Friday, November 15, 2013

Thanksgiving in Practice

D. Verwers

i feel pressed
to impress
a thanksgiving spirit
on the next generation
press on
press on

It's a very abstract, weighty thought.  So, In an  effort to practice the word of God,  I made a Thanksgiving Hunt for my family.
Take a peek.

May we be impressed with all you've given and press on in a spirit of thanksgiving. 
In Jesus name, Amen

Monday, November 11, 2013

Get the Bird Out

A Carolina wren swooped into our house through an open door.  Silently it fluttered from room to room as we frantically attempted to shoo her away.

At first I thought it was a bat.  My hands trembled.
"Get it out. Get it out!" I squeaked.

Then I realized it was only a bird, my jaw loosened and I gazed at the tiny thing perched on a curtain rod.
"It wants to build a nest in here," observed a friend.
 I contemplated the notion.  It conjured up visions of Snow White singing as birds flew about the cottage.
Then I shook myself.  Of course that's ridiculous in real life.  It would be dirty, unhealthy and unsafe for all parties involved.  We had to get the bird out.

Soon enough, with some chasing and flailing, she fluttered out into the dark night.

Just minutes later,  inadvertently, someone left the door open.  It was only a few inches.  Would you believe the silly wren flew right back in?  More swooping.  More chasing.  More flailing.  Get the bird out!

Once again, out she flew.
A stern admonition followed.
"You have to keep the door shut!"

I couldn't help but to think about all the times I've left doors open in my life.  Swooping thoughts of defeat or fluttering sins try to make a home.  The Holy Spirit has always been faithful to "Get the Bird Out."   I just need to make sure I'm faithful to keep the door shut.

God Rewards

Saturday night caught me off guard.

"What happens when you give yourself to God?"  the Pastor questioned.  I know him to be a man of prayer, a seeker of God's face.
"He rewards you.  I know it.  I've experienced it first hand."

His words cut me like a knife and tears swelled.  An infusion of strength and grace permeated my heart with each syllable.  His wife passed away just a few months ago.  Undoubtedly he missed her terribly.  And there he stood, declaring- GOD REWARDS.

Some might become bitter and hard, wallowing in grief.  Not him. 

Looking into his eyes, I knew these were not mere words rolling from the tongue of a seasoned speaker.  No, he had lived these words.  
And they were a plea. 
A dare. 
A call to live solely for Christ. 

Strengthen me Lord, so I too, can boldly declare  you reward those who follow hard after you.
In Jesus Name, Amen.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Good Deals and Freebies

Pastor John Meaux of Destiny Bible Church  caused us to start a prayer habit.  He would often pray blessings on his congregation and ask God to send good deals and freebies their way.  Bless them, so they can be a blessing.

As our family and needs grew over the years, this prayer became a theme we would pray time and time again.

"Lord, let good deals and freebies hunt us down."

Yesterday morning as we piled in the car,  my husband  prayed for protection, direction and for good deals and freebies to hunt us down.  As we were out and about, both my son and I won nice gift baskets.  Woohoo!  Of course I did my best Price is Right run to the stage as I happily accepted my basket.

Our children noted that we had prayed for good deals and freebies and God had answered our prayer.  It made a particular impact on them as my gift basket was full of toys, candy and games which I shared with them.   I'm so glad they were listening and watching that day. 

Perhaps what I love most about this prayer,  is the glory it brings to God.  How many blessings do we let slip by unacknowledged and unnoticed.  What a shame.  You see, now our family automatically thanks God for any good deal or freebie that happens to come our way.  It's become a habit of gratiutde.  Good deals and freebies have become more than a serendipity.  They are a cue to praise God.  Good deals and freebies have become a reminder of God's goodness, a reminder that prayer and praise change everything.

Do you have a cue, a trigger, that causes you to give thanks to God?


Tuesday, November 5, 2013

What a Friend!

Saturday night my husband pulled out his guitar and started strumming an old hymn:  What a Friend We Have in Jesus.  

What a friend we have in Jesus,
all our sins and griefs to bear.
What a privilege to carry 
everything to God in prayer.
Oh, what peace we often forfeit.
Oh, what needless pain we bear.
All because we do not carry
everything to God in prayer.

The Irish poet, Joseph Scriven, penned these words and he was no stranger to pain.  Nor was he immune to suffering.

Allow me to explain.  You see, the night before his wedding day he received startling news.  His bride-to-be had tragically drowned.   Needless to say he was devastated.  He needed a fresh start.  So he moved to Canada, fell in love and once again became engaged.  This time his fiance died tragically from pneumonia.  What a blow. 

Did he give up hope?  Did he fall deep in despair?  No.  He decided to dedicate the rest of his life to helping others.   He grabbed an ax and began chopping wood for anyone who needed it.   Maybe it was therapeutic.  The rhythm, the cadence, the repetition.  Maybe the notion of providing warmth to those most in need, warmed his heart.  At any rate, by God's grace, he turned his suffering into service. 

The words we sing were originally a poem titled, "Pray Without Ceasing."  He didn't compose it to gain worldwide recognition or fame.  These were words carefully chosen and penned.  Heartfelt words poured out of his soul. Joseph's mother was terribly sick.  She was far away in Ireland.  The words we sing are more than just an invitation to prayer.  They are words of comfort that son offers his mother:  a broken heart encouraging a broken body.   Inspiring. 

Today I am challenged.  Am I allowing God to turn my suffering into service? 

Or am I prone to forget what a friend we have in Jesus?