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Sunday, February 24, 2013

A Place Of Peace And Safety

Peace and safety.  How we take these things for granted sometimes.  When I was a little girl I never though about peace or safety.  I had them and didn't even realize it.  I felt secure.  My family was my safety net.  My parents nurtured me and made me feel safe.  I was raised to know that  family was important.  Mom and Dad were always there for me.  I had an older sister I could rely on.  My parents came from large families in the south where family reunions are common.  My world branched out to aunts, uncles, cousins.  We were family. 

My dad was in the military so I experienced life in many areas of the country and the world.  All under the safety of my family.  My parents had good friends and my safety net grew.  I played with their children who became my friends.  Family, friends, neighbors were an ever growing safety net. 
Always peaceful and secure.

Even when I became an adult and went through two failed marriges I always felt an underlying security of my family and friends.  Then the unthinkable happened.  The basis for my feelings of security unraveled.  My uncle caused a family rift.  The rift extendend out through our family like a pebble hitting a windshield causing a crack that continued to spread and grow.  Like a spreading cancer it spread to a cousin who sued my father over a property line.  It was sad to watch my parents suffer through this in the last years of their life when all they wanted was peace.  My father prayed for peace between him and his brother who had caused the misunderstanding. 

When my parents past away.  I inherited the land dispute.  My life was anything but peaceful and secure.  My sister sent me the scripture in Isaiah 32:18 which says "My people will live in peaceful dwelling places, in secure homes, in undisturbed places of rest."  My sister and I prayed in agreement that this would be God's promise to me. 

God's promise did come to pass.  This past year the lawsuit ended.  My cousin sold her land which broders our property to my son.  We are still family; still cracked and broken.  Let the healing begin.  I do know that my sense of peace and safety no longer center around friends and family but solely on the Lord. 

God can move mountains, he can heal, he can cause peace beyond all understanding, he can protect, and he is real.  Believe in him with all your heart, mind, and soul.  He is there for you, and he will send a safety net of angels to stand by you in your time of need.  He will provide a place of peace and safety for you. 

Saturday, November 3, 2012

When Love Hurts

Ouch!  Sometimes Love hurts  like when I  read this scripture.  Luke 6:27-28 says "But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you."

When someone at work is mean I would like to get even, but God says he doesn't like that.  When someone curses me I would love to blast them right back.  When someone lies about me or mistreats me I would like to see the same thing happen to them.  Yes those thoughts fly through my mind before I can capture them and remind myself who is in charge of my life.  Yes.  God tells me to love my enemies, He tells me to be good to them when they are bad to me. 

Not easy things to do but necessary.  Why do I say it is necessary?  Because if I want God's mercy and goodness shown to me I need to show mercy and goodness to others including those who hate me and mistreat me.  It is not easy but it is the right thing to do.  Love your enemies.

 

Prayer Life A Little Slow?

I can truthfully say that I am not the perfect Christian.  Yes I have a long way to go.  I tend to pray consistently for a while and then life takes over and time slips away.  I go to bed tired and forget to pray.  I wake up late and have to rush to get ready for work and forget to pray. 

To get my focus back I have made myself some prayer lists.  The main one is on a piece of paper in my Bible.  The next one is on the night stand by my bed.  I have put another in my car so when I see it I can be reminded to pray as I drive to work.  I have one at my desk that I can access on break or lunch. 

Even though I have given myself these daily reminders I am still not where I want to be in my prayer life.  I don't want to be lukewarm.  I want to be like we are admonished in 1 Thessalonians 5:17 to pray without ceasing.   

Monday, October 29, 2012

Hurricane Sandy

Just watching the news and I am shocked at the magnitude of the damage Hurricane Sandy is doing.  I know what we went through during Hurricane Katrina in 2005.  We did not have electricity for 2 and a half weeks, no phone for a week, no water for a week and a half to two weeks.  We lived through it but we did not see the news coverage until much later when we saw reruns.  I live in a rural area so it was not as bad as living in a congested city and having to go through it.

It seems surreal now to watch the tremendous flooding and wind damage happening in the northeast. The sheer size of the cities in the path of this massive storm system bare witness to the many millions of people it will affect. Although it brings back memories it also brings the knowledge that when these people who are being affected by this storm system wake up tomorrow morning their lives will be changed in some way. 

They won't wake up and just start their day as if nothing happened.  Businesses will be closed due to massive power outages or damage and continued flooding.  There will be massive cleanup to do.  There will be boiled water alerts.  Power companies, police, fire departments, hospitals, ambulances, disaster relief agencies and the National Guard will all be overwhelmed and their limits tested. 

Let us all pray for their safety.  The coming storm is here!  May God grant them peace and comfort in this stressful time. 

 

Monday, October 22, 2012

Prelude to Thanksgiving

As we look forward to Thanksgiving we can be thankful for the bountiful blessings God provides us.  So many times we take for granted even the simplest of blessings because we expext them instead of being grateful for them. 

Since we have another month until Thanksgiving I want to start now by preparing my heart for being thankful.  I want to become thankful for even the tiniest of things in my life. 

When I drink a glass of water I want to be thankful I have that glass of water.  I want to be thankful that I didn't have to go to a well, or across town, or for miles to get that glass of water.  And then I want to pray for all the people who are not able to turn on the faucet and have clear, clean running water. 

When I am hungry I want to be thankful I can go to my pantry or refrigerator and satisfy that very basic need.  Then I want to pray for all the people around the world who can't do that.  There are too many to count who go without basic needs every day. 

When it is cold outside I want to be thankful I can be warm inside.  For everyday I wake up I want to be thankful.  For everyday I am not sick or in pain I want to be thankful.  For a loving family I want to be thankful.  May we never take each other for granted. 

I hope if you are reading this you are thankful.  Start your own mental list of what you are thankful for. And, next month when Thanksgiving comes around I wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving. 

 

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Help My Brain Is Frozen


When I have had a hard day or a hard week at work I can often feel somewhat empty.  Anyone who has ever had writer’s block knows what I mean.  Whether it is writer’s block or just brain freeze it is the same feeling.  You try to write something or think something and there is nothing.   You think, Lord help me, give me the thoughts and the words to speak or write.  Again nothing, just silence.  You think at least give me a feeling, just something that can grow into a thought or story.

The harder you try the less comes out.  This sometimes translates over to my prayer life.  I promise myself to be faithful.  I promise I will pray every day regardless of how my day went or how busy I am.  I remember having a conversation with my friend, Gina, a few years ago where she confided she had gone though a spiritually dry period in her life too.  We all go through it at one time or another.  I will never forget the words of wisdom she imparted that day. 

She told me she started small.  Even though she didn’t feel anything and didn’t know what to pray for she would start praying the Lord’s Prayer.  The more she did this and made it a habit the more she started to feel that God was working to free her from the emptiness she felt.   She told me that after a time she noticed she no longer was just going through the motions but that the relationship she had with father God was back.  She felt renewed and strengthened.  She felt that regardless of what was going on in her life that she could feel the comfort of the Holy Spirit. 

Even if we don’t mean what we pray when we pray it.  If we are faithful to do what he wants us to do, God will bless our effort.  He will bless us, and eventually he will bless others through us.  He can take the emptiness and make it beautiful and perfect as he heals our wounded dry spirit.

The prayer as it occurs in Matthew 6:9–13 (ESV)

 

"Our Father in heaven,

hallowed be your name.

Your kingdom come,

your will be done,

on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread,

and forgive us our debts,

as we also have forgiven our debtors.

And lead us not into temptation,

but deliver us from evil."

 
Thank you for listening to the words we speak and the feeling behind them.  Thank you for the times when we don’t have the feelings but say the words anyway knowing that you can take that small effort and turn it into much more then we could ever think or ask. 

Friday, October 12, 2012

Love Is the Greatest Gift


Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up;  does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil;  does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth;  bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

 Love never fails. I Corinthians 13

Yes the greatest of these gifts of the spirit is Love.  Love of mankind in general, love of an animal, love of God, Love of family, yes, Love is the greatest gift.  When we lose someone we love it causes great emotional pain.  It creates a deep sense of loss within us and creates emptiness.  In the end love must endure all.   

Clark just lost his Grandmother; Gail and Carla and their sisters lost their Mother. I lost my Parents four years ago and although it doesn’t ever go away it does get easier.  Our family recently lost a family pet that had been a part of our family for years.  Today we buried one of the newest members of our family, Patton, Hilary and Andrew’s puppy who was killed by a vicious attack from a pit bull.

We grieve, we continue on, we heal, we love.  And the greatest of these is love.  I am thankful I serve a God who loves us and will never leave us regardless of what we go through.  He is there to help us to bear all things, believe all things, hope all things, and endure all things.  He gives us faith. 

Lord, help us today to realize the extent of your love for us as we examine the extent of the love we have for others, both human and animal, in our lives.  Help us to understand how much greater your love is for us then we could ever imagine.  Thank you for giving us the capacity to love even a fraction of how you love us.