Saturday, January 30, 2010

Answers to prayer....

"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above coming down from the Father of Lights with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow." James 1:17

My Mom is doing phenominally well after only 12 days post knee replacement. Therapists are amazed, and so was everyone in rehab. After being there only 4 days she was home. The therapist that came to the house said, "There is no point to me being here, you are well ahead of schedule!" I was not surprised....

Direct results of prayers lifted by many kind hearts.....So many answers during the past two weeks, it will be impossible to think of the past two weeks without thinking of these small miracles.

Kind friends my Mom has not seen in 20 years, showing up at rehab to visit. A brand new (FREE) toilet chair provided, oatmeal raisin cookies baked and brought over at just the right time, (my Mom had just said the day before that was the only thing she was hungry for!) A vacant room at the rehab my Mom said she wanted to go to coming open the day she was to be released from the hospital....and so many more!

Friends, they cherish one another's hopes. They are kind to one another's dreams." Henry David Thoreau

There is an eye that never sleeps
Beneath the wing of night;
There is an ear that never shuts
When sinks the beams of light.
There is an arm that never tires
When human strength gives way;
There is a love that never fails
When earthly love decays.

A love that never fails by George Matheson

Friday, January 22, 2010

Arrow prayers.....

Our confidence lies in the fact that God hears the whispers we pray when there is no time for anything else. Whispers in the daylight and Whispers in the dark when all is silent and the heart slows its beating in the calm of "lights out."

We throw arrows up and He catches them and puts them safely in His Heavenly quiver...He knows when there is no practical time to pray and we are running here and there doing things that need doing, and yet our heart is praying without ceasing and our soul is on it's knees.

Miraculously we rise up with eagles wings and soar with the Spirit, somehow we get everything done, our bodies going through the motions and His Spirit carrying us through.

Prayer is the soul catching it's breath.

"but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." Isaiah 40:31

Sunday, January 17, 2010

The Lord is near....

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:4-9

I will be gone for two weeks helping out my Mom who is having her second knee replacement surgery tomorrow. I hope to get a few posts in here and there. May the Lord bless and keep you and make His face to shine upon you all!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Eat, pray, vacuum

Anyone who is having troubles should pray. Anyone who is happy should sing praises. Anyone who is sick should call the church's elders. They should pray for and pour oil on the person in the name of the Lord. And the prayer that is said with faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will heal that person. And if the person has sinned, the sins will be forgiven. Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so God can heal you. When a believing person prays, great things happen. (James 5:13-16 NCV)

I don't know why but some of my best prayer/praise sessions come when I vacuum. It amazes me how God breaks through at the most common everyday moments sometimes. I put in my headphones, pull up a worship playlist on my IPOD and off I go. I am even starting to look forward to my "vacuum sessions." When God shows up even the most menial task becomes a form of meditation. There is something very wholesome, even Holy about "working with your hands." Menial tasks become anything but menial when done as a form of praise!

I love my rainbow vacuum cleaner!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Love one another

It is hard sometimes even to love those we love. We get irritated sometimes and then we feel bad at being irritated. Things get in the way and prevent us from loving the way we know we should. It's like static on a radio. So frustrating to almost get the station dialed in, one minute it is there, clearly it comes across like a miracle, only to have it crackle and fade, gone again. Those old dial radios!

And then there is the baggage. Baggage of all of our past experiences with that person. Old wounds, old hurts. We come to them hoping for a change, for them and us; hearts open but guarded, only to be smacked down again. Little things become big in a hurry. But there is hope. Hope because God is enough. God is love itself, the very essence of it.

So I pray for Him to show me, and sometimes miracles do happen when I get out of the way. He loves through me. Not only do I show it, I really mean it. We connect Spirit to Spirit and God teaches us how to love the way He does. The kind of love that washed not only the feet of John and Peter, but Judas feet as well.

"A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." John 13:34,35

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

"The something else factor"

I finally went to see "Avatar" and I was not disappointed. This was my first ever IMAX experience and now I really wish I had gone to pay the extra money to see Lord of the Rings in 3D. I was captivated by the special effects and it is always fun to be whisked away to another world for awhile. Coming out of the theater entering what seemed to be a very dark, drab world after all that vivid color, light and sound was strange.

People have been captivated with what I call the "something else" factor since the very beginning. Billions of dollars have been spent researching other planets and possible other life forms. We just know there has to be something or someone else out there! Eve was no different. She thought there was "something else" too and she had everything. Imagine for just a moment, the world she lived in. It was idyllic, perfect, it could not have been improved upon. All the moisture came up from the ground so it was a very tropical environment, no worry about the elements, the temperature was perfect. They didn't have to worry about being cold, or too warm. The animals were their companions and friends, as yet there was no need to fear humans. Great creatures we can't even imagine stalked through the brush. They listened to the music of the angels, they experienced colors that don't even exist down here. They lived in the light of the very Presence of God Himself, they actually walked with Him in the cool of the evening.....Who needs anything else? Right?

But she thought God was withholding something from her; "something else." The Bible says the "serpent" was "more crafty than any beast of the field which the Lord had made." We are not talking ugly snake here, we are talking a very intelligent, otherworldly, and very beautiful creature here. The Bible says Satan worked through this beautiful creature as he always does, by masquerading as an angel of light. The rest is history. The painful result is the world we live in today.

But here is the miracle and wonder of God. He is in love with this world and He came down Himself to get us back. He will also come back again to make all things new. Once again, it will be perfect. That world, God has promised will never end. When we really see that, this world becomes transformed right before our eyes. We begin to live with what my former Pastor Gary Kinnamon called the "eternal perspective."

Jesus said, "The kingdom of Heaven is at hand." He looked at this broken world and He knew it needed fixing, so He left a perfect place and made a way for us to join Him there, forever! Whatever magic a filmmaker can dream up today pales in comparison to what God has prepared for us!

"But as it is written, Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for those who love him. But God has revealed them unto us by his Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God." 1 Cor. 2:9, 10

Please join me in prayer today for the people of Haiti......

Monday, January 11, 2010

Just visiting across the fence......

Gratitude for those God has placed in my and forever. I am thankful for blogging today, for it allows us all to share and grow closer. Strangers once, but no more. Where once we met at the corner store, or the post office, or the street. Now we meet here, across this place called the "Blogosphere." We share smiles just the same as we once did across the back fence.

It's a little community all its own and I am glad you are here sharing a piece of your town, your homes, your families, your lives. We can all learn from each other....Those of us that look through windows that frame palm trees and sun, romanticize your glittering postcard scenes of snow....While you wish for our sun, nevertheless have dreams of summer. We want the winters to go on and on, because we know your beautiful summers will mean our dog-days of artificial air, suffocating parking lots, long days of oven-heat with only the promise of Autumn's magic mercy.

So, though I long for days of visiting over coffee cup brims, chatting with the mail-carrier, running over with good news or to share a hug, going downtown for lunch at a favorite sidewalk spot, or trips to the bookstore to search for hidden treasure, I am glad we share this.

Thankful today for growing up in a small town, for it helped make me what I am today. Grateful that some things haven't changed......I still stop to talk with "George" the mail-carrier, same one since I was in high school....Still stop to visit friends who will pause from what they are doing to make a fresh pot and talk....Still can walk downtown and see people I know, know what lays beyond their doors because I have many times been invited in....small miracles in this fast-paced age.

Grateful for those in my life now. I can see you all in my mind, my heart. Going about your business, your day, a part of me forever. This makes 198 grateful gatherings since I started counting!
holy experience

Sunday, January 10, 2010

The God of Early Mornings.......

"And I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless." I Thess. 5:23

The sky this morning looked just like this and I thought it tied in beautifully with my devotional yesterday by Oswald Chambers, here is the first part of it:

"Your whole spirit. . ." The great mystical work of the Holy Spirit is in the dim regions of our personality which we cannot get at. Read the 139th Psalm; the Psalmist implies - "Thou art the God of the early mornings, the God of the late at nights, the God of the mountain peaks, and the God of the sea; but, my God, my soul has further horizons than the early mornings, deeper darkness than the nights of earth, higher peaks than any mountain peaks, greater depths than any sea in nature - Thou Who art the God of all these, be my God. I cannot reach to the heights or to the depths; there are motives I cannot trace, dreams I cannot get at - my God, search me out."

There is no place we could ever go where God's grace could not reach us.....He is beyond our wildest dreams and imaginations.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

The right time is now

For God says, "At just the right time, I heard you. On the day of salvation, I helped you." Indeed, the "right time" is now. Today is the day of salvation. 2 Cor. 6:2

I think a sense of urgency is missing today in many churches. We spend time edifying and building up the ones inside, but forget that there are those outside the doors (and some inside) that desperately need rescue. I once listened to a old sermon by John Edwards and even though I have experienced God's saving grace and know where I will spend eternity, I still felt like finding the nearest church aisle to run down anyway! Not many of those kinds of sermons are preached anymore. We have a sense of urgency about the wrong things sometimes. Urgency does get our attention, all we have to hear is that beep, beep warning on the news station and right away we stop whatever we are doing and listen. Certainly there are situations in life that require immediate attention, but all those other things that we think are important would fade away if our child was terminally ill. The fact is we are all terminally ill spiritually and physically. We all need a doctor. The good news is, the Great Physician was born, lived and died so that our terminally ill soul could be ransomed from eternal death.
Now that is something that should be on the bottom of the ticker tape on CNN!

If you lose your peace, break with the situation. If you need to pray, pray now. "Oh but that might be too awkward or too much trouble," we say to ourselves. But if we had diarrhea, we would break with the situation. We would get up from the meeting. We would pull the car off the road. We would put down the phone. We would get out of line. We would excuse ourselves from the dinner table. It's very simple: all we have to do is make the peace of God more important than diarrhea." Hugh Prather "Spiritual Notes to Myself."

And just as each person is destined to die once and after that comes judgment, so also Christ died once for all time as a sacrifice to take away the sins of many people. He will come again, not to deal with our sins, but to bring salvation to all who are eagerly waiting for him. Hebrews 9:27,28
The question is how do we offer someone a cure if they don't even know they are sick?

Friday, January 8, 2010

A Good Year

In many ways and for many people, 2009 was a tough year. I think everyone has been affected one way or another with the economy. Just yesterday for about the 3rd time I heard someone say, "Let's hope that 2010 is a better year." I dealt with many of the same issues that I dealt with in 2008, general worry about not living close to my aging parents, being conscious of time slipping by too fast. I battled depression off and on; sometimes felt as if it was surrounding me like a cloak. I continue to watch my best friend suffer through Alzheimer's and senility with her Mom and Dad. But through all these things, I can honestly say that it was a good year, because it was a GOD year.

The one thing that I did differently in 2009 than 2008 was a regular prayer time and that one thing made ALL the difference. When I look back I can see that the dark moments are victoriously overshadowed by the Presence of God in the little moments when I least expected it. I can even say that I am thankful for the depression because when the sun did come out, it came out in a blaze of glory and with the absolute clarity and knowledge that it was God that did it. In that He is glorified.

So this year as last, I will continue to pray and experience the wonder of communion with a God who wants to know me even with all my failings. I will rise and start the day with my eyes fixed on Him and I will make hope a conscious decision each time I catch myself leaving Him out of it.

"But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body. So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you." 2 Corinthians 4:7-11

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Living water

John 4:13-24
13 Jesus replied, “Anyone who drinks this water will soon become thirsty again. 14 But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.”
15 “Please, sir,” the woman said, “give me this water! Then I’ll never be thirsty again, and I won’t have to come here to get water.”

16 “Go and get your husband,” Jesus told her.
17"I have no husband," she replied.
18 Jesus said to her, "You are right when you say you have no husband. 18 The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true."
19 "Sir," the woman said, "I can see that you are a prophet. 20 Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem."
21 Jesus declared, "Believe me, woman, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22 You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth."

I love the interchange between Jesus and this woman. He manages to smash about 2 or 3 cultural barriers at once here. Jews didn't talk to Samaritans and men didn't make it a practice to have public dialogs with women, especially a Jewish man and a Samaritan woman! Jesus doesn't seem to think anything of it. He has no problem having a lengthy conversation with her. He meets her right where she is! Just by stopping to talk with her by the well, He demonstranted that he cared more about her as a person than going along with the cultural norm.

She came to the well for drinking water and got the Living Water Himself!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Leaving a legacy

I picked up "The Christmas List" by Richard Paul Evans at the library a couple weeks ago, being a fan of his other Christmas themed books starting with "The Christmas Box" several years ago now. I was captivated by the theme. What would happen if you read your own obituary in the newspaper. That is exactly what happens to James Kier to his shock and amazement. It gets even more interesting when he starts to read all the comments of his business associates about his death. He learns how they really feel about him. I won't give the rest of the plot away, but suffice it to say, I had no problem reading it under the seven days.....

It raises some very important questions. What kind of legacy do we want to leave? What kind of legacy do you want to leave for your children? What kind of legacy does God want us to leave?

There are many things that this world considers important and noteworthy, worthy of recognition. How do those things line up with what God considers important?

Micah 6:8 He has showed you, O man, what is good and what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

How about this one.... James 1:26 If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless. Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

I think leaving a legacy of kindness is one of the best ways that we could glorify God. Being known as kind, nothing more complicated than that.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Precious nuggets from Psalm 68

The other day I was considering which Psalm to put to memory (other than the 23rd) which always gives such comfort when I can't sleep. No sooner had the thought entered my mind when Psalm 68 popped into my head, and it wouldn't go away. Thinking that God must have whispered it, I looked it up. No small Psalm was this. I was hoping for a short one, but no, 35 verses in all. I thought, "God, surely You don't mean this one, knowing how long it takes me to memorize anything!" But it kept catching me unawares, Psalm 68 there in my mind again. So I have resigned myself to going at it one section at a time for now.

Here are some treasures from this Psalm that continues my count toward the thousand gifts of gratitude....

Vs.1 "Let God arise, let His enemies be scattered." So many horrific things are happening now that we cry out for justice and wonder how so many can get away with doing so many terrible things to innocent people? But not one act will escape His notice.

Vs.4 "Cast up a highway for Him who rides through the deserts, Whose name is the Lord, and exult before Him." I have always loved this passage, also found in Isaiah and familiar with those who listen to Handel's Messiah, during Christmas and Easter.

Vs.5 "A father of the fatherless and a judge for the widows is God in His Holy habitation" How comforting is that?

Vs.6 "He makes a home for the lonely; He leads out the prisoners into prosperity, only the rebellious live in a parched land"

Vs.11 "The Lord gives the command; The women who proclaim the good tidings are a great host." God likes women and women like Him!

Vs.19 "Blessed be the Lord, who daily bears our burden" You mean I don't have to???

Vs.35 "O God, Thou art awesome from Thy sanctuary. The God of Israel Himself give strength and power to the people. Blessed be God."

This makes #193 toward 1000 and beyond,
holy experience

Photo of Razorwire and Cross by Steven Crisp

Sunday, January 3, 2010

In the morning....

Image "Morning" by William Barclay

I like to think that all of the prayers we offer to God rise through the clouds and mingle with the strains of Heavenly praise as they float across that sea of glass and reach the very Throne of God. There they fuse together with the very pulse of Heaven itself as they enter God's own heart.

The Bible says that God collects all our prayers in a golden bowl. If that is true, then not one prayer will ever be missed. God hears the smallest whisper, sigh, however faint. The gift of the Holy Spirit insures that even our very breath is recorded and known, so that we may never have to worry that He doesn't know what I am going through down here. "Down here" is the same as "Up There" to Him.

Sometimes as I go about my day I think of our times together in the mornings just God and I, and I can't wait for the next one. They are like survival islands in my life as I hop from one to the next, each time growing closer to that green shore, that place of ultimate safety where My Shepard waits, His arms held out for me. I know as long as I keep my eyes on Him there is no need to fear.

As I lit my candle this morning I thought of other prayer times over the years, they leap out like beacons marking time.....I thought of when my Mom and I prayed in front of the fire in the mornings before school. I was having such a difficult time, but she would grab my hand and we would huddle together before the warmth of the fire and pray. Even all these years later I can still feel her hand clasping mine, and hear her voice. Then I would get up and go. I know her prayers followed.

I thank God for my praying Mom today.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Seeing things differently

Walk Softly by Bev Doolittle
Some people see the wolf in the center of this image right away, others only when it's pointed out. Perspectives are like that too. Two people can read the same thing and have two completely different reactions.

My post the other day produced a very strong reaction from my dear friend who reads my blog everyday. I was surprised by her reaction, but when I thought about it, it made sense knowing the person she is. She is one of those wonderfully engaging people who dares to get involved in the lives of others, even if it hurts. She routinely goes out of her way to make sure others are okay even if it means making personal sacrifices. I thought I would post what she wrote today because I really appreciated what she had to say. To me that is the wonderful thing about blogging. It sparks conversations that sometimes you would not otherwise have, and that is a very good thing!

Her email response below:

Stop trying to protect, to rescue, to judge, to manage the lives around you . . . remember that the lives of others are not your business. They are their business. They are God’s business . . . even your own life is not your business (Frederick Buechner quote)
I could not disagree more with this statement as a whole!
1....Protect Meaning and Definition. (v. t.) To cover or shield from danger or injury; to defend; to guard; to preserve in safety; as, a father protects his child.2....Rescue-deliver, redeem, ransom, reclaim, save mean to set free from confinement or danger. rescue implies freeing from imminent danger by prompt or vigorous action. Deliver implies release usually of a person from confinement, temptation, slavery, or suffering 3.....Judge : to form an opinion about through careful weighing of evidence and testing of premise 4......Manage- to handle or direct with a degree of skill: as a: to make and keep compliant b: to treat with care : husband c : to exercise executive, administrative, and supervisory direction of
2 : to work upon or try to alter for a purpose
3 : to succeed in accomplishing : contrive
4 : to direct the professional career of
.....I get that we need to hand things over to God! Ask for help, let God do what He can do best BUT!!!!! If we all took this literally in today's time it would be a bigger mess than this world already is, we could just walk around and tend to animals and carry on conversations with them, why talk to one another? Just think if Jesus did this when he was here on earth as a man! I have experienced just this in my life and I do not believe this is how God wants us to live............

Yes I had to get this off my chest!!!!!!
I Love You my best friend.
Elaine Dupree


Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year!

Arizona Republic Photo
I don't know, it was supposed to be a blue moon but it looked like the same old yellow to me. But it is stunning all the same. I went out and looked after it had risen and it was silvery white, but not blue. Oh well, it is always great to meditate on God's creation whatever the color.

A psalm of David.
1 O LORD, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory
above the heavens.
2 From the lips of children and infants
you have ordained praise
because of your enemies,
to silence the foe and the avenger.
3 When I consider your heavens,
the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
which you have set in place,
4 what is man that you are mindful of him,
the son of man that you care for him?
5 You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings
and crowned him with glory and honor. Psalm 8:1-5