Thursday, April 28, 2011

A Prayer from a Pray-er

Most Gracious Heavenly Father,
I come to you today to give You thanks and praise.  You are holy God.  You are compassionate and just.  I come to you as a humble servant who is so thankful to be alive and to know whose I am.  I am Yours, Lord, mind, body and soul.  All that I am, is because of Your love for me.  Thank you, Lord, for all the things I don't have.  As I accept responsibility for those times I fail You, Lord, please forgive me when I fall short.  I pray for all the peoples of the earth, that You will instill Your Godly wisdom to all who are willing to accept it.  It is not for worldly wisdom I ask.  You have drawn clear lines between right and wrong.   Worldly wisdom tries to ignore You and cross those lines.   I pray, Lord, for Your Holy Presence to cover the earth like a mist over the ocean so that through these continuing storms and destruction, the world will turn back to You.  Lord, there is so much negativity and destruction in our world today.  As the people in Japan deal with the aftermath of the great storms they endured, and as the people of America hide from the storms raging across our land this very day, Lord, I trust You to be with them, giving them a sense of calm as the storms cause mass destruction and lives are lost.  Grant to them, wisdom and courage, those who will have to rebuild from the ground up after their homes and businesses were swept away into the winds of recent tornadoes.  I ask for strength, compassion, wisdom and love for all those who are caught up in the midst of suffering and strife.  Above all, Lord, when we have absolutely nothing else, thank You, that we have You.  You are truly all we need.  For those who are sad, sick, and suffering, I pray Your hand be upon them.  I pray for the professionals who treat the sick, whether they are sick in mind, body or spirit.   Give these professionals the wisdom and the skills necessary to bring about healing.  Lord, I pray for Your will to be done.  If some should have to suffer in order to serve a purpose known only to You, I pray for their character to be strengthened and others to come closer to You as a result of witnessing Your power and Your love shown through the lives of the ones suffering.   Dear Lord, I pray for the leaders of the nations, from the local level to the highest positions on earth for wisdom that comes only from You to make objective, sound decisions in service to Your people.  I pray, Lord, for those who don't know You, who haven't accepted Your Son, Jesus as their Savior.  I pray for their families, to love them through this time of unrest in their souls.  Lord, it may be that some will not enter the gates of Heaven.  Only You know who will come in and abide with You for all eternity and who will live for eternity in hell.  I pray, Lord, for all of our men and women serving in the armed forces and their families.  Be with them, giving them strength and endurance as they serve us to preserve our freedoms.  Lord, I don't ask for financial aid for myself or for anyone else.  Rather, God, I ask for wisdom that we will all use the monies You provide in intelligent, thoughtful ways, to be honest in our endeavors and to ask for a discerning heart to understand Your will.  I pray for all those who travel on land, over the seas and through the air.  Be with them, protecting them and those around them.  Lord,  I trust You and Your legions of angels to guard us and guide us all.  You are good and loving to all of us even when we don't deserve Your love, mercy, grace and compassion.   Be with us this day.  Lead us, guide us and direct us in all we say and do so that our words and our actions are pleasing unto You, most Holy, Lord God of all.  In Your precious name I pray.  Amen

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Eye to Eye Contact

I think back to the times when our children were growing up and we had to have some "eye to eye" contact.  When my God-given "Mama alarm" went off and I had to address a situation and had something to say that a child didn't want to hear or accept, I noticed downcast eyes.  I would say "look into my eyes when I'm talking to you".  Although you don't know the tone of my voice at that moment, my children will remember; spoken firmly and with love.  Whatever I had to say meant more when they looked into my eyes, for there, they saw through the discipline and looked into the eyes of love.  Was it because of some untruth exposed that turned their eyes away from me?  Whatever it was, it wasn't strong enough to keep us apart.  They learned their lessons and my respect for them grew as they accepted responsibility and discipline.  

Sometimes, we turn our eyes away from the Lord when we know we haven't been completely truthful with Him.  Looking in my eyes was a test of truthfulness for my children.  Accepting responsibility for our words and our actions and when the conscience is clear of guilt, we can gaze into the eyes of the Lord.  He wants us to have eye to eye contact with Him and see us being truthful, guiltless and reconciled with Him.

2 Chronicles 7:14
.......if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

God's promises do apply to us today.  It's important to be careful, though, because if we try to fit God's general principles into a specific situation, we may be out of line.  I trust in God's guidance each and every time I sit here at my computer composing a message for you that I keep the verses I use in the proper context.  We will do well to learn from the examples of others so that things will go better for us, as individuals and as nations, when we live according to God's principles of right living.

Take care and remember the importance of eye to eye contact.  Love, Nan

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Living Stones

You cannot suddenly fabricate foundations of strength; they must have been building all along.
Philip Yancey

What, then, shall we say in response to this?  If God is for us, who can be against us?  He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all -- how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?  Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen?  It is God who justifies.   Who is he that condemns?  Christ Jesus, who died -- more than that, who was raised to life -- is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.  Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?  Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?  As it is written: "For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered."  No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.  For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:31-39

Our foundations of strength and faith are built stronger each time we absorb God's truths in the Bible.  I want to whet your appetite, to give you a taste, to want more of the precious Bread of Life, which will give you renewed energy and vigor in laying the blocks and sealing the mortar of your foundation.  It all begins with the living Stone, Jesus Christ.  I urge you to open your Bible to 1 Peter Chapter 2, where you will learn more about not only the Capstone, but about living stones.   The analogy of living  stones ( we, as believers)  takes us from building the foundation to becoming the foundation and then becoming a living, breathing spiritual building, that being the church.  For everything in life, there is a beginning, a middle and an end.  From its beginning to its end, the church is built on Jesus.
I know, some are of the mindset that they have become disenchanted with "church" altogether.  Remember, not one human being is perfect.  We are all a work in progress.  Open your heart, your mind and your spirit to the will of God and you will be amazed at where He leads you!  Are you willing to be a living stone?

As you and I hold hands (figuratively, right now) you will feel the warmth of this stone that was warmed by the Son.  It takes a multitude of stones to build a church.  We are all connected.  Each stone is important and serves a vital function.  You are very important and your function is very important.  We support each other, providing strength to the foundation that upholds us all.

Take care and enjoy being a stone today.
Love, Nan

Monday, April 25, 2011

First Fruits

Exodus 23:19
Bring the best of the first fruits of your soil to the house of the LORD your God.

As my day unfolds, I am productive; most days very productive, in fact.  The most important product of my day is that which I produce in the early morning hours; that being, the message published here.    This message is my "first fruit" of the day.  Yes, it's clear, I'm talking about intangible fruit.  I offer this with a grateful heart to God for planting within me, the desire to give back what has been given to me.  As I sit here, I offer to God and to you the best I have to give.  I don't worry that I'm giving too much or that my offering isn't considered good enough or that I may not have more love, compassion and encouragement to share throughout the day or tomorrow.  God has given me fertile soil in which to grow this fruit and because God has provided abundantly for my needs today to feed myself and my family, I can share with you.
Because I am reconciled to God through Jesus' death on the cross and resurrection, I am motivated to share the Good News.  Jesus paid the ultimate price.  His sacrifice of love to all of mankind, His willingness to die to pay for our sin-debt, changed everything.  We are all unworthy of salvation.  We don't deserve God's mercy or His favor.  It is our gratitude for salvation that carries so much meaning.  I have been saved by the power of Jesus' unfailing love.  My life has been transformed.  I was imprisoned by my own negative experiences and negative thinking.  If you are still imprisoned, if you are walking around with invisible bars between yourself and God, between yourself and others, I want you to know you can be free.  I want you to have peace of mind.   I want you to experience the love of Jesus, to get to know Him personally.    I want you to feel the very breath of God, His Holy Spirit moving through you.  I am motivated and activated on your behalf because I care about you.  Here and now, I offer to you with outstretched arms, my first fruits of the day.  Their sweetness will linger long after I'm gone and long after you've forgotten my name.  This prayer, meaning me, lifts you up to the Lord today.  Yes, as a baker bakes and a singer sings, this prayer prays. Blessed be the name of the Lord!  To Him, be the honor, the praise and the glory for ever! Take care and remember to share your first fruits! Love, Nan

Thursday, April 21, 2011

In Preparation

"Today I know that such memories are the key not to the past, but to the future. I know that the experiences of our lives, when we let God use them, become the mysterious and perfect preparation for the work He will give us to do. " 
 Corrie Ten Boom (The Hiding Place)

As I meditate on this Holy Week, I sometimes feel at a loss for words regarding Jesus' suffering at the hands of Pilate's soldiers and His crucifixion on the cross.  As I think  about the quote by Corrie Ten Boom, I'm reminded of the time I watched the Mel Gibson movie The Passion of the Christ.  I was so deeply moved by the realistic scenes of the torture of Jesus that I've never been the same since watching the movie.  I'm a visual person by nature and the horror I witnessed unfolding before me on the big screen felt so real that it left a permanent imprint on my soul.  The agony He suffered to fulfill the Law humbles me to the point of something I can't even describe to you now in words.  The Good News is that He arose from the dead and His spirit is still alive today!!!!!  
I truly believe God used that experience of watching the movie to use me for His service to prepare me for writing Nan's Calendar.  Jesus didn't die in vain.  As long as there is breath in my body, I will continue to reach out to others for Christ; to love them; to encourage them; to challenge them; to comfort them; to warn them.  Human rebellion causes people to act against God.  If I have the slightest influence in helping to break down the barrier between a person and Jesus, God knows it.  My influence is presented with gentleness and love.  There is, I believe, more accomplished in a spirit of gentleness and love than with brute force.  
No matter where I go or what I face, the spiritual presence of Jesus is with me.  I am encouraged and strengthened because I know, without a doubt, that Jesus is my Lord and Savior.  Do you know Him as your Lord and Savior?  Are you "on fire" for the Lord?  He's not impressed with lukewarm Christians.  They are more dangerous than one who has never repented.  As it says in Revelation 3:15-16 "I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot.  I wish you were either one or the other!  So, because you are lukewarm - neither hot or cold - I am about to spit you out of my mouth."  I will quote you the side note in my Bible regarding verse 16.  "At least those who are spiritually cold cannot pretend that they are all right.  Their spiritual needs are obvious.  But those who are lukewarm may have just enough pretense of religion to cause them to think they are okay.  God desires wholehearted, sincere responses.  Anything less suggests that other things have a higher priority than a relationship with him.  Those who want the "minimum requirement" - just enough of God to get by - risk missing him altogether."  
I don't want you to miss Him!  If you're not right with Jesus, get right with Him now.  Ask Him to forgive you of your sins and ask Him to be Lord and Savior of your life.  Give your life over to Him.  Go to your pastor/minister/reverend/priest/elder, whomever you need to go to to learn more about accepting Jesus as your Savior.  If you're already a Christian, rededicate your life to Christ.  Ask Jesus to give you a new heart and ask Him to make of you a vessel He can use to help others who desperately need to know about Him and the ultimate sacrifice He made on the cross for all of us.
May God be with you this day and bring you to a new understanding of the suffering of Christ on the cross and to know a special relationship with Jesus that you have never known before. In Jesus name I pray.  Amen

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Refuge in the Lord

The salvation of the righteous comes from the LORD; he is their stronghold in time of trouble. The LORD helps them and delivers them; he delivers them from the wicked and saves them, because they take refuge in him.
Psalm 37:39-40 NIV

Does the word righteous bother you?  I had a conversation with a person a long time ago who was confusing self-righteous behavior with righteous behavior.  Mr. Webster's definition of righteous is :  1) acting in a just, upright manner; virtuous 2) morally right or justifiable.  It doesn't mean "holier than thou".    Self-righteous means regarding oneself as being morally superior to others; smugly virtuous.

The apostle Paul wrote in Philippians 2:3-5 NIV Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.  Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.  Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.......  I encourage you to take time to open your Bible and read verses 1-11 of Philippians 2 as Paul teaches us how to imitate Christ's humility.

  Before we can take refuge in the Lord, we have to be aware of His presence and acknowledge it.  Truly believing what is written in these two verses in Psalms gives us great comfort.  Yes, there will be troubles, but we know that as we live life on purpose for the Lord, He will help us and deliver us.  We can accept temporary inconvenience and trouble, because through it, God is moving us forward to a better place.  We can accept this discomfort because we can trust God and we can trust ourselves, too.  When the troubles of life get our attention, we can face them with dignity, gratitude and peace as we trust God to help us and deliver us.  As God helps us lay the building blocks of our spiritual foundation, we quickly get the upper hand on trouble as it comes.  Taking refuge in God is an awesome place to be!

In case I didn't tell you, my first experience in church was in a small, rural community in a Southern Baptist  church.  After Allen and I married and went to Germany, there was a period of time we didn't go to church, but when we were assigned to a base in Illinois, we joined a Presbyterian church.  Upon our move to Virginia, as we searched for our next church, again, God led us to a Presbyterian church.  God guided our steps as we moved to Florida.  It would be a United Methodist church where we worshipped for 10 months and then God saw fit for Allen to retire from the Air Force.  We then moved back to North Carolina and joined a United Methodist church.  Since December, God has led us to a Presbyterian church.  We dearly love all the people in these churches.  We've never had conflict with anyone and we truly believe it is through God's guidance we are currently attending the Presbyterian church.

Why am I telling you all of this?  I want you to know that I have complete faith in the Lord to put me where He needs me when He needs me there and for as long as He needs me there.  For me, it's not whether I am labeled as one denomination or another that matters.  We all serve the same God.  I've never felt that I have left one church for another.  When God calls, I obey.  It's that simple.  The thing to remember is that I have a happy heart as I trust in the Lord to lead me, guide me and direct me.  I am always aware of His presence.

You are in my thoughts and prayers.  Love, Nan

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

But for the grace of God

There, but for the grace of God go I.
John Bradford

But for the Grace of God

written by: Nan Forehand
November 2, 2006

Dedicated to Lisa Trenski

a good lesson to remember
regardless of your gender
no matter how bad things are for you
someone else has it worse - that's true
think of the Englishman John Bradford
burned at the stake for sharing the Good Word
Mary Tudor had him imprisoned for a minor offense
yet, he received his heavenly recompense
as he saw a criminal going to execution for his foul deeds
John's  intent was to continue to plant good seeds
he said, "There, but for the grace of God go I"
must have said it with an expectant sigh
died as a martyr January 31, 1555
his spirit today is still alive

Titus 2:11-15 NIV
For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men.  It teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope - the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.

Monday, April 18, 2011

You Know Me

There is no camouflage color on Earth that can hide us from the sight of God.

Oh LORD, you have searched me and you know me.  You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.  You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.  Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O LORD.  You hem me in - behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me.  Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.  Where can I go from your Spirit?  Where can I flee from your presence?  If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.  If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.  If I say, "Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me", even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.
Psalm 139:1-13 NIV

I have nothing to hide from God and I have nothing to hide from you.  I want you to see right through me and know me.  Why?  Why do I care that you know me?  I care that you know me because you matter to me.  I don't pretend to be anything I'm not.  That is why I tell you who I am.  I write these love notes, pouring out my heart to anyone who reads my words, because I have nothing to hide.  I believe that one day I will be a grandmother, Lord willing.  I want my grandchildren to know me.  I didn't know my grandmothers.  One died before I was born and I never met my other grandmother.  I know very little about either one of them.  I want my grandchildren to know me.  If I die before they are born, they will know me by what I have written.  I know my children will tell them about me and when they are old enough to understand, they will read my poetry and my Nan's Calendar messages.
As far as I know, I'm healthy, but we never know from one day to the next how short life can be.  Don't take a day for granted and don't take your loved ones for granted.  Tell them now while you still can that you love them.  We can't hide from God, but sometimes we want to hide from others and from ourselves.
When I began this message, it was going to simply be a quote and a Bible verse.  I believe God has directed my words today and this is the message I was inspired to write.
Take care and remember, I love you and you remain in my prayers.  Always, Nan

Friday, April 15, 2011

F ellowship U ndermines N egativity

People rarely succeed unless they have fun in what they are doing.
Dale Carnegie

There is much that can be said about fun.  As I sat here a minute ago thinking of how today's message is developing in my mind, I thought of an acrostic for the word fun.

F ellowship
U ndermines
N egativity

Fellowship Undermines Negativity.  Think about it.  Fellowship means companionship.  It is a mutual sharing.  It is a group of people with the same interests.  It need not be with a large group of people, however.  When we're really having fun, we are usually in the company of at least one other person and enjoying the same activity.  At that moment, we have something in common and laughter is usually a part of that time of fellowship.  Allow fun and fellowship in your life today.

I have a friend I recently met for breakfast.  As we sat in the restaurant, we shared a meal together and we talked about so many things.  Before we knew it an hour had passed.  We had so much fun in that hour!  Simply being with her was fun.  I loved the sparkle in her eyes and the way her face lit up when she smiled.  The sound of her voice is beautiful and it was music in my ears to hear her laughter.  I learned things about her and I learned other things I didn't know.  This time of fellowship was precious to me. She is precious to me.  I don't remember one negative thought that could have crossed my mind the whole time we were together in fellowship.

Yes, I can have fun by myself and I can be my own companion in a sense.  God didn't intend for us to be alone.  Sure, solitude is important and necessary, but remember to keep it all in proper perspective and proper balance and you'll be amazed at how much better you feel in fellowship with another in a small group setting or in a larger setting when the time is right.   Allow yourself to have fun!

I'm alone right now as I sit here typing this message, but I'm having fun.  I'm having fun because I'm thinking of the many people I know who will read these words of mine.  Thinking of you brings a smile to my face.  I'm having fun because I'm in the company of the Lord right now!  I'm alone, but I'm not lonely.  I pray for those who are lonely.

I'm beginning to think that God really intended today's message to be more about reaching the lonely.  God wants you to to have fun.  Whatever is holding you back is something that only you and the Lord can know.  Grief can hold us back; fear of being hurt can hold us back.  When we're lonely, we're missing someone who is not with us.  Allen and I know about loneliness.  He was stationed in Istanbul, Turkey for a year and then again for a year in the Middle East.  We both had work to do and people to be around, but we were lonely for each other.  I remember sitting in a church full of people on Mother's Day 1995 and I felt completely alone.  I had, at that moment, built a wall around myself without even realizing it.  I missed Allen so much it hurt.  It was important for me to be in that church rather than spend the day at home.  I had to reach out beyond my self in order to move beyond the aloneness I felt.  It was temporary.   I got through it and I moved on and enjoyed the rest of the day.

Perhaps you know who you're lonely for and another person may be lonely for someone they haven't even met yet.  As you allow yourself to have fun in the midst of being lonely, the loneliness disappears.  The whole body, mind and spirit are involved when we're having fun.  Having fun has healing components all wrapped up in one package.  The body is positively energized when we're laughing.  The mind is refreshed and the spirit nurtured.  Yes, life can be serious, but we can still allow ourselves to have fun.  I believe it is not disrespectful, in the midst of the grieving period to have fun.  I believe, also, that when others see us having fun, they are drawn to us.  Remember, negative energy draws negative to itself and positive energy draws positive to itself.  Being in the company of others sharing mutual interests is healthy and important for our growth and development.

Let yourself relax and have fun today.  Fellowship undermines negativity.  It's a beautiful day.  Don't waste one minute of it!  Today is a gift from God.  Believe you will have fun today and then do it!  Have fun!  Take care.  Love ya! Nan

P.S.  Now I'm going to have fun getting ready for work!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

God-given Insight

We can begin to see the everlasting glory of God when we realize that troubles help us to see our world for what it is; lacking perfection and short-lived.  We can ask God to give us the insight to look for what is permanent and eternal.

Sometimes we draw trouble to ourselves because of negative self thoughts.  I believe I am a recovering perfectionist, a recovering people-pleaser, a recovering negative thinker.  God has given me the insight to understand I can never be perfect this side of Heaven.  I placed such heavy burdens on my own self before I realized that I am a work in progress.  It's ok that I'm not perfect.  It's ok if I speak and someone doesn't agree with what I said.  It's not the end of the world for someone to disagree with me.  I still have respect and am still respected.  It's ok if my house isn't spotlessly clean all the time.  People-pleasing was a way to survive.  I lacked permission to please myself and to trust myself.  I realized at some point that I made decisions based on pleasing others.  Those motives and decisions were covert.  It was easy to become annoyed and hurt when my efforts to please didn't work as I planned.  I lived with so many fears and insecurities.  It has been a tremendous sense of freedom to have overcome so many obstacles that I, yes, I placed in my path.  I did it to myself, though I didn't have the insight to realize it at the time.  I created my own troubles through my negative self-thoughts.  No one was as critical of me as I was  of
myself.  It has taken years of practice to become a positive thinker and the blessings and ability to encourage others as a result of this daily practice are truly known only to God.  Only He knows how far I have come from the shell of a person I used to be.  My life before I met Allen was not one I care for others to see.  In sharing these snippets of my past with you, it is easier for you to understand how far I have come in my own personal growth, emotionally and spiritually.  I used denial as a means of protection.  Until I was ready to accept my reality, I was a fragile, insecure little girl in a woman's body.  At some point, through the Lord's love and Allen's love, I became safe and strong enough to cope with the truth of my past.  I stopped punishing myself for having denied my reality.
The people who interact with me today would be amazed if they only knew how far I have come and how much I have grown.  Through love, compassion, actively listening and encouragement, I am seeing and witnessing others grow and believe me, it is a beautiful sight to behold.
We are all recovering from something.  We are all a work in progress; a masterpiece in the making.  We are all beautiful.  We are all loved by our Creator.  We have the ability to love and to be loved.  Even in singleness, there are so many ways to give love and to receive love.  God gave us so many other ways to experience love than the intimate love between a woman and a man.  God is love and I sense God's love in so many ways.  Love is so much more than the romantic love we associate with this precious gift God gave us.  Love is an action word.  Love God, love others and love yourself.  

Always giving thanks to God the Father for everything. Ephesians 5:20

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

God Speaks to Us

You are forgiving and good, O Lord, abounding in love to all who call to You.  Hear my prayer, O LORD; listen to my cry for mercy.  In the day of my trouble I will call to You, for You will answer me.
Psalm 86:5-7

God is forgiving; God abounds in love.  He hears us and He listens to us.  He will answer us.

Are we forgiving?  Do we abound in love?  Do we hear God and listen to Him?  When He answers us do we obey Him when He directs us?

Sin is sin is sin.  Have you ever heard someone say "I can never forgive that person of that sin!"  Forgiveness is for the one who has been hurt and is still hurting.  It is for the one whose heart has been hardened.

In order for us to abound in love, we must remove anything and everything that is not of love.

It is necessary to be still and quiet to hear God.  Is enough time spent in quiet meditation and solitude to "hear" His voice.  This hearing of God's voice is understood in many different ways.  Not everyone "hears" God in the same way.  When you have heard, there won't be any doubt in your mind, who you heard.  You will know you heard from God.  There is a great difference between hearing and listening.  We all know that to be true.  There is a fundamental problem in a Christian's heart if he or she doesn't hear God speaking to him or her.  You know I will always speak the truth in love.  I'm not pointing fingers here.  I am giving everyone something to think about in regard to their personal relationship with God.  We all need to perform self-examinations at times.

Obedience is tough, isn't it?  When we quarrel with God, we are in essence saying, "God, I know better than you what needs to be done."  Instead of praying to God, "heal me" may it be "God, use me as I am with all my imperfections and flaws." Instead of praying to God, "fix that person" may it be "God, use that person according to Your will, not mine."  Remember, with God, there are no mistakes and no coincidences.  Everything happens for a reason and even though we don't understand it all, we simply have to trust and obey Him.  Obedience works every time.

Lord, thank You for loving us and for forgiving us when we sin.  Teach us to forgive and to let go of anything that keeps us from abounding in love.  Thank You for patience with us when we wiggle and squirm as we learn to hear You and listen to You when You speak to us.  Lord, we want to obey You and we know a life of obedience takes practice every single day.  Thank You for giving us opportunities to forgive, to love, to hear and listen to You and to obey Your will for our lives and the lives of others.  Thank You for never leaving our side.  Lord, when we turn away from You, bring us back to Your Holy Presence.  The soul longs for a deep, personal relationship with You.  Be with us, guide us, give us the peace that only You can give.  In Your precious name I pray.  Amen

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Expect Something Good

As I sit here before my computer this morning, it occurs to me the comparison of the blank, whiteness of the "page" I am now typing words upon and the blank, whiteness of the day before me.  I have the privilege of revealing myself to the world through this medium of Nan's Calendar, being vulnerable in so doing.  What you get from me is real and honest.  Yes, it is a privilege to reveal myself to you through my efforts to encourage and inspire.  It is a privilege because I no have no fear of judgment. My conscience is clear.   I believe you all know I am sincere and what I share with you is shared in love.

Before I typed the first words in this message, it was a mystery what the message would contain in its finished state.  Right now it is a mystery how my day will turn out before I lay down in my bed tonight.
I want today's message to be worthy of your time in reading it.  I want you to get something good out of it. In the same way, I want the people I talk with in person and those I will be in talking with on the phone to get something good out of our interactions today.  You and I all have the freedom to be ourselves as we go out into the world.  With the click of a button, I can go out into the world without leaving the comfort of my home.  The words I share with you are representative of my character and my essence.  Though I am not with you in person, my character and essence are with you in this message I send to you through the miracle of the internet.  We have the ability to let go of anything that would hold us down and prevent us from being honest with ourselves and others.  When we speak the truth in love, with gentleness and kindness, everything changes.  Our perspective of ourselves change and our perspective of others change.

The essence of our Holy God is with me with every breath I take.  Because I am keenly aware of that, I am comforted and I am aware of my accountability and responsibilities.  I am accountable for everything I share with you in Nan's Calendar and I am responsible for my words and my actions.  One day I will be in the presence of God and my judgment day will be at hand.  It's not necessary to read between the lines and think I am, in a subtle way, telling you I am dying.  Rather, I am fully living.  I think it's important to think of our judgment day and how we live our lives each day.  I live in the present, but my soul will live for eternity somewhere.  I believe and I hope that "somewhere" is Heaven.  Now I know in part; then I will know fully.  Now I believe and I hope and pray I will live for eternity in Heaven.  My belief in the promises of God and my faith carry me through until I reach the other side.  When I stand before God in Heaven, I will in truth, be on the other side, in Heaven.  Now it is a belief.  Then it will be truth.  I live for the truth every day.

I want you to enjoy every moment of your day today.  Believe something good will happen.  More than that, expect something good to happen.  I wouldn't want anything less for you than I want for myself.  Whatever I get out of life, I want you to get more out of it than I do.
With love and prayers reaching out to you, your sister in Christ, Nan

Monday, April 11, 2011


"God-confidence is trust in God's ability to work through you to shape people and circumstances.  When you have God-confidence, you are freed from both pride and self-recrimination.  You can focus on the job at hand and on the needs of others, leaving the results with God, where they belong." Donna Partow

leaving the results with God, where they belong;  this phrase continues to echo in my mind.  In other words, not my will, Lord, but Your will.  No one can know the mind of God.  God is God and God is always right and His timing is always perfect.

But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him.  He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream.  It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green.  It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.  The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure.  Who can understand it?  "I the LORD search the heart and examine the mind, to reward a man according to his conduct, according to what his deeds deserve."
Jeremiah 17:7-10

Obedience is possible when God offers to remove our sin-filled heart and replace it with a new heart.  This act of God is radical, to say the least, and entirely necessary in order to fully transform a person who will be a vessel God can use.

I stood in awe, on Saturday afternoon as my husband, my brother and I stood before the magnificent Airlie Oak in Wilmington, NC.  It is a Live Oak that dates back to the 1500's.  You must Google Airlie Oak and see a photo of it.  It does stand near the water and it is a sight to behold!  I believe that oak tree has stood in God-confidence all these years.  Its root system has held tightly and I believe it is still growing.  It is alive and as long as it is alive, I believe there is potential for further growth, including every man, woman and child on the face of the earth.

Today is the fifth anniversary of my family living here in our home.  The land under it was paid for years ago and I believed, even then, with God-confidence, that one day Allen would retire from the Air Force and we would build a house on this site.  It is a beautiful location with woods around us, a rolling meadow behind us and a creek babbling along in the woods near the house.  The pond still has fish in it for John and the guys to catch and release.  The dogwood trees are blooming in the edge of the woods and the azaleas, irises and roses will soon bloom.  The woods are getting greener every day.  The trees are filled with birds singing and the dog and cats are content.  There is harmony in the air and it sounds beautiful.

If you are one with little or no self-confidence, trust God to fill you with God-confidence.   I have lived with  little confidence and I live with God-confidence.  If I lacked God-confidence, I would not be with my precious husband of 27 years and our two adorable children wouldn't be here living and breathing and enjoying life.  If I didn't live and act with God-confidence, Nan's Calendar would never have existed at all.  Any benefit you have received by reading my love notes are completely because of my confidence in the Lord.  I remember how I felt when I understood the call from God to begin writing these devotionals.  God took away any negative thought that could be a deterrent to His will being done to help and encourage others through me.  I am continually filled with thanksgiving.  Yes, every day is a thanksgiving day for me.

Have a wonderful day, walking in God-confidence.  Love and prayers go out to you today.  Love, Nan

Friday, April 8, 2011

The choice is ours.

Life at a crossroads is life at a point where choices are to be made - choices that involve love or hatred, justice or injustice, gossip or truth, mercy or malice, wealth or poverty, happiness or sadness, even life or death.  Author Unknown

Love, justice, truth, mercy, wealth, happiness, life; these sound much better than hatred, injustice, gossip, malice, poverty, sadness, death.  If these choices sound so much better than the alternative, why do we struggle with deciding what are the right choices to make?

We sometimes get stuck in a rut of thinking "I don't have a choice".  Friend, we always have a choice!

John Maxwell said "when it comes to change, there are three seasons of timing: people change when they hurt enough that they have to, when they learn enough that they want to, and when they receive enough that they are able to."

I've also heard that not every change is growth, just as not all movement is forward movement.  Choice and change walk hand in hand.  We always have a choice and we can always change; change our thoughts; change our habits; change our perspectives; change our feelings.

In our life-long journey, we will reach many crossroads.  I want to live my life on purpose, for a purpose and with a purpose.  My destination is Heaven.  I want to go to Heaven when I die.   I want to live deliberately focused on my destination.  I want to please God and live accordingly so that one day, I will enter Heaven and He will say to me "well done, my good and faithful servant."  I want that!  I want to live for a purpose that is greater than myself.  I want to live for you and to give you the same comfort I have been given.  My purpose in life is to be an encourager.  I want to be successful.  I want to make a difference in the world.  I want my life to matter.

I can't know until I die if I will enter Heaven.  I can't be good enough.  I can be forgiven enough.  I am deliberately focused on my destination.  I believe I am pleasing God.   Though I'm not perfect, I ask God for forgiveness when I fall short.  I am living for a purpose that is greater than myself.  I am living for you and offer comfort, faith, hope, and love.  I am an encourager.  It may be carved on my tombstone "here lies an encourager"  I truly believe I am successful, not in a self-boastful way, but in boasting for the Lord, because without Him, I am nothing and without Him, I have nothing.  With Him, I have everything in abundance.  I have all I need and more.  That is why I share with you.  I give gladly and with  a happy heart.
I am making a difference in the world.  Yes, one person can make a difference if he or she believes.  My life does matter.  Your life matters.

I'm not a preacher, teacher, Bible scholar, counselor.  I am a humble servant of the Lord and I am glad to be alive.  I've also heard it said, though I don't know who said it "as a Christian, we have two choices - we can either evangelize or fossilize.  The choice is ours.

Carefully choose your choices today so as to have no regrets later.  May the grace and love of Jesus Christ be with you this day and always.  Love, Nan

Thursday, April 7, 2011

It Does Not Matter How Slow You Go........

Wisdom of Confucius

Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, "This is the way; walk in it."
Isaiah 30:21





Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, "This is the way; walk in it."
Isaiah 30:21

Today's message is very brief compared to some of late and in quite a different format.  When he didn't even realize it, my precious husband guided me this morning to the quote I share today.  It is printed in large, bold print simply to get your attention.  I am not yelling at you here (said with a tender smile). As the Spirit overcomes me, I listen and obey.  We learn best from repetition.  Reading something once usually will not have a lasting effect upon us.  This is the message from God for you today.
Keep it going!  
Love and prayers are going out to you today!  Nan

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Faith and Deeds

James 2
14)What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds?........
26)As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.

In the book of James, Chapter 2 verses 14-26, James speaks of faith and deeds.  I only gave you verses 14 and 26, because of the importance of stirring your curiosity to go to the book of James and read the rest of that section for yourself.

Because I had faith in God's direction for the Nan's Calendar message day before yesterday (and every day I write), I believed someone would be touched by the message.  Whether they would respond was a mystery at the time of the writing of the message.

Frank Lloyd Wright said "the thing always happens that you really believe in; and the belief in the thing makes it happen."

When I received the email from the reader who shared something very personal with me regarding Monday's message, I had a choice.  I could have read it and deleted it without responding.  I had a choice.  To choose to respond, taking time, love, compassion, deliberate thought and especially listening to God for the right words in speaking directly to this person, my deed was in direct alignment with God's will.  I don't have all the answers.  I will tell you what I am full of if you don't already know it by now and I'll tell you what I'm not full of.  I am full of love for my Heavenly Father.  I am continually filled with the Holy Spirit. I am full of faith.  I am full of desire; the desire to help others in whatever way God calls me to help them.
I am not full of myself.  I am not full of self-centered praise.  I am not full of a desire for fame.  As with a sponge, what is soaked in is poured out when it is squeezed.  I've said that before and last Sunday, our guest speaker in Sunday School said it also.  I gave her a huge smile when she said it, because I understood fully what she meant.

I believe it is appropriate to share the response to my personal note with you so that God may receive all the praise and glory.  This person's response to me touched my heart deeply and I know it touched the heart of God deeply.  This is why I do what I do.....for others to be helped and for God to be praised.

"Nan, that was a beautiful letter. I treasure it. When you prayed, I prayed with my hands open to God. Thank you, dear sister in Christ."

This person "prayed with my hands open to God."  As I meditate on this, glory bumps cover my body at this very moment.  This person gave years of suffering a new meaning yesterday.  You don't need to know any details, but now you know the highlights.  Because this person shared something very personal with me and prayed to God "with my hands open", I believe you are being lifted up and encouraged by this person's courage to reveal suffering to me.  Because I responded (a deed born of faith) to the person, and share this with you, those years of suffering will never be viewed the same as before.   

Remember, the thing always happens that you really believe in; and the belief in the thing makes it happen!  Mr. Wright said it well, didn't he.  I believe he knew what he was talking about.  He died April 9, 1959 at the age of ninety-two.  If you love architecture, you need to google Mr. Wright's biography.  He was a great architect and a great man.  

May our Lord, Jesus Christ, be with you, one and all today.  Love, Nan

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Prayer request for a soul in need

My time this morning was spent sending an email to a very dear person who read the Nan's Calendar message yesterday.  Something very personal was shared with me and I value that person so much I wanted to devote my time this morning specifically to that person's needs.  God knows who this person is and I ask for your united prayers for healing in mind, body, and spirit.
This has been the Nan's Calendar message for today.  Thank you all so much for taking your time to come and be a part of my life.  I am honored to be a part of your life in this small way.  May God richly bless you.  Love, Nan

Monday, April 4, 2011

Scars On My Heart

Mr. Webster's definition of the word wound is as follows:
1) an injury in which tissue is cut, torn, etc
2) any hurt to the feelings, honor, etc

the definition of the word scar is as follows:
1) a mark left after a wound, burn, etc. has healed
2) the lasting mental or emotional effects of form a scar in healing

I think you know where this message is going.  It is a message God has put on my heart for the past several days as snippets of thoughts here and there as I progressed through my days.  It is as if He is gently tugging these thoughts out of my mind this morning.  When I came to the computer, I didn't know this would be the subject of today's Nan's Calendar.  It is a message from God through me to you.  He knows someone, somewhere needs to hear this message today, not tomorrow or last week or last month, but today.
There is a vast difference between a wound and a scar.  A scar can only be complete in its form when there is absolutely no existence of or potential for infection.  I am here to encourage the walking wounded hearts in the world.  I fully understand about emotional and spiritual wounds.  I can talk about sexual abuse without panic or fear or shame or guilt.  That is because I have been totally healed by God Almighty Himself.  I have no panic attacks, no flashbacks, no nightmares and no insecurities.   My scars are so faint now that they are barely noticeable.  I hope you can feel the compassion and the love in my heart as I type this message to you. 
There are all kinds of emotional and spiritual wounds.  God created that person who wounded you and God still loves that person, too.  God created you and loves you.  God didn't abandon you.  God created the person who abused me; one I admired and trusted with the faith of a child.  My trust was shattered.  I was 16 when it began.  The words were locked in my heart.  I suffered in silence to protect particular loved ones from the shame and disgrace of it all.  I endured what I had to rather than spill the awful truth and ruin other lives in the process.  
It was 17 years before I could even say out loud I had been abused.  By that time, those I protected had passed away.  I was probably about 33 years of age when the truth came out of my mouth.  I forgave the one who abused me (in my heart, because I was several states away and with two precious children and a husband I treasure).   And believe it or not, it was a saint of a man who God placed in my life to help me say it out loud.  Mr. Bob was an angel in disguise.  We only knew each other 13 months and God called him home.  His impact in my life will never be forgotten.  I am also very grateful for my precious husband in my life.  Allen is a gift from God and I will praise God all the days of my life for bringing him to me as a blind date in the summer of 1983.  I forgave in my heart and God was my witness.  I forgave because I didn't want to miss one bit of life with Allen and our children.  They are more important to me than there words to express.  The healing truly begins when we forgive the one who wronged us..... no if's, and's, or but's.  
We need all the encouragement we can get.  If you are one of the walking wounded, my heart goes out to you.  I've been one of the walking wounded, too.  People can only have power over us if we give it to them.  Granted, they may be physically stronger, but God gives us a strength beyond our comprehension.   We can't change what happened.  That's history.  Dwelling on it and reliving the scenes won't help; that just keeps them in real time.  Let go of any and all thoughts that cause infection.  They are the negative thoughts you've been holding on to.  They are the fears, the guilt, the shame.  The memories fade when we place our focus on something positive and continue to think positively.  I live in the present.  The events of the past have no power over me.  If I lived in the past, I would miss the beauty and love all around me today.
Think about a microscope and the subject matter on the glass plate.  We examine the subject (the person who abused) because we think we need to know more in order to understand the why of it all.  When we adjust the focus to the point of the subject being out of focus, we only see a blur.  We have to back off and adjust the focus.  As we adjust our focus, the subject diminishes in size and importance.
Imagine the subject of your hurt and pain as a droplet on the glass.  Right now, it may be magnified to the point that it seems huge and it's right in your face as you look through the lens of the microscope.  Its appearance under the scope is distorted and scary, to say the least.  Let God take control.  Lift your head.  Step back and readjust your focus on something else.  You don't have to keep the history of your life under the microscope.  
Your wounds will heal.  I hope and pray your healing is complete before years go by.  However, if that's the case, remember it's never too late to heal.  No matter the depth of your wounds, God can cleanse them and heal them.  There may be a little more pain involved as He cleans them, but trust Him.  Let Him.  Put your very life in His hands and trust Him.  I'm living proof.  I have beautiful scars on my heart to prove it.  If I didn't share my story with you, you may have never known I had been sexually abused.  I am here to be a witness for you, because I know my God healed my wounds.   He will heal your wounds and you will, at some point in time, be able and ready to be a witness to someone else that God healed your wounds, too.  You will be able to talk about the beautiful scars on your heart.  Beloved, you are in my thoughts and prayers.  Nan

Scars on My Heart

scars on my heart
after it was torn apart
wounds have healed just fine
show me yours - I’ll show you mine
my scars I’ll happily reveal
‘cause my wounds Jesus did heal
some think a scar is an ugly sight
a scar is beautiful - I said it right
a scar indicates I survived
because on Jesus I relied
every scar has a story behind it
and the truth I’ll gladly admit
upon request, my scars I’ll display
tell me about your scars today
are the wounds on your heart healed
ask Jesus and they’ll be forever sealed
written by: Nan Forehand
Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Friday, April 1, 2011

Turn Fear Into Faith

God is preparing His heroes and the time will come when they will appear and the world will wonder where they came from.
A. W. Tozer

For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things.
1 Timothy 4:8

If Christianity is true -- then it cannot be simply a file drawer in our crowded lives.  It must be the central truth from which all our behavior, relationships, and philosophy flow.
Charles Colson

There are times in life when true faith and suffering go hand in hand.  What better to have so close to us as we endure suffering than true faith that knows no limits.  Stand strong through your trials.  The Lord is watching over you and even when your situation is so dark you can't see your hand in front of your face, God will flood the darkness with His Holy Light.
There will be times in life our physical bodies become weak, no doubt.  At times, our spirit becomes weak from struggling through spiritual warfare.  We only have to do the best we can today with the strength we  possess.  God doesn't give us strength before we need it or after we needed it.  He gives us exactly as much strength as we need ---  exactly when we need it.  Read that again.  When you humble yourself before God, first thanking Him for loving you and for forgiving you when you fail Him, asking for strength in time of trouble, believe He has heard your prayer and at that moment, He will fill you with with more strength than you can imagine is inside of you.  Believe me, I certainly do include myself in these places when I say "you", "your", etc.
 Timothy said  "godliness has value for all things."  There are some things in life that are not negotiable.
Better to suffer for Christ than to be conformed to the ways of this world.  Remember, this world is not our home.  Though we may be strangers in a strange land, we need not be afraid of what tomorrow will bring.  Remember, God has already been there and He will take care of us.  Turn fear into faith!
Stand firm; stand your ground; stand on the promises of Christ our Savior!
 Love and prayers to you.  Nan

Turn Fear into Faith  (Acrostic Poem)

F aith
E ncourages
A nd
R edeems

written by Nan Forehand
July 7, 2005