Monday, October 20, 2008


That’s the word that hit me as I began to read Second Timothy. Now, if you are familiar with the book, that may strike you as funny, since the content deals with the last days, problems in the church, and the trials of being a soldier of Christ. But let me go on to explain.

In Paul’s life- In verse 2, Paul says “Timothy, I thank God for you- the God I serve with a clear conscience, just as my ancestors did.” Paul recognizes the God he now serves, is the same God he served as a child and the same God his ancestors worshipped. After his encounter with Christ, the light bulb came on, and he had a much clearer picture of God, yet it was the same God that had loved his people from the beginning of time.

In Timothy’s life- In verse 5, “I remember your genuine faith, for you share the faith that first filled your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice. And I know that same faith continues strong in you.” What a blessing to see the faith pass from one generation to the next!

In God’s word- Chapter 2 verse 19 “But God’s truth stands firm like a foundation stone with this inscription “The Lord knows those who are His” and “All who belong to the Lord must turn away from evil.”

What a comfort in these days to know the continuity of God’s care. The foundation stone of our lives can remind us we are His. He will be the rock of safety when the world around us trembles.

That verse also gives us a challenge to continuity in our own lives. “All who belong to the Lord must turn away from evil.” Paul warns us of the dangers of these last days, as the love of many grows cold, as they let sin drift into their lives and they wander farther from the God who has the power to transform their lives. My guess would be, that in the original language, the word “turn” away from evil is not a one shot deal. I think it must be a continual turning away, and a continual turning to God. He is the one who has the power to keep us, if we will keep our hearts tuned to Him and turned from evil. Well, maybe not just from evil, but from everything that takes our attention away from Him and doing what is right. There are a lot of OK things out there, that are not evil in and of themselves, but they distract us from our purpose in life, from our relationship with Him.

In Chapter 4 verse 6 Paul tells us “As for me, my life has already been poured out as an offering to God. The time of my death is near. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful. Now the prize awaits me- the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on the day of His return. And the prize is not just for me, but for all who eagerly look forward to His appearing.”

Through “many dangers, toils and snares”, Paul continuously served God. He remained faithful to the call of God on his life. May we all have the same testimony, and join him in the throne room to receive our crowns.

Keep fighting the good fight!
In His love, Cheryl 10/20/08

The Call

The Call

Here it is a Monday morning! I guess I am a little out of my regular routine these days, since Wednesdays used to be my blog morning. But let me tell you why….

About 2 weeks ago, on a Friday morning, I wrote about Transition. Later that day, Scott called me to tell me he was laid off from his job. As things were slow, this was nothing unusual. He usually gets called back to work after a week or two at the most, so we didn’t think anything of it. He called in his unemployment claim, and we spent a few days at the ocean, enjoying the end of the summer.

The following Friday, he got a letter from his employer, saying finances were so bad, that Scott’s position had been eliminated. After 26 years in the same company, he is looking for a new job. Needless to say, we were a little shocked, but we know God has always provided and we’re trusting Him. We have no idea where this new adventure will take us….

I started thinking about Abraham and Sarah. They were happily settled in Haran, and then Abraham’s father died. Life as they knew it changed.

In Genesis 12, “The Lord had said to Abram, “Leave your native country, your relatives, and your father’s family, and go to the land that I will show you. I will make you into a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous, and you will be a blessing to others.” In verse 3, “So Abram departed as the Lord had instructed.”

Life as we have known it for 26 years has changed. Every morning, Scott got up and went off to work at the same job. It had its ups and downs, but you knew what to expect and it provided a steady income. We had hoped it would last us until next year, when, God willing, we make the last mortgage payment. But the job died, and God is saying “Leave what you know behind”. I don’t think it’s a location thing, I can’t see us moving, but I feel like it’s a new stage in our life. A new reliance on God.

Abram traveled for a while, and then God spoke to him saying “I will give this land to your descendants.” He built an altar there, then moved on, built another altar, worshipped and moved on again. “Then Abram continued traveling south by stages toward the Negev.”

Like Abram, we don’t always have the master plan for where we are going. God leads us in stages. He speaks, we worship, and we follow Him. He gives a promise. We worship, we trust, we follow Him.

For some reason, God’s promise to Abram would not come to pass in his comfort zone of Haran. God was giving him a land, and descendants, and a blessing. Abram had to travel out of what he knew, into what God had for him. He had to be obedient and go when God said LEAVE. He had to trust God one day at a time as he traveled on in faith.

So for now, Scott will put in applications, and look for work, one day at a time, and look for God’s guidance in the next step of our lives. Like Abram, we have God’s promise that He will bless us and make us a blessing. We embark on another great adventure in our walk of faith!


September always brings a certain amount of change to our household. The kids go back to school, and I try to adjust myself to the quiet and catch up on the housework. It’s a time to re-focus my priorities, get back into a routine, and find the balance between duties and driving and making time to spend with friends. The first week or two finds me feeling a little “off kilter” as I get used to the new schedule, but eventually I settle in and it feels “normal” again.

This week, I’ve been thinking a lot about transition. There are many changes going on at church, as we transition to one service. There are also people transitioning to new places, which can be a bit of an adjustment to the church as we know it. It can all be a little uncomfortable. So these changes had me mulling over the word transition.

When you’re in labor, transition is the most painful, trying time. It’s the time during labor when the quietest of women have been known to scream at their husbands, freak out a bit, or beg for pain relief. Although transition is not easy, it is a necessary part of the process, to bring a new life into the world. The pain is soon forgotten in the joy of new life.

Transition in the church can be painful as well, but it is all part of the process of God bringing newness of life to Body of Christ. Thankfully, in labor, and in life, transition is a limited block of time, not someplace we must stay. It brings about an end result that will soon have us marveling at the goodness of God.

There are certain things that can help a woman in labor during transition. One is a good coach, to breathe with her and encourage her through the painful contractions. Another thing that helps is to remember WHY she is going through this, to look ahead to the end result, a baby to love. This process changes her from a woman to a mother, and life will never be the same. And of course, the presence of God in the delivery room makes all the difference.

The scriptures give us an example of the disciples making a transition from one side of the lake to the other….

“Now when evening came, His disciples went down to the sea, got into the boat, and went over the sea toward Capernaum. And it was already dark, and Jesus had not come to them.
Then the sea arose because a great wind was blowing. So when they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and drawing near the boat; and they were afraid.
But He said to them, “It is I; do not be afraid.” Then they willingly received Him into the boat, and immediately the boat was at the land where they were going.” John 6:15-21

They were heading for a destination, to where they wanted to be, and weren’t making much progress. The waves had kicked up, and they were probably a little freaked out.
Then Jesus comes walking to them on the water. Don’t ask me why that scared them, maybe at first they didn’t recognize that it was Him. When He said “It is I, do not be afraid” they recognized Him and “willingly received Him into the boat”. And immediately they were at their destination.

As Christians, we can have an idea about where we want to go. We can start rowing and doing all we know to do to get there. But sometimes we don’t notice that Jesus isn’t in the boat. When the storms arise, we look around and freak out. And when Jesus comes, we don’t always recognize Him at first. Can Jesus really be out in the middle of this storm? Is Jesus really in this transition we are going through? If I’m serving Him, why all the wind and waves? What’s going on?

Yet when they received Jesus willingly into the boat, all the turmoil around them faded into the background. They had their eyes on Him, and they were immediately at their destination.

It’s not so much a location that He wants us to be at, but that He wants to be in our boat. As we journey from the old to the new, His presence is what makes all the difference. It’s not about place, it’s about peace, the Prince of Peace, dwelling with us and leading us into the new things that He has for us. Jesus had work to do on the other side of the lake, and He has work for us to do on the other side of our lake. Willingly receive Jesus into your boat, and trust in the One who calms the storms to get you through the winds of transition, and onto the solid ground of His purposes for you.

In His love,
Cheryl Musser


Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Stone walls

Good morning!

Here it is a beautiful Monday morning, and I am finally sitting down to write. You are probably wondering why you haven’t heard from me lately, but it has been quite a year. It started out with major surgery, followed by 2 college classes that started the next day, an awful toothache, that led to half of a root canal, oral surgery to remove a piece of bone in my jaw, a wisdom tooth pulled, and the other half of the root canal and a crown still to come. When I sat down to read, this verse just jumped out at me, because it felt so much like the first three months of the year…

“So many enemies against one man- all of them trying to kill me. To them I’m just a broken down wall or a tottering fence.” Ps. 62:2

I know many of you have also been feeling “under attack” lately, with health issues or circumstances that seem to come one after the other, so maybe you can relate as well. Maybe you are feeling like that tottering fence.

“I wait quietly before God, for my victory comes from Him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will never be shaken.” Ps. 62:1

This morning, as Scott and I were walking, I noticed the stone walls in the state forest, walls built about 200 years ago. They are still as solid as the day they were built. It was a reminder to me that our lives are built upon the rock, the fortress where we will never be shaken loose from His love and care. We’re not the tottering fence, here for a season then rotting away. What God is doing in us is even more enduring than these New England stone walls.

“Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in Him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will not be shaken.” Ps. 62:5,6

I can’t say I understand why I have gone through all of this, but I sense with the changing of the seasons a fresh start, and a new sense of “all that I am waiting quietly before God” to see what this season will bring. In childbirth, transition is the most difficult and painful time. As the season change in our spiritual lives, doesn’t it follow that these transitions will sometimes be difficult as well, until we learn to push with the contractions and cooperate with what God is trying to birth in us?

“My victory and honor come from God alone. He is my refuge, a rock where no enemy can reach me. O my people, trust in Him at all times. Pour out your heart to Him, for God is our refuge.” Ps. 62:7,8

There are times when we are feeling shaky but He will be our strength. The Psalmist, knowing we are human, tells us to pour out our hearts to Him, all our cares and concerns, our hopes and fears, and come to Him for refuge in the midst of the battle. He tells us to trust Him at ALL TIMES, remembering that God has a plan for us, a plan for victory and honor.

I have spent quite a while struggling with the WHY, and don’t have the answer. But I am learning to turn to the WHO and starting to see Him shape the “all that I am” and all that He wants me to be. I know this is a season of change in my life (not just the menopause that I got thrown into with surgery) but in all areas. I’m seeing changes in my marriage, my attitudes, and the possibilities for the future. This often difficult time of rototilling in my life is preparing the soil of my heart for what is to come, my own personal victory garden in the hands of the Master Gardener. His fruit is always good.

May the soil of our hearts bring forth fruit a hundredfold, all for His glory.
With love and prayers, Cheryl 4/14/08

everyday miracles

This morning, as I was reading in John chapter 2, Jesus was attending a wedding with his mother and some of his disciples. They ran out of wine, and His mother comes to tell Him about it. She tells the servants to do whatever He says. Here it is at the beginning of His ministry, and He hasn’t done any miracles yet, so why does she bring this problem to Him, and expect Him to solve it? It got me thinking about what it must have been like for Mary, having Jesus as a son.

Scripture records Joseph being with the family when Jesus was 12, and history suggests that Joseph probably died before Jesus’ began His public ministry. As the oldest son, Jesus would have been responsible to continue the family carpentry business and care for his mother. Mary would have been coming to Jesus with all those little problems around the house, and she knew she could count on Him to find a solution. She was already in the habit of coming to Him with her concerns. She was learning to rely on Him.

I often wondered why Jesus began His ministry at age 30. Jesus would need to experience the everyday life that we go through, living through the joys and the hardships. Jesus was the loving, obedient son, who learned not just from His earthly father, but also His heavenly Father. He learned how to care for His family and be faithful in that realm long before He began His public ministry. Maybe that was God’s gift to Mary, for all she had gone through, to allow her to have those 30 years with Him.

It was a strange first miracle, asking Jesus to solve the problem of people running out of wine at a wedding. Yet Mary knew Jesus could meet the need, she had learned to rely on His wisdom and probably seen Him come up with some pretty unusual solutions to things over the years. I’m not sure if she was expecting a miracle, or yet another one of His amazing ideas on how to solve the problem. But a miracle she got, and the wedding celebration continued.

Mary could be doing her dishes and turn around and talk to Jesus. But so can we! Think about it. He is just as close to us, even though we can’t actually see Him. We have His Spirit in us, and can talk to Him whenever we want. Somehow we don’t always think of it as up-close and personal, like talking to someone while you are doing the dishes, or cooking the dinner, but it can be. Why have I never thought about it that way?

Are we like Mary? Do we have that ability to turn to Him in the middle of our day, and just talk to Him about ordinary things? Are we in the habit of relying on Him? Is our first response, when there is a problem, to turn to Jesus? Do we look to Him for His wisdom on the small things as well as the big ones? Do we, like the servants at the wedding, do whatever He says?

This chapter sent me thinking in unusual ways this morning and I don’t really have a fitting conclusion for this blog. Maybe that is what we need to do, as we read the Word, is let God write our conclusions for us. We read something we’ve read so many times before, and we need His spirit to bring new light and life to it, something we can apply and learn to our lives. Then continue chewing on it throughout the day to see how we can use and apply what we’ve learned in practical ways. The sermon is not done (over) until it is DONE (action).

Be doers of the Word.

In His love,
Cheryl 4/23/08

Thursday, February 28, 2008

blog tag

Okay. This one looked fun..I found this following a link at the end of a forwarded e-mail to get to Janet's page. I decided to participate in this game of blog tag. I think I'll post it on myspace....
(Here's her page if you want to link to it too, she seems like a really cool lady!)

"I'm asking you to participate in a reading exercise. Whatever is by your computer (or that you are reading right now) is what I am interested in. I am going to tag a few people who also write blogs, but if you have a blog and want to play, you are welcome to steal it. And if you don't have a blog or don't have a blog where you play memes, play in the comments. I told you I love to know what people are reading!

The Rules:
1. Pick up the nearest book (of at least 123 pages).
2. Open the book to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the next three sentences.
5. Tag five people.

My 3 lines are from "Persian Girls", by Nahid Rachlin. Part of my homework for Women Writers Across the Cultures class.

"Relax, breath, and when you speak, exhale to allow for pauses between words," Mohtaram told Maniheh before the weddding.

"Stand straight, enunciate your words, and make eye contact with the guests but not with the groom."

"Don't apologize for anything. If you don't highlight your mistakes, no one will notice them."

Resolutions in Love

As the year 2007 comes to a close, I find myself reading through the closing books of the New Testament. As I read First, Second and Third John, it seemed the prevailing theme was love. When I turned the page into Jude, the opening verses caught my attention:

“I am writing to all who are called to live in the love of God the Father and the care of Jesus Christ.”

Most of the time, when I think of the calling of God in my life, I think of things I am doing. Yet, here in Jude, our calling is to live in the love of God the Father. Think about it. Our job is to LIVE IN HIS LOVE. Life can get so complicated, yet here is our calling, our mission. To be loved by God and cared for by Jesus. We tend to worry about what job we should have, what ministry we should be involved in, how to pay the bills or juggle our hectic schedule. Here he reminds us our walk is not just about DOING, it is about BEING His children, loved by our Father and cared for by our Lord.

When we are secure in His love, it will naturally follow that we pass that love on. Love is an action word, “For God so loved the world He GAVE”, and we will do the same. When the Bible tells us love is patient, love is kind, etc., those are not passive mushy feelings words. Sometimes it is downright difficult to be patient, kind, longsuffering. It’s not easy to believe the best, to endure. Love does not coast. Yes, I know the scripture says love does not boast. But hear me. Love does not coast.

When I was a girl, I used to spend time with my Aunt Carrie. She loved to drive to the top of the hill, and take her foot of the gas and coast all the way down, seeing how far we could go before she had to put her foot back on the gas. Relationships can be a lot like that. We build up momentum and get to the top of the hill, so we take our foot of the gas, stop working so hard and coast for a while. Maybe it is the “in-love” feelings that have brought us to the top of the hill, but unless we continue to apply the gas and feed the relationship, we will not have the power to make it up the next hill of difficulty.

Even after 25 years of marriage, this year has been one of putting the petal to the metal and building our relationship. It seems there has been a lot of the agonizing sound of gears grinding, as we have fought to shift into a higher gear in our marriage. We’ve had many arguments, many tears, many struggles, yet with a purpose. We are learning to communicate and working to turn a dented and life-scarred relationship into a restored classic that shines for His glory. Love is an action word, and its hard work.

This year, I have learned that love believes for the best, and works toward it. Yes, love accepts the beloved the way they are, yet challenges them to be all that they can be. I thank God for my husband, who has really opened up his heart to me this year to share his struggles, his challenges and his hopes for our relationship. He has loved me enough not to settle for the status quo, a pretty good marriage, but has continued to strive to bring the ideal marriage that God wants us to have. I can’t say this has been an easy year, its been downright heart-wrenching at times, but I know we are making progress through it all. Love is not stagnant, love grows.

We have a good foundation, and have deliberately been adding to it. We’ve been reading many helpful books on building a Christian marriage. “Rocking the Roles”, “The Five Love Languages of Your Mate”, “Love and Respect” and “Captivating”. We’re learning to speak eachother’s love language, and love eachother with knowledge. We’ve stopped coasting and are applying a steady pressure to the gas pedal, so we can consistently gain momentum and travel towards the relationship God wants us to have. That brings us full circle to the opening scripture, we are “called to live in the love of God the Father”. Yes, we receive that love, but we also GIVE that love. Love one another. They will know we are Christians by our love. Love never gives up. Beloved, let us love one another….

In His love,




The Psalms are full of questionings. How long Lord? Why Lord? The psalmists were real people with problems just like ours. They saw the wickedness around them, and wondered when God would punish it. They went through times when they felt God was far off, and wondered how long it would be like that. They questioned the pain and suffering and the injustice in the world around them, and in their own lives as well.
They searched for answers to the question why, yet in the process their hearts turned to dwell on the love and faithfulness of the Lord. Their suffering and sorrow was turned into a song.

This past week, I can relate to the psalmists. About 2 weeks after my surgery, when my prescription strength Ibuprophen had run out, I was hit with a toothache and what felt like strept throat and an ear infection. Maybe I had those symptoms for a while and never knew because of my medications. Motrin wasn’t touching the pain, so off I went to the dentist, only to find out I need a root canal, and I begin to wonder, why me, why now?
He gave me an antibiotic, 800 mg Ibuprophen, and a referral to Farmington for February 27th, since I have no dental insurance. You can guess where my income tax refund is going. (Does anyone want to drive in with me? I’m not sure I will feel like driving home after a root canal.)

Now, I realize on the grand scale of things, I have it easy compared to what many people have to face. But, as the bills for my past 2 surgeries start to filter in, and I am still on light duty around the house, I began to wonder why. My answer came in two stages.

We were at a Friday night soaker meeting, where the presence of God was especially real, and God began to speak to my heart as Darryl played the guitar. It is the pressure of the guitarist on the strings that helps make the music. Not just one string, but it takes 3 strings being squashed against the hard surface of the guitar to make a chord. There is also the repeated strumming on the strings that makes the melody. We wonder why things come in bunches, yet it is the pressure in our lives that can bring out the beautiful music the Master Musician wants to play in our lives. Sometimes we are too busy whining to cooperate with His touch, and His melody is hard to hear. When we yield to His work in our lives, no matter how uncomfortable it may seem, He can bring out the tune that glorifies Him.

The second part of my answer came from the life of Joseph. He did nothing to deserve prison, yet God had him there. God used that time to build his character, to save his family and the future nation of Israel, and to spare many Egyptian lives. Though none of it made sense to Joseph while he was suffering in jail, God had a plan. God restored his relationship with his family. He raised him to a place of power and influence, second in command over all of Egypt. He gave him a vision that his people would one day leave there to go to the Promised Land, and he made his family promise to bring his remains along. Although Joseph might not have chosen to go that way, he saw God’s hand in it all. He recognized that God’s plans were for his good.

In my last blog, I shared a bit of confusion going on with my college classes. I dropped the US History, and could not for the life of me get into Art Appreciation online. At the very last minute, I added a Tuesday night class called Women Writers Across the Cultures. We are reading 6 novels and the class is mostly discussion, and I love it! It’s so interesting, there are about 12 women in the class, and I had only missed one week so I was able to jump in and get caught up the first week. I have 2 papers to write, and a presentation to do. My World Civ class online is totally boring, but this makes up for it! It seems that God is orchestrating my schedule, as 3 of the 4 classes I have so far have been writing classes. I am hoping Creative Writing will be available this summer, it’s the one class I really wanted to take, and I only need 4 more credits. We’ll see how it fits in with the family vacation schedule.

Just a few verses from Psalm 18…

To the faithful, you show yourself faithful;
to those with integrity you show integrity.
You light a lamp for me.
The Lord my God, lights up my darkness.
God’s way is perfect.
All the Lord’s promises prove true.
He is a shield for all those to look to Him for protection.
The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my savior;
My God is my rock, in whom I find protection.
He is my shield, the power that saves me and my place of safety.

Wherever you are today, may the Lord light your path. May He be your place of safety.
May you rest in His promises and know His peace. May your life be His melody.

Love and prayers,


Driving Lessons

Driving Lessons

Last night, as I was driving to class, I was listening to the Christian radio station. A man was preaching from Romans chapter 5, verses 1 and 2.

“Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.”

As he began talking about the “grace in which we stand”, he gave us a picture of standing in a field of grace. I liked the comparison. I lost where he was going with the rest of the message, as he was preaching through the chapter, but it gave me enough to think about. Picture yourself in a wide open field, surrounded by beauty, where you can see the rolling hills and the promise of the future. That is like “this grace in which we stand”. We don’t have to travel to get there, we don’t have to earn it, we are standing in grace. The problem is, most of the time we are too busy struggling and striving to realize it, to be still and experience His grace. What distracts us from it?

“And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” Rom. 5:3-5

I don’t know about you, but sometimes, no, almost all the time, I have trouble glorying in tribulation. That is why I blog, to get past the “this really stinks” to the “God is good and He is going to bring me through this” stage. Sometimes I wonder why things seem to come in bunches, why things are such an uphill battle. But God promised we would have trials, and that we would overcome if we keep leaning on Him. Maybe we just need to stop flailing around like a drowning swimmer and reach out for the life preserver that He offers. It’s there for us, the grace of God, the grace in which we stand, the hope of the glory of God revealed in our character and in our lives. We have peace with God, and we have access to our Heavenly Father, we have his Spirit in us. “If God be for us, who can be against us?”

Stop for a minute today and look around. You are standing in a field of grace. Pause to see His provision and goodness in your life. Linger in His presence like you would in a beautiful meadow, and sing “Amazing Grace”.

With love and prayers,