Tuesday, February 21, 2017


I was in the process of digging up some facts for this blog post about those annoying yet often life-saving, alert strips on the road that make a deafening, grumbling, growling noise when you drive over them too fast—when I encountered one myself

It wasn't a concrete or asphalt one on the road, but a potential emotionally unsettling one in the form of an unexpected phone call this morning from my doctor's office after a recent medical checkup. It too rattled my ear drums.

Rumble strips are put on roads for a purpose; sometimes to wake us up if we are dangerously nodding off, to keep us in line if we tend to drift off lane, slow us down if our speed is excessive, warn us of something ahead—that sort of thing. Sometimes there is only one rumble strip to cross, sometimes a whole series of them.

They are in the center of the road or across the road or along the shoulder, or at the entrance to school property. Sometimes there are signs warning us that they are ahead, sometimes they just pop up by surprise to startle us. We better not ignore them.

They have their parallel in the spiritual life. Perhaps you have encountered some rumble strips yourself? Medical reports, health issues, relationship upheavals, sudden losses, financial reversals, relocation pressure, loss of independence, forced retirement, family crises--endless possibilities. They are the equivalent of a loving tap on the shoulder by God to get our attention, a caution signal to stay alert if we are driving merrily, merrily with speed set on cruise along “Carefree Avenue” or “Taking-Life-For-Granted Boulevard.” These signs from God are not random or haphazard. We are not victims of chance or circumstances. God is working out His purposes for good in our lives. "Nothing can separate us from the love of God...." 
The bottom line? Let's listen up to those rumble strips--It is Trust in God time!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017


In my childhood and youth we picked a daisy and tore off its petals one by one chanting: “He (she) loves me...loves me not...loves me...loves me not...” Whichever final petal we ended up with, that was the true answer.

Let's change that question a bit: “Do I deserve it...or not...deserve it...or not...?” Deserve what? The particular trial, crisis, trauma or suffering that I (or you) are going through.

Unfortunately, that isn't even the right question. To deserve something presupposes that justice will be done in this time and age and human circumstances in which we are living. Justice is not being served despite an abundance of laws and enforcers. Unjust and undeserved things are going on all the time. Genuine justice is reserved for God's judgment in our eternal state. In this life we should not expect things to “be fair” or justice served.

This blog post is going to be somewhat serious and soaked with Scripture references. It is too vital a topic not to dig deeply into Scripture to be sure we are on solid biblical ground. Suffering of one kind or another is always with us and we do well to question where it comes from and why and how I am to respond. This brief study can't be exhaustive, only a beginning to try to understand what mankind has questioned from the beginning of time: why do the godly suffer?

Many passages of Scripture, especially in the New Testament in the Gospels and Apostolic Letters, deal with our suffering and the reasons for it and the responses that God expects from us. The wisdom of the apostle Peter should be authoritative. He grappled with it in his first letter and seemed to separate our suffering into several different categories. They are not equal and do not rise from the same circumstances or actions. He sets the stage by telling us “not to think it strange, be surprised, amazed and bewildered” [in different translations of the text] at whatever we are going through. It is normal, simply par for the course, when we signed on, as it were, to follow Christ. “Even to this you were called—it is inseparable from your vocation. For Christ also suffered for you, leaving you His personal example, so that you should follow on in His footsteps” (2:21 Amplified Version).

Peter points out in chapter 4 verse 12 one of the kinds of suffering we may endure: “to test your quality.” In His love, not for punishment, God is working on us and in us to conform us into the image of His Son Jesus. He is moving us toward holiness and the perfection that we will finally attain only in His presence as holy, transformed immortals in eternity. We are in process. Painful as it is, deserve it or not, suffering in this passing world is part of that process. As in the case of Job in the Old Testament book, nothing Job did precipitated the suffering he endured. Some things were going on in eternal places “behind the curtain” so to speak. When we suffer in this way, we may be misunderstood by others and we ourselves don't know what God is up to in our lives. Sometimes He lets us know, sometimes He doesn't.

Peter points to a second kind of suffering and warns us “by no means go there.” He lists some of that sinfulness in 4:15. We shouldn't belly ache if we suffer as evildoers, “when you sin” 3:10, 11, 17. Peter quotes from Psalm 34. In such cases we do get what we deserve; we don't have to pluck daisy petals to find out. When we suffer the consequences of our own wrongdoing, we shouldn't ask for God's justice—we can only plead for God's forgiveness, love and mercy when we repent.

A third kind of suffering that Christians from the earliest days of the Church through all the ages until the present have experienced—persecution for their faith, “on account of Me” Jesus says in Matthew 5:11. “Blessed are you when men revile you, persecute you, and say all kinds of evil things against you falsely on My account.” That kind of suffering is all too pervasive throughout the world today 24/7 as Christians in many countries are literally being tortured and martyred by the hundreds of thousands for the sake of Christ. They are bearing His cross because they have taken up His cross and followed Him. (1 Peter 4:13, 14, 16, 19) Their kind of suffering merits a glorious eternal reward.

The fourth kind of suffering is for doing good, “for doing right” 2:15, “for your good deeds.” “They slander you as evildoers.” “For the sake of righteousness” (You are not suffering because of your Christian faith, as in the previous kind of suffering, nevertheless you endure it and respond like a Christian although it may be unjust and undeserved and not directly related to your Christian faith.) Matthew 5:10 “persecuted for the sake of righteousness.” For that reason, Peter writes, “Keep your behavior excellent” among outsiders so there will be no occasion to accuse you. (2:12). “It is God's will that by doing right your good and honest lives should silence the ignorance of foolish men” (2:15). You don't get any Boy Scout badges for enduring it patiently when being harshly treated if you have really sinned. (2:20) “But if you bear suffering patiently when you do right and it is undeserved, it is acceptable and well-pleasing to God.” 

 How shall we respond under suffering? We are not left in doubt: “Be zealous for what is good, anticipate rewards from God, rejoice while suffering, regard yourself as blessed, love your enemies, pray and pray for them, don't be ashamed, give glory to God, endure it patiently, keep your behavior excellent, be ready to give a logical defense, act courteously and respectfully, do not be afraid of their threats nor be disturbed by their opposition, acknowledge Christ as Lord, and keep your conscience clear.” (3:13-17)

So which category of suffering are you being blessed with today? Which am I? God is not obliged to tell us; He has His perfect plan for each of our lives. I suggest that we trust His plan. But He doesn't keep it a secret how He expects us to respond to suffering so we can “find favor with Him.” We don't have to waste our time pulling petals off of innocent daisy flowers to find out if we deserve it.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017


We can never resign, retire, renounce, or retreat from our responsibility as a role model. We can't quit or discontinue, outgrow, outlive our role or withdraw, give up, or abdicate even in our advanced season of life.

Like it or not, each of us is on display 24/7 as if we live our lives in a showcase window. Whatever our age, wherever we are, whatever we are doing—or not doing—someone's eyes are upon us. We have a lifelong modeling career. 

As a Christian, I am God's "Exhibit One." If I am a parent, a grandparent, a great-grandparent, a spouse, a sibling, a teacher, a public official, a leader of any sort, my role is to model Jesus Christ. But surely not when my strength is waning, when I am no longer in the mainstream of life, when I am benched for one reason or another, when I'm shut in or live obscurely, or laid aside by illness, or realize that my days are numbered—surely I'm no longer expected to be a role model? 

Oh yes I am! I still have a role to play and I'm accountable to the Lord for what I display of Him to whomever is around me. Only if we are in solitary confinement in prison do we lack the eyes of people upon us.

When I think back to my growing years of childhood and youth, I distinctly recall the people who influenced my life scores of years ago and drew me, albeit unawares, in the direction my life eventually took. Some of them never even knew me but they modeled some positive aspect of life or faith that left an indelible impression on me.

Even now in the summit season of my life there are Christian people who are role models for me. Some are confined to beds of suffering or have become aware that they are terminal, yet they display courage and endurance. They are role models of faith in God and perseverance under duress. Even someone in a hospital bed or in a care facility is surrounded with people to whom they are role models. After all, each of us is terminal from the day of our birth. We spend our lives learning how to cope with living and when we have learned that passably, we then have to learn how to die in a way to glorify the Lord. He has given us faithful role models to show us the way.

I have friends who are older than I am (hard to believe?!) and they are teaching me (although unawares) how to *age joyfully. Some people doubt that is possible; “aging” and “joy” used in the same sentence seems like an oxymoron, unrealistic. The two conditions may not come naturally, so they too must be worked on and learned with the help of our compassionate God.

Whatever season of life we find ourselves in at this very moment, we are being watched. Our loving God is watching us and watching over us empowering us to fulfill our role “in season and out of season” because others are watching us too—and we are still on a role! 

*AGING JOYFULLY is the title of one of the popular books I have recently reprinted because of the demand. I had the privilege of co-authoring it with my lifelong friend, Dr. Timothy Starr. I could easily attach a “money back guarantee” to it because I am so sure that whatever your age, or the age of the family member or retiring friend for whom you will purchase it, it will prove meaningful.

So I'm offering another “Bundled Bargain.”
The price of AGING JOYFULLY is $12.95 a copy and I am bundling it with a free copy of a 200 page companion book AGING CHALLENGES by Dr. Starr--as long as copies last. The books will come in a 2-day priority postal box for which S/H is $8.00.

Order by email leonachoy@gmail.com or phone 540-877-1813 and send your check payable to Leona Choy 497 Devland Dr. Winchester, VA 22603 or use your credit card through paypal.me/LeonaChoy.
Hurry! Stock is limited! You may want to order more copies!

Monday, February 6, 2017


Apparently a lot of people do! 
My blog and email friends have asked if there is a "bundle" price if ALL of my newly published books are ordered at one time. Would they receive a discount?
         Of course! 

Let's do it this way: 
Any 5 of the books pictured below selected from my newly published ones or from my 3 newly reprinted books
         Or 5 of all one title
         Or any combination of titles that you prefer

Only $49.95 for any 5 books plus $8.00 for S/H to enjoy 2 day priority delivery! 
 How's that for a "Bundle Bargain?" 
Why not order some of my books as gifts for your friends and family at that discount?

Order through my email: leonachoy@gmail.com or phone me 540-877-1813
Pay by check made payable to Leona Choy and sent to 497 Devland Dr. Winchester, VA 22603
Or use your credit card through paypal.me/LeonaChoy

Keep tuned! More "BUNDLE BARGAINS"
 will be coming soon!

Sunday, February 5, 2017


I certainly do need the “Divine Rescue Squad” (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) on quite a regular basis to "pluck" me out of the snares and traps of daily life.  I frequently send out a distress signal for Help From Above.

King David was especially good at crying S.O.S. Physically strong military man and national leader that he was, God always seemed to be “plucking” him out of snares, traps, pits, nets and the like. I'm in good company.

I use the action “plucking” in a similar way as I used it when writing about the aging eagle plucking out its worn feathers in anticipation of growing new ones so it could soar the heavens again with renewed vigor. Plucking is defined as “pulling off or out from somewhere or something with sudden force or a jerk.” God sometimes snatches us with a heavenly yank just in the nick of time from danger or being overcome from some dilemma.

Back to King David the Psalm writer who always seemed to be getting caught in snares or nets or traps or pits that his adversaries laid for him—or that he fell into by his own carelessness or fault or deliberate action. 

What is a “snare”? A device like a noose used for capturing some living creature. It is set by someone with the intention of gaining control of an unsuspecting victim by trickery or a wile. A “trap” is similar. A contrivance for catching game, it springs suddenly when a victim comes near unawares. The surprise element is important to gain the advantage, as is the bait which is the essential lure or the come-on. A “net” is either a literal woven mesh for catching something by entanglement or a network of some sort, sometime invisible, almost like a spider's web, that completely engulfs the victim and renders it helpless. A “pit” is a concealed hole, often very deep, camouflaged to blend with the environment. Its intent is to capture large animals or people who may fall into it unawares. It implies enticement or inveiglement. One can't get out of a pit by one's own strength or skill. It is a hidden danger; one wouldn't deliberately fall into a pit if it was obvious to him.

We are so much like David in that our modern life in this high tech age and urban environment isn't much different than what he faced thousands of years ago in his more agrarian era. Human nature is the same and so are our temptations and our adversities and our adversaries, although coming upon us wearing a different guise. As God's adult children, we are just as helpless to pluck ourselves out of our perplexities as was David. God doesn't chide us for crying and pleading to be delivered. We are powerless and it is good and right that we recognize that and cast ourselves entirely on God's mercy and love. He is the willing Deliverer, the “Plucker” upon whom we are welcome to call at all times and in every kind of trouble.

Without a doubt, Scripture reinforces God's title as “The Plucker. To select just a few of the multitude of rescuing verses: “For it is He who delivers you from the snare of the trapper, and from the deadly pestilence [that stalks in darkness]” (Psalm 91:3) “My eyes are continually toward the Lord, for He will pluck my feet out of the net” (Psalm 25:15). “Thou wilt pull me out of the net which they have secretly laid for me; for Thou art my strength” (Psalm 31:4). “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1). “Blessed be the Lord, who has not given us to be torn by their teeth. Our soul has escaped as a bird out of the snare of the trapper; the snare is broken and we have escaped. Our help is in the name of the Lord, Who made heaven and earth” (Psalm 124:6-8).

So then I should not be ashamed to cry out to God for help as often as I am in some mess of my own making or that has come upon me unawares and even undeserved. He answers my every cry! “He redeems me from the hand of the adversary. Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble; He delivered them out of their distresses.” “He sent His word and healed them, and delivered them from their pits” (Psalm 107:6,7, 19,20). Can you or I ever be fallen into a pit too deep for God's supernatural plucking? Do I think I may be in one now from which it is impossible to be plucked? That is impossible. There isn't a snare or net or trap strong enough to hold me if He plucks me loose!

Your pits and snares and traps and entire networks of problems and troubles and temptations and distresses and stresses are different from mine. I know what mine are, don't you? And I'm counting on the Lord "plucking" me out of mine in His time and in His way!  *Selah! Think on these things.
 * Selah. If you don't know what this expression from the Psalms means, order my new book "SELAH REFLECTIONS: Press the PAUSE Button."

Saturday, February 4, 2017


One of the 5 of my newly published books is a 153 page book of my "vintage years" contemporary poems, PSALMS OF MY HARVEST. 

Many of you asked me for a new collection of my verse written during the personal harvest season of my life, most of which you have been reading through recent years on my blog posts. 
Okay, here it is....

Friends who are familiar with my poetry from my blog and other published Anthologies know that I don't write run-of-the-mill rhymed and metered greeting card verse. I take my own path less traveled by writing free verse full of similes, metaphors, figurative language and poetic devices. But you never need to wonder what I'm getting at. I don't leave you guessing; at the same time, I don't "sermonize."

I call my versifications "psalms" and my collection is virtually a "hymnbook" since most of them are "Psalms to the King of kings," unsophisticated prayers about ordinary matters and dialogues with God reflective of my hopefully accumulated wisdom as a nonagenarian. These psalm-poems are learning-observations during my joyful autumn years, what I call my calendar-challenged season at the summit of my days.

But wait!

You complained that as much as you appreciate my poetry and pass its encouragement on to your friends, you want to HEAR me read some of it aloud. Then when you read other titles, you can "hear my voice" on the written page. 
Okay again....

Whenever you order a copy of PSALMS OF MY HARVEST, I will include a FREE one hour CD of me reading some of the poems from this new volume, and also others from some of my Anthology Collections.

Still more....Because there is still space in the small flat rate postal box for no additional postage,
I'm including another bonus gift book for your enjoyment, LIVING IT UP: Meditations for "Seasoned Saints," 281 pages of my daily devotional writings interspersed with more of my uplifting poems. 

All 3 items: $12.95 for the PSALMS OF MY HARVEST book, the other 2 items FREE. Plus S/H $8.00 for the convenience of 2 day priority P.O. service!

This special "Bundled Bargain" offer is good from today through the end of March only. Hurry while the limited stock lasts!

You may order through my
email address: leonachoy@gmail.com or by phone 540-877-1813 and make checks payable to Leona Choy. Mail to 497 Devland Dr. Winchester, VA 22603 or pay by credit card to paypal.me/LeonaChoy

Friday, February 3, 2017


“Plucking” isn't quite an everyday familiar word unless we use it in the sense of plucking the strings of an instrument. However, I'm using it here in a different definition as I explore the example of a weary, exhausted eagle seeking to renew (rejuvenate) itself. Its God-given instinct leads it to pluck out all of its feathers.

What does “plucking” mean? It's not a gentle, painless procedure. By definition it is yanking, tearing, ripping with sudden force or a jerk; tugging sharply by pulling out from the place of growth; to uprooting and removing. In the case of the eagle, not fun and games. It is for some perceived purpose, not a random action. What is the eagle's purpose? It plucks out all of its feathers in anticipation of growing a complete set of new ones.

It is a process. The eagle doesn't jerk its feathers out all at once but one by one until it is rid of everything of the old including any annoying fleas or lice that were hiding among its feathers. It must be a clean sweep until it stands bare of all that could have hindered its renewal. The eagle is on the way to becoming almost like a new creature with all the attributes of youth again in its vigor and strength. The process is costly and painful but essential and worth it for the celebrated result.

If I am to imitate the eagle (Psalm 103:5) in my renewal, I should begin with one “feather” at a time. My feathers are the aspects of my life that need renewal, that may be hindering my flight to greater heights, and keeping my life down in certain valleys or unworthy canyons, “the things which so easily beset me” as the Scripture puts it. Things that only God and I know that hinder or slow down my life race. My feathers too may give shelter to all kinds of shortcomings and sins that I hide from the sight of others among my feathers.

This plucking process is something that I must do; God will not do it for me. This has nothing to do with my salvation and my eternal life which is effected by God's grace. It has to do with my mortal life while in my “earth suit,” my human body in which my eternal spirit dwells, and my Christian lifestyle and witness. God doesn't pluck my feathers out for me. Some things we are responsible to do ourselves. “Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God,” “[you] draw near unto God and He will draw near to you,” “keep yourselves in the love of God,” “building yourselves up on your most holy faith,” etc. God has His own area of “plucking” which I will explore later, as in “rescuing us, snatching us from, pulling us out” of the nets, traps, pits, and snares into which we fall. But this feather plucking, the ridding ourselves of unwanted, unworthy attachments is up to us—up to me.

I have my own set of feathers to identify, and you have yours. 
A large eagle has about 7,000 feathers, 1,200 on each wing. That should ordinarily take it a long time, but it accomplishes this feat in approximately 40 days. I hope I don't have that many feathers to deal with and pluck out, but it will still likely take me a while to deal with the things I need to rid myself of in order to carry through my renewal. In John chapter 15 Jesus calls this process “pruning,” ridding ourselves even of good, healthy shoots of our vine in order that we might “bear fruit, more fruit, and much fruit.” 

So I must allow the Lord to help me examine myself for what things in my life or my habits or my lifestyle or my circumstances hinder me from the holiness to which God draws me. The negative things and also possibly some positive things which I may need to curtail or lay aside to fulfill God's greater purpose for my life as He has planned it.

I have discovered a whole handful of “first feathers” which I should start plucking out. But I have to begin with one. I've decided what that one should be. It will take me a good while to work on that until I completely dislodge it. It might take me more than 40 days to grow a new habit or virtue or attribute in its place. But I'm going to work on it with God's enabling and His promise of spiritual eagle-rejuvenation. Would you consider joining me in this plucking process with your own “feathers?”

There are a few other definitions for the word “pluck.” We could say that it will take “pluck” (courage, boldness, bravery, spunk) for you and me to engage in this eagle-like rejuvenation—but it will be worth it all. Stay tuned to my blog and we'll explore together how we can imitate what else the eagle is doing while it is “feather plucking.”