i saw you

This devotion fiirst appeared on our blog on June 3, 2013. It features a devotion by M Jean Pike and a photo by Marge McCoy.

wisaw

The Gospel of John has always been one of my favorite books of the Bible, and one of my favorite passages is the account of Nathaniel’s first-ever encounter with Jesus (chapter 1,verses 44- 50.)
Having met and decided to follow the Lord, Philip hurried to tell his friend Nathaniel the good news. He discovered him relaxing under a fig tree.
“We’ve found him whom Moses and the prophets wrote about,” Philip excitedly told his friend. “Jesus of Nazareth.”
“Nazareth?” The Bible doesn’t say so, but I can almost see Nathaniel rolling his eyes, almost hear the sarcasm in voice. “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?”
“Come and see,” Philip urged him.
Later, Nathaniel found himself face to face with Jesus.
“Behold, an Israelite in whom there is no guile,” Jesus said.
“How do you know me?”
“Before Philip called you, while you were sitting under the fig tree, I saw you.”
Understandably, Nathaniel was astounded. He was awed. He fell to his knees and worshipped this man he’d never met before, but who knew where he had been just hours before, knew even what he’d said to his friend in private.
Sometimes I forget how closely connected God is with his children. I forget that in my hour of darkest sorrow, in my most extreme joy, and even in my everyday busy-ness I am never alone. Nothing I see, nothing I hear or feel or think is hidden from God. What a comfort it is to have a friend that close. When I really stop to think about it, like Nathaniel, I am overwhelmed that the God of the Universe would care about and take notice of me.
Like Nathaniel, I seek to understand and take it in … Lord, how do you know me? I ask. And in the stillness, He answers.
When you were weeding the flower bed, I saw you.
When you were folding the laundry, I saw you.
When you cheered at the football game, drove to work, sat in the garden with your coffee at the end of the day, I saw you.
I knew your every thought, I saw your dreams and desires. I heard even the prayers you did not speak. I know you because I created you. I delight in you because you are my child.
Prayer: Lord, thank you that you know me fully. Thank you that I am important to you. Thank you for the days when I shine for you, and on the days when I fall short, help me to remember that nothing I could do would make you love me more. Nothing I could do would make you love me less. I am fully known and fully loved, just as I am, because you created me. In Jesus name, amen.

Devotional by Jean Pike
Photo by Marge McCoy

portion

Today’s blog was originally posted on August 19, 2016. It features a photo by Cleve Sylcox

portion

I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.” The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him.
Lamentations 3:24-25 (NIV)

Photo by Cleve Sylcox

utmost

This post was featured on July 20, 2022 with a beautiful photo by Elizabeth Pike.

“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for a newer and richer experience.” ― Eleanor Roosevelt

Photo by Elizabeth Pike

a small miracle

This post first appeared on our blog on August 13, 2012. It features a devotion by Bob McCoy and a photo by Marge McCoy.

Music is a universal human experience.  Almost everyone experiences some form of it during their lives and derives enjoyment from it.  I suspect it is like many common things in life – it is so common that we fail to appreciate the power that lies in it.

I was reminded of this on a recent Sunday afternoon visit to my mother in the Alzheimer’s unit of the nursing home where she resides.  As I visited with Mom in the common area of the unit, I noticed a young nursing aide gathering several of the residents at another table.  When she had them gathered around, she sat down and began to read to them from a book.  I didn’t pay much attention at first but it gradually dawned on me that she was trying to read some of the responsive readings from the back of a church hymnal.                     She obviously didn’t read very well and struggled with some of the words that had been taken from the King James Version of the Bible.  Except for one of the newer residents, a retired school teacher who tried to help her with pronunciations, her audience paid little attention – sitting glassy-eyed, each lost in their own world.

Finally finished with the reading, the young lady began leafing through the songs in the book and tried to get the residents to sing with her.  This didn’t go much better than the reading.  She didn’t know the tunes and struggled with the words to several hymns helped along by her school teacher mentor who clearly had spent a good portion of her life in church and knew the songs.

Then she turned the page and the miracle happened.  She opened the page to “Jesus Loves Me”, a song she did know, and began to sing.

Jesus loves me, this I know.

 Instantly, the group dynamics changed.

For the Bible tells me so.

Recognition and awareness flashed in glassy eyes, smiles appeared and one-by-one the residents began to join in and sing.

Little ones to Him belong.

They are weak but He is strong.

  By the end of the first verse, the entire group was singing.

Yes, Jesus loves me.

Yes, Jesus loves me.

Yes Jesus loves me.

The Bible tells me so!

  Tears welled in my own eyes as I recognized that something very special and powerful was happening.  The Holy Spirit, working through this simple little song, had touched something deep inside these pitiful souls and returned them to conscious awareness to praise the Lord for a couple of minutes.  They continued on with another verse.

Jesus loves me, He will stay

Close beside me all the way.

If I love Him when I die,

He will take me home on high.

What a message of hope for these souls who are on the last mile of their earthly lives!

I was also impressed by the willingness of this young lady, who was surely aware of her shortcomings, to share her faith and witness to this group of people who appeared not to understand or care about her message.  She stepped out on faith, used the abilities she did have, and trusted the Spirit to do the rest.  What a wonderful thing it would be if all Christians were more like her!

Devotional by Bob McCoy

Victory in Jesus

This post was first featured on our blog on January 29, 2017. It includes a Hymn by Stephen Sollars and Photo by Aaron Lazar.

victory

Victory in Jesus

I heard an old, old story,
How a Savior came from glory,
How He gave His life on Calvary
To save a wretch like me;
I heard about His groaning,
Of His precious blood’s atoning,
Then I repented of my sins
And won the victory.

Chorus
O victory in Jesus,
My Savior, forever.
He sought me and bought me
With His redeeming blood;
He loved me ere I knew Him
And all my love is due Him,
He plunged me to victory,
Beneath the cleansing flood.

I heard about His healing,
Of His cleansing pow’r revealing.
How He made the lame to walk again
And caused the blind to see;
And then I cried, “Dear Jesus,
Come and heal my broken spirit,”
And somehow Jesus came and bro’t
To me the victory.
Chorus

I heard about a mansion
He has built for me in glory.
And I heard about the streets of gold
Beyond the crystal sea;
About the angels singing,
And the old redemption story,
And some sweet day I’ll sing up there
The song of victory.
Chorus

Words and Music by E.M. Bartlett (1939)
Audio: Stephen Sollars
Photo: Aaron Paul Lazar

laugh out loud

This post was featured on October 1, 2012. We would like to dedicate today’s reposting of this blog to our cousin Linda Freck. May those who loved her remember her smiles and her laughter. This devotion was written by Marge McCoy with a heritage photo courtesy of the Garrigues Family Album.

He will yet fill your mouth with laughing, and your lips with rejoicing.  Job 8:21

A merry heart does good, like medicine. Proverb 17:22 

If you spend time on facebook, twitter or even just texting on your phone I bet you use the three little letters LOL from time to time. It’s easy to type LOL. It’s cute, it’s quick and it conveys a point. We type it often but how often do you really LAUGH OUT LOUD? I mean a big hearty belly laugh? When is the last time you found yourself laughing so hard your stomach hurt or laughing until you cried happy tears? Do you ever laugh so loud you snort or feel like you will wet your pants? I know, I know we are adults and adults are supposed to be refined and reserved but come on, you have to admit that laughing is FUN!

I would love to know what was said or done moments before this picture was taken. Obviously it was something pretty hilarious to this group of young cousins. Take a minute to look at the expressions on the faces. Each one is happier than the next. The laughter of children is filling the air.  Joy is clearly shown on each face. These faces are my cousins, my sisters and me. These faces are now in their 40s and 50s scattered from New York to Ohio and from Indiana to Florida. I can’t remember the last time all these faces were in one room. I hope each one of these faces has something to laugh about. I hope each has something to fill them with joy. When I came across this candid snapshot it made me smile.  It made me want to laugh out loud.

 

Did you know that laughter is good for us? Laughter can change a mood. At times laughter can be planned but most often it comes on us quickly and unexpectedly. Sometimes we need to laugh at ourselves and sometimes we need to laugh along with others.  Did you ever hear a baby laugh so deep and hearty that you just had to chuckle too? Did you ever see the delight in a child’s face as they “get” the punch line of a joke? They usually have to share it over and over. Did you ever get to a funny part of a movie and rewind it to hear it again? We like to laugh. We need to laugh. As we get older we don’t laugh as much and we don’t laugh as loud. Children find humor in many things. They naturally allow laughter to bubble up from within, they don’t stifle it and it just spills on out and infects others. It’s contagious, this thing called laughter. It is really hard to be in a room full of people who are laughing and not join in with at least a grin or a giggle.  Laughter really is like medicine.

There are times to be serious but the Bible also encourages laughter? This wonderful book even tells us that laughter does our body good.  Doctors agree that laughter is good for your heart, laughter helps your muscles relax, laughter aids in pain reduction, it lowers of blood pressure and acts as a natural anti-depressant. Laughter is free, you don’t have to sit in the waiting room to get it and there is no co-pay. Laughter is a reward in the middle of a busy day, a happy little interlude.  It’s ok to laugh out loud if something is funny. You are never too old to laugh. While we don’t want to laugh at other people or at cruel or crude jokes, we should not shy away from times of pure laughter because laughter is a gift from God.

 

 

Dear Lord, so often we face uncertainty, sorrow or depression. At times struggles and worries bombard us and seem to steal our joy. We want to pause and thank you for laughter.  Thank you for giving us opportunities to see things in a funny way.  Help us to have a light heart.  Help us to smile more, to laugh more and work harder to make others laugh. For when we smile, laugh and cheer others up we will in turn be blessed with a happy heart.  Help us Lord to use the medicine of laughter, Amen.

By Marge McCoy

a little thanks

This post was first published on our blog on March 16, 2020. It features a poem by Connie Faust and a photo by Diane Domigan.

A LITTLE THANKS
Greeting God in the morning,
I lift my eyes
look skyward
and give a little thanks. . .
For a clean, fresh new morning
for life and mobility
for a chance to start anew
and serve my God —
I give a little thanks
For every meal, without fail
I bow my head
close my eyes
and give a little thanks . . .
For a place to eat in peace
for pure water in my cup
for food to fill and nourish
as He provides —
I give a little thanks
Then, as the moments unfold
With open eyes
I’m aware
He bids me give Him thanks . . .
For people I encounter
for every pain or pleasure
for His abiding presence
each passing hour —
I give a little thanks
And when the day is closing
I bow once more
gratefully
and give a little thanks . . .
For another day with God
for His gift of forgiveness
for joys waiting in heaven
My Lord, receive
My heartfelt prayer of thanks

Poem by Connie Faust
Photo by Diane Domigan

God,

This post first appeared on May 19, 2021. It features a prayer by Alan Hopkins with a photo by Belinda Brasley.

God,

Sometimes I don’t feel like I have the words to pray. I don’t always know what to say to You. What do I say to someone who is perfect in every way? Please help me remember that You want to hear from me. Give me the confidence to speak what’s on my heart with You, but help me to do so with respect. And please let these honest conversations lead me to a deeper sense of awe, wonder, and love for You. Show me how to talk with You, and then make me eager to do it regularly.

In Jesus’ name,

Amen.

  • Prayer by Alan Hopkins
  • Photo by Belinda Brasley

another page from my mother’s journal

This post was originally published in the very first month of our blog on August 27,2012.  It is a page from the journal of our mother, Betty Garrigues.

July, 1989

Today was one of those sultry, humid days, the air so heavy it seemed to form drops of moisture on your skin. The house opened its doors today after being closed up for two years. “Estate Sale” the sign said, and people swarmed in, filling the once still house with a buzz of conversation.

Some were strangers to the house, others, acquaintances, and others, dear friends and neighbors. “She had no one,” I heard, “no children or relatives. The money will go to a boys’ home.”

The staff had done its job well – her goods were boxed and ready for the scrambling, inquisitive public.

$2 box. $4 box. Each item 50 cents.

Her furniture was lined up with a price tag on each piece, already glaring holes where someone had carried out a treasure.

In the dining room, a long table was filled with her jewelry and knick-knacks. A ceramic Christmas tree blinked oddly in the July heat. “Did she make this?” someone asked. “No, it was a gift.”

I pressed on into the kitchen, noting her bottle of dish soap and cloth, still on the drainboard of the sink. The kitchen items were also divided into categories and boxed accordingly.

$2. Box $4. Box. 50 cents an item.

Canned goods, spices, even flour and sugar – What unwelcome guests might be harbored within those two-year-old packages.

On upstairs I stepped, into brightly papered rooms – all in disarray. Only a short time since the sale began and already people were carrying out box after box of her things.

She liked to sew, two machines attested to this, one old treadle, gleaming black and gold in an old oak case. Sold a sign said. The other, a newer version, was still set up with bright red thread and bobbin,  all the attachments and instruction book neatly placed in a box beside.

$2 box. $4 box. Each item 50 cents.

Unfinished squares of a quilt, scraps of brightly colored fabrics. Another bedroom—her full-length mirror, boxes of doilies, lace, pillow cases with hand-crocheted edging. My eyes were drawn to a pretty, pieced bed cover done in a pattern called Dresden Plate. It was worn from many washings. $5. I could not resist, so I, too, began to pick up treasures.

While some carried out boxes of dishes, a mixer, a cleaner, their arms overburdened with bargains, dear friends and neighbors each chose one thing – an old English tea pot, a trinket remembered from a long-past childhood, a crystal vase. “One little thing,” I heard over and over. “Just to remember her by.”

By Elizabeth “Betty” Garrigues