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In 1937 Thomas Dorsey wrote “Peace in The Valley” for Mahalia Jackson.  It has been recorded by everyone imaginable.  The lyrics are hopeful, a FINAL day of peace.  It talks about peace in the valley in the future.  Well, my future in Heaven will not be a valley.  And truthfully, the valleys seem to all be in the here and now.  Yet, I can have PEACE in the VALLEY now according to scripture.  God’s word says, th

Psalm 23:4 (NASB)

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

It seems with every year I have found myself saying on December 31st, “next year will be better.”  I look over what has been and think it cannot get worse, then it does.  The year my parents both had open heart surgery and my oldest brother was in the horrible car wreck that ruined his life, also brought a loss job for my husband, an unfavorable medical diagnosis for myself and several other calamities.  Since then I’ve had a brother killed in a plane crash, more job loses, both parents and a parent in law went on to be with the Lord.  We’ve had a daughter almost killed in a collapsed building during a tornado, a granddaughter needing a stomach pumped, more car wrecks, more illnesses, foreclosure and losing my dream house … heart-break after heart-break.  Sometimes it just seems to keep coming and you think, when will the feasting years come.  In the Bible Joseph had bad years followed by good years.  King Solomon had great years.  So then why can’t we?   We do, we just don’t see it that way because we’re looking at the circumstances.  So many times we look at our lives when we need to look around us, or across the world, to see just how good we do have it in our life.

No matter what you are going through, God doesn’t make mistakes.  With the bad comes His presence.  If you focus on the bad of the circumstance you stumble.  When you look back and see all He’s brought you through you know He can carry you through it all. Remind yourself daily all God HAS brought you through, all HE has done for you.  Don’t let people tell you He won’t give you more than you can handle.  That’s not what that scripture means anyway.  He’ll never allow more to touch you that will cause you to lose your faith and give up.  You might feel like you’re going to, but, He’ll be there and He’ll remind you who He is and what He’s done.  We truthfully have no idea how much we can handle anyway.  I just need to remember that all goes through His hand’s before it ever touches me.

So with this new  year I’ll not worry about if it’s all going to turn around and be great.  Neither will I “borrow trouble” as  mom liked to say.  I’ll take each day as He gives it, thanking Him for all the blessings that satan* tries to make me forget by enticing me to look at the circumstances in life.  This year, 2015, will bring what He allows.  Good or bad does not matter as I can rejoice in Him regardless.  I will soon welcome my fifth grandchild.  Grandchildren are wonderful blessings.  My two daughters are blessings.  We are about to celebrate 38 years of marriage.  I’m looking at a cold and clear blue sky with white puff clouds.  I see a variety of large wading birds out back.  The heat is on and I am toasty, the cat is purring.  Hubby’s casting for that big one.  I may see the bobcat walk by, or the flock of wild turkeys.  God’s creation is beautiful, He cares about every detail.  He cares about me and all my details.  He’s not ignoring them, He’s allowing them. I can take comfort in knowing they will work to my good regardless of whether they or good things or bad.  Blessings are everywhere.

Romans 8:28 NASB

“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”

I’m looking forward to 2015 Lord.  Help me to trust You each day, keeping my focus on You and not whatever the day brings.  Teach me.

*satan is always lower case in my writings, because he is one.

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Decorations are up, presents wrapped, schedule is set.

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But, sadly we have mostly forgotten He is the Reason. We fight the lines, the politically correct, and we make time in our schedule to go to church. But, we forget the Reason. It’s not simply Christ’s birth. There was a Reason His birth was needed. There is a Reason we remember His Birth. The Season should include our entire life not just a few hectic weeks each Christmas. In two days will your reason be over for the season until next year? Or, will your . Season be an entire life of celebrating the Reason? The Lord Jesus Christ humbled Himself, took our place, so that we could live in eternity with His Father. Our sin is His reason for coming. He is the Reason we have The Hope of eternity.

John 3:17 ~ “For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.”

Merry Christmas from my home to yours. May you be blessed with the presence, the Reason … Our Lord’s presence in your life daily through out the years. ~ Renee’

Stuck in a rut.


People are funny, we get into such ruts; predictable in all we say and do. “Stuck in a rut” is an idiom that means a boring lifestyle that never changes. We are just creatures of habit, we fall in comfort zones and stay there. This is ever so true of our prayer life.

Do you know what certain people will say when called on to pray? You know some that will start the same way every time, using the same key phrases. Some even say the same phrase over and over throughout their prayer. Creatures of habit, stuck in a rut and comfortable. If we talked to each other this way we would soon find ourselves alone. Sometimes I think we must bore The Lord to tears.

Praying is talking to God in conversation. You can talk to Him anytime and about anything. I had a woman tell me her husband was so spiritual because he prayed three times a day. I told her as Christians we can pray unceasingly. In other words, we are open in communication 24/7, talking and listening, always an open line with our Lord. If Christians keep a right fellowship with their Heavenly Father through prayer and reading His Word they can pray unceasingly.

So how should we pray? The model prayer, or Disciples Prayer, in Matthew 6:5-13 is a good way to learn how to Pray (talk) with The Lord. (This passage of scripture is often called The Lord’s Prayer but, that’s actually in John 17.) the model prayer: No repetitions here. 1) acknowledge Him 2) praise Him 3) thank Him 4) seek forgiveness from Him 5) intercede for others 6) Pray in Jesus’ name. The Lord gave us a very good model to learn to pray and it’s sad so many simply use it as a recital piece only.

Praying should be intentional, like you mean it, not a recitation, habit or duty. It helps me to visualize as I pray.. “Lord, I need the wisdom of Solomon, or the courage of Daniel.” I have prayer lists, but I don’t pray from top to bottom, or even all at one time. The Lord will bring them to mind throughout the day, often awakening me in the middle of the night and laying them on my heart. It took me a long time to learn not to simply “pray the list”. When you are in a fluid conversation with The Lord, the Holy Spirit will bring to mind those on your list in need throughout the day.

Prayer is a gift from God, allowing us to communicate freely. Sadly, we often abuse the privilege and misuse the gift.

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John 3:27 (NASB) “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.”

God’s peace is with us, it never leaves. We leave it; worrying and fretting, stewing and distrusting. Do not ask Him to give you peace about a situation or circumstances. He does not use His peace as a compass or directional guide. Instead, seek Him in prayer and in His word:

Proverbs 3:5-6 (NASB)

5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart
And do not lean on your own understanding.
6 In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He will make your paths straight.

We all know when we are uneasy over something, it doesn’t feel quite right. That’s the tug of the Holy Spirit, the One He left to be your guide.

John14:15-16; 25-26

16 I will ask the Father, and He will give you another [a]Helper, that He may be with you forever; 17 that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.
18 “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.
25 “These things I have spoken to you while abiding with you. 26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.

When you are at peace with Him, in the peace He left you, then His path is straight and clear, and that is when you have “peace over a decision”.

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What kind of books do you like?  How about movies? Like music genres, people like different types of entertainment in their books and movies.  But, one thing most people like is a good ending. Let’s face it, we want good to win, the good guy to win the girl, all the problems solved. You know how you hate it when something is left undone, unsaid, loose ends? All the questions have to be answered, the problems solved. the-rest-of-the-story

Many of my readers may not remember a radio classic and evening news commentator, Paul Harvey (click his name to hear his 1965 Rest of the Story on America).  He was famous for “The Rest Of The Story”.   So many times we get ‘blurbs’ of everyday events unaware of what “The Rest Of The Story” was.  He told the details with such detail and interest that he kept you hanging on until the end.

Sometimes our lives get going so fast that we are constant “blurbs” and nowadays, “bytes”.  The rest of the story is lost on those around us.  No one knows what our story is and sadly many do not care.  Sometimes you feel you’re in a romance novel, sometimes a travel adventure.  Often you’re in a mystery and sadly sometimes a tragic melodrama.  Our books are written day by  day, the story line going who knows where.  Characters come and go, tension mounts, tragedy enters or high adventure.  Your heart rates goes up and down and you wonder if the roller coaster will ever end.  You want the story to end happily ever after like your story books of your childhood.  You would be okay with everything no matter what if you could just get a peek at the end, to know that everything turns out all right.

Well, you know that if you’re a Christian.  You do not have to get impatient with the twist and turns.  You may not know the ending but, you know that it ends all right. You KNOW the Author.  He’s the Author and the finisher of your faith.  Sit back and trust in the end and don’t miss a second of the story worrying about how things are going to turn out or what is going to happen next.

Jeremiah 29:11(NASB)For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.”

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Everyone has a favorite daydream.  Some of us have several.  One of my favorites is I have all the money I need to fly some very special friends to my favorite spot.   I call them and tell them to drop everything, grab their purse and ID and head for the airport where a ticket will be waiting for them.  A limo will meet them at the airport and bring them to the beach house that has all the amenities they could want.  They will not need bags, they will shop for everything they need.  I take them to all the best places to eat.  There is room service to clean for them daily.  We will laugh and enjoy all kinds of fun together.  I have planned a whole week to be stress free.   I hired people to stay at their home and take care of the love one they are the caregiver for, so they have no concerns while they are gone.daydream-2

Sigh.  If only right?  I had a teacher (and I am sure my mom and others as well) that always said, “if wishes were horses, beggars could ride.”  It is a wonderful daydream.  But, you know one day that is exactly what is going to happen with these ladies.  And it will not be for just one week, it will be for eternity.  One day, they will get that call.  They will take no bags, they will have no worries and leave no concerns.  They are all Christians.  In Heaven, they will have all they need.  You cannot take anything from here so no bags are needed.  There will be joy and laughter, and every need will be met.

We may never get that get together here on earth, but, one day … oh what a party in Heaven we are going to have and it won’t be a dream.

Revelations 21:4 HCSB “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. Death will no longer exist; grief, crying, and pain will exist no longer, because the previous things have passed away. “


Fall and football … the games, the cheerleaders, the bands.  I grew up with them, I participated in them and I raised children in them.  Now I live in fantasy … Fantasy Football that is.  Yes, you read that right.  I am in a fantasy football league with my daughters, SIL’s and one of their parents.   I have scored the most points so why am I NOT leading the league?  Because I have also had the most points scored against me.  In other words, on any given game, my opponent has an all time high game.  Actually, I have won the last two weeks … so I am no longer on the bottom rung … I’m climbing.Goal

Life can be like that … on any given day you have everything go wrong.  Everyone around you is having a great day.  However, you may have the garage door break, your AC or heater breaks, the car  breaks down, the stove starts acting up, the house needs paint, or you are running low on food, gas, sanity.  I have friends in all those game plays.  As a Christian you cannot sit on the bench with your head in your hands (unless you’re praying :-D) or run to the locker room.  You have to stay in the game.

Likewise, you are not going to win simply because you stand under the goalpost and wait for the game winning ball.  You have to go to the bench between innings for words from the Coach.  Often you will have to go between every play if you haven’t listened to the Coach and know what to do.  Going to the bench for instructions is always for the best.  “Take a knee” and listen.

Also, while you are in the game, you have to huddle with your fellow players.  You need their support.  (Go to church and Sunday School, Bible Studies, and Life Groups).  You should not play the game by yourself.  The crowd will overwhelm you with their shouts and confuse you.  Tune them out.  Listen only to your coach and team mates.

Stay in the game.  Keep tuned in to the “Coach”, the “Play Maker”.   At the end of the game of life … regardless of penalties, injuries and bad calls, you have won the prize, you have won the game.

Isaiah 40:28-31 NASB  Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth does not become weary or tired.  His understanding is inscrutable.  29 He gives strength to the weary, and to him who lacks might He increases power. 30 Though youths grow weary and tired, and vigorous young men stumble badly, 31 Yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary.”

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Brandon Christian Writers

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