A SUMMER OF PSALMS

In 1975 my thinking about suffering in life was challenged in a profound way.  A film depicting the Ten Boom family during WWII called “The Hiding Place” was playing at a local theater.  Once I saw it, Corrie Ten Boom became my favorite person on the planet.  I’m thankful to everyone involved in the film.  Nobody understands why my favorite movie is about such a horrific time in history.  Well, I suppose it’s because this film taught me about adversity in life and how to react when bad things happen.

We don’t like to think about storms, do we?  And yes, I guess this movie could be considered a “downer” to some people, but I walked away with the thought that if Corrie Ten Boom was able to lean so heavily on God and trust Him to see her through something so unbelievably evil, then I can trust Him for any bad situation I find myself in!  I was not depressed after watching it – I felt a peace and a hope that God is sufficient for any circumstance in life.  He is and always will be enough.

One day a psychologist friend asked me how I’m able to function in life.  We had talked a bit about how bumps in the road of life can affect us in negative ways as Christians.  The first thing people notice about me is that I don’t have children.  They become uncomfortable at that point.  Nobody knows what to talk about with me because the “go-to” subject of any conversation is kids.  How old are your kids?  What school do they go to?  It’s the most predictable conversation people have when they meet for the first time.

But when they ask if I have children and I say no, they’re at a loss.  They have no idea what to say next.  Once in a while I hear, “Oh, then you probably have fur babies then, right?”  Well, yes I did – but we lost our fur baby a while back.  Sometimes I just smile or nod yes to save face.  I don’t want two pity pauses in the conversation.

I was chatting with a friend recently and the subject of childlessness came up and I said something to the effect that I felt like a freak.  She said, “It stinks.”  It’s true – it does!  There’s not a thing I can do about it, but it does!  Sometimes you just want someone to acknowledge the fact that something stinks, ya know?  I felt better after she said that – I felt understood.

When I was younger, it was difficult to be around the women my age who were having children.  I kept thinking it would get easier as I got older, but now those same women have grandchildren and no…  it’s no easier to deal with that either.

The Bible says that children are a reward… which makes a childless person wonder if they are being punished Everyone’s quick to tell me that’s not the case, but that’s not how it feels.  One of my friends told me that the Lord may have saved me from worse heartache because perhaps a child of mine could have had serious health issues or something like that.  Well – I guess that could be true too.  I just don’t know – but I have to trust God.  He knows what He’s doing and I need to accept it.

God does surround me with songs of victory.  He helps me cope with all kinds of loss.  I can’t really explain it except to say I know in my soul that God’s helping me.  When it storms and I’m tempted to give up, I hear that sweet song of victory and I know it will be okay.  The Lord is with me.  Oh, and even though Corrie Ten Boom is no longer alive, she’s still my favorite person.  🙂

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A SUMMER OF PSALMS

I will never be perfect in this life, and guess what – neither will you.  We are all a work in progress, but at least it is progress which indicates we continue to learn lessons and grow stronger in our faith.  My 50 something mind does not resemble my 20 something mind.  I’ve matured and I see everything so much differently than I did 30 years ago.  Why?  Because I’ve finally allowed the Lord to work in my life.  In my 20’s I was not very good clay.  I was stubborn clay!  Nobody could tell me what to do, and they certainly could not tell me I was wrong about anything!

These days it’s different.  Yes, I could be wrong about most anything.  I want to do my best for the Lord and now my motives and actions are in sync.  It’s amazing how things change once you hand your whole life over to the Father’s hands.  Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life.  He is the only light that leads to eternal life in Heaven.  Once you hand it all over, you receive His joy and peace, which is better than anything this world has to offer.

I grew up in a church that believes in eternal security – once saved, always saved.  As an adult I attended other churches that taught that salvation can be lost.  I never argued the point one way or the other, but always thought if a person was to backslide that far, perhaps their experience with Christ was less than genuine to begin with.  Just a thought.  I’m not judging that person, just discussing a possibility.  I pray that salvation from the Lord is not so easily lost.  How awful to feel so insecure, wondering if your name is still written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.  I don’t think there’s an eraser on God’s pen.

Human beings mess up.  We do.  It’s not an excuse to keep messing up… but it’s not a reason to beat yourself up for mistakes made decades ago either.  Put your mistakes – sins – under the blood of Christ, then do better!  You have a choice to be a bitter person or a better person.  Be better – do better.  Be the person you wish you would have been to begin with!  Let God help you.  He’s faithful and He will not fail you.  Let Him be the strength of your heart – even if your heart is less than strong.  He will be your strength and your song.  🙂

 

 

 

 

 

A SUMMER OF PSALMS

God’s secret agents, His angels…  I’m interested in knowing more about them, although the Bible really doesn’t mention them often.  It seems that when they are mentioned, their appearance is almost frightening, which makes me wonder why the image of angels that man makes is always either a beautiful woman or a cute little cherub.  No way am I complaining.  I have collected angels for years – from Jim Shore to Precious Moments.  I have quite a collection of angel figurines, etc…  I think the more angels I have around me, the better protected I’ll be.  No, I don’t really believe that – but it sounds good, doesn’t it?  I think I need to get a new angel now!

It comforts my spirit to know that the Lord sends His angels to protect me.  Sometimes I can tell without a doubt that I was spared from something awful, like a near miss when I’m driving.  I always pray before I drive my car – anyone else do that?  I know God hears those prayers and sends me help!

One day I was late getting to work.  It seemed I was hitting every red light along the way, and then I had to stop for a train!  Well, that’s just all I needed!  There was no way I was going to clock in on time.  I couldn’t understand why everything was working against me when I was in such a hurry and racing against the clock.  The answer was soon revealed to me.

As I was finally able to get past the railroad track, I saw a horrible accident at the next intersection that involved at least four cars and a large truck.  I believe that being delayed by that train kept me safe.  Now, why those others were in the accident, I don’t know.  I wouldn’t hazard a guess about that.  I did send some prayers for everyone involved, that’s for sure!

God loves and cares for us so much!  In this life we will face trials and temptations, but through everything, isn’t it wonderful that our Lord hears our prayers and inhabits our praise?  Then we get Heavenly helpers in the bargain!  I talk to my angels – do you ever do that?  No, I’m not weird – but I do believe they are surrounding me, so…  sometimes I talk to them!  

I like this video – be patient because it takes him a while to get started – but it’s really good!

My Father’s angels all protect me…  everywhere!  They’re all around me, above me, beneath me, beside me!  Have you read Billy Graham’s book about angels?  I highly recommend it!

We can trust our Heavenly Father to take good care of us every day of our lives!  Have you thanked God for sending you angels lately?  I’m so glad they are with me.  🙂

Father May I?

The mercy of our God is bigger than any sin you commit!  No matter how far you’ve strayed away from the Lord Jesus Christ, He is able to forgive and forget your transgressions IF you will ask Him.  You can be assured of salvation for eternity right now.  It’s not easy to follow Christ because you must take up His cross in your life.  Standing up for your faith and speaking your mind about your Christian beliefs is probably the most difficult thing one can do, but we have Christ by our side helping us every step of the way.

Will you trade your worries and cares for the Lord’s great mercy and grace?  You can experience His love, peace, and forgiveness of sins.  Just turn all the junk and your burdens over to Him.  Then give Him praise and glory because you have begun a brand new journey that is surrounded with faith in Christ Jesus!  God Bless you extra-special good as you start your new walk!

The word EVERYTHING is all-inclusive!  When God’s Word says everything, it leaves nothing out.  You could interchange the word WHATEVER because again, there is nothing excluded.  You can pray to the Lord about anything on your mind.  He wants to hear from you!

There is nothing that is off-limits with God.  He knows all about it to begin with, you know!  Even though He already knows, He still wants you to talk it over with Him.  Maybe you need advice.  Maybe you need forgiveness.  Maybe you just need to be heard without having something fixed.  He knows that too!

God, through His Son Jesus Christ, hears every prayer we pray.  He will lift every burden from you and act on your behalf.  He is not a disappointment.  He loves you so much!

Last week we were ready to put our spiritual chocolate chip cookies in the oven to bake.  You know, sometimes I get a little anxious when I am in the kitchen because I’m not what you’d call a cook that’s comfortable in the kitchen.  I’m awkward with a knife and I’ve peeled my own fingers with the potato peeler a few times.  I have other talents, but none of them are chef-related.  I’m not a chef – pampered or otherwise.  LOL!  

So as I put the spiritual chocolate chip cookies in the oven, I’m calling on my Father today, asking, “Father May I please use Your special timer so my cookies don’t burn?”

Dear Heavenly Father, I tend to get anxious and uptight when I’m expected to do things I’m uncomfortable doing.  I need Your timer to make sure these cookies do not get burned.  If I don’t have it, I could easily get distracted – especially when I put in the last batch.  I’m not sure why I always burn the last batch, except to say I do get tired by then.  I lose interest and if I don’t have a timer to remind me to get them out of the oven, pretty soon the smoke alarm does that job!  So, Lord please keep me focused on the task at hand.  I want my spiritual chocolate chip cookies to be pleasing to You!  Thank You in advance for helping me.  In Jesus’ Holy and matchless name I pray, Amen.

As we pray more and stress less, God will help us be our spiritual best!  His love has no limit and He wants to help us succeed in life.  We know that He has a place already prepared for His own in Heaven – so He’s seen to it that we are taken care of in the afterlife as well.  What is there to be anxious or upset about?  🙂

Father May I?

God’s will is at the center of everything!  There are control freaks in the world who will balk at the notion, but it’s true – they are not in charge.  Go sulk in the corner if you resemble that remark.  I’m joking.  Sit in the front row right in the middle if you resemble that remark!  😀

The Lord wants us to pray because we love Him.  To pray is a choice we make and not just something that Christians do from 11 a.m. till noon on Sunday morning in a building with a steeple.  We pray – and we keep the lines of communication open all the time.  One prayer we all pray every day is “Father, please forgive me.”

We can be confident because our God is faithful.  By confidence, I’m not talking about self-assurance, but a steady peace within that comes from the knowledge that God is in control and it will be okay when it’s all said and done.  How do we obtain that steady peace in our lives?  We take time for prayer – even if those prayers are groanings.  Some prayers are not prayed in words, but God understands them.  He knows our thoughts, our intent and He counts our tears as we pray.  It’s His will for you to pray.  Is it your will to pray?  Let God hear from you today!

Well – we have some spiritual cookie dough waiting for us.  Let’s see…  we have used God’s wonderful sifter to sift His strong flour into the batter bowl.  Last week, we added some of God’s chocolate chips (and ate another handful for good measure) so our cookies will be sweet.

It’s time to use God’s powerful mixer so our dough is mixed together well.  There – that should do it.  God is such a good Father.  As we put the little spoonfuls of dough on our greased cookie sheet, He lets us lick the beaters and the batter bowl.  I must admit, that’s my favorite part of baking!

Dear Lord,  We are nothing without Your mighty power.  It’s as simple as that.  You are our everything and we need Your power in our lives.  Our spiritual cookies would be too lumpy bumpy without a powerful mixer.  So it is with our lives as we strive to serve You.  We know that there are temptations to sin at every turn.  We also know that in Your mighty name we are more than conquerors!  You are the Way, the Truth, and the Life.  Help us to remember that in You we can do all things!  In Jesus’ mighty and powerful name we pray, Amen.

Next week as we finish our May emphasis, “Father May I?”, we will finish baking our spiritual cookies.  Our spiritual chocolate chip cookies.  Oh, I’m looking forward to them, aren’t you?

I have one more link to share with you today.  You may have heard, there was a Royal Wedding yesterday.  I think I saw a few posts on facebook – like maybe a hundred or so…  anyway, if you didn’t get a chance to listen to this sermon, I hope you’ll click on this link and listen to it.  Have a blessed week!  🙂

https://www.archbishopofcanterbury.org/speaking-and-writing/sermons/power-love-bishop-michael-currys-sermon-wedding-prince-harry-and

 

 

 

 

Father May I?

In this portion of Scripture, we’re told to do three things:  ASK, SEEK, and KNOCK!  Isn’t it interesting that ASK comes before the other two?  I wonder why?  Let’s find out.

Some of you are parents, right?  Who am I kidding – all of you are parents – I’m the weirdo with no kids.  Sigh.  Anyway, let’s say your child wanted something from the ice cream truck.  The music sounds as if it’s getting closer and closer…  the pressure’s on to grab a dime – or, probably a dollar these days!  But – you’d like for your child to actually ASK PERMISSION for the ice cream before going out to see how close the truck is to the house – wouldn’t you?  It’s at the very least common courtesy and respectful to parents.

God’s our Parent…  He’s our Heavenly Father.  Apply the same scenario to Him.  Well of course we’re not going to ask for ice cream.  At least I don’t think we will.  But before we seek anything in this life, we should pray about it.  We may seek a job, a spouse, a house, a mouse or a new car.  God cares about where you are and what you want in life.  He wants to be included in your decision-making.  Actually, He wants to be instrumental in your decision-making!  He can straighten paths…  I mean – He is so creative that way!  He’s the Creator of the universe and everything – so yeah – He is creative!

Once we have ASKED, we SEEK.  That is when God does such cool stuff.  I don’t want to make it sound like a name and claim because I don’t believe that way.  I just mean that circumstances can turn on a dime and you know without a doubt it’s because you ASKED before you SOUGHT.  God is God and if the desire of your heart is within His sovereign will – He wants it for you.  He works on my behalf.  He works on your behalf.  If God is for us, who can be against us!  Amen!!!

So we have SOUGHT.  Now it’s time to KNOCK!!!  Don’t knock like a timid little door-to-door sales rep his first day on the job.  Knock like a BOSS and radiate with confidence!  Why are you confident?  Because you have ASKED and SOUGHT.  You know in your heart that God is already where you are and preparing everything to work for your good!  You serve a God who not only knows the past and the present – He knows your FUTURE as well.  What calm assurance and confidence that gives me!  I’ve gotten through many job interviews by reviewing all these facts in my mind.

When we knock…  the door will be opened!  Now, sometimes things don’t go exactly the way we imagine.  But keep in mind that just because I didn’t get that particular job…  God is already in my future – so He knows which job I should have!  HE knows!  That’s good enough for me!

 

Last week we started making spiritual cookies.  I’m not going to explain it all again – if you want to refresh your memory, take a look at last week’s post.  We used God’s special sifter to sift the special flour of strength into the dough.  Today we’re going to add a few chocolate chips to make our cookies sweet!

Dear Lord, We know that Martin Luther advises us to use fewer words for a better prayer, so today we simply ask “Father, may I?”  May I please have sincerity that comes from You?  May I please have some chocolate chips in my spiritual cookies to make me sweeter?  We ASK for this most important of ingredients in Jesus’ precious and matchless name, Amen.

We’ve ASKED.  Now we SEEK then KNOCK.  Don’t be scared.  God’s already there!

I have a special treat for you today.  My friend and Christian brother, John Minton, just made a new You Tube video!  Yay!  Just in time for Mother’s Day!  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

https://l.facebook.com/l.php?u=https%3A%2F%2Fyoutu.be%2FyYVARhoGQqY&h=ATPel3zJVEL-dffn-NOCtd1IA3eUy-xNImhvJIf4-HN4rmdCcZpVzm1pPDAtDjsFeQ_C1iyDHtFu2jRCKAFTD5m9SFRoMWaBH54fmVPZL17pObDK5Gw2n72tNdh5gyFC3oWs

Have a BLESSED week!   🙂

 

Father May I?

Prayer is a conversation with our Heavenly Father.  It’s not as complicated as some folks want to make it.  We speak, God listens, He speaks, we hopefully listen.  Prayer is a way we reinforce truth in our hearts and souls.  It’s how we practice our faith…  we put feet – actionreinforcement, to our faith.  What if we had parents, but we were never allowed to interact with them?  Never allowed to talk, laugh, even argue with them?  That would not be much of a relationship, would it?

The best way to give Satan a black eye is to start praying to God in Jesus’ name!  Satan cannot read your mind – remember that when you pray.  If you can possibly think your prayers, it’s best.  Satan can’t get a foothold on a prayer that is from your mind to God’s heart.  He could possibly get a foothold on one said aloud.  If the devil doesn’t know what you’re thinking – he can’t possibly come up with a counter measure!  Spiritual warfare is a real thing – and it starts with humility before the Lord, with sincere heartfelt prayers.

This portion of Scripture tells us to pray in Jesus’ name.  That’s why we always tag our prayers with that phrase.  I remember being asked to pray aloud once in teen group – and I forgot to say “In Jesus’ name” at the end of my prayer.  I was given a tongue lashing by the teen leader afterward.  I still get scared when someone asks me to pray aloud – and if it happens to be a pastor asking me to pray – it’s worse yet and I probably won’t do it.  We really must be careful when dealing with young people as we teach them.  They are so vulnerable and the smallest thing can affect them for the rest of their lives.  Encourage young people…  they’re doing their best and we should love them for that.  Correct them in private – not in front of the rest of the class.

If we ask anything in Jesus’ name He will do it so it will glorify the Father.  So, asking God to give me a dozen donuts in Jesus’ name is probably a bad idea.  I can’t imagine that it would glorify the Father for that prayer to be answered.  God already knows what we want, but more importantly, He knows what we need!  He knows best, but He still wants us to ask.  He wants to hear from us because He loves us so much!  Remember that prayer isn’t about getting what we want.  Prayer is about getting to know God.

When I started writing the Heart Hunger Blog, I weighed a whopping 220 pounds and had a horrible food addiction.  A friend in my group, “A Second Helping of Wellness… with a Dash of Humor & a Pinch of Faith”, told me about how her husband lost 100 pounds when he embraced a low-carb lifestyle.  So many people ask me why I called this blog HEART HUNGER and the answer is really pretty simple.  There’s a God-shaped place in every heart, and nothing but GOD fits there.  We try to put all sorts of things in that place, but they don’t fit!  God is the piece that fits in the God-shaped place.

During the month of May, as we ask “Father, May I?”, I want to imagine we are baking a batch of spiritual cookies.  We already know that cookies are little carb bombs, so eating real ones would not be a good idea if we want to watch our weight, right?  So – these spiritual cookies we bake need not only special ingredients, but they need to be made with special utensils from God.

I want to use a good brand of flour for my spiritual cookies because it’s the flour that holds everything together.  I also want to use a Holy Ghost sifter to discern the words I hear and know truth from lies in this life.

Dear Lord, We’re asking “Father, May I?” this month.  We want to bake the best batch of spiritual cookies we can.  Please bless our hearts and minds with Your flour of strength so everything will hold together when it seems to be crumbling.  When we experience doubt or confusion, help us to send everything we hear through Your special sifter of discernment and read the ultimate cook book, Your Holy Word, The Bible, to make sure what we are hearing in the world is in line with what You want for us.  When we ask for anything in Your name, we know if it’s within Your will, You want us to have good things.  As we sift the flour, may we please hear from You?  We need to hear from You!  It’s in Jesus’ precious and Holy name we pray, Amen.

I love spiritual cookies.  There are no calories, no carbs, no weight gain and no guilt.  There is happiness, joy, love, freedom and peace.  🙂