“Closest Encounter of the Deepest Kind”

August 28, 2018 at 7:16 pm

  “God’s Love is Meteoric,

His Loyalty Astronomic,

His Purpose Titanic,

His Verdicts Oceanic!”

(Psalm 36:5)

by Debbie Allen

 I plopped on the couch one Saturday night to watch a movie with my husband.  Recognizing right away what movie he’d chosen, I knew my chances for seeing a Hallmark movie were slim to nothing. The movie, Predator, loomed before me for about the eighth time.  Wrinkling my nose, Jim began to defend his movie choice by explaining that this was not Predator…it was Predators…and he’d only seen this movie a couple of times! I settled for a good book that night; while Jim devoured repeat images of a team of special force soldiers on a mission in a Guatemalan jungle, being hunted and devoured by an invisible, extraterrestrial warrior!

To his defense, my husband is not the only one who is drawn toward these Science Fiction sensations. Our entire culture seems obsessed with the idea of aliens more today than at any other time in history. We see them on TV commercials.  Our children watch them in cartoons on Saturday morning. (What happened to the Flintstones?) Today’s teens engage alien creatures every day inside the virtual realities of their x-box games. Even the off-the-chart box-office responses to movies like Predators, continues to egg Hollywood on in the making of other Sci-Fi indulgences like it.


“Our entire culture seems obsessed with the idea of aliens more today than at any other time in history.”


It’s one thing for Hollywood to capitalize on our culture’s appetites for aliens but, I’ve found that even some of the highly educated lean toward believing in alien existence.  Several years ago, a team of scientific researchers working under a government program known as Ufology, actually devised a chart called the Hynek Scale; a six-fold system of classification allowing our own earthly officials a way to rate the level of intensity of an alien encounter.  It seems that once things are written down in black and white in this world, we suddenly believe we have a reason to believe in them! Even Hollywood endorsed this idea a little further when they filmed the 1977 Sci-Fi movie, Close Encounters of the Third Kind. This movie’s entire plot was built around the Hynek Scale.  The human mind is capable of justifying just about anything…and Hollywood is always going to be there to back it with incredible and even believable images designed to create a pathway in our mind and heart to justify belief.  I personally, am a believer…but not in aliens. I believe in God, who spoke the Universe into creation.  I have no desire to measure my belief system in this life by the Hynek Scale.

When I peer up into the night sky, I don’t see Unidentified Flying Objects…I see Unimaginable Findings Overhead! I see the beauty of God’s Light piercing the darkness of this world.  The sun…the moon…and countless stars; each silently telling of the Glories of the Creator. The Universe is filled with beautiful displays of His Craftsmanship. Every constellation, planet, and galaxy  yields itself as dramatic evidence of God’s Existence, Faithfulness, and His Greatness.  Standing beneath evening’s canopy of starlight, I can’t help but sense my own finiteness and I can’t deny the Invisible Presence I feel standing right next to me in these moments. My heart races when I think of it; not out of fear but, love. In spite of all my own human frailties, God chooses to call me His friend.  What an awesome thought! One minute I hear His Voice resounding in the thunder and lightning above me; and in the next, He stoops to whisper the secrets of His Promises into my spirit (Ps. 25:14).  What kind of Love is this that keeps something so small (me) from getting lost in all of His Largness?


When I peer up into the night sky, I don’t see Unidentified Flying Objects…I see Unimaginable Findings Overhead! I see the beauty of God’s Light piercing the darkness of this world.”


Yes, there is something out there watching us.  Something much bigger than you and I can even imagine…but, not an alien.  It’s God.  God is the Invisible Presence Who is in pursuit of our souls.  However, He pursues us as the Lover of our souls; not as Hollywood’s invisible Predator, who hunts and devours our very lives.   On the Hynek Scale, our world might classify this Divine Encounter with a Living Presence from out of this world, as a Close Encounter of the Fifth Kind.   I, on the other hand, understand it differently.  My heart can only call this Divine Encounter…this Invisible Presence…and Friendship, being so freely offered to each of us, by what it’s meant to be in this life:

The“Closest Encounter of the Deepest Kind.”

Won’t you choose to step away from Sci-Fi, Hollywood and Hynek’s Scale long enough to look up into the night sky and see only the Largness of God’s Love for you and I?

“God’s Love is Meteoric,

His loyalty Astronomic,

His Purpose Titanic,

His Verdicts Oceanic.

Yet in His Largness

Nothing gets lost;

Not a man, not a mouse,

slips through the cracks.”

(Psalm 36:5-6”)


Have you ever noticed how obsessed or pre-occupied our world is with aliens, and extraterrestrial activity in general?

What do you see when you look up into a midnight sky, studded with stars to numerous to count?

Did you know God not only created all the stars in the Universe but, He named each of them as well?

PRAYER: Dearest Father in Heaven, thank you for including the smallness of me in the Largeness of Your Love.  My eyes can fall on nothing…that You have not created.  In fact, Your Word tells me, “Everything was created through You; nothing—not one thing!—came into being without You.” (John 1:3).  If there are other life forms in the Universe, You would’ve created them…but they were never meant to become the focal point of the life you’ve given to us. Your greatest desire for us is to learn to love You with all our heart, mind, and soul, for only then will we come to know Your Meteoric Love and Your  Unimaginable Findings Overhead!

In Jesus Name…Amen















After All the “FIREWORKS!”

July 30, 2018 at 6:22 pm

 “Where the spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”                             (2 Cor. 3:17 NLT)

by Debbie Allen

The glory of the celebration of our Nation’s independence is written all across the sky… at least for one night a year.  This past Fourth of July, all around the city, people left work early, took extended holidays, attended BBQ’s, and sang patriotic songs with renewed gusto.  From the color of the fruits on the picnic table, to our choices of patriotic clothing, to the little flags painted on our faces, fingernails, and even our toenails; we are all about celebrating America’s Red, White and Blue.   These are the colors of Freedom and we are proud to fly them high.  We revel in their unmatched beauty on Independence Day but, what about the days following all the fireworks?  What do we do with America’s Red, White, and Blue the rest of the year?

As I drove around the city a few days after all the fireworks,  I witnessed American Flags, once lining city streets on both sides being folded, put away, and placed into city storage boxes.   Most of the flags dangling from neighborhood homes, in celebration of the 4th, were already stowed away in their closets and wouldn’t see the light of day again until Labor Day weekend.  Even the patriotic corner firework- stands, which dotted city intersections disappeared. If I didn’t know better, I’d say it looked as though America’s Red, White and Blue was going under-cover!

Realistically, I know this wasn’t true, but as I watched city workers boxing up the Red,White and Blue  I’d grown to love seeing in every corner of my world just days before; a melancholy thought swept over me.  Not only were they putting away flags for another season; I envisioned them putting away the Truth that embodies the Red, White, and Blue, too.  Packed away and covered in darkness…who will see it?


“Our American Flag embodies a vision of Freedom like no other… “


There’s a deeper spiritual truth in play here.  Our American Flag embodies a vision of Freedom like no other.  Its Stars and Stripes are a daily, visual reminder of the fearless, courage and integrity, self-sacrifice and devotion of Americans, past and present, who willingly laid their lives down in defense of the freedom we walk in today.  I believe we remember this truth with every glimpse of its unfurled beauty.  However, we too often forget an even greater Truth.  America is a Heaven-Rescued land; meaning there are spiritual implications concerning our own hearts and the price of Freedom.  The Stars and Stripes we know and love reflect a much bigger picture of HiStory (God’s Story), than you may be aware of.  Consider the words of the Prophet,Isaiah, from the Old Testament, pointing us to a different set of Stripes from our past:

”…the burden of our peace was upon Him (Jesus) and by His Stripes we are healed.”(Isaiah 53:5)


“…the burden of our peace was upon Him (Jesus) and by His Stripes we are healed.”

(Isaiah 53:5)


I don’t know every earthly soldier’s story of sacrifice but, through the Bible, I’m allowed a precious glimpse into Jesus’ Sacrifice. Every time my eye perceives those red stripes on Old Glory, I’m reminded of the great drops of blood streaming down Jesus’ forehead as He knelt, praying to His Father in the Garden of Gethsemane before facing His Crucifixion.  I’m deeply, humbled when I remember how Jesus yielded to the cruelty of an undeserved, Roman punishment known as the cat-o- nine tails. This merciless flogging left His flesh torn to the bone, muscle and organs exposed, and his back striped in blood from lashes inflicted, totaling no less than 39 thrashings.  My heart still fills with anguish each time I picture Jesus’ Face, while He hung on the Cross, striped in blood, from these same soldier’s hands pressing a crown of 2-inch thorns down into His brow before mocking and spitting on Him in his final hours.  (Mt 27:26)(Mk 15:15)(Jn 19:1)


    ” America is a Heaven-Rescued Land; meaning there are Spiritual implications concerning our own hearts and the price of Freedom. ”  


         “… and by His Stripes we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5)

As a Country and as individuals, “The burden of our peace… or our Spiritual Freedom was fought for and won by the willing sacrifice of Jesus’ life upon the Cross.  Similar to the earthly battlefields, where countless soldiers down through the years fought and died to keep peace in our land; the Cross stands as the ultimate, spiritual Battleground where Jesus fought for our souls, at the cost of giving up His own Life in exchange for ours so we might live and experience true Freedom…peace-of-heart from the inside-out.

Every stripe on our American flag declares the Saving Grace of the bloodshed and Glory behind them. Our Flag…though its pole is planted firmly in the soils of this great Land, its banner waves high in the heavens for a reason.  I believe it’s meant to draw our eyes heavenward and petition our forgetful hearts to remember the Sacrifices made for all of us who continue to walk, daily, in freedom throughout America.  Even after all the fireworks, we must never hide-away what was meant to be seen and heard by all…the Truth and the Glory enveloping our Freedom as individuals and as a Nation.   I pray God’s continued Blessing on our Heaven-rescued Land; a Land where we must daily and courageously, seek to to continue proclaiming the unbridled Truth of the Red, White, and Blue; standing strong and united as “One Nation, under God…indivisible…with Liberty and Justice for all.”


Have you ever  considered the spiritual implications concerning your own heart and the  Freedom you walk in every day?

The next time you glimpse the American Flag, will you see beyond the Red and White stripes to the Truth and Glory they represent?

What will you do with the idea of these heavenly “Stripes.”  Turn away from them or consider the high cost of the Freedom Jesus bought for you?

PRAYER: Dearest Heavenly Father, strengthen me that I may never hide-away what You meant to be seen and heard by all… Your Truth and Your Glory, both in me, and in this Nation.  I  stand in awe of the Red, White, and Blue…….and You.  Cultivate in me a more grateful spirit and a greater awareness of the unfathomable price of Freedom and the Heaven-Rescued ground I walk upon every day in this great Land.  Thank You!

In Jesus Name…Amen




“Just Dirt?”

May 31, 2018 at 12:50 pm


“Yet you, Lord, are our Father.  We are the clay,

You are the Potter; we are all the work of your Hand.”

(Isaiah 64:8)

by Debbie Allen


DIRT—even the sight of it signals something inside of us which compels us to label it undesirable. We spend the bulk of our lives trying to keep ourselves, our children, and our homes free from it. We track it in… mop it up…dust it away…shovel it out…and do our best to dispose of it permanently.  Webster’s 1828 Dictionary describes dirt this way:

“Any foul and filthy substance; earth; mud; mire; dust; whatever, adhering to anything, renders it foul or unclean.”

With its highest redeeming quality in this world being listed as ‘foul’ and ‘filthy’ … dirt surely qualifies for a spot among the four-letter-words of our time!  However, I don’t believe the destiny of dirt stops here.  Dirt, like all of creation, was created by God with a much greater purpose…one which too often leaves us on the short-sighted list.

At a family gathering a couple of weeks ago, I watched three of my grandchildren delivering little cellophane bags full of ‘something’ to family members who were interested in acquiring, what they deemed, “…the greatest invention since Silly Putty and Brain Slime!’ Uniquely labeled by the hands of an eager-to-make-a-profit, 5, 9, and 10 year-old; each bag arrived with a high-pressure sales pitch, an angelic-smile and a promise to deliver satisfaction to every buyer.

“THIS was a deal like no other!” proclaimed my Grandson, Ryan.

“No one in this world doesn’t NEED this!” Makayla chimed in.

On the heels of her cousins’ animated sales pitches, Chelsea, 5, just appeared out of nowhere with her cellophane bag in front of her face. Without a word being spoken, she melted every heart in the room with her smile, and then disappeared without a trace! (Being ‘cute’ is probably one of the most successful sales pitches ever!)


Being ‘cute’ is probably one of the most successful sales pitches ever!


As I glanced around the living room, several of my family members were already digging into pockets, wallets and purses in hot pursuit of cash enough to buy them what they never even knew they always wanted…a cellophane bag containing one Muddy Buddy.  That’s right, a Muddy Buddy. More than just a mud ball, this two-inch round, two-ingredient, friend came with a promise to always be there for you as long as you followed the detailed instructions my grandchildren included with the bag.  If you ever strayed from following these very explicit instructions, the only guarantee still in effect is that your Muddy Buddy will fall to pieces over time!

As you can see, a lot of thought went into this Muddy Buddy project; from production, to sales, to care instructions and even towards job security. You see, should you happen to neglect your friend, we were told by my grandchildren,

“You can just order a new one…a muddier buddy!”


“If you ever strayed from following these v-e-r-y explicit instructions, the only

guarantee still in effect is that your Muddy Buddy will fall to pieces.”



At the end of that day, I was not the only one who was surprised that the Muddy Buddies showed such a large profit margin. My Granddaughter, Makayla, ran into the kitchen holding a zip-loc bulging with greenbacks and jingling coins totaling nearly $25.00.

“Grammie, I can’t believe people really paid us for Muddy Buddies!”

Leaning over to give her a hug, I realized my Grandchildren just experienced one of the truest pay-dirt moments in history!  I was not about to squelch her joy but, I did remind her of this.

“On its own, the Muddy Buddy is just dirt. It’s your family’s love for the one’s that made the Muddy Buddies that makes them worth something.”

She thought about my words for a half-second then skipped off to join the other two Muddy Buddy makers already out in the backyard stirring up a new batch of muddy friends!


I, on the other hand, couldn’t forget those words.  Though they’d rolled off my tongue naturally, after I spoke them they echoed back a supernatural message to my heart.  I looked down at the cellophane bag I’d purchased a few minutes earlier.  I didn’t just see a Muddy Buddy anymore…I saw myself from God’s perspective.

__________________________________________________________________________________________________ The “Muddy Buddy” SURVIVAL INSTRUCTIONS


My grandchildren labeled the cellophane bag, “Hand Putty”. It made me stop and think.  I too am to become as hand putty in my Heavenly Father’s Hands, allowing Him to mold me and make me into the image of His Son, Jesus.

At the bottom of the cellophane bag, in smaller letters, was written this warning:“NOT Stretchy!”  Oh, how that describes me!  Many times when God has allowed circumstances to surround me, forcing me out of my comfort zone; I am resistant to the pressures being exerted upon me.  Pressure meant for my good and for my growth.  Pressure, intended to stretch me in a brand new direction, one which promises to bring me closer to God’s Heart.

I often forget that I too, am only made of dust. If I fail to regularly water my spirit with my Father’s Words, and let His Promises trickle-down and soak-in thoroughly, my spirit grows parched. Then, like the Muddy Buddy, I have one guarantee in this life; that I will fall to pieces over time.

As I read over Webster’s definition of dirt once more, ” Dirt—any foul and filthy substance: earth; mud; mire; dust…”  I couldn’t help but see myself there in the midst of it. Dust. God took the very substance the world labels “foul and filthy” and created something…someone beautiful from it.   The Book of Genesis tells us, “The Lord God formed the man (Adam) from the dust of the ground.” (Genesis 2:7a NLT)

  God formed man out of dirt from the ground, but He didn’t stop there.  His Word goes on to say “… and (God) blew into his nostrils the breath of life. The man came alive—a living soul!” (Gen. 2:7)

 Yes, you and I are living, breathing souls made of dust… earthen vessels formed in our mothers’ wombs by the Hand of the Heavenly Father.   Like the Muddy Buddy… on our own, we have no true value. It is the Love of our Father; the One Who made each of us and breathed His Breath into us; that gives our life value.  Unspeakable worth. So great is that worth,  His Son, Jesus, purchased and redeemed us with the price of His Own Life.  Priceless!

Though, we are but dust; we are infinitely more than just dirt. We are created to be so much more than God’s Muddy Buddies in this life!  We are God’s children. His chosen ones. We are forever-loved by our Father Who created us; earthen vessels designed to carry His Love…His Immeasurable Worth into this world where we are called by our Heavenly Father to be to others:

“A mind through which Christ thinks

A life through which Christ shows

A voice through which Christ speaks

A hand through which Christ helps”

—The Navigators—


Have you ever stopped to ponder the reality of your own frailty; that “…we are but dust?

Picture yourself as a lump of clay on the Potter’s Wheel.  Will you yield to the pressure of the Master’s Hands

upon your life and let Him mold and shape you into the masterpiece He envisioned you to be long before your birth?

Prayer: Father, how sad it makes me sometimes when I picture myself as  clay on Your Potter’s Wheel.  Help me to be more like  my Grandchildren’s”Muddy Buddy,” Hand Putty, in Your Hands. May I not resist, but yield to the pressure of Your Hands upon me.  Mold me…make me more and more like Jesus with every turn of Your Potter’s Wheel.  I want to be the mind…the life…the voice…and the hand through which Christ works to help another find his true worth in this world.  Amen





Among the Ordinary

April 11, 2018 at 12:34 pm

     “Make sure you don’t take things for granted and go slack in working for the common good; share what you have with others.  God takes particular pleasure in acts of worship—a different kind of ‘sacrifice’—that takes place in the kitchen, workplace and on the streets.” 

 (Hebrews 13:16  MSG)


by Debbie Allen

With Christmas, Valentine’s Day, St. Patty’s Day, and Easter all behind me, you’d think all the decorations that define any one of them would be long packed away by now.  I thought so, too but, recently I came across a stray Christmas dish tucked inside a stack of plates in a cupboard full of every-day dishes.  Slipping it out, an unexpected mix of joy and sadness collided down inside my heart.  I know it sounds silly, but I experienced this same feeling a few months ago, when it came to stowing away all of my Christmas dishes for another year.  It’s not just because I love the dishes (and I do!).  It’s more a matter of loving the memories and the stories connected to them.


“The Season of Love ends on the calendar…but, Love Remains.”


One glance down at that stray Christmas dish was enough to evoke memories of all the times my husband and I gathered around our dining room table with love ones throughout the course of the holidays. These were special times and I loved serving my family and friends in this way. Every beautiful, place-setting was meant as a welcome reminder to each loved one, of how very special they are to us.  Each Christmas dish served as a place of candle-lit, beauty where every heart was invited to experience a moment of rest and renewal; not only in the meal being provided, but in the love, laughter, and life being cultivated around our table while sharing in the simple pleasure of enjoying each other’s company.

Many calendar pages have been torn off and thrown away since those times but, when I look at that Christmas plate, I still see a silent, but beautiful reflection of the Season of Love behind us. As I pulled that stray Christmas dish out from among my everyday dishes to put it away in my dining room buffet; I fully expected the melancholy moment that washed over my heart again but, not the message that accompanied it. The Christmas dish still pinched between my fingers, God’s gentle Whispers penetrated my heart, ever-so-deeply.

“The Season of Love ends on the calendar…but, Love remains.”

 His Words bestowed a measure of distinction on that stray Christmas plate that day I pray I never forget.    I no longer see it as just a beautiful plate designed for a passing season of love; but, as a plate with a unique, Hand-crafted Beauty reflecting the One-of-a-Kind-Love meant for all seasons.

Like the Christmas plate, Jesus, too, was found among the ordinary. He walked among every day, ordinary people like you and I but, He did so in an extraordinary way.      Jesus’ life, death, and every step He took on earth in-between, radically magnifies what living life with God’s Love on display in every season really looks like.  A Servant’s Heart characterized everything He did.   One of Jesus’ own disciples describes His life this way, “For even the Son of Man (Jesus) did not come to be served but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45) For Jesus that meant going to the Cross and willingly, giving up His Life for us all. For me, that means willingly giving up the pieces of my own life and comfort for the benefit of another’s needs.  It could be something as simple as going to my cupboard of every day dishes and setting an extra place at my table where a loved one, neighbor, or even a stranger is provided the opportunity to taste not only the satisfying meal in front of them but, to experience the Light and Love of the One living down inside of me; through the love, laughter, and life being cultivated around my table.


“Sometimes setting the table becomes more a matter of the heart than the dishes!”



As I said before, I love serving my family and friends in this way. However, I still hear the Whispers of God echoing off the stray Christmas plate, and I am deeply convicted about something.  I am beginning to sense that I really only like the idea of serving others the way God desires me to serve them, when my servant-heart is required of me for only a short season. Sometimes setting the table becomes more of a matter of the heart than the dishes!   Jesus didn’t put His Heart or His Love for others away after Christmas…and neither should I.  Oh, how small is our vision of God’s Love and the Servant’s Heart!

Needless to say, that stray Christmas plate never made it into my buffet that day. I placed it instead, back into my cupboard of everyday-dishes; in an upright position.   Why?  So that every time I open up the cupboard door, I see a porcelain, Portrait of Jesus’ Love and His every-day Servant Heart.  What a powerful, visual reminder to my own heart of the kind of intentional Love I am to model as I serve those who gather around my table every season of every year.

I am thoroughly convinced that the pieces of my life I am willing to sacrifice for His greater purposes, are meant to be the seasons of love in someone else’s life, pointing them toward the kind of genuine Love that can only come from a true Servant’s Heart.  God’s Love, a Love for all seasons…

…a Love that remains.


Is your own servant-heart in need of a tune up?

When is the last time you intentionally invited friends,

family, or even a stranger to eat at your table,  just for the fellowship?


Prayer:  Heavenly Father, thank you for Your timely reminders for my heart.

I ask you to give me a wise mind and a loving spirit, tuned to Your own

Servant-Heart and Love for others in all seasons; so I may acquire a

thorough understanding of the marvelous ways in which You work.

I pray that I will live well for You…my Master, pleasing You as I

work hard, whether it’s in my kitchen, in the work place, or on the streets.






The Shadow is Cast

August 24, 2017 at 12:38 pm

“The heavens are telling the glory of God; they are a marvelous display of His craftsmanship.”

( Psalm 19:1  LAB)

by Debbie Allen

The Dawning of Dusk in Daylight…these poetic words describe the Celestial performance of the century!  They are my own heart’s review of the Eclipse of 2017.  Truly a moving production that, for a few moments, drew the eyes of our nation heavenward, for a closer look into God’s great Theater of Grace! A periwinkle, sky doubled as a stage for what some deemed, “…an elegant dance between the sun and the moon.”

The eclipse in progress, all the preparatory chaos of anxious onlookers ceased; replaced by a unified awe, as the moment of totality (the shadow of the moon overwhelming the sun), arrived.  For a brief time, the extraordinary overwhelmed the ordinary. Dusk enveloped the daylight. Birds stopped singing and crickets began chirping. Instantly, sunny-morning temperatures dropped ten degrees.   For ninety seconds, a hushed audience shared the beauty and grandeur of this silent, yet Divine performance; most not able to articulate the unexpected emotions stirring inside of them.

A group of college students, cheering after the eclipse were asked, “Why does this moment mean so much to you?”

Shrugging his shoulders, one CU student honestly responded, “I don’t know…but, this is awesome!”

Literally hundreds across the nation, jumped before their cell phone screens to take selfies with family or friends standing in front of the eclipse.

The power of association has an irresistible pull on all of us as human beings. I believe God placed a thirst deep inside each of our spirits before we were born. It is this thirst that draws us into a much greater desire… the instinctive longing inside of us to be a part of something bigger than ourselves.


“For ninety seconds, a hushed audience shared the beauty and grandeur of this silent, yet Divine performance; surprised by the unexpected emotions stirring inside of them.”


Observing people after the eclipse certainly frames this thought well.  Speechless, yet inspired, one man who was interviewed by the Denver Post put it this way.

“When totality hits you…you almost feel what the ‘ancients’ felt!”

Though this man’s statement fails to capture exactly what the ancients felt; I know of one ‘ancient’ who spilled his feelings in great detail. The Psalmist, King David.  His eyes pointed skyward, David reminds us:

 “The heavens are telling the glory of God; they are a marvelous display of his craftsmanship.  Day and night they keep on telling about God.  Without a sound or word, silent in the skies, their message reaches out to all the world!”  (Psalm 19:1-2 LAB)

Our spirits are asleep in this nation, if after looking up into the heavens, and experiencing the solar eclipse, we still fail to see anything less than “…a marvelous display of God’s craftsmanship and His Glory, silently proclaiming a message that “reaches out to all of us.” A message that can quench the thirst inside of us to be a part of something…no, Someone bigger than ourselves!  The Heart Cries of God are infused in the silences of the eclipse moment.  I could hear His Voice reminding me that,

He is the God who made the world and everything in it…the Lord of heaven and earth.  He Himself gives life and breath to everything, and He satisfies every need.  He created all the nations throughout the whole earth.  He decided beforehand when they should rise and fall and He determined their boundaries.  His purpose was for the nations to seek after God and perhaps feel their way toward Him and find Him.  For in Him we live and move and exist.”  (Acts 17:24-28 NLT)

I sensed the pressure of God’s Hand on my shoulder, compelling me to drop to my knees and pray for our nation in the midst of this eclipse. Though NASA deemed this historical event as only “a celestial coincidence”, I sensed it to be more of a celestial warning.  Even the course of its path spanned our nation from sea to shining sea; something that hasn’t occurred in over a hundred years.  As I witnessed the moon’s shadow crossing over the face of the sun, it made me think of another kind of shadow that’s crossing over our land.  The shadow of sin.  This darkness is slowly covering the Face of God…the Light upon Whose promises our nation was founded.  If this Divine Eclipse ever occurs, we will experience darkness like we’ve never known here in America before. When I consider how many immediate changes occurred in our surroundings during the ninety seconds of the celestial eclipse, I can’t imagine the catastrophic changes that will take place if the Light of our nation ever becomes totally eclipsed by the shadow of sin’s deep darkness.


“His purpose was for the nations to seek after God and perhaps feel their way toward Him and find Him.  For in Him we live and move and exist.”  (Acts 17:28)


      Long after watching the eclipse, my mind’s eye kept envisioning the moon’s shadow making its way across the face of the sun.  Though a beautiful image to ponder, it also brought to mind the eerie words of Chuck Colson, from his book, “Against the Night, Living in the New Dark Ages; published in 1991. Colson wrote this:

“Dark Age” is a strong term. I recognize that.  Yet, in recent years I’ve had a growing sense of storm clouds gathering on the horizon…The forecast is foreboding…We scan the horizon with unease.

We sense that things are winding down, that somehow freedom, justice, and order are slipping away.  Our great civilization may not yet lie in smoldering ruins, but the enemy is within the gates. The times seem to smell of sunset.  Encroaching darkness casts long shadows across every institution in our land…We do face a crisis in Western culture, and it presents the greatest threat to civilization since the barbarians invaded Rome.”


“The times seem to smell of sunset.  Encroaching darkness casts long shadows across every institution in our land…We do face a crisis in Western culture…”

—Chuck Colson—


So, my question is this. What are you going to do with the memory of the Eclipse of 2017?    Will you choose to view it through the world’s knowledge and the eyes of NASA, accepting it only as a celestial coincidence; or will you take a seat in God’s Theater of Grace, thrusting your eyes heavenward so your heart may perceive the silent message that’s on display there?  The eclipse is God’s Glory on display over our nation.  A Celestial Warning that brings with it a story of Light and darkness.  But, notice this.  In the end… the Light wins!

This can be our nation’s story, but right now, we live in a land filled with impinging shadows; a nation largely ruled by darkness and the knowledge of man…not the Wisdom of God.  The choices we make as individuals and as a nation will make or break us in God’s Eyes.  His desire for our nation is that “we would seek after Him… find Him,” and realize that the freedom, peace, and hope…the life we’re all seeking, can only be found in God.

As we all endeavor to play-out our roles in our Nation’s story of Light and darkness; may our hearts be flooded with the same passion that filled the heart of the ‘ancient,’ King David.  God looked upon David as a man after His own Heart.   King David trusted in God more than in human power.  David’s prayer for victory in the darkness of battle was always this:

“Some nations boast of power and weaponry, but our boast is in the Lord God.  Those nations will collapse and perish; we will arise to stand firm and sure!”  (Psalm 20:7)

And just like the Total Eclipse of 2017…there’s a night and day difference in the outcome.


What are you going to do with  the “Total Eclipse 2017” experience?

Will you file it away in your memories under the heading, “NASA: celestial coincidence”?

Or will you take your place in God’s great Theater of Grace and see this Divine dance between the sun

and the moon as  a Celestial Warning to our Nation?

PRAYER:  Father God, Forgive us…forgive our nation for trusting in our power, wealth, technology and man’s knowledge more than we trust in You. This Story of Light and Darkness has eternal significance for us as individuals and as a nation.  Supply us with Your Wisdom and Perspective so we may  see the darkness surrounding us for what it is. Defiance of the God upon Whose Light our great Nation was founded.May we be found faithful in the days ahead as we take David’s prayer for our own:  “Some nations boast of power and weaponry, but our boast is in the Lord God!”  Enable us to rise and stand firm and sure in Jesus Name!”





“Chair-iot Afire”

August 15, 2017 at 12:40 pm

“And now…just as you trusted Christ to save you,

trust Him, too, for each day’s problems;

 live in vital union with Him. 

 (Colossians 2:6  NLT)

by Debbie Allen

      Do you remember the captivating, opening scene from the classic movie, Chariots of Fire? Beautiful, synthesized, music pulses to the rhythmic, running of barefoot athletes coursing through the gray sands of a British beach. Mud-splattered, a team of college runners makes their way in and out of the receding beach waters. Every athlete’s face reflects the competitive spirit goading him from deep within; urging him on with every stride.  Their grimacing expressions alert us to the level of intensity with which they’ve chosen to run their race!  Typically, most run to win; to gain both the prize and the victor’s applause at the finish line. But, there is one athlete among them who runs with the greatest of all motivations. Eric Liddell, 1924 winner of an Olympic Gold Medal (in the movie Chariots of Fire), runs for the sheer joy of it. He runs “…to delight his God.”

When I was a little girl, I can remember having a pressing desire to please.  Please my family…please my friends…please my teachers, and, yes… even to leave a smile on God’s Face at the end of the day. Because of this boundless childhood aim, I discovered early in life that pleasing hearts also brought joy to my own heart. This was especially true concerning the Heart of God.  I enjoyed feeling the warmth of God’s Smile radiating down upon me. In my little-girl mind, I already had life all figured out. Delight God’s Heart and live joyfully ever after.

Though there is a measure of truth in this childhood proverb, as I grew to adulthood, I found my level of trying to leave a smile on God’s Face was sometimes dictated by the difficulty surrounding my circumstances.  The desire was still there, but fear and doubt often stood between desire and difficulty. Eric Liddell ran every one of his races with passion, consumed by the fire within him to delight the heart of God. But, what happens to such passion in your real life when God enters you in a race you never wanted to run in?______________________________________________________________________________________________

“Eric Liddell ran every race with passion, consumed by the fire within him to ‘Delight the Heart of God’.”


Recently, I found myself running in just such a race.  I underwent eye surgery for an extreme, retinal detachment in my right eye.  Nothing could’ve prepared me for my life, post-surgery. My head and eyes had to be at a ninety-degree angle to the floor; whether I was walking, sitting, or laying.  Face-down was my story for the first two l-o-n-g weeks of a several-month recovery. Knowing God signed me up for this event, it shouldn’t have surprised me that He also provided a way for me to run in this race. No…not a new pair of Nike running shoes!

Early, the morning after eye surgery, FedEx delivered a giant box to my door.  In it was the chair from which I would be running this race.  That’s right…a chair I believe was of God’s own choosing.  You see, in order to sit in it, you had to be on your knees!  Technology designed this chair with the face-down survival of recuperating eye patients in mind.  God used the design of this chair to remind me, what life really looks like, on my knees and face-down before Him every day.

Every day I straddled that chair, I saw life from a whole different perspective.  Because my head was bowed low, the unwiped counters and dishes stacked in the sink were no longer a source of irritation. Unannounced visitors became more to me than the extra dirt tracking in, or shoes piling up in my entryway.  No longer did I perceive unexpected phone calls or text messages as an inconvenience, pulling me away from my own important busy-ness.   From my face-down vantage point, all I could really see were hands and feet, but that was enough.  Though my sight was less than it ever had been, God was increasing my vision. Between the rest He was giving me, and the race He’d set before me, His Heart was teaching mine things I’d lost sight of in the midst of my own agendas. The Whispers of His Grace flowed deep into the hollowed-out places of my soul, reminding me,

“My Child…the people standing on your doorstep that you often label an inconvenience; are the hearts and souls My Son gave His Life for, to see them standing on My Doorstep.”

Had I not already been in my chair and on my knees, bowed before Him; the beauty of these words was enough to drive me there. It is a humbling thing to see even a little corner of your own world through the lens of God’s Perspective. Though it’s weighty, it’s oh, so worthy!


 “My Child, the people standing on your doorstep, you often label an inconvenience; are the hearts and souls My Son gave His Life for… to see them standing on My Doorstep.”


Following those beautiful Whispers, I began seeing the hands and feet on my doorstep as the hands and feet of Jesus, faithfully caring for me in my weakness.  I witnessed God’s generosity through family, friends, and total strangers that showered my husband and I with prayers, meals, Starbucks coffees, gifts, and get-well cards, even before a need was spoken aloud.  In the course of those two weeks, I began hearing God’s Love in the laughter,concern and conversation of those who took time to visit with me. I felt His Healing Touches every time my dear Husband kissed the top of my head, massaged my strained neck and shoulders, or removed my eye patch to put drops in the corner of a crusty, swollen eyeball.  Phone calls and texts from loved ones became God’s gentle reminders to my weary heart of how very much I am loved, and that I was not forgotten.

Enduring an unexpected race in a face-down chair I came to know as my Chair-iot Afire; allowed God to set my heart ablaze with a renewed passion to run races in the spiritual world, like Eric Liddell ran his races in the physical world. Eric’s passion to run fueled him with joy so deeply rooted in God that “delighting his God”, became his reason for reaching the finish line at every race.  You can bet God was smiling down on Eric at the end of every race he ran.

Though I am still unable to see the finish line in my own race, I will be forever grateful to God, for the time He’s given me on my knees, head bowed before Him.  The days I spent surrendered in my Chair-iot Afire, taught me volumes. My little-girl thinking was never meant to rule in my big-girl heart;and neither were doubt and fear.  Though pleasing God remains the highest desire of my heart, at the end of the day, I understand now in a much deeper way that true joy comes to us only at great cost.

Life is filled with unexpected difficulties.  We will  encounter fear and doubt. But, may we faithfully choose to run the difficult races God asks us to run; letting the grimacing expressions on our face become, instead, the triumphant indicators to a watching world, of the level of intensity we have chosen to run our race.  My prayer for each of us is that we choose to run our life’s races, consumed by an ever-growing passion inside of us to “delight our God” right up to the moment we cross the finish line.  And at the end of the day, when our hearts sense the radiant warmth of God smiling down upon us, remember this:

“Our Good God gives us Joy to warm our hearts; not in spite of the difficulties we encounter … but, because of the difficulties we face.”


Have you ever considered what expression God might be wearing at the end of the day, when He looks down upon you ?

Are you running in one of life’s unexpected races right now? What drives your heart to the finish line?

Getting all you thought you really wanted…the victor’s applause?  Or getting all you really ever needed…God’s Smile?

The greatest prize…or the Greatest Reward?

PRAYER:  Dearest Father, You are a Good God, and a Loving Father.  As we run the races You set before us, may we do so with the greatest motivation of all…to ‘Delight the Heart of God!”  Strengthen us.  Increase our vision and set our hearts ablaze with passion enough to reach our finish lines, and step into the warmth of Your Smile, shining down upon us at day’s end!  Amen








A Divine R.S.V.P.

July 21, 2017 at 10:40 am

“Let the peace of heart which comes from Christ be always in your hearts and lives

…let His Words enrich  your lives and make you wise.”

 (Colossians 3:15-16 LAB)

  by Debbie Allen

This was no ordinary Party Invitation.  It arrived on my heart’s doorstep via a doctor’s hand.  A wordless picture containing an unwritten message and a mandatory RSVP.  My elevated heartbeat pounded out the surreal implications of such an invitation.  What my mind refused to believe, my heart could not deny.  I held in my hand a Divine Invitation to a God-Inspired Celebration!

R.S.V.P. “Reply, if you please.”  It’s an uncomplicated process. Make a black mark on the calendar and send a simple yes or no reply back to the sender.  But, how do you respond when your heart is telling you the RSVP is a Divine one? I wrestled with that question for a split-second before realizing this.  God already knows what my answer will be.  After all, He’s God.  He’s already tuned-in to all of my heart’s reservations and is painfully aware of the barrage of lame excuses I have waiting to justify my preferred, ‘decline’ response to His unexpected Party . Perhaps that’s why He so graciously took the liberty of RSVP’ing for me.  In the time it took for His ‘YES’ reply to filter down into my heart, I realized I wasn’t going to just be attending His party…I was His chosen guest of honor!

God’s methods and expectations of us in life are anything but conventional. When you are dealing with a heavenly Party Planner, sometimes the invitation feels more like a summons than an invite. You don’t find the typical who, what, where, when and why’s listed on the inside page.   My invitation arrived as a wordless picture. In my case, even the RSVP stood for something different.  Retinal Scan Vision Pending. When my Doctor handed it to me, she explained the picture on the front of it as being an image of the detached retina inside my right eye. My blind eye.  The eye no one could come up with a reason for its undoing.  Staring down at the abstract, peaks and valleys pictured on the front of my party invitation, I could see only mountains.  Mountains I never wanted to climb. Mountains, like arrows, ever-pointing my eyes up to the Sender.  My good eye already perceived that mountainous image as no cause for celebration.  Its pathways were too heavily peppered with highs and lows for my taste.  But, my blind eye wisely sensed the Maker of all Things offering me an opportunity to trust Him as the Maker of all Mountains…including mine.




My Doctor scheduled my emergency eye surgery on her calendar and told me very explicitly, “You need to clear your calendar of everything   for the next several weeks.”  “And I mean everything.”

Her no-nonsense approach alerted me to one thing. My Doctor had to be working for God. When she spoke her words to me, I heard them back in God-Language.  “My Child, I have cleared your calendar. Now, Let the Party begin!”

Though I had a difficult time seeing major eye surgery as cause for celebration, I needed to focus on the One Who invited me there in the first place.  I was His guest of honor at a Celebration lavishly planned by His Hand.   Long ago I learned that God’s methods are sometimes strange, but His Heart is always Good. He can be trusted.

Part of my immediate recovery after surgery, was to lay face-down, around-the-clock, for two weeks.  My forehead rested on a unique, crescent-shaped pillow, placed at the head of my bed.  Some may have perceived this pillow as a prison. But, that hollowed out place of silent, darkness became for me a little mixing bowl from heaven. A place for my thoughts to spill out into and swirl around wildly until God stepped in and added His own Flavor to the mixture. The end result?   Something Sweet for my soul!

A timely slice of His Sweet Words to fill a hunger deep inside of me.   I yearned to know my pain would go away and my world would be ok again. I longed for peace of mind and heart enough to summon the kind of courage I never knew I had; to climb mountains I never knew I could.  In-between my anxious thoughts, God spoon-fed me one word at a time, from Psalm 125:1-2—

“Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, which cannot be shaken but endures forever. As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds His people both now and forevermore.”  (NIV)

Though I’d sampled these words once before in my life, in my pain, each mouthful became a satisfying indulgence for my heart. Every spoonful carried my thoughts farther and farther away from my own mountains, to the beauty of the Hills of Jerusalem.  The Lord’s Mountains.

His Mountains are not random mountains that appeared out of nowhere for no reason. God hand-fashioned each mountain and set them in place, to envelope Jerusalem forevermore. Even the Hebrew names of these seven Mountains are the unshakable reminders of the amazing Heart of God and His incredible desire to be with His children. Though these mountains stand in silence on Jerusalem’s horizon, every peak shouts its own piece of God’s Love Story. Mount Moriah echoes the story of the place of God’s Presence. Bethsaida declares, house of mercy. Mount Scopus stands firm as a place of healing. Mount of Olives cries out of being pressed like an olive press and of bringing freshness and beauty. Mount Opel beckons to the world of a safe place, of being surrounded and fortified by a wall.  Mount Zion is a stronghold, a fortress, to show the way.  The seventh mountain is Ghareb (Calvary) meaning sacrifice, the place of atonement. If you were to physically hike these mountains, the only way you would be given access to Mount Moriah is through Ghareb…sacrifice.  What an undeniable picture of the Salvation Story!

These mountains truly magnify the heights and depths of God’s Love for His people. Zion (also refers to the whole mountain range) was the dwelling place of God.  God has chosen it, blessed it and surrounded it, but,  Zion’s true strength lies in the Presence of God Himself!

For me, leaning into these truths in the midst of pain still fresh from the surgeon’s scalpel, only heightened the intimate Whispers of God in my spirit.

“Trust Me, My Child… you are not just climbing mountains to reach a summit.  I am teaching you to become ‘like’ a mountain; an unshakable mountain.”

Sinking my forehead deeper still, into my pillow, and feeling more like a marshmallow than a mountain, tears of realization spilled into my heavenly mixing bowl. That picture on my Party Invitation was not pointing me to my mountains…it was meant as a sweet reminder of God’s Mountains… the Mountains of Jerusalem.  From those seven summits echoed a Message for my heart:

When I trust in my Lord, I will be like Zion.  I will be a fortress and a stronghold; a child set apart for His Glory. I am surrounded by the LORD Himself!  He is my Moriah, for it is in this place  He surrounds me with His Love and Mercy.  He is my Healer, physically and spiritually. He promises to bring Freshness and new Beauty to my life.  The LORD is my Fortress, my Tower, and my place of Strength.  He is my Protector and the Only One Who is able to show me the way.


“When I TRUST in my LORD, I will be like Mount Zion.  I will be a fortress and a stronghold; a child, set apart for His Glory.”


“As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds His people both now and forevermore.” (Psalm 125:2 NIV)

What a beautiful promise to surround yourself with when life’s mountains consume your gaze. When we walk through difficulty, His Presence is the difference between being filled with the “Wonder of His Mountains”, and being filled with the “wonder whys” of our own mountains.   Hear His “Trust Me’s,” and heed them like your life depends on it…because it does.  Remember, it’s only those who trust in the Lord who become like Mount Zion. Unshakable, both now and forevermore!



What Mountains are you facing in your life?

Where have you fixed your gaze?  On His Presence…or your Mountains?

PRAYER:  Dearest Father,

I know that sometimes Life is filled with more hills and valleys than we ever thought we’d have to face.  Help us not to live in our own blind-spots, but to focus instead on the Wonders of Your unshakable Presence,Protection, and Permanence through every high and low.  YOU can always be trusted…


A Patch of Glory

May 8, 2017 at 2:47 pm

“If you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all.”  ( Isaiah 7:9 NIV)


written by Debbie Allen

From the sniffles of an unwanted cold to the post-trauma of an unexpected major surgery, all of us are well acquainted with the many faces of misery.  Weakness, vulnerability, depression, discomfort, sickness, pain, and fear; to mention a few.  Though none of  us would choose to befriend any of these, all of us have been chosen by some of them at one time or another.  I can’t imagine any of us rolling out the welcome mat and willingly embracing pain or anxiety when it comes knocking on our doorstep.  Our first instinct is always to run, not to succumb!  However, we tend to forget…these unannounced intruders come in anyway, with or without our permission.  From the moment they cross the threshold of our resistance, we become walking reminders to a watching world of the frailty of life. Fresh evidence of the broken world we live in. In light of this, is hopelessness the game and loser our name in all of this?  I can say with confidence,”Definitely not!”  Greater Purpose is the game and we call on God’s Name!

In all honesty, if God allowed me to pick the name of my own life’s game, it would be called Comfort Zone, and Pampered would be my name  at the finish line!  The very first rule in my game would be this.  On my front door, there would always be a sign posted that read,

NO SOLICITORS…in the Name of GOD, GO AWAY!!!

to shoo away any unwanted intruders like sickness, pain, fear, and anything else undesirable.  Even as I write these words, I sense a Holy Eye Brow being raised in my direction.  You see, I know better.  My Father has taught me well over the years, that His Game of Greater Purpose will always supersede my preferred game of Comfort Zone where I  get to live out my life as Lady Pampered.  The boundaries to His Game are limitless.  His purpose for me throughout His Game is to come to know, love, and believe in Him; to deepen me to His highest purpose for me…a relationship with Him.  My Heavenly Father longs for me to more fully understand that He is to me, personally, the answer to ALL of my life’s questions. And believe me…there are plenty of them throughout the course of His Game!

Easter Morning this year, was one such day for me.  When I woke up to get ready for church, my head was filled with questions because my eye was filled with darkness!  I was suddenly nearly blind in my right eye.  What began on Friday as what I perceived to be the beginnings of tunnel vision and the onset of a migraine; progressed to the unthinkable.  Blindness!  I never envisioned myself ever having to step into Helen Keller’s shoes in my lifetime. Even if I was only being asked to wear one of them, my world was already w-a-y out of balance!

I walked into Church that morning wearing a new dress and a brimming smile.From the outside, I looked like I had it all together.  But, on the inside I felt like the storm clouds were gathering.  Before the service, portions of Hillsong’s Oceans song filtered into my spirit.

“Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders…Let me walk upon the waters…take me deeper than my feet would ever wander,,,an my faith will be made stronger…in the Presence of my Savior.”

I swallowed hard, every word piercing my heart a little deeper.  With each note, God was transforming those very  familiar words into something deeply personal for me.  “Trust without borders.” What these words reflected most to me was that I was standing right in the middle of God’s Game Board once more; and the next move was going to be mine.

Monday morning I called the Ophthalmologist, who promptly sent me to the Retina Center to see a Specialist who dealt with eye trauma daily.  Forty pictures of my eye later revealed I had experienced a separated retina with multiple tears and a hole in my macular.

“A veil has torn inside your eye; it’s the curtain that is blocking your vision.”

The very moment I heard the word, veil,my thoughts tip-toed back to the Easter Story.The day Jesus died on the Cross, He entered into His Own deep, Darkness for my soul’s sake.  God says in His Word, “At that moment, the veil in the Temple was torn in Two from top to bottom.” (Matthew 27:52)

When Jesus’ veil in the Temple was torn in two by the very Hand of God that day, it meant that nothing would ever again keep me from seeing Jesus face-to-face!  Because I was standing on God’s Game Board, I was beginning to understand that in some strange way  my tiny ‘torn veil’ story was uniquely linked to His Eternal ‘Torn Veil’ Story.

Within three days of my diagnosis, I underwent major surgery to remove the veil in my eye.  Covered in gauze and concealed by a patch now, I had no idea what to expect at my next-day Doctor visit.  Because the surgery came with no promises, when the bandages came off I held my breath with my eye still closed.

“Open your eye and tell me what you see,” the Doctor spoke in her monotone, Romanian voice.

Before I responded,she asked me with anticipation, “Do you see light?”

“Yes…I DO see light,” I spoke calmly. I knew she would never approve of the cartwheels and back flips going on inside of me so soon after surgery!  In the words of my Doctor, seeing light was a “good sign.”  But after having my eye wrapped in total darkness for a time, the light I saw was like seeing a little patch of Glory!  As far as my own heart was concerned, my torn veil was gone and I was standing face-to-face with the Light of the World Himself!

Standing on God’s Game Board guarantees us we will encounter His trust-without-borders moments all along life’s way.  But, remember, God named His Game Greater Purpose for a reason.  Those who call Him, Father, have the unspeakable privilege of seeing Him Face-to-Face every move we make, and calling on His Name until we reach the end of the Game!

Jesus’ Story speaks of the ultimate Love and Redemption; of Light conquering the Darkness of this world.  My story is one of restoration and of His Light coming into my own darkness.  Through all of this, I experienced how very real the darkness is.  And if you do nothing about it, how that darkness will consume not only your vision but, your life.  Jesus told His Disciples,

“I have come into the world as a Light, so that none who believe in Me should stay in darkness.”  (John 12:46 NIV)


Heart Trappings:

Which Game Board are you standing on right now?

Greater Purpose……or Comfort Zone?

The Light of the World……or the darkness of your own world?

Which will you choose?   Triumph…..or Tragedy?  It’s your move…

Prayer:  Father, I pray that You, out of Your Glorious riches, would strengthen me with Power through Your Spirit to battle the uncertainties of this life that come knocking on our door.  Help me to remember the words of the Prophet Isaiah, ” If your faith will not stand, then you will not stand at all.”



Operation “Under Cover!”

August 24, 2016 at 6:26 pm

  Cell Boy” Sometimes you just need to talk to a three-year-old so you can understand what life is all about.”      -unknown-

written by  Debbie Allen

Brandon, stretched a dimpled hand anxiously toward the cell phone his Mom was about to hand down to him.  Nothing to this three-year-old was quite as special as FaceTime with his Grandma!  Whenever Mom’s cell phone rang,  in Brandon’s mind, Grandma was on the other end of that call waiting to FaceTime with him.  From the very moment her face was in his sights, he claimed her as his virtual, personal playmate. Off to his room he’d run with her!   Sometimes Grandma admitted this part of the journey made her a little sea sick; trying to keep up with all the blurred scenery and swift motions of a a three year old’s arms, sprinting up the stairs to his bedroom!  However, in the spirit of all  Grandmother-hood, she took this little rough patch in stride, claiming,

” I can’t think of a better reason in this world for taking a little Dramamine before a trip! “

Nearly every day Brandon showed Grandma nearly every toy in his room. He was always eager to share the things  he loved most in his world with her.  She, too, was more than receptive to hearing the enthusiasm that overwhelmed his voice during these exclusive Show-and-Tell times.  Though no actual pictures could ever be taken on these little trips she took with Brandon; the scrap-booker in Grandma opted for posting memories instead.  She placed them in  Grandma’s Book of Memoirs; a book tucked safely away in her heart.  It’s endless pages are now bulging with memories highlighting unforgettable moments with Brandon on their Dramamine-driven, FaceTime journey’s to his room!

Though Hollywood would never approve of the quality of these  FaceTime pannings of his room, Grandma treasured them!  Every shot was uniquely enhanced by the little-boy fingers that framed it!   Why…some of her greatest adventures lay at the end of those little fingers!  There was the time she watched as he built a Lego castle around her; and then had to knock the castle down just to retrieve Mom’s phone (and Grandma’s face!).  One of her scariest trips was the day Brandon needed both of his hands to climb up on his desk and retrieve a book from  the shelf above it.  Without warning, Brandon shoved Grandma in his back jean pocket and started climbing.  That was a dark, dark day for Grandma…literally! Maybe that was God’s way of sparing her from seeing the Mt. Everest heights Brandon had to climb to retrieve “Hansel and Gretel!”

Brandon’s FaceTime trips more than filled Grandma’s sense of adventure. He allowed her to experience numerous,  once-in-a-lifetime perspectives.  How many Grandmas do you know who have actually seen life from the metal seat inside the cab of  a yellow Tonka dump-truck?  Brandon put her there one day, and then climbed on top of the truck to drive them both over to his bedside.

“Brandon…where are you taking us today?”

“Going camping!” Brandon stated with exuberance.

Grandma smiled at the very thought of it.  From her spot in the cab of that truck she watched Brandon shove a giant stuffed bear under his bed covers to form a makeshift tent. Then he pulled her from the cab, slid her into the tent, alongside that bear ; and crawled in on the opposite side.

“Time for night night!” Brandon whispered, giggling at the snoring sounds already coming from Grandma’s side of the tent. Making special sound-effects was another of Grandma’s many areas of expertise in life!

Five minutes into that camping trip, Mom’s voice broke into the fun.

“Bran-don!  Time to eat dinner…tell Grandma bye-bye and come down!”

Unfortunately, Brandon did exactly what Mom said to do.  He leaned over and kissed the screen on the phone…told Grandma “Bye-Bye”… and went down to eat his dinner. Scooting out of the tent, Brandon dragged the bear out with him, unintentionally, which left Grandma laying under a pile of collapsed covers.

“Brandon!  Brandon! Don’t forget to take the phone back to Mommy!”  Grandma shouted out,  seeing the spontaneous darkness descending on her once again.

“Brandon…Brandon, are you still there?

” Brandon…I know you can’t hear me, but…I love you so!”  

Smiling  down at the darkness she viewed now on her own side of the cell-phone screen, Grandma pushed the “end call” button and took a moment to treasure the trip she’d taken with Brandon today.   Though most might look upon her dark screen as only an imperfect ending to a perfect day…she saw it for what it really was. Two new ‘firsts’ in Grandma’s life.  Her first time  ending the day as an under-cover agent. And the day she slept next to a bear…and lived!  This trip would go down in her Book of Memoirs as “Operation-Under Cover”.  The perfect title for a perfect day!

A good family friend shared this little story over coffee with me one day recently.  As one Grandma to another, her story touched me on so many levels.  You see, her FaceTime trips with Brandon, were born out of both necessity and a Grandma’s love.  Brandon had been undergoing cancer treatments for many months and  his weakened immune system kept him home for long intervals of time. FaceTime spared both their hearts the anxiety of a total but, necessary separation.

As I sat across from my friend that day, listening between the laughter and the tears,  my thoughts wandered from Grandchildren to God.  I couldn’t help but wonder what my relationship with God might look like if  He were to FaceTime Me?  Would it be anything close to Brandon’s FaceTime with his Grandma?  I pray… even more so. For the Face that would be looking back at me would be infinitely more than the  Face of just a heavenly Playmate.  I would be looking into the Face of  my Heavenly Soul-Mate…The One Whom my soul was created to love and be loved by in return.

“In the light of His face there is life, and His favor is like the clouds of the spring rain.” 

( Proverbs 16:15 NET)

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Heart Trappings: Imagine with me for a moment, what your life might look like if God FaceTimed you right now. Would you ignore His attempts to connect with you while you finished sipping on your latte?  Or would you step in front of your cell screen with the excitement of a little child, wanting more than anything to see what adventure might be awaiting you? Do you trust Him enough to want to share your whole heart with Him? As you lift your cell phone to pan around the corners of your life…what would be the first thing on a list of ‘favorites’ you’d want to share with God in your own exclusive Show-and-Tell time with Him? What are you reluctant to share with Him. Have you ever left God lying in the dark while you ran off in response to ‘other’ voices calling out for your attention?  Do you believe that there is ‘life’ standing in the light of His Face?  Why or why not?

Prayer: Dearest Father, as much as I’d like to think I’d respond to Your FaceTime Call to me with the enthusiasm of little Brandon; if I were honest, I know I’d be the one sipping on a latte some days.  Truthfully, the thought of the Creator of all things ever choosing to FaceTime me is a thought too big for my finite brain to process.  Help me to remember that when You call Your children, it is because You Love them and You want to connect with us, to be an active part of our daily life.  Remove any fear we may have to answer Your Call, and replace our reluctance with anticipation and joy!   May the light on our own earthly cell phones be a daily reminder of this Heavenly Truth:  “In the Light of Your Face…there is life to be found.” May we continually seek Your Face.    Amen

















Heaven’s Yellow Stoplight!

July 23, 2016 at 5:36 pm

Nightstand Pic “GRANDKIDS fill an emptiness in our hearts we didn’t even know we had.”

written by Debbie Allen

Most mornings when I wake-up, I am facing the same night-stand, lamp and picture frame I placed by my bedside over five years ago. Because these bedroom artifacts are such familiar scenery, I rarely take time to focus on them anymore.  One particular morning, however, as I opened my eyes; I was strangely drawn to the pictures in that picture frame.  Not only that, I could hear the sounds of one distinct word resonating inside my head over and over again.    “Honor…honor…honor…honor.”

Now, I’ve heard  God’s Whispers in my life enough to know I needed to pay attention.  When my own life’s seemingly  ordinary ho-hums combine with God’s own Holy-Hums… something is about to change.  Usually, it’s me!

This persistent echo inside my head was enough to interrupt my heart’s silent, morning prayer-time before rising.  Though I had no idea how the word, honor, related to the picture frame filled with snapshots of my Grandchildren, I realized something else.  I wasn’t just lying in bed anymore.  Without having moved an inch, I’d managed to enter into my own Heavenly Intersection!

Yielding to the sights and sounds of that intersection, I treated it like a yellow stoplight in a busy crossing.  Yellow stoplights caution those approaching, to slow down and consider stopping for a moment; instead of just speeding through and never looking back!  Applying what I understood about yellow stoplights, I knew I needed to be looking in all directions for anything that might be  coming at me; then proceed with caution.

Ever-so-slowly, I mentally proceeded through that heavenly intersection.  About the time I did so, something hit me out of the blue!  No, not a crash; more of a break-through!  My eyes locked on the picture frame once more.  The frame formed a geometric triangle.  Each of its three, 5 x 7,  rectangular sides contained a picture of my Grandchildren.  Two smaller triangles sealed off both ends.  Inscribed on its top were these words,

” GRANDKIDS fill an emptiness inside us we never knew we had!”   (No truer words have ever been spoken! )

As I studied it further, I noticed things I hadn’t seen before.  The pictures didn’t change…but, my perspective had. For the first time in a long time, I was seeing those pictures …not just looking at them.  Makayla, a three-year-old Building Engineer, was making a Lego tower as tall as a mountain.  Wrapped in climbing gear, three-and-a half-year-old, Ryan, was attempting to climb his first mountain.  Brendan, sixteen-years-old, just reached a mountaintop on his dirt bike, after a day’s-worth of hard riding. Building a Mountain…Climbing a Mountain…Reaching a Mountain.  All of these moments captured my heart enough to frame these precious, loves-of-my-life, give them a special place in my heart and on my nightstand; and then to honor their sweet memory daily!

Still hearing the Holy-Humming going on inside my head, it didn’t take me long to make the connection between my picture frame and the word, honor. As a Grammie who frequently loves and admires her Grandkids, I quickly realized just how little it takes for us, as Human Beings, to bestow honor on our own.  We do it every day; one picture, one moment, one accomplishment at a time.  Yet…there is One (Jesus), Who is so much more  deserving than anyone on earth when it comes to receiving honor.  Too often, however, we shortchange Him and even stiff His outstretched Hands.

After all, when it comes to Building a Mountain…Jesus is the Maker of all Mountains!  How about Climbing a Mountain?  Jesus climbed the tallest mountain anyone will ever climb!  He did it shouldering a wooden Cross; dragging it up a steep and foreboding path.  Reaching a Mountain?  When Jesus reached His mountaintop, the world honored Him with a Crown of Thorns and nailed Him to the Cross.  He died there for you and me.

How thankful I am  for Heaven’s Yellow Stoplights on earth! When you enter into these Intersections in life, you are never the same by the time you reach the other side (Unless you’re one who speeds through yellow stoplights and never looks back!).   This is what happens when Heaven’s Divine Perspective intersects with the puniness of our own earthly thinking.  Though I will continue to love and honor my Grandchildren for the unique and precious gifts they are to me from above,  I will never see the picture frame on my nightstand quite the same.  I see two frames now. One is real and tangible, and  filled with pictures of my Grandkids. The other one is  a virtual Picture Frame.  It is both geometric and triangular in shape;  but, this one is filled with Snapshots of Jesus on every side.  Pictures of Jesus Building His MountainClimbing His Mountain… and Reaching His Mountain.

Every morning I open my eyes and see these Frames, I am reminded that there is a vast difference in the way I am to bestow honor on those being celebrated in those picture frames.  Honoring our own, and Honoring Jesus looks eternally different.  It is the difference between placing our loved ones up on a pedestal…and hanging God’s Only Son up on a Cross.

“O Lord, You are worthy to receive the glory and the honor, and the power…” (Revelation 4:11)

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How many of Heaven’s Yellow Stoplights have you rushed through without ever looking back?  Ever wondered how much of God’s Wisdom for your life you’ve missed by doing so? Think of your own loved ones and how you choose to honor them for who they are and what they’ve accomplished in this life.  Do you see them from a Heavenly Perspective?   Ponder Jesus for a moment now. When is the last time you sacrificed time and effort to honor Him?  Worship Him? Adore Him?

Prayer :  Precious Father, please forgive me for being so short-sighted when it comes to Your Heavenly Perspective.  I know Your Word tells us to “love and honor each other” (Rom. 12:10).  Teach me how to honor my Children and my Grandchildren in a way that honors them from Your Perspective. Help me to remember to love them for the precious gifts they are to my heart, and for what You are accomplishing in and through their lives for the Glory and Honor  of Your Son, Jesus. Thank You for Heaven’s Yellow Stoplights and for the Beauty yet to be discovered on the other side of those Heavenly Intersections in our life.  Amen