Sunday, February 28, 2010

Not just a good teacher.....

These are some of the things I have heard people say about Jesus.....

"He was one of the great moral teachers of our time"
"I believe He was a very charismatic individual and a great leader"
"A very great religious leader and someone we can look up to"

Here is what He says about Himself:

"I and the Father are One" John 10:30

"Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?"

And here is what God the Father says about His Son!

"But of the Son He says: "Thy Throne O God, is forever and ever and the righteous scepter is the scepter of His kingdom, Hebrews 1:8 and also, Hebrews 1:10 "Thou, Lord in the beginning didst lay the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the works of Thy hands;"

This puts Him smack dab in the middle of creation! Equal with God!

And of course, there is that empty tomb.....

Jesus said, "Mary!" Turning to face him, she said in Hebrew, "Rabboni!" meaning "Teacher!" Jesus said, "Don't cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go to my brothers and tell them, 'I ascend to my Father and your Father, my God and your God.'" Mary Magdalene went, telling the news to the disciples: "I saw the Master!" And she told them everything he said to her. John 20:16-18

I celebrate with Mary today....

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Spring is coming

Daffodil Hill, Sutter Creek, California

On the news today I saw New York once again buried in snow. I am sure they feel that Springtime is not on their horizon anytime soon.

But eventually it will happen. Snows will melt, green shoots of life will appear, everyone will start to thaw out, all the storms will be a distant memory.

I used to love Valentine's Day in California because all the daffodils and tulips would start to break through the brown soggy earth. We would all feel hopeful that is really was coming. Then sometime in March, all the cherry and peach orchards would burst through in clouds of color. It was glorious while it lasted but then many times the March winds and rains would come and knock all the blooms off! In April we would go out and buy our new Easter dresses, hoping against hope for a warm sunny Easter. Sometimes we would get it, but I remember just as many times, running from the car, raincoats over dresses, wrestling with umbrellas that bent upwards against the onslaught of wind.

But we would always know that Spring was coming.

Here in Arizona, it always feels a bit like Spring, so sometimes I actually forget what time of the year it is! (Except for summer of course) So for me, Spring will officially start Monday March 1st. I have promised myself a new Easter wreath and my Easter flag will go up as well. I do these things with a smile, remembering other Springs, and pray that the east coast will get some relief soon.

For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone; the flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land; Song of Solomon 2:11,12

Anyone have any favorite memories of Spring?

Thursday, February 25, 2010

He saw you....

"He saw you cast into a river of life you didn't request. He saw you betrayed by those you love. He saw you with a body that gets sick and a heart that grows weak. He saw you in your own garden of gnarled trees and sleeping friends. He saw you staring into the pit of your own failures and the mouth of your own grave. He saw you in your own garden of Gethsemane and he didn't want you to be alone ... He would rather go to hell for you than to heaven without you."
— Max Lucado

This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. – 1 John 4:9-11

He loves us, He really loves us! Hard for me to comprehend a God having this kind of radical love. The same God who can create and destroy with a breath would actually go to these lengths to save me and bring me back to Himself.....there are no words to express it.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Help for depression

A prayer for those depressed today.....
You feel just getting out of bed is a tremendous struggle, and small decisions are overwhelming. It is tangible, this presence, like a heavy cloak you can never get out from under….You are tired of carrying sacks.

Tired of carrying heavy sacks. Sacks of regrets, sacks of wrong choices, sacks of guilt for not feeling happy, not feeling like the free child of God that you are.

Life has become like flat gray fog of going through motions without joy; limbs feel impossibly heavy, like slogging through mud. You feel sad about this but helpless to do anything about it.

Even things that you should be looking forward to have become a burden and a worry.

Startlingly, you realize that it has been an incredibly long time since it has been springtime in your heart; although you can remember when it was and it feels like a distant dream, like maybe it happened to someone else, not you.

Take hope today, for He has heard you and already answered.
Please know that it will not always be this way.
Especially know this, you are not alone.

It takes tremendous courage to keep going, know that about yourself, you have not given up! Take hold of this one shred of evidence and take comfort.

And never believe the lie of Satan that tells you that you are this way because you don’t love God enough, or not as close to God as you should be, that you are doing something wrong.

Most of all, do not try to go through this valley alone. It may be that God’s answer to your prayer is the hand of a friend or loved one helping you out of the pit.

Get help from others who have walked this path and found their way to the other side. Most of all, know that you have placed your faith in the One who has conquered all shadows forever!

Remember the stone that was rolled away for you and me; may His healing power bloom life back into your heart today. Amen

Romans Ch. 8 v. 38-39. “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Depression comes in many forms. I am no expert, just one who has felt these feelings from time to time in my own life. Sometimes it comes as a result of a tragic circumstance; sometimes it is a result of habitual negative thinking that forms a lifelong pattern. Hormones can play a big part too especially for women. The kind I am writing about today is the kind that comes for no particular reason, it just comes. I pray that if there is someone reading this that they confide in someone and get help, not try to fight this alone.

For one Pastor's experience, go here

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


A few years back the Pastor of the church I was attending was giving a message on confession. In the sanctuary strategically placed were four huge wooden crosses. I didn’t pay them much attention figuring that they must be part of the set for the upcoming Easter celebration. At one point during the sermon we were told that if we had anything that we needed to confess to God, anything at all, we should write it down on a small piece of paper. “By the cross,” he said, “you will find a hammer, just nail your confession to the cross and leave it with Jesus.” People started going forward with their scraps of paper. At first there was some tentative tapping from the first few. A little ping here, a gentle tap there. As it went on though, the tapping turned into what sounded more like angry pounding. It began to sound like a construction site as the hammer blows echoed off the walls!

It was there that my very strange sense of humor betrayed me and I let out a muffled giggle. I was instantly elbowed. I couldn't help it. I was positive I was going to hear an electric drill fire up next. Maybe it was nervous laughter. After the service I found out that some people were extremely moved to tears as they heard the pounding of the nails and were relieved of their burden. The next Sunday the crosses were still there, the confessions plastered all over them. I suppressed a morbid urge to go up and read them. Is it because I want to know that others struggle with the same things I struggle with?

With all church practices, we need to go to the Bible to get our rules about Christian conduct, for that is our “rule book” per se. So I did. I came up with 53 references in the New Testament and 51 references in the Old Testament, right off the bat.
“Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” James 5:16
So according to Scripture and all the references I found, it would seem that God cares a great deal about confession, both confession to Him and one another. What is it about confession that is SO difficult? We try to stuff it down and it just gets bigger, like a self inflatable mattress in our soul. We think maybe we will ignore it. It takes on a life of it's own and begins to affect everything else in our lives.

It used to be a common practice to stand in front of the entire church body and confess. Could we even imagine that happening now?

Satan knows that confession makes us free and he will try to do everything he can to keep us from unloading our burdens. He whispers all kinds of scary scenarios to us to keep us from being free. He wants us to think we can fight the battle alone in isolation. Confession is the beginning of restoration, and there are times we need to confess to God, and there are times we need to confess to one another. There is tremendous power in it!

I confess with tears today:

Forgive me Lord for lying.
I tossed out what I thought was a
harmless lie, but I know that no lie
is truly harmless, it hurts You and it
hurts me and the one I lied to.

When I told that man that I would look
at his petition at the library "on the way
out" I knew that I had no intention of
stopping. Why didn't I just say I was
not interested?

Forgive me also Lord for wondering why
certain individuals are still on the

Who made me God? What makes me think that
my days are any more important than theirs?
You number all of our days, Lord. You hold
them all in Your hand. If they are still
living, breathing, then there must be a
reason, for it is by Your great mercy
that we all still live.

Their time is no less precious than mine.

Help my heart be open to see and address
needs of others in my path....

In Jesus name, Amen

Ezekiel 11:19 "And I will give them one heart, and put a new spirit within them. And I will take the heart of stone out of their flesh and give them a heart of flesh....

Monday, February 22, 2010

Sounds of life.....

I have never had any sense of smell. When I was very small, I found it curious when someone described smells. I thought maybe I wasn't concentrating hard enough, maybe smells were so subtle that you had to really be paying attention. I would hold things up to my nose, inhale.....nothing. Every now and then I will still try, with the same result. Finally my Dad told me that my Grandfather, his father, never had a sense of smell either.

Maybe that is why I am so in tuned to sounds. They have always been a big part of my life, my memory bank. Thomas Merton describes some sounds he remembers too in his journals.

Noise of the cook chopping or pounding things in the kitchen at Douglastown. Noise of tires singing past the house on the road outside, in winter or in autumn when the road is light and bare and hard. Noise of a fire, cracking and snapping in the grate, just lit. The sheaves of sparks that rush up the chimney from time to time. From "Run to the Mountain", the journals of Thomas Merton

They were part of his memory bank, a well that he drew upon from time to time, I suspect, as we all do. So now I will add some of my own, starting with yesterday morning. All these adding to the multitude of blessings I continue to chalk up.

#221 The gentle pit-pat of rain on the roof, sporadically increasing to a roar from time to time....making cats very nervous so that they run for comfort.

#222 Soft piano, coming from the, always music.

#223 Birdsong that breaks through, ushering in the morning and bringing in the dusk of done, rest from labor, no more regrets of the day.

#224 Song lyrics that bring joy and comfort to the hearer. Makes you feel you are not so alone, that others feel these feelings too.

#225 Loved ones or strangers lifting their sweet voices in song, to me there is no more beautiful sound than the human voice singing, laughing, it lifts hearts, makes you want to laugh even though you have no idea what is funny. There is something universal about it and it brings people together.

#226 Thankful for the memory that brings certain voices back even though they may be long gone....what once brought sadness and grief can now with time passing bring a smile.

#227 Two simultaneous purrs from very contented cats, one sounding very much like a pigeon or dove, and the other louder and deeper in tone, sounding more like a small muffled motor. Hence his name, "Briggs" for Briggs and Stratton motor company.

#228 The squeak of the floor by the door when you hit it just right; that means coming home after a long day, or just coming home from something else, but it is always a sound of welcome.

#229 The squeak and bang of my parent's old screen door. This happens about 50 times a day at their house.

#230 Always, always the wind in the trees. Some sounds are more noticeable for their absence. I miss this sound a lot, not many big trees where I live. When I go up north or back to California I drink it in like cool water.

I wonder about the sounds of Heaven.....I anticipate that nothing down here can even come close. Another thing to look forward to there, as well as getting a nose that works!
Still counting blessings because He is worthy of our counting!
holy experience

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Holy Places

Love this photo taken by Jenn posted on Arizona Central

This is typical of the weather in Arizona. I had blue sky on one side last night coming home and a black cloud on the other....blessed blessed rain. I know many tire of it, but not us. We need it, we crave it, we long for it!

There was a chill in the air this morning so I put on my "big" robe from L.L.Bean, the one that never fails to take the chill off.

As I lit my candle in my prayer closet, also known as the shed, I looked around. I love this place because He meets me here; amongst the tools, garbage can, shelves filled with storage boxes, saws, Christmas decorations, and everything else that can be crammed into a very organized 10 x 15 room! Anyplace can be Holy where God is, and He is everywhere!

I heard the mourning doves calling as I opened the little door window. I sipped my first cup of coffee and prayed, "Thank you Lord, that I can share my first cup with You." He smiled.

I think He loves my prayer shed too.

I heard the morning bird call and then....could it be? I heard little gentle rain drops blessing me with their presence. I kept praying. It was a troubled prayer because it was something I was worried about. Then, as if God made His reply in the rain, it came magically, steadily, beautifully down on the roof.

I lifted my arms in praise, that is answer enough for me, Lord! I didn't miss it today.....thank you God for giving me this moment, a Holy moment. I got to sit and listen to the rain in Your Presence.

What an unspeakable gift.

I'm glad He picked the early morning light to come back from the grave in. Thank you Lord, for the hope of the morning.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Small Miracles

Thank you, Lord for small miracles. Help me never to take them for granted. Let me not lose the sense of wonder in every day things like watching a sunset or birds singing for no reason, or the calm and stillness of the end of the day; a full moon. Today out in the parking lot at work I heard the call of geese. When I hear that I always stop and look up to see the perfect “V” formation in the sky. In this case there were only two geese calling to each other, but as I watched them fly, each in perfect symmetry, talking their private language, I let them carry me away. Sometimes even far from nature, in our manufactured world of noise, dirt, and buildings, nature breaks in and finds us; seeks to remind us who we are and where we came from. At times like that, I try to pay attention.

Help find little moments to pause in wonder at all you have created......

"He spreads out the northern skies over empty space; he suspends the earth over nothing. He wraps up the waters in his clouds, yet the clouds do not burst under their weight. He covers the face of the full moon, spreading his clouds over it. The pillars of the heavens quake, aghast at his rebuke. By his power he churned up the sea.... By his breath the skies become fair.... And these are but the outer fringe of his works; how faint the whisper we hear of him! How then can we understand the thunder of his power?" Job 26:7-9, 11-14

Friday, February 19, 2010

Church Las Vegas style

He (God) works on us in all sorts of ways. But above all, He works on us through each other. Men are mirrors, or "carriers" of Christ to other men. Usually it is those who know Him that bring Him to others. That is why the Church, the whole body of Christians showing Him to one another, is so important. It is so easy to think that the Church has a lot of different objects - education, building, missions, holding services... The Church exists for no other purpose but to draw men into Christ, to make them little Christs. If they are not doing that, all the cathedrals, clergy, missions, sermons, even the Bible itself, are simply a waste of time. God became man for no other purpose. It is even doubtful, you know, whether the whole universe was created for any other reason. C.S. Lewis

When you think of Las Vegas many images come to mind, Elvis, The Chapel of Love, Wayne Newton, Elvis, Siegfried and Roy, The Strip, Elvis...anyway, usually you don't think of church. Recently we went to visit friends and family there, that being the halfway point between Boise, Idaho and Mesa, Arizona. We had a great time walking, well actually it was more like trotting, up and down the Las Vegas strip. With two kids and two (younger than I) parents of said kids, trying to fit in as much fun as possible in 3 days, I would recommend it as a great workout. Thankfully they had 4 tickets to the wax museum which we happily skipped so we could rest our aching feet for an hour!

I happened to be browsing through the tourist leaflets in the RV resort lobby when I noticed that they offered a church service on Sunday mornings at 11. In the Hollywood ballroom no less! We were met on Sunday morning by a gentle soft-spoken Pastor named Ed Hernandez. We sang familiar praise songs led by he and his lovely wife, both originally from the Philippines. As we went around the room and introduced ourselves I was struck once again by the fact that perfect strangers could feel like family. I guess because we really are! I pray that they will be greatly blessed by their good works. I am thankful they are there and I told them so. I am now putting the Desert Oasis Church on my prayer list, and when I think of Las Vegas I will think of Pastor Ed and his family, doing God's work in the middle of Neon Desert Oasis.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Food for the soul

When we can't take a few steps away from the back door and sit amongst the trees and hear their whisperings, feel the yield of soft ground underfoot, take some deep healing breaths, we are robbed of something necessary to the very health and sanity of our soul. We must leave this clattering, modern world behind us for at least a few moments a day, though an hour is better. It's no wonder those of us who dwell in cities are stressed. We can get alone, we can pray, but God knows that sometimes nature is a healer like no other.

We need it to remember who we are, regain our place in the world, the universe. Something in us needs to look up and see mountains towering to the heavens, hear the groan of giant boughs sighing their prayers to God, our own voice joining to it. We need to hear it carried along to the four winds along with our worries. We need to hear the cleansing wash of the ocean's roar through our soul and feel it rush over our bare feet. We need to learn to fly a kite again.

We need to remember our smallness in this universe and God's all encompassing greatness, and in the remembering to feel the height, the depth, the love He has for everything in His creation. "One God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all." Ephesians 4:6
When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe.
John Muir

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Evening bird

I never ever post twice in one day but I just heard the "evening bird" and had to ask if anyone ever wonders about this as I do. Why is there always one bird singing in the morning and one in the evening? Do the birds take a vote to decide who will take morning shift and who will take evening? I wonder if they take turns?

I first noticed this in the morning because there was always a singular melody to greet me at first light when I arrived in the parking lot at work; that silly bird always encouraged me. But since I love sitting outside when God paints His evening portrait I noticed this curious pattern again.

It is never more than one bird per area. Why just one and not two? Anyway, I am glad they are there. Maybe someone can solve this mystery.

The Peace of God

We have a God who is infinitely good and who knows what He is doing. He will come and deliver you from your present trouble in His perfect time and when you may least expect it. Hope in Him more than ever. Thank Him for the strength and patience He is giving you, even in the midst of this trial, for it is evident mark of His concern for you. Encourage yourself with His love and thank Him for everything. Brother Lawrence

In my prayer journal today.....

Thank you God for hearing all the prayers of my heart, mind and soul. The ones on my lips and the ones deep beneath the surface that only You can hear. Thank you for bringing Your family together at times when we may least expect it. May we draw encouragement from one another as pinpoints of light in a dark world.

Help me to shine forth your love so that others may be drawn to You, O Lord. Help me more and more, to be a living sacrifice for You as Paul was, knowing that you will never ask anything of me that You and I together can't handle. I need not fear, knowing that You will lead me slowly gently at my pace and not someone else's.

Help me to lay all of my trust in You God, knowing that Your gentle Hands are forever cupped around me, keeping me safe; knowing that whatever this world throws at me, it has to pass by You first.

"The beloved of the Lord shall dwell in safety by him; and the Lord shall cover him all the day long, and he shall dwell between his shoulders." Deuteronomy 33:12

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Good report!

God does not exist to answer our prayers, but by our prayers we come to discern the mind of God. Oswald Chambers

"Cancer free!" Those were the Doctor's words this morning.....possibly one of the best phrases anyone could ever hear. My best friend heard it today after her latest ultrasound. I feel as if I have had a brush with death myself, that it was me and not her that narrowly escaped it. But when you go through it with them everything they feel is echoed by you. When it's someone so close, you take the deep exhilarated breath of relief right alongside them. Their fears become your own. So does the relief and joy when the outcome is good.

I wonder about me. Why was I so ready to hear bad news? I know I serve a mighty God and that I prayed for a healing so why am I so conditioned to prepare for the worst?

Going through the last week of this has changed me. My sense of compassion for others going through this has sharpened, all of life has become more precious. My soul is more keenly aware of others still waiting, trying to navigate through this particular shadow of fear.

I will carry this sense of heightened compassion with me; I pray I will not lose it. I pray also that it will be good news for others as it was for Elaine. I am thankful that God will keep them all in His palm of love.

Compassion is the keen awareness of the interdependence of all things. --Thomas Merton

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Doctor will see you now.....

“In the year that king Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and his train filled the temple. Above him stood the seraphim: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly. And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is Jehovah of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory. And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke. Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, Jehovah of hosts. Then flew one of the seraphim unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar: and he touched my mouth with it, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin forgiven.” Isaiah 6:1-7

The vivid imagery here is something beyond what the creators of Avatar, Lord of the Rings, Narnia, and Star Wars combined could come close to capturing!

The throne room of God; in our wildest imaginations we can't conceive of what it would look like and yet the Bible describes it very clearly several times as a physical place. Angels described here aren't the chubby little cherubs like we see in the Hallmark store either. There are several different kinds, and they all have different purposes. Anyone in the Bible that has ever encountered one has fallen on their face and trembled in fear, and then tried to worship.

When Isaiah approached the throne he was dismayed because he didn't feel worthy. But because of our redempton through Jesus we have Open Access Plus to The Throne. Sounds to me like the best kind of insurance we could ever have. He is the burning coal placed on our lips straight from God's Holy throne-fire.

We have all heard statements like these:

"I'm sorry, we have no record of you here."
"We have no vacancies at this time."
"We don't have an opening but we may have a cancellation."
"There are no rooms available."
"I can't seem to find your insurance information."
"Your card won't go through."
"You will have to wait."

But God's Throne is always open and we can be assured there is a reservation with your name on it. No waiting. All we have to do is accept the invitation!

“Let us therefore draw near with boldness unto the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy, and may find grace to help us in time of need.” Hebrews 4:16

I lift these dear ones up today before the throne: Elaine, Rick, Will, all standing in the scary place of waiting for upcoming tests and results, my brother for his diet, my Mom for her ongoing recovery, Sebastian for recovery as well. Join me at the throne today for healing for these and many others.

Monday, February 8, 2010

"I am with you always"

I knew something was wrong. I could hear it in her voice, there was a sadness behind the words. When I talked about our trip she said, "We'll see." Other comments like that were said along with normal conversation. I wondered, but knew when the time was right it would come out.

She brought out a folder, ever the organized one. It was a place to put all the fears, keep them in one place, organize them, make sense of it all. She said, "We have to talk." And I felt the fear then, as tears spilled over, the dam that had been held at bay, kept inside for 3 days let loose. For the first time, the mammogram really hurt, and there was a reason why. They saw something they didn't like and left the room really fast.

Everything suspended as the gravity of the situation and what it might mean took hold.
She said through tears, "I don't even care about myself but why should you have to go through this?" A caretaker of others her whole life, still putting herself last.

Life can change overnight with one bad test result. Uncertainty rears it's head suddenly and everything is colored with it. Ordinary things are treasured like never before. Life is suddenly more precious. The word "precious" means something it never meant before. I said it but I hadn't understood the weight of it's meaning. Now I do.

Now there are more tests to come. Already we are surrounded by a circle of prayers, dear loving arms to help hold us up.

Today I tucked this in her medical folder so it is the first thing she sees and not that other "stuff."

Jesus our healer……Jehovah Rapha the God who Heals….Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you……Lo, I am with you always…I have loved you with an everlasting love.

I rejoice over you with singing……”Thou hast enclosed me behind and before, And laid Thy hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is too high, I cannot attain it. Where can I go from Thy Spirit? My frame was not hidden from Thee When I was made in secret….Psalm 139:5,7,15

Our circumstances may change, but God never does. That is what I cling to today. That is what my best friend is clinging to as well. We will walk this road as the sisters in faith that we are. As we clasp hands and pray we will navigate this uncharted, uncertain place not knowing what lies ahead, but knowing Him. Not liking the circumstance, but rejoicing in the knowledge that we don't walk alone. Today I am claiming healing for my best friend and for all others who read this, because really, we all need healing.

Promises from He who is faithful: #211 He will never leave us, #212 He will carry our burdens, #213 He will give us the strength of eagles, #214 He has inscribed our name on the palm of His nail pierced hand, #215 He rejoices over us with singing, #216 There is no place we can go that He will not find us #217 He has secured our salvation, #218 He sympathizes with our weaknesses, #219 He keeps our prayers in a golden bowl, His treasure #220 He is in control of everything, even when we feel out of control!

Still counting blessings because He is worthy of our counting!
holy experience

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Starting the day right

"No person [should] walk out into the world to begin the day until he or she has stood beneath the cross to receive God’s love."
— Max Lucado

That's where everything fades into the background, as that image of God's love and provision fills our perspective we begin to see clearly what matters.

Everything we face in life, every joy, every burden, every tear is safe there; can be taken care of there, can be celebrated there. Sometimes we dance to it, sometimes we drag ourselves to it, sometimes we find ourselves at its foot wondering how we even got there, but always He meets us there and says, "I got you covered."

Friday, February 5, 2010

Grow a garden of friends

Print by Charles White

"When you are in the final days of your life, what will you want? Will you hug that college degree in the walnut frame? Will you ask to be carried to the garage so you can sit in your car? Will you find comfort in rereading your financial statement? Of course not. What will matter then will be people. If relationships will matter most then, shouldn't they matter most now?"
Max Lucado

When my Mom was in the hospital I realized again how true this is. My Mom has some awesome friends, but that is because she has always gone out of her way to make them. Everyone to her is a potential friend with a story to tell. Each time I went to her room she was out visiting someone else. There is risk involved in this. When you reach out, you never know how you will be recieved. You have to like yourself enough to be okay with the possible rejection. You have to trust God enough to obey when He whispers for you to seek a person out. My Mom has lived her life, sometimes stepping through fear to venture out into the uncharted territory of humanity, and it shows.

They showed up, were there; some of them bearing gifts that came with personal sacrifices of their own. Some waited just outside the door, not wanting to disturb, but praying just the same. Letting her know softly that they were there. When I think of what some of these people have been through in their own lives, it moves me so much that they continue to give and give. They supplied food, presence, support and laughter, especially laughter. These are the things that make someone rich in old age.

Remember those who led you, who spoke the word of God to you; and considering the result of their conduct, imitate their faith. Hebrews 13:7

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Refreshment for the soul

Paul, a bond-servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the faith of those chosen of God and the knowledge of the truth which is according to godliness, in the hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised long ages ago, but at the proper time manifested, even His word, in the proclamation with which I was entrusted according to the commandment of God our Savior...Titus 1:1-3

For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good. Titus 2:11-14

But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. Titus 3:4-7

In the muck and mire of life it is easy to forget these wonderful promises, but this morning they ran through my soul like cool clear water. Life is hard sometimes. We are so furiously treading water we forget to take a drink of the eternal water that is all around us. Sometimes I have no confidence at all that I am doing what God wants me to do. How can I be sure? But here is the hope. He knows how it feels to be human, he knows that we are weak because He has been weak, and tired. He knows that our frame is dust. Here is what I cling to:

For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. Phil. 1:6

This is one project that He will see through to completion!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

He delights in you!

He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me. 2 Samuel 22:20

I always wanted to know how I would feel to see ocean but no land. I have always been a bit afraid of open spaces. My heart always drops a bit when I am going around a steep mountain road and it unexpectedly opens into a huge vista. It is a feeling of loss of control, heart in throat, plunging into the unknown.

But not when God is there.....I will never forget taking a cruise and stepping out onto the balcony for the first time and seeing nothing but water. It was a bit like the first time I crept to the edge of the Grand Canyon and looked out, but not quite. It is something everyone should experience once, and it was one the highlights of the cruise for me.

Not the food, or the entertainment, or the beautiful decor of the ship. It was stepping out, just seeing that water. Sea, sky, me and God.

Another thing was the strange sensation of sitting in the room and seeing water rushing by. Ship going one way, water another. It was captivating......walking on deck and seeing the light in the sky at midnight, the splash of a whale's tale rising from the deep; the anticipation of seeing it come closer (that never happened.) The island where the Puffins live, bald eagles in flight landing in their "car-sized" nests.

I fell in love with the clear air and sapphire skies of Alaska....God's creation is really something to behold! A reflection of His love for us. Just imagine, show and tell in the Garden of Eden......"Hey Adam, hey Eve, just wait till you see this!" And not only that, our God loves us so much He actually rejoices over us with singing!

Zephaniah 3:17 The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing."

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Place of welcome.....

Mom and Dad's Porch

My Dad's lifelong dream was to have a cabin. He never got it, so he figured he would make their house in town as close to one as possible. He still dreams of walking out and hearing nothing but the wind sighing through the pines. And yet this place has become something very important to so many people in the neighborhood. My Mom insisted on putting a picnic table in front years ago, so that she could sit outside and greet others passing by who could stop and rest, sit a spell, bring their lunch. They are still doing that these many years later.

This has been my childhood home ever since about age 4. Always it's been a place of refuge and welcome, not only for me and the rest of the family but many friends as well. Their door is always open, and if I were locked out I know where the extra key is hidden. There are many other doors I could knock on in my hometown and I know that I would be ushered in out of the cold, offered a drink, a homemade dessert, a hug or welcome smile. How rich, how blessed I am, to have these all, in addition to my own safe harbor in Arizona.

It makes me wonder, to marvel, to shudder at the thought that there are those who have no place of welcome. No place of attachment, no place that says, "You are safe here, you are loved here, you are wanted here." How can it be that I have never known that feeling and yet so many others have never known any different?

I think of Haiti and other parts of the world, and not only there, but right here in my own town! No place of refuge, no open door. No fresh brewed cup offered from a kind hand, no favorite mug....

Making people feel welcome is a gift we can give at any time. It may come in a form as simple as a smile at the store, for we never know what burdens another is carrying, what trials they face.

So today and every day I hope to get better at that.

Prayer for today:

Lord may I always remember that though you had no place to lay Your own head, you made me welcome forever by coming into my heart and making your home with me. May I remember always those who have given me that gift, made me feel welcome. Help me in turn to welcome others. Most of all, help me to share the gift of You; for in You I have all the home I ever need.

Jesus said to him, "The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head." Matthew 8:20

Monday, February 1, 2010

More answers to prayer....

I am back, just in time for Multitude Mondays!
Got to enjoy a few clear days after many days of blessed rain. This is the new Marina that my brother worked on and saw through to completion.....we got to walk along the docks and see the fruits of much hard labor. Yet another answer to prayer. Blessing #199

I have missed blogging! (in spite of Dad's painfully slow dial up I managed only two posts.) There hasn't been much time for introspection, yet I received another blessing from the Lord that I hadn't expected. I learned that He remains steadfast when time is squeezed out from the day and there is little time for quiet. Day started early and was packed with activity. Bedtime was cherished and before I could say a prayer, I felt myself drifting off....But I should have known He would meet me there! "For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst." Matt. 18:20 He reminded me that every blessing, every task done for someone else becomes a worship and a prayer all it's own when it is done with a heart that seeks to please Him. God looks at our heart. He peers deep inside to seek out our true motive, and when He finds it seeking His help, His grace, He finds it pure and blesses it. That was blessing #200

So I received many blessings in helping my Mom back on the road to her recovery....I found Him there at every turn.
He was there at pajama day at school when we weren't sure how it would go in special needs class, it went wonderfully, and she was so proud to show her PJs to her friends!#Blessing 201
Blessing #202
He was there when a room became available just in time for my Mom at this wonderful facility. Here she is at therapy, and will not be happy if she sees this photo of her without her hair done and no makeup! She is getting ready to bat the beachball. I can't say enough about what a healing positive place this was. You see very few at this place lying around in beds, days start early are are filled with activity geared to getting people healed! The therapists really inspired me! Everytime I went in there Mom was visiting someone new. One lady in there said that as soon as Mom walked in she saw the light of Christ in her and just had to get to know her.

When I grow up I want to be like her.

Head therapist Mike was a wonderful guy, but he was a real taskmaster. He didn't let anyone slack off. The first day my Mom heard Christian music playing in the therapy room and she said, "Who's the Jesus person?"

Mike said, "I am, and I'm the boss, so I can play it here!"

She said, "Alright! I am at the right place." #Blessing 203

Food brought from friends and family on several occasions #Blessings 204-207

A very special evening spent with a cousin and wife I hadn't seen in too long, and so many laughs! Blessing #208

Mom coming home in a record breaking 9 days after surgery! At 80 years young that is miraculous and a testiment to her great health and positive outlook, and of course to the power of prayer! Blessing #209

Of course coming home is always a blessing.....I count this along with all the blessings from the past two weeks, I came home to a totally rearranged living room. My very artsy friend took some liberties and I am glad she did, I never would have thought to put the bookcase as a room divider! Blessing #210

The list keeps growing for me and so many others!
holy experience