, NKJV)

If there’s one verse in the Bible that I would want to share with other people—besides John 3:16—it’s Psalm 107:9. It describes what God does for those who believe in Him. He satisfies our souls. We need love, we need joy, we need peace. We need strength for life’s tasks and burdens. We need to belong to someone. We need relationships. Our relationship with God is the one that will give the most contentment, the most satisfaction, because we were made for Him. Our hearts were created with a God-shaped hole. When we believe in Jesus and start a relationship with Him, we will come to know true satisfaction and fulfillment. We will know the One that we were created to know and love (John 17:3; Mark 12:30).

If your soul is looking for a peace and a joy that will last, seek after God. He will be found (Jeremiah 29:13, James 4:8). He has been seeking after you all along (Jer. 31:3). I know by experience that Psalm 107:9 works. I can’t imagine my life without God, and I wouldn't want to. He has been a heavenly Father to me, a Best Friend, a Shepherd and Guide, and the Captain of my soul. He gives good things—the best things. The best thing I could long for is to know Him and spend every day with Him. Knowing Him is an adventure, and sharing Him with other people is the best mission in life. May God be your soul’s satisfaction, and may you find rest in His great goodness.

Katy Kauffman            © Copyright 2014 by Katy Kauffman

What a beautiful verse, Katy. When we're longing and hungry, God is there to satisfy and fill us with goodness.

Psalm 107 describes the emotions of those who are crying out for deliverance. We've all felt lost, defeated, and longing for peace. In this verse, longing means to run about, to rush, to run to and fro. Does that ever sound like me! When I feel desperate, I run around, rushing from this idea to the next, trying to find what I crave: peace.

This verse reminds us that God is with us and He alone is able to satisfy our needs. When we hunger for strength, joy, comfort, and peace, we can turn to Him and He will fill us with His love and goodness. 

When has God met your needs and filled you with His goodness?

Meet Katy

Katy Kauffman is the author of 2 Timothy: Winning the Victory, a Bible study on how to win the spiritual battles of life and ministry. She is a co-founder of Lighthouse Bible Studies and a graduate of Luther Rice Seminary. Her heart’s desire is for people to know and love God, understand the richness of His Word, and fulfill His plan for their lives. She makes her home in a cozy suburb of Atlanta, Georgia. 

Contact Katy at
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Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Dancing the Can’t Can’t

For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:10

I have a confession to make. When God calls me to do something, I immediately say , “I can’t! Even if it’s something I've done before, it doesn't matter. “That was a fluke. I was just lucky. I’ll never be able to do it again.”

If it’s a new challenge, I really freak out. “I've never done this before! I’ll make a fool of myself.”

When God calls, we all panic, don’t we? We assume we can’t - No way. No how. No chance. 

We’re unqualified, incapable, and not smart enough.

We measure our abilities and failure is a given. 

But we forget to factor the Holy Spirit into the equation. What we lack, He has.

He is infinitely qualified, completely capable, and the source of all knowledge.

There’s a saying: If God calls you, He equips you. Isn’t that what Ephesians 2:10 says?

We were created by God, created specifically for the works He prepared for us before we were born. When He formed us in our mothers’ wombs, He designed us with those works in mind. He shaped our strengths, weaknesses, and personalities to match the life He planned for us.

And then He placed the Holy Spirit in us to empower us.

When we say, “I can’t,” what I’m really saying is, “Holy Spirit, You can’t.” 

“I’m not qualified.” means “Holy Spirit, You’re not qualified.”

“I’m not capable” translates to “Holy Spirit, You’re not capable.”

It’s true, We can’t do anything on our own. It’s also true, With the Holy Spirit, we can do anything. 

What a mystery: God places Himself inside our weak vessels.

What a privilege: He chooses us to serve Him.

What a joy: He works in us and through us to accomplish His work.

Forget the “I can’t,” and rejoice in the “He can!”

For nothing is impossible with God. Luke 1:37

When has God called you out of your comfort zone? How did He enable you to accomplish His purposes?