Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Yielded and Still, Seeking His Will


Often, I know what to do, but not how to do it. (Is that true of you, too?)

Thus, I benefit greatly from the personal experience stories shared by others. For example, while reading A Lifetime of Positive Thinking by Ruth Stanford Peale, I eagerly read about how she and her husband, Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, sought guidance from God. In one of the many “life stories” she shares in the book, she tells about how they prayed. 

The two of them would meet in his office or in a room in their home, and Dr. Peale would often say something like this, “Lord, we have this problem. You know what it is without our telling. Please guide us in the right direction. Make us receptive to Your will.” Having clearly and simply stated their request for God’s guidance, Dr. Peale would conclude the short prayer by saying, “We thank You for this help that You are now giving us.”


As they waited quietly and expectantly for God to answer, they didn’t babble on and on about the specific matter for which they were seeking God’s guidance. Neither did they discuss possible solutions. Instead, they read and/or reflected on relevant verses from the Bible, verses such as: “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10) and “In quietness and confidence shall be your strength” (Isaiah 30:15).

After a while, either Dr. or Mrs. Peale would say, “It seems to me this is the way to deal with this” or “I believe we’ve been on the wrong track with this one. Perhaps we should handle it this way.” More likely than not, the other felt the same; and, thus, “a clear line of action would open up where things [had been] obscure before” (p. 20).

After reading about how they prayed, I decided to try it. As I prepared to write this article, I didn’t know what God wanted me to write about. I had lots and lots of ideas, but I didn’t know which one to choose. So, I followed the Peales’ example. I sat quietly “before the Lord” and waited for Him to instruct me. I closed my eyes and suddenly the chorus of the old song, Speak to My Heart popped into my mind. I made those words, written by B.B. McKinney in 1927, the prayer of my heart.

My sweet Mama,
who was often yielded and still
in the presence of her God.
As I hummed them, I suddenly recalled the above story from Ruth Peale’s book and sensed that God wanted me to share it with you so that we would be reminded of the importance of sitting quietly before Him as we seek His will and His ways. If we will be “yielded and still” before Him, He will speak to us. He will show us not only what to do but also how and when to do it.



Monday, August 14, 2017

My Vow

Vows. Promises. Commitments. Most of us take them lightly, don't we? I confess that I do, though I am struggling each day to keep the promises I make and, thus, prove dependable and trustworthy.

One commitment I made over 30 years ago was to write for God. For periods of time, I'd write regularly. But sometimes I'd lapse and write every now and then--mainly when a deadline was looming. But in recent days, God has been reminding me of His call upon my life, and I've resolved to get going again with that. To do so, I'll need to stay focused on my renewed commitment because it's so easy to get distracted, so easy to let other things take up the time I could have used to write--and should have.

To help me stay focused, I've written one Bible verse (see photo) on several "sticky notes" and placed them around the house. God directed my attention to this verse today during my early morning Bible reading time, but that was made by Ethan the Ezrahite centuries ago. Since it's still a good one, I'm also vowing to use every opportunity to make known God's faithfulness, to use every opportunity to remind myself, as well as others, of not only the faithfulness of God but also of His great love and mercy, of His complete forgiveness, of His unlimited power, of His....

Will you make that same vow? Will you vow to speak often with your Lord and to speak often about Him? Will you use your mouth, your voice--your speaking voice or your writing voice or your singing voice-- to make Him known to others?

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Final Words

My husband and I made our funeral arrangements months ago. Choosing my own coffin was easier than I thought it would be, but I’m still agonizing over which songs I’d like played and/or sung during my service. Why, you ask, is that so difficult? I want the words in the songs to serve as my final words to my loved ones. Thus, it's had to choose only a few out of all the many songs I love.

One day when I was struggling to decide, I read the last few chapters in the Old Testament book of Deuteronomy, which contain Moses’ parting words to the children of God whom he had led for more than 40 years. With the people assembled near the border of the land God had promised to give them, Moses reminded them of what God had commanded them to do when they entered it.       


Then Moses said, “Take to heart all the words by which I am warning you today, that you may command them to your children, that they may be careful to do all the words of this law. For it is no empty word for you, but your very life, and by this word you shall live long in the land…” (Deuteronomy 32:46-47, ESV, emphasis added).


Like Moses, I want my final words to urge others to know God better, to love Him even more, and to faithfully obey Him. I trust that the Scripture-based songs I select will do just that. 



Monday, July 31, 2017

Unlimited Power

Shoshone Falls (212 feet high) near Twin Falls, Idaho
While reading the July 19, 2017, issue of Our Daily Bread, I found this quote, which really spoke to me:
Never measure 
God's unlimited power
by 
your limited expectations.

As I reflected on those words, I recalled Ephesians 3:20, one of my favorite Bible verses, which I'd memorized many years ago. 
Now to Him 
who is able to do 
far more abundantly 
beyond all that we ask or think, 
according to the power 
that works within us
(NASB)

As I reflected on those familiar words, I decided to look up that verse in the new Bible (The VOICE) a dear friend had given me for my birthday a few weeks prior.
(20) Now to the God 
who can do so many awe-inspiring things, 
immeasurable things, 
things greater than 
we ever could ask or imagine 
through the power at work in us, 
(21) to Him be all glory in the church 
and in Jesus the Anointed 
from this generation to the next, 
forever and ever. 
Amen.

Any way you say it, our God is mighty! Praise Him!



Sunday, July 30, 2017

Not Dead--Again!

A column in our local newspaper was entitled “I woke up not dead again in [name of town].” Intrigued by that title, I read what else the columnist had to say. 

He said he had awakened at 6 a.m. (without his alarm having sounded) and checked his big toe to see if it had a tag attached to it. It didn’t.

Having concluded he wasn't dead, he proceeded to enjoy a day filled with blessings, such as: a delicious cup of coffee, a favorite breakfast, a free concert by backyard birds, a morning walk, a beautiful sunrise, a humorous e-mail from a dear friend, e-mails from his children, an inspirational sermon at church, a delicious brunch at a local restaurant, and a round of golf in the afternoon.

“Even though I know that none of us will get out of here alive,” he said, “…I rejoice whenever I wake up not dead.”


Dear Reader, let's join him in being grateful for every morning we wake up not dead again. Let's also join him in thanking our Father for all the other blessings He lavishes upon us.


Morning by morning, 
God wakes me up 
and
opens my understanding to His will
Isaiah 50:4




Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Sheltered



Since I enjoy knowing why and how certain songs and books were written, I was thrilled when I discovered an online site that features Dottie Rambo telling the backstory of how she wrote the words to Sheltered in the Arms of God.

As she walked on the beach, brokenhearted over being betrayed by a friend and struggling to write the first verse to the song, she watched various kinds of junk washing ashore. She thought, That’s kinda like life. Stuff surfaces. Sometimes we focus on it rather than on the good.

As she continued to walk and grieve, she slowly shifted her focus from her brokenness to the realization that God was walking with her and was taking care of her. Suddenly—and for the first time ever—she felt the gentle touch of a hand on her shoulder, though she saw no one around. Then the words to the song came to her!

I’m so thankful God gave her the words for they touch my heart every time I hear them. What a blessing it is to be reminded that God sees all that happens to us—the good and the bad—and that He does stay near us and care for us. As we sense His loving presence, we receive the strength to “carry on” even in heart-wrenching situations.

If you’d like to hear Dottie tell this touching backstory 
and sing the beautiful song, 
please click here:

Monday, July 10, 2017

Give a Rose

A friend of mine always prefaces a compliment by saying, "Now, [name], I'm going to give you a rose."

She prefers to "give roses" while her friends are living and can savor her sweet words and be uplifted by them rather than to give a wreath of roses after her loved ones have passed away.

The Bible says gracious words (pleasant words, kind words) are sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. (See Proverbs 16:24.)

Give a rose to someone today!