Wednesday, August 31, 2011

What's in your cup?

"LORD, you alone are my portion and my cup; you make my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance. I will praise the LORD, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me. I keep my eyes always on the LORD. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken." Psalm 16:5-8

What's your cup full of today? Is it full and overflowing with salvation or does it feel like it's filled to overflowing with stuff you never asked for? Stuff you never wanted. The cup was passed around the table and you wanted so desperately to say, "No, thank you," but you didn't because you knew no one else would drink it. Hopefully, you looked around for someone to share it, but everyone had disappeared.

You do anything you can to make it sweeter, you smile and say, "It's not so bad."

We all have our cups. Some drink deep from the cup of bitterness and resentment. They have drank from it for so long they have even acquired a taste for it. Some try to help them, even try to take it away, but they wrestle it back. They like their cup just the way it is.

Sometimes I don't like some of the things floating around in my cup. I know that even though I am holding the cup of salvation, I put other things in there that don't belong. I hate floaters.

I strain it, but there are still some there. There's nothing else I can do but throw it out and start over, for "What shall I return to the LORD for all his goodness to me? I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the LORD."

I remember that awful cup you drank for me so that I wouldn't have to.

And I lift my hands to grasp my cup of Salvation once again. Suddenly my little cup is one I can drink, for you have infused it with Your Life. I can drink this and get true refreshment.

Not only that, I know that I never have to drink alone again.
Though circumstances haven't changed, what I'm drinking has.

"You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You have anointed my head with oil; My cup overflows." Psalm 23:5

Monday, August 29, 2011

Louis and Jesus

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing. 2 Timothy 4:7,8 

When you spend any amount of time in a rest home, you get to know some of the residents. You walk the halls and notice things, people. You are grabbed by the desperation that seems to live and breathe there.....Many times the vacant stares we are greeted with make us want to dash out the door and take a deep breath of the fresh air of the living. We recoil at the bleakness of it all and none of us wants to think about the possibility of going there someday. I call it God's waiting room.

It was on such a walk through the halls, that Elaine met Louis. He was sitting in the doorway of his room reading His Bible. It was the Bible she noticed first. She greeted him in the engaging way she has.....she is a real people person. He brightly said, "The book of Numbers!" She noticed his sweet spirit and the light in his eyes.....the gentleness in his soul. There was hope there. He said, "I read this Book everyday." She told him how wonderful that was. His walls were adorned with Scripture verses, pictures and books. Louis was still very much in the land of the living.

She made a habit of looking for Louis every time she went in. One day she wanted to introduce me to him, but he was out. His family had come and taken him visiting. Louis told her that he came from a long line of Preachers. His Grandfather, his Dad and he were all Pastors, and so were both of Louis sons!

One day while they were having church in the main hall, we spied Louis sitting in back......his well worn Bible open on his lap.

After being gone for awhile, we went back looking for Louis but he was nowhere to be found. The nurse said that about 2 weeks before, he had died peacefully in his sleep...... Louis is with Jesus now. We rejoiced for him. He knew where his strength lay and where his hope rested. His happiness and joy didn't depend on his circumstances. Instead of spending time wishing he were someone else, he communed with Jesus every single day in that rest home. Louis, like Mary, chose the better portion. He spent his days listening to voice of Hope.

So much of it is about choice, isn't it? Life and death. Some have continued to choose life and some have given up and closed themselves off to it.

Louis chose life.

"Now listen! Today I am giving you a choice between life and death, between prosperity and disaster." Deuteronomy 30:15
Each day brings forth the same choice, life and death. To dwell on all the riches of God's blessings, or to dwell on everything we don't have or feel cheated out of. To be grateful or miserable. Really, we are all in God's waiting room, whether we know it or not. One small step away from eternity.

We will miss seeing Louis there reading his Bible. It was an encouragement to me, just to know he was reading those words of life, still trusting in His savior. But now when I think of Louis, I smile.....knowing that the waiting for Louis is over. He is basking in Godlight.

With every Monday that rolls around, I am amazed that I still have so much to thank Him for:

The best night's sleep I have had in awhile.....fresh okra from the garden.....people who speak life to me everyday....hope for the coming cool weather....piles of books that speak encouragement.....shelter from the unbearable heat outside....the end of another week's work.....time spent just hanging out, laughing, talking with my best friend who is so grateful for me, and tells me so often.....a beautiful awe-inspiring sky coming home from work.....being able to buy special things to send to my family, along with my love. #701-712

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Soul Rest

Somewhere there is a quiet place to dream
To be still, and let the world drop away
You know that place
You could paint it on a canvas
it's different for everybody, this place.

It's like a familiar friend and you
always know it when you've found it.

It is the moment your soul has found rest,
safely landed....
when all the conditions are right and
you feel like everything in
the universe is working with you 
right then.

Every now and again it happens
in this life, and when it does
it is something like
a little miracle.

It's not so much a structure
or building.....

You could find it on a street corner
far from home....

It's that place you discover when you are
all by yourself

maybe rounding a hill
or walking through a clearing
or seeing a light shining through
a little alley way

No matter where it is,
you turn as if to say.....look! 
You want to share it
with someone close.
And then again you almost don't. 

You want it
to be just yours......
and God's.

I think this place is something we all
have in common, for is there anyone who
does not dream of such a place?

When you see it, something
in you wants to claim
it as your own

It feels like home

You breathe a little prayer of thanks,
because you just know that God
has dropped it out of the sky
just for you!

I found this little building behind the cabin next door that we rented earlier this month. I immediately claimed it as my own and dubbed it My Writer's Shack. It intrigued me, stuck back there in the woods. One night I actually thought I saw a light on in the little window, but maybe I just wanted to. I had fun painting a little scene for myself there. I saw myself sitting behind that window, kerosene lamp lit in a comfy chair watching big flakes of snow coming down...books and journal at hand. I have no idea if that cabin was a rental or not. It could be that they used the little building as storage, but I had fun imagining what it could be.  

Be at rest sometime this weekend, and be blessed!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Snippets of life

"you can kiss your family and friends good-bye and put miles between you, but at the same time you carry them with you in your heart, your mind, your stomach, because you do not just live in a world but a world lives in you." — Frederick Buechner

This world is made up of little snippets of life....the life we live every day, made up of moment upon moment, memory upon memory. I look back at 20 years aghast, because I really don't know where it has gone. Time is passing by.......sometimes so fast it makes my head spin.
Writers and photographers feel a need, sometimes an urgent need to capture these moments of life, all the joy and beauty and pain, lest they be lost forever. Others live them as deeply as they can, so that the memory and the goodness can be taught and lived and passed on to others, like living beacons of wisdom, they catch life like a spark catches a dry timber. Others seem to glide by life and never notice anything....they remain untouched by it all.
Sometimes we think we see a glimpse of the future and we don't much like it, so we hastily immerse ourselves in the past or get real busy in the here and now. I got a little taste of this the other day at Border's standing in line along with all the other book lovers to cash in on their misfortune. I looked around and suddenly I thought of a world with no bookstores and I shuddered. Is this our future? Is Barnes and Noble next? A tremor went down my spine.
What kind of a world would it be? No public place to go to sip our coffee, cozy up by the window with a stack of books, sharing our treasures with friends. If that were gone, a very important part of our community would be lost. But then, a flicker of hope. Maybe this will be good for the little used bookstore on the corner.
Maybe this will bring the independent bookstores of my youth back. Well, I can dream can't I?
I don't think this would have impacted me like it did, except that I just finished a book called The Last Christian. The year is 2088 and everyone lives immersed in virtual reality, hooked up to what they call "The Grid." People don't travel much, they all schedule meetings in VR anywhere they choose. They don't read real books, the access them on the Grid.

They think this life is great, but they are all empty, joyless, for they have also eliminated God in this world they have created. They are much too advanced for God, you see.
Well happily, I can say that we are not there yet. Most of us are still immersed in the real world in all its glorious and living color. And God is still very much alive to many Americans, thankfully.
Yesterday was a strange day. I felt like I was walking around under a lid of oppression. I felt exhausted and mentally drained....worn out. I am worried about my Mom, who had another possibly cancerous growth removed from her leg. I automatically think the worst, knowing her brother died of melanoma. It makes me think of all the years I have been away from her and I wonder how much time we have left.
Yet I rejoice in what I know to be true, He has plans for us......and they are all good. "For I know the plans I have for you," says the LORD. "They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope." Jeremiah 29:11

and not only that..........For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7

I love that, only the King James uses the phrase "sound mind."
Hope is alive in me because God's promise gives me a whole future of sound minded days......starting today.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

From Religion to Relationship

'Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me. Revelation 3:20

Christianity was never about religion but relationship. Even before Christ came to earth we had God reaching down to Abraham and Sarah, before that we had God creating Adam and Eve and placing them in the garden. It is always God who makes the first move.

There is a point where we stop trying to spin all the plates and live up to what we know we never can, apart from Christ. That is where we invite Him in........That's where it starts. So many times I ask Him to assist me in doing what I have no business doing. God doesn't want to assist us in anything...

He wants to live His life out in us..................Through the Holy Spirit! That's the Aha moment of the Christian life. That is what makes it so vastly different from anything else.

I can call upon my Father at any hour of the day or night and I know He is always listening......because I'm His child. What Father wouldn't?

This morning as I carried my coffee (His Blood) and my scone (His Body) out to my prayer room, I had communion of a different kind. Remembering what He did on the cross, that's what communion is. This is my body, broken for you......a prayer of Thanksgiving from my heart to His.

Sometimes the elements look a bit  different, but really, isn't it our intent He looks at?  

"But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7

Jesus valued relationships above all. He put people over religion every single time. That's what got Him in trouble with all those religious folk. Jesus broke molds right and left while He was on this earth. He not only broke them, He smashed them to bits.

He talked with women, met with sinners, ate with people from across the tracks. That's the God I love.

And if you answer His knock, I can promise you won't be disappointed.
photos taken in Twain Harte, California
bottom: My brother Ron and daughter Lauryn

Monday, August 22, 2011

Drawing from the Well

"But whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life." John 4:14

What a wonderful thing to have is our well-spring that we can draw upon again and again. I think if we counted the times during the day that we dipped into it, we would be surprised, since it is not really a thing we count....

We think of times well-spent and our memory bank is always adding up as the new slide in with the old and they all become part of who we are.....the good ones tend to override the unpleasant ones with enough time and healing.

But if I lost every scrap of my memory today........God would keep me, I know that. For He has hid His Word deep in my heart...... I would have the wellspring of His water that never runs out to draw from. I have Very God living in me which will carry me into eternity, along with all that is me......

was me, and will be me.

Everything I am is kept safe in Him, for He has promised that, so there is nothing to fear, not Alzheimer's.....or cancer....or old age, or anything else........"and we have a priceless inheritance--an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay." 1 Peter 1:4

I really don't know how it would be to lose my memory, my with someone with Alzheimer's has made me ask that question. It must be terrifying, I really can't imagine it. I hope I never have to find out. But one thing I know.

When I have the water that always quenches, it will be more than enough.

thankful for feeling better today, almost over my cold......thankful for two specific things that happened yesterday, one the direct result of prayer.....thankful for days off to re-energize......for God who never gives up on me, even when He sees my inside my heart, it still doesn't faze Him.....wonderful memories of a great Birthday week.....appliances that keep right on going through the stifling heat of first cuppa joe in the morning.....people who speak wisdom into my life....the memory of sand in my toes.....and being splashed my precious niece.....#701-711

Join the Gratitude Community here and add your list to Ann and others.......

Sunday, August 21, 2011

All Creatures Great and Small

What a wonderful treat it was to come home from work last night and watch my first installment of this series that I remember so well. I used to watch it on PBS years ago. It is so very different from anything you see on TV now.......I smiled when I heard the theme music and saw the old clunky cars and English country roads.

The series is based on James Herriot's years as a country vet in Yorkshire, England. It was so much fun to see James bump into Helen, his future wife soon after he got off the bus after arriving at his new destination fresh from college.

I heartily recommend it! Pop some corn, get some drinks and settle in. You may have to turn it up a bit so you can hear what's said more clearly. Some of those accents are pretty thick, but you have to hear what they say to get the nuance of the humor.

Well, that's all I have for now.

Hope you are enjoying a blessed Sunday!


Saturday, August 20, 2011

Simply Thankful

"And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful." Colossians 3:15 

This little dove doesn't have to try to be a dove, she just is. She sat there looking at me as I rounded the corner one morning, just being herself, doing what doves do. I think she can teach me a lesson on just being. Being who God made me and resting in the Holy Spirit. With Christ reigning in my heart I don't have to work at getting peace, I already have it in Christ. I need to stop working at it and rest in who He is.

There are so many things trying to rule over our hearts these days, things that threaten that peace......but when I close my eyes and know, really know, that Christ is ruling my heart, I feel myself calm, then my heart starts to beat with His. I am seeing turbulent waters grow calm. I think of how He smoothed out the waves that early morning in the boat.....I hear Him say...."Peace, be still......" to the waves and to my heart.

One of the best ways to feel at peace and to honor Him is by giving thanks. When I give Him my gratitude, I acknowledge where the blessings come from. So today I offer up my list of little things, which are really not so little at all.

I have almost made it through the last of my 12 hour shifts this week feeling under the weather. That was my goal, to finish out the week. I have four days off to look forward to. I had a good night's sleep and that makes the day go much better. I know I will get better, and there are many who won't. I have food, and I have free fruit and drinks all day here at work. All these little blessings are what some would give anything to be able to give to their children.

I know God appreciates it when we stop and realize how rich we really are.

I think of the conversations I have had in the past two weeks, some with family and some with friends who are going through very hard things. One thing stands out. One very important common denominator.

In spite of everything, they hold fast to their gratitude. They are thankful because they know that with God they have it all, but without Him they have nothing.

Friday, August 19, 2011

The Human Condition

I was swept along by a terrible dust storm last night after fighting through my 12 hour shift with a head cold. I was literally running down the hall trying to make it to the bathroom to the kleenex box by days end. Then, I had to go back in after I got all the way out to my car because I forgot something in the fridge at work. Part of dinner, actually. The picture above is one that was posted all across the country after our "big" storm on July 5th. I found it on a Google search, and it turns out this one came from "The Ecuador Times," of all places!

Last nights storm wasn't nearly as bad since I did have visibility on the freeway, but you have to be aware of debris hitting you. Birds were trying to fly and being carried off course....and when I was almost home I noticed a dust cloud, we call them "dirt devils" touching down on the freeway, right in my path. I watched the other cars (Yes, I realize this is faulty logic) as they cautiously drove through, and so I figured it was safe enough for my little bug, which holds the road like a tank. I gripped the wheel, all the while visualising my bug and me being sucked up into the vortex like Dorothy.

Once on the other side of that, the rain started along with the wind......along with a healthy amount of lightning striking all around. Meanwhile, I had used the last of my Kleenex and was resorting to my sleeve to catch drips....Ughhhh!

I looked to my left off the freeway and noticed smoke. I followed it down to ground level and it led to flames which were shooting through the roof of a house! I could see them even from the freeway. I assume it was started by the lightning. I could see the lights of Emergency vehicles already on the scene. I said a silent prayer, hoping that all had gotten out safely.

I was starting to feel like I was driving home in the middle of a disaster movie!

I thought of it all, the little and big things we go through in a day and how much of it would really matter if someone told me I was terminally ill. I also thought that I would probably treat the people in my life better if I were terminal. See things a bit differently.

So many times I feel like a kid trying to work up tears when I commune with God and tell Him I'm sorry for mistreating one of His people. I want to be so sorry that it motivates me to change.....Sackcloth and ashes kind of sorry. The kind that leads to repentance and doesn't ring hollow.

This is the human condition. The thing we all have in common. And the things that we have in common, also have the power to bring us closer together.

Help me Lord, to treat my friends, my family, myself better. To treat my friends like treasure instead of trash, knowing that each one you brought into my life, you brought there for a reason. Help me to love more. Turn my heart of stone into one of flesh. Help me to treat others as better than myself and to not be afraid to be honest. To myself, and others and You. And help me to remember that we are all weathering storms of some kind, help me to be sensitive to that and keep my heart ready to listen. Amen

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Fig Leaves and "Jersey Shore"

"This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus." Romans 3:22-24

I kept seeing snatches of things on the internet yesterday and I didn't know what it was all about. Then the Christian radio station was talking about it as I was heading in to work this morning. From what I gathered, Ambercrombie and Fitch is a bit nervous because they feel that a certain star might taint their image, and they want to pay him off to stop wearing their clothes.

"Abercrombie & Fitch, the clothing company, is offering "substantial payment" to Mike (The Situation) Sorrentino, of the show Jersey Shore, if he will stop wearing A&F attire on the air. "We are deeply concerned that Mr. Sorrentino's association with our brand could cause significant damage to our image." Source:

Now, I have been in Ambercrombie and Fitch before and I have seen the ads. They do have a really great fragrance there that I have bought several times. But they don't exactly send forth what I would call a "wholesome" image on their billboards and commercials, so my question then is this: "Just how raunchy do you have to be to have Ambercrombie and Fitch reject you for fear of sullying their image?" I have never seen "Jersey Shore", but in light of what I have seen on TV lately, nothing would surprise me.

The radio commentator had a good point and that is my whole reason for bringing this up, because I loved what she said. The gist of it was this, "Aren't you glad that God didn't say to us what Ambercrombie is saying to this actor?" In effect:

"You are just too rauchy for us! Go somewhere and disappear, in fact, we will pay you to do just that!"

Instead, He sent His Son so that we could attain righteousness through Him. Christ has become our righteousness! We don't have to bother holding up our fig leaves to God, no matter how beautiful or elegant or creatively we make them look. He always sees right through them.

I still try to trot them out once in a while, wave them in front of His face...... But no matter how much I try to fool Him, I realize again that He sees my filthy rags for what they are, an effort to save myself.....a poor substitute for Jesus, my bread of life. What beauty is in this plan......Only God could initiate such terrible beauty.

Over and over again, He brings it home, and home is always Jesus.

Over and over again, I celebrate the joy of this Communion here where I sit, where I walk, where I drive.  I don't need the elements to be thankful, feel the magnitude of what He's done.

Like a gift that we lift out each day, still shiny, still new.
Like stepping back into Eden all over again.

Image of fig leaf from google images

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

It all begins with prayer

"Do not have your concert first, and then tune your instruments afterwards. Begin the day with the Word of God and prayer, and get first of all into harmony with Him." Missionary Hudson Taylor

Mary Slessor wrote to a friend who had long prayed for her: "I have always said that I have no idea how or why God has carried me over so many funny and hard places, and made these hordes of people submit to me, or why the Government should have given me the privilege of a Magistrate among them, except in answer to prayer made at home for me. It is all beyond my comprehension. The only way I can explain it is on the ground that I have been prayed for more than most. Pray on, dear one — the power lies that way."

On another occasion she wrote: "Prayer is the greatest power God has put into our hands for service — praying is harder than doing, at least I find it so, but the dynamic lies that way to advance the Kingdom."

As I scrolled through this website of quotes from different missionaries, these heroes of our faith, once again I was in awe. I to get that mindset, how to get there? To be able to say to God, "I will go wherever you send me." It is the "wherever" that scares me. Oftentimes my mind is so made up that I have left no wiggle room for the Holy Spirit to work.

The "wherever" is the unknown......and the unknown can be very intimidating if you don't know where it is. Yet when God is the sender, I can be assured that the "wherever" is always a perfect fit for me and also for the person I am being sent to.

I have so far to go, and yet I am assured, along with both of these courageous ones and so many others who have gone before.....It all begins with a prayer. In that regard we are perfectly in step.

And sometimes, the wherever turns out not to be that scary.......Not when God is walking with you.

Often, I tend to think that being sent means going somewhere really big....another city, another country, another culture. When all God wants me to do is move off the front step....

go across the street....

call someone, or lay a hand on a shoulder.

It is the attitude of my heart that He sees......the willingness to answer that small whisper of the Holy Spirit when He tells me to give the person sitting right next to me some encouragement instead of turning away.

And always, it is a going forward, of pressing on, of striving in the Spirit. Of walking toward Him. Though I falter far too often, still He holds His hands out.

I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:14 NAS

Photos by me

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

A Few Highlights.....

I headed to the attic alcove and hung my hat........

My very own the morning I opened the windows and woke up with the Stellar's Jays racket high up in the trees.....heavenly.

This wonderful cabin had windows that opened in.....I was like a little kid when I saw them!

Our home for two wonderful days.......

Lunch at one of my favorite places with three of my favorite people Diane and Elaine......(My Mom not pictured)

 Meeting the new family member, Abby

I got to spend some quality "Aunty" time with our girl, Lauryn

Lauryn and my brother, Ron who bought us this wonderful cabin for the weekend!

Yes, it is.......
Now we are home, bringing back summer colds but thankfully, great memories to go along with them! These memories we made are such gifts from God and I am truly thankful for every moment......

Sunday, August 14, 2011

A Wonderful Birthday Week

If the sight of the blue sky fills you with joy, if a blade of grass springing up in the fields has power to move you, if the simple things of nature have a message that you understand, rejoice, for your soul is alive. Eleonora Duse

I am heading back to the desert filled with sweet memories for my soul's bouquet.

It is fragrant and alive, and still fresh in my mind.

I carry their voices away with me along with the times we shared, held close to my heart.

So grateful am I for this time. To refresh, renew.


We will be further down the road tomorrow and heading back home.

How curious and bittersweet to go from home to home once again.

This is the afterglow of vacation.

I am still in it.

The cabin we rented actually had these stars all ready for us!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Hide and Seek

"God takes everyone he loves through a desert. It is his cure for our wandering hearts, restlessly searching for a new Eden... The best gift of the desert is God's presence... The protective love of the Shepherd gives me courage to face the interior journey." — Paul E. Miller (A Praying Life)

I almost missed these little guys as I walked by.......Sometimes it is hard to find the beauty in a day, sometimes there is turbulence in the soul that distracts us from it. But it is there all the time.
This morning the sunrise made the clouds blush a wonderful pink.......God was telling me, look what I did for you! At every turn, He does something stunning in nature and it never stops. An ever changing piece of His artwork.
Life and noise try to compete for it, but we must not let it get the best of us.
That's all I got today. Getting ready for another trip to California to visit the family.
Camera ready!
Peace and Blessings for a wonderful weekend opening your eyes to what God shows you......

pics taken with iphone on a walk in the desert this spring

Friday, August 5, 2011

The Accessible God

"But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light." 1 Peter 2:9

Just imagine, this is what God says about us. So today, practice saying this to yourself:

"I am God's special possession"

Now repeat......

and again.

There are a vast number of people on this planet that don't have a clue that this is even possible. That the God of the Universe, who set the moon and the stars in the sky with a word, who keeps it all going....

keeps them going......wants so much for them to turn in His direction, just to open their heart to Him, so He can give them an inheritance that is beyond their wildest imagination. There are so many obstacles thrown in the path of people to prevent this.

Warped concepts of who God is and isn't.

Horrible treatment by people that were supposed to love them, cherish them, make them feel safe. Things they see wrong with the Church.

Jesus came so that we could approach God without reservation. Without fear. He walked in our dust. He wasn't afraid to come down to our dirty planet....To sweat, get tired, deal with the God with us.

Jesus removed our roadblocks. He is the accessible God who draws us to the Father. Holds us all together with His Spirit. Let yourself believe that He wants you today.

And say it again with me:

"I am God's special possession." Feels good, doesn't it?

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Prayer for ordinary people

"But if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin." 1 John 1:7

Some days you pray while walking around, and that's always a good thing. Some days call for face down praying right out of bed. Today was that kind. Really, every day calls for face down praying. If I think otherwise I am kidding myself. One glimpse of who God  really is would cure that in a heartbeat.

Lord, I confess that sometimes I think I can just walk through my day without asking you for help. What a mistake that is. Help me to walk in the light today. Make me a better person today, because I wasn't happy with who I was yesterday.

Oh, I don't think anyone noticed....everything looked fine on the surface, but there is always room for improvement in how I relate to people, the things that rumble around in my heart. You know those little complaints and gripes, flares of anger over things that don't matter.

I need the blood today and everyday. Without that precious covering I don't like to think where I would be.

Thank you gracious and merciful Father, for loving me when I get things wrong over and over.

I am so glad Your Grace never runs dry......Amen

Top photo: google
Bottom one: me

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Sleepless in Arizona

"Behold, He who keeps Israel Will neither slumber nor sleep." Psalm 121

I was pondering this fact early this morning when I awoke at 12:30 AM. If God does not sleep, I thought, then what does He do? He certainly doesn't need to keep the universe going. That was all set up long ago and He has no problem keeping it all running. That leaves one thing......He is watching over me as He watches over Israel. I can never catch Him by surprise. I never catch Him dozing off......Even as I toss and turn at 12:30 in the morning.

I heard the outdoor flag flapping in the wind, which had picked up. I heard my little outdoor decoration sliding back and forth on the wall. I got up and took them both down.....there was dust in the air. I came in and laid back down.......All was quiet except the cat snoring, fast asleep in his place on the bed.

After I determined that sleep wasn't soon to come, I burrowed through my pile of books by the bed until I found "Big Red." It is the Bible I always turn to when I need a special comfort. It has years in it. It holds them all lovingly in its pages. I turned to my notes in the back......notes from sermons, studies, things I have thought and read. My eyes fell on this printed in red:

Know how to meditate on the Lord. What do I do when I can't sleep? Do I quiet my soul and spirit with meditation on God or do I run for a sleeping pill? What am I to meditate on?

God's word........God's promises........the person of God

I continued thumbing through and thought about the years held there in those pages. It's about 34 years old now. I listened to the rustle of the pages and something about it quieted my spirit. I noted the changes in my printing style over the years, sometimes slanting left, sometimes right. Some of the notes are faded with time.

Most important are the words it holds. God's words to me, to all of us.

I turned out the light and rested my old friend on my chest and felt its weight and it felt good. I thought of all that precious book and God have brought me through. Saved my life more than a few times. Maybe more times than I know. I couldn't help it, a few tears of gratitude slid down, and I thanked Him. My heart slowed its spirit calmed. Outside, the wind may have been blowing, but I no longer heard it.
I drifted into a peaceful slumber at 2:00 AM.

At times like that I think that maybe God just missed me and wanted my undivided attention.