Saturday, December 31, 2016

Lord of heaven and earth,      
Creator of the firmament,
Father of all mankind,
Thank you for this day,
     a day in which I can shine
     and glorify You in all I do,
Help me to stay focused on You
     and be mindful of Your will.
Let my thoughts and deeds
    be in accordance with Your plans.
Help my heart be so pleasing to You
     that Your heart can live within it.
Let me be a joy to those I meet;
     don't let me be a pain,
     the kind of person others avoid.
Don't let me wear out my welcome,
     or my presence be chalk squeaking on a blackboard.
Let me turn the other cheek to difficult people.
Let me be a good forgiver when I am hurt.
     a cup of kindness to those who are hurting,
     a loving touch to my neighbors, even the difficult ones.
Let my life be a worship service for You,
     full of prayer, singing Your praises, preaching the truth
          of Your mercy, grace, peace, and love.
Let me be a beacon that draws others to You.
Forgive me when I am so full of myself
     that others cannot see anything of You in me.
Thank You for Your unconditional love
     for being my eternal, sustaining God
     Who always fulfill promises and Who cannot lie.
Let me always remember Your promise of eternal life.
Keep me from being the reason another falters
     in his walk with you.
Instead, plant in me seeds of courage and desire
     to share the message of salvation in Jesus
     in such a way that they will want to know You too.
I thank You for all the saints who encourage me.
As I go on session, let my attitude be positive.
Work within me and make me uplifting and selfless.

                        In Jesus' name I pray. 

Friday, December 30, 2016

I believe that angels visit us disguised in human flesh. I think God sent one to me Christmas eve at a time when I was worn out with the busyness of the season, a husband's birthday dinner on the eve of Christmas eve, and other commitments. I don't know my angel's name and probably won't recognize him if I ever see him again, but I wish I did. I would love to have him in my life every day. 

I met him at Wal-Mart, my last stop before hurrying home. I needed a Christmas card for my husband, who always picks out the most special cards for me. Unfortunately (or fortunately for me), there were lots of other people trying to find cards too. I waited a few minutes; then, when no one showed any signs of moving so I could get close to the cards, I very loudly asked if anyone would please pass me a "husband" card. A sweet, young lady reached over and handed me a card she had seen. At the same time, the young man standing beside her said he'd seen a really good card for a husband, took it off of the shelf, and told me this was the "husband" card I needed to get. ( At this point, all I wanted was a card with the word "husband" on it!!! I usually look for humorous and this one looked sappy.)

Anyway I thanked him for the card and turned to leave, but he wasn't satisfied. He boldly insisted I read the card he had given me--right then!!. I thought, "He has some nerve and doesn't understand how exhausted and busy I am." I just wanted to get out of Wal-Mart and go home. 

Nevertheless, deciding to humor him, I opened the card, read it, and discovered one of the most beautifully worded cards I've ever seen, a wonderful tribute to a husband who has remained true and supportive for almost 50 years. As I mentioned this to my young friend, his face lit up as he then shared with me that he and his wife were celebrating their 20th anniversary that day. He added three important factors in their lasting marriage; all three involve putting God first and letting Him direct their marriage.

Finally, as I was leaving, this wonderful young man put his arms around me and hugged me. What a joyful experience!! What a special Christmas gift of caring and sharing he gave me when I needed it, a gift more precious than a bunch of shiny baubles, a gift of love. I'm sure he had a Merry Christmas; I did.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Heavenly Father, Loving God,
When I do not stop  to enjoy the quietness
     of time spent with You,
     my spirit becomes troubled, restless,
     filled with the world and its sinfulness. 
The busy "busyness" of my days 
     prevent me from replenishing  my spirit.
Lord, show me how to prepare my soul
      so that You can feed it with healthy fruits
      that will sustain holiness  within me.
Pluck out the insidious, noxious weeds
     of pride, jealousy, anger, self-pity, self-righteousness,
     those sins of my worldly flesh
     which grow so rapidly, chocking and killing
     the  good fruit of the spirit.
As Jesus has prepared a place for His saints in heaven,
Help me prepare my heart, my soul,
     the core of my being , 
     as a place for the Holy Spirit to live.
Lord, calm me when I am being difficult,
     when relationships with others are prickly.
Let me feel Your presence around me
     when I am feeling lost, unloved, abandoned.
Let me put my arms around others,
     encourage them, affirm their importance,
     celebrate them, love them instead of maligning them,
     feeding off of their inadequacies,
     enjoying their discomforts.
Forgive me                                                                          
     when I do not sacrifice myself for others,
     when I do not love unconditionally,
     when I whine instead of praising,
     when I do not rejoice  because I am  Your child.
Forgive me when I waste money on fluff
     ignoring the needs of those  hurting in ways
     I have never experienced.
Forgive me for becoming too involved
     with petty remarks,  insignificant acts, criticisms of others.
Help me discern the really important words and deeds .
Forgive me when I fail to glorify Your name,
     when I do things that are not in accordance with your will.
Forgive me when I I spend too much time pondering
     ways in which others disappoint me.
Let me remember the Royal Commandment
     and love my neighbors as I love myself.
I know what You expect me to do,
     how You expect me to behave,
     but I do not always do what I am called to do.
Forgive me when I do those things I should not do,
     choosing not to do those things I should.
Lord, let there be health in me let my heart be Your heart.
Work within me, use me to do Your will.

Bless me, guide me, let me love.   In Christ's name. 

You know my thoughts
     before I do.     
You knit together the threads of my being
     my mortal, mental mechanisms,
     my brain waves, my tongue.
You know my life experiences,
     the joys and hurts that have molded me.
You know what makes me work,
     what operates my actions and reactions,
     my failings, my moods.
You know my strengths,
     my weaknesses, my flaws.
Be with me as I interact with others.
Keep me focused on what I myself am doing,
     not on what others do.
Let my thoughts be positive and constructive,
     not negative and destructive.
Stop me from diving into the shallow pond of self-pity.
Let me dignify the concerns of others.
Remind me that I swim in a huge sea of humanity
     in which I must discern the needs of others
     if I am going to live harmoniously with them.
Remind me that I must love others
     who share this ocean with me
     if we are all going to find peace and joy
    instead of doubt and fear.
Show me how to find the safe havens, the buoys.
Show me how to know when I am in danger
     and lead me back to You.
Let me be Your arms and legs as I swim
     to the shore of Your eternal kingdom.
Let me always pray that I do all things
     in accordance with Your Will,
          not mine, Lord.
Let me bring honor and glory to Your name.

               Amen and amen. In Jesus' name.  

Thursday, September 8, 2016

from Life Sentences by Warren Wiersbe:
" The Bible opens with the  garden of Eden and closes with the garden city of Heaven.  It goes from sin and death to holiness and life.  What caused the change?"
"Between these two gardens is the Garden of Gethsemane where the Son of God prayed, 'Not my will but yours be done.' (Luke 22:42)  and went forth courageously to die on a cross.  Because Jesus died and rose again, the curse caused in the first garden has been overcome.  The last book in the English Old Testament ends with the word curse (Mal. 4:6), but in the last book of the New Testament we read, 'No longer will there be any curse.' (Rev 22:3)  The gift of eternal life is available to all who put their trust in Jesus.  The Bible records this remarkable story so you and I may read it, believe it, and experience  all that God has for us."  

I think of several things as I reread these words written by Warren Wiersbe.  First of all, the gardens--Eden, Gethsemane, and Heaven.  Is there  anywhere more peaceful, inviting and pleasant than a beautiful garden--a place to refresh a weary soul, a place to meditate, a place to rejoice in the beauty of Creation?   I had never thought of the  Bible story beginning and ending with a garden setting. 
Something else Mr. Wiersbe pointed out: the climax of the Biblical story for mankind occurred in the Garden of Gethsemane. I understand the importance of Jesus staying true to the wishes of His Father at that point; but, in the literary analysis, I had never put my finger on that particular situation as being the climax of mankind's struggle for reconciliation with God.  The moments Jesus spent in Gethsemane represented the point of no return for Him and for us. After Jesus submitted to God's will in that garden, there was no turning back for Him, no using His supernatural powers to stop the madness, cruelty, and pain being unleashed around Him and upon Him. 

In Gethsemane, Jesus chose to suffer the pain and shame associated with the cross in order t o accomplish the task for which He been born the Son of Man.  He chose to fulfill the purpose for which His Father had sent him into a sinful world. 

The climax of a story is the highest point of suspense, the point at which the conclusion of the story must necessarily come.  Before He could leave the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus had been betrayed by Judas and arrested by the authorities and others who despised him.  It is through Christ's  resurrection that we mortals, humankind, share in the victory over death and are able to look forward to eternal life with God in His heavenly home.  Jesus had to die, descend into hell, and conquer death and demons in order to obtain our salvation.  But, for a moment, in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus, seems to vacillate.  In Matthew 26, verses 39, 42, and 44, we see that three times Jesus asked that, if possible, He be spared the awful crucifixion.  Each time, however, He also asked that His Father's will, not His, be done. Here is Jesus at a fork in the road: He can avoid the cross, thereby condemning mankind to eternal damnation, or He can endure the agony of the cross and insure mankind   eternal life in Heaven if he will only believe in the Resurrection.  Jesus chose to sacrifice Himself in order to fulfill God's wishes and save mankind from the eternal darkness of death.
The Bible is a story of God's love for his people, His faithfulness to us, and His willingness to sacrifice for us.  The verse, "Greater love has no man than he who  lays down His life for another."  This verse illustrates God's love for us.  God became incarnate and died for us.  This sacrifice is especially awesome because God sacrificed His only begotten Son.  While I myself might be willing to die for someone or a cause I feel strongly about, I would not willingly sacrifice one of my daughters or grandchildren for anyone.
Men throughout the world and time have wanted a son to carry on the family name.  The idea of sacrificing the only son, would not be acceptable to most of us.
I hate the idea of one of my grandsons ever having to go to war or to meet cruel, hateful people who will despise and scorn them because of their skin color, their birthplace, their Christian beliefs.  If I were able, I would wrap them in cotton and keep them safe. I do, however, know that God has a plan for each of my grandsons; I know God loves them and will them if they will just listen and follow God's voice.
Yes, sacrificing one' s son for the redemption of others is showing inconceivable love.  How awesome and great is God's love for us all!  It is by His grace that we are saved from death and look forward to  eternal life with all the saints.  We look forward to walking with Jesus one day in a heavenly garden from which all curses have been removed.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

I have engraved you on the palm of my hands.  Isa. 49:16

Lord, forgive me for putting 
   so much time and energy
       into worldly things. 
Help me to clear my mind
     of unnecessary, 
             frivolous concerns.
 Help me to stay focused 
      on You and Your kingdom.
 Let me honor You in all I do or say. 
Give me patience 
      with myself and others. 
Just as I am not perfect, 
      let me forgive others
     who are not perfect either. 
Let me show love and humility to those
      with whom I become annoyed.
 Let me be a willing, eager servant 
       to those in need. 
Forgive me for not doing 
     those things I should.
Be with those who are hurt,
     sick, …..grieving,….. lonely. 
Remind me that they 
      are my responsibility. 
Let me show kindness… mercy … 
      love to all.
Let me turn my back 
      on self pity and jealousy.
 Let me return good for evil.
Let me build up 
      instead of tearing down.
Help me to remember
     that my name is engraved
     on the palms of Your hands.
Assure me that You 
      will not forget or desert me. 
I praise You 
      for the goodness and joy 
      I experience daily. 
Thank You, Almighty God 
     for all things.
In Christ's name.

Lord, I have been so remiss 
   about having quality time for You, 
   with You, my Creator and Sustainer. 
Forgive me.
When I am not putting You first,
      I get into trouble with myself and my relationships.
      I become dissatisfied with my life,
          … wallow in self pity,
          …become ugly and nasty,                                                  
          … feel inferior and worthless.
Lord, help me remember
      I cannot bring honor and glory
          to Your name
          when I am so negative. 
I hurt others and myself unnecessarily
           --actions that make me  feel
           more disgusted with myself.         
Forgive me.
Remind me that I am Your child, 
       Your beloved. 
What joy it is to know this;
       but, even knowing this,
       I continue to let petty slights 
       hurt and sour my day.  
Let me look up, not down.
Let me look inward and find rest and peace for my soul.  
Remind me  I have been created
     to glorify you  
     to do all things
    in accordance with Your will.  
    I am here to serve, not to be served.
    I am to be Your hands and feet, Lord;  
    I need Your strength and guidance.   

Thank you for my family, 
     for a husband who has loved me over fifty years, 
     for grandchildren who love us, 
     for daughters who bless us, 
    for sons-in-law who value their wives and children, 
    for friends, 
    for my church and church family, 
    for blessings innumerable.  (July 21, 2016)
Let Me Build Others Up 

Heavenly Father,
Be with me today.
Let my words and actions 
please You.
Let my heart sing with joy
     because I am Your child.
Let me bring honor and glory
     to Your name.
Let me love.
Be with my loved ones; 
 Guide me to hurting people;
Lead me to places
      where I am needed.
Let me feel your holy presence;
Give me strength;
Give me Your comfort
Help me to see the lonely hearts
     in my life.
Be with those who mourn
     the loss of loved ones,
     the loss of the security of routine,
     the loss of jobs and traditions.
Assure them that all things
     will be done in accordance
     with  Your Will.

Be with those who are estranged
     from family members
     from friends.
     from You.
Lead them and show them
     how to walk across the room
         of reconciliation.
Be with those who live
     in the dark caves of depression,
     feeling unloved,
Shine the beacon of Your light on them.
Illuminate the path for them to follow
      from the depths of despair
     into the sunlight of Your love and grace.
Let them feel the warmth of Your presence.

Lord, as I age, help me
     have a positive attitude,
     look at myself and evaluate myself
     before giving in to the temptation
      to point accusing fingers at others.
Thank you for my many blessings/
Let me build others up in love;
      not tear them down in jealousy.
                                    In Christ's name.