Sunday, February 24, 2008

Sunday Psalm

Psalm 43

Show that I am right, God!
Defend me against everyone who doesn't know you; rescue me from each of those deceitful liars.
I run to you for protection.
Why have you turned me away?
Why must enemies mistreat me and make me sad?

Send your light and your truth to guide me.
let them lead me to your house on your sacred mountain.
Then I will worship at your altar because you make me joyful.
You are my God, and I will praise you.
Yes, I will praise you as I play my harp.

Why am I discouraged? Why am I restless?
I trust you! And I will praise you again because you help me, and you are my God.

I selected this Psalm today because of the last verses. It is God in whom I put my trust. It is Him to whom I turn for strength and guidance. There were times today that I really was confused to what was going on. Where was my husband? I knew that he did not go with us to church because he was not feeling well, so why was he not in the room? Why would he leave without his coat and hat -- and why did he not put on shoes? Why would he leave without his usual morning rituals?

You know, even when we are faced with something not-so-nice, God is still there with us. He does not leave us, nor does he put us into situations that are more than we can handle. Maybe... in the midst of the day (and finding my husband at the hospital with the flu) we are a light in a place we never imagined we would be. That is my prayer -- that somehow in some way, someone saw God working through me or in me. May it be His light and truth that guide me -- and that I will quickly lift my praise to Him.

At the end of an interesting day, this is my prayer:
I trust You! And I will praise you again because you help me, and you are my God.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Blessings on a not-very-good-day

This morning I am thinking of the many blessings that I have from our Heavenly Father. Although it is not Thankful Thursday, as I sit back and reflect I realize that many prayers have been answered -- and I am indeed thankful.

Of course, this line of thinking was set in process by something that is not preferred. I sit in the Navy Lodge in CT instead of Sarah & Kevin's -- because my tummy has been very demanding this morning. At first, I just wanted to cry -- here I am so close to my daughter's family but I felt it best to stay in the motel as I get my tummy settled.

I realized as Marshall left to be Grandpa that I could sit here and wallow in the disappointment, or I could step back and praise God for the blessings that I do have.

Of course, the first on the list this morning is the new blessing of Hannah Elizabeth within the family. She is a beautiful baby with a temperment (at least for now) that seems so non-demanding. She just goes with the flow -- enjoying being held or put down, enjoying eating or just being held, observing what is around her without claiming attention in the midst.

And her sibling, Eli (Elijah William), is another blessing. He has a quick smile and is so creative with his play. He can enjoy someone playing with him or just bounce around with his own thoughts driving his attention.

And both are healthy and happy. They have all their fingers and toes; they seem involved in the world around them, but not overwhelmed. And although they are very good children, one knows that they have their own interests and preferrences -- not just following what they have been commanded.

I am blessed by Sarah and her husband Kevin. They make such a beautiful couple -- their interaction and working together is an example for even us old fogies. And yet they retain their own personalities to be a person all in themselves.

And God gave me two wonderful children. Not only can I be proud of Sarah who now has her own family that she is raising to know the Lord, but also I can thank God for Paul.

A new item for him is the addition of another person within his life. He has committed to a relationship with a young lady that really does seem to be an answer to prayer. Their relationship seems built on the rock of Jesus Christ -- so what more could one hope or dream for their child?

Health, happiness, and serving the Lord -- what a wish by a Mom for her children. And they both seem to have those elements.

Another very important person is my life -- another blessing from God -- is my husband. Although there have been times I wanted to ring his neck, the overall picture is wonderful. And through some tools (like husband encouragement challenge), I am learning to honor and respect him even more.

The list of blessings can extend for quite some space -- like blessing of family and friends, a wonderful job, snow and beauty outside, the comforts of shelter, clothing and food, opportunities to go or to stay (like going to see grandchildren or staying home to read a book), health and happiness, and Bibles, and other fun books to read, pop or tea or water to drink.

And those are things for this earth. What about the blessings that we have coming in the eternal life because we know and serve Jesus?

So what started as a not-very-good-day can now be looked at as one that I can truly be thankful for. For God has poured forth His blessings in a variety of ways.

And I am thankful and give Him praise. Even for today as I sit at the Navy Lodge with my grandkids a mile away. For He is good and great - and I praise Him for sharing His peace and joy with me this morning.

Always be glad because of the Lord! I will say it again: be glad. Always be gentle with others. The Lord will soon be here. Don't worry about anything, but pray about everything. With thankful hearts offer up your prayers and requests to God. Then, because you belong to Christ Jesus, God will bless you with peace that no one can completely understand. And this peace will control the way you think and feel.

Finally, my friends, keep your minds on whatever is true, pure, right, holy, friendly, and proper. Don't evern stop thinking about what is truly worthwhile and worthy of praise.
Phil 4:4-8

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Sunday Psalm

Psalm 121

I lift up my eyes to the mountains; from whence shall my help come?
My help comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth.
He will not allow your foot to slip; He who keeps you will not slumber.
Behold He who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade on your right hand.
The sun will not smite you by day, nor the moon by night.
The Lord will protect you from all evil; He will keep your soul.
The Lord will guard your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forever.


Friday, February 15, 2008

Thankful Thursday

I determined to be more active with items like Thankful Thursday to help me be aware and sharing my faith on a daily basis. Also, this activity might help scatter the winter blues. So here is what I came up with as I was driving during the day -- and I start with I thank you God, Almighty, for:
  1. A warm house for shelter from the wind.
  2. A vehicle that enables me to go many places easily and safely.
  3. A job that I love, even if being observed by my boss that day.
  4. A husband who is indeed my valentine.
  5. Comfortable clothes that keep me warm.
  6. Snow that swirls around and that I have been safe when driving in it.
  7. Family and friends.
  8. Baby Girl soon to be born.
And this last one, as I prayed throughout the day, I had no idea how soon it was for her to be born. #8 should now read, "Hannah Elizabeth and the non-laborous labor to bring her into the world."

Hannah Elizabeth was born last night about 9:30 p.m. to my daughter, Sarah and her husband Kevin. Mom and Hannah are fine and doing well, and Eli slept peacefully while sister was born.

Many answered prayers related to delivery and afterwards were answered -- and I can honestly say, "God answered those prayers in a way I NEVER imagined." But praise to Him anyway, because His way is better than anything I could dream. And now we have lots of stories to tell of Hannah's entrance to the world.

And now, I am speechless. The awe and wonder of it all... Thank you, Lord, for this Thursday...

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Prayer List

This morning when praying, I determined to start a prayer list on my blog. Maybe others will lift up these items as well for God's amazing power and love to pour forth.

Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus... I Thessalonians 5:16-18

Lord, I lift these items to you with praise, oh God above all gods. Although I do not include names, I pray that you would look in our hearts and know the individual that we lift anonymously to your thrown of grace...
  1. Thanks to Him for his mercies and grace.
  2. Thanks for Jesus -- a friend above all friends -- giving His life for me to have life.
  3. Thanks for family and friends. For love that shows at just the right time.
  4. Protection of new life that enters the world through birth. Keep Mom and Baby safe -- that Dad and big brother would be supportive and strong as needed.
  5. Guidance as life-changing decisions are made. Bless a couple that has waited a long time to have a second part in the couple. Give them wisdom and confidence as they blend their lives together.
  6. Healing for mental and physical bodies.
  7. As we age, help us still to look to you for how you can use hands and feet in ministry to others and for your work.
  8. Healing for abuse from long ago and protection from those who harmed and now go free.
  9. Strength to be a good wife -- submissive, encouraging, loving, and following your ways -- even when that path is not easy.
  10. Pouring of Your Spirit during court proceedings -- that hurts would not result in inappropriate words or actions in the courtroom. May the judgment / settlement be what is best for all parties, enough to pay the bills from injury and further treatment.
Specifically I lift up Marshall, Paul, Sarah, Kevin, Eli, Susie, Dave, Barbara, Kim, Lori, REB, Ann, and Lois.

Help us to come before You with thanksgiving and praise, honor and reference, love and commitment. May I me a light for You, today...

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Where have I been?

Wow! Time flies by -- I have thought of many things to post and did not realize that I had not taken action -- for a long time.

Where have I been? Am I traveling the world seeing new sights and wonders? Have I gone south with cold blustering here in Iowa? Have I gone over seas -- visiting in countries that I would communicate in other languages or manners?

I have been right here with my activities within the church, work, and daily life. Nothing major to report. No changes to announce. Nothing new in which to inform others.

So what will I present here? How about a message that where ever I have been, I know that God is with me? Or should I pick some story from the Bible and draw out the mercies, love, and compassion of our Maker and Redeemer? Or should I pick some story from the Bible and draw out that our God is a Righteous God and desires obedience and faithfulness to Him? And then relate back my own action or inaction in response?

Maybe I should simply share something that struck me this morning during worship. Sometimes when I get so busy with what I need to do, I forget that I need to put my joys and concerns at the feet of Jesus -- allowing Him to participate in my adventure. Rather than getting on the horse and plowing along with blinders to what is happening around me, maybe I should stop and see where the path is headed. We closed the service with the hymn, "What a friend we have in Jesus" and I realized that I have not taken my cares to the Lord and put them at His feet. The other day I did enter the church, knelt at the steps in the sanctuary, and said a short prayer. But it was uncomfortable to be still, so I got in mid sentence. The prayer continued, but I walked on through to the steps going out the other side and kept going. This morning it dawned on me, that in my efforts to be effective showing His Light, I have stopped looking closely at what He would have. I have stopped looking at the Light of the World for my own light. I have not quietly sat at His feet and waiting for Him to speak.

So what is my plan? Let's see if this works, but I want to actively give thanks -- is Thankful Thursday calling to me? I want to praise Him regularly - is Sunday Psalm a good place to linger on Sunday morning / afternoon? Or maybe just sitting and sharing the struggle of following faithfully would be a step.

Or I could stop to read His Word, reflecting what the message to His people might be. And it is with that that I come this morning. A short note from the following which caught my eye of where the power of all that I might attempt comes from. My strength comes from the Lord Jesus -- as I give thanks through Him to our Heavenly Father.

"And so, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you.
And beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.
And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one bond; and be thankful.
Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.
And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father." Colossians 3:12-17

And that is my final answer... for the moment.