Thursday, October 27, 2011

A Life Without Regrets

Psalm 119:6 (MSG) Then I'd never have any regrets in comparing my life with Your counsel.

I was just talking to a friend this morning about regrets.  "Should have said this...shouldn't have said that....wish I would have done that....surely I shouldn't have done that!!"  How appropriate this verse is for such a day as this.  I am beginning to notice the timeliness of all of the words that are being brought to me lately.  For instance, the little girl in the elementary area of our church that has twice now hand written the scripture memory verse and then walked up and without words...handed it to me.  It is odd in that I am not her teacher and it is not a requirement for the children to write down the scripture they are trying to memorize.  Having said that, even if she is using that as a means to teach herself about the lesson, why is she handing it to me with a beautiful smile on her face for the past two weeks and then quickly walking away without so much as a "boo"!  Coincidence?  I think not.  The scripture that she sweetly handed me was:

Jeremiah 29:11-14(NIV):  "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.  You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.  I will be found by you," declares the Lord. 

Or, as another example, the man in the gas station this morning who was standing at the counter next to me.  He simply turned to me and asked with a loving smile, "Do you know that Jesus loves you?"  Then as quickly as he appeared, he disappeared out the door.  So taken back was I, that I hardly had a chance to wonder if this is something he says to everyone, or just me.  Was he led to speak to just me?  I didn't see him ask anyone else this question on his way out the door....and there were other people around.  These are curious actions indeed, but by faith, I chose to accept them as gifts from a loving God. 

The counsel of God delivered directly through Him in prayer; through His people; through His Word; through a melody....... each one, the voice of our Savior~Jesus Christ~through His Holy Spirit.  The one and only Savior that died on a cross so that He could live in me through the faith and belief in His action at that very cross.  Not so that I could be perfect and then come to Him for a pat on the back....but instead that I could cling to His back and allow Him to carry me wherever He chooses!  If I will do that...I will definitely live a life without any regrets!

Galations 2:20(NIV) I have been crucified with Christ and I know no longer live, but Christ lives in me.  The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.     

No regrets indeed!!!  (To enjoy a special worship song by Hillsong United, click here.)

Thank you for giving Your one and only Son for the salvation of Your children.  May I always walk in Your counsel and allow Your life to fill mine completely.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Steady Steps

Psalm 119:5(MSG)
Oh, that my steps might be steady, keeping to the course you set;

Steady steps.  That's all that is required to stay on course, but sometimes even that is difficult.  I'm thinking about different kinds of trails.  First there is the easy paved paths that are set out before you with brightly marked signs.  These are usually walkways filled with beautiful scenery to look at as you stroll along the marked trail.  Then there is the "off road" rugged terrain that requires a sure foot and a set of strong legs to climb up and over stones and navigate down slippery slopes.  This course requires a concentrated effort on our behalf.  This path is exhausting, but when we get to the end of it, we celebrate our accomplishment with a sense of pride and completion that is not experienced on the "easy road."  

What course do you find yourself on tonight?  Is life cruising along without any extra effort on your part, or are you struggling just to stay upright and maintain any step at all?  I find myself increasingly holding onto His Word for direction and confidence.  Without His instruction and clear leading, I would most certainly be wandering around lost and tripping over my own two feet.  In Acts, Paul reminds us of the words of David who describes his path  this way:   

Acts 2:28 (NIV)~You (Lord) have made known to me the paths of life;  you will fill me with joy in your presence. (Parenthesis mine.)


Help us to keep a sure foot walking in the direction that You have mapped out before us.  You know us better than we know ourselves.  Tonight, give us the confidence to walk on the paths of life that You have carved out for us, so that we will experience the joy and reward of being in Your perfect will.
I am also asking for your protection and rescue of those who have been affected by the earthquake in Turkey.  May You reach down and bring victims out alive from the rubble tonight.  Provide, sustain, and heal as only You can do!

Thank you and praises to Your name,


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Fill Your Prescription

Psalm 119:4(MSG)
You, God, prescribed the right way to live;  now you expect us to live it.

How exciting this week is for me!  The reason behind the joy, is due to the fact that this week is the one year anniversary of this blog!  Hard to believe that I have been writing each week for a year now.  I have thoroughly loved every minute of it.  As I look at the list of countries who have visited this site, I get overwhelmed at the privilege of modern technology.  It thrills my soul to think that the Word of God is being shared in places that I didn't even know existed!

I have completely enjoyed your visits and many of your encouraging words throughout the course of this past year.  Today's verse spurs me on in my endeavor to keep Him first in all things, as it states a clear expectation from God to "live in the right way" as prescribed by Him!

Each one of us has been divinely created for a very specific purpose.  That purpose is to "feed His sheep" and bring Him glory!  We must always remember that He has gifted each one of us with a unique ability to passionately pursue what He has specifically placed within our hearts.  Our job is to find that God given passion and then, as the verse says, "Live it!"  What a big God we serve.

Help each one of us today to realize the gift You have placed within us and to courageously press in to You, so that we can utilize that gift in a manner that is fitting for Your glory.  In that place of residing in You, we will most assuredly find our direction and a completion of Your prescription for our life!
Praising Your name today Jesus,

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Bunny Beatitudes

Psalm 119:3(MSG)
That's right--you don't go off on your own; you walk straight along the road He set.

Alright, you've heard the expression, "Look what the cat dragged in", right?  Well, Sunday night, as I was out jumping on the trampoline with my daughter, enjoying a gorgeous fading October sky, the dog went flying by.  I caught her out of the corner of my eye, because she had this fluffy gray toy in her mouth and was quite giddy, even beyond her usual happy state.  I slowed my jumping a bit to think through this sight.  (I can't jump and's like walking and chewing gum!)  Here is what I thought, "What is that in her mouth?  We don't have any gray fluffy toys?"  
It was at that point that my brain caught up with my circumstances.  That's not a toy is it?  Oh no!  That must be a live animal!  I stopped jumping and basically fell off to the ground.  I shouted at the top of my lungs, after I saw it didn't have any black and white on it, (think back to the "skunked" post) "LUCY DROP IT"!!  She whipped around with an astonished look and at the same time her jaw dropped open.  It was if she was saying to me...."Huh?  What is WRONG with YOU?  This is an awesome find."  At that point, the creature she was carrying tumbled lifelessly to the ground.  

As I scurried over to check out what poor helpless creature she had just mutilated, I realized it was still alive!  Upon closer inspection, I saw that it was a very small fury baby bunny.  I would have guessed it's weight no more than 4-6 ounces.  I began preparing my daughter for the sadness that would certainly be taking place in front of our very eyes within the minute as we would surely be watching this poor little baby take it's last breaths.  We waited.  It continued to breathe.  

I scooped it up and carried it to the porch where we could make it more comfortable.  It continued to live, although motionless in my hands, it's little heart beat on.  Eyes closed and completely limp, we set it in a little box with towels and waited, stroking it's sweet little head.  This went on for at least an hour, when suddenly, it opened an eye...then the other.  It looked around as though to say, "Where am I?  Who are you and what have you done with my mother?!"  With a great deal of hope, I willed it to get up.  It did not. 

The box (of course I had to continue the rescue I had understand this right.?..) was gently transferred to the bath tub, where large soft rags were placed for a bed.  I again explained that in all likeliness we would only be allowing a measure of comfort while the little darling breathed it's last breath.  We softly tiptoed out of the room to allow a peaceful  sleep. 

An hour or so later, we faithfully entered to check on "Bunny" (now given a more official name....uh-oh..) and found her ("her" because my daughter says so...not because of any official pronunciation) not only awake, but sitting up.  Well, we should probably give her a little sugar water to perk her up a bit.  Maybe we should even read up on baby bunnies being rescued out of dogs mouths.  There was evidence of mild trauma to internal structures.  ( I will spare you the details in case you are squeamish, but she definitely was not ready to be flopped back outside to hop away.)  More sugar water and a long explanation of anatomy and physiology to my ever optimistic girl, and we said good night to Bunny, knowing that we would not see her alive in the morning.

The morning arrives.  "Well, hello Bunny..." who is now walking around her beautiful box bedroom!  Four phone calls to vets and "wild animal know how people", many google searches, one eye dropper, one kitten bottle, one large bottle of Pedialyte, one can of kitten formula, one nail brush (to groom it's lovely fur of course....added by said daughter), eight old rags, two shredded up old newspapers, and four days later we still have a "dying" bunny who has now been named Muffin!  I learned, through my research that baby bunny is still quite dependent on her mother as evidenced by the white streak on her forehead.  That white mark is only there if the baby is still nursing!  How incredible is that?!! 

She looks pretty good for what she has gone through.  My daughter and I tried to return her to her nest by the sinking pond, but we can't find it.  We took her in the general area of where we presume it to be and set her down.  She looked up at us and started shaking!  She wouldn't budge.  Not even an inch.  (Insert heavy  Not sure if today will be successful for the repeat attempt at locating said nest or not, but we have another date with the field this afternoon.  Judging by the sounds of her shredding the newspapers in the middle of the night, munching intently on leafs of green spinach, and cruising around the bathroom out of the box and tub...I think she is ready to return to her mother....and the field that is her true home.

Four hours have passed since the previous paragraph and I have wonderful news.  My daughter bravely ventured past the fence into the tree laden field with Bunny curled up in her arms.  Once on the other side of the fence, she was thrilled to see a little trail leading to a big cedar tree and a large thicket.  She waltzed over to the path and placed Bunny gently down.  Two seconds later that little bunny tore off down that trail and disappeared into the thickness of the green.  Ahhhh....mission accomplished!!!

I have been reminded of some basic truths throughout these past few days.  We shall call them:

 The Bunny Beatitudes

1.  Don't go off on your own cuz you might get eaten by a dog.  (Like today's verse says.)
2.  Life really is fragile.
3.  God created us to withstand some immense trials and trauma. 
4.  It's ok to curl up in a quiet place and get some rest.
5.  Frequent nourishment is very important to our survival.  (Literally and spiritually.)
6.  We all need a little help sometimes.
7.  It's important to maintain a specific level of warmth to live.
8.  A soft loving voice is much less frightening than a loud angry one.
9.  Compassion is learned from practicing it.
10.There truly is no place like home.
11. God hears the prayer of a child.

Thank you for the life lessons that You keep bringing my way.  Help me to be extra mindful and attentive to Your voice. 


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Secret Keeper Girl

Psalm 119:2
You're blessed when you stay on course, walking steadily on the road revealed by God.
What a treat last night was for my daughter and I!  We had the opportunity to attend a Secret Keeper Girl Pajama Party.  If you've never heard of them, feel free to check the link out here.  It is a group dedicated to teaching girls of any age about the love of Christ, but their focus is on the "tween" girl (8-12) age range. 

The event is specifically designed to facilitate mother-daughter interactions.  The evening centered around God's love for each one of us and paved the way for candid talk about some of the pitfalls we as "girls" can fall into.  I listened to the teaching, which was saturated completely with the Word of God, and felt the burdens grow a little lighter.  Here in the midst of a chaotic world with lots of confusing and just plain old wrong teaching, a group of devoted ladies are spurring on the Christian mother to follow God's direction for their life and the life of their daughter!  Amazing!

At one point in the evening, one of the leaders came out on stage in a long robe with lots of words stuck onto it.  She explained to each of us how we can get "labels" placed on us  from a very young age and we then wear them around...especially as women....and that they can be very hurtful.  Words like ugly, fat, dumb, weird, clumsy...and the list goes on.  I have pondered this all day, because at that point in the event, we were to turn to our daughter and ask them if they had any labels attached to them.  To my surprise my daughter shared with me a few she is carrying. 

While ironing this afternoon, I dutifully smoothed out a pair of pants with the hot steam.  I mindlessly placed the iron on the label of the back pocket.  This  is one of those that is made of the paint like stuff that you aren't supposed to iron.  Guess what?  Yep, you guessed it.  It melted and I proceeded to smear those markings all over the rest of the pants.  That ugly stain melted from one end of the garment to the other.  I realized then, that's exactly how it is with these careless names that are applied to our lives.
They stick and smear all over until pretty soon we're completely stuck to them, unable to break free! 

The challenge given to us was exactly what today's verse is telling us to do!  Listen to who God says you are not who the world says you are!  Follow His names for you and allow the blessings to flow!  Below are just a few verses that we are planning to print out in bold letters and tape as a border around our mirror, as a simple reminder with each look into the mirror each day, of who we really are in Christ.  We will not listen to the world's labels for us!!

Psalm 139:14 (ESV)  I praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.  Wonderful are Your works; my soul knows it very well.

Psalm 45:11 (NIV) The king is enthralled by your beauty, honor Him, for He is your Lord.

1Peter3:4 (NIV) Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight.

It is my prayer tonight that our daughters shall see within us a longing and love for You.  May we model a confidence in Your Word and in Christ that is tangible in a world where it is increasingly unpopular to honor Your name.

Praising and loving You tonight.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

River Revelation

Psalm 119:1(MSG)
You're blessed when you stay on course, walking steadily on the road revealed by God. 

Discovering the wonder of God's Word, verse by verse, has led me to this amazing chapter in the book of Psalms.  Rather than return to Proverbs right now, I have decided to remain in the book of Psalms and soak up the incredible golden nuggets of truth found in Psalm 119!  I will be here for at least half a year....if I post daily....seeing as there is 176 verses in this one book alone!!  I know that I am going to completely enjoy lingering over every word.

Today's verse is so powerful!  I certainly long to have God's blessing upon my life and that of my family.  Here in this one simple sentence, I get the blueprint for how to get it.  I just need to stay on the course God has placed me on. 

How do you know what that road is?  I'm certain that the road He places me on, will contain opportunities to be feeding His sheep, so I can automatically assume that if there is no feeding going on, it's not His chosen path.  The way to get started down the right highway, according to our Pastor's  timely message this morning, is to walk through the open doors that God has placed in front of you.  Get involved in what you know God is a part of.  Is your neighbor needing their driveway shoveled?  There's an open door.  Is the church needing help in the kids area?  There's an open door.  Is there a clothes drive this weekend?  Another open door.  As He "reveals our road" and we continue to walk on it, we are blessed beyond anything we could possibly imagine!  

I love to paddle the kayak on flat water.  It doesn't matter where you put in at, you will eventually move down stream to your destination.  Your main job is to keep the boat in the water.  I suppose our path with God is a lot like that flat water paddle trip.  If I will make certain that I am on His road, then He will move me from one opportunity to the next, gently blessing me through His spirit every step of the way.

Honestly, I think I waste a lot of time looking for the "perfect" river to float!  Please help me to simply get my boat in the river and allow You to do the work of moving and directing my vessel wherever You see fit!  Thank You tonight for the truth of Your word and the confidence that it gives!

Friday, October 7, 2011

The Calling

Psalm 136:26(MSG)
Thank God, who did it all!  His love never quits! 

Wow, this is the last verse in this wonderful Psalm!  What a blessing the words of Psalm 136 have been in my life over the past few weeks.  They have certainly become part of my thoughts and prayers, as I have reflected on His continual love for matter what!  I am so glad I have been able to ponder on the goodness of the repetitive statement, "His love never quits." 

Last night, I had the opportunity to meet Eric Metaxas at an event for our school.  He is the author of the New York Times Bestseller:  Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy.   I listened intently as this writer addressed the room full of people.  There was a definite sense that Eric genuinely loves the Lord and that he wrote this book out of a heart filled with this "unquitting love" for God and a driven desire to carry out the calling on his life. As he passionately told the story of this German pastor, who lived by faith and conviction and ultimately gave his life for standing up against the Nazi regime to honor God, it came to me! 

The simple word "calling".  It kept replaying in my head.  We always talk about finding our "calling".  But, last night, for the first time in my memory, I felt sure that I finally understood it.  As children of God, we all have the same calling!  It's so simple that I wonder why it has been this big question in my mind since I was in high school.  My calling, your calling, Bonhoeffer's calling, your children's calling, and your grandchildren's calling, are all the same!  Ready....I read it in last night's post.....

"Feed my sheep".  That's it!  Feed His sheep.  If I will do that with the "little while" that I am here on this planet, then I have accomplished my calling!  It's so simple.  I guess the hard part is walking in the courage and faith to step out and do matter the cost!
Can't wait to read more of this book and hear how Bonhoeffer completed the task of sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ (feeding the sheep)!
As always~I'll keep you "posted"!

Thank you for Your Word that tells me so much about Your never ending love for us.  It is a faith builder for certain!!  

Thursday, October 6, 2011

He Will Take Care Of YOU

Psalm 136:25(MSG) Takes care of everyone in time of need.  His love never quits.

I picked it up and stared at it.  It was beautiful with all of it's colors intertwined and spiraling through the glass like a maze of trails running through a dense forest.  I found myself intrigued by it.  I couldn't completely follow every color through every twist and turn, but I marveled at it's beauty.  It was a gorgeous hand blown glass ornament that hung in the window, gently swaying in the breeze of my sister's home.  It was there every morning when I got up, displaying all of it's glory with the sun shining on it.  It was there every evening when darkness fell on it, revealing different hues, but just as breathtaking.
This verse is a lot like that glass ball.  I have studied it.  I have picked it up and looked all around it.  I have searched under it, beside it, and on top of it and all I can see is a beautiful picture of who God is!  I have to confess, however, that I have been struggling with these words for the past three days. 

The wrestling over these words intensifies when I pick up the paper and see the tremendous hurts present in our world right now.  In fact, I know that someone reading this must surely be going through the trial of their life.  Of course it could be spiritual, financial, physical, emotional, or other oriented, but a severe challenge just the same.  To tritely state, "God will take care you in your time of need", hardly seems fair.  And yet, that is what's being said here.  Right?

I decided to look at this verse in a few different translations:

Psalm 136:25(NIV) and who gives food to every creature.  His love endures forever.

Psalm 136:25(NLT) He gives food to every living thing.  His faithful love endures forever.

Psalm 136:25(KJV)Who giveth food to all flesh:  for his mercy endureth for ever.

Alright, for the sake of argument, I would say that we all need food to survive, right?  So, this verse says that God will provide!  But wait a minute... there are people going to bed hungry tonight.  There are children dying of dehydration and disease because they don't have clean drinking water.  There is my dilemma and why I have grappled with this post. 

 I have been at this point before.....such is the trappings of a reflective person.  I don't understand this type of hurt and I never will.  Oh, I could launch into the difference between "wants" and "needs". Obviously, I want things like: a better memory, a warm inviting house, a maid, a beautiful singing voice, etc . But, the word need is different. Webster's dictionary defines need as: a necessity; something that is required that is lacking. 

So, I have agreed (with myself) to settle upon His Words once again, because I will freely admit that I do not, can not, and probably never will understand physical human suffering.  I only comprehend what the Lord said in John 16:33(NIV): "I tell you these things, so that in me you will have peace In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart!  I have overcome the world". (italics and bold mine)

After prayer and more contemplation, I return to this foundational truth: God's Word is true.  He does supply food (His Word) to feed us and to take care of our every spiritual need.  He then asks us in return to help "feed" His sheep through the sharing of His Word with others. 

John 21:15-16~When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?'  "Yes Lord," he said, "you know that I love you."  Jesus said, "Feed my lambs."  Again Jesus said, "Simon son of John, do you truly love me?'  He answered, "Yes, Lord, you know that I love you."  Jesus said, "Take care of my sheep."   

He does completely take care of our needs through His Word!  The Holy Spirit, by the grace we have found in Jesus Christ, guides and directs us into all truth and removes us from the "needy list" and places us on the "abundant life" roster through His love that never quits!

As for the physical needs that sometimes appear to go unnoticed, I can only continue to trust that His ways are higher than our ways.  I will continue to call out to Him for help and stand confidently in the assurance that He has heard and He is taking care of it....even if I don't comprehend His answers. 

 I guess that's what faith is all about.  Hebrews 11:1~Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. 

Thank you for the Words that you have given us to walk through every step of life!  It is our source for restoring broken and needy people like myself.  Thank you for taking care of each one of us in such an amazing way!  Continue to meet the needs both physical and spiritual of your children in Your way.  Help us to remain in You, because there we will find Your peace and Your calling on our life.

In Jesus Name,

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Keepin' The Rhythm Of The Boot

 Psalm 136:24(MSG)
Rescued us from the trampling boot; His love never quits.

Keeping The Rhythm

Have you ever kept time to the music by tapping your boot?  I have.  In fact I inwardly nod my head or tap my hand on the side of my leg....or tap my toe to a song when I hear it.  It's pretty fun actually.  Well, this past week, I volunteered for the cool assignment to help a few children with their percussion solo for an upcoming presentation that will be given for our community.  My job is to direct their part and keep them from speeding up, or slowing down, or becoming confused with the other parts.  Sounds easy enough I thought to myself.  Yeap...I can do this...let's go.

In addition to their part, there are four other percussion parts and the choir singing four different harmonies with varied words and hand motions.  Sort of a "Row-Row-Row Your Boat" on steroids.  Are you getting the picture?  Ok, we're at the first practice and the first part comes in....then it's our turn and then each part is added consecutively to that.  I concentrated single mindedly on our part for the first few measures.  We were doing great...until, that is, the other eight parts all began their additions.  Suddenly, our "easy" part became more challenging.  As I listened to all the different melodies and flowing rhythm, my mind began to drift and float around with all of the sounds.  Before I knew what was happening, my brain had picked up the part next to me and I found my hands were completely joining in with their beat!  What?!  How in the world did I mess up this easy assignment?  I quickly recalibrated to our three beat rhythm and got us back on task, but there was a valuable lesson hidden just under the vibration of the drums.

Here's what I was thinking on the drive home.  My walk with the Lord is so much like that "small part" in the program we were practicing for today.  As I was concentrating and really focusing on our portion, I was able to keep on track.  However, when I started listening to the other instruments and looking around at all the kids singing and doing their motions, I quickly lost my rhythm. 

This experience is closely paralleled to what I have noticed in my walk with God over the years.  The times when I have found myself wandering around feeling distant from Him and somewhat out of step with His voice are the times when I have lost my focus on Him.  When I have unintentionally shifted my direction and priority on something other than Him, I quickly become out of step with the plan He has for my life.  It can happen so quickly too.  One day, I am firmly planted in His foot steps marching toward the sound of His voice alone.  The next day, I'm tripping and getting dangerously close to being "trampled by the boot"! 

So, here is the truly astounding part about this reflection.  Because His love never quits on me, He doesn't allow me to be trampled by that boot.  When I get out of step, in His great love for me, He scoops me up and holds my face in His hands, looking directly into my eyes, until I regain my eye contact with Him.  Awe.......what a relief to know that He loves me so much, I'm never out of His reach!!  That big boot that is stomping around is not going to squish me.....not today....not ever........!  Why not?  Cuz, His love never quits!!

How do I stay in beat with my Savior, so I won't even trip?  By allowing no other "gods" to distract me from a completely devoted focus on Him.  (Just finished that Bible study a few weeks ago by the way.  If you are looking for a good one to do alone or with a group, check out No Other Gods by Kelly Minter.  It's a faith clarifier for sure!  Now it's on to Becoming More Than A Good Bible Study Girl by Lysa Terkeurst.  I'll keep you 'posted'....ha..I love saying that.)   

Thank You for the great love you have for me!  Teach me to listen to You and to walk in step to Your voice this week.  Keep my mind clear and alert for anything or anyone that might distract me from Your mission!