Thursday, July 2, 2015

The Emerging Picture

On May 26, 2015 my life was broken into 1,000 pieces. It seemed like an impossible task to assemble all those parts into a picture that made sense. With the death of my husband, everything was different.

The completed puzzle still loomed as a mystery. 

Just as when I work a jigsaw puzzle I start with the edges, the first requirement of his passing was a funeral. As the border takes shape, it is easier to see just how large the project is. The funeral home was easy to deal with. Friends volunteered to help. My daughters flew many miles to assist me in the process.

The edge began to take shape.

Then began the paperwork. Accounts and companies needed to be notified of his death. As I worked my way through the list of people to contact, a few more pieces could be placed in the puzzle.

Then came the day when everyone had been notified.
More pieces were placed in my puzzle as I began to return to a semblance of my former life. I exercised. I went to work. Bills were paid. Groceries were purchased.

A picture of my new life began to emerge.

I’m still working on the puzzle both literally and figuratively. Daily I try to put in at least one piece. I’m reading four books. Just like the robot in Short Circuit, I need input. I am constantly in conversation with God, asking for help with that next piece.

And as my brother said, “John is not gone. He’s just not here.” I feel him everywhere.

“Through your faithful prayers and the generous response of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, everything He wants to do in and through me will be done. I can hardly wait to continue on my course.” Philippians 1:19-20 (MSG)

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

There's a Recipe for That!

The recipe was simple enough. The list of ingredients hinted at the fact that this wouldn't be your ordinary red beans and rice. In addition to garlic, green pepper, and onion, the dish called for some spices that were sure to invigorate the taste buds - red pepper flakes, chili powder, oregano. The item that would set this dish apart? Chorizo sausage links.

After the addition of red beans, diced tomatoes, and long-grain rice, the dish just required time to simmer - a chance for all of the flavors to marinate. I wasn't disappointed, and my family wasn't either. This is one recipe I'll keep on hand when we're craving something with a spicy kick.

The right words

Did you know the Bible gives us a recipe for our speech? The Apostle Paul, writing under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, penned these words:

Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man. Colossians 4:6; KJV

Our words are powerful and can be used to build up or tear down (click to tweet). When used in the right combination, our words can be the very recipe a person needs.

The main ingredient we need to include in our speech is grace. By definition, grace encompasses the infinite love, mercy, favor, and goodwill that Christ shows to humankind. We need this grace on a daily basis. As recipients of this amazing grace, we now have the opportunity to be grace-givers.

Another ingredient

Our speech should also be seasoned with another ingredient : salt. Salt makes a person thirsty. It also has the ability to preserve. Our words should leave others thirsty for the Savior - the Living Water (click to tweet). And our words should act as a preservative, protecting the person from stumbling or becoming bitter.

Life's challenges often cause us to speak without thinking about how our words will effect others. Even when it's our responsibility to use words to correct, God's Word provides the 'how to,' - "...speaking the truth in love," (Ephesians 4:15). Correction is so much easier to embrace when it's administered with a loving attitude.

Recipes allow us to put together foods that are pleasing to our palates. Take some time today to discover the recipes in the Bible that cause our speech to be pleasing to our Heavenly Father!

Your turn

Do you take time to think before you speak? What step will you take today to be a grace-giver and an encourager?

Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for showing me how my speech can be pleasing to you. Forgive me for the many times I've spoken without thinking, and said things that have hurt others. Help my words to be filled with grace and salt, and to be spoken with love. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Maria I. Morgan is passionate about sharing the truths of God’s Word with today’s generation. Originally an inspirational author and speaker for adults, Maria has widened her circle to include kids. She lives in the muggy South with her husband, two retrievers, and two Maine coon kitties – the perfect mix to fuel her creativity for years to come!

(Receive the FREE audiobook version of her award-winning children's book, "Louie's BIG day!here. You can purchase a copy of “Louie’s BIG day!” on Amazon.  You can also find Maria's devotionals and download a free copy of her eBook, God Speaking, at

Monday, June 22, 2015

God's Symphony

Revelations 4:2-14

At once, I was in the Spirit, and there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it. (Rev. 4:2 NIV)

     John goes on to describe an awesome God, surrounded by 24 elders with gold crowns on their heads. Fearful rumblings, flashes of lightening, and peals of thunder rend the atmosphere. A rainbow that shines like an emerald encircles God, and a lake of glass rests at his feet.

     The Apostle’s description reminds me of the Bible’s admonition that “fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” Most people say the Bible isn’t talking about fear, as much as it means that we are wise when we are in awe of God. 

      I don’t know about you, but if I stood before the Being John described, I would be terrified; but I would experience something else — an overpowering need to worship him. And that’s just what the four living creatures were doing.

In the center, around the throne, were four living creatures, and they were covered with eyes in front and in back. The first living creature was like a lion, the second was like an ox, and the third had a face like a man, the fourth was like a flying eagle. Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under its wings. Day and night, they never stop saying:

“Holy, holy, holy

is the Lord God Almighty

who was, and is, and is to come” (Rev. 4 :6-8 NIV)

     Day and night they never stop praising God. Imagine an eternity of doing that. We are told heaven is a place of complete joy, without tears, pain, or sorrows. Jesus spoke about preparing a place for us full of many mansions. I think we relate to those mansions more than the idea of constant worship.


      I heard about a minister who said he would not enjoy heaven if it were like an unending church service. What if that “constant worship” would give us the greatest joy possible? What if, like the four living creatures, we found pure ecstasy just being in God’s presence, and praising him in a way that is far beyond us now? Not that God needs our praise; rather, we need to praise him, because that’s why he created us. Being in the presence of God made the Garden of Eden paradise for Adam and Eve, before that snake wound itself around the tree.   


     What if our prayers of exaltation, songs of adoration, individual acts of love and creativity form a heavenly symphony of unending praise? Perhaps we each have our own special note designed by God, just for us. Unique to each person, one could sing a melody line; another, a tone so perfect it would make glass shimmer. We could join others in harmony, raising the melody to glorious heights. No note would be unnecessary, and the symphony would be rich, achingly exquisite, and eternal.

      And maybe we would never want to stop.

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