Thursday, April 19, 2018

Lessons from a Vine


Because I’m intrigued by a vine that grows prolifically at the beach, I wanted to know more about it. I learned that it’s called the “Railroad Vine” because its vines spread out hither and yon along the ground, much like train tracks meander around anything in their paths. Amazingly, the vine can grow up to 12 inches a day, and its runners may extend horizontally for more than 30 feet. Its taproots can penetrate downward more than three feet into the sand, stabilizing the ever-shifting dunes. In addition, the “Railroad Vine” often produces beautiful pink blooms that open in the morning and close by mid-afternoon, giving it another nickname: “Beach Morning Glory.”


As I look at the vine, I think about how the “paths” of my life often seem random. Yet, even if I go first one way and then another, my life, like the vine, still has purpose and beauty. Yesterday, for example, I didn't think I was doing much that was meaningful. However, when I journaled this morning about what I’d done, I realized I’d done several kind things for others, which, I believe, delighted my Father--even though I hadn't checked off many items on my to-do list.
He has shown you...what is good. 
And what does the LORD require of you? 
To act justly 
and to love mercy 
and to walk humbly with your God.
~Micah 6:8, NIV




Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Fully Formed

Buds intrigue me—for several reasons. 

They provide few clues as to their future beauty. In fact, some buds are “a little on the ugly side,” aren’t they?

I’m amazed at how a showy bloom can be encased in such a small bud. For example, everything that makes a rose a rose is encased in a tiny bud--just like those in this photo. One day, they'll open and be as large and as lovely as the pink rose that’s flourishing alongside them.

I’m amazed at how the maturation process remains shrouded in mystery. Knowing that imperceptible changes are occurring constantly inside the bud, I wait eagerly for it to open and reveal its beauty.

Buds remind me that their Creator is my Creator, too, and that He continues to mature me day by day. He knows my potential. In fact, He placed it within me. I don’t see much of it. Neither do other people see it. But...it IS there, just as yours is within you. 


In light of that, may these words I found in a book written by Vinita Hampton Wright greatly encourage us in our struggle to do our best work for God. 

[Even if] you are weary of yourself and loathe your attempts at giftedness, God sees you already fully formed and your work accomplished in all its beauty and glory (p. 158, The Art of Spiritual Writing: How to Craft Prose That Engages and Inspires Your Readers).






Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Wait for the Light!

When troubles come, we worry about how things might turn out. We feel uncertain about what we should do. If it seems that the outcome may not be the one we want, the one for which we pray, we feel hopeless and disappointed.

Having felt this way in times past, I love to watch the sunrises, particularly those over the ocean for they are so striking. Out of the blackness of the night, the first signs of dawn appear above the eastern horizon. The light is barely discernable, at first, but grows ever brighter. The sun rises slowly, it's movement imperceptible to the human eye as the bright orange ball rises higher and higher, bringing welcomed light and warmth to a dark and chilly world. 

Sometimes clouds obscure this wonderous sight, as it did the morning when I took the picture posted here. But I waited patiently for the sun to rise above the cloud cover and to shine its glorious light on the earth.

In like manner, may you and I learn to wait patiently on the Lord to provide light for the dark paths on which we sometimes walk. As we wait, may we follow the advice David shares in Psalm 27:14, NIV:
Wait for the LORD;
be strong, 
and let your heart take courage;
wait for the LORD!

As we wait for Him to act, may we be encouraged by what our God says in Isaiah 41:10, NIV:
“...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.” 

Monday, April 9, 2018

If We Could See and Know...

I’m often overwhelmed by the sad news that reaches me daily, aren’t you?  One day when I felt particularly sad, the words to an old song I hadn’t thought about in a long time suddenly popped into my mind. 

Since I could recall only bits and pieces of it, I looked online and found a beautiful recording of it, which I enjoyed so much, as I hope you will:
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=3_KExHA6DU4

Since I wanted to be able to print all the words to the song so I could memorize them, I searched further and found them here: http://abigailmiller.com/content/62-if-we-could-see-beyond-today.

Although you and I can’t know why things happen or what the future holds, we can stay close to the One who knows and sees all things. He will comfort us and give us the strength we need to face each day.




For you have been my hope, Sovereign Lord,
    my confidence since my youth.
From birth I have relied on you...

Psalm 71:5, 6, NIV

Thursday, April 5, 2018

With or Without Wrinkles!

I was dumbfounded when I read about a woman who—for 40 years—refused to laugh—or even smile! I was even more flabbergasted when I read why. (Brace yourself, Dear Reader.) She wanted to avoid getting wrinkles around her eyes and lips!

Oh, I thought, the lengths some people go to in order to hide the effects of aging! But aging is inevitable. Take a look at the rich and famous—who have access to all sorts of anti-aging potions and procedures. Even so, “old age” impacts them, too. Their skin wrinkles, their voices quaver, their spines curve, their muscles atrophy….as ours do.

We certainly should take proper care of our bodies and try to look our best. But if we hyperfocus on the externals, it’s all too easy to lose sight of the things that are eternal and, therefore, fail to pay much, if any, attention to them.

Dear Reader, may you and I make choices based on God’s Word, which repeatedly reminds us that what’s going on on the inside of us is far more important than what’s going on on the outside


For example: 1 Peter 3:2, NLT, says, “Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty that depends on fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should be known for the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God.”

A person with such a spirit is beautiful--with or without wrinkles--and a joy to be around! 

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Give What You Can

When a friend suddenly faced a situation that deprived her of much of her regular income, I wanted to do something to ease her financial worries. When I handed her a check, her eyes filled with tears. "I can't let you do this!"

I replied, "Yes, you can! God prompted me to give it to you. He knows your need. He wants you to have it, and so do I."


Now I can't go around handing checks to everyone with a significant financial need, but I do what I can for those God strongly impresses me to assist. Help doesn't always involve money. Sometimes it's the gift of time that some folks need. Sometimes it's help with a household task. Sometimes it's a phone call. Sometimes it's a listening ear. Sometimes it's food or a ride to the store. Sometimes it's the lending of a book. Sometimes it's a note of encouragement.


May you and I have an open hand when it comes to sharing with others the blessings we have received from our loving Heavenly Father. May we yield every part of our lives to Him. 



An example of that is found in the old hymn, Take My Life, and Let It Be. In it, Frances R. Havergal beautifully expresses her heartfelt commitment of all of her life to God, including her feet, her voice, her hands, her will, her heart, and even her money.


Take my silver and my gold,
Not a mite would I withhold;
Take my moments and my days,
Let them flow in ceaseless praise. 

To listen to the entire song she wrote in 1841, please click here: https://youtu.be/0FBvoRwNyB0

Sunday, April 1, 2018

The Father’s Love


While attending a Good Friday service, I joined the congregation in the singing of How Deep the Father’s Love for Us (copyrighted by Stuart Townend in 1995). Although the words were unfamiliar to me, they resonated with me. Upon returning home, I checked YouTube and found several videos that featured it, including this one: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=SKDujmtyAVk

I've listened to it again and again, as I hope you will. May the words increase your deep gratitude and joy, as they have mine. May the words prompt us to continue to celebrate His death and resurrection long after Easter has passed.



 Continue your love to those who know you, your righteousness to the upright in heart.
~David (in Psalm 36:10)

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

A Crown of Thorns



The soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns 
and
put it on his head.
They clothed him in a purple robe...
~John 19:2, NIV

To listen to Daniele Rose sing "Crown of Thorns" click here:

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Last Days

Today I read the Biblical accounts (found in the Gospels) of how Jesus spent His last days on this earth. As I compiled a lengthy list, I noticed that, basically, He simply continued to do what He had been doing. He served others by healing them, by teaching them spiritual truths to live by, by answering questions put to Him by His disciples (and by those who didn’t believe He was who He said He was), by preparing them for His departure, and by comforting them with the assurance of His future return and with the promise of the coming of the Holy Spirit who would be their indwelling teacher and comforter.


Since He had always done whatever pleased the Father, Jesus needed to make no major changes in His daily practices. However, by the end of the week, He would face His greatest challenge and, thereby, teach the greatest lesson of all: how to obey the Father and to serve Him and others with great love, even though He would suffer--and die--in the process.


As I reflected on His example, I thought:
  • Is my life so aligned with the Father’s will that I wouldn’t need to dramatically alter what I’m doing if I knew I would die within a week? 
  • Can I say, as Jesus did, “I always do the will of the Father,” that I obey my Father at all times--no matter the high cost of obedience? 
  • Can I truthfully say to God, what Jesus said in John 17:4, “I have brought You glory on earth by completing the work You gave me to do”? 
If not, I must begin TODAY to fully align my will with His and to let my daily attitudes and actions be in accordance with His wishes.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Stages


When I photographed these tiny azalea blooms in my yard, I thought, Each stage has its own beauty. Such is true of the stages of human life.

May we learn to look for and to appreciate the beauty that's there!

May we praise the Creator who put it there.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Spring!







Spring shows what God can do 
with a drab and dirty world.
~Rev. Virgil A. Kraft (1910-1988)



Sunday, March 18, 2018

Spring Is Sure to Follow

There's an old proverb that says, "No matter how long the winter, spring is sure to follow." That's so true, isn't it? However, when we're in the cold clutches of winter, we tend to think spring will never come. Likewise, we often think that we're stuck forever in a harsh season of life. But, rest assured, a gentler, more beautiful, more hopeful season will surely follow since God designed the seasons--and our lives--to stay on schedule. 

While reflecting on the cyclical seasons of life, I like to recall the words to Great Is Thy Faithfulness, a favorite hymn of mine, written by Thomas O. Chisholm in the early 1900s.

The chorus of the song praises God for His great faithfulness toward us and mentions that daily we see how gracious God is to us and how He so faithfully provides all we need. 

The verses mention specific ways God demonstrates His faithfulness. For example, even the seasons and the solar system attest to His great faithfulness. 

God didn't just create the world and all the living creatures that inhabit it and then walk away. No! He faithfully keeps everything (even our lives!) "on schedule"--day after day, year after year.


Thus, we learn that we can trust Him to faithfully care for us and to make sure that "No matter how long the winter, spring is sure to follow." Trust Him. Thank Him. Praise Him.


The faithful love of the LORD never ends! 
His mercies never cease. 
Great is his faithfulness; 
his mercies begin afresh each morning.
Lamentations 3:22, 23, New Living Translation


To sing along with the song, Great Is Thy Faithfulness, please click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cACqcURyvJA 

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Blessings

I enjoy reading Irish blessings and proverbs, don't you? Below are two I read recently.

May the strength of God pilot us,
May the wisdom of God instruct us,
May the hand of God protect us,
May the word of God direct us.

May your thoughts be as glad as the shamrocks.
May your heart be as light as a song.
May each day bring you bright happy hours,
That stay with you all year long.

However, my favorite blessings are those found in the Bible, as this one is:
The LORD bless thee, and keep thee:
The LORD make his face shine upon thee,
and be gracious to thee:
The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee,
and give thee peace.
Numbers 6:23-26, KJV

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Differences


Withered hydrangea blooms;
new hydrangea leaves and daffodils sprouting in the Spring.





When man sees but withered leaves, 
God sees sweet flowers growing.
~Albert Laughton









“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” saith the LORD. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
~Isaiah 55:8, 9, KJV







Sunday, March 11, 2018

It's Time for the Dimness to Go!

If I love the lyrics found in a song but don't know how to sing it, I read the words as if they were a poem. Currently, I'm memorizing all the verses in Spirit of God, Descend Upon My Heart, which was written by George Croly in 1854. 

The lyrics read like a prayer. All of the requests are ones I, too, need to make. I reflect on them every morning as I practice saying aloud all four verses. The requests also pop into my mind throughout the day, even when I'm not specifically trying to recall them. 


For example, when I sit on the screened-in porch and look through the clear plastic wrap which my husband puts up each Fall and takes down each Spring (to keep the cold air out), I notice how much even those thin sheets of plastic prevent me from clearly seeing all that is in our backyard. The view isn't nearly as pretty as it is when I step out on the deck to enjoy an unobstructed view. 

Whenever I look through the plastic and notice how "foggy" everything looks, I think about this request found in the song: "...take away the dimness of my soul." And I become even more convinced of the importance of asking God to do that.

Open my eyes, that I may see
Wondrous things from Your law.
~Psalm 119:18, NKJV




Thursday, March 8, 2018

Sudden Storms


"Storms" can pop up so quickly in our lives, can't they? One moment, we're sailing along the sea of life and enjoying the journey; the next moment, we're buffeted by savage winds of adversity and practically drowned by a torrent of troubles, sometimes to the point that we wonder if we'll survive the sudden "storm" we never dreamed would come our way. What do we do?

The answer is found in a Bible passage (the 8th chapter of Luke, verses 22-25) that contains the story of a strong storm that battered the disciples as they sailed across a lake. When they realized they could go under at any moment, terror gripped them. But they knew what to do. They woke Jesus, who was sleeping peacefully in the boat even while the storm raged. He got up immediately and responded to their cries for help.

He spoke to the winds and the water; they calmed down. Observing how quickly He had stilled the storm, the disciples asked one another, in fear and amazement, "Who is this? He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey Him." In other words, "Who is this man in the boat with us?" They knew He was no ordinary man for He possessed powers that no mortal has. Thankfully, He was in the boat with them. He was right there, ready and willing to still the storm and, thereby, save their lives.

Dear Reader, that same Jesus is always in the "boat" with us when sudden "storms" come unbidden and unexpected into our lives. If we do what the disciples did and cry out to Him for help, He surely will intervene. Even if He doesn't still the storm immediately, we'll be comforted by knowing He is right there with us and can command calm whenever He chooses to do so. Until then, He stays nearby. And what a comfort His presence is!







Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Believing Mirrors

In Finding Water: The Art of Perseverance, author Julia Cameron writes about the importance of having what she calls “believing mirrors” in our lives. By that she means, trusted friends who encourage us by speaking the truth to us when we're being tempted to believe lies about ourselves. For instance, when we’re bingeing on negative thoughts about ourselves, believing mirrors tell us the truth about ourselves rather than agree with the distorted view we currently have.


For example, if we think our writing is no good, a believing mirror might say, “You’ve put a lot of time and thought into this work, and you have some really good stuff here! If you’ll do a little more editing, you can make your words shine.”  

Believing mirrors see the potential in us. But instead of using flattery to lift our spirits, they speak the truth—in love. Thus, they’re honest, yet never cruel. When we don’t like the “me” we see in our mirror, when all we can see are our flaws, we can turn to these believing mirrors who will help us see a more accurate image of ourselves by pointing out some of our good features.


However, the truest mirror is the word of God, which was penned by many truth tellers who lived in centuries past. The words they wrote, under the inspiration of God’s Holy Spirit, are the truest words of all. The more you and I know those truths (like Ephesians 2:10), believe them, and then base our thinking and our actions on them, the more accurate a picture we'll see of ourselves. As more and more truth dwells within us, the more hopeful and confident we become. And...we become better believing mirrors for those who turn to us in search of truth and comfort.


Thursday, March 1, 2018

Letting Go

While photographing in my yard, I noticed this daffodil that had been damaged by the wind and the rain that had moved through the neighborhood a day or so prior. Oh, it was so beautiful, I thought, but look at it now!

As I photographed it, I remembered this quote I'd written in my journal: "There comes a time when the beautiful flower must go. We must let it!"

I have no idea who said that, but it's true, isn't it? True not only in regard to beautiful flowers but also true of people, lifestyles, and careers--and sometimes abilites, health, mobility, opportunities, and many other blessings we have enjoyed for years. Naturally, we shrink from letting go, but when we have to, we have to. When that time comes, it's far better to let go gracefully than to do so while "kick'n' and scream'n'," isn't it? 

As I reflected on the letting go process, I recalled what the psalmist said to God, and my heart echoed his words. 


In You, O LORD, I put my trust;
Let me never be put to shame....
Be my strong refuge
To which I may resort continually;
For You are my rock and my fortress....
You are my hope, O LORD GOD;
You are my trust from my youth.
By You I have been upheld from birth;
You are He who took me out of my mother's womb.
My praise shall be continually of You....
You are my strong refuge.
Let my mouth be filled with Your praise
And with Your glory all the day.
Do not cast me off in the time of old age;
Do not forsake me when my strength fails....
I will go in the strength of the LORD GOD;
I will make mention of Your righteousness, of Yours only....
Now also when I am old and grayheaded,
O God, do not forsake me.... (Psalm 71:1-18, NKJV).

Perhaps, Dear One, you would also like to use these words as a prayer to God and as an affirmation of your continuing faith in Him?

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Pray/sing-ing!

Sometimes when I’m driving alone in my car, I pray for those who live in the houses I’m passing by. Since I rarely know anything about what’s going on with them, I sing the old spiritual song, Kum Ba Ya, which means Come By Here. I make up verses as I go along and offer them as a prayer to God on behalf of the people.

For example, I sing:
Someone needs You, Lord!
Kum ba ya!
Someone needs You, Lord!
Kum ba ya!
Someone needs You, Lord!
O Lord, come by here!

I change the wording in each verse in order to describe various situations in which those persons may find themselves. Sometimes I express my cries for help with the original words (Kum ba ya!); sometimes I say, “Come by here!” 

Either way, the prayers ascend heavenward and are answered. The Lord does come by the homes and hearts of those who are suffering, of those who are grieving, of those who are seeking, of those who are crying, of those who are praying, and so forth. And He knows exactly what’s going on and what He needs to do in order to help them. 

My job, then, is to implore Him to come by, not to tell Him what to do. 

And I pray that when He comes by, the people will open the door and let Him come in.

Sing along here and make “Come by here, Lord,” the cry of your heart—for yourself, as well as for others.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Run Toward or Away?


While walking on the beach, I noticed a bird’s odd behavior. Since it was only a few feet from shore, I paused to watch the waves "wipe it out" time and time again while it (apparently!) feasted on whatever delicacies were in the water.

For several minutes, I watched as the waves crashed against him, changing his direction each time. Yet, when one wiped him out, he'd swim toward the next one, rather than from it. 


I'd never witnessed that kind of behavior before. The shorebirds I'd observed on previous walks would pace slowly in shallow water while keeping a keen eye out to see what the waves brought to them, like the one in this photo. When those birds saw a big wave approaching, they'd run toward the shore, not toward the wave. As soon as the wave retreated, they’d rush to the shallow water to resume their search for the food.


But this bird repeatedly SOUGHT OUT the challenges, apparently considering the reward (feasting) worth whatever physical discomfort the waves inflicted on him.

I learned an important lesson from that bird! Like him, I need to "go for" the challenges I face--rather than run from them. If I run away from opportunities for growth, I'll miss out on much of the abundance God intends for me. 

Dear Reader, will you join me (and the bird!) in "going for the good stuff?"


Thursday, February 22, 2018

Yielded and Still?

Photo by Johnnie Ann Gaskill.
In the 1907 hymn, “Have Thine Own Way, Lord,” writer Adelaide A. Potter pictures herself as a lump of clay in the hands of the potter. She says she is yielded and still, willing for God to do whatever He chooses with her. 

In so doing, she’s applying to her life this great truth, spoken by the prophet Isaiah many centuries ago:


Although we know we should be still and even though we want to be still as we wait for God to act, it’s hard, isn’t it? Especially if we are in pain. Especially if we have no clue what’s going on. 

At such times, we often behave like young children who are too immature to understand why parents and doctors who are sincerely trying to help them are treating them in ways that often bring more pain. (Think: throat cultures, shots, tubes inserted into infected ears, etc.) 

Such handling makes NO SENSE to a baby or a very young child. Is that child still? NO! Does that child kick and scream? YES! Does his resistance prolong the process and make it more difficult for everyone concerned? YES!

But as the child matures, he learns to be still (well, somewhat still, at least!) when undergoing measures that will help him feel better. Likewise, the more you and I mature in our faith, the more we’ll learn to be still while God does for us--and with us--what He knows is best.

Yielding ourselves to Him--being still and quiet in His loving hands--takes lots of maturity, lots of faith. Our faith grows as we read and practice the principles found in the Bible; as we learn (experience by experience) that our God loves us and wants to help us, rather than harm us; and as we learn from the examples others set for us--and from the insights they share with us.  

Yielded and still? Not always. But increasingly so!

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Still Strangely Drawn

In a previous post, I mentioned the song, Spirit of God, Descend Upon My Heart. Now, almost two years later, I’m still strangely drawn to its words. They continue to be among the many prayers of my heart, as I hope they are in yours.




To listen to the song, please click here





Sunday, February 18, 2018

Strong At the Core


Perhaps you’re puzzled about why I’ve posted this picture—and why I took it in the first place.

Let me explain.

I was initially drawn to the pretty patterns formed by all those limbs and twigs against the beautiful backdrop provided by the cloudless blue sky. So, I snapped several photos with my iPhone camera. Later, as I looked at them, I thought, The core of my being is strong and central, like the trunk of the tree. From it radiate all my thoughts and actions and attitudes. Although they spread in several directions, like the limbs and twigs, all originate in the core, all remain connected to it, all continue to be supported by it.

As I reflected on that, I recalled the familiar words found in Proverbs 4:23, NIV. They prompted me to create the graphic below. (I made it by topping a screenshot of a graphic with a “sticker” of a heart I found in an app on my phone and topping the sticker with words added via the text tool in that app.)


Both the photo of the tree and the graphic remind me to stay strong and pure at the core of my being since everything about me starts there.








Thursday, February 15, 2018

Live a Life of Love

While attending a memorial service, I noticed that all the people who came to the microphone to share a memory of the lady who had passed away talked about how she had expressed love to them. From a preschool child to a grandmother--and all ages in between--came story after story of something sweet and kind she had done for each of them. The ways she expressed her love varied as much as the people and their ages. I concluded that love and warmth and kindness and gentleness and joy had flowed right out of her and onto everyone nearby.

I had known her only a few months; but even in that short time, I, too, had felt her love. I had seen it in her eyes, in her body language, and in her actions. I had heard it in her voice. Yes, her love was genuine. Her love was freely shared with everyone, even with new friends and strangers.

During the memorial service, I thought, I want to show great love to all around me. Whatever else people remember about me, I want to be sure to speak and act in such a way that the main thing they will remember about me is that I lived a life of love.


As I reflected on that, I felt inspired to create a graphic that depicts a woman filled with great love that continually flows from her. After several hours of designing, here's one of the graphics I created. I hope it encourages you to live a life of love! If so, feel free to share it.

πŸ’—πŸ’—πŸ’—

Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another.
~Jesus
(John 13:34-35)

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

A Love Note for You!

The message on the graphic is a summary of what God says to you and to me on the pages of His Word. 

For example:

πŸ’—In Jeremiah 31:3, God says: "I have loved you, My people, with an everlasting love. With unfailing love I have drawn you to Myself."

πŸ’—In John 3:16 are these familiar yet astonishing words: "For God loved the world so much that He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life."

πŸ’—1 John 4:19 says, "We love each other because God loved us first." In other words, He showers upon us the kind of love He wants us to share with others. And He loves us before we even begin to love Him, before we even know that He exists! How incredibly wonderful to be loved completely and eternally by a God like that!!!! 

πŸ’—πŸ’—πŸ’—

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Living Scattered?

The confession David Hazard makes in one of his prayers is one I need to make:
My Father, something inward tells me I have been living scattered. Sometimes anxious. Restless. Distracted. Wandering inside.
(David's prayer is found on page 14 in a book he compiled. The book is entitled I Come Quietly to Meet You and contains 40 devotionals that were written by Amy Carmichael.)

I, too, am often guilty of living scattered. Sadly, I'm sometimes scarcely aware of the many distractions that shift my focus from God to all the stuff that’s going on around me. For example, my attention is so easily diverted from Him to the news on the TV, to the ringing of the phone, to the ringtone signaling the arrival of a text message, to an unfinished task, to thoughts of what to cook for supper, etc. My mind gets so absorbed with such distractions, coming one after another, that I can go for hours without a single thought about God.

As the distractions increase, my thoughts of God tend to decrease. Then, like David Hazard, I begin to feel anxious. Stress builds. Frustrations increase. Overwhelm sets in.


That changes when I do what David Hazard suggests in another part of his prayer: intentionally and consciously refocus my thoughts on Jesus and what He has done--and is doing--for me (and for others, too).

Thankfully, I'm discovering many ways to do that:



  • Sing or hum a beloved song, like Jesus Loves Me or All the Way My Savior Leads Me (text is below).
  • Sit down to read from the Bible. That helps me refocus, as does taking time to type a prayer to Him. (Typing, as opposed to speaking aloud or just thinking, helps me to stay focused.)
  • Listen to Christian music or sermons while I'm doing household tasks.
  • Talk with God as I fold clothes or cook dinner.
  • Look around, like a young child sometimes does when saying nighttime prayers or blessings at the table, and begin thanking God for the many blessings that surround me.
Ever so slowly, I'm learning that staying focused on Him throughout the day provides far more peace and contentment than living scattered.


You keep him in perfect peace 
whose mind is stayed on you, 
because he trusts in you.
~Isaiah 26:3, ESV



All the Way My Savior Leads Me

~Fanny J. Crosby, 1875 
(Even if you know the tune to this hymn well enough to sing it, 

please try reading the words slowly and thoughtfully, 

taking time to reflect on each phrase.) 

1. All the way my Savior leads me; 

What have I to ask beside?

Can I doubt his tender mercy,

Who thro' life has been my guide?

Heav'nly peace, divinest comfort,

Here by faith in him to dwell!

For I know what-e're befall me, 
Jesus doeth all things well;
For I know what-ere befall me,
Jesus doeth all things well.

2. All the way my Savior leads me;
Cheers each winding path I tread,
Gives me grace for ev'ry trial,
Feeds me with the living bread:
Tho my weary steps may falter,
and my soul athirst may be,
Gushing from the Rock before me, 
Lo! a spring of joy I see;
Gushing from the Rock before me, 
Lo! a spring of joy I see.

3. All the way my Savior leads me;
Oh, the full-ness of his love!
Perfect rest to me is promis'd
In my Father's house above:
When my spirit, cloth'd immortal,
Wings its flight to realms of day,
This my song thro' endless ages:
Jesus led me all the way;
This my song thro' endless ages:
Jesus led me all the way.