Thursday, January 31, 2013

A Shelter in the Time of Storm

Photo Credit: NWS Mobile
Last week my husband and I were traveling across our city in search of the perfect upholstery material for our living room couch.  Our trek from one fabric store to another took us past areas of town destroyed by tornadoes a week before Christmas and then again on Christmas day.

We headed east and saw destruction in one area of town and as we headed west to another store, my husband said, "Did the storm hit here, too?"

"No," I reminded him, "that was from the tornado a week before which hit the other side."

We were shocked to see the destruction up-close and our hearts hurt to imagine what these families went through as the winds tore their houses apart, especially the tornado which came through on Christmas evening.

The interesting thing to us is that both of these tornadoes took a path very close to our home.  The first was on a path a mile to the west of us.  The second on a path a mile to the east of us.  As we were opening gifts Christmas Day, we frequently stopped because of the tornado sirens and emergency weather bulletins.

Our house was in the center of these two paths and spared.  In fact, we actually slept through the first one entirely.  We were safe. . . so safe we were asleep.

Living in a hurricane-prone area, I learned long ago that my trust is not in these four walls.  I have also learned that it is possible to walk away from them expecting to return to rubble.

Our dear friends, Larry & Jane and Karen, who live in Mississippi, lost all during Hurricane Katrina,  and have wonderful testimonies of the Lord's faithfulness and keeping even in the midst of great outer destruction and turmoil.  Their testimonies and sharing encourage us all that the Lord will always be abundantly sufficient in every moment, He will always be our "shelter in a time of storm."  

 A Shelter in the Time of Storm
by Vernon John Charlesworth

The Lord's our Rock, in Him we hide,
A Shelter in the time of storm;
Secure whatever ill betide,
A Shelter in the time of storm.

 A shade by day, defense by night,
A Shelter in the time of storm;
No fears alarm, no foes afright,
A Shelter in the time of storm.

The raging storms may round us beat,
A Shelter in the time of storm
We'll never leave our safe retreat,
A Shelter in the time of storm.

O Rock divine, O Refuge dear,
A Shelter in the time of storm;
Be Thou our Helper ever near,
A Shelter in the time of storm.

O, Jesus is a Rock in a weary land,
A weary land, a weary land;
O, Jesus is a Rock in a weary land,
A Shelter in the time of storm.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Continuous Power

As I type this, it is dark in my house because our power is out.  

Obviously, I don't need power to type on the computer.  I do, however, wish I had power to operate our coffee maker because I am in the habit of drinking coffee while I write.  

Our power is out because it is windy outside.  Whenever it is very windy we lose power because somewhere along the lines there must be a weak connection which is blown lose by the motion of the swaying lines.  Whatever the case, when this happens we are without power for usually two or three hours.  

Most of us live in a day and time where power is essential to our being.  We cannot continue for very long without a source of eletricity.  We use it for warmth, for cooling, to prepare our food, to communicate with the world and even those around us.  Sometimes it seems as almost as vital to us as air.  

It is a comforting thing to know that as Christians the power we are given through the Holy Spirit never "goes out."  It is an infinite source that experiences no weakness in the line, no interruptions due to wind or weather, no lack of power beyond our control.  By faith we can access the power of the Holy Spirit in and through our lives by the simple action of prayer.  

  What a tremendous thought, what an unbelievable gift, what an incredible Lord!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Ready and Willing

Our daughter had rotator cuff surgery and my husband and I have been taking turns being the "nurse" in the house (although I don't need the quotations mark because I AM a nurse.)

Since she is essentially one armed she still needs a great deal of help with even the simplest of things, but like the rest of our family, our daughter is very independent and wants to do everything she can herself.  I am sitting here, not far from her, ready and willing to help. I am simply waiting for her to ask for my assistance, or for her to let me do something for her that she is trying to do herself, which I can do more easily with my two able arms.

You see where I am going with this, don't you?  The Lord is infinitely "ready and willing" to help and provide for us and He, too, is waiting for us to ask, or waiting for us to let Him do something for us that He could do much better than we can with our limited abilities.

We need not hesitate in any moment to call out to Him, just as I don't want my daughter to hesitate to call out to me for help.  That's what I am here for!  That's what He is there for, too.  His heart is for us, He cares for us.  Call out to Him, take your issues, concerns, problems, troubles, needs and desires to Him with a heart of assurance that He is waiting for you to do so.

"Casting all your care upon Him; for He careth for you." 
1 Peter 5:7

Monday, January 28, 2013

The Interpreter

As much as it is used for communication, email can be a poor vehicle for the tranmission of thoughts, ideas and especially emotions.  Even with the use of emoticons, it is almost impossible for email to appropriately reflect the inflections that human voice gives to thoughts.

I can't tell you how many times I have carefully worded an email at work, trying to convey exactly the right thought and sentiment, only to receive a handful of replies which indicated I was totally and completely misunderstood.  Trying to further explain oneself in the electronic media sometimes seems hopeless. . .you need a voice.

"But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned," (1 Corinthians 2:14).

The Bible is sort of like our email.  It cannot easily be understood...the intents of the author cannot easily be discerned without an interpreter.   This is precisely why so many who do not know the Lord have so much trouble with the words contained within it's pages.  But thankfully, as it has often been said, the Bible is the only book that comes with it's Author.  The Holy Spirit resides within our spirits to "teach you all things."

I look forward to one day hearing the Apostle Paul read aloud the book of Romans, or to hear King David sing many of the Psalms he has written.  One day the writer of the book of Hebrews will be revealed.  But the truth of the matter is this, we have the greatest interpreter of Word of God living inside us because, as Christians, we have the Living Word Of God living inside of us. 
The written Word of God in our hands and the Living Word of God in our hearts.  We have been blessed indeed.

Your Reservation is Ready

Our family is planning a trip to New York in the fall and we have just booked our accommodations.

Since we will be traveling at one of the busiest times of the year for New York I was very desirous to have our lodging reserved as early as possible.

Perhaps that is why this verse jumped off the page at me when I read it recently:

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to His abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you,  Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time," (1 Peter 1:4).

"Reserved in heaven for you."   When we made our reservations for our lodging, we communicated with the facility to determine there was indeed availability for the dates we would be there.  Then we made the choice to book the room.  The final decision was up to us.  They had the rooms prepared and available, but we had to confirm that we wanted to take the rooms.

We each have an inheritance reserved in heaven for us, but we have to "book the room" as it were.  We have to accept the free gift of salvation offered to us by the Lord Jesus "through faith unto salvation."  It is only then  that our reservations will be confirmed.

While it is a wonderful thing to know we have reservations in New York for the fall, it is a far better thing to know we have reservations in heaven awaiting us.

"But as it is written, 
Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, 
the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him."
1Corinthians 2:9

Friday, January 25, 2013

Back in the 'Frig Again

When I cook our holiday meals it usually  takes about three days to complete.  Those three days of cooking and baking yield leftovers for at least a week.  After the main meal, the refrigerator door is frequently opened, containers of various favorite dishes and desserts removed and the fruits of my labors are enjoyed by the family over and over again.

I don't tire of my family eating those leftovers.  I don't tire of eating them either, by the way.  I love to see them enjoying the food they love and the food I love to cook for them.

Sometimes we find that we seem to be going to the Lord over and over regarding certain matters.  Perhaps we are going through a particularly intense time in our lives, or perhaps we have a loved one who is, and we find ourselves returning again and again to the Lord.  He does not tire of our coming to Him.  He does not weary of hearing our voice in supplication and prayer for the same issue, the same person, sometimes perhaps without even words.

When my mother was dying of cancer, I found that often I had no words for the prayers, they were simply, "O Lord!"   There are times I have faced, or my loved ones have faced, issues so perplexing or painful that my prayers were only, "Thou knowest."  But I found myself praying these simple prayers over and over again.

The Lord is our Bread of Life.  He does not become irritated or frustrated when we come to partake of Him again and again.  That is exactly what He wants us to do.  His joy is in meeting our needs, but He won't do so apart from our asking because He is too much of a gentleman to intrude Himself upon our situations.  He loves our importunity, the fact that we come again and again and again.  So go boldly, with confidence, to the throne of Grace and partake of the abundant blessings of a God who wants to bestow the kingdom upon His children.  Partake of our Lord, for He is good.

"And Jesus said unto them, I am the Bread of Life: 
he that cometh to Me shall never hunger; 
and he that believeth on Me shall never thirst."  
John 6:35

"O taste and see that the LORD is good:
 blessed is the man that trusteth in Him."
Psalm 34:8

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Come, Follow Me

Sparrow is my dog.  She was bought with a price from the breeder and given to me as a birthday present six years ago.  On that day she was a little 3 pound beagle puppy and one look into those big brown eyes and I was in love.

I started training her right away.  I am her Master and I expect her to follow me.  When I take her outside she sometimes wants to go her own way, usually trying to smell something interesting she has passed, but I want her to go my way.  A tug on the leash will usually remind her we are going my way, not hers. When Sparrow persists in trying to go her own way I find it very frustrating. . .she grieves me.

"What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?  For ye are bought with a price:  therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's." 1 Corinthians 6:19, 20

We have been bought with a price as well and we are no longer our own.  Our Master is no cruel task-master, but a loving and tender Lord whose "burden is easy and His yoke light".

  He too wants us to follow Him, to seek His leading and follow His will for our lives.  If we choose to seek our own way instead, we grieve His heart.

One of my favorite things to do is to play with, walk with and love on my sweet beagle Sparrow.  I love her and she loves me.  It is a mutual relationship.  I have tried to be a kind Master and she, most of the time, follows my lead.  Isn't that a beautiful picture of our relationship with the Lord?  I think He allows us plenty of "leash" to smell the interesting things along the way, but He clearly has a path and a plan for each of us and He wants us to find and follow that path.  We we persist in going the opposite way, sometimes He tugs on our leash to remind us that He is the Master.

"My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me:  
And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, 
neither shall any man pluck them out of My hand." 
John 10:27,28

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

January 23rd

Orange moon, chasing the sun.
 (Photo credit: Sam, W)
If I sat at this computer for the rest of my life, I could not begin to tell you how special this day is to me. 

January 23, 1977 was the beginning of a life that has been unquestionably the most wonderful journey I could have ever imagined.  It has truly been "exceeding abundantly above" all that I could have ever asked or thought.

"Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, 
according to the power that worketh in us,  
Unto Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, 
world without end. 
Ephesians 3:20,21

Tuesday, January 22, 2013


I love McDonald's Filet-o-fish sandwiches.
McD's Filet o' Fish
 (Photo credit: snowpea&bokchoi)

I know how nutritionally deficit they are.  I know how full of fat they are, that doesn't matter.  I love them. 

After my hand surgery two years ago, when I was released from the hospital and could finally eat, we headed straight for McDonald's.

If I am at McDonald's, it is just too easy to order a Filet-o-fish sandwich, so I try to stay away from there.  That's difficult since there is a  McDonald's at the opening of the WalMart we most often frequent. 

I try to stay of out of Mc Donald's not because I am strong, but because I am aware I have a weakness.

The same thing is true of our spiritual weaknesses.  We still are enrobed in this flesh which has a "law of sin'" leading us to certain weaknesses.  If we known we have a propensity for "besetting sins" -- things that are likely to trip us up when we are exposed to them -- we are wise to avoid the exposure.  Not because of our strength, but because of our weakness.  Then we can depend upon His strength in our every situation.

The Lord Jesus explained this dual role in this way, "But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work," (John 5:17).  He was showing us the model for our own lives of faith.  The Lord works through us "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me," (Philippians 4:13) strengthening us to do the work He has called us to do.  But we must also do our part of the work.  He doesn't run us over, He doesn't allow us to be passive for  Him to run over our lives.  He works, and we work.   I take the steps to avoid the McDonald's and He strengthens me in those steps.  

It is a comforting thing to know it is not just me walking out this life, but that "we" are working it out together.  The Lord and me,  a team. 

"Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake:  for when I am weak, then am I strong."  2 Corinthians 12:9
McDonald's ice cream cone
(Photo credit: Newbirth35)

By the way,
 I love their ice cream cones, too.

Monday, January 21, 2013

A Hungry Little Dog

Every Friday morning a group of us meet at a local restaurant for breakfast. 

We sit at the same table, each in the same chairs.  We enjoy the sharing, fellowship and laughing which occurs between the six of us.  Personally, I look forward to it so much, I usually attend after having worked a 12 hour shift in the hospital.  Once we have finished our meal, we sit at the table for a while talking,  then we move outside the restaurant and stand in the parking lot chatting for another fifteen minutes or so just because we enjoy each other's company so much.

Puppy hungry
 (Photo credit: Jack Fiallos)
This last week, as we were standing outside talking, a stray dog came up to us.  He was clearly hungry and was looking intently at anyone who even remotely appeared to have any food on them.  

This hungry little pup  had no discrimination, no discernment as to what the food might be -- he was hungry enough to eat anything. Our friend Steve tossed him a biscuit that he was taking home for later, and the little dog scarfed it down in just a few seconds, then started looking around for something else to eat.

Our little dog friend reminded me of a spiritual truth.

 We are spiritual beings and if we don't make sure we take in the right spiritual food, we might find ourselves "eating" just about anything, like our dog friend, without any discretion or discernment whatsoever.  

Have you ever listened to a television or radio "preacher" that you knew was way off from the truth of the Scriptures and wondered how anyone could ever continue to listen or follow that person?  Perhaps this is why.  Perhaps they ignored their spiritual sustenance until they reached the point they would consume anything whatsoever, even if it was far from the truth.  Maybe their spiritual hunger caused them to no longer be able to discern what was the truth and they just sought to be fed with anything.  Our spirits long to be sustained with something, which is why there are so many deceptions and distractions out their for us to avoid.

We would not go days without eating any food, or conversely, we would not eat ice cream and candy for days (although we may be tempted to) because we know our bodies need protein, they need vegetables that will give us vitamins and minerals.  Our spiritual bodies need the same attention and vigilance.  Let us be mindful to feed our spiritual bodies with sure and true food so that we will not be tempted to ingest just anything tossed to us by strangers.

 "Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; 
reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. 
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; 
but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, 
having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, 
and shall be turned unto fables.
2 Timothy 4:2-4

"But there were false prophets also among the people, 
even as there shall be false teachers among you, 
who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, 
even denying the Lord that bought them, 
and bring upon themselves swift destruction.  
And many shall follow their pernicious ways; 
by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. 
 And through covetousness shall they with feigned words 
make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not."2 Peter 2:1-3 


Monday, January 14, 2013

A Ringtone Just for You

When my husband calls me, I don't hear the usual "Relaxing Chime 4" ringtone I hear for most calls, I hear "A Love Like This" by Dan Fogelberg.  When my youngest daughter calls me, I hear "Vienna" by Billy Joel.  The point is, certain people in my phone have special ringtones.  That way I know it is them without even picking up the phone.

When I hear the music of "A Love Like This" playing, it brings a smile to my face without my having to even look at my phone because I know my husband is on the other end.  I smile because I love my husband's voice.

 If we thought of us telephoning the Lord, instead of praying to Him, I'm quite sure there would be a specific sound for each one of us when we "called" the Lord.  Why is that?  Because we are more infinitely dear to Him than the most important person in our lives is to us.  He knows every detail of our lives, our hearts and our minds, and is vitally interested in all of it!

 The Scriptures tell us "To that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving  he that receiveth it," (Revelation 2:17).  That's even better than a personal ringtone!

To know that our Lord so loves us that He has a new name --known just to us and Him -- written on a white stone for us,  should warm our hearts and help us to see a glimmer of the great love, mercy and tenderness our Lord has toward us.  We are loved beyond imaginable measure.

Friday, January 11, 2013

A Gift for Now

beautifully wrapped gifts from Aymi
 (Photo credit: susansimon)
We have just passed the major "gift" season of the year, Christmas.  Most of the time, when you purchase a Christmas present for someone, no matter how far in advance you buy it, you give it at Christmas.  Likewise a birthday present is usually given on someone's birthday.  A Valentine's Day present (just 35 days away, guys [if you need a reminder]) MUST be given on Valentine's Day!  The point is a gift usually has a particular point in time for which it is applicable.
The other day I heard  a preacher speaking on prayer and he said that "prayer is a gift."  The very fact that we can freely at any place, any time communicate with the God of Universe makes prayer one of the most extraordinary and unbelievable gifts imaginable.  But then I began to think. . .  prayer is a gift for now.

At first you may think I mean prayer is a gift for this moment, and that is true. Prayer is not for the future, because we have no guarantee of even our next breath, much less a future in which to pray, it is for today.  

But actually, I was thinking that prayer is for this life.  In heaven, we will experience the perfect union with our Lord that we only know in the spirit here on earth.  There will be no flesh to "lust against the spirit,"  there will be no hindrances to the Lord's will in our lives. In fact,  ". . .there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away." (Revelation 21:4).  I don't know just what we would be praying about for that matter!

Perhaps prayer is only for this life.   Then doesn't it make the concept of prayer even sweeter?  Knowing that once we have gone to Heaven we will no longer need the communication tool of prayer it should make our prayers even more precious to us now.

We have a video of our youngest daughter when she was about two and a half years old.  She and I were sitting on the living room floor as I was checking the Christmas tree lights.  Her long, then blonde hair surrounded her angelic little face and the different colors of the lit bulbs reflected off her eyes and cheeks.

"I like the bu ones.  I like the Kissmass tee lights!"  she says happily on the video.  That cute toddler voice was so precious then, but if at twenty-one she spoke like that today, I'd probably be making an appointment for a speech therapist.  The time for the cute two-year old speak has passed, but even remembering it mists up my eyes -- the remembrance is as dear to my heart as the event was when it occurred.

Perhaps prayer is our toddler speak to our Lord and the time will come when that way of communicating will pass away and we will reach a greater maturity in our communication with Him. . .perhaps something that we can't even conceive of at this time.  How much more should that make us want to pray now, thinking the days of being able to do so are numbered?

It reminds me of the last verse of the old hymn, "Sweet Hour of Prayer":

Sweet hour of prayer! sweet hour of prayer!
May I thy consolation share,
Till, from Mount Pisgah’s lofty height,
I view my home and take my flight.
This robe of flesh I’ll drop, and rise
To seize the everlasting prize,
And shout, while passing through the air,
“Farewell, farewell, sweet hour of prayer!”     

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Early In Eternity

Guardian Angel. Statue on the Krasnystaw's cem...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Last week as I was recuperating from the flu, I missed a funeral of a family member.  Somehow it seems that my cousins and I, and even my siblings for that matter, seems to gather more at these occasions than any other, and unfortunately they seem to be occurring more frequently.

As we grow older, we begin to see our loved ones pass on.  Grandparents, parents, aunts and uncles all seem to be slipping the bonds of this earth. Apart from the Lord, this can be very frightening.  I have to admit that sometimes I am tempted to  be frightened of the death of those I husband, my children, my grandchildren, my siblings, my dear friends, even my sweet beagle Sparrow.

Whenever my husband and I --with tears in our eyes -- discuss the possibility of one of us continuing on without the other, we use this phrase to encourage each other, "It's early in eternity."

This life seems to pass so quickly and it can be tempting to believe the enemy's lie that "this is all there is."  The point is if we have believed in the Lord Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, this life is only a stepping stone, a fluttering of an eyelash, toward an everlasting and glorious lifetime ahead.  During that life, more life than anything we have ever known on this earth, it will always be "early in eternity."  A million years after we have begun we will still have only just begun.

A wonderful part of that is we will spend that long and glorious eternity with the people we love who are also believers.  Are there those in your life whose company you sincerely enjoy. . .if they are believers, you will enjoy them still.  I had this thought this past Tuesday night.

We had gone, along with a friend of ours, to provide the music at a Rescue Mission in our area before another mutual friend of ours preached.  As is our habit on these nights, the three of us stopped for coffee afterwards.  As we sat at the table chatting, I thought of wonderful it will be that friendships like these will continue on throughout eternity.  There is no telling what wonderful things the Lord will have for us to share together during our eons together.

So when these days slip past us "as sands through the hourglass," as the old soap-opera used to begin, let us quickly remind ourselves that it is and will always be, early in eternity.

Early in Eternity
Words & Music by Glen Davis

An old man sits by a dying fire,
Dreaming sweet, sad dreams of days gone by.
And he wonders how time slipped away.
Then he smiles as he hears the Spirit say,
That it’s early in eternity,
and his blessed Lord he soon will see.
And the woman that he loves so well,
Will stand him with so much to tell.

Well he lived a life so pure and fine,
For he kept his Lord always in mind.
Although his days on earth are soon to fail,
A quiet joy still in heart prevails.

Because it’s early in eternity,
and his blessed Lord he soon will see.
And the woman that he loves so well,
Will stand him with so much to tell.

The embers fade as his eyes grow tired,
And the day’s last prayer he gently sighs.
As he rises from his old soft chair,
He knows that very soon he will be there,
He’s glad that very soon he will be there,
He will be there.

Because it’s early in eternity,
and his blessed Lord he soon will see.
And the woman that he loves so well,
Will stand him with so much to tell.

Because it’s early in eternity,
and his blessed Lord he soon will see.
And the woman that he loves so well,
Will stand him with so much to tell.

Yes, it’s early in eternity,
and his blessed Lord he soon will see.
And the woman that he loves so well,
Will stand him with so much to tell, so much to tell.


Wednesday, January 9, 2013

He Enjoys Our Company. . .

This past weekend I was taking down our Christmas tree while our grandchildren, Jackson and Emma, were visiting.  As I begun I realized that little hands that had been warned for forty-something days "don't touch that tree!" might enjoy actually being able to touch some of the ornaments.

At first Jackson had no interest in the project, but his sister Emma was definitely interested, and I had a plan for that interest. 

"Emma," I told her, "you can take off all the icicles and put them right over here," I said pointing to one of the chairs in the living room. 

Emma enjoyed looking for the icicles and was especially delighted when she found several in  an area within her reach.  Next on the plan was the candy canes.  After that she worked on the snowflakes.  Her brother ambled in and removed some of the glass ornaments.  His six year old hands removed them with all the care that his grandfather and I had used in putting them on the tree.  But his little boy attention span soon tired of removing ornaments and he left Emma and me for the hope of throwing the baseball with his dad.

When I asked Emma and Jack to join me in taking down the Christmas tree, it wasn't because I needed their help.  In fact, I could have accomplished the tasks they completed much quicker than they did.  I ask them to join me because I enjoy their company and I thought they might enjoy the project as well.

The Lord invites us to participate in His working, too.  He invites us to participate by praying and by following His will.  He doesn't do that because He needs us to do those things.  I suspect that as I could have performed Emma's tasks quicker and more efficiently than she did, the Lord could do things much easier without us than with us.  He invites us to join Him because He enjoys our company.  Or as the Scriptures describe it,

"The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD: but the prayer of the upright is His delight,"  (Proverbs 15:8).

If we ever let that one thought sink deep within our hearts it will astound us. . .our prayers delight the Lord.  He doesn't tolerate us, He doesn't put up with us, our prayers delight Him.  How incredible is that?

Just as I asked Emma and Jack to help me, simply because I wanted their company, the Lord desires our company, too.  Knowing that should bring prayers to our lips much, much more than ever before.

If My Voice
Words & Music by Glen Davis
If my voice is sweet to you, Lord,
As Your Word declares,
And if You somehow find delight in my prayers.
And if Your face You call me to seek, Lord,
Your face, I will seek,
And my voice You will hear. . .


Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Pots of Pansies

Hanging on our fence are a couple of pots of pansies.  They are beautiful expressions of the glories of the Lord's  creativity.  But they didn't pop out of the pots spontaneously.

Glen and I went to the store, he picked out the flowers for the pots and I picked out flowers for the flower bed.  He planted the pansies in the pots.  He waters the pansies and feeds them.  As the weather has turned cooler, the pansies have blossomed into a beautiful bouquet to greet us each time we arrive home or walk out the door.

The plants we love to see each day are the direct result of the time and effort that Glen has invested both in planting and cultivating them.  If he went along day by day without a plan, there would have been no pot, no pansies and no beautiful blooms today.

How can we know so clearly that a garden, be it flower or vegetable, needs planning and daily care for growth, blooms and fruit to occur, but we seem to think that spiritual growth can occur haphazardly, accidentally or just spontaneously?

I don't mean to say that we need a highly regimented plan, because I do believe in allowing for the guidance and direction of the Holy Spirit, but I think there needs to be some type of a plan for Scripture reading and prayer.  We plan to eat, sometimes with intricate detail, we plan what to wear, how much more important to plan for our spiritual sustenance and growth?

Whatever your thoughts on your walk with the Lord, formulate some type of plan.  Have a plan for reading the Scriptures and some form of plan for prayer.  That way you can be more assurred of having a pot full of glorious blossoms to the glory of our Lord.

"Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear  my voice."
Psalm 55:17

"O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day."
Psalm 119:97

Monday, January 7, 2013

Forced Stillness

A friend at church yesterday asked me, "Did you write your blog last week?"

My answer was an emphatic "No!"

I didn't write last week because for five days I didn't leave my bed.  I didn't do anything except take my medicine for the flu, bronchitis and a sinus infection.  For a couple days I didn't even feel well enough to eat, which should speak volumes about how ill I felt, especially with all the delicious Christmas leftovers in the house.

I never opened my computer once.

I was in a state of forced stillness.  Well, there was some tossing and turning, and plenty of deep coughing involved, too, but for the most part,  my body was still.  The odd thing about it, when I was awake, my mind wasn't still. 

It seemed to me during that time I the Lord brought to my mind so many people that I knew who were hurting or sick --sicker than I was, in fact. As their names and faces came to my mind, I was able to pray for them and in doing so I was able to do more for them than I ever could had I been able bodied and well.

There are seasons in our lives the Lord brings times of forced stillness for various reasons.  Sometimes it is simply the consequences of our living in a fallen world.  As was the case with me, perhaps we come in contact with someone who has a particular virus that just wants to be shared.  Or perhaps our stillness might be the result of the carelessness of another person.  The obvious reason doesn't really matter.  By the time it happens to us, we should be looking at what purpose the Lord has in our stillness.

Perhaps it may just be to give us a season of rest we might not give ourselves.  Or perhaps He wishes to still our arms and legs that He might more readily capture the attention of our hearts and minds.  Regardless of the initial reason of our stillness, there is always something of Himself He wishes to teach us and reveal to us in those moments of forced stillness.

As my weakened body was in bed for those days, my mind thought of all the things that needed to be done in the days right after Christmas, but that I was far too weak to even attempt to do.  That situation gave me a greater empathy for our friends that have lost mobility and must depend upon others to do for them things they used to do so easily for themselves.  Sometimes we forget the pains of others are indeed pains.  As our grandson Jackson would say, "It's good to have a reminder."

I am thankful to be feeling much better, to be back at work, and back at the computer.  But I am also thankful for the period of stillness that has helped to make me even more thankful for the ability to, as a good friend of our says, "sit up and take nourishment." 

"Stand in awe, and sin  not:
commune  with your own heart  upon your bed, and be still .
Psalm 4:4

"Be still, and know that I am God:
I will be exalted among the heathen,
I will be exalted  in the earth."
Psalm 46:10