Treasure Hunting

March 23, 2016 at 4:17 pm

Easter Squirrel

“Not all treasure is silver and gold, mate.”

  (Jack Sparrow, Pirates Of The Caribbean)

written by Debbie Allen

After Winter’s frigid breath blows its final veil of frost across a cold, barren earth, there reigns a silence.  A pause between the seasons, into which the welcome voice of Spring speaks the Creator’s Good News of New Life and Eternal Hope into all the earthly places  where death once seemed to rule.  In so many ways, Spring is a vivid re-enactment of the miracle of the Easter Story.   This season is imprinted with the message of Jesus dying on the cross…laying silent in death’s grip for a time…resurrected from the grave to New Life.   Death for a season…silence for a time…new life springing forth! This is the pattern of Spring.

As I walked the perimeters of my backyard , hiding Easter eggs for my Grandchildren one Easter afternoon; it didn’t take me long to realize this pattern was everywhere!  Hiding Easter eggs under the withered stalks and dead leaves of  last year’s lifeless flower beds, I noticed the ground now studded with tender, green shoots pushing up through the dirt and springing forth with the beauty of a Day-Lily’s new bloom.   While maneuvering colored eggs into the crooks and forks of backyard bushes and trees,  I realized the barren tree branches, once laden with snow, were now covered with new buds; pregnant and ready to give birth to the snow-white blooms of the Wild Plum tree.  Any traces of winter that may have lingered behind in my heart were banished in an instant, by the unexpected warmth I felt just hearing the sweet chirps of a Robin’s new song in this new season.   Never before had Spring’s pattern been more evident to me.  Death for a season…silence for a time…new life springing forth!

After hiding all the eggs, I looked up to find my husband standing under the patio, laughing and pointing up at the tree I just walked away from.

“Looks like we have a joiner… an early treasure hunter!” Jim announced, laughing.

When I turned to see what he was talking about, I spotted a squirrel perched on a branch high up in our Cottonwood tree.  His paws were wrapped around the plastic Easter egg he’d managed to steal from the bush below.

That little squirrel recognized treasure in my backyard that day, too!  He wasn’t content to just give it a quick look and scamper away. He somehow understood the value of that treasure and his need to have it. So… he took a risk, leaving his place of safety to obtain it.  He worked furiously with both teeth and claws to bore a hole in the egg.    Because the egg was taped shut, that squirrel struggled for over thirty minutes before retrieving the chocolate candy stuffed inside of it.  Once  the sweet contents were in his little belly, with a surge of new life (His first chocolate high!), that squirrel disappeared out of sight, leaving the empty shell behind!

Spring is beautifully laced with the telling and re-telling of the Easter Story! This season mirrors, in unique ways,  the Story of the Savior’s Victory over Death and the New Life that springs forth because of it. Eternal Life!  Without a doubt, Jesus is the Greatest Treasure mankind will ever seek in his lifetime.  However we, like the little Easter squirrel, must first sit up and take notice of this One-of-a-Kind, Priceless Treasure, realizing that our greatest need in life is to lay hold of it.  Eyeing it from afar is not enough.  Just knowing it is there will not work. We must be willing to risk all, stepping outside our comfort zones to  receive this Treasure for ourselves.  Only then will we discover  it takes a personal sampling of the Sweet Contents of this Personal and Priceless Treasure to awaken us to the New Life that is within us!   Happy Easter…and Happy Hunting!!

“You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the Lord.” (Jer. 29:13-14 NIV )

“The fear of the Lord is your treasure.   “( Isaiah 33:6b NIV)

mini heart fp  Heart Trapping –  What”imprints” of the Easter Season and the pattern of Spring do you see in your own back yard?  What treasures in life are you seeking?   How much are you willing to risk in life to attain them? Have they any Eternal value?   Do you believe that Jesus is your Greatest Treasure in this life?  Why or Why not?

Prayer –  O God, You are my God. You alone are my Treasure in this life.  My soul longs to find you. I hunger deeply for You; my whole heart longs to be satisfied by treasures beyond the silver and gold of this world.  Help me to find the Beauty of Your  undeniable and Priceless Presence in this Easter Season.  Thank you for Your gift of Hope and New Life…     Amen.

“The Miracle of a Magical Moment”

March 6, 2016 at 3:50 pm

Ryan the Great

       “RYAN THE GREAT!”          

“The real secret of Magic lies in the performance.”  (by David Copperfield)

written by Debbie Allen

Not long ago, I walked into my kitchen and heard my 7 year-old Grandson, “Ryan the Great”, speaking his own magic words and waving a wand over a little black box on my kitchen table. He loved the idea of being a magician so I decided to check out his first show!  Scanning the crowd, an audience of three, Ryan the Great, quickly singled me out and fanned a deck of cards out before me.

“Pick a card, Grammie…any card will do!” He advised me.

The card I picked was the Queen of Hearts. Taking the card back, Ryan placed the Queen of Hearts inside of the little black box on the table. Magic wand in hand, he tapped the box and cried,” Abracadabra!”

The audience’s eyes grew wide, anticipating what was next!  Ryan the Great’s eyes grew wide, too, for when he opened the box, the card was still there! Undaunted by failure, this great table-top magician simply shrugged it off and closed the box once more to try again. After studying the instructions inside the Magic Kit for a moment, Ryan tried once more.

“Alakazam!” he hollered out, this time tapping the box twice.  When he opened the box…there she was! That stubborn Queen of Hearts, still smiling back at him.

After shushing the audience (who chose to clap anyway), the Great and Powerful Ryan drew in a deep breath and put on his most solemn expression. Raising his magic wand higher than ever before, he tapped the black box three times, and spoke with the greatest of 7-year-old authority, these powerful words,


Do you know what? This time when he opened the black box, that stubborn Queen of Hearts had disappeared!  I imagine with words like those being spoken over her…that queen had no choice but to flee!

Every great magician’s first intention is to create an illusion that completely baffles the mind and dazzles the eyes of his audience.  Knowing the instructions for how to make that Queen of Hearts disappear from the little black box were packaged inside of Ryan’s Magic Kit; my eyes weren’t nearly as dazzled as my mind was baffled!  Baffled because when push came to shove…and life wasn’t offering the ending 7-year-old Ryan expected; he set aside the world’s magic words and generic instructions for success, and called on the Name of the One he knew was the difference between failure and success.  “IN THE NAME OF GOD!”

These words will forever be connected in my mind to the growing legacy of one of the greatest table-top magicians of all times (at least in Grammie’s kitchen and heart!) “Ryan the Great”, who even at age 7, understands where his greatness comes from!


“You are my King and my God. Decree victories for your people.  For it is only by Your Power and through Your Name that we tread down our enemies.” (Psalm 44:4)

mini heart fp

Heart Trapping:  Where do I find success in my life? What or Who am I calling on for help when failure stalks me again and again? Is my  daily performance before a watching world telling others… I am Great! Or do I cry out to the One Who is greater than I to do Great things through me?

Prayer:  Father, “In the Name of God!”  may each of us experience success by placing all we can do…and all we can’t do, under His Great Name and His Great Power, remembering where true greatness comes from.


“Here’s Look’in at You Kid!”

March 4, 2016 at 1:12 pm

                                                                                  “TWO-WEEK-OLD CHELSEA”
Chelsea Joy

“The most precious jewels I’ll ever wear around my neck…are the arms of my Grandchildren.”           

written by Debbie Allen

 Over the course of time, each life is marked by certain moments or seasons of change so influential, the rest of our life remains defined by it.  One such moment for me came about three years ago.  Sitting out on the patio with family, my son handed me my three-week-old granddaughter, Chelsea.  She lived 100 miles away, so I savored any moment I had to hold her close. As her sky-blue eyes pried open, I found myself searching them deeply… wondering what beautiful things God had planted down inside of her heart.  Then, it happened!  Though only for a split-second, our eyes locked and I watched an unexpected smile form across her tiny, rosebud lips. Her first smile.  Overcome by that unforeseen smile, my eyes teared at the realization that something much deeper and more profound than I was stirring my heart.  It wasn’t just Chelsea I was connecting with when our eyes locked.  I felt as though God were looking back at me through her. The innocence of her little heart overwhelmed mine. Her gaze and her smile seemed to be assuring me that I was both known…and loved. It was in that moment, my new little Granddaughter…whom the world tells me, thinks no thoughts past immediate hunger, thirst, or pain; and whose smile is simply the result of very timely gas; was teaching her Grammie a profound and unforgettable Truth.  A Truth I too often forget, in the bustle of my ever-changing circumstances.  My Heavenly Father wants nothing more from me than what I desired from Chelsea in that brief moment.  To rest assured that I am known and loved by Him…and then, for me to just “let” Him Love me back.

This defining moment in my life is a beautiful picture of the pure, undefiled level of trust God desires from us and the unfathomable Love He offers His Children when we just “let” Him Love us back. When we just lay still and helpless as a new born baby, in our Father’s Arms. His Arms will never fail us and if we lay there long enough, we will begin to hear the Melody of His Great Heart beating.  Every beat resounds with the Message of His Eternal Love for you and I…

“I have loved you with an everlasting Love. With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself.”  (Jeremiah 31:3)

mini heart fpHeart Trapping- “What would my own life look like if I learned to trust You more like a new-born baby in my daily walk with You, God?”                

 Prayer:  Teach us, Father, help us to find our rest in your Unfailing Arms, even in the midst of life’s ever-changing circumstances.Hold us close and tune our ears to hear the Message of Your Great Heart…resounding  with every single beat, Your Eternal Love for each of us.    Amen