welcome to the hike!

Working out the call!

I currently living in Millersburg or as God whispered in me ear four years ago in PA, "the land of my Fathers!" MILLERS - burg! OK! The best way to describe my life of late, is simply "Pastor-at-Large" I live "outside the box" of our usual expectation of life, family, employment and even culture. I live, breathe, and weave around a four county area as a local missionary and have learned of so many supportive faith communities. I meet people who contact me where they are in their 'hike 'o life."

The hats I wear are that of Life Coach, Writer, Speaker, Retreat Facilitator, Pastoral Supply, Prayer Counselor and well, whatever God calls on me to do (I actually get paid to do all of these things, which is awesome, unless you are helping me with my books!) I also work to "tent-make my mission work" as a church secretary for a sweet fellowship pastored by one of my favorite seminary prof's.

So what do I want to be when I grow up? Stay tuned! The goals are big and staying solvent month by month is a huge victory, but as I see my own heart and others hearts change and grow in my daily walk, I realize, I am not working for treasures on earth....I have direct deposit above. Guess that's a pretty sweet ride! Lacing up my hiking boots...on the hike o' life!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

As simple as ice cream

Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

1 John 4:11

Yesterday we talked about STANDING IN THE GAP for someone and I am sure that many of you know that I am going suggest to you that God wants you to take some action! 

I am also very sure that many of you DO NOT LIKE THIS IDEA!

We all have visions of folks knocking on the door waving a Bible and warning about hell!


However, today I just want to share one of my GOD STORIES that is now over 20 years old that might illustrate how very simple it is to STAND IN THE GAP and share GOD'S LOVE!

And I am going to confess right off the bat, that I was not smart enough to realize what was happening until after it was over!  But this woman and her responses stay burned in my brain, long after this dear lady's life on earth is now over.

I was a food service direction in a large and luxurious nursing home.  This facility had many wealthy residents, but little emphasis on faith.  Folks there seemed to struggle more than usual with losing their independence and facing illnesses and the end of life.

Folks also complained a lot about the food in this place.

Especially Miss Klinkowsky.

She had never married, was in her 90's and had a private room.


She seemed to enjoy telling me how a "waitress looked at her funny" or her vegetables were too soft, or too firm.  Well, you get the picture.  I did what I could with these complaints, but I really didn't know what I could do.

This facility also had many special events and the main reception area was not too far from Ms. K's room.  So in an effort to appease her, I often on my way to check set ups, would stop and see her and take her favorite, a bowl of vanilla ice cream.

My agenda was two-fold.  As a dietitian, I wanted to boost her calcium and caloric intake for this very petite picky eater, and as a food service director I just hoped to hear a few less complaints.

Most institutions keep a nourishment cooler/freezer on the nursing floor and we did, but they contained those Styrofoam cups with the paper tabs and you might guess - one of these DID NOT fit Ms K's idea of ice cream.

OH NO - she wanted hand dipped!

 (Hey who can blame her!)

So as I would confer with the dietary staff that all was set up correctly for the conference room. I would often in my business attire - don a hairnet and get the big tub of vanilla ice cream out to scoop up a little bit of ice cream to take up on my run!

My visits at first were stiff, but as Ms. K got used to my stopping she knew that as the dietary staff passed her room, I would follow in a couple hours to bring her ice cream.

At times I would send other staff, and then if I came by later she would give me a hard time, because I hadn't come myself.

One week, I was at my wits end with her complaints and I almost didn't stop to take her that bowl of hand - dipped ice cream.

But as I tried to do other paperwork in my office, I couldn't get her out of my mind (I consider that kind of feeling now, to be the urging of the Holy Spirit), so off I went in my good suit and heels to dip up a dish and take one for myself as well to share with her.

Despite her complaints that week she was very glad to see me and even told me to call her by her first name that night! 

I also asked her if she would mind if I joined her as I was having a tough day.

As we shared our ice cream together, she simply asked,





Again, I am so thankful that GOD gave me the words.....

I was quiet for a minute

and then I simply said,

I can only be this nice because of

the love of JESUS

and because I feel His LOVE


that's all I said......

She began to cry.

Then I told her,

I pray for you every day, you know.

(now let me also confess, I was not always praying for her soul, but for her to be nicer to my staff and to stop complaining so much)

She simply thanked me and changed the subject.

Because of the rigidity of our facility - I never felt like I could offer to pray or spontaneously share my faith, I wish I could tell you that I know she came to salvation before she died, but I won't know until I see glory myself.

But perhaps I did enough.  I actually don't feel guilty for not offering to pray with her.  I have peace about her.  

This lonely lady needed to know she was loved.

Not by me,


For you see, after that night any time I took her ice cream, she just smiled and thanked me and half winked at me.  It was like our little secret, and she was saying I KNOW WHY!

She still complained - sometimes, but not nearly as much.  AND if others complained she often took them to task.

So while I didn't feel led to share my faith in words,

I shared it in deeds

deeds like hand dipped vanilla ice cream.

And just a reminder to all of us about all the people in our lives



That's the point of our Lenten Challenge - that folks who could use GOD's LOVE would receive it.

Don't need fireworks, don't need big words,  it really could be as simple as a dish of vanilla ice cream!

Lord we thank you for the simple deeds that can be an expression of your heart of love.  LET YOUR LOVE MOTIVATE US as we continue to pray for ____________.  Give us right hearts about our prayers and motivate us to LOVE - for when we were still sinners YOU showed YOUR LOVE FOR US....

Thank you for YOUR PERFECT TIMING, THE URGINGS that call us that are YOUR HOLY SPIRIT AT WORK and THANK YOU FOR LOVE expressed in simple ways, like a bowl of hand dipped vanilla ice cream.  AMEN!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Standing in the Gap -

So I sought for a man among them who would make a wall, and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found no one. Ezekiel 22:30

One week ago, I issued our Lenten challenge.  I too took this challenge and I cannot believe what God has shown me.  God is showing me so much about the one I called to pray for! 

Just wanted to share a few thoughts about this concept of intercessory prayer.

The term "standing in the gap" comes from the passage in Ezekiel above.  Ezekiel was called by the Lord to do some pretty crazy things, and this prophet of whom much is recorded was obedient to God in his calling.

Ezekiel ministered in some pretty turbulent times in history.

He had some hard messages, some unusual antics but as God showed His displeasure with our sin, He also promised comfort and reconciliation to those who repented.  For a great look at this, take a look at Ezekiel 37, the passage of the valley of the dry bones!

You, by accepting the Lenten Challenge are Standing in the GAP for the person who God has called to to.

I am praising God that you answered, if you look at the end of the verse above,

NO ONE answered this call to STAND IN THE GAP in this prophecy. 

Your prayers and what God is showing you will make a huge difference in two lives, YES the one you are praying for and perhaps even more so FOR YOU!

  As you are praying, what is God showing you?  What needs does this person have?  Perhaps you are to send a card of encouragement, or help them their homework, or just call them to hang out!

Standing in the Gap  means being present with them.  We are calling on the Lord, but as we call, we must also listen.

I would like to take more time with this, but my time is short to write this today.

Here is the web site that the image came from


It's a hard core site about praying for a lost world.  These folks are committed to being in the GAP for many and there are some incredible testimonies about those who have come to faith.  Don't worry...you are called to do anything more but call out to God and follow His lead in  your life!

Let's pray....

Lord we continue to lift up ____________.  Help us to picture them right now_________________.  Show us how we can love them in tangible ways_________________.   Help us to listen to You , to them, and to seek you and grow in your peace on this journey we are on to celebration, AMEN! 

Monday, March 28, 2011

Souping away Tuesdays - on my way to the James...

Thanks for the many prayers on my day off blogging!  I felt them and continue feel many prayers on this Lenten Journey. 

A friend at work reminded me that while this is a discipline it should not be a STRIVING discipline, but a joy! 

And it is!

The following Scripture has been rolling around my brain this day, so that will be my devotional sharing today. 

           "Be my strong refuge,
         To which I may resort continually;
         You have given the commandment to save me,
         For You are my rock and my fortress."  Psalm 71:3

What a great prayer for each of us as we struggle with the trials of life.  "Continually" is a biblical word that fascinates me.  Daniel is admired by the king of Babylon because "his God is with him CONTINUALLY" and this verse again reminds me that no matter what I am going through or what flaming arrows the enemy hurls into my life - I can go to GOD and HE IS present for me CONTINUALLY.  Other portions of this Psalm remind us to call upon Him and that He will incline His ear.  Lent with the struggles we all face in trying to draw nearer to God.

I am posting this Monday evening as I get to be the driver for my sister's chemotherapy treatment tomorrow.  So have a great day we probably will recal the recipe and other sister things as we head south.
  I am sure I will witness many inspiring things at the James Center on the Ohio State University Campus tomorrow!  Marcia did blog last night, so if you want to check out my Lil sis and her great writing the link to her page is  http://www.carepages.com/carepages/Marciajourney/updates/2976706?client_code=default&ipc=mur

This soup recipe I am going to share today is really one of those CONTINUALLY RECIPES!  I haven't made it but once this last year - that was when I still lived in PA. It is one of those "scratch plus" recipes that use products you bring home from the store, but then present in a way that is guaranteed ooh's and ah's.  Even if you just make it for yourself!

My mom or I clipped this out of the paper many years ago and our family had it often for a hearty Saturday lunch.  It may seem like more calories, but it is a complete meal.  And for a Lenten recipe of simplicity and freedom, it fits the bill!

So here is

Garlic Herb Tomato Soup in Bread Bowls with Croutons

One can of condensed tomato soup
2-4 unsliced Kaiser Rolls
(from your local bakery/grocery, most have these baked fresh in store)
Margarine 1-2 teaspoons
Olive Oil 1-2 teaspoons
Garlic - 1-2 cloves chopped, (or 1/2 teaspoon dehydrated granules)
Italian Seasoning 1-2 teaspoons
Parmesan Cheese - grated or shredded
Other Grated Cheeses as desired

This is THIS EASY!  Preheat your toaster oven or over to 350.  Taking a steak knife or paring knife "gut" the kaiser rolls - taking the top off and as much bread out of the center to hold the amount of soup you want to eat. (I usually let about 1/2 to 1 inch of bread around the sides.) 

You can let the tops intact for a fancy presentation, BUT I usually cut all the tops and "guts" into 1 inch cubes to make into yummy croutons for the soup or later!

So after you have the bread ready, grab the saucepan you cook your soup in.  Place the margarine and olive oil in and turn on to medium high heat on the burner.  When the oil is hot, just toss the garlic in until it is starts to cook - just a bit and then remove from the heat.  Add some - but not all the Italian seasoning. You can then take a brush or spoon to lightly drizzle in the bread bowls.  Then I take the croutons and just dump em in the saucepan then as they are coated put them on a baking sheet with the bread bowls.  I quickly sprinkle the bowls and croutons with some Parmesan cheese to taste and put them in the oven to toast about 10-15 minutes.

Now you simply add the soup and water to this totally awesome saucepan that is littered with garlic and oil and seasonings and heat up the soup.  I add a bit more Italian seasoning.

As the soup warms the bowls toast, when all is heated and toasted through - OR YOU CAN'T stand how good it smells any longer dip up immediately, top with croutons and cheeses as desired.  Unused bowls and croutons can be stored for a day or two in a dry place and of course you can refrigerate any leftover soup.  BUT REALLY this is seldom leftover!

Literally it took me longer to write this all down, that it will take you to make it!  And, this is one of those wonderful recipes that you can tweak in anyway you like with more garlic or less, use a different seasoning blend, you can use a different soup!  Have fun and experiment a bit!

That's the joy of the hike - we adapt to conditions.  This blogging practice  is helping me adapt and be flexible as I continue to see the next call and I CONTINUALLY realize that God is is with me to help me discern all these situations in this HIKE O' LIFE!

Don't forget to pray for ____________________-

Again thanking all those who prayed for me this day - Anybody have a light or meatless soup they want to share - I don't have a plan for next week yet!  Let me know if you do!?

Sunday, March 27, 2011

taking a day off -

 time to take a day off and press inward on some things...

PRAY FOR _____________________

and I could use a couple of prayers too.......

Saturday, March 26, 2011


On this Sunday edition, I want to introduce to one of the oldest Easter Hymns

When I survey the Wondrous Cross was penned by Isaac Watts...

But I also introduce (sorry to any purists) Chris Tomlin's arrangement of a new chorus that has brought this the hymn to a new generation...

I feel that this is song sums up what the Lenten Journey is all about:

Our need for the cross,

Christ's sacrifice on the cross,

And the world that has not been the same.....

since Christ OVERCAME DEATH for our sake.

So journey with me to find out about this incredible hymn...

From the blog of Messiah Lutheran Church, here is compiled background of these amazing hymns

Isaac Watts was born in 1674 in Southampton England.  “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross” is thought, by many, to be the greatest hymn ever written. 

The eldest of nine children, he was the son of an educated deacon in a dissenting Congregational church.  At the time of Isaac’s birth, his father was in prison for his non-conformist beliefs.  Young Watts showed an unusual aptitude for study and learned Latin at the age of five, Greek at nine, French at eleven and Hebrew at thirteen.  He began to write verses of good quality when he was very young.  Watts is frequently referred to as the father of English hymnody. 

 One of his early concerns was the deplorable state to which congregational singing had degenerated in most English-speaking churches.  The singing consisted of slow, ponderous Psalms in which each line was first read by an appointed deacon and was followed by the droning of the congregation. 

 He was a revolutionary producing “futuristic music” for his time. 

Because of this bold departure from the traditional Psalms, Isaac Watts was often considered to be a radical churchman.  Watts not only rewrote the Psalms in this way, but he also wrote a number of hymns based solely on personal feelings.  These hymns were known as hymns of human composure.  Such hymns were very controversial during his lifetime.  “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross” is an example of this type of hymn written by Watts.  It’s the first known hymn to be written in the first person, introducing a personal religious experience rather than limiting itself to doctrine.

Isaac Watts, and his hymn “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross” helped to reshape the future of church music as we know it today.  Mr. Watts would have been proud to know that Chris Tomlin is continuing his tradition.
The words of “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross” tell a wonderful story. 

 They tell of the paradoxical beauty of sacrifice. 

They tell a story of pain and suffering woven together with joy and love. 

Who would have ever thought that these polar opposites could come together and form a paradoxical statement that on the face of it sounds ridiculous, but when taken to heart and pondered makes so much sense that even the simplest of minds can understand it?

The lost Verse:

Watts, actually wrote 5 verses but one has been dropped through the years (including in our hymnal).  Here’s is the missing verse (it’s actually meant to be the fourth verse):

“His dying crimson, like a robe,
Spreads o’er His body on the tree:
Then am I dead to all the globe,
And all the globe is dead to me.”

Born and raised in East Texas, Chris Tomlin grew up on a steady diet of country music, learning his guitar style by playing along with Willie Nelson records.  Not that you would ever guess it from listening to the  gentle smoothness of his vocals.

“I love the simplicity of drums, bass, electric and acoustic guitars,” Chris explains. “We’re not about putting on a big show. We don’t want to be rock stars. We’re about connecting with people and having a shared experience of coming before God and worshipping Him.

Credited with venerable church choruses such as “Forever,” “We Fall Down,” and “The Wonderful Cross,” Tomlin is considered one of this era’s top songwriters. With millions singing his songs weekly, Chris is recognized as a pivotal voice of today’s modern expression of Christian worship.  Yet, Tomlin has masterminded several remakes of classic hymns including Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone) and “Take My Life and Let it Be.”


Here is the chorus that Tomlin added:
Oh the wonderful cross, Oh the wonderful cross
Bids me come, and die, and find
That I may truly live.
Oh the wonderful cross, Oh the wonderful cross
All who gather here, by grace,
Draw near and bless Your name.

The scriptural reference to “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross” is Galatians 6:14.

May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. – NIV

Tomlin’s chorus draws from Gal 2:20:

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.  The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. – NIV

The version I have chosen today is performed by Micheal W. Smith.  ENJOY!  (PS... On these YouTube videos if you double click on it you go to the YouTube home page and if you click on the four corner mode in the lower right hand corner - it will go to a full screen presentation, so you can experience the pictures and scriptures in full screen mode.  You just hit your escape key to go back to the smaller size.)


Here are the first four verses of Watt's Hymn to ponder further.....

When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.

Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,
Save in the death of Christ my God!
All the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them to His blood.

See from His head, His hands, His feet,
Sorrow and love flow mingled down!
Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,
Or thorns compose so rich a crown?

Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.

My prayer:  Thank you Lord for these words that draw us nearer to you in every era.  Let us bring to you songs, hymns and spiritual songs that draw us closer and help us to understand how great a sacrifice you made - all for sinners like me.  Lord we remember ________and ask your Holy Spirit to touch us with special prayers for this them day.  In Jesus name, AMEN!

God Stories, mine, yours and the world's!

A funny thing happened to me this week.

I kept making plans.

But God kept breaking in and taking me to places I didn't even know I was supposed to be until that moment!

As you read about my rambling life I am leading right now,  I want to ask you,

 Are you open to let God change your plans as you go along? 

Are you trying to be open to see what He is doing?

We all can be so quick to ask God where He is when we think we need him.

Sometimes we are just like the masses on Palm Sunday wanting a hero to come and rescue them from the short term trials of our lives. Overthrow the government, relieve our suffering NOW, and when those things don't happen we get angry with the superhero instant solution God, because He could do those things - but He doesn't.

But what we don't realize is God is caring about our long term understanding or what this world is, what sin and selfishness is, and what He is preparing us for: 






Many of you know of my sister's journey for the last two years with a rare cancer called leimyosarcoma.  (Next time she updates her blog - I will link it here as well.)  She is marching so far successfully through her second round of chemo in the last twelve months and has also had 3 surgeries since that day in February 2009 when her doctor first discovered that first tumor during a routine exam. 

I only mention Marcia, Matt, Clay and Jordan today, after a friend said to me he was amazed at their peace and steadiness on this roller coaster ride they are on.  PRAISE THE LORD! Yep!

As we have prayed and prayed for God to have HIS WAY and even as we keep asking God our heart's desire on this - "TAKE THIS CANCER AWAY - PLEASE LORD - NOW LORD" .

The cancer has not yet gone all away, BUT GOD KEEPS SHOWING UP!  FAITH KEEPS GETTING STRONGER, PEOPLE KEEP REVEALING THEIR LOVE and we keep having SMALL VICTORIES and BIG LOVE all revealed in incredible ways.

I have made the comment many times regarding this situation, that I keep on praying for miracles, and while the big one (total elimination of all tumors and evidences of cancers) has not yet happened, we keep praying for it - and in the meantime - we have seen a million other miracles happen. 

GOD IS IN THIS JOURNEY and for that WE ARE MADE TO LOVE HIM, BETTER UNDERSTAND HIM and appreciate HIS presence on each day!  (P.S. - Sis has scans and meeting with doc's again in the next 10 days so we too covet your prayers on this!)

I went to the library this week and as I scanned the shelf for some books, this just seemed to say "PICK ME"!  It is the book God Stories by Jennifer Skiff.  This book is a collection of testimonies from people all around the world, telling of their encounters with God in their lives.  Some of these stories are posted on her web site which can be reached at

This is an amazing book and helps us understand - that God is there with us - are we willing to SEE?

So my stories - I could go tell you about 20 from this week - but will limit it to one!  Wednesday after work, I had planned to go to Ashland to watch a dear friend play in a basketball all-star game.  I also was aware of someone in the community who was having a second surgery in a week and was filled with a compassion for this family.  As the weather forecast was dicey that morning I just prayed, "God help me to be wise about my day, put me in your hands and led me." 

Well you might say "all hail broke loose" right when I had wanted to leave for the basketball game and the line of storms and two tornado sightings were in my traveling path.  I took that as a NO to plan A.  Then I got a text from another friend who also had a increased concern for the family with the second surgery.  She was unexpectedly getting off work early and wondered if I wanted to head up to see the family in still waiting to hear news from the surgery?  The weather that direction by now was clear and sunny.  So, we traveled north.  At first we couldn't find the family, but as we were leaving the waiting area to plan our next move, they were coming out of the ICU unit having just seen their family member after surgery!  The nurses had kicked them out for an hour at shift change, and at just the right time (thanks GOD) we stumbled into the picture to bring respite from a long day!

After our hour in the hospital cafeteria, we were told you must go in and say hi.  We certainly didn't expect this, but obediently went in.  Our friend was clear and so glad to see us, as we offering a prayer of praise for God bringing them through this storm - I can honestly say it was the sweetest five minutes I have enjoyed for a long time! 


Just want close with this scripture on your Lenten JOURNEY - it is from Jeremiah 29:  11-13

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.  Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart




A prayer -

LORD, we confess all to often we question you with the WHYs of life, but we don't invite You into the what is right now!  WE WANT OUR SOLUTIONS - help us just seek and find YOUR PRESENSE.  WE PRAY for our own awareness, for those we know in the storms of NOW to see the rainbow's of YOUR work of KINGDOM AND ETERNITY.  We pray for that family, who is still dealing with hospitals, for all those walking through cancer and espiecally for those YOU are CALLING us to pray for.  HELP __________ to see YOUR loving hand in their life right now as we continue to pray for ___________ to be open you YOUR LOVE THIS DAY.  IN JESUS' MIGHTY NAME AMEN!

I would be eager to hear your GOD STORIES - and FYI - I don't regulary get to see the person I was praying for - but was THRILLED TO SEE THEM - and sense God's work in them since I began to earnestly pray!  YAY! 

Friday, March 25, 2011

The FRIDAY check of our Heart on the Hike!

Paul's Prayer for ALL - From Romans 10: 1-13 (Emphasis from Darcy)

 Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved.

 For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge.

For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God.

For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.
For Moses writes about the righteousness which is of the law, “The man who does those things shall live by them.”

 But the righteousness of faith speaks in this way, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’”[ (that is, to bring Christ down from above)  or, “‘Who will descend into the abyss?’” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead).

 But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart”
(that is, the word of faith which we preach):

that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.

For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.”[For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him.

For “whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.”

How clearly this scripture speaks to me!  And what a beautiful collage above from Joy C on Flicker.  I am looking forward to finding more of her work to enjoy! 

As promised, this is a "heart check" Friday edition of the Lenten HIKE.

Whenever someone has asked me "HOW CAN I KNOW" that I am right with God?

 How can I know that I am "saved"?

I turn to this, Romans 10: 9-10

that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.

For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

I have been in many churches where I have heard many confessions of faith

- but then I see other things coming out of mouths and actions
that leads me
to wonder what is in these hearts?!

  I am sure if someone took a look at me they could, at times wonder as well!

  One of the "tag lines" that I would often say both to myself and to others
during my pastoral ministry in Pennsylvania was this.  


I can listen to words and evaluate "fruit" or actions of my and others' efforts,

(and at times I do not even trust my own!)

MY point is this.  It's about THE HEART!

Another scripture for you to ponder today on this topic of heart and mouth are these words of Jesus from Matthew 12: 33-37
(again emphasis by me)

 “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by its fruit.    Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart[  brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things.  But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment.  For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

It's that simple!

In our next heart check Friday I am going to examine what believing in your heart looks like from a  scriptural perspective, but in basic terms the Scripture that Joy C. put on her photo collage tells us what we will see if we trust with our hearts:  HELP, JOY and  PRAISE. 

Psalm 28:7
The LORD is my strength and my shield;
         My heart trusted in Him, and I am helped;
         Therefore my heart greatly rejoices,
         And with my song I will praise Him.

So as I prepare for the rest of my day, let's close by the simplicity of trusting like a child. 

Just trusting, showing faith, practicing belief (at whatever lever you are capable of today) in your heart - that is all God is asking of us.


Lord - I am glad that you know my heart and the heart of each one of those created in your image.  HELP US TO EXPOSE OUR HEARTS to YOU - YOU KNOW ALL ABOUT WHAT IS IN YOUR HEARTS, but until we bring it to YOU and allow your work in us our efforts at righteousness - "getting it right" on our own are worthless.  Thank you for YOUR RIGHTEOUSNESS poured upon us through Christ's sacrifice FOR US.  Help us to SIMPLY BELIEVE and TRUST and feel that joy of rejoicing.

And LORD - many of us have chosen to pray for someone YOU HAVE PUT On OUR HEARTS for this season. We simply bring them_________________ before you as well.  That you would touch them___________ with a desire in their hearts to know and trust and believe.  We pray that _________________ will be able to speak as David did in that Psalm, that they are HELPED by YOU and that they can REJOICE in YOU.  In JESUS NAME, AMEN

Thursday, March 24, 2011


One of the benefits of doing this blog as a Lenten discipline, is that it is making me more attentive to things. I am really learning how to use the blogger software.  I had noticed that the "time" stamp on my blogs were not where not accurate and after several people commented this week about how early I was up, I found the place to adjust the time.  But I also learned how to set the auto post, so now you won't know if I am up early or just being sneaky!

Back to the attentiveness though.  If you have trusted your life to Christ, He has sent His helper the Holy Spirit to you.  In fact the scripture I posted yesterday even speaks of "being drawn" to God.  Guess who that is referring to?  Yep!

I was so pleased by how many of you said that a NAME immediately came to you for directing your prayers.  Guess who helped you with that as well?  Yep!

So if you haven't yet today, lets pray for that person.  Lord, we know you sent ________ into our lives and into our hearts for a reason.  Holy Spirit guide me to
pray, guide me to love,
guide me to be a friend to________
You know their needs, their hurts, guide them with your Holy Spirit and guide me to know how to love them in YOUR NAME...

I was going to tell you some of the God things that have been happening in my life today, but I am so overwelmed by them, that I kept hearing the word - BREATH last night and this morning...
So a classic praise song today by Micheal W Smith

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


Easter Sunday is just about a month away as we journey through the changing of winter to spring back to winter again. 

You are preparing your heart.

Easter to me, and to many of us is a familiar "routine" in our lives.

BUT EASTER IS more than a routine in the Christian Calendar
 this is THE DAY.

ETERNAL LIFE overcame death and evil FOR ALL OF US


 the day most churches get it RIGHT!

It is a day of pagentry and beauty

How can you be a blessing to someone who does not know this reality?

Think for a moment today of what Easter might mean to them if they do not know Christ.

Easter is also a day when many people who don't have a home church


It is a day when those prodigals who feel shunned by the church they left


It is a day when those who long to belong


It is a day FOR YOU TO SEEK OUT someone


Who do you KNOW that

does not have a home church

feels hurt and lost with no church home to receive them

that have never felt the Love of GOD?

We all know people, or know of someone....


it is people we work with,

it is people in our own families

it might BE US!


- are you open to HOW HE IS LEADING YOU?

I was going to write about something completely different today,

BUT GOD STIRRED ME to bring this up.

YES HE wants you to draw closer and be more intimate with HIM...

BUT WHO DO YOU KNOW that doesn't know how to receive HIS LOVE?


Today I challenge you to get on your knees

It is a challenge to add on to your lenten practice to


 and I ask that you ask the LORD TO NARROW IT DOWN TO JUST ONE,

 and then for them consistanly through Easter and perhaps beyond

and name them to GOD EVERY DAY

and pray that


Will you do this with me?

It's certainly not for me,

It's not even for you,

It's for someone who is hurting and longing

to connect with someone who LONGS TO HEAL THEM!

It's about a journey through trials,

It's about Christ enduring for ALL THE SINS OF THE WORLD on that CROSS,


ITS ABOUT THE LOVE that covers us all



 “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them"  John 6:44a

a prayer,

Lord, I know how i fall short and in my journey towards you I just feel overwelmed by my sins and how YOUR LOVE is so amazing.  Thank you for a love I cannot earn covering a debt I can never repay...

Help me Holy Spirit to know who else needs to know that LOVE that covers all.
Lord, today I pray for ______________.  I ask that they would be open to the love that you are drawing them toward.  I pray for You to show me how to pray for them for the next weeks each day, that you would increase their awareness of their need for YOU. That you would guide myself and others to simply show them LOVE and be a freind that through serving you, they might see and know their need for more of you.  Lord in our praying for them we seek no Glory but your GLORY to shine in the hearts of all.  LORD WE JUST THANK YOU FOR ______________ in our lives and we remember YOUR LOVE as we seal this prayer in JESUS NAME AMEN...

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

It's Tuesday again, they are calling for rain and yes MORE SOUP!

More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope,   Romans 5:3-4 ESV

We are fully into this season of Lent and as I share one of my FAVORITE recipes today, let me tackle a few odds and ends. 

HOW ARE YOU DOING!?  Writing the blog has been more of a Lenten challenge for me than to limit the television!  As you might remember I told you my disciplines were to blog daily on Lent (and/or Walking with God in our daily lives) and to not watch more than two hours of television a day. 

Only once, (and actually it was yesterday!)  did I exceed the two hours of allotted time and it was really just a few minutes over!  But none the less, I am now confessing this to you.  Are you having any struggles with your discipline that you are practicing? 

Some of my friends have given up soda (pop) and they are realizing how much they desire it at times.  It is hard, but the idea is that in your weakness of wanting something you have given up, to cry out to God and let Him show Himself to you in your weaknesses.

Many folks have commented on the concept of "fearing God" that I spoke on yesterday, I too am learning and will be sharing more of this during our shared journey in preparation to be ready to celebrate the full meaning of the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ.

This recipe is a typical Lenten dish from our European roots, the recipe is actually more of a guideline than anything else.  I am the fourth generation to enjoy this in America!  The ingredients are those items that would be staples in a household of rural folks in winter; potatoes, carrots, fat, flour, spices and to top it off those scraps of cheese that you want to use up. 


potatoes                     margarine
carrots                        flour
celery                         salt                         
onion                          pepper
water                          assorted cheese

Peel and dice potatoes into 1/2" - 3/4" pieces and fill a 2 quart saucepan just over half way. Chop up into similar size pieces the peeled carrots, celery and onion to your taste.  Cover all with water slightly salted and bring to a slow boil until cooking until vegetables are tender.  (DO NOT DRAIN THE WATER OFF THE POTATOES) In a skillet make a roux with 2-3 Tablespoons of margarine/butter. As the butter melts add1/4 cup flour and stir them together to mix and allow the flour to slightly brown and be "cooked".  

Add the roux into the potato pot and stir and cook until thickened.  Have cheeses cut up and  as each person gets their serving of this lucsious thick potato 'stew' they can bury their cheese under the stew or stir it in.  I like to add Lawry's or Old Bay seasoning salt to my portion with cracked black pepper.  We often enjoy this with cooked apples, which is another staple of a winter home during Lent. 

You can make your soup thinner by using less roux, you can boil your potatoes in a chicken broth for a different flavor.  You can of course add bacon bits, or parsley or chives or anything you like but for me and for lent I just like my soup thick and chunky with the ingredients I have dumped in!  This picture, I would consider to be a runny version of the soup, but you get the idea and its more a technique than a recipe. 

In my simple heart, this is pure comfort food that I likely would NOT prepare for someone outside my family.  This dish is not really very pretty, but it is full of nutrients and will satisfy the most hungry.  Hope you consider this a nourishing option for body and soul as you journey on toward the cross of Lent and the empty tomb of Easter!

Will just close with some great lenten quotes for you to consider today...

I live on good soup, not on fine words. 
 - Moliere (1622-1673) 

"How can we complain when He Himself was considered 'as one struck by God and afflicted'." (Isa. 53:4)
~   Therese of Lisieux

"Are you capable of risking your life for someone? Do it for Christ."
~Pope John Paul II

"Nothing, how little so ever it be, if it is suffered for God's sake, can pass without merit in the sight of God."
~Thomas a Kempis

Monday, March 21, 2011

Proper fear and a new cell phone!

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom,
   and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
 For through wisdom your days will be many,
   and years will be added to your life. Proverbs 9: 10-11

As I am reading through the book of Deuteronomy in my daily devotions, God, through Moses, keeps reminding the Israelites (and us) that we need to fear Him.

I soon will be beginning a Bible Study with a group of women using Francis Chen's Basic series http://basicseries.com/ that starts with the topic of properly fearing God.  (I think most of us, myself included have a lot to learn about what this really means!)

Like the proverb says, fearing God is the beginning of wisdom.

What is also amazing me about the instructions of the book of Deuteronomy are the instructions on  WHO NOT TO FEAR.

We are not supposed to fear false prophets.  They will come and they will try to scare you or make you question what God has already told you in His word, but DO NOT FEAR THEM for what they say is not true and what they predict will not come to pass.

We are not supposed to fear any armies that might oppose us or rise up against us.  It may seem on paper like they are gonna wipe us out, BUT DO NOT FEAR THEM for God said that He is going with us to conquer them.


 FEAR GOD, nor men!

So as I am trying to walk spiritually and live out what I am writing, I had this little incident with my cell phone last week.  My wonderful (almost new) smart phone lost half the video display screen.

I did nothing to it.

It was in my jeans pocket and was fine, and then suddenly, it wasn't fine.

I immediately began to FEAR! 


The phone was half working, the audio still worked and I could make and receive phone calls, but I could only read half of any messages, emails and app's.  You see I didn't have insurance and I FEARED the warranty had expired.

Right after I got off work that evening, I went to a local service provider.  The attendant was kind, but took one look at the phone while he was helping another customer and told me, "IT GOT TOO HOT".  "If you don't have insurance you will probably have to buy a new phone."

GRRRRR.  I knew that it didn't get too hot, but  I FEARED that is what they would choose to believe.   I FEARED that I  didn't have any hope in getting a customer service rep to understand what really had happened.

As most of you know, my funds are carefully budgeted these days and I hate to admit it, but I really contemplated the ethics of adding insurance since my phone was still working, so at least later if anything else went wrong, I would have the option of insurance.

I FEARED the future. 

For several days, I wrestled with what to do and on the morning when I had a doctors appointment in the neighborhood of the phone service provider's main store, I was told that a friend was offering to buy me a new phone!


I still wasn't happy about my phone, because I knew that nothing unusual had happened to it.  BUT MY FEAR about facing the phone provider was at least diminished because I knew if they didn't have any way of helping me - I had funds to take care of it.

You won't believe what happened next..........

As I walked into the store, the customer service attendant asked to see my phone and she immediately told me, "Miss, I have new phone for you, this is a rare occurrence, they have extended the warranty for this  specific situation, so sorry you had to make this extra trip!" 

Something in my phone that I couldn't see, she could and within 15 minutes she had transferred all my data.

In this I learned some valuable lessons. 


We need to ONLY FEAR GOD and work ONLY on positioning ourselves before HIM and then all other things do fall in place!



I WILL STAND IN AWE AND FEAR OF THE HOLY GOD MY CREATOR who taught me a simple and beautiful lesson through my red smart phone and a friend with a humble and generous heart.  Their kindness reminded me that once I FEAR GOD ALONE :


Thank you Lord, for humbling us to realize those lies we want to believe are just that lies.  Thank you for teaching each day in the situations of daily living, AMEN.  It IS WELL WITH MY SOUL - and it is also OK with my cell phone as well!  PRAISE GOD!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Sunday's Song Day - IT IS WELL - with my SOUL...

So how's your Lenten journey going? 

 I am not going to get to the true songs of the passion season until next week as I followed a inspirational "rabbit trail" again this week. 

 Some of these hymns that we take for granted truly have the most compelling back stories.  The hymn for today not only has a rich history but it reminds us as Psalm 46 did yesterday, that walking in faith is not promised to be easy, but GOD PROMISES TO BE WITH US, especially in the most difficult times.

  I was going to type out the story, but when I found this video with such detailed photos and information, I  chose to let it tell you and show you the real deal of this amazing hymn that always stirred me.

I have viewed this numerous times and seeing the real pictures and hearing the talented choir sing that inspired arrangement of these remarkable words of deep faith fill me the warmth of God's love and provision every time I hear it. 

Here again are the written words if you want to take a closer look.

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.
  • Refrain:
    It is well, with my soul,
    It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:
If Jordan above me shall roll,
No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life
Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.

But, Lord, ’tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait,
The sky, not the grave, is our goal;
Oh, trump of the angel! Oh, voice of the Lord!
Blessed hope, blessed rest of my soul!

And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.

(The original manuscript has only four verses, but Spafford's daughter, Bertha born after this tragedy stated how later another verses were added and the last line of the original was slightly modified.) 

The music, written by Phillip Bliss, was named after the ship on which Spafford's daughters died, Ville du Havre.

And here is the after story of the Spaffords:

Following the sinking of the Ville du Havre, Anna gave birth to three more children. On February 11, 1880, their only son, Horatio Goertner Spafford, died at the age of four years, of pneumonia.  Their daughters were Bertha Hedges Spafford (born March 24, 1878) and Grace Spafford (born January 18, 1881). In August 1881, the Spaffords set out for Jerusalem with their family and others and set up the American Colony in what was still then the British territory called Palestine.

 Colony members, later joined by other Christians from around the world, engaged in philanthropic work amongst the people of Jerusalem regardless of their religious affiliation and without proselytizing motives--thereby gaining the trust of the local Muslim, Jewish, and Christian communities.

During and immediately after the first world war, the American Colony played a critical role in supporting these communities through the great suffering and deprivations of the eastern front by running soup kitchens, hospitals, orphanages and other charitable ventures. (This was after Spafford had died, but his initiative in founding this group, led this incredible ministry to many)

Spafford died on October 16, 1888, of malaria, still serving God in the Holy Land and was buried in Mount Zion Cemetery, Jerusalem.

Today, of course that entire family is reunited IN HEAVEN, when "their faith shall be sight" they endured "Satan's buffet and the trials that came" the son, Horatio, who died at 4; the four daughters who went down with the Ville Du Harve (Annie at age 11, Margaret at age 9, Bessie at age 5 and Tanetta at age 2), mother Anna who was at first in despair for having been "saved alone", and the daughters born later who lived full lives.

The trials. They don't matter now.  They all realized CHRIST ALONE saved us all - each one of us -

Nothing on earth can stop this -

Fire, financial ruin.  Nope. 

KNOWING God and responding to Him, receiving the gift Christ brought on the Cross,


 All our trials on this earth - in glory - we will see it from God's perspective. 

 We hurt along with those who hurt, we help as we are led to and are made able to by God.

 But let us look to GOD THIS DAY,





In the midst of it all...

Most who call themselves "christian" usually manage to muster up some scripture to cite every now and again.   I tend to hear this particular verse a lot in that way.  It's a good verse, a verse I often share myself.

And in light of many happenings in the world and in individual lives right now. I think worthy of a deeper look.


I really don't have any problems with this beautiful verse, but I do often struggle with how we translate it. 

I see portrayed describing a picture of a calm lake or the sun gently breaking through in a mountain forest.  AH, God showing His strength in the calmness of creation.

Some different versions use different words to express our "being still"  NASB says "cease striving".  Peterson in the message says "Step out of the traffic".  These are some clues that perhaps we are supposed to do more with this scripture then enjoy the peaceful paces of sunrises and calm days....

I Invite you to read all of Psalm forty six including verse 10a in context.  As you read it, please note the environment in which this all transpires.  I am sharing from the New King James Version today, because it best translates the poetry with language in the most readable way.

Psalm 46

  1 God is our refuge and strength,
         A very present help in trouble.
 2 Therefore we will not fear,
         Even though the earth be removed,
         And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;
 3 Though its waters roar and be troubled,
         Though the mountains shake with its swelling.  Selah 
 4 There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God,
         The holy place of the tabernacle of the Most High.
 5 God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved;
         God shall help her, just at the break of dawn.
 6 The nations raged, the kingdoms were moved;
         He uttered His voice, the earth melted.
 7 The LORD of hosts is with us;
         The God of Jacob is our refuge.  Selah 
 8 Come, behold the works of the LORD,
         Who has made desolations in the earth.
 9 He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;
         He breaks the bow and cuts the spear in two;
         He burns the chariot in the fire.
 10 Be still, and know that I am God;
         I will be exalted among the nations,
         I will be exalted in the earth!
 11 The LORD of hosts is with us;
         The God of Jacob is our refuge.  Selah

WOW ! 

 I initially was stirred to look this up in the middle of the night while praying for the earthquake/tsunami/nuclear situation affecting the nation of Japan.  God led me right to verses 2-3.  God does not take away all the chaos, HE IS ACTIVE AND CALM IN THE CENTER OF IT.  

And look at verse 10 that we so often quote the beginning of, not only are we being commanded to BE STILL AND KNOW THAT GOD IS GOD.  He states, "I WILL BE EXALTED AMONG THE NATIONS, I WILL BE EXALTED IN THE EARTH."

None of us can answer why earthquakes or any natural occurrences happen.  Some even misdirect anger at God for the things that we are told are part of the natural earth. 

 I don't understand why earthquakes happen. I don't understand why suffering happens, but I do understand that the world through our lack of obedience to God takes us further and further away from His purposes for us.  I do understand that Christ, who had no sin came to take away our sin by experiencing intense suffering (see 2 Cor 5:21). And I do realize that EVERY TIME in my personal suffering, when I turn to GOD - I experience HEALING, I sense PEACE, and I know that GOD WILL BRING ME THROUGH IT.

 But I do understand that in all things - we need to realize God is with us and our task, our primary task is to acknowledge His presence praise Him through the storm and to reach our and love our brothers and sisters through their intense trials

I know many people who are going through personal earthquakes, tsunamis and internal nuclear meltdowns right now and even as I pray for the nation of Japan, I pray for each individual to STOP, CEASE STRIVING, to FIND GOD'S REFUGE IN THIS TROUBLE for when they do, the will NOT BE MOVED FROM THE CENTER THAT IS GOD.

PRAYING WITH AND FOR THE WORLD....Lord God in the chaos of the all in the world and in our lives, help us to find Your refuge in these times of struggle.  We proclaim that YOU ARE THE LORD OF ALL and that AS WE PRAISE YOU, YOUR ways will be accomplished over all the earth.  Help neighbor love neighbor and let Your Glory and Light shine over all the earth til all your ways are accomplished. We pray specifically for the nation of Japan and all those directly affected by this, help us to know the specific prayers you want us to pray and actions you want us to take and most of all help each one FIND YOU in their storm, AMEN

Friday, March 18, 2011


Yesterday, in my daily Bible reading, I was in the book of Deuteronomy. 

 Oh how God's scriptures keep informing IF us we open our hearts as we open His word. 

 In Numbers it finally hit me that a whole generation was unable to see the promised land.  I have intellectually know this for many years: I am a seminary graduate after all!  But in my heart, as God commanded Moses to count the people (hence the name book of "Numbers" in our English translations)  a second time.  God knew that over the 40 years and numerous incidents of disobedience and the sad repercussions who was there and wasn't. 

 BUT for our sake He had the people counted, so we would KNOW.  GOD WILL HAVE HIS WAY!

  So in the book of Deuteronomy God and Moses review the last 40 years with this new generation, who know only the desert, who don't recall Egypt.

  "God, our God, made a covenant with us at Horeb. God didn't just make this covenant with our parents; he made it also with us, with all of us who are alive right now. God spoke to you personally out of the fire on the mountain"  Deuteronomy 5: 2-4 MESSAGE.

Another AHA moment for me - The whole book of Deuteronomy for THIS GENERATION.  RIGHT NOW!  IT IS CRITICAL FOR ME, TODAY!  FORGET THE 'practices' of yesterday.  I am ready start NOW, TODAY!

So as chapter 5 progresses Moses states the commandments of God again, as they were given to Moses and God inscribed on the stone tablets that are in the Ark of Testimony with the congregation.

The verse I want to focus on, struck me as a prayer from God's heart if you will, for our hearts.

 "Oh, that they would always have hearts like this, that they might fear me and obey all my commands! If they did, they and their descendants would prosper forever."  Deuteronomy 5:29 NLT

God's desire is that we would have a heart for HIM, that we WOULD FEAR HIM, and OBEY HIS COMMANDS. 

 I think that on the coming Fridays we are going to do some heart checks.  What does it mean to have a heart FULLY FOR GOD!  TO FEAR GOD and HOW DO WE OBEY HIS COMMANDS - as we journey in a land far from Horeb/Sinai? 

And God wants us to get this - for if we do as the verse states it will result in prosperity for us and our descendants.  But as I read and reread this verse - God knows where we fall short!  But yet this is HIS DESIRE that we try, that we love, that we make room for HIM.

Unfortunately I too, have more questions than answers, BUT I am learning about "practicing my practice" God desires that we try and He helps us as we do!

I am closing today's musing with the devotional written to go with the beautiful collage you are enjoying with the blog today.  Both art above and thoughts below are from Gillian Ross from Grace Chapel in Lexington Massachusetts.

An Undivided Heart
Whatever our lives look like from the outside, God looks on our hearts. Herein is determined our purity - or lack of it! So the 'heart' (in the painting) represents our hearts - our mind, will, emotions - the very 'fabric' of our lives, in all its multi-layered, multi-textured compartments. It is this heart that God longs to make pure, clean, undivided. This happens first through the 'washing by the blood' of Christ, signified here by the deep red, washing through every area of life, and continues throughout our lives as Christians as we are sanctified.  As we allow God into each area of our lives, the compartments become less distinct, and our hearts become more unified. The gold signifies the purification process, which is God's work… impurities are purged through the Refiner's fire.  As our hearts are transformed like this we can draw closer to Him: One day we will see Him as he is, and we do see Him now at work in our lives. The natural result of 'seeing God' is to worship Him - hence the figure in white in a posture of praise to God.
"Teach me your ways O Lord,
And I will walk in your path.
Give me an undivided heart,
And I will fear your name.
I will praise you,
O Lord my God, with all my heart;
I will glorify your name forever.
Psalm 86:11-12

Gillian Ross from Grace Chapel in Lexington Mass 10-26-07

Let THOSE VERSES BE OUR PRAYER as we learn and practice our heart songs of praise to HIM on the Hike 'O Life....amen

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Practice what you preach - huh!?


Yep, if you are following this, you might notice that I am REALLY SLOW to get this posted today.  My practice is showing, eh?   For whatever struggles I am walking in today, I am determined that God is showing me some hard things by the daily discipline of writing these notes.
As I look at all the different dictionary definitions of practice, I just keep thinking of athletes (specifially baseball players, must be the weather today) who practice their skills from the very littlest T-ball players to the professional baseball players who still begin with a few months of preseason training and PRACTICE before the games that really count begin!
Their outcomes (practices, how they do) is based on their preparation (training practices, what they do).
But God is not looking for the same outcomes that we are, we tend to to look at outward victories (wins on a teams record or personal statistics) and He is looking at the effort we put into learning and applying (our hearts and our lives lived for Him in the process)
I want to share another verse with you from the beattitudes,
"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst  for righteousness,  for they shall be satisfied"  Matthew 5:6 (NIV)
You see as Jesus spoke about our desire to PRACTICE righteousness, what does he say we have to do to achieve satisfaction?  Do we have to accomplish it?  NO! We simply are blessed for hungering and thirsting for it! 
When we hunger and thirst for something we try to taste it, perhaps we don't get it all right, but we are TRYING!
I have just one question for you today as you go out to practice what you want to practice - in other's words do what we day we want to do.....
Who gets more enjoyment of of playing baseball;a first year T-Ball player or a retired Major League player? 
This obviously could be a loaded question.  I tend to think that the satisifaction of the pure joy of the game continues for a lifetime.  I got to take my nephew to his traveling league workout the other week. I usually only see him at games with a serious "game on" look and watch him (usually) with the precision of a surgeon as he positions his glove or bat and gets the job done. 
 Waching him field and hit that night, I saw the delight of someone who loves to play and wants to keep trying, all while knowing how hard it is to get better and better. 
My nephew is not settling for a easy game, he keeps practicing and learning and when I commenting to him about what I saw that evening He smiled and just said, "yep, I had a great time!"
This throws the legalistic works bandwagon out the window.  But the key to our satisfaction is our humility of heart as we practice our practice.
God just wants us to want him!  That is what He want us to practice and practice and practice - wanting more of Him! 
None of us will ever be able to fully acomplish this on earth, but yet as Paul wrote we learn to "be content" in all kinds of situations as we simply practice wanting to love and obey Him. 
So friends - as you go out this day - may be you blessed as you practice and practice and practice and May God see the your practice of LOVE on this 'hike o life"