Generation to Generation

April 19, 2022 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions

By Susan Dollyhigh –

Granny was a story-teller. “Susie, I hope you never have to live through a time like that,” she whispered after telling about suffering through the Great Depression. Her painful expression convinced me that her words were true.

Granny told me her grandmother was full-blooded Cherokee Indian. “Susie, my granny embroidered this handkerchief, and I want you to have it.” She gazed at the Indian girls playing on a make-shift seesaw, and I could tell her heart was gazing back at her childhood. Tears formed as Granny rubbed the corner of the handkerchief between her fingers, and then she gently placed it in my hand. Clasping her hands around mine she squeezed, and I felt the love of five generations flow through that small piece of cloth. Granny had confirmed my heritage to me.

Granny told me many other stories, but the most important was about Jesus. When I was a young girl, Granny took me to church. She made sure I knew we were celebrating Jesus’ birth at Christmas. She shared her sorrow of Jesus’ crucifixion on Good Friday, and we celebrated His resurrection on Easter Sunday. She validated these stories by reading them to me from her timeworn Bible. But most importantly, Granny verified Jesus to me with her life.

Now I’m a Nana, and like Granny, I love to tell stories. I’ve told my granddaughter about my growing up in the sixties, her Native American heritage, and about Jesus. I make sure she knows what we are celebrating at Christmas and Easter. I validate these stories by reading them to her from my Bible. But most importantly, I pray that I prove Jesus to my granddaughter with my life.

King David wrote Psalm 145 to the Lord as a hymn of praise, and says stories of His mighty acts, His glorious splendor, and His awesome works will be told from generation to generation.
Someday, I hope my granddaughter shares Jesus with her own grandchildren, and they with theirs, on and on, through the generations, until Jesus comes again.

Alice Elinor Adkins Shelton, thank you for sharing your stories with me. You and your love live forever in my heart.

Bible Verse: “One generation commends your works to another; they tell of your mighty acts” (Psalms 145:4 NIV).

Feed My Sheep

April 4, 2022 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions

By Susan Dollyhigh –

The gravel crunched under my tires as I drove into the parking lot of the old, white-frame cottage. I parked my car and entered the homeless shelter where a motley crew of men, women, and children were waiting for me to lead them in Bible study. This group had been at the shelter for a couple of months, and I had gotten to know them well.

We spent time in God’s Word, and right after we closed in prayer, a local church dropped off a donation of four large pizzas. And pizza is a treat at the homeless shelter.

“Please stay and eat with us!” Lisa said.

I’d already distributed goody bags to everyone, packed my bag, and was ready to go out the door. And honestly, I couldn’t stand the thought of taking even one slice of their pizza.

“Thank- you, but I’d better go home,” I said.

“Oh, come on. We have plenty!” Lisa said.

Another resident chimed in, “Yes, please stay!”

I knew they appreciated the small goody bags I brought each week, and could sense they were excited to be able to offer something to me in return.

“Oh…okay,” I said.

Lisa grabbed the pizza boxes and hurried out to the back porch where she placed them on a rickety, old table. An eclectic mix of chairs was gathered, and Lisa pulled out the one at the head of the table, “You sit here, Ms. Susie.”

I soon realized I was the guest of honor as the residents scurried around…taking care of me. One of the children proudly set a Coke before me, and Lisa placed pizza on a paper plate, insisting I be served first. Everyone soon settled down and began eating, but their joy over sharing a meal with me was apparent as we talked, and laughed, and ate pizza together on the back porch. My heart soon felt full to the point of overflowing by the love lavished on me by my homeless friends.

Three times Jesus asked Peter, who had claimed to love Jesus more than the other disciples, if he truly loved Him. Each time Peter answered yes and Jesus response was, “feed my lambs”, “ take care of my sheep”, and “feed my sheep.”

I’d come to care for those living at the shelter, but what a blessing I would have denied both the residents and myself, had I not allowed them the opportunity to care for me.

Prayer: Father, thank- you for the opportunities You give us to “take care of Your sheep.” Thank-you for blessing our hearts in such wonderful ways. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Bible Verse: “The third time he said to him, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me?’ Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, ‘Do you love me?’ He said, ‘Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.’ Jesus said, ‘Feed my sheep’ ” (John 21:17 NIV).

May I Have This Dance?

February 8, 2022 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions

By Susan Dollyhigh –

Eric reached for my hand and led me to the dance floor for the mother-son dance. Oblivious to the many guests following our every step, we danced to I Hope You Dance. During those three to four bittersweet minutes, with smiles on our faces and tears running down our cheeks, we shared our love.

“Thank you for all you’ve done for me, Mom,” Eric said. “I love you so much.” Looking up into his man-face, I couldn’t help but flash back to his little-boy-face.

“I love you so much, Eric, and I’m so proud of you,” I whispered. “You are a wonderful son, and I know you are going to make a wonderful husband, and someday an incredible father.” Pausing to regain my composure, I said, “I hope you and Amy have the best marriage ever.”

The song, and another stage of life, ended and Eric led me back to my seat. Returning to our hotel room after the reception, I slipped out of my long, lavender dress, and reflected on the beautiful wedding, the elegant country-club reception, and a dance that I cherish in my heart.

Seven-year-old David was already dancing when I reached out and took his hand. His eyes opened wide and he paused for just a second, then a big smile broke out on his face. And we danced to You Ain’t Nothing but a Hound Dog blaring from an old boom box.

“Wow, you’re a great dancer,” I said.

“Thanks, I’ve been practicin’,” David said.

The song ended, and I said goodbye. The gravel crunched under my car’s tires as I pulled away from the homeless shelter. Returning home, I took off my jeans and t-shirt, and reflected on the simple white-frame-cottage, a beautiful Bible study with a motley crew of men, women, and children, and another dance that I cherish in my heart.

Country club or homeless shelter, DJ or boom box, lavender gown or blue jeans, I never know the circumstances the Lord might use to shower me with an incredible blessing.

Prayer: Father, thank You for your awesome love and never-ending blessings. Amen.

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly
realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3 NIV).

A Glimpse of Heaven

February 3, 2022 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions

By Susan Dollyhigh –

“At Christmas, all roads lead home,” Marjorie Holmes said. I couldn’t imagine being anywhere but home at Christmas. With the excitement of a small child, I anticipated gathering with my five siblings and each of our families at Mama and Daddy’s house on Christmas Eve. Like the snow on our jackets, the years melted away as we walked in the door where Mama’s outstretched arms met us with soft hugs, laughter greeted our ears, and the smell of delicious home-cooking tantalized our taste buds.

My parents were only in their mid-fifties, and I had never imagined our Christmas celebrations changing, and certainly not anytime soon. However, on December 10th, 1991, Daddy went into respiratory failure, was rushed to the ER, resuscitated and placed on a ventilator. A few days later, he suffered a stroke, and his condition only deteriorated.

Christmas Eve found my family gathered in a cold, sterile intensive care unit of the hospital. “I’m sorry,” the doctor said. “His EEG is flat, and he’s not responding to any stimuli. The ventilator is the only thing keeping your dad alive. Unfortunately, you have a decision to make.”

But Daddy had already made that decision; he’d told us he didn’t want to be kept alive by machines if there was no hope for recovery.

Daddy was taken off the ventilator and moved to a private room. When I walked in to see him, I noticed his eyes were open as they had been in ICU, but something was different. Then Daddy, who’s EEG was flat, began talking to us in a low, raspy whisper. Yet when doctors or nurses checked on him, he returned to staring straight ahead, and made no attempt to respond.

On Christmas morning, a single red poinsettia graced the window ledge of that hospital room. As we gathered around Daddy’s bed, he got a far-off look in his eyes and spoke to us of heaven and angels. “Jesus is here in this room,” he said. Standing there that Christmas morning, I reflected on Jesus coming to earth 2000 years before, and realized that once again, He had come down to earth and given my family not only a Christmas miracle, but a little glimpse of heaven, through our Daddy’s eyes.

Prayer: Father, thank you for your love and grace, and for the blessing of miracles. Amen

Bible Verse: “He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed, miracles that cannot be counted” (Job 9:10 NIV).

A New Year’s Resolution

December 23, 2021 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Personal Growth

By Susan Dollyhigh –

The young woman’s body shook and her tears flowed. Kathy* had just moved into the homeless shelter, and she was in the early stages of drug and alcohol withdrawal. When Kathy learned we were having Bible study, she ran from the room, came right back, Bible in hand and tears still flowing.

Having just celebrated the New Year, we talked about resolutions and how they are changes we want to make in our lives. We talked about the Potter and the clay, and how our Father is in the continual process of molding and changing our lives to shape us into the beautiful vessels that He wants us to become.

As we made a list of our resolutions for the New Year, Kathy shared that she had already made hers. She had been saved through faith in Christ just a month earlier. Ever since that time, Kathy had planned for the next day to be her last day to drink and get high. Kathy had truly encountered Christ, but she was afraid of being sober. Yet over the past month, while praying and studying God’s Word, He had given her the power to finally say “no more.”

Another resident then encouraged Kathy as she shared how God had helped her survive a similar experience. This woman was so very kind and loving and supportive and she assured Kathy she would be there to help her. She then closed her eyes, lifted her face toward heaven and sang “What a Day That Will Be.” As she sang to her Lord, all of her worries seemed to melt from her face.

This woman laid aside her own problems to minister to Kathy. Are we able to and put aside our problems and minister to others in need? Do we truly encounter our Father when we close our eyes and lift our faces toward heaven? We will if only we have faith as great as this precious homeless woman.

*Name changed.

Prayer: Father, please help us to be flexible, soft, clay. Help us to allow You to mold us into the beautiful vessels that You want us to become.

“Yet, O LORD, you are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand” (Isaiah 64:8 NIV).

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