Sunday, May 12, 2019

No Greater Joy

Both my daughters have careers that involve working with people all day long. Since they live and work in counties outside the one my husband and I live in, I rarely know any of the people in their workday world. Yet, I like hearing the gist of some of their experiences.

I’m always thankful to hear about situations that went well for my daughters. But even when they talk a bit about some of the difficult people they’ve had to deal with, I’m always thrilled to know about those times my daughters responded rightly (that is, in a Christ-like manner).

Upon hearing about such situations, I immediately think of what the Apostle John wrote in a letter to “the beloved Gaius.” 

After hearing that Gaius was “walking in the truth,” John said, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth” (3 John 1:4).

Yes!


Sunday, May 5, 2019

A “God Thing”

 [NAME], a beautiful woman inside and out, and I agree that our meeting each other was a “God thing” since it was a blessing neither of us could have planned.

But as I recall how I “happened” to stop by the restaurant where she works, I can only conclude that God had indeed directed my “steps” there, although my husband and I thought we were stopping there for a quick lunch based on the suggestion I’d received when I’d paused, on the spur of the moment, and said to two men working at a botanical garden we were visiting that morning, “Where’s a good place to eat lunch?”


When we arrived, [NAME] greeted us and seated us at a table bathed in soft light streaming through a big window that faced a whimsical garden—which delighted me and prompted me to grab my cell phone and start photographing as we waited for our food. When [NAME] again stopped by our table, I started a conversation with her, as is my custom, and learned that we had much in common despite differences in our ages and in life experiences.

I learned that God has placed a deep desire in her heart to write, but that she has shied away from it, for several common reasons: not enough time, not enough knowledge how to do it, not enough confidence, etc. I was able to share with her several sources that would inspire her and teach her how to become a published writer.

Our conversation was fairly brief but so deep. We’ve agreed to keep in touch with each other in order to encourage each other to do what the apostle Paul urged Timothy to do: to stir up the gift that is within you, to fan it into flame, to rekindle that gift God has placed within*—for His glory and the good of others.

Only God could have turned a simple stop for food into a stop for the soul.

* 2 Timothy 1:6

Monday, April 29, 2019

Lessons Little Flowers Have Learned

While drifting in and out of sleep as I listened to BBN radio early one morning, I heard  a beautiful song entitled Little Flowers. I immediately sat up in bed so that I could search the Internet for it. Thankfully, I found several links, including this one: https://youtu.be/Du6I_WgrwUY. Thus, I was able to listen to it again and again, as I hope you will, for it reminds us to learn the lessons the little flowers know, including these two: “rain” is necessary for us to grow; the sun will shine again.

In Matthew 6:25-34, Jesus tell us to consider the flowers. They do not toil and spin, yet the Father clothes them in such splendor. Will He not do even more for us? Yes! 


Monday, April 15, 2019

His Prayer, My Prayer

Prayer is a conversation with God. He speaks to us. We speak to Him. When I read (or listen to) the prayers of others, I often think, "Yes, Father, that's what I want to say to You, too."


For example, after reading and studying what the prophet said to God in Isaiah 25:1-4, I paraphrased a portion of Isaiah's words to make this my prayer:
"O LORD, You are my God. I will honor You. I will praise Your name, because You have done wonderful things, things You planned long ago and are faithfully accomplishing, one by one.

"You have been and continue to be a strong tower of refuge for the poor, for the needy, and for people in any kind of distress. 

"You are a refuge from the storms of life and a shelter from its heat. I run to You, deeply thankful to have such a much-needed refuge. I can't 'do life' without You!"

Thursday, April 11, 2019

God Be In Me

Note: I found this beautiful prayer in Derek Prime's book, A Good Old Age. Isn't it a good one to pray daily?

Monday, April 8, 2019

Be Content!

I've long struggled to understand these words the apostle Paul wrote centuries ago in his letter to the Christians in Philippi:
I know how to make do with little, and I know how to make do with a lot. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being content--whether well fed or hungry, whether in abundance or in need (Philippians 4:11, CSB, emphasis mine).
How did he learn to be content in EVERY situation? How do you and I learn to do that? 

My longing to know prompted me to read Matthew Henry's commentary (originally published in 1706). Here's my "takeaway" on what he said:

Paul consistently chose to accept his situation and to adjust himself to it, whether or not it was one he liked. He did not rant and rave. He simply did the best he could where he was and with what he had. He trusted God to give him the strength he needed to cope with every circumstance. 

Even when suffering, Paul didn't lose his comfort in God. He didn't doubt God's love for him nor God's ability and willingness to take care of him. Thus, He waited quietly for God (not others!) to act on his behalf. 

When Paul enjoyed relative prosperity, he didn't boast or feel entitled to the good things God had provided for him. He humbly thanked his God for them.


How do we learn to be content in any situation? The same way Paul did! 

Friday, April 5, 2019

Need Wisdom? Ask God for It.

Since I’m often unsure which option to choose, I turn to this verse again and again:
One recent morning, I reread that verse and then wrote these words  in my journal: 
If I need wisdom--and I do!--I can ASK God for it. Just come right out and ask Him. He's always generous; and, as the Bible says in other passages,* He  gives good gifts to His children. In fact, I think we honor Him when we seek His counsel. Seeking His thoughts on a matter indicates that we believe He will help us by giving us counsel that is "spot on."
If we turn quickly and often to Him, we won't worry nearly as much. We can go confidently through life, facing each challenge that confronts us because we believe He will gladly and generously give us the wisdom we need. We simply ask in faith and then wait--all senses open--to receive His counsel and then set about doing what He tells us to do.

*Matthew 7:11; Luke 11:13; James 1:17

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Mess of a Self

I began my March 1, 2019, journal entry with these words:
Off schedule. Frazzled. Ideas popping--way more than I have time to handle. Inspired to write, but too many other tasks, projects, and commitments screaming for attention. Feeling led to write a series of blog posts about some ways to "unpack" the Word. Struggling to find THE BEST way to do that (and just about everything else). Because I'm searching for THE BEST way, I'm delaying doing anything...

I followed those words with these:
O Father, I present my "mess of a self" to You this morning, knowing that You know me fully--far better than I know myself--and yet You love me and are ABLE and WILLING--yes, even EAGER--to transform me.


As I thought about that, the words to the song Something Beautiful popped into my mind. I recognized it as God's way of assuring me that He can and will make something beautiful out of the "mess of a self" that I'm offering Him. He will do the same for you, Dear Reader. Just offer yourself to Him and see what He does!