Friday, March 24, 2017

FROM MY JOURNAL PART 4

Most of the prayers from July 2009 to January 2013 were prayers for the church.  That was the purpose of my Tuesday prayer time.  Prayers for the church and congregation.  I hope you have benefited from reading them and pray you understand that prayers come from the heart.  From life.  And can give glory and praise.  Can ask for help.  Prayers are conversations with a God that loves to hear your voice.  Loves to spend time with you.  As often happens, my Tuesday prayer time at the church ceased when I was called in another direction. 

Occasionally a personal prayer slipped in.  January 8, 2013 –

Know what, Jesus?  I like the word new.  It is a chance to start again.  A new year.  A new day.  A new life.

I like the new life the best!  Thank you for making my new life possible.  On my own I would be absolutely lost!  On my own I would just as well stay in bed because I could not make it through the day.  I would not be able to control my anger, pride and long list of things.  Without you I would just be a human – going through life.  Just going through and not seeing the beauty, the glory nor the needs of others.

But you are so deep inside me that I take you for granted.  I expect my heart to beat and I expect you to be just as steady as my heartbeat.  I don’t mean to do that but I seem to go through the day and realize I hadn’t talked to you or read the Bible.  What amazes me is that you are deep inside me and you continue to give me words and you guide me as I teach and you give me patience to listen and you decorate the sky.

What amazes me is that you do not take me for granted.  You are constantly sending me reminders and wake-up calls.  Thank you!  Thank you!  Thank you!

Love, Mary

=   =   =   =   =   =   =


These are not from my journal and I have shared these before.  Thought it was a good time to do so again.

This was written January 2005 after doing Purpose Driven Life:

The purpose of my life is to place God at the center of my being and to see God in all the world around me.  To be always thankful and grateful for being created by God to be his child and to know I am important to God.

With God at the center of my life, I want my character to reflect that I am a believer and that I make Christ based decisions.

I want the lives of others to be enriched by my actions and words.  I want to help family, friends and strangers move closer to God because they can see the light   in my life and hear the story from my heart.

I want to share in fellowship with other believers so we can worship together, using the talents God has given each of us, to encourage each other and celebrate our faith.



This was written for a Sunday School lesson:

Personal Statement of Faith

I believe Jesus is the Son of God.
I believe Jesus walked on this earth and that he brought the love of God
to all who will accept it.
I believe Jesus can heal souls and bodies.
Although I may have times of doubt or times of disobedience,
I believe the love of Jesus is unending and never fails.
I believe Jesus is my salvation.
I believe Jesus died so my sins could be buried with him.
I believe he arose and is with his Father.
I believe Jesus lived so he could present me to his Father
as a forgiven, cleansed daughter.



This was written during a Bible Study on David:

Jonathan had been King David's friend and the king wanted to honor his friend by restoring all the land that had belonged to his grandfather Saul.  He would restore this land to Mephibosheth, Jonathan's son.  King David invited Mephibosheth, who was stooped and had crippled legs, to sit at the king's table and partake as one of his own.

From 2 Samuel 9:1-13 -- Mephibosheth bowed down and said, “What is your servant, that you should notice a dead dog like me?”   Then Ziba said to the king, “Your servant will do whatever my lord the king commands his servant to do.”  So Mephibosheth ate at David’s table like one of the king’s sons.

You see, David did not see a "dead dog."  He saw the son of his friend.  That made me think about how God sees me.

My Dear Heavenly Father,
  
I approach your table on feet that have walked on the path of sin.  With hands that have stayed close to my sides instead of giving bread to the hungry and water to the thirsty.  With eyes that have refused to see injustice and a tongue which has not defended your children.  I bring ears that have not heard the cries of the needy.  I come before you with a heart that reserved love for only a few.  I bring a body that is racked with guilt over my actions.

But when I arrive, at your table, the only thing you see is your child, clean and whole.  Forgiven.  You see your daughter and you invite me to eat at your table.  To eat at your table as the King's Daughter.


BECAUSE I HAVE BEEN AT THE FEET OF JESUS


I WILL SEE THE GLORY OF GOD


AMEN AND AMEN

Friday, March 17, 2017

FROM MY JOURNAL PART 3

Understanding is not always easy.  If the disciples were confused, as they spent days, weeks, and years with Jesus, it is easy to see why we are confused.  But we have the whole story.  We have the Bible.  Shouldn’t it just be clear?  Easy to understand?  Well, as clear as mud!

April 26, 2011
He is not here: he has risen!
Luke 24:6

What wonderful but frightening and confusing words:  Not here!  Where is he?  Where can I find him?  Who took him?  What do I do without him?  How can I anoint the body?
Fear:  Where is he?  What happens if we don’t find him?
Wonderful:  He has risen!
Confusion:  Huh?  What exactly does that mean?

Lord, help us deal with and understand this one sentence.  You are not in the tomb.  Just how do we keep track of you?  We put you right where we can find you – In the church, In our Bibles, In the small corner where we go to study or read.  We feel safe with you there.  Right where we put you.

So we always know where you are.  BUT YOU JUST REFUSE TO STAY PUT!  How do you expect us to know where you are if you won’t stay where we put you?  Do you expect to go to work with us?  Walk down the street with us?  Invite you to go along to the restaurant, the store?  The next thing we know – He is not here!

Lord you are not in the tomb and you refuse to stay in the tombs we put you in!  Lord help us roll away our stones.

He is risen!!  OH, MY OUR LORD JESUS, YOU ARE ALIVE – AMEN!!

PS But we still get confused.  Keep sending those light bulb moments.


July 5, 2011
Joshua 7:20, 25b,   John 8:7, 9,   Matthew 7:7,   Acts 14:27   Revelation 3:20
Scriptures on stones and doors

At the end of a Sunday School class, I made a statement:  Today we don’t throw stones, we just shut doors.

Dear Wonderful Lord, It is hard for us to understand much in the Old Testament.  One man sinned and the whole family stoned.  Why the whole family?  Why death?  Why did the whole community have to participate?  But we are New Testament people and see sin through the CROSS.  We like the time Jesus said to throw the stone if you are free of sin.  We know no stones will be thrown because we have ALL SINNED!!  We no longer throw stones or punish a whole family – or do we?  As the discussion progressed, we realized we don’t throw stones, we just shut doors.

That person
  • has tattoos everywhere – shut the door quick
  • they want praise hymns – shut the door fast
  • she sinned – shut the door
  • their father sinned so the family is not our kind – shut the door firmly
  • look at their clothes – shut the door quickly

Forgive us Lord, this list could go on and on.  We feel smug because we don’t throw stones but we feel fine shutting the door.  Forgive us Lord!  Move through us.  Move through this church.  Be the force that gives us courage to open our doors.

Lord, when we see someone who
  • sins – let us open the door of forgiveness
  • dressing differently or covered with tattoos – let us open the door and invite them in
  • is suffering because of the actions of another – let us open the door of understanding and compassion

Lord, since our hands do not hold stones, let our hands open doors.  When a seeker comes to our church, I pray we open the door BEFORE they even have a chance to knock.  AMEN and AMEN.


8-30-11
Matthew 18:21-22 and Luke 23:34
Scriptures on forgiveness

Sometimes prayers are peaceful.  Comforting.  Sometimes they are just pleas for understanding.  The call for UNITY has me confused.  (Disclaimer:  Being a neighbor to, working beside at a charity function, etc. with those of other faiths or those with no faith, I have no problem with.  It is the call to worship with and in unity with those of other faiths and claiming the god of other religions is equal to or the same God I worship is where I have a problem.  Unity, during this prayer, meant worshiping with or allowing access of our church to allow other faiths to worship in.)  This prayer is long.  I have taken it from my journal to show how we can be honest with God.  How I struggled with this in 2011 and, honestly, how I struggle with this today.

Dear God, today my heart is heavy with confusion and lack of understanding.  Please help me, others in this church and in the USA that are having the same problem.  This country is beginning to remember the 10 year anniversary of 9-11.

This country shed tears.  I cannot imagine how your heart must have felt.  Lord, I read about forgiveness and am told to be understanding, to be in unity with other faiths.  That is my problem.

We have studied the Old Testament and read time and again where your people turned away from you, suffered, called on you and you saved them.  Is that where we are?  The suffering part?  Lord, many people are calling out to you.  Many people want you back into the fiber of our country.  We are trying.  Are we just not enough?  Do more need to cry out?  How do we do this?  Is it because we are not Jewish?

Lord, I am confused.  I am scared and I am mad.  Some at you because you rescued people, but do not seem to be doing that for us.  You lifted up leaders.  Why aren’t you doing that now?  Have we – the USA and the church – moved so far away from you that you cannot hear us?  Lord, so many are reaching for you, but it seems like you have washed your hands of us.  I know you haven’t.  You created us and you love us.  Lord, we are crying out – rescue us.  Lord, rescue us.

Told you I was confused and scared and mad.  Lord, give me – us – understanding on the unity part.  I hear them but I do not understand.  I thought the Bible said to stay away from idols and false leaders, but we are to work with, in unity, a group that wants to kill us?  That has killed us!  How can the church preach “One Way, Through Jesus” and then say, be unified with those that believe differently.  Why are we sending people around the world to spread the Gospel – to be fishers of men – when the church turns around and says to work in unity?  Does that save them or condemn them?

Lord, I need help!  Give me some hope.  Give me some understanding.

I thought writing this might put my heart at ease but I am even more confused than ever.

Where do I find the true answer?  I can find scripture to support and condemn.  Show me the truth.

I could go to different people but, again, could find people with words to support or condemn every side of the issue.

My great God, in the name of Your Son, Jesus Christ, I am calling out for understanding.  I am calling out – calling out to you.  God, save your children.  Save your church.  AMEN


October 18, 2011
Scriptures on harvest:
Genesis 8:22 and Deuteronomy 16:15
Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.  Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest fields.”
Matthew 9:37

Harvest – When I hear that word I see fields waiting – wheat, beans, corn – waiting to give back what was planted and tended and given a chance to grow.  Thank you that there will always be a seed time and a harvest time. 

Lord, your farmers are in the fields.  Protect them.  Let their minds stay on task and be safe.  Prosper them.  Let their yields and prices be strong.  Give them strength.  Let their bodies be strong during this harvest so they can work the long hours and then allow their bodies and minds rest when the opportunity arrives.  Give them perseverance.  Farmers are true stewards of your earth!  Let them have the vision and wisdom to move from planting to tending to waiting to harvest to waiting to planting.  Yes, they need perseverance.

Thank you for all involved in agriculture!  Send a special blessing that they will know their efforts, their work, their calling is directed by you.

But our church is to have a different type of harvest.  We are to harvest souls!

Lord, instill in this congregation the desire to be farmers for God.  Let us each plant the seed of your Word.  Let us each tend and nourish all believers.  Let us have patience as we wait for the spiritual growing that only your Holy Spirit can give.  Let us all be prepared for the harvest as believers unite in worship.

Lord, instill in this congregation the desire to be farms for God, so that when the final harvest begins, not on “kernel” will be lost in the field.  AMEN and AMEN


From my Journal Part 4 will be next week.  What will I find as I look at the final journal?  You will have to check in and see.

Have a week where you find peace, joy and something to giggle about.


PS:  I did not realize how long this had gotten until I ran it off.  Hope your eyes are not tired.

Friday, March 10, 2017

FROM MY JOURNAL – PART 2


Sometimes I am focused as soon as I enter the church.  Other times not so much.

February 16, 2010

My mind doesn’t want to focus and that makes my ears hard of hearing and my heart scattered instead of whole.  Almost always, as soon as I open my Bible I feel led to a “topic” to pray for.  Then I find scriptures.  And it is as if I am the only in the church.  Today I brought the world into the sanctuary with me.  As I wrote I remembered this is Ash Wednesday week.  Now I know.  All it took was allowing God to take my thoughts.

Jesus, what did it feel like?  Did you want to take a 2 X 4 to the disciples?  Did you worry that there was not enough time left?  Were you scared?  Did you look at your mother, at your friends, at the disciples, at the world differently?  Burning into your mind the face of each?  Yes, I know you are human and Holy, but what was the human feeling?  Did food taste sweeter because you knew that soon you would no longer need to eat or drink?  Did you make a list of everything you wanted to tell the disciples?  Did your prayers change?  Did you feel the presence of your Father surrounding you as you prepared to offer the human body?  Did you feel the pressure on your shoulders as you tried to make sure the disciples were ready?  Oh, so many questions and when we meet face-to-face, there will be no questions.  In an instant, we will understand.

Lord Jesus, as you prepared so let us prepare for Easter.  Let our Spirit focus on the promise of the Resurrection and Eternal Life.  Amen

As I look back at this entry, I realize how often I still do this.  I go to pray but do not focus.  I allow the laundry, the noise, my plans and ?? to disrupt my prayer time. 


March 23, 2010

People look at a church and see one of two things.  Either they see it as a place that is happy, caring and full of love or they see a place that is always struggling, fighting and full of sinners.  Most churches are a combination of both.  The church I was attending was having a time of struggles.

Scriptures on guidance:  Psalm 25:5, Psalm 48:14, Psalm 73:24 and 1 Corinthians 14:12

This is from my prospective and my frustrations:

Lord, today I do not know where to start.  We need your guidance.  This church is at a crossroads.  The congregation has refused to change.  That refusal is killing the Spirit of the church.  The “not in my church” shuts doors, hardens hearts and stops faith.  Thou shalt not:  change the time of the service I want.  Allow praise hymns.  Feel comfortable going to the altar or raising your hands.  Come in jeans.  Look different.

At the meeting tonight I ask for guidance.  Actually, I ask for you to guide my thoughts and my words.

Prayer for our church:  (Note:  I printed the following off and passed it out before the meeting.)

To the God of all heaven and earth, Guide this church in your truth and teach us, as only you can.  You are our savior and our hope abides in you 24/7.  You are our God for ever and ever.  We ask you to be our guide to the end of time.

Guide this meeting.  Let us listen to your counsel.  Let us always be in your glory.  Let each person build up the church.  Let this church be so built on your broad love that it gains and does not die.  Amen.

I hope by now you are realizing prayers cannot be set words.  Our prayers change as we grow in faith, become involved in the life of the church and life throws us a curve ball.  God always loves to hear prayers of praise.  He loves it when we just sit quietly and thrill at the wonder of this world he created.  But he is there when we are having problems.  When the church is having problems.  He is ready, willing and able to guide us through – THROUGH – those problems. 


October 12, 2010

He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like on being taught.
Isaiah 50: part of verse 4
But everything exposed by the light becomes visible, for it is light that makes everything visible.  This is why it is said: “Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”  Be very careful, then, how you live – not as unwise but as wise.
Ephesians 5:13-15

WAKE UP!!  LISTEN!!  LIVE WISE!!

Good morning, waking up with God.  Wow.  Now that is something I can picture.  God gently whispering in my ear, “Mary.  Mary, it is time to get up.  It is time to wake up.  Mary, can you hear me?  Are your ears awake?”

Then God would say, “Today I want you to really listen.  And look, because today you have much to learn.  With every step you take today there will be a light shining.  That light will shine so everything – EVERYTHING – will be visible.  Today, Mary, I want you to live, not as a dead spirit just going through your day, but with the light of Christ shining on you.  Mary, today be wise.  Wake up.  Listen.  Learn.  Be wise.  Walk in the light of Christ.”

“Now go have your coffee.”

A silly idea?  NO!  I can also picture God’s greeting to the church. 

I can picture a light – at first soft and gentle – rising from behind the organ pipes.  Then spreading around the outside walls.  Always getting brighter.  The light then coming up the aisle, bathing every pew in light until the light reaches the altar.  At this point, every eye would be focused on the source of the light.  Hearts would be beating faster.  There would be so much energy, in the room, that it would be visible.  The only sound would be the sound of light moving.  Moving until the sanctuary was filled with light.

Then all ears would hear, “WAKE UP CHURCH!  WAKE UP!”

“You sit in the pews as if you were dead.  You have allowed the light of Christ to enter your heads but have built a wall around your heart.  You come to MY church to – to what?  Why are you here?  Are your ears open?  Did you wake up this morning saying, ‘Teach me.’?

I am THE SOVEREIGN LORD and I WILL sustain you, but you have to be awake.  WAKE UP!!”

“Let the light into your life, into MY church.  Let the light make everything visible.  Let the light of Christ shine on you and make you wise.  Why did you come to MY church this morning?  To live as if you were already dead?  OR To live in the light of Christ.  Will you carry MY light in your heart?  OR  Will you just let the light fade away?”

And in a time we cannot measure, God’s light would be gone.

How would you react?  How would the church react? 

Lord, send your light into our hearts.  Lord, make your light visible to others through us.  AMEN


As I read these, I realized the last one holds the answer to the first two.  When I allow other things to disrupt my prayers and when we allow things to disrupt God’s church, we need to

WAKE UP!!  LISTEN!!  LIVE WISE!!


What prayers will I find for Part 3?  Come back next week to find out.

Friday, March 03, 2017

FROM MY JOURNALS – PART 1

I came across my prayer journals, from July 2009 to January 2013, and I realized two things.  I have to get back to writing in a journal.  My concentration is so much better when I write.  And second my prayers were all over the place depending on my mood and life. 

Seven prayer warriors each took a day to pray for our church, the congregation, the world or whatever was on our heart.  My day was Tuesday, so almost every Tuesday morning I sat in the sanctuary and wrote.  There is something very special about being alone in the sanctuary.  Sometimes the church was very quiet because I got there early or it was very noisy with pre-school, staff and members.

As I review the journals, I would like to share some of the entries. 

July 21, 2009
Scriptures on a strong foundation:  Ephesians 2:19-22, 2 Timothy 2:19 and 1 Peter 5:10

Sometimes a prayer begins out of nowhere.  Sometimes a prayer comes out of tragedy.  The previous Saturday had been hard for our church and our community.  A young lady was to be married that Saturday.  Her fiancĂ© died Friday night.  The decorations were removed and joy turned into grief.  On that Saturday, two sisters were having fun.  Until their four wheelers collided.  Fun turned into fear.  A church and a community prayed.  As I wrote about this, I realized how important a strong foundation is when tragedy knocks us to the floor.

Thank you for the foundation of this church.  Sometimes we feel there is no foundation, that we are adrift.  Then a ‘Saturday’ happens and we see and feel the solid footing we have – a Unity of Spirit. 

Now let us build on this foundation.  Let our cornerstone be Jesus.  Let our walls be Your Word.  Let our strength be the Cross.  Let the Holy Spirit be strong in all.

Take all that is in my heart and know my prayers are honest and sincere.  Amen

July 28, 2009
Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”  When he had placed his hands on them, he went on from there.
Matthew 19:14-15

The disciples did not understand the importance of children.  Ahh, but Jesus did!

Lord, what a responsibility you have entrusted us with – YOUR CHILDREN.  You have blessed each child.  I can see you putting your hands on them.  A soft, loving look in your eyes.  A gentle, peace giving touch.  And I can see the children looking into your face and knowing!  Knowing – that is what I pray for our children.  Knowing!  Knowing you are ALWAYS there.  Knowing your peace, love, comfort.  Knowing your strength.  Your wisdom.  Your story.  Let them learn from the way you lived.  Let them learn your ways.  Let them grow in faith as they grow in body.  Let them hold your hand securely in theirs as they move into becoming adults.  Amen

September 15, 2009
Scriptures on Forgiveness:  Nehemiah 9:17, Psalm 103:1-4 and Ephesians 1:7

Be kind and compassionate to one another forgiving each other
just as in Christ God forgave you.
Ephesians 4: 32

Forgiveness is a rough one.  It is something we want, something we need.  And it is something we should give.  Forgiven – what a beautiful word.  What a gift.  What peace it brings.  How hard it can be to accept because with the accepting comes the realization of what it cost God – His Son – and what it cost Jesus – His Blood.

I offered a prayer for the church:  God let all in this church feel the wonderful clean feeling that comes from asking for and receiving forgiveness.  Then I offered a personal prayer.

My dear Lord, What emotions this brings.  Why would you do this for me?  I am no one special.  I am a sinner.  And yet you have taken me – me – you have taken me from the pit and forgiven ALL my sins.  Every one gone.  When you look at me, you see me clean.  Your beloved daughter.  And upon my head you have placed a crown.  And you placed it there with your love and compassion.  And someday, when this life ends, I will have an eternal body, healed with all disease left behind.  Praise the Lord, O my soul.  I will not forget your benefits.  Amen

November 17, 2009
(Abraham) …..obeyed me.     Genesis 22:18
Even the winds and the waves obey him (Jesus).     Matthew 8:27
…..his (Jesus’) reverent submission.     Hebrews 5:7

Obedience – what a hard word.  Obey – what a short word.  Reverent submission – what beautiful words!!  I prayed about obedience but then thought about Reverent Obedience.

Reverent Obedience – What a difference there would be between obedience and reverent obedience.

The body would be relaxed.  No tension in the shoulders.  Hands quiet, not clasped in a fist.  The head would either be humbly bowed or looking towards the heavens in anticipation.  Reverent obedience would include ears that could hear whispered instructions and eyes that are able to see clearly.  The heart would be beating in time with the Master’s.  Reverent obedience would require feet eager to follow and a mind focused on serving.

Reverent obedience is freely, willingly and totally saying yes to the Master.  To the Alpha and Omega.  To the Creator.  To the One True God.



Although the first prayer on a strong foundation came from grief and fear, the others on children, forgiveness and obedience are common to all Christians.  Have you prayed for the children?  Thanked God for forgiveness?  Been reluctantly obedient or have you been reverently obedient?

Friday, February 24, 2017

FEBRUARY

February – yuck!  This has to be the least favorite of the months.  As I write this, the sun is shining and it is unusual February weather.  Although some do not agree, I miss the snow and cold.  It gave me a reason to stay inside, read a book and watch the snow blow.  When the sun shines, everyone thinks they need to be doing something.  Except for Mardi Gras, February has no celebrations.  And when you live in Indiana, Mardi Gras is only something on the evening news. 

A celebration is what February needs.  Something bigger than watching a groundhog or buying a card.  Something with a wow factor.  We need a CELEBRATION!

Oh, silly me.  SUNDAY!!  February has four Sundays so has four celebrations.  The problem is we forget to celebrate on Sunday. 

Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth.
Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.
Know that the LORD is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.

PSALM 100

Shout – Joy – Gladness – Thanks giving - Praise
THIS IS WHAT GOING TO CHURCH SHOULD LOOK LIKE
THIS IS WHAT GOING TO CHURCH SHOULD FEEL LIKE.


Sunday is almost here.  Are you ready?

Sunday morning wake up.
Have that cup of coffee.
Get dressed.
Put on your joy.
Throw open the doors to the church.
And CELEBRATE!





PS.  But I am still glad February is almost over.



Friday, February 17, 2017

CONVERSATION

Now picture this:  I am sitting at my desk.  With my iPad on the desk.  Using the computer, I am “finger talking” with a Facebook friend in England.  Then the iPad sounds off.  It is our son.  So I “finger talk” with him also. 

Now how cool is that?  Son is only 20 miles away but England is over the pond and I am having a conversation with both of them at the same time.  Doesn’t that just beat all?

Conversation: 1. an informal talk involving two people or a small group of people,  2. oral exchange of sentiments, observations, opinions, or ideas,  3. an exchange similar to conversation

Now anyone that knows me will attest to my ability to have a conversation.  I strike up conversations with strangers while standing in a line, riding in an elevator or eating in a restaurant.  Longer conversations take place over a cup of coffee.  Really long exchanges of ideas can last for hours at our discussion group.  My hubby will tell you I am very proficient in having conversations with him where he never utters a word.

“Mary.”

“Yes, God.”

“So you talk to strangers, friends and your husband?”

“Yes, God.”

“What about me, Mary?  When was the last time you spoke to me?”

“What?  I talked to you this morning as I was getting out of bed.”

“Yes, but that did not last long because you … well you were in a hurry to get to the little room.”

“I know.  I drank coffee last night… Hey, you are the one who created me and you know how coffee…...”

“Mary, you are missing the point.  You said you talked to strangers.  You have longer conversations over coffee and, if I remember right, that one discussion group lasted for three and a half hours.  I can also have compassion for Bill because many of our conversations are very one sided.  My question is this:  have you ever talked to me for three and a half hours?”

“No.  But..Well..Honestly?  You expect me to talk to you for that long?  And besides, I was not the only one talking at the discussion group!”

“Mary, you are not supposed to be the only one talking when we are having a conversation either.”

+   +  +   +   +   +   +   +   + +   +   +   +
Oh, drat.  Hate it when God does that, but He does have a very good point.  It seems I have time to have real live conversations, “finger talk” conversations and back and forth conversations on Facebook.  Why is it so hard to set time to talk with God?

After all, as busy as Jesus was he sure found time.  He went to the mountainside (Luke 6:12), he went alone (Matthew 14:23), he took Peter, John and James with him (Luke 9:28-29) and he prayed that if it was God’s will that the cup be taken from him (Luke 22:40-42).

Jesus ask God to give his disciples the Spirit of truth (John 14:16-17) and he prayed them right into God’s hands.  Then Jesus prayed for all who will believe in him through the messages they hear (John 17:6-9). 

My favorite image is from Mark 1:35-38.  Jesus’ alarm clock must not have a snooze button, because he even got up very early, while it was still dark, quietly slipped out of the house so as not to wake the disciples and found a place where he could be alone. 

Old Testament to New Testament, Genesis 1:1 through Revelation 22:21, there is just a whole lot of praying going on.  Men.  Women.  Jews.  Gentiles.  Children.  Old.  Young. Jesus.  Disciples.  You would think God would enjoy some peace and quiet.  But no!  There are 108 verses on prayer, plus those on praise, shout, proclaim and witness.  Although there are a number of instructions on what we are not to do with our voice, it seems God rather enjoys hearing from us.

+   +  +   +   +   +   +   +   + +   +   +   +

“God?”

“Yes, Mary.”

“I have been thinking about our earlier discussion and wondered if you have a minute.”

“My child, I always have time.  My clock not only lacks a snooze button, it does not even have hands on it.”


“Well, I have this idea but I want to kick it around a bit.  Make sure it has your stamp of approval.  Yes, I know, that means I will have to wait and listen, not just talk.  And by the way, the sunrise this morning…………………….”

Friday, February 10, 2017

I WILL NOT …….

How would you finish that sentence?  There are so many actions that could follow those words.

Today I would like you to think about the trials in life.  We ALL have them.  Sometimes they come one at a time and sometimes we are just overwhelmed. 

Trials – I will not….. 

I will not hide!  So often, when faced with the death of a loved one, an illness, an embarrassment or the world finding out our worst thought, deed or action, our first response is to hide.  To stay within the safety of our home.  To lower our head so no one sees the fear, regret or tears in our eyes. 

We often hide because we are afraid.  How will I survive without my spouse/child/friend?  How will I face this illness?  How do I overcome my embarrassment?  How do I go out now that everyone knows?  How?  You allow God to hold you up.

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.  For I am the LORD, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, do not fear; I will help you. 
Isaiah 41:10 and 13

When trials come, I will not hide.

I will not stay! 

Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you.  Make level paths for your feet and take only ways that are firm.
Proverbs 4:25-26

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me, your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
Psalm 23:4

Will trials and hardships come?  Yes!  Will they be hard, terrible and cruel?  Sometimes!  Will we understand them?  No!  What action do we take? 

KEEP MOVING FORWARD.  The Bible tells us there will be hardships.  Trials.  Suffering.  There is no place in the Word of God that says life will be a piece of cake.  What it does say is that we are to look straight ahead.  We are to keep our feet moving on the path.  We are to walk THROUGH. 

When trials come, I will not stay.

I will not forget!

Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.  And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.
Romans 5:3-5

As much as we hate to admit it, we learn from our trials. 

When trials are over, I will not forget. 

I will not forget the calm before the trial.
I will not forget the whirlwind during the trial.
I will not forget the blessings through the trial.
I will not forget the hand of God supporting me the whole time!!!!!!!!!!!!!

= = = = = = = = = = = =

This blog is written because our family has come through a trial.  Or maybe I should say we are on the other side and almost through. 

The other day I went for my annual “see the doctor so you can get meds” checkup.  The doctor asked, “How is your stress level.” 

My answer was, “Do you want to know about the stress or about the blessings from the stress.”

It was then that I realized that I was at the “I will not forget” stage.  I never want to forget the kindness and generosity of so many people.  Friends who stood beside us.  Those that extended extreme understanding and compassion to our son.  Two ministers that were there for us and a Sunday School class that listened and shed tears with me.  I never want to forget because I pray that tomorrow and the next day and the next day, I will be able to treat others with this same compassion and support.

And now?


When trials are over, I will move forward with a new understanding.