Posts

Showing posts from February, 2011

Restoring Joy

Rejoice in the Lord always, I will say again: Rejoice! Philippians 4:4 The other day I observed a large group of people and noticed a general gloominess of attitude. It bothered me because I was fairly sure that my attitude was in the same neighborhood. One of the core convictions of our church is that we all have issues that require tissues. I know that’s true but I’m usually a fairly joyful person, until lately that is. There seems to be a thief at my door these days who would love to snatch my joy from me, who has unfortunately been fairly successful. That has put me in prayer, asking why? I know the problem is never with our loving and unchanging God. That means the problem is me. A day ago I would have told you that God was not answering any of my questions. It seemed as if He wasn’t even hearing those queries. Then in the simplest way, He got my attention. Yesterday our pastor, Sam, shared a tiny bit of information about his childhood church. He said that though they stressed

Not Ashamed

I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is God’s power for salvation to everyone who believes. Romans 1:16 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, the we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up. Daniel 3:17-18 The other day my granddaughters, Faith and Madelyn, wrote letters to my nephew-in-law, who is currently in Afghanistan. Jeff is their hero. In their words, “he is in the war, keeping scary guys away.” It is important to them to lift Jeff up in prayer and to send him notes and gifts. To them Jeff is a defender of their faith. They understand, to the best of their ability, at five and three, that somewhere out there is a threat. I do not have the heart to tell them that the threat is much closer to home. The paradox for me, is that everywhere you look you see “Christians.” Just the other night at

Faking It

Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, For you are God my Savior. Psalm 25:4-5 There is a young woman I know who has been in and out of my life for years. For a brief time I would have referred to her as a lovely young woman but not today. If you met her today and saw her behaving the way she does most of the time you would see a bitter, controlling selfish young lady. But once for a short span of time I would have described her as fun, easy going and caring. For that small expanse of time she wanted something and behaved in a way that she believed would best help her get it. She did get it and now she neither appreciates it nor cares to keep it. Now as I watch her and hear about her from others, I wonder where that other girl went, the girl with the good qualities. I guess she was pretending to get what she wanted. Even so, she is capable of better behavior. I’ve seen it. Years ago when I was a young woman myself trying to learn who to

New Sight

He replied, “Whether he is a sinner or not I don’t know. One thing I do know, I was blind but now I see!” John 9:25 “I was blind but now I see.” This simple statement is amazing. When we read it here in John, knowing the whole story that Jesus saw this man by the side of the road, this blind man and gave him his sight. That is certainly noteworthy. For this physically blind man, sight was a once for all miracle. Jesus is not one to waste anything. None of his miracles are just what they appear to be on the surface. Surely writers of prose, poetry and songs have used this line from scripture, “I was blind but now I see.” It suggests a before and after scenario. Often it is used to delineate the time when we had no relationship with God and a new time where we view Him as Lord of our life. I agree with that but I don’t think it ends there. This miracle is a continuous one for me. Perhaps I am alone in this but I doubt it. All of us are learning as we go. At some point most of us were

Forgiving

“And when you stand there praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.” Mark 11:25 “Forgive us our debts also, as we forgive our debtors.” Matthew 6:12 “No one can teach forgiveness like the forgiven.” I read this statement a few weeks ago in a book written by Beth Moore. I knew as soon as I read it that I would borrow it from her eventually. I just didn’t know what God would have me say. In looking at it again today I realized that I know a lot about forgiveness from the perspective of the forgiver and the forgiven. I learned some very profound truths from my pastor and friend, B.E. Palmer, many years ago. Recently I learned some very basic truths from my granddaughter Madelyn. B.E. taught me about the continuousness of Biblical forgiveness. He explained that the words used in Scripture find their roots in words that are not finite but continuous. To say that he delivered bad news with that teaching is an under

Mistaken Impression

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6 How do you feel about first impressions? Do you think they are accurate? I usually find that my first impression is fairly accurate although I often take a circuitous route to get back to it. When someone is introduced to me I get an immediate feel for him/her. Then I am given someone else’s opinion and/or I see their actions. Often I waver from my original reaction only to find after a time that I was right in the first place. Maybe that is because in those first few minutes I wasn’t seeing with my eyes but with my spirit, receiving rather than perceiving. Information comes to us through many venues. We hear stories, we see one isolated act or we catch one bad or one very good day. At that point we believe that we have knowledge of a person we may in fact not have. We do the same thing with God. As one piece of info

The Shadow of Doubt

Be merciful to those who doubt. Jude 22 He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? Luke 24:38 A dear young friend of mine shared with me a moment in her life that was terrible. It was frightening. She felt an emotion she never wants to revisit. My heart broke for her a bit, not just because of what had happened but because of what will happen. She most likely will experience that same emotion. This morning I read a passage from a book by an extremely well respected pastor. He too expressed concern about his feelings. He and my sweet friend labeled them differently. She called hers anger/hatred. He called his fear but they all find their life’s breath in the same base emotion, doubt. My sweet friend desperately wants a certain miracle. I am confident that she will receive it, in God’s time. She is too, most days. The pastor has the weighty privilege of preaching and writing to an enormous audience. It is a privilege, his ministry, and he sees at s

Overcoming Darkness

In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it. John 1:4-5 (NIV) Life was in Him, and that life was the light of men. That light shines in the darkness, yet the darkness did not overcome it. John 1:4-5 (Holman Christian Bible)* In the past few days I have had many reasons to consider why certain things happen. I’ve read a bit about the reasons we suffer or are tested, here on earth and my faith has been challenged. It would be great to say that I have passed my recent tests and met my challenges with grace and aplomb but that would be a bold faced lie. Sadly at one point in the last week I knew that my thoughts were a disgrace to my Father. I knew as well as I know my own name that more was expected of me and I failed. I could explain the whole scenario and trust me I have to a few of my nearest and dearest, but the details aren't that important. As for my dear ones, their opinions fall on two sides. Some

Loving Preparations

In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there it prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. John 14:2-3 Last night my daughter-in-love, Erin, told me something very nice about my son Jeffrey. Erin just had a baby and Jeffrey had gone home, cleaned the house and prepared a place for the new baby as well as sprucing up the rest of the house for Erin. “Jeffrey was so sweet.” She told me. Now to put this in context you have to know that Jeffrey and Erin have a great relationship but both of them have a wide sarcastic streak and a biting wit. They say things about each other, in jest, that would offend other people but to them it’s all in good fun. They tease. Erin has complimented Jeffrey before of course but I could see in her face that she was very impressed and pleased with his efforts. His reaction, when I shared it with him, was ma

Renewal

Taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man who takes refuge in him. Psalm 34:8 A year ago today I celebrated the birthday of one of my dearest friends, Karen. Charlene and I, along with her family and a few other friends, gathered at a hospice center to be with Karen, on what would be her last birthday. Karen would shed her earth suit one month to the day later. While we did not know the exact date, we all knew, as we sat with her that we would never celebrate with her again, this side of heaven. As this week began my thoughts continuously went to Karen, to that day, that Wednesday, one year ago. Yesterday, on Wednesday, my daughter-in-love, Erin, gave birth to a beautiful baby girl, Abigail Claire. Abigail was not born on Karen’s birthday, which leaves February 10th as Karen’s birthday in my mind. No, in His gracious kindness, God sent us little Abigail on the Wednesday I had been regarding as a very sad day. One year ago, on Wednesday February 10th, I would see

Germs

Submit yourselves then, to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. James 4:7 If you know one of the people with whom you come in daily contact is ill do you avoid them? I don’t mean cancer ill or chronically non-contagious ill. I mean put you in bed for a week highly infectious ill. Do you avoid them? Or at least take more precautions after coming in contact with them? I do which is actually harder than it may sound. Keep in mind, I work with small children a.k.a. germ mobiles. These children put their fingers in places where fingers should just never go and they love dirt. Further they love to share, especially their germs. We haven’t quite achieved the cover your nose and mouth goal nor have we truly mastered that pesky hand washing skill. I’m not really a germaphobe but I feel like one when I’m in that room. I love my kiddos and there is no way I’m getting from one end of the day to the other without touching or being touched not to mention heads bent together to read boo

Acknowledge God

And you, my son Solomon, acknowledge the God of your father and serve him with wholehearted devotion and with a willing mind, for the Lord searches every heart and understands every motive behind the thoughts. If you seek him, he will be found by you; but if you forsake him, he will reject you forever. 1 Chronicles 28:9 The other day I was in a meeting where the question was asked, “Do you feel insecure about your situation [job]?” And answered by the same voice, “You should.” These words were spoken, not in an attempt to intimidate the listeners but to educate them. There are changes occurring of which the speaker wanted the attendees to be aware. I was an attendee. The changes to which the speaker referred do not directly concern me, yet, but it is likely that they will before too long. I looked around at the people in the room and I saw insecurity on most faces. At that point I gave myself a little mental pinch. No, I wasn’t feeling insecure. My first thought was that I wasn’t takin

Changing My Mind

Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me or see in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:8-9 The last few days had been extremely disappointing. I had come to a couple of difficult and sad realizations. Thank God I have learned to take those disappointments and trials to the Cross and I’m even getting better at leaving them there. Having spent some time with God discussing my sadness I moved on into my day. As I was getting ready for the day this little song my grandbabies love kept playing over and over in my head. To say it is an annoying little song is a vast understatement. I asked God to replace it with something from Scripture. “Just put in my head what you want me to hear.” I prayed and the above verse came immediately. My thoughts had been centered on sad things,

Sleepy

They went to a place called Gethsemane, and Jesus said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” He took Peter James and John along with him, and he began to be deeply distressed and troubled. Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Simon,” he said to Peter, “are you sleeping? Could you not keep watch for one hour?” Once more he went away and prayed the same thing. When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. They did not know what to say to him. Returning a third time, he said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Enough! The hour has come. Look the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise! Let us go! Here comes my betrayer!” Mark 14:23-33, 37, 39-42 This same event is told in Matthew 26 in almost the same words. The point is clearly the same. Jesus is suffering the worst night of his life. He asks his three nearest and dearest, Peter, John and James, to come with him to pray. They go along, I’m sure wit