Saturday, February 25, 2012

There Is No Water

Psalm 119:27(MSG)Help me understand these things inside and out so I can ponder your miracle-wonders.
Snuggled deep beneath the layers of blankets, I squirmed a little closer toward the bottom of the bed in an effort to shield my eyes from the light that was spewing out from underneath the bathroom door.  It was a day off for me and I intended to make every second of slumber count.  No frenzied wake up call, no breakfast to hurriedly prepare, no shoes to find, no planners to sign, just a lazy morning after a late awakening.  Or so, that was the plan. 

My husband was up early; 5:30am to be exact.  Unfortunately, this was not a day off for him.  He is normally quite considerate of my "sleep in" days, but not this day.  He went into the the other room in his usual manner, but when he came out, he said, in a rather loud voice, "We don't have any water!!"  I sat up in a dazed and disoriented state and responded, "What do you mean, 'We don't have any water?'"  He repeated, "We don't have any water!"  I said, "What?  How's that possible?  Do you mean we don't have any water coming out of the shower?  Is the pipe frozen again"  "No," he said,  "We don't have ANY water!"  It was comically reminiscent of one of the "Three Stooges" routines from days gone by where they would talk about the names of the baseball players until everyone involved was thrown into a state of confusion.  Do you remember it?  In a conversation between the men, they would say something like..."Who's on first?  No.  Who's on second.  No.  What's on second...Who's on first."  It would go on and on like this until one of the stooges got mad!

Anyway, once my sleepy brain grasped what he was saying, I jumped up and we both went running for the basement.  At that point, we each had enough cells firing in our gray matter, that we realized perhaps there was a broken water pipe downstairs. He ran to the hot water heater, as I bolted off to the washing machine.  We gratefully found  no ankle deep liquid about our feet. Phew. 

But, wait!!  In years past we had a pipe out in the yard break underground.  It formed a small stream running through our backyard.  Maybe that was it?  We threw open the door to the front yard and passed the flashlight over the ground. Nothing. We spun around to repeat the task in the back yard. Nope.  Again, nothing.  If there wasn't a broken line somewhere within our home, then what in the world was going on?   

To confirm our findings, my husband, sporting a robe and slippers I might add, walked out to the water meter in the dark to check the dial on the water usage moniter.  It was sitting still, allowing us to realize that the water problem was not internal, but instead somewhere beyond our house.  Phew!!  No water pipes busted.  NO money down the drain...quite literally...chuckle. 

But...huh?  Why don't we have water?  We proceeded to call the city utilities company and inform them of our dilemma.  As we waited on the line for an answer to our perplexing problem, my mind went racing off to the "emergency kit" that we were supposed to have prepared for the time when we might need a three or four day supply.  I quickly started counting up the water bottles we had available in the fridge....there were four.  OK...we could last the morning.  Nice preparation.  It was eerily similar to the day when the power went out because of the ice storm in 2007.  When the C.U. operator came back on the line, she informed us that all of the southwest side of town had been calling in with the same report.

It's not good to be without water.  I take so much for granted in my nice warm in the winter, cool in the summer, dry house that is free from bugs, spiders (well almost free of them thanks to spider traps), and dirt.  The ability to walk over to a sink and turn on crystal clear drinking water whenever I feel a little thirsty is not a luxury to be dismissed as easily as I do.  Embarrassingly, I even complain about having to drink eight glasses of water a day.  Sigh....
It is with great humiliation that I admit these things and ask the Lord (as the verse says today) to "help me understand" these blessings, so I can give God all of the glory for the wondrous miracles that I take for granted every day!  The blessing of water is just one of the many gifts that I busily brush by on a daily basis. 

It turned out, in our case that a water main along the highway had broken and the crews were out fixing it.  They had it repaired within hours, so my four bottles of water lasted the few hours that I needed them to.  Yay!  But something else lasted within my heart for the entire week.  It was the sense that there are people who don't have any water to drink.  In fact people are dying everyday because of it. 

Sitting on our parking lot at church Sunday.
Not surprising to me, because this is how the Lord works in my life (remember there are no "coincidences" in life), when I arrived at church on Sunday morning there was a "Water Drilling Rig" in our church parking lot.  There was also a video on the precious lives being lost in northern Kenya hourly due to their inability to get water!  Our pastor challenged us to help.  We are partnering with WorldServe International to take Water Drilling Rigs to Kenya and drill life giving water wells.  It costs money.  I can't go to Kenya at this juncture in my life, but surely I can help.  Uniquely, right now, our church has the opportunity to give money and whatever we give will be matched dollar for dollar by another donor.  What an opportunity!  (Click here if you would like more information about this mission outreach.)
I don't think this would have meant as much to me had we not experienced our brief little period without water this last week, but as the Lord is so kind to do, He softens and prepares our hearts for exactly what He has in store for us.  The Lord helped me to understand that I am so blessed to live in a land where water flows plentifully.  It is most certainly one of His "miracle wonders" and I want to do all I can to help others obtain this life giving resource.

So many times I actually miss Your hand in my life.  Forgive me for my insensitivity to Your blessings and help me to be more aware of the goodness that surrounds me.  I am asking for a great harvest of wells to be placed in the dry areas of Kenya.  May You protect and give the life saving water that is so needed in this parched land.
In the thirst quenching name of Jesus,

Thursday, February 16, 2012

He Hears You

Psalm 119:26(MSG)
When I told my story, you responded;  train me well in your deep wisdom.

What an awesome verse this is!  The art of listening really is an impressive gift that is hard to come by in today's hurried and frenzied world of self promotion.  The fact that the Lord hears us when we tell our story to Him AND He responds is beyond comprehension when you really stop to ponder it! 

Even more incredible than that is the fact that He responds to my story with great love and compassion.  I mean, some of my stories are, well quite frankly, pretty pathetic and needy.  However, He doesn't turn a deaf ear to my hearts cry, instead, He responds with the answer that He knows will be the best for me, His child. 

Matthew 7:9-11(ESV)
Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone?  Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent?  If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!

The words in this verse that stand out to me tonight are that God will give us "good things" when we ask.  If what I am asking for is not the best "good thing" for me, then I have to trust that God knows better about what will be good for me than I do.  This apparent silence from God is a difficult lesson in learning how to trust in the One who can provide every need we have before we even know we have it!  It is also an amazing lesson in learning to look for those covert ways that God is active and blessing our situation.

What about you?  Have you ever felt like your prayers are going unanswered?  I have.  The longer I walk with the Lord, however, the more I have come to trust His silence in my life.  He sometimes chooses to be still, because He knows what is best for me.  Perhaps it is so that I will imitate His stillness.  It is often in those frenzied times of my life when I arrogantly tell Him what He needs to do for me that I miss what He is already doing right underneath my nose.  Sometimes, in His great mercy and grace, God remains motionless while I figure out that His way is the best way.  He delivers "good things" in my life every day, but sometimes, I am unable to recognize them because I am not slowing down enough to really look!  
God will always provide a way....He is responding to you!
If you are discouraged right now, do not give up!  He is listening!  He is responding to your story, it's just that you may not be able to recognize His movement in your situation at this precise time.  His word promises that He will train us in His wisdom to the point that we will be able to identify His answers to our prayers.  It is up to us to keep looking and asking! 

Your responsiveness to my story leaves me speechless.  The mere fact that I am called Your child is enough.  It is simply enough.....
In the mighty name of Jesus,

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Just Dirt

Psalm 119:25(NKJV)
My soul clings to the dust; Revive me according to Your word.

I saw a bill board today and here is what it said:  I know God recycles, because He created us from dust.

We're just dirt without Him!
What a great thought!  We did come from dust! We came from dust and God's breath of life.
Genesis 2:7 (NKJV) 
And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life;  and man became a living being.

Today's verse is a reminder that my life is so dependent  upon Him.  Without the breath of the Lord within me, I am...well...just dirt.  Plain and simple.

However, there's good news in this verse!  He gives me a chance to be revived.  According to His promises that He provides throughout His word, I can live an abundant life.  A life that is aglow with His glory.  A life that is purposeful and has deep meaning. 

Here is the Message translation:
Psalm 119:25(MSG)
I'm feeling terrible--I couldn't feel worse!  Get me on my feet again.  You promised, remember?

God's word is true!  His faithful words are our stepping stones to a successful existence on planet earth and forever after.  Keep those steps going...and do not ever quit, because as long as you have the breath of His life within you, you still have an assignment to finish! 

Thank you for breathing Your breath of life into us.  Encourage us today to keep moving forward in a walk that is full of Your kingdom purposes. 
In the name of Jesus,

Monday, February 6, 2012

Book Review: Healing is a Choice~Ten Decisions That Will Transform Your Life &Ten Lies That Can Prevent You From Making Them by Stephen Arterburn

Healing is a Choice~Ten Decisions That Will Transform Your Life & Ten Lies That Can Prevent You From Making Them by Stephen Arterburn

Healing is a Choice by Stephen Arterburn 
This is an incredibly well written, meticulously organized, extremely powerful book!  This work has the potential to bring about authentic change in your life. 

Healing is a Choice by Stephen Arterburn is a beautifully written book on the complex subject of pain.  I chose this book for two reasons.  First, I am a nurse, and as such, I am always on the look out for material about our health.  Secondly, the title’s claim of healing being a “choice” immediately sparked my curiosity.  What one of us would not chose healing over sickness? 

The book is methodically laid out into ten chapters.  Each chapter defines what decision we must make to embrace the healing that we long for in our lives.  That determination is then countered with the lie that, if believed, can prevent us from making that particular choice which will in turn block a life centered on health.  This book is filled with more than a few quick suggestions to make your life rosier, but rather it is full of concise directives that if applied consistently over time, could have a lasting positive impact on the reader.   
The author encourages the reader to give up their old ways for God’s ways.  He asserts that emotional, relational, and spiritual healing is available to us if we will apply the ten choices to our lives.  Each chapter is followed up with a workbook section that is provided to reinforce the truths and help the reader with application of those said truths.  The final chapter of the book addresses the issue of differed physical healing in a very compassionate and sensitive manner, for which I was thankful to see.
The recurring theme present throughout this book is that healing is ultimately God’s choice for us, but we have an opportunity and responsibility to be an active partner in that process.  In my estimation, this book is actually about ten books for the price of one!  The length of the book is approximately 450 pages each of which hold important words of tangible wisdom, sound advice, and Godly encouragement from not only the author, but other esteemed colleagues in this field.

This is an exceptional piece of work that I found to be a privilege and honor to read.  It is obvious that Stephen Arterburn's heart is to provide accessible resources to hurting people.  He consistently throughout the book, offers a number that the reader can call for live assistance.  I feel compelled to include it in this review.  That number is:  1-800-NEW-LIFE (639-5433). 
There is also a website offered:  
Thank you to BookSneeze (where “reading is contagious”) and Thomas Nelson Publishing Company for this complimentary review copy of Healing Is A Choice by Stephen Arterburn.  The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.  

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Sensational Sunday

Psalm 119:24
Yes, Your sayings on life are what give me delight; I listen to them as to good neighbors!

Happy Sunday!! I want to pass on my summary of our Pastor's message this morning, as it gave me so much delight just like the verse for today says. I know that after you read the verses that follow, you too will be lifted up and confident that the Lord has a good plan and purpose for you in 2012.

This is a prayer that Paul prayed for the Thessalonians, and a clear picture of what God wants to do for us in this new year!

II Thessalonians 2:16-17
May Jesus himself and God our Father, who reached out in love and surprised you with gifts of unending help and confidence, put a fresh heart in you, invigorate your work, enliven your speech.

Our pastor went on to list the five things that God wants to do for you in 2012:

God wants to surprise you with unending help. He wants you to know that He is with you.

God wants to surprise you with confidence and the belief that He is going to help you even if you feel like you are in over your head.

God wants to put a fresh and vibrant heart in you. He wants to give you a desire to be in His Word and to call on His name.

God wants to invigorate your work! He wants to give you a fresh enthusiasm for your job and a renewed quest to be a light to those you are around every day.

God wants to enliven your speech. Clearly He wants to give you words that build up and restore life within those who are listening.

The first gift to arrive from Haiti.
I am delighted to hear this message of hope! I have a sweet friend who is awaiting her daughter's arrival from Haiti through an adoption process. We are praying for a swift and safe completion to a somewhat complicated and tedious process. This is just one of the many prayer requests that I know I will get to see answered this year!

I am gaining so much faith in the Lord's provision as I stand on these verses and wait to see how He will bring about His good purposes in our lives! I have no idea how many obstacles He will move for us in this year, but I am expecting great things. To Him be the glory!

You ARE good and You DO good! Thank you for this word of hope You delivered today. Fill us with a love and courage for the future that knows no boundaries! Grant us wisdom that comes straight from You today!
In Jesus hopeful name,