Tuesday, November 29, 2022
I wear orange-tinted glasses called "migraine glasses" when I am a home. When I am suffering chronic headaches, the glasses protect me from the trigger of bright light. But although they help prevent eyestrain, the glasses also adulterate my color perception. Yellow looks pink, and green appears blue.
This morning I carefully arranged a blue snowflake towel beneath the picture on my bathroom wall, which was (I thought) a similar shade of blue. I stepped back to admire my work and suddenly remembered my tinted glasses. Yikes! Without the glasses, the picture was green and clashed with my pretty little towel! I put my glasses back on and smiled to myself. Through my tinted glasses things looked just fine.
Later, during my devotions, I brought my health concerns to the Lord. Balancing needed medications is difficult, communication with doctors is a challenge, and I was upset. The Lord answered my anxious thoughts with gentle direction to have faith in His ability to sustain my health. I remembered my orange glasses. Looking through them changed my perspective so that things appeared a lot more coordinated! Faith acts similarly to help my perspective to be more positive.
Oh--and that picture on my wall? I'll insert a photo of it so you can see it too. It says, "Faith!"
Monday, November 28, 2022
...say to those with fearful hearts,
“Be strong, do not fear;
your God will come,
he will come with vengeance;
with divine retribution
he will come to save you.”
They will enter Zion with singing;
everlasting joy will crown their heads.
Gladness and joy will overtake them,
and sorrow and sighing will flee away.
Sunday, November 27, 2022
My son is a brave man.
He strides forward in his vision of the Lord's plan for his life, seeking the path that lead's to fulfillment of God's will for those he loves and himself.
His mother--that's me--is not brave. If I'm not prayerfully careful, I speak words of fear cloaked in a disguise of caution, or even wisdom. This tendency can muddy the waters of God-given truth, and I run the risk that my inspired words will be dismissed in the way the proverbial baby was thrown out with the bath water.
Thus the need for the prayer I've placed in today's meme; "faith, not doubt; confidence, not fear."
When we pray for God's protection and guidance, He hears. We can trust Him.
Meantime, I pray to be brave to ride the roller coaster of our lives without giving way to weakness or fear. Roller coasters can be a lot of fun if you are strong enough to enjoy the ride.
Lord, please grant me strength!
Saturday, November 26, 2022
I really hate that I am prone to anxiety, and I don't think the Lord likes it either. Various sources tell me that the Bible tells us not to be afraid or anxious over 100 times.
Sometimes, we can't help it. When fear suffuses me it can be like a tide I can't swim against, and it is then I have to humble myself to ask friends to pray for me.
Lord, help me to "fear not." But thank You so much for providing for me when I am afraid. And thank You for praying friends. Amen.
As a father has compassion on his children,
so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;
for he knows how we are formed,
he remembers that we are dust.
So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Friday, November 25, 2022
Self-condemnation will spur us to efforts to make ourselves right in our own strength. The Holy Spirit's conviction moves us to repentance and release of our strivings to the Lord. Pray to discern the difference between self-condemnation and the Spirit's conviction of sin. Trying hard to do better isn't wrong unless it is motivated by self-justification rather than repentance.
Thursday, November 24, 2022
Holidays bring family gatherings, and we have to pray hard not to bring more than a covered dish to the table. If we aren't careful, past hurts and fear of future injustices taint our interactions with the people God has given us as companions for this earth journey. A simple prayer goes a long way toward defusing the power that past hurts and fear hold over our hearts:
Lord, I trust You. Thank You for forgiving my sins of the past and covering me by Your grace, so that even people who witnessed me acting sinfully are able to treat me in accordance with Your mercy. Now Lord, I forgive those who have sinned against me and entrust my well-being--past, present and future--into Your hands. Enable me to love as I've been loved, and forgive as I've been forgiven. In Jesus' Name, amen.
Wednesday, November 23, 2022
Monday, November 21, 2022
Trust in the Lord and do good;
dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
Take delight in the Lord,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the Lord;
trust in him and he will do this:
He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn,
your vindication like the noonday sun.
Psalm 37:3-6 NIV
Saturday, November 19, 2022
Thursday, November 17, 2022
This post is for my daughter, who celebrates her birthday today! She is one of life's greatest blessings to her father and me and we pray blessings for her. The Bible promise over her life is the blessing of Benjamin found in Deuteronomy 33:12:
“Let the beloved of the Lord rest secure in him,
for he shields him all day long,
and the one the Lord loves rests between his shoulders.”
All the Way My Savior Leads Me
Words: Fanny Crosby, in Brightest and Best, by Robert Lowry & W. Howard Doane (New York: Biglow & Main, 1875), number 64. Hymn information from hymntime.com/tch
Tuesday, November 15, 2022
Saturday, November 12, 2022
Isaiah 51: 6, 12-13
It isn't that other people can't frighten or harm us, it's that when we belong to the Lord, He hears our cries, and will take action.
If some situation in your life is oppressive, cry out to the Lord and look to Him. He will come to your aide. The initial gift may come in the form of endurance; we are often given the strength to bear some life situation that is difficult. It always comes with the promise of deliverance; our God will rescue us in His time. In the interim, we can trust He is at work and will see us through.
Friday, November 11, 2022
Lord, I release my will to You. I release to You these things I do not want to do, labors I do not want to perform, journeys I do not want to take. I give You permission to work in my heart and mind to transform my will to match Yours. Your will, not mine be done. I entrust myself, my loved ones, my past, my present moment, and my future into Your hands. Amen.
Blessed are those whose strength is in you,
whose hearts are set on pilgrimage.
As they pass through the Valley of Baka,
they make it a place of springs;
the autumn rains also cover it with pools.
They go from strength to strength,
till each appears before God in Zion.
Psalm 84:5-7 NIV
Thursday, November 10, 2022
Tuesday, November 8, 2022
At this writing, my daughter's family is down with Covid, my son has flown off to Orlando for business, and as of today a tropical storm is bearing down on his position. For some reason, this week I chose to decrease my dosage of an antacid I take daily; not my wisest life choice.
I'm a little tense.
As a parent of adult children, it is an ongoing challenge to stay emotionally engaged with my children while simultaneously releasing them to God's care. When my motivation is my own well-being (what would I do without them?) I increase my attempts to advise and control. But this way of dealing with my adult kids is stressful and so I then rob them of any real benefit I actually am able to provide (how about a prayer and maybe some chicken soup?) because I'm exhausted trying to make everything right for them as I did when they were small.
As I said, it is an ongoing challenge. I am prone to try to do it all; I labor in prayer, make chicken soup, and dispense advice as I try to anticipate potential dangers in their path. Yes, I need to keep the prayer and maybe the soup, and let go the crushing responsibility to take care of their circumstances; Lord I release my children's circumstances to You. Again.
"Entrusting is not the same as abandoning. We can carry our loved ones in prayer without carrying loads God does not intend for us to bear" (100 Days to Freedom, Day 15).
Father, help me to stay alert in prayer, courageous in the face of scary circumstances, and strong in my faith in You to take care of my children and grandchildren; in Jesus' Name I pray, amen.
Monday, November 7, 2022
In 2 Peter, Chapter 3, the apostle speaks of God's desire that salvation be offered to every sinner before this present world is brought to an end. In light of this, Peter asks, "What kind of people ought you to be? (2 Peter 3:11). Peter calls believers to live holy and Godly lives, because we are looking forward to a new creation, one where righteousness will dwell.
This morning I thought about God's great love for us, and how He softens every blow this sin-sick world delivers and makes us a way through. Peter's question came to mind in the context of this great, undeserved and merciful love God has shown us: what kind of people then ought we to be?
Every life event should be undergirded with the calm assurance that we are loved. Every moment of our days ought to be met with the confidence that the Lord won't let us go. All of our lives are illuminated by the warmth of His great love, and we need to keep our eyes open to it.
My granddaughter, age 7, decided to begin a gratitude journal this week and her mother said she has over 90 items on it so far. I believe I'd best start a gratitude journal of my own. I will begin my list with, "God's love."
Sunday, November 6, 2022
Obedience is a response and not an initiative.
A path toward obeying God in everything runs the opposite of the direction human logic and reason will guide us. Our way is to set goals and strive toward success by making lists, measuring how much improvement we have achieved thus far, and providing ourselves rewards as we conquer each new challenge.
As so often is true of the eternal truths that govern God's Kingdom, His path of obedience differs greatly from one we construct for ourselves.
Human beings are bound to the ultimate failure: death. The efforts we make to build our kingdoms according to our own specifications eventually fail: sometimes sooner, sometimes later. Humankind's failure to obey God resulted in our only hope of salvation being born as a baby in a stable in Bethlehem of Judea.
Obedience is our heart's response to the love that brought us a Savior who would be obedient to death on a Cross. Love and gratitude to God for His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, is the place obedience is born.
No resolution to do better will hold against the sin and evil that are in the world. Jesus is, as always, our only hope.
Blessed be His Name.
Friday, November 4, 2022
Thursday, November 3, 2022
When my daughter, Mindy, was about three, someone brought us a half dozen baby chicks in the bottom of a brown grocery sack. I placed the sack on its side so my little girl could watch the chicks while I rigged a cardboard box with a lightbulb inserted for warmth.
Suddenly Mindy shouted, "Mommy! The baby chicks are FLYING!"
I had my back turned and was busy. "Oh now honey, those chicks are much too small to fly yet."
There was a pause, and then Mindy responded in measured tones, "Okay, but their wings are flapping and their feet are off the ground."
I turned and was astounded to see that the baby chicks were indeed flying in short spurts within the confines of the paper sack.
Sometimes we read the truths of the Bible and the encouragement God offers seems to negate the reality of our circumstances as we perceive them. Other people may have taken advantage of us and then left us high and dry when we had need. People may have judged us based on their own perceptions of our behavior and never mind that they have no idea what we are going through.
We cry out to the Lord, "I've been abandoned! Forsaken! No one cares about my needs! I am alone!"
And the Lord tells us we are blessed and not cursed, and that we have not been abandoned or destroyed (2 Corinthians 4:9).
We may take a good look around us and reply, as Mindy did, "OK, but the wings of these hurtful circumstances are flapping and their feet are off the ground..."
To which the Lord replies, "Take your eyes off your circumstances and look at Me."
Just as the paper sack contained those baby chicks in their first hopping attempts at flight, the Lord contains the circumstances that we first may at first perceive to be flying out of control. He doesn't let us go. He forgives the sins of words and actions we may have committed in an emotional response to our perceptions, and offers healing and help in return.
God is at work in our circumstances, even the ones that are painful and frightening. He comforts us in suffering, and answers our cries for help. He does not abandon those called by His name. We are a people blessed by the Lord; blessed be His Name.
Blessed are those you choose
and bring near to live in your courts!
We are filled with the good things of your house,
of your holy temple.
Psalm 65:4 NIV