Saturday, December 30, 2017

Nothing Beyond?

At the beginning of each new year for the past decade or so, I've taken some quiet time to pray and consider a key word of expectation and direction for the coming year. When I look back upon each year, my chosen word has turned out to be surprisingly appropriate.

As I stumble into or tiptoe gingerly or am catapulted into 2018, I am aware that at each beginning my attitude is a determiner of what I receive. I can eagerly look forward and anticipate more of God's goodness and mercy and lovingkindness and hold out both hands to receive it, or fail to see that there is anything more to have. “I've been there, done that. Thanks, but I'm good,” in the jargon of the day. As for me, I continue to choose the former stance.

I wrote the following in my first anthology of verse Life! Stop Crowding Me! in my early years, 

 “Before Columbus sailed to America, the coat of arms of Spain carried the motto: Ne Plus Ultra which was a declarative statement: “There is nothing beyond.” But Columbus, a man of Faith, with both evangelistic and material motives, envisioned undiscovered worlds beyond. He braved the terrors of the then unknown and uncharted seas to prove the science of that day geographically incorrect and changed it forever. After his discoveries, the Ne was dropped from the coat of arms leaving Plus Ultra: There is more beyond!”

I'm taking Plus Ultra as my God-word for 2018 with both hands held out in anticipation of receiving abundantly the implications of God's promise in Jeremiah 29:11 and beyond into verse 14. I'm aware that the promise was originally for Israel, nevertheless the principle and nature of God's desires for His people reveal His character here.

Ne Plus Ultra?

Is there nothing beyond?

my soul cries to God.

No more heights to scale,

no more depths to explore?

Really? No more?

“Come higher!” He calls,
Always there's MORE!

“Don't pitch your tent

On man's pleasant plateau.

In Me is All Fullness

beyond earth's foothills below.

Leave beyond the fainthearted.

Brave the unknown.

Keep pressing upward

'though climbing alone.

“My Spirit draws onward
Always there's MORE!"

“Set your heart on things above....” Col. 3:1

“I press on toward the goal for the prize

of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Phil. 3:14

I want to keep digging deeper, stretching further, reaching higher, even climbing beyond the limits of man-made boxes, if God's Spirit leads. (Phil. 4:8) I want to keep living in the MORE while I'm still in my earth suit body on earth knowing that the ultimate fullness is in God's presence after the Finish Line. If the apostle Paul confessed that he had not yet attained, neither do I dare say that I have, even as a nonagenarian. Attainment is to be realized in our Eternal state which Jesus is preparing for us as He promised. (John 14:1-3)

I called my autobiographical faith sequel Trilogy the Land of MORE series, and titled the third book, Still MORE! (Plus Ultra!) However, the term Land of MORE refers to more than my Christian ecclesial identity. I meant it to characterize my lifetime of seeking more of what God has given us in Earth life—more to learn, more to experience, more to know of Him and His ways while I “press forward” as in the verse above.

So “Heave Ho!” I want to pull up the anchor and sail off, as Columbus did, to yet undiscovered lands and uncharted seas in 2018. For sure there's more beyond!

Tuesday, December 19, 2017


Leona's Christmas tradition: Each year I write a story for some of my great-grandchildren working backward from some object to develop a theme or plot. (See my blog archive CHILDREN'S STORIES in the SEARCH category.)  Then I give the objects as a gift to the family. This year it's a somewhat pretend sequel to "Cuddle Bear Cottage" posted in 2015 to reflect the present ages of two of my great-grands.

Once upon a time, two little girls went on an adventure. Makenna has just turned seven and Myla is "going on three." Their daddy and mommy are Kara and Brian. They live in a beautiful neighborhood in Maryland.

At Christmas their parents often read to the children the previous pretend stories which their Great-grandma “Bubi” Leona wrote for them. One of the pretend stories was about Four Bears whose name was “Cuddlebear.” So the story goes, they live together happily ever after in a beautiful little pretend cottage in a pretend forest.

Makenna loved that story so much that she decided she and her little sister Myla should try to find out if there really truly was a Cuddle Bear Cottage where friendly bears lived. “Let's get all dressed up and go to visit them,” said Makenna. “Let's call it a Christmas visit.” Myla liked to do whatever her older sister liked to do because it was always sure to be fun. So she went along with Makenna's plan.

Both of the girls liked to wear fancy hats and both of them liked to wear green dresses. Myla wanted to wear her dress with the pink fringes. Both had green bows tied in the back. Myla wore her boots—she liked to wear them all the time. She would have slept in them if Mommy Kara had permitted her to. And guess what? Makenna was in such a hurry to go that she forgot to put on her shoes! But since they were going to a pretend place, she didn't think it would matter. She liked to go barefooted.

Just as they were about to leave, the little neighbor dog named “Woofie” barked and begged to go along with them. “No, no, Woofie. You might scare the bear family if you came with us. Go home now!”
Makenna picked a bouquet of flowers to bring to the bear family because in the story the Cuddle Bears all liked flowers. Myla carried Mommy Kara's old purse that mommy let her play with, and insisted on bringing her doll carriage. Instead of putting her dolly in it, she put her teddy bear in it, the one with the blue ribbon around his neck. After all, they were going to visit bears. They set off for the pretend woods on their pretend adventure.

By and by they arrived at Cuddle Cottage. Yes, just like in the story, there was “Welcome” on the door step and a gold heart at the tip of the roof, and flowers blooming in the flower boxes beneath the windows. AND, sure enough, there was that tall magic flower blooming higher than the cottage. 

Myla was a little scared and hung back, but Makenna came right up to the door and knocked. “I hear voices inside,” she whispered to Myla, “the bear family must be home.”

Soon the door opened wide. “Merry Christmas!” shouted the girls together. Two young Cuddle Bears hugged each other and called, “Mommy, Daddy, two someones have come to visit us! We love visitors!” They danced around clapping their paws.

The Bear parents hurried to the door smiling in welcome. “Who are these beautiful little girls?” asked Mommy Cuddle Bear wiping her paws on her apron because she had been busy making breakfast for her family. “We must invite them in to have breakfast with us. Come in, girls!”

Makenna gave Mommy Cuddle Bear her flowers, and Myla parked her doll carriage inside the door. “Oh!” said the littlest bear, “Look! She brought a little bear to visit us too. May I play with it?” Myla was a bit shy to talk to bears, so she just smiled and nodded.

“Quickly, little bears, bring two extra chairs and set the table with two more bowls. Pick out the prettiest bowls for our girl visitors,” said Mommy Bear as she took the big pot of porridge [oatmeal] from the stove.” The bear who was about Makenna's age put a bowl in front of her. “ This one is for you. It has two snow men on it. It is nighttime. See the moon and the stars?”

“And this one is for you,” said the smaller bear putting his bowl in front of Myla. “It has one snowman and it is snowing. There are four stockings hanging on it—like there are four people in your family, and four bears in our family. The little bear in the snow on the bowl is like the one you brought in your doll carriage.”

Daddy Cuddle Bear brought the pitcher of milk and the honey to the table. Honey is a favorite food of bears. They hunt through the forest to find honey made by bees in hollow trees. Makenna and Myla politely thanked the Bear family for their invitation to breakfast with them. Before they ate, Daddy Cuddle Bear asked them all to hold hands [and paws], bow their heads and close their eyes while they prayed together: “God is great, God is good, and we thank Him for this food.” Makenna and Myla didn't quite shut their eyes—this was the first time they ever held someone's paws. It felt kind of ticklish.

After breakfast the two young bears, both of whom were about the same ages as Makenna and Myla, showed the girls through Cuddle Cottage to see their Christmas decorations. In their bedroom were two small beds side by side with matching quilts. 

Makenna thanked the Cuddle family for welcoming them. “We have to go home now. We are going to tell our Mommy and Daddy about our adventure and our new Cuddle family friends.”

Mommy Cuddle Bear said with a twinkle in her eye, “Wait! Since you told us that this is a pretend visit, perhaps Daddy Brian and Mommy Kara might think your visit was all in your imagination. Here....” She brought the two bowls from which the girls had eaten and gave them to Makenna and Myla. “These are our Christmas gifts to you to remind you of your really-truly happy visit to Cuddle Bear Cottage.”

The girls said thank you for the bowls and everybody gave everybody else a gentle bear hug. “Be sure to come again!” called Mommy Cuddle Bear. 

Before they knew it, Makenna and Myla were back in their own yard and “Woofie” the neighbor dog was wagging his tail to welcome them.

“Where have you girls been?” asked Mommy Kara. “And where did you get those beautiful bowls?” Makenna tried to explain about their pretend adventure trip to Cuddle Bear Cottage and about the bowls, but Mommy just smiled and shook her head. “Well, those bowls are not pretend. Bring them in the house. Our lunch is nearly ready and you girls can eat out of your Cuddle bowls if you wish. Then you can explain to Daddy Brian more about your Christmas adventure.”

And so they did. Makenna and Myla always ever after wanted to eat their food from their beautiful bowls because it reminded them of their happy Christmas visit to their new friends.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Of Landings and Stair Lifts

I delight in follow-up ideas especially when they come from the viewers of my blog. Here's one packed with potential that came from a fellow writer. Let's try to unpack it a bit...

“I just read your most recent blog "A View Up the Staircase." Once again you have written something that I too have had in my writer's head, but have not yet put into words on paper or on my computer. Many times I've referred to my life as a journey up a flight of stairs. At times when I think I just can't climb one more step, God provides a landing place for me to rest, recuperate, and rejuvenate. Once again I can resume the climb never knowing what's ahead or how long it will be before there will be another landing place.”

I have such a staircase in my home, the dark oak steps are wide, it has a sturdy banister (too fancy to be called a “railing”) and it has a landing half way up. Being a nonagenarian, I'm thankful for that “rest stop” on my staircase to the next level. It is like the green comfort places beckoning us to stop and stretch our legs and refresh ourselves after long drives on a freeway. It's a pause, not a full stop.

God provides landings like that at intervals in our lives or we would be overwhelmed by the length of our way Home. Some of us need to or should look for such landing places daily. In His tender loving-kindness He doesn't tell us in advance how far it is to the top or how steep it's going to be. We might chicken out and balk at taking even the first step. Landing places on our climb are a token of His mercy and love. Only He knows the plans He has for us, for good and not for evil. (Jer. 29:11) Jesus invites us to come unto Him, all who are weary and heavy laden. (Matt. 11:28) It's difficult enough to try to manage the climb unencumbered, but more often than not He has providentially given us various and sundry burdens, our own or those of others, to carry which weigh us down. We need the landings to restore our souls and our bodies and gain the big perspective. I have friends who have even placed a chair and some potted plants or an artificial tree on their stair landing to make those pauses seem like an oasis in the desert. A landing is not a place to camp permanently, just a respite, a timeout to catch our breath and renew our resolve to make it to the top.

God has compassion on those who are handicapped, calendar challenged, suffer from COPD, or struggle to make the climb in their own strength. Most of us have seen the TV ads for the “chair lifts” which attach to the staircase.
One can sit in comfort and safety strapped in and with a push of the button ascend to your destination. “And you keep calmly ascending even if there's a power outage due to a storm” some disembodied voice assures us. There are times when even the ablest among us needs a spiritual chair lift as a boost during our times of human weakness.

Instead of climbing the stairs, take an escalator if available? By taking that first step and then standing still we can be effortlessly taken up to the next level. Well, that's not exactly the way it is in the Christian life. We are responsible to exercise our wills and the energy God provides to attain the goal He sets before us.

Staircases, of course, are simply a modern version of a primitive ladder. That requires that we hold on tight to the sides of the ladder to maintain our scary balance as we climb. To go up the ladder is somewhat easier than trying to descend again. In our life climb there is no backward descent. We are committed—no turning back. It gives us some assurance if there is a trusted friend holding the bottom of the ladder securely and a friend at the top encouraging the climber, applauding his efforts, allaying his fears and welcoming him when at last he reaches the top. What a comforting analogy that God is with us at the beginning of our life climb, holding the ladder steady and also welcoming us when we reach our Summit.

There are also free standing circular staircases sometimes right in the middle of a room where you climb around and around instead of going straight up. First you seem to be going in one direction, then another, not realizing that you are making progress and eventually you emerge at the next level. Trust the architect who designed such amazing marvels! It's not a good idea to look down or look back if you tend to get dizzy. The apostle Paul put it into perspective: “I press on...forgetting what lies behind...reaching forward to what lies ahead toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:12-14). In life, God is that Architect and we must trust Him even though we are woozy from going in circles. Life often throws us curves. We seldom have a straight, plain vanilla, uneventful, predictable upward climb.

Success in whatever way God has ordained us to climb our staircase of life is assured if we “keep our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith” who cheers us on to “run with endurance [climb with endurance] the race [the staircase] that is set before us” (Hebrews 12:1, 2).

Saturday, December 9, 2017


If you keep your mental antennas up, you can find inspiration in surprising places.
My neighbors shared a Christmas letter with me from their longtime friend Mike. It made an impression on me. I can't do better than repeat part of it in his own words so it can bless you too—“you” as represented by the approximately 2-3000 views a month my blog is privileged to receive. Go, Mike...

“[In speaking with a realtor friend earlier in the year, he showed me a flyer describing a house he had been contracted to sell.] The photographer included the image of a young girl standing at the foot of the grand staircase of the house he was trying to sell. The picture touched me as worthy of some contemplation. In it I imagine her standing at the beginning of her life's journey represented by the stairs before her. Each step on the stairway of life brings a promise of many things: loving and being loved, happiness and tears, success and failure, personal growth intellectually and spiritually, understanding, the power to become who she will be, and the discovery of the love and wonder of God in her life.

“As I reflect on my life's journey, to date, I've reached the 72nd step. How many steps remain is known only to God. When I began to climb, I had no idea what the journey would bring, or of the many people I would encounter on my climb. Today, as I look back and reflect, I realize how blessed I am to have encountered so many friends on my journey. Whether our acquaintance goes back many years, or is of more recent vintage, I want you to know I have been richly blessed that you became and remain a part of the fabric of my life. For this I thank God with all my heart. As Helen Keller said, 'So long as the memory of certain beloved friends lives in my heart, I shall say that life is good.' Blessed by your friendship, my life's journey has been very good.” Thanks, Mike, I agree!

I, Leona, started out like the child in the picture on my own life staircase journey in the Iowa heartland in the midst of what they called "The Great Depression."
God set before me the particular staircase which He planned before I was born for me to climb. (Ephesians 1:4) And He planned for all the many friends who would enrich my life through the years on that long climb which I didn't know would be crowned with longevity.
I am rich indeed with fellow-climber friends! I have probably never met most of you who view my blog posts throughout the world, but in some mystical way we too are part of each others lives, as are the rest of my many friends whom I have met face to face and heart to heart through the 92 years I have been climbing my staircase of life. I echo Psalm 103:5 “He [God] satisfies your [years, life, mouth, necessity and desire at your personal age] with good; so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's [strong, overcoming, soaring]!" See Isaiah 40:31. Yes, blessed by your friendship, my life's journey continues to be very good.

The little child pictured in the photo contemplating the steep staircase ahead had to take it one step at a time, as I have had to do. There were times I stumbled on those stairs and though I might tumble backward. In life we are subject to progressive time and we must do the same. As we each reach the top of life's staircase, of course we aren't wearing the same shoes we started out with in infancy. I grew up in the era when parents bronzed their baby's shoes to preserve them as a keepsake. Mine were never bronzed, but I don't feel neglected or deprived. Would you believe? For whatever reason, I'm still in possession of mine. Mine are unique, however, in that I doubt anyone's baby shoes are preserved like mine with chicken droppings still stuck to the soles from running around in the barnyard as a toddler!

By the time we reach the summit of our life's staircase, some of us may no longer be wearing dress shoes with high heels but orthopedic supports in our SAS or New Balance practical footwear. And the view of life near the top of our climb shows us a vast panorama compared to the limited and unknown view from the bottom step. If we needed help in climbing life's stairs, and we all do, God was with us to hold our hand tightly as we advanced from childhood through adolescence, prime of life and advancing age. We don't know about the future, but we know Who holds our hand--Great is His faithfulness! Yes, blessed by your friendship, I too can say that my life's journey has been very good.

Thanks, my friend who is reading this blog post, thanks for being my friend as we have met somewhere in the Providence of God and for His purposes along our climb on our individual staircases of life.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017


“Physical therapy might help to jump start you,” suggested my doctor after having zeroed in on a current disorder of my bodily “earth suit.” Apparently my calendar-challenged body needed more exercise....

That launched me into a three times a week encounter with a young trainer chap named Kevin at the Kinetic-Balance Center. The trajectory he prescribed for me was not what is commonly thought of as body building and pumping iron with bulging muscles as the goal. I was to concentrate on trying to rescue, strengthen, and then maintain what puny muscles I had left as a nonagenarian after sitting for protracted periods for too many years at my computer in my writing studio.

Kevin told me to continue my prescribed regimen at home daily and buy some dumbbells for weight lifting. I had visions of the torture equipment in workout rooms depicted on TV, I asked how heavy they should be. “Two pounders,” replied Kevin. I bought them for a dollar apiece at a local thrift store. It didn't take me long to realize that was about all I could manage to lift anyway.

In addition to the P.T. program, I was to continue my thirty minute daily trip to nowhere on my recumbent stationary Schwinn 270 bike which time period was equal to five miles in distance—and gave me a few paltry calories to spend. In the flush of my initial enthusiasm for success, I was beginning “to take thought” that I really might be able to “add to my stature” (i.e. alter my body) if not by “a cubit,” (18 inches!..Jesus, were you exaggerating on purpose?) at least by a smidgen of strength for my mushy muscles.

After some weeks on that program I concluded exactly what Jesus had already told me in Matthew 6:27. “Which of you by being anxious can add one cubit unto the measure of his life?” One Bible version paraphrased it, “Can any of you live a bit longer by worrying about it?” Some translations expanded the meaning to include “adding a single moment to your life, a single hour to your age, to your span of life.” The Message Bible applied it vividly: “Has anyone by fussing in front of the mirror ever gotten taller by so much as an inch?” 
Bottom line? Nothing could be accomplished by simply “taking thought” (or being anxious, worrying). Even sweat and discipline and perseverance wouldn't cut it. That's true even for the man who by arduous training (or taking steroids?) attains a bulky body like the one pictured with this blog post. If he doesn't maintain his regimen, his exaggerated muscles degenerate to flabby again. So what's Jesus getting at?

Bible scholars differ in their interpretation of those verses, but some light is shed when the Matthew 6 verse is taken in context with 1 Timothy 4:7-9. Comparing translations, some read “bodily discipline, physical training of the body, exercise” “has some value, in some ways, has limited benefit, helps a little, is somewhat profitable, is not entirely useless.”

Bodily exercise is contrasted with godly exercise or “training in holy living.” Spiritual exercise is valuable in every way, useful for everything.” “Godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life which now is, and of that which is to come.” The Message Bible hits the mark again: “Workouts in the gymnasium are useful, but a disciplined life in God is far more so, making you fit both for today and forever,” both for the present and the future.

So? I'll at least try to keep on hoisting those two-pound dumbbells and continue pushing those bike pedals to nowhere. It does “profit a little.” I know that I ought to exercise my temporal body because it tends to drag me toward the slippery slope of inactivity which in turn hinders my health and ability to do the work for which God called me.

Without exercising myself to internal godliness, even if I was able to pump serious iron, such physical exercise would be of little and temporary advantage. My priority daily spiritual exercise must be to present my mortal body, my "earth suit" to God in spiritual worship (Romans 12:1) for the welfare of my soul, to the pursuit of a holy life, since godliness is profitable in all things in the present and in the future.We can't beat that for a lasting result!

Monday, November 20, 2017

Bonus Gift Book Offer Extended by popular request

Available for the asking with the purchase of any of Leona's books 
including her latest releases.

190 page Gift book from Leona Choy
Author voiced!
A CD of the reading of the first 74 pages by the author included with the book.This is Leona's First Poetry Anthology now out-of-print in its original format.  A Collector's Item! Order your author signed copy 
while they last!
From the Introduction

    In our early years we struggle to fulfill ourselves through education, our jobs or careers, possibly in marriage and family relationships. Perhaps through our talents or skills or the approval of others. Time seems to be on our side. We rarely give its earthly termination a thought. 

    Suddenly, so it seems, we find ourselves in the mature years of life. It dawns on us that we aren't done yet! We haven't finished what we started. Many dreams haven't materialized. We are forced to abandon some and readjust others. We didn't achieve all our goals.
    In frustration and then panic we may frantically try scrambling up some earthly ladder toward completion, attainment or success. Whatever happened to fulfillment? We stare into the face of increasing limitations.
    When we were younger, time seemed to drag its feet. Now time is pushing the accelerator down with both feet. Life is like mist or smoke: when we try to catch it, our fingers close around nothing. We keep asking, "Where did the time go?" Have we lost the entire centerfold of life?
    Have you ever had the urge to seize a significant moment and hug it tightly? You want it to last forever. Perhaps a particular period of life or some enjoyable experience. Do you remember the childhood game of "Statue"?  You were supposed to "freeze" in whatever position you were when the command was given. If only you could freeze time at some ideal age or without any changes in your family situation, your strength or your health. Or preserve an especially happy moment.
    Fantasy!  Let's admit that we really wouldn't be satisfied if we could stop time at this or any other moment. Besides, we might miss what God planned for us just around the next bend.  It may be better than anything we've experienced in the past or present.  We might miss the invigoration of a fresh challenge or a hurdle to leap over.
    Sometimes the Lord saves the best wine until the last!
    In any case, we don't have a choice.
    As human beings we are temporarily locked into earth's time frame. The clock ticks on until one day we step over into a thrilling eternal dimension where "time shall be no more."
    TODAY is the best day for the child of God!  The choicest moment is right now.  The Lord must have something special in mind to keep us hanging around on planet Earth.
    We've already lived our yesterdays! Thanks for Your generosity, God!
    We don't  know about our tomorrows. We trust You with them, Lord!
    So today is the only time for which we are accountable. We have the awesome opportunity to live it totally for Jesus.
    May God help us not to let today slip through our fingers without living it up and celebrating life to the fullest. We may still have time to be faithful stewards of the rest of our lives.
    LIFE MAY BE CROWDING US. But we have NOW!  And we may still, through the generosity of God, have the opportunity to add more of life's pages in full color in the days and years ahead.

What gives significance to this book is that I wrote it the year I was recovering from major lung cancer surgery and just before the sudden death of my husband the very year this book was published.  The
"more of life's pages yet" about which I hardly dared to speculate above--given the circumstances I faced--have so far turned out to be twenty-seven years. Let us Celebrate each day as a loving gift from God and let Him do the counting of how many years He has planned for each of you who reads these words.

Below is the flagship poem from the book title, page 64.  Listen to Leona reading it on CD--in her more youthful voice!

 Life- Stop Crowding Me!

Life, stop crowding me!
I can't keep up with you.
I want to stop and enjoy
what I've become
and grown into
but you keep pushing me
faster and faster.

I want to pause and savor
the luscious flavor
of what I've waited for
worked for, hoped for
but you never allow me
the costly luxury
of cementing the moment
I've achieved.

You jostle me too swiftly
to the next stage
the new role
the greater struggle
the higher level
the fresh experience
before I'm finished with this one.

Just let me catch my breath
and take a look around
to see what I have found.
No such luck!
It's best for me, I guess
not to be sedated
with all of earth's success
but to be impelled
to keep motivated
forced forward
provoked higher
propelled onward
to stretch my pace
and run life's race.

I'd tend to spend my time
sitting beside the road of life
resting and complacent
appeased and pleased
but wasting away
to my own dismay
accomplishing nothing more.
Yes, I'd smell the roses
but in a placid daze
basking in the sun
instead of pressing on
and burning out
in a beautiful blaze!

Phil. 3:12-14

Thursday, November 9, 2017


God didn't have to do it that way when He put Planet Earth's creation design in orbit. Instead of 24 hour days, “there was evening and there was morning, one day,” (Genesis 1:5) He could have established longer time segments for humans, animals and vegetation. He could have ordained an earthly orbit of the sun to give us several days of daylight in succession in which to labor and stretched to several nights in a row for our renewal in sleep.

In His wisdom and concern for our mortal frailty and our need for more frequent physical and mental restoration, God decreed our living time to be portioned to us in 24 hour bite-sized segments called days. Each morning we have another fresh new day in which to start over, and He supplies us with renewed strength to encounter it! That's really all we can handle at a time, right?

What a generous provision! No matter how badly we may have failed or come short yesterday, God gives us a clean, fresh today. “It is of the LORD'S mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is Your faithfulness” (Lam.3:22,23).

When the Israelites in their trek out of Egypt were supplied by God with manna to eat, He gave it strictly on a daily basis. “And they gathered it every morning, every man according to his eating.”
Psalm 130:6My soul waits for the Lord more than they that watch for the morning: I say, more than they that watch for the morning.
1 Chron. 23:30 “And to stand every morning to thank and praise the Lord, and likewise at evening.”
Psalm 5:3 “In the morning, Lord, You hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before You and wait expectantly.”

Psalm 59:16 “But I will sing of Your strength, in the morning I will sing of Your love; for You are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble.”

Psalm 90:14 “Satisfy us in the morning with Your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.”

Psalm 143:8 “Let the morning bring me word of Your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in You. Show me the way I should go, for to You I entrust my life.”

In gratitude for God's gift of each new day, can we do less than entrust the day to Him and let the Holy Spirit edit the hours according to the will of God?

Leona Choy

Another untainted day!
Lord, I'm overwhelmed
with Your munificence
to provide for me so generously
from Your stockpile of time
with a fresh start
each new dawn
regardless of the way
I blew yesterday.

God is in my now
this moment His
and His this day
so I must turn
from yesterday
and not expect
to live in retrospect
looking over my shoulder
to see either ghosts
or a pleasant memory.

God is in my now
so all of daily life
is holy ground
each duty crowned
as a royal moment
by the presence of The King.

My burning bush
is my present state
where God speaks to me
in the present tense
saying, “I AM” here.
Because He lives eternally
I can celebrate now!
On this delightful thought
I meditate
and find my joy today!

Monday, November 6, 2017



Some are open and we freely walk through presuming God is leading us. Other doors seem closed and we aren't sure what to do about them. If the door is locked, we could break the front door down and barge in—to our peril. Or we could look for another way to get in—a side door, back door or a window. However, that's dangerous—we may be mistaken as intruders.

There are entrances that don't have an actual material door, like the entry to a sheepfold in Jesus' analogy. It was simply an opening in a circle of stones or some sort of barrier across which the shepherd himself would lie across at night to prevent his sheep from sleep walking and snarling wolves from sneaking their way in to do harm. The shepherd was the door. Jesus claimed that He as the Good Shepherd is the door. (John 10:9) He warned against those who would attempt illegitimate ways of entry.

There are doors that confuse us because they seem to be swinging or rotating doors. We enter as if to walk through but as we walk we find ourselves rotating around and ending up outside again. Were we mistaken that the door was open?

Some doors are double and triple bolted and barred and guarded by security people.
These are No Trespassing doors. Let's not even approach them. Usually they are clearly marked so we don't have any excuse to mistake them.

Other doors are warm and friendly and we are entrusted with a key so that we can go in and out at will like family.

It isn't easy in our daily Christian walk to discern how best to deal with particular doors. Moreover, the Holy Spirit's guidance is unique to each of us and specific to situations. We need to pray for wisdom to recognize God's leading in any given circumstance. We like friendly doors where a WELCOME mat makes the decision for us. Rotating doors give us pause since we thought we were meant to go in but we find ourselves on the outside again. 
By all means we don't want to trespass anywhere God has clearly forbidden us. Let's not break a door down that God didn't mean for us to enter. The Lord did endow us with free will so we may actually attempt to do that sometime to our humiliation. However, there are God-guided occasions when even breaking through a roof is permissible. (Mark 2:4,5)

We are instructed to knock and ask and seek (Matthew 7:7) and not attempt forced entry. If God has planned for us to enter a certain door or escape through one, neither “four squads of soldiers, double chains, and guards in front of the door” (Acts 12:6) can keep a door from opening, nor can any man shut it. We are familiar with some doors in medical or office buildings that automatically open to us as we approach them with no effort on our part. God doesn't intend to confuse us with closed doors but delights in opening the right doors for us at the right time. (Rev. 3:8; Acts 14:27) In the case of the apostle Peter incarcerated in prison (Acts 12:10) an angelic event occurred whereby “an iron gate opened for them by itself.”

How about the doors we are encountering today? Would the bottom line of our dilemma of the doors be to simply trust and obey what we are instructed by Jesus Himself? “Knock....” That is, PRAY. Let's knock in faith trusting in the goodness of the Lord that He will give us enough light upon our path to know how to deal with a specific door. And then listen to God's reply to our knock and follow His directions.

Thursday, November 2, 2017


I believe in signs, whether they are man-made or God's invisible direction signals. One of the most vocal and visual signs 
is posted at railroad crossings.

Here we find wise life and death traffic advice and also hidden spiritual implications. The material consequence, if the sign is obeyed, prevents you from being mangled to death with your vehicle when run down by an unexpected speeding train.

The spiritual consequences of not heeding this advice have repercussions for our well-being as Christians and the quality of our daily walk with the Lord.

I find that during any given day, as the hours tick by, my life sometimes begins to feel increasingly scattered in many directions. There are times when I feel fragmented, disintegrated. Everyone seems to want a piece of me and I don't have enough to go around. I have so many things on my plate that it is heaped high. Like the pieces of a puzzle, my day, my life needs to be assembled together again with care. “Recollected” is a good word for my need, with the emphasis being on re-collected. All the fragments need gathering up into some order. That's where the above sign's message comes in with good advice.

STOP! That comes first. I simply have to stop whatever I'm doing and take stock of my situation. Put on the brakes. Let my interior engine idle. Stop the noise, the dissonance, and embrace the silence so that I can think clearly. I shouldn't go any further, cross any lines, make any decisions until I'm re-collected and put back together again—something Humpty Dumpty couldn't accomplish even with all the help of his military entourage. Only when I'm still can I know how far off course I may have drifted.

LOOK! Look around. Look both ways to see whether I've taken on too much or have been put upon by others. Who has dished out all the things on my plate? Am I following God's orders or my own inclinations and plans? Is the enemy of my soul pushing me in every direction to distract me from my God-given trajectory for my day and for my life? I need to open my eyes to see what is happening to me.

LISTEN! After I've taken the above two actions, it's time to listen. I need to tune out the static that interferes with a clear audio signal from God. In this more tranquil state I can finally begin to focus on priorities, discern between what's important and what is just the tyranny of the urgent. Here is where God can whisper to me and point out what unneeded barnacles are clinging to my life and how to detach them from me.

Perhaps I need to take action on this spiritual exercise more than once a day, if I feel what is called “discombobulated”—a strange but descriptive word for being bewildered and unable to think straight. We all know that feeling at times. Like being disoriented or lost in a maze or caught off balance. There are times when we may need to take a whole day off to catch up with ourselves and reset our course. This is especially important when I'm facing some critical decisions and need clarity of mind and certain direction from God. STOP-LOOK-LISTEN is the key.

When using a GPS while driving and inadvertently making a wrong turn or failing to follow the voice or visual instruction of our device, we need to re-calibrate. To admit our error, start again, and follow the instructions to a new course to arrive at our desired destination.

When I hear God's still small voice in the quiet of my STOP—LOOK—and LISTEN experience, and if I don't heed His voice but persist in forging ahead in my overheated, impatient state, I will pay a price with the consequences. I will get run over with the speeding train of life. God has made a way of escape for us: There is safety in BELIEVING IN SIGNS.

Saturday, October 28, 2017


I prefer to say I'm “concerned” about something or someone. I shy away from admitting to the word “worry” as if it were a naughty four letter word.

 But if I'm honest and look within at my inner self, I see the ugly evidence of anxiety. In excess, worry is an addiction. As a Christian supposedly mature from a lifetime of faith and trust in God, certainly mature in calendar years, I nevertheless have to declare, as participants are required to do in AA meetings, “My name is Leona and I'm a recovering worrier.” As with any addiction, one is always still in process. Even as a child of God, I tend to slip back into worry. I try to excuse myself that it's just a part of the package of living. After all, there's a whole lot to be “concerned” about, isn't there?

The dictionary defines “anxious” as distress or uneasiness due to apprehension or anticipation of danger or misfortune or the future; troubled in mind, fearful, disquieted, nervous, on edge. Okay, so the fact is that anxiety and worry, is a mental condition. I originates in the mind. God has created us with free will and that includes our choice of what we think about. God has made us capable of “taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ” (2 Cor. 10:5). 
That is not something God is going to do for us. It is a matter of mind control. It's our responsibility to go after the wild worries with a net and capture them and bring them back to orderly confidence in Christ. The apostle Paul makes it clear that it is our business to “set our mind on the things above, not on things that are on earth” (Col. 3:2). I have to admit that it's those earthly things that make me anxious.

Philippians 4:8 is a comprehensive litany of what we should think about—all positive and confident—and without a hint of worry or anxiety or apprehension or fear or distress on the list. “Let your mind dwell on these things!” That means me. No excuses or self-justification.

The Scriptures are full of anti-worry, anti-anxiety teachings. Let's put a magnifying glass to some of the details and with David, the Psalmist, pray “Try me, know my anxious thoughts” (Psalm 139:23). Yes, it's all in my mind. What good does worry do anyway?

Matt. 6:27And who among you, by being anxious, is able to add one hour to his life span?” Other versions say add, a single foot to his height. [Exercise and nutrition obsessions?] This instruction focuses on anxiety about how long or short a time God wants me to live on Planet Earth.

From the mouth of Jesus Himself, (Matt 6:25) "Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you shall eat or what you shall drink, nor about your body, what you shall put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?” That takes care of anxiety about mealtimes, shopping for clothes, housing needs, and all other concerns of the human body and daily living [body building and illnesses and health insurance?] To break it down still further, “anxiety about the cares of this life, and the deceit of riches” [careers and salaries and retirement benefits] in 13:22 worry about those things “choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful.” How about anxiety for how we should answer people in our witness, our speech and words? (Matt. 10:19)

In Luke 10:41 Jesus zeroed in further on anxiety about food preparation and hospitality and spiritual priorities, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things.” Compound that with seemingly just anxiety about what's going on in society and politics and government and international affairs today (Luke 21:26) Who isn't worried? “While men's hearts are fainting for fear, and for anxious expectation of what is coming on the world. For the forces which control the heavens will be disordered and of good cheer, I have overcome the world....” And anxiety about relationships that are confused, about married life or the lack thereof? (I Cor 7:32) “I want you to be free from anxieties.

To sum it up, Paul warns and instructs, (Phil. 4:6) “In nothing be anxious; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” That's the bottom line to cover anything else I'm inclined to be worried or anxious about.

I stand without excuse. When worry rises up in my mind, I need to  get back to kindergarten, backtrack to the basics of my earlier, more simple childlike walk with God and trust in His providence as the antidote. Under ordinary circumstances, children don't worry. They trust that their needs and wants are provided for them. 

 I need to focus on the certainty of His love and mercy and Fatherly care for me in all the intimate details of this mortal life. Back to trust and a peaceful heart and mind. And to do my part to capture those wayward anxious thoughts with the free will God has given me and the strength that Jesus provides.