Wednesday, May 31, 2017


We are diving into our study of Abigail this week; we will see that she was a lady of intelligence and of great character. We started off with a long scripture passage last time, but we needed to lay the foundation for our study. Be sure to have your Bibles open so that we can refer to those verses again, OK? (Grin) We will learn of Abigail's wisdom, her decisiveness, and her beauty -- she had great "people skills" and she also had patience. As with all of the stories that we read in our Bibles, this story is there for a purpose: so that we can learn!

If we had a narrator, he or she would probably tell us the background of our story -- David is a man who has already been tapped to be the next king of Israel, but he's not the king yet. Instead, he's being hunted and harassed by his predecessor, King Saul. Why? Because Saul is insanely (and I choose that word on purpose!) jealous. David is extremely popular and God is blessing his military conquests. The people greet David when he returns with celebrations and songs that contrast his exploits with the seemingly lesser conquests of King Saul.

By the time of our story of Abigail, David, and Nabal, there are about six hundred men accompanying David while he is "on the run." Trying to escape Saul's sword, David and his men lived in the hills around a valley called the Ponderosa.
No, I'm kidding. But it does indeed seem to be a huge ranch, like the Cartwrights had in the old television show. The owner of this spread, Nabal, was extremely wealthy, judging by the numbers of animals . . . the Scripture mentions a thousand goats, and three thousand sheep. Now, the significance of the army of David and the ranch we are reading about is this -- for several weeks now, they've been acting as guards for the sheep. Unofficial, unpaid, but wow, did they do a great job! During the time that they guarded this massive number of animals, David's men worked well with the shepherds of Nabal. Not only did they treat them politely, but none of the livestock was missing -- not one!
The custom of the time was that when sheep shearing time came, the rancher would hold a large celebration. And if someone had helped you by guarding your flocks, you would choose the shearing celebration-time to compensate them. Think of it as a large "tip" for services rendered. (Grin)

So, David sends ten of his men to collect their "tip." And that is where the tale gets interesting. Up until now, it's been nothing but hiding in the hills, taking care that marauders and rustlers don't get any sheep, and sleeping under the stars at night, listening to the calm bleats of the ewes and lambs. But the story picks up speed here . . . .
I can see it in my mind's eye; the ten men approach the main "headquarters," probably a fancy tent with the head honcho seated outside crunching numbers as the shepherds bring the reports from the shearing areas nearby. The atmosphere is festive, and the air is filled with the aromas from the cooking fires. David's hungry men are practically drooling!

Let's cut to the chase, here. Instead of responding with hospitality, and with gratitude for their service, Nabal tells these half-starved soldiers:
Nabal answered David’s servants, “Who is this David? Who is this son of Jesse? Many servants are breaking away from their masters these days. 11 Why should I take my bread and water, and the meat I have slaughtered for my shearers, and give it to men coming from who knows where?” (I Samuel 25:10-11)
Oh. My. Word.
What a grump!
Oh, wait, he's more than just grumpy! He's insulting! This is not the kind of thing that you say to six hundred fighting men with a famous leader, who have all been performing a service for you for weeks -- now they're about to starve and you can't give them a little food?

Is the guy nuts?
Um, I guess we'd better go back and talk about Nabal. This is truly distressing -- let's figure this out.
I think we can find some really good clues here, in the verses. We don't even have to strain our brains, here; it's laid out in black and white!
First of all, his name is a huge clue: in Hebrew, his name means "a fool."
Ouch. Can't say that I think much of his parents' choice of a name for their child. But then, maybe it was mean to be.
Because the Bible calls him a "harsh and evil" man. That word "harsh" in Hebrew carries a whole bunch of meanings, and none of them are nice! Here are the synonyms I found: cruel, churlish, hard-hearted, obstinate, rough, and stubborn!
Our third clue is that his own household, the servants say, "He is such a wicked man, that no one can speak to him."
Wow. Rotten to the core. He must have been pretty greedy and ruthless, too, for I can't imagine someone this difficult to get along with, being able to get rich through niceness and honest deals. Am I right?

I hear our narrator . . . he's saying that David's men have gotten back to him and reported. And David? His reaction? To say that he was furious would be an understatement! Now, just because David is a "man after God's heart" doesn't mean that he doesn't make mistakes, right? We've already studied a passage where he blows it big time!
But yes, he does get really angry and tells four hundred of his best soldiers to get ready to head over to the ranch and settle the score . . .

I think we need a hero here. Or maybe the cavalry to ride in.
Ahhhh, but we don't need either of those options -- we have a heroine!
We'll talk about her tomorrow!
Join us!

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

What are we listening to, today?

As I sit here at my desk in the early morning hours, my spirit is refreshed by the cheerful songs and chatter of the birds just outside my window.

Some are true songbirds, seeming to throw an endless number of sweet sounds into the sky, with clear notes and recognizable calls. Just beautiful!

Some of them produce tones that are not so clear, but buzzy or raspy notes. They call out to each other to identify family, to warn of the squirrel intruding their peaceful morning, or to simply let others know of their existence. Still, they sound beautiful to me.

I enjoy the "symphony" that they all make, singing apart from each other, but somehow together.

I wonder what heaven will be like? I look forward to singing praise to God. I've not got the voice that I used to have, but my heart still overflows and I simply must let it out. Gratitude, joy, praise for His peace . . . the hymns and songs that I love the most are the ones that tell Him of my love and thankfulness for His care for me . . . I surely don't deserve His many blessings and the times He has intervened. Recently, I was told of a miraculous answer to prayer, and it both lifted my heart and moved me to tears! How honored I was to have been a tiny part of that blessing!

Can you sing? Are you a songbird, or a "raspy caller"? In His eyes, it doesn't matter -- He loves to hear us praise Him! Lift up your voice today and thank Him!

Monday, May 29, 2017


This week's woman of the Bible is truly amazing. I believe that she is my favorite in the whole of the Book, and I hope we will learn a lot from her.

In order to prepare (and I warn you, there's so much here that it may take more than one week!), let's read carefully the passage where we meet her and see her in action.

Now Samuel died, and all Israel assembled and mourned for him; and they buried him at his home in Ramah. Then David moved down into the Desert of Paran.A certain man in Maon, who had property there at Carmel, was very wealthy. He had a thousand goats and three thousand sheep, which he was shearing in Carmel. His name was Nabal and his wife’s name was Abigail. She was an intelligent and beautiful woman, but her husband was surly and mean in his dealings—he was a Calebite.
While David was in the wilderness, he heard that Nabal was shearing sheep. So he sent ten young men and said to them, “Go up to Nabal at Carmel and greet him in my name. Say to him: ‘Long life to you! Good health to you and your household! And good health to all that is yours!
“‘Now I hear that it is sheep-shearing time. When your shepherds were with us, we did not mistreat them, and the whole time they were at Carmel nothing of theirs was missing. Ask your own servants and they will tell you. Therefore be favorable toward my men, since we come at a festive time. Please give your servants and your son David whatever you can find for them.’”When David’s men arrived, they gave Nabal this message in David’s name. Then they waited.10 Nabal answered David’s servants, “Who is this David? Who is this son of Jesse? Many servants are breaking away from their masters these days. 11 Why should I take my bread and water, and the meat I have slaughtered for my shearers, and give it to men coming from who knows where?”12 David’s men turned around and went back. When they arrived, they reported every word. 13 David said to his men, “Each of you strap on your sword!” So they did, and David strapped his on as well. About four hundred men went up with David, while two hundred stayed with the supplies.
14 One of the servants told Abigail, Nabal’s wife, “David sent messengers from the wilderness to give our master his greetings, but he hurled insults at them. 15 Yet these men were very good to us. They did not mistreat us, and the whole time we were out in the fields near them nothing was missing. 16 Night and day they were a wall around us the whole time we were herding our sheep near them. 17 Now think it over and see what you can do, because disaster is hanging over our master and his whole household. He is such a wicked man that no one can talk to him.”18 Abigail acted quickly. She took two hundred loaves of bread, two skins of wine, five dressed sheep, five seahs of roasted grain, a hundred cakes of raisins and two hundred cakes of pressed figs, and loaded them on donkeys. 19 Then she told her servants, “Go on ahead; I’ll follow you.” But she did not tell her husband Nabal.20 As she came riding her donkey into a mountain ravine, there were David and his men descending toward her, and she met them. 21 David had just said, “It’s been useless—all my watching over this fellow’s property in the wilderness so that nothing of his was missing. He has paid me back evil for good. 22 May God deal with David, be it ever so severely, if by morning I leave alive one male of all who belong to him!”23 When Abigail saw David, she quickly got off her donkey and bowed down before David with her face to the ground. 24 She fell at his feet and said: “Pardon your servant, my lord, and let me speak to you; hear what your servant has to say. 25 Please pay no attention, my lord, to that wicked man Nabal. He is just like his name—his name means Fool, and folly goes with him. And as for me, your servant, I did not see the men my lord sent. 26 And now, my lord, as surely as the Lord your God lives and as you live, since the Lord has kept you from bloodshed and from avenging yourself with your own hands, may your enemies and all who are intent on harming my lord be like Nabal. 27 And let this gift, which your servant has brought to my lord, be given to the men who follow you.28 “Please forgive your servant’s presumption. The Lord your God will certainly make a lasting dynasty for my lord, because you fight the Lord’s battles, and no wrongdoing will be found in you as long as you live. 29 Even though someone is pursuing you to take your life, the life of my lord will be bound securely in the bundle of the living by the Lord your God, but the lives of your enemies he will hurl away as from the pocket of a sling. 30 When the Lord has fulfilled for my lord every good thing he promised concerning him and has appointed him ruler over Israel, 31 my lord will not have on his conscience the staggering burden of needless bloodshed or of having avenged himself. And when the Lord your God has brought my lord success, remember your servant.”
32 David said to Abigail, “Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, who has sent you today to meet me. 33 May you be blessed for your good judgment and for keeping me from bloodshed this day and from avenging myself with my own hands. 34 Otherwise, as surely as the Lord, the God of Israel, lives, who has kept me from harming you, if you had not come quickly to meet me, not one male belonging to Nabal would have been left alive by daybreak.”35 Then David accepted from her hand what she had brought him and said, “Go home in peace. I have heard your words and granted your request.”36 When Abigail went to Nabal, he was in the house holding a banquet like that of a king. He was in high spirits and very drunk. So she told him nothing at all until daybreak. 37 Then in the morning, when Nabal was sober, his wife told him all these things, and his heart failed him and he became like a stone. 38 About ten days later, the Lord struck Nabal and he died.39 When David heard that Nabal was dead, he said, “Praise be to the Lord, who has upheld my cause against Nabal for treating me with contempt. He has kept his servant from doing wrong and has brought Nabal’s wrongdoing down on his own head.”Then David sent word to Abigail, asking her to become his wife. 40 His servants went to Carmel and said to Abigail, “David has sent us to you to take you to become his wife.”41 She bowed down with her face to the ground and said, “I am your servant and am ready to serve you and wash the feet of my lord’s servants.” 42 Abigail quickly got on a donkey and, attended by her five female servants, went with David’s messengers and became his wife. (I Samuel 25:1-42)
After becoming David's wife, she bore him a son, Chileab.
I hope you will join us next time when we study Abigail.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Friday slowdown

Sometimes there is just nothing like the old songs!

Hope you enjoy and receive a blessing......sing along with me!

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Guided thoughts, 11

Sometimes it's hard to see anything except what is right in front of your nose.... don'tcha think?

We've all been there.
Staring down your own mortality because you are flat on your back in bed, possibly in a hospital environment.
Glaring at money troubles, with the bills laid on the desk in front of you.
Gazing out the window, blinking back tears, because you just had a fight with your spouse, your child, or your neighbor.
We get tunnel vision.
All we can think about is that we might be stuck in that bed from now on, or we might have that pain from now on.
All that occupies our mind is that the money just isn't there to pay those bills.
Nothing else sticks in your head because you are hurt from that argument that just happened.

Circumstances can look really, really bad in front of us.
Things can look unsteady. Unbeatable.
Yep, been there.
And it's exceedingly hard to take when someone chirps cheerfully to us, in Pollyanna tones. Things could be worse, they tell us. Look at the bright side, they say.
Oy vey.
Don't want to hear that right now.

One time that I was there, I read about a situation that has made sense to me ever since. Maybe it will help someone else, so I will tell the story . . .

On a perfect football afternoon in 1982, the Badger Stadium in Madison, Wisconsin was packed full with a standing-room-only crowd. The die-hard University of Wisconsin fans were watching their beloved team get pummeled by the Michigan State team. Wow, was it lopsided by the time the third quarter rolled around.
The announcers kept asking each other why so many of the Badger fans were cheering madly -- absolutely yelling their heads off. Their team was being crushed!
Here is why: just seventy miles from that stadium, their popular Milwaukee Brewers baseball team was beating the St. Louis Cardinals in the third game of the World Series! Most of the fans in the football stadium were listening to the baseball game on portable radios, and were cheering like crazy because the Brewers were winning....seventy miles away!

They were not focused on what was right in front of them. (Grin)

That's how life is for us believers.
There will always be circumstances that try our patience.
That make our spirits droop.
And we may not want to hear that Pollyanna chirping.
But we do still have a lot to cheer about in life.
Even when things look unbearable, and unpredictable, and even unbeatable, we can take life head on, by focusing on things other than in front of our noses . . .
For we walk by faith, not by sight: (II Corinthians 5:7)
Heads up! Look past that "thing" that's right in front of you . . .
Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— (John 1:12)
The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” 16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. (Romans 8:15-17)
You, dear friend, are a child of the King. You are one of His masterpieces. You are a part of His plan.
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Ephesians 2:10)
You are His friend, and He has a mission for you, so commit the things "under your nose" to His care -- and to His strength -- and then concentrate on the things that make us want to stand up and cheer! (And then fall on our knees to thank Him!)
You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. 17 This is my command: Love each other. (John 15:14-17)

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Guided thoughts, 10

Quilters like me are sometimes consumed with our craft. Our hobby can become an obsession. Our mind is filled many times with thoughts of color and contrast.

We can spend countless hours doodling on a pad, designing a quilt block. It may take time, but we will finally get what we "see" in our head, down onto the paper.

Then we will carefully choose our fabrics. Solids and prints, dots and stripes, florals and geometrics. We'll set out a group, then come back and make changes, and tweak things with new pieces added into the mix.

We can't forget the thread, either. What color? What weight? Perhaps a variegated thread? Or a smoky nylon, that is almost invisible once used. The batting, too, is an important consideration.

All of these things go into making our project. It may or may not be a masterpiece when it's done, but oh, the care that has gone into its making!

Our Father takes even more care in developing and nurturing and guiding us, His children.
However, as it is written:“What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard,
and what no human mind has conceived”—    the things God has prepared for those who love him— (I Corinthians 2:9)   
And this, verse, too:
The Lord will guide you always;    he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
    and will strengthen your frame.You will be like a well-watered garden,    like a spring whose waters never fail. (Isaiah 58:11)
He chooses the threads and the fabrics that go into the weaving of our lives. When the hard times come, we often turn to this verse, which comforts us concerning His plans:
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  (Jeremiah 29:11)
When He is done with us, we will be a masterpiece!
being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. (Philippians 1:6)

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Verses that inspire

I don't know if you've ever seen one, but I dearly love the catalpa tree.

It's a gorgeous tree, and it never fails to remind me of our Creator God . . .

The catalpa tree is one that has a unique relationship with a caterpillar! The beautiful, heart-shaped leaves are prized munchies for the catalpa worm. The worm's coloring is very much like the tree leaves themselves, so that the caterpillars are hidden much of the time from the predatory birds that would love to snack on them.

The caterpillars are fierce eaters -- they can defoliate a tree in "two shakes of a lamb's tail" as my grandma used to say, and if you have seen a lamb nursing from his mama, you know that tail can shake pretty rapidly!  Yep, in no time flat, all the leaves are gone, and the caterpillars have provided droppings that enrich the soil around the tree, so that it grows magnificently. It can even put out more leaves and be stripped bare by a second generation of caterpillars -- in one summer!

The worms themselves are prized by fishermen, but that is a whole 'nother story . . . the relationship between the caterpillars and the trees just proves to me that the people who don't believe in a Creator God are just not very observant!

I mean, how do those critters find the catalpa tree? After all, ours is the only one for miles! It was sent to us from out of state, and planted in our pasture, so it's not like there's a whole grove of 'em! But our Father planned for the symbiosis (I just love that word) of tree and caterpillar, just as He planned everything else in our beautiful world!

In my mind's eye, I can see Him forming the hills, patting the mountains into place, and giving breath to the wind. He set the galaxy in motion, and made the darkness and the morning. And He thinks it's perfectly OK to tell us about Himself, and He sent His Son to redeem us. I find all of this so amazing. So breath-taking. So fall-on-my-knees earthshattering.

What love, mercy, and grace.....
He who forms the mountains,    who creates the wind,
    and who reveals his thoughts to mankind,who turns dawn to darkness,    and treads on the heights of the earth    the Lord God Almighty is his name. (Amos 4:13)

Monday, May 22, 2017

Guided thoughts, 9

This past weekend I witnessed a family gathering of several generations. No fancy stuff there at this gathering . . . this was just country folks enjoying each other's company.

There was a tiny girl nestled in her mother's arms, contentedly looking around at the folks and the food. It was suggested that she might like to ride on the big farm tractor from the shed, with her grandfather's help. Her eyes widened. The big tractor? Sitting on grandfather's lap? It sounded scary, but nice at the same time!

The tractor seemed huge.
Her little legs wouldn't reach the pedals!
And it was loud.
And it was unfamiliar.
Here it came, bustling out of the shed . . . the exhaust chuffing out of the top stack, and that loud, loud engine!
She instinctively clung tighter to her mom.

But then she heard a familiar, loving voice.
She looked up into that weather-worn, well-loved face.
And she held up her arms to her grandfather, and settled happily onto his lap, high up on the farm tractor.

Oh, Christian, whether a guy or a gal, isn't this the story of our lives?
We may need to do something that seems scary and unfamiliar. The task may seem huge, like we can't possibly get our arms around it. It may even be something that we've never, ever attempted before.
But if we listen, we will hear that Voice.  If we are doing His will, He will speak.
Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know. (Jeremiah 33:3)
And if we look closely, we will see His face.
Blessed are the pure in heart,    for they will see God. (Matthew 5:8)
And His arms will be around us as we try this new venture.
Though I walk in the midst of trouble,    you preserve my life.
You stretch out your hand against the anger of my foes;    with your right hand you save me. (Psalm 138:7)
Now, that little girl may become more accustomed to that loud tractor. She might even reach out to put her hands on that big metal steering wheel. But always, grandfather's hands will be there to make sure the tractor goes where it should.
I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;    I will counsel you with my loving eye on you. Do not be like the horse or the mule,    which have no understandingbut must be controlled by bit and bridle    or they will not come to you. (Psalm 32:8-9)
And even if we try to steer things where we should not -- whether by mistake, or on purpose -- our Father will still have His hands on our lives, and keep us safe.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Friday slowdown

This week's thoughts, guided by the Spirit, left us thinking of the life that God has blessed us with. Let's utilize what He's given us, in working for Him!

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Guided thoughts, number 8

Do you enjoy vintage things?
I sure do.

Especially vintage linens.
Recently, I've been blessed to find some lovely things that have been in our family for years, and I treasure them.
Y'all know what feedsacks were for, right? (Grin)
We are so far removed from that world, today.... I can remember my great-grandma telling me about when she was small, and goods like flour, sugar, meal, salt, and animal feed would come to her house in bags. This was a big change from the tins, boxes, and barrels that her mom and dad purchased. It was a welcome change, she said, because the metal containers could rust, and the barrels could leak. The sewing or "stitching" machine with interlocking stitches made good double seams, and the companies sewed their bags in durable canvas. So durable, in fact, that the bags could be re-used, by the farmer bringing the empty sack to be refilled at the grist mill. Here in the Southland, cotton fabric began being used for the sacks in the very late 1800's, and since my ancestors were good Scots, and "pinched every penny till it squealed," they were among those who began to use the sturdy cotton for underwear, diapers, dish cloths and more.

The manufacturers recognized this as an awesome marketing opportunity. Of course, there were plenty of babies who sported diapers with the sugar or flour brand on their little posteriors, but more than that -- the companies began offering feedsacks in colors and even in prints. After all, if a thrifty sewist wanted a dress, she would want three or four feedsacks in the same color; or she'd want them all to have the same print. The companies could sell more flour or sugar that way!

The sacks that were not printed were still prized: the cloth could be bleached and lovingly cut into shapes for handwork. Many an evening was spent embroidering flowers and leaves onto the newly-whitened cloth. The only giveaway that it was a feedsack in its former life would be a tiny number somewhere on it -- that was the only thing that wouldn't bleach away!

What a legacy. Tiny, lovely stitches on dresser scarves, table toppers, and aprons. Except for a few photos, that is all I have to remember some of my "greats" by. I cherish those pieces, and I feel drawn to them, since I am a sewist, quilter, and crafter myself.

Kinda makes you think, doesn't it?
What kind of legacy will we leave?  What will we "pass along" to our children, our grandchildren, and our great-grandchildren?
Not being morbid, here.
But we have a limited time here on God's earth.
As the hymn says, "what's done for Christ will last."

First, we should teach our kids and grandkids about Christ Jesus.
The purpose of these laws is to cause you, your sons, and your grandsons to reverence the Lord your God by obeying all of his instructions as long as you live; if you do, you will have long, prosperous years ahead of you.  You must love him with all your heart, soul, and might. And you must think constantly about these commandments I am giving you today. You must teach them to your children and talk about them when you are at home or out for a walk; at bedtime and the first thing in the morning. Tie them on your finger, wear them on your forehead, and write them on the doorposts of your house! (Deuteronomy 6:2,6-9)
We are not bound by the law any longer, but these instructions are awesome -- we can surround ourselves and our kiddos with reminders of God's Word!

We can be an example of godliness for our children and grandchildren.
....set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity. (I Timothy 4:12b)
Let's leave a legacy that glorifies God, and leads others to Him!