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Friday, December 16, 2011

"Fear Not"

"And the angel said to them, 'Fear not...' Luke 2:10"

I want to remember these heaven-sent words
Each time I face a challenge:
"Fear not..."
God fulfills His Word flawlessly;
When He calls me to a task,
I can trust
That He will be faithful to accomplish it
Through His Spirit
Living and working in me.

I will depend on Him--
Not on my own energy, ability, or experience.
Relying on His strength and promised faithfulness,
I can face any storm and weather it with joy,
Confident that God will equip me for the task
And accomplish all that He asks of me.

Kathy Graumann
December 16, 2011

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Jesus, Our Immanuel

A Haiku Poem

Our Immanuel --
The God of the universe
Residing in us.

He's our Shekhinah --
The incarnate Messiah
Who lived among us.

Born of a virgin,
Jesus became one of us
To atone for sin.

Holy and blameless,
Son of God and Son of Man,
The Word became flesh.

Acquainted with grief,
He was wounded for our sin,
Suffering death's curse.

He's our sin-bearer,
The Lamb of God sacrificed:
Sin's penalty paid.

His death made amends
For our sin, once and for all;
Jesus' death saved us.

In awe of His grace,
Our souls magnify the Lord
In worship and praise.

Divine mystery,
A high and holy treasure,
God now lives in us.

He shares our sorrows,
And brings His healing Presence;
He's our greatest Hope.

His Presence instills
Life-giving courage daily,
Grace beyond measure.

Genuine gladness:
Contagious joy is the fruit
Of God's indwelling.

As we celebrate
The birth of Christ this Christmas,
May your heart rejoice.

Be blessed with His Peace
And divine Presence in you;
Share the joy Christ gives.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

German-Scandinavian Christmas Memories

Christmas in the Werner parsonage of my childhood was a festive celebration of the birth of Jesus. Wrapped in the traditions of my European forebears who traveled to America from Germany and Denmark, my parents and seven younger siblings and I embraced the spirit of Christmas with infectious gaiety from the first Sunday in Advent until our eyelids closed upon an Epiphany night.

The first Sunday in Advent ushered in the season of celebration as the Christmas tree was decorated in our home, stockings were hung, and a plate of homemade cookies was set out to persuade a nightly treat in each child’s stocking from Saint Nicholas.

The fragrances of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and anise titillated our senses throughout the season, enveloping our home as many busy hands rolled out, kneaded, and baked lebküchen, pfefferneuse, springerle, and stöllen for Christmas gift-giving and kaffee klatches with family and friends.

The annual Christmas photo became the centerpiece of our family’s Christmas card that was mailed to a host of family and friends. Christmas cards, joyfully received, framed the doors of each room in our home.

The carols of Christmas floated through our home and Lutheran parochial school as meticulous preparations were made for the children’s Christmas Eve program. Christmas dresses were sewn and new shoes were bought as recitations were practiced and music was memorized. Snow on the ground as we walked to church often heightened the brilliance of the special night. Carrying home a brown paper bag laden with fresh fruit and nuts brought squeals of glee to children hurrying home after the worship service.

Before any gift from under the tree was unwrapped, my siblings and I re-enacted the Christmas story in our home, dressed in costume, listening to the reading of Scripture from Luke 2. A heavenly family ensemble saturated every corner of our home as cello, flutes, violin, trumpets, piano, and voice raised a chorus together in praise of the birth of the Christ Child.

On Christmas morning the early risers among us eagerly assembled every family member at the top of the staircase to begin singing “Joy to the World” as we processed downstairs to see what Santa Claus had brought to us during the night. Christmas stöllen was the highlight of our Christmas morning breakfast. The merry spirit of Christmas gratitude continued through Epiphany when the decorations were tucked away for another year, but the beautiful sights, sounds, and scents of the season have been able to be gently unwrapped and caressed over and over again in the file cabinets of my mind.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Writing Instruction

December 8, 2011

A Haiku Poem

At academic
Coaching this week at Salem,
I had the pleasure

Of helping students
Maximize their writing skills
In preparation

For the Private Schools
Interscholastic Contest
In Ready Writing.

Throughout the course of
Instruction, honing their skills,
Using examples

Of various styles,
I have advised the students
To never neglect

To keep the main thing
The main thing, remembering
To reveal their point,

Expressing it well.
What is it they have to say
That someone would want

To take time to read?
Is it worth being written?
Is there real value?

Get the point across
By the use of resources
And illustrations.

A topic sentence
Conveys your main idea.
The next sentences

Support your topic.
Re-emphasize your topic
In the last sentence.

Be careful about
Neatness, spelling, grammar, and
Punctuation marks.

Organize writing,
Conform to standard usage;
Provide interest.

Capture the reader’s
Interest in the first line;
Grab their attention.

Use verbs, adjectives,
And words that create pictures
In the reader’s mind.

Revise your writing;
Edit for sentence structure,
Consistent verb tense,

Spelling, word usage,
And subject/verb agreement.
Read your work aloud.

Is there excitement
In the words you have chosen?
I am proud of you.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Gifts of the Magi


The Wise Men brought gold
To honor the infant King;
High esteem was shown.

Frankincense given
Demonstrated Jesus' role
As our great High Priest.

As our "pontiface,"
Jesus is the Bridge Builder,
Or Mediator

Between us and God,
Who offered His sinless self
To atone for sin.

Jesus still fulfills
His priesthood, interceding
For us before God.

Myrrh, a costly gift
Used mostly at burials,
Prophetically

Spoke of Jesus' death
And His role as Redeemer,
Laying down His life

So we could be saved
From separation from God
In eternity.

How do I respond?
The Wise Men came to worship,
Humbly bowing down

To the Messiah,
Honoring Him as High Priest,
Redeemer, and King.

What gifts shall I bring
To honor my Redeemer,
My High Priest, and King?

I will honor Christ
As sovereign over life
And all creation.

He walked among men
So that we could walk with Him
Through eternity.

The Magi journeyed
To worship the newborn King
In Bethlehem town.

This Christmas, I, too,
Will worship the King of kings
And the Lord of lords.

I will give to Him
An offering of worship
All throughout my life.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Six Funerals

Within two weeks' time,
Six funerals in our church;
Loved ones gone from us.

While tears flow freely
As their presence we will miss,
We're not without hope.

They believed in God;
They all loved the Lord Jesus:
Their faith was secure.

They now see Jesus,
Communing with all the saints,
Praising God with joy.

One day we'll see them
In the heavenly mansions
When God calls us home.

Then, we'll see Jesus
And caress His nail-pierced hands
As we kneel in awe.

Praise our Redeemer
Who won for us salvation!
Heaven is our home.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Approaching a Poem

As a writing instructor, I introduce my students to a variety of writing styles, including poetry. Poetry's true life is in the human mouth, mind, and soul. Todd Davis, author of three volumes of poetry, including The Least of These (Michigan State University Press, 2010), wrote: "(A poem) should be read aloud so the words vibrate in the mouth and in the chest. Our ears and tongues need to be involved. If you are unsure what a poem 'means,' don't worry. Read it again for the simple pleasure of reading it. If some meaning begins to take shape, wonderful. But a good poem will continue to evolve in its meaning and in its being over the course of your lifetime."

A Veteran's Day Memory

The following art association poem is written by one of my sixth grade students at Salem Lutheran School in Tomball, Texas, Nicole Grant:

Painting, “The American Way,” by Norman Rockwell
Poem, “Veteran’s Day Memory,” by Nicole Grant



When I feed my daughter, I feel passion.
As she opens her mouth, I smile;
She smiles back and says,
“Why are you smiling, Daddy?”
I say, “I’m going to miss that pretty little smile upon your face.”
As I leave to go into the battle field, I remember her smile.
It brings an idea to my mind:
“When I see her smile, I will fight for her and for my country.”
As I am walking away, I turn back and look at her.
I see her sitting right where I left her.
I see tear drops coming from her eyes.
She tells me to be safe,
And that she will be right where I left her
When I come back from the battle field.
So I say, “I love you,” and walk away.

Happy Veterans’ Day
November 11, 2011

Monday, November 7, 2011

Victory Over Temptation

Devotion, as a Haiku poem:

We must be alert
To approach of temptation
Where vulnerable.

Sinful enticements
Invite us to move outside
God's Will for our life.

Temptation beckons
Us to carry God-given
Desires beyond

God-given limits.
Know vulnerabilities;
Prepare a defense.

Take precautions to
Find the escape route promised
By God when tempted.

Correct course quickly;
Don't become estranged from God,
Overwhelmed with shame.

Commit to obey
God, study Scripture, and pray;
Retrain your focus.

Meditate daily
On God's Word; He will strengthen
Your heart and your mind.

With God's power, you'll
Douse Satan's flaming arrows
And claim victory.

Bible Readings:

1 Corinthians 10:12,13 - "Therefore, let anyone who thinks that he stands, take heed, lest he fall. No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation, He will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it."

James 1:12-16 - "Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love Him. Let no one say when he is tempted, 'I am being tempted by God,' for God cannot be tempted with evil, and He himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire, when it has conceived, gives birth to sin, and sin, when it is fully grown, brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers."

Friday, October 28, 2011

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Facing the Death of a Friend

Beth, the young mother of two teen-aged daughters, is facing death from an aggressive form of cancer. The best doctors that one could have at M. D. Anderson Cancer Center closed the incision on a large, fast-growing tumor, acknowledging with regret that nothing more could be done to promote healing in her body. The dear mother's greatest fear--that her daughters would be left without a mother--will likely be soon realized.

Beth's eternity is secure; the bliss of heaven awaits her with certainty. Even as we grieve, the foundation for our security is Jesus Christ. He promises us in Hebrews 13:5, "I will never leave you nor forsake you." As verse 6 declares, "So we can confidently say, 'The Lord is my helper; I will not fear...'" God's promise in verse 8 is sure, "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever." We can be confident that Jesus never changes; His character, His works, and His words remain the same forever.

God loves us perfectly and consistently. As we face the death of a beloved mother, our heavenly Father will strengthen, guide, and uphold us. We hold fast to Jesus, our anchor, and cling to our loving and unchangeable Lord.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A Victorious Response to Hardship

May this Scripture reading and haiku poem influence your response to the difficulties you face in life. These principles sustain and encourage me when I face trial and hardship.

"Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him...Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. James 1:2-5, 12"

"Satan...said,'...Stretch out your hand and touch all that (Job) has, and he will curse you to your face.' And the Lord said to Satan, 'Behold, all that he has is in your hand. Only against him do not stretch out your hand.' Job 1:9-12"

"No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. 1 Corinthians 10:13"

God controls timing
And intensity of pain;
He will not allow

Pain to go beyond
The boundaries He has set.
God has a purpose

For our suffering;
Submit to Him and trust Him --
God plans good for us.

Trying challenges
Provide opportunities
To grow strong in faith.

The Lord demonstrates
His great sustaining power
When we endure pain.

Our difficulties
Are used by God to produce
Christ-like character.

We'll not be alone
When we face difficulty;
God will be with us.

The Holy Spirit
Enables us to survive
And conquer trials.

View ev'ry hardship
As a trial God allows
To achieve vict'ry.

Monday, September 19, 2011

In the Midst of Trial

The recent fires in our community,which consumed 18,964 acres and demolished 76 structures, including 60 homes, and the extended drought in our state have prompted my further reflection upon James 1:2-4,12, which I am sharing with you in a haiku poem.

"Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing...Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. James 1:2-4,12"

God is in control --
Even in difficulty,
We trust His wisdom.

God does not ordain
Pain, hardship, and challenges;
He will permit them

To draw us closer
To Him and grow us in faith;
He plans for our good.

In ev'ry trial
God plans a character gem
To be grown in us.

Focus on His love
And provisions when we walk
The path of trial.

Trust and hope in Him;
Live each day in God's presence.
The Holy Spirit

Will comfort in pain,
Encourage when challenged,
Strengthen in weakness.

Strength is not always
Dramatically displayed
With power or force;

Sometimes strength is shown
By determined endurance
In times of trial.

Rejoice in blessings
That accompany suff'ring,
Knowing good will come.

As we are transformed
Into the image of Christ,
We'll reflect His joy.

Friday, September 9, 2011

The Wildfires

With wildfires raging all around us, our community is in the grip of uncertainty. Watching the news, gazing at the clouds of smoke billowing on the horizon, smelling the burning timber, and being rained upon with ashes cause us to realize that our earthly possessions--yes, even our life itself--can be snuffed out in seconds. Everything we possess can be destroyed in a moment.

This past week my writing students composed haiku poetry. The classical structure of the Japanese 17th century style consists of three lines per verse, the first and third lines consisting of five syllables, and the second line containing seven syllables. Jett Shipper, a seventh grade student at Salem Lutheran School, poignantly captured the emotions of the week in a three-line haiku poem entitled "Fire!" Jett also utilized the figurative language of onomatopoeia, which is the use of words that imitate sounds. Jett has given permission to have his poem published here.

(Jett had a picture of a house fire inserted here that I am unable to copy onto the blog, unfortunately.)


Fire

By: Jett Shipper
September 6, 2011

Ouch! The fire’s hot.
Wow! The house goes up in flames.
Dang! The house is gone.

Even in these anxious days, we have the certainty of God's loving relationship with us, His children. "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress...or danger...?...No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life...nor things present nor things to come, nor powers,...nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:35-39"

Therefore, in the midst of our perilous days, we have the assurance that our lives are in the grip of a faithful God who loves and cares for us. Even when the foundation of our home crumbles in flames, we can respond with strength knowing that the foundation of our life is built on the solid Rock of Jesus Christ. In the midst of disaster, we can find security in the arms of the Almighty God.

"I will say to the Lord, 'My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.' Psalm 91:2"

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Art Association Poetry

Today my writing students wrote art association poetry where they chose a famous painting and listed different sensory associations encouraged from the artwork. I chose this activity for them, because one of the major ways writers gain their ideas is through the association process. Writers think of one thing that leads them to think of something else which, in turn, leads them to think of something else and, at last, they think of just the right idea that grabs their interest and fosters creative energy.

With her permission, I am posting an art association poem written by sixth grade student, Nicole Grant.


Painting by Norman Rockwell
Poem by Nicole Grant

Longing to Be Who I’m Not

When I look at myself in the mirror, I see me,
But I want to look like Bailey;
Bailey is so pretty –
She lives in the city;
I wish I was her,
But I look like a blur
As I gaze in the mirror
Longing to be who I’m not.

I pause to realize
How special I really am:
God made me the way that I am
So I look into the mirror again
And I am content.

Psalms 139:14
I praise you, Lord, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Our Home

Our dream home that was built by Dean Gaertner
Has blessed many in its twenty-three years,
Offering selfless service and fellowship
To dignitaries, family, and precious peers.

It's been a place of peace and a fountain of joy
Providing a stable, dependable harbor
For our children and grandchildren through the years:
An oasis of unconditional love and nurture,

A spiritual haven and inspiring respite,
Center of healing for body, spirit, and soul...
A sanctified home where God's love and grace dwell,
And a place of visioning toward a heavenly goal.

Soon our children will leave this tranquil setting
To establish their own Christian home,
Demonstrating responsible independence
And making the world a better place. Shalom!

No longer will we need a home to house a large family.
Is it time to let this home we love bless another family
While we move into a smaller domicile,
Creating a new location of serenity?

Friday, September 2, 2011

Father Knows Best

Today, I am introducing a new style of poetry to this writing blog. The poetry that I have posted on this writer's blog in the past has been Haiku Poetry, which expresses a single thought in verses with three nonrhyming lines: the first and third lines have five syllables each; the second line has seven syllables.

Today, I am posting another style of writing called Clerihew Poetry, which tells a brief story about a person, with the person's name appearing in the first line. Traditionally the rhyming pattern is AABB. However, a different rhyming pattern can be selected. I have chosen the rhyming pattern of ABCB with the first and third lines of each verse having eight syllables and the second and fourth lines of each verse having seven syllables.

The Bible verses that are my inspiration for today's poem are Isaiah 30:21 and Romans 8:28.

"And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, 'This is the way, walk in it,' when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left. Isaiah 30:21"

"And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28"

My heavenly Father knows best --
He knows what is best for me.
He knows my talents, weaknesses,
And all that captivates me.

He knows my inner thoughts and deeds
And listens to ev'ry prayer;
He knows the details of my life
And has planned for me with care.

He formed me in my mother's womb,
He's walked beside me each day;
He knows my life experiences
And watches me work and play.

His plans for me are formed with love.
He gives me free will to choose
To follow His plans faithfully
Or to step away and lose.

God teaches me to trust His way
And surrender before Him,
Humbly trusting Him and yielding
My will and timing to Him.

God always keeps His holy Word;
In ev'ry difficulty
I can anticipate the good,
Obey, and wait patiently.

My Father knows what's best for me;
Plans He's made are beautiful.
I'll listen and walk in His will
And reap blessings bountiful.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Contentment

When I remember
How precious I am to God,
I find contentment.

He created me,
Jesus gave His life for me,
The Spirit's in me.

I am forgiven,
My home in heaven is sure,
God's peace lives in me.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Prayer

Prayer is the focus of today's devotion with Romans 8:26,27 as our Bible reading:
"Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And He who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God."

I have the delightful privilege of teaching writing to students in grades 6 and 7 at Salem Lutheran School in Tomball, Texas. This past week my students were given the opportunity to write a bio-poem and were also introduced to haiku poetry. Each verse of haiku poetry has three lines. The first and third lines each have five syllables; the second line has seven syllables.

One of my students, Tyler Wysocki, wrote this poem, which I include in my devotion with his permission:

PRAYER

Time with God and I;
A time to lay down requests;
A time to give thanks.

Tyler's poetry inspired me to write a haiku poem about prayer using Romans 8:26,27 as my focus:

PRAYER

The Holy Spirit,
Who lives within us, beckons
Us to pray to God.

He encourages
Us to confess sin daily
To keep fellowship

With God unhindered.
When we don't know how to pray,
He will intercede.

He will pray for us
Because He knows our feelings,
All our thoughts and needs.

He comforts and guides;
He loves us intimately;
He dwells in our hearts.

Pray daily to God;
Nestle in His safe embrace;
Receive His blessing.

May you be blessed this day.

Sincerely,
Kathy Graumann

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Patience

Devotion:

Live a life worthy
Of Christ, characterized by
Abundant patience.

Wait for God's timing,
Seek His wisdom at all times.
Patience is refined

In times that try us.
Do not step out of God's will;
Follow His design.

God will give new strength
When we follow instruction
That He provides us.

Do not miss blessings
Because of your impatience;
Wait upon the Lord.

Be joyful in hope
And patient in affliction;
Grow in these virtues.

Let's be like-minded,
Conformed into Christ's image:
Patient, like Jesus.

Bible Readings:
Isaiah 40:31; Ephesians 4:1-3; 1 Peter 2:20; 1 Thessalonians 5:14; Romans 12:12; Colossians 3:12; Galatians 5:22; Philippians 2:2

Sunday, August 21, 2011

SURRENDER

Devotion:

I want to become
The person You created
Me to be; I want

To accomplish all
You have planned for me to do.
I am willing, Lord,

To do whatever
Is necessary to bring
About submission

To Your holy will.
I will relinquish desires
That don’t fit Your plan.

I will die to self
So that I might live for You
And know life’s fullness.

Bible Readings: John 12:26; Luke 22

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

IMMANUEL: GOD WITH US

Devotion:
Jesus’ abiding
Presence is with us always.
His comfort is ours;

His encouragement
Strengthens in difficulty,
Upholds in weakness.

God promised to us
A Helper Who would remain
With us forever.

The Holy Spirit
Abides in believers’ lives –
The Lord is with us.

He delights in us;
He rejoices over us;
His love quiets us.

Do not be afraid –
God will never forsake us;
We trust His promise.

Our Immanuel,
Our God is with us always;
He gives us His peace.

Bible Readings: Ephesians 2:13; Hebrews 13:5,6; Zephaniah 3:17

“But now in Christ Jesus you, who once were far off, have been brought near by the blood of Christ. Ephesians 2:13”

“…He has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’ So we can confidently say, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?’ Hebrews 13:5,6”

“The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness; He will quiet you by His love; He will exult over you with loud singing. Zephaniah 3:17”


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Grieving

Today, in our congregation, we tragically and suddenly lost a dear young husband and father and a former congregational elder at Salem Lutheran Church of Rosehill. I wrote a Haiku poem to commemorate this occasion and to help me in this grieving process:

In this time of need
Our hearts are burdened with grief;
We feel deep sadness.

Dark clouds surround us
As we mourn the sudden loss
Of a godly man.

Our God is faithful;
He'll not leave us comfortless;
His love never fails.

Donald loved Jesus;
He knew Him intimately;
He's with Jesus now.

God will let good come,
Even through this tragedy;
We trust His promise.

God's presence remains
Now and into the future;
He'll never leave us.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Thirsting for God

Bible Reading: Psalm63

Haiku Poem

Oh, God, earnestly
I seek You and thirst for You;
I want to know You,

Draw closer to You,
Have intimate communion
With You in Your Word.

The most important
Part of my day is the time
I spend with You, Lord.

I see Your power
And Your glory; I praise You;
My soul clings to You.

The joy I have lasts;
The rewards are eternal;
You open my heart.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Will I Respond as Ananias Did?

Devotion:

God asked him to go
To visit a murderer,
The one who had killed

His friends and wanted
To kill him and God’s people:
Saul, the persecutor;

Saul, who dragged people
Off, putting them in prison,
Threatening with death.

In spite of the risk,
Ananias obeyed God:
Ananias went.

Sightless, broken, Saul
Awaited Ananias.
Obediently

Ananias spoke,
“Brother Saul,” he said. (Brother!
How could he say that?!)

After what Saul did,
Ananias still forgave!
He touched Saul and said,

“Brother Saul, Jesus
Sent me to give you your sight.
He sent me to you

So you, Saul, may be
Filled with the Holy Spirit.”
God had plans for Saul.

Immediately,
Saul could see and was baptized;
Saul’s life was transformed.

Saul began to preach:
“Jesus is the Son of God.”
Multitudes were saved.

What could have happened
If Ananias had bowed
To fear and logic

And refused to go?
Saul, later Apostle Paul,
Became a writer

And missionary
Who brought many to Jesus,
Growing God’s Kingdom.

Ananias let
The Lord humbly work through him,
And the church was blessed.

How will I respond?
When Christ says, “Go,” will I go,
Like Ananias?

Or will I choose my
Comfort zone, failing to act,
Failing to share Christ?

Will I remain in
My predictable church pew,
Never inviting

Someone new to church?
What am I willing to do
To bring souls to Christ?

Today, our culture
Is becoming non-Christian,
Forsaking values

Held dear by Christians.
This beckons a return to
Early church practice.

Missional living
Is the Biblical way of
Evangelism.

It’s how the first church,
By personal example,
Brought people to Christ.

We are sent to be
The hands and feet of Jesus
To those in our lives.

God’s Word is taught and
Preached, engaging with people
As blessing agents.

How am I willing
To live in community
To win souls for Christ?

God designs a role
For each of us to play in
Redemption’s story.

The Holy Spirit
Will equip us with power
To answer the call.

Bible Reading: Acts 9:1-19

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Testing Our Faith

Devotion:

While Satan uses
Trials to tempt us to fall,
God allows trials

To test our faith and
Foster perseverance that
Will mature our faith.

Blest is the person
Who perseveres when tested;
He'll receive the crown.

Place your faith in God;
Trust His good and perfect ways;
All things work for good.

Bible Readings:

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-4"

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28"

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Summer 2011 Vacation at Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada

At Niagara
Gateway on The Falls, our choice
Of lodging this trip,

Our journey began.
Delightful first impression,
Our room faced The Falls.

Incomparable
Breakfasts, with fresh fruit, oatmeal,
Omelet station,

And more, prepared us
For many breath-taking sights
Viewed throughout each day.

Concierge service
Competently helped us plan
Each day’s adventure.

A convenient
Hotel with shuttle service:
Transportation ease.

Niagara Falls –
Powerful and majestic,
Wonder of nature;

Created by God,
Twenty percent of water
In the world flows here.

Illuminated
Each night, the thundering Falls
Display their grandeur.

The Maid of the Mist,
A diesel-engined boat tour,
Carries visitors

To the base of the
American Falls and to
The basin of the

Quite magnificent
Canadian Horseshoe Falls –
A historic ride.

Eighteen forty-six
Provided the first boat ride
To The Fall’s basin.

Niagara Parks
Botanical Gardens house
Over two thousand

Fluttering, soaring
Butterflies amid flowing
Water and green’ry.

Leisurely walks in
The Royal Botanical
Gardens are stunning.

The views and fragrance
Of the abundant flowers
And verdant shade trees

Awake reflective
Thought and visionary dreams –
It’s beauty beheld!

A picturesque drive,
Niagara-on-the-Lake
Is not to be missed.

This historic town
Of elegant, landscaped homes,
And architecture

Of colonial
And federalist design,
Is most impressive.

Once the capital
Of the Upper Canada,
History abounds.

Cute bed and breakfasts
And many winery tours
Are available.

Stop at a fruit stand
To sample the local wares
Before going home.

A jacuzzi tub
Relaxed us from our travels
After each day’s trek.

Marriott’s Gateway
Provided a grand setting;
We’d like to return.

Place a visit here
On your lifetime agenda –
You’ll be glad you did!

Patience

Devotion:

Patience: willingness
To wait without frustration
On God's timetable

Patience: acceptance
Of difficulty without
Giving God deadlines

Patience: accepting
What the Lord gives, in His time,
Or what He does not.

Patience: inner peace
As we seek God's direction
And His perfect plan.

Bible Reading:

"Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him...Psalm 37:7"

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Seek the Lord

Devotion:

Come to the Savior;
Seek the Lord and call on Him
That your soul may live.

God will have mercy;
He will freely pardon sin
When you call on Him.

Spend time in the Word;
God's Word won't return empty:
It will accomplish

What He intended.
God will lead you forth in peace;
You will leave in joy.

Bible Reading:

"Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters...Give ear and come to Me; hear Me, that your soul may live...Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on Him while He is near...As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is My Word that goes out from My mouth: It will not return to Me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands...Isaiah 55"

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

God is in Control

Devotion:

Whenever we can't
Comprehend God's divine ways,
We trust His goodness.

We may not know why
Natural catastrophes
And bad things occur;

We can be assured,
With absolute certainty,
God is in control.

God permits events
Or sovereignly ordains;
We trust His wisdom.

Any disaster
Brings a call to repentance,
A time to listen

To God Who loves us;
It's an opportunity
To draw close to Christ.

All catastrophes
Open our ears to hear Christ
Who loves us dearly.

He works everything
According to His goodness
And worthy purpose.

Bible Readings:

Romans 8:28; Psalm 103:19; John 3:16; Deuteronomy 29:29

Monday, July 18, 2011

God Answers Prayer

Devotion:

Prayer is a gift;
Approach God confidently --
There is strength through Him.

In your life events,
Call to Him in Jesus' name --
He will answer you.

Wait for His timing --
He will work all for your good;
You can count on Him.

He enables you
With His comfort and presence
To have joy and hope.

Bible Reading:

"To the Lord I cry aloud, and He answers me from His holy hill. Psalm 3:4"

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Good Will Come

Devotion:

(A Haiku Poem)

God never allows
Anything to affect us
That will not bring good.

All that will happen
Will be for our good
Filtered through God's grace.

For us, His children,
Our God orchestrates events,
Or filters each one,

To ultimately
Bring us closer to Himself
And grant us blessing.

When events are tough,
Trust Him to bring good for you;
Our God will not fail.

There is a divine
Purpose for everything
God allows in life.

Bible Reading:

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28"

"(Habakkuk's Complaint)...How long, O Lord, must I call for help, but You do not listen?...Why do You tolerate wrong? Destruction and violence are before me; there is strife, and conflict abounds...(The Lord answers)...The earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord...the Lord is in His holy temple; let all the earth be silent before Him...(Habakkuk's Prayer)...Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. The Sovereign Lord is my strength... Habakkuk 1 - 3"

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

FREEDOM

Celebrate the Fourth

With family and friends;

Thank God for freedom.



The Fourth of July

Calls forth patriotism,

American pride.



Independence Day:

Americans celebrate

Freedom won for us.



Freedom is not free;

Freedom comes with a high price . . .

Someone died for it.



We remember those

Who strove to build our nation

And fought for freedom.



They risked their lives to

Secure freedom for others

And a better life.

Jesus died for us.
He gave His life to free us
From sin, death, and the devil.


The Holy Spirit

Sets us free from old ways

To reflect Christ’s love.



Religious freedom –

A responsibility

And a privilege.



We fall on our knees

And we pray for our nation

That God may bless it.



Turn from evil ways;

Awake us, Lord, to follow

Your laws and values.


Let Your will be done

In me, the church, our nation;

May we follow You.






Saturday, July 2, 2011

Waiting on the Lord

Devotion:

The Holy Spirit
Works in our times of waiting
To mature our faith.

Fix your eyes on Christ,
Confess sin, and turn to Him;
Seek to know God's Will.

Examine motive:
Does my request honor God?
Trust His good timing.

Bear fruit for the Lord,
Ask, according to His Will,
Pray, in Jesus' name.

Love one another;
His response will be for your
Good and His glory.

Delight in the Lord;
Commit all your ways to Him;
Trust in Him always.

God is our stronghold;
In Him we will take refuge;
The Lord will help us.

Be still before God;
Wait patiently and don't fret;
The Lord will answer prayer.


Bible Readings:

Psalm 33; Psalm 37; 1 John 3:21ff.







Thursday, June 30, 2011

Ordination Anniversary

37th Anniversary of Ordination

June 30, 1974 – June 30, 2011

Wayne Emil Graumann

A Haiku Poem to Honor the Occasion



Anniversary:

Thirty-seven years ago

Ordained to serve God.



Love for God’s people,

Passion to lead folks to Christ,

Commitment to serve,



Leadership sought out,

Skills recognized by others,

Character noted . . .



The Spirit called you,

God prompted you to respond –

The church has been blessed.



Thank you for serving

As ambassador for Christ;

May you now be blessed.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Guest Author



I am delighted to share my blog with my friend, Sharla Fritz, to whom I was introduced by our mutual friend, Gail Ficken. Please join me in welcoming Sharla's writings to my blog.

Sharla Fritz loves to communicate the transforming power of Christ's love and grace. Her own spiritual makeover began when she was very young and she rejoices that because of Jesus, her heart is always in style. She is passionate about helping other women enhance the beauty of their souls.

Sharla is a Christian speaker and author of Divine Design: 40 Days of Spiritual Makeover. The book is a “What Not to Wear” manual for the soul, encouraging women to get rid of unattractive mind-sets like the handbag of worry and the prom dress of pride and to embrace God-pleasing attitudes. Check out her website at www.sharlafritz.comand her blog at http://sharlafritz.blogspot.com



Instead of Boasting—Praise!


Instead of boasting, I am learning to praise! 

And especially--to praise God.



This is not something I am naturally good at. I love to read the Bible, but my prayer life is not always all it should be. And then when I do pray, my prayers often morph into a wish list for myself and my loved ones.



This week I want to concentrate on praising God. So I asked myself a few questions:

  • Why should we praise God? He already knows everything and so He also knows that He is loving, strong, just, merciful, patient... Then I thought of how I feel when I receive a compliment. Suddenly my mood lifts, the world seems brighter, the sky seems bluer. Maybe praising God also makes His day!
  • How do we praise? Praise is to express admiration of God's character and glory. It is not thanking Him for things He has done for us, although that is also a good thing to do. Praise statements begin with, "Lord, you are..."
  • What should we praise God for? When we are reading God's Word, we can look for references to God attributes and praise Him for those.

Here are a few to get you started:

  • Lord, I praise You because You are faithful.

"Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commands". Deuteronomy 7:9

  • Lord, I praise you because You are loving.

"And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him." 1 John 4:16

  • Lord, I praise You because You are merciful.

"But in your great mercy you did not put an end to them or abandon them, for you are a gracious and merciful God." Nehemiah 9:31

  • Lord, I praise You because You are my Burden Bearer.

"Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens." Psalm 68:19 



Praise the Lord today!











"Mimi's*" Day

June 29, 2011, Devotion:

My summer day as a grandmother is filled with a multitude of activities that includes providing piano instruction for my grandchildren, knitting lessons, baking yeast breads and making banana pudding with them, library time, swimming, diaper changes, and teaching them household management. Life is full, and "my cup overflows (Psalm 23:5)."

In the quietness of the morning, before my grandchildren awake, I take time to commune with the Lord and pray for His blessing upon my day:

Live a life worthy
Of the calling you've received;
Be humble, gentle.

Christ dwells in your heart;
Demonstrate to grandchildren
His amazing love.

Illumine your mind --
The Spirit lives within you --
Live victoriously.

May the unfailing
Love of Christ rest upon us
As we hope in Him.

Bible Readings:

1 Corinthians 3:16; Ephesians 3:16-21; Romans 8:9-11; Psalm 33:22

Prayer:

Dear Father, as I begin this  new day, may the power of Your Spirit living within me strengthen and equip me to be a noble reflection of Christ to all whom I meet today, especially as I live out this day with my grandchildren as their "Mimi." In Jesus' Name I pray. Amen.

*My first grandchild, Mikayla, began calling me "Mimi" from the beginning; "Mimi" continues to be the name bequeathed to me by every grandchild since.

Monday, June 20, 2011

A Tribute to My Husband

WAYNE GRAUMANN
(A Haiku Poem)

Precious child of God
The Spirit dwells within Him
Lives by faith in Christ

Loves the Lord his God
Blessed much to be a blessing
Loves his neighbor well

Anointed to serve
Accepts high calling bestowed
Ministers boldly

A visionary
A man after God’s own heart
Sees the big picture

Compassionate heart
A servant to God’s people
Respectful and kind

A life marked by God
Whose grace gives joy, hope, purpose
Love defines his life

Wise, skilled, courageous
God chose him for ministry
To make a diff’rence

Imperfect, yet changed
By God’s grace to change the world
A life used by God

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Father's Day Thoughts

Bible Readings:
Psalm 78:1-7; Ephesians 6:1-4; Galatians 5:22

Written especially for my precious son and son-in-law,
the fathers of my grandchildren:

As we celebrate
Fathers on this Father's Day,
We thank God for you.

You have been chosen
As the spiritual leaders
Of your family.

Dads, be role models,
Following the best Father
Whom we know through Christ.

Imitate Jesus:
He was merciful, patient,
Kind, compassionate,

Offered forgiveness,
Was filled with goodness toward all,
Disciplined in love.

Invest in the lives
Of the next generation;
Train in righteousness.

May God bless all Dads
As they lead their families
To walk with Jesus.

Kathy Graumann
June 18, 2011

Friday, June 17, 2011

My Ministry

How comforted I am today by the Lord’s promise to me in Psalm 121:8 – “The Lord will guard your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forever.” As I pour myself into God’s Word during this quiet moment in my morning, I thank Him for His words of encouragement. I am reassured that, throughout my season of life in which I am immersed in the full-time role of grandmothering, God is accompanying me and leading me even in the “small” tasks. As I brush my grand-daughter’s hair, I remind her that God has given her beauty, and I softly exhort her to honor God all her life with the beautiful body He has given her. Opportunities to touch eternity are abundant throughout the day as I care for the needs of my grandchildren and demonstrate the love of Jesus to them through my words, actions, and the attitude I convey. This is my ministry in this season of life.

Bible References: Psalm 121:8; I Corinthians 16:14,15; Psalm 78:4-7

As grandmother, I'll
Tell the next generation
The great works of God.

Do all things in love;
Devote myself to service;
Stand firm in the faith.

Invest in their lives;
Teach them how to walk with Christ;
Share the Word of God.


Kathy Graumann
June 17, 2011

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

My Summer Shuttle Service

SUMMER SHUTTLE SERVICE

Devotion
As I continue
My summer shuttle service,
I am reminded:

The Lord watches me –
My coming and my going –
He watches my life.

My help comes from Him;
The Lord will keep me from harm
Now and forever.

As a grandmother of six grandchildren who are living with me this summer, I operate a full and exciting schedule, especially during this week of Vacation Bible School. My “summer shuttle service” hums busily throughout the day beginning at 7:30 A.M. when my teens arrive at V.B.S. to provide child care for the young children of V.B.S. volunteers. At 8:00 A.M. my pastor husband arrives at church. Shortly after, I deliver my three younger grandchildren who are participants in Vacation Bible School’s W.I.L.D. Week, i.e. Winning in Life with Jesus. I return home to devote singular attention to my little two-year-old grandson before returning to church to pick up the younger grandchildren at the conclusion of V.B.S. When responsibilities have concluded for my teen grand-daughters, I return to church to pick them up and return them home for lunch. The library becomes our afternoon destination. Through all the activity of the busy season, God provides all I need to serve Him with gladness. Each day my “summer shuttle service” offers me the opportunity to serve God by serving others with joy.

Bible Reading
“I lift up my eyes to the hills – where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth…The Lord watches over you – The Lord will keep you from all harm – He will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore. Psalm 121”

Challenge
Perform an act of service today for someone and demonstrate joy in serving another.

Read
Matthew 28:20; Ephesians 6:7

Prayer
Dear Father, thank You for giving me all that I need to be a loving servant to others. Help me serve You by serving others with gladness. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Kathy Graumann
June 14, 2011

Monday, June 13, 2011

A Life God Blesses

A LIFE GOD BLESSES

Devotion

Commit to the Lord

Schedules and activities,

Whatever you do;



Understand God’s Will,

Seek His guidance and purpose,

Then plans will succeed.



God wants to help us

Become how He designed us,

Reach our potential,



Achieve tasks He’s planned,

And honor Him with our lives

Each day that He gives us.



May we live each day

According to His purpose,

Spending time with Him.



The eternal trumps

The present circumstances;

Always put God first.


Care for each other,

Share your time with family,

Take care of yourself.



Love begins at home

Then moves beyond to others

To be a blessing.



Follow Christ each day –

Do not become distracted –

Joy in Christ is yours!

 Bible Reading

“Commit to the Lord whatever you do and your plans will succeed. Proverbs 16:3”

Challenge
Dedicate a daily time for private Bible reading and prayer and develop a schedule for reading through the Bible in a given time. Perform one random act of kindness today for someone in your family.


Read

Colossians 1:9-14; Hebrews 10:24,25

Prayer

Dear Father, I commit to You this day my life: myself, my schedule and activities. I seek Your guidance and direction so that each minute of each day may be lived according to Your will and purpose for my life. Help me grow in my love for You, my family, and others, and may I share this love lavishly with others. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

40th Wedding Anniversary

40th Wedding Anniversary

June 19, 1971 - June 19, 2011

Wayne and Kathy Graumann

A Haiku Poem to Honor the Occasion



Anniversary:

Forty years of wedded joy –

What a ride it’s been!



So young and in love,

We consecrated our lives

Before God’s altar.



On our wedding day

I promised my dear husband,

Through my poetry,



That I’d be his wife,

And forsaking all others,

Be faithful to him.



Poor, but filled with hope,

We united hearts in Christ

To launch our marriage.



At seminary,

Mount Calvary, Raymondville,

And Salem, Tomball,



We left fingerprints.

Micah and Greta joined us

In our Christian home.



We bore pain untold

And weathered storms unnumbered;

We each have known grief.



We’ve carried burdens –

Our journey’s not been easy –

God was always there.



Though broken vessels,

God molded us for service:

We’ve been used by Him.



Through the years, love grew;

Commitment to each other

Was solidified.


Better together

God was good to unite us –

A team serving Him.



We both recognized

Because we had each other

We were more complete.



Each became more what

God created us to be

As our love blossomed.



Through ev’ry season

God’s promises sustained us;

Our faith was secure.



Love and faithfulness

Have been written on our hearts

As we’ve followed Christ.



We’ve trusted the Lord

And acknowledged Him always;

He’s guided our path.



God’s Word fills our souls;

We follow its instruction –

God has blessed our home.



Blessings abundant –

Never could we imagine

God’s gracious favor.



With Jesus in us,

His character lives within;

We will follow Him.



We pray fervently

As we look to the future:

Bind us together;



Grant us many years

Of service in God’s Kingdom

Blessed with joy and peace.