FALL IN LOVE WITH JESUS

There’s just something about fall…  we want to spend more time in the house nesting, baking, pumpkin spicing EVERYTHING!  We get out long enough to enjoy a tailgate party and watch a football game – but even then we’re snuggled up in a stadium blanket.  It’s time to slow down and rest.  Are you weary and burdened?  Jesus says He will give us rest!  We can trust that promise to be true because Jesus doesn’t lie.

The bright summer had passed away, and gorgeous autumn was flinging its rainbow-tints of beauty on hill and dale.  – Cornelia L. Tuthill, “Virginia Dare: Or, the Colony of Roanoke,” 1840

It’s about time for me to change from plain cotton sheets to cotton flannel sheets.  They’re so soft and comfy and surprisingly cool.  I used to think they would be too warm, and I’d end up too hot at night, but that hasn’t been the case.  They’re perfect for the fall and winter months.

As I begin counting my blessings this year, at the top of my list is the way Jesus brings sweet rest to my weary and burdened spirit.  Along with the theme of rest, I will include the set of new flannel sheets on the bed.  The house is slowly transforming into a warm and cozy oasis from a cold and cruel world.  Isn’t that what home should be?

[T]hat old September feeling… of summer passing, vacation nearly done, obligations gathering, books and football in the air…. Another fall, another turned page: there was something of jubilee in that annual autumnal beginning, as if last year’s mistakes and failures had been wiped clean by summer.                 – Wallace Stegner

So many people get the urge to do a deep cleaning in the spring – we’re bombarded with magazine articles about spring cleaning.  I’ve always been prone to do my deep cleaning in the fall.  Don’t ask me why, but I have more energy and the spirit seems more willing, and if there’s one thing I know about myself – I have to strike while the iron’s HOT.  I know that energy won’t last.

I say a little prayer, then I’m off to the races, cleaning out closets and cupboards, scrubbing and mopping, sweeping and dusting.  When I’m finished, I’m more than ready to ask Jesus to give me that rest He promises.

When I was younger, I spent a lot of time out shopping and fighting off the crowds of people so I could find some bargains.  I had people to buy gifts for, so I was part of the crazy rat race!  These days, I opt for a warm spot, hot tea, cozy slippers, and a laptop.  It’s a blessing to have a time of rest and renewal.  The older I get, the more I appreciate rest.

What’s at the top of your blessing list?  🙂

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A Summer of Psalms

Do you remember the first Bible verse your teacher asked (more like challenged) you to memorize in Sunday School?  I do – and this is it!  Of course, I memorized it from the King James version which is:

WHAT TIME I AM AFRAID, I WILL TRUST IN THEE.  – Psalm 56:3

Not to brag, but I was the first one in the Primary class to memorize it, and my teacher gave me a brown teddy bear wearing a little gold cross.  Of course, the best prize of all was that I had started the journey toward hiding the Word of God in my heart.  You see, when you hide God’s Word inside your heart, it’s like knowing there’s a fire extinguisher handy in case there’s a fire one day.  The verses we commit to memory come to mind just when we need them most.  God is faithful to bring them to our mind if we are faithful to put the time and effort into memorizing them in the first place.  One lesson I’ve learned in this life is – if you hold up your end of the bargain, God is more than faithful to hold up His end!

I can’t tell you how many times this verse has popped into my mind.  I’ve been afraid many times.  Most of the time, it’s not like being afraid at a scary movie, but more like being unsure of an uncertain future.  Fear is fear no matter what, and to conquer a fear of any kind, we need to instill some faith!  Faith is our fear extinguisher.   There are Christians walking around who don’t even know they need a fear extinguisher!  Amazing.

Fear by its very nature is a lack of faith in God.  It means we are not trusting Him as we should, and it’s a very dangerous place to find ourselves in.  When we feel completely overwhelmed with fear and know we are short on faith, that’s when we make stupid decisions and fail to rely fully on our loving Father.  We try to get out of messes on our own, relying on our own savvy, which pales compared to the Father’s plan for handling the situation.  If we keep depending on our own abilities and ignore God’s prompting in our lives, we can end up digging quite a large hole for ourselves – and then we have to hit our knees and seek the Lord and humbly ask Him to lift us out of the hole we dug for ourselves!  I can’t be the only one who has done that, right?

Save yourself some pain and hit your knees in prayer right away.  His will and His way are best.  Ask Him to cover your fear with more faith, then trust the Lord to work it out.  You can alleviate your fears completely with your fear extinguisher!  It’s filled with faith and it works instantly – believe me!  

I’m glad I learned this verse as a child.  Of course, when I was a little girl I said it as I walked through dark places in our house at night.  I was afraid of boogie men just like every child is, and used the verse to bring comfort and ease my childish fears.

Today I don’t use it in the same way (aren’t you glad to hear that?)  But this verse has reminded me to place more trust in my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  I know there’s nothing He cannot handle.  I can sort things out because I know He sorts me out.  It’s a sorting situation, you might say.  🙂

 

 

A SUMMER OF PSALMS

This portion of Scripture came to mind a few years ago when my husband and I were catching a very early flight out of Wichita.  We aren’t frequent flyers, so we’re not acquainted with all the new rules and procedures that are in place since 9/11.  I understand the need for it, but it doesn’t make me want to fly on a regular basis by any means.

For people who know the Lord, this portion of Scripture brings comfort and assurance.  I could see where some could be a little freaked out by it – but regardless of which group you’re in, you must admit…  God knows where you are – all the time.  You can’t run from Him and you certainly can’t hide from Him.

I’m thankful for God’s guidance and His strength and support, particularly as I’m getting older and my strength is not what it used to be.  I love the Lord because His way of doing things is so much more creative than any ideas I come up with…  every time!   His way is always best and He never disappoints me!  

Have you ever been trying to figure out how to resolve an issue and as you pray about it, God just reveals the perfect answer to you?  I have!  It’s a moment when you want to sing praises to Him while doing a little happy dance!  I’m so glad His hand guides me – I welcome that guidance throughout my life.  I need His wisdom, strength, and support on a daily basis!

This is so beautiful – I have to share it with you!  Speaking of doing a little happy dance:

I wish there was a way for me to move this from YouTube up to my big screen TV so I could join them and do this praise workout!  I used to find Christian workout videos here in America – but I haven’t seen any for a long time.  😦

His strength will support us!  I think there are times we doubt that, particularly when we have weak days.  So many conditions can sap us of energy, can’t they?  Regardless of how we feel, we need to know by faith that our weakness is not the end of the story.  With humility, we cry out to God, and His strength takes over…  and aren’t we thankful for it?

Lucinda Berry Hill has written a perfect poem for this Psalm:

I’m reminded of an old song by Steven Curtis Chapman.  His Strength is Perfect.  🙂

What can Christ do through you?  I don’t know, but don’t doubt that His strength is perfect when your strength is gone.  He’s amazing in our lives!  🙂

A SUMMER OF PSALMS

In nearly every church I’ve attended, there was a SINGSPIRATION service on the 5th Sunday night of the month.  So, today we’re going to have one too.  If we were all together in a room, I’d have you prepare to give your testimony in a POPCORN TESTIMONY time.  Since we can’t do that, you can just think about the time when you gave your heart, soul, and mind to the King of kings and Lord of lords, Jesus Christ.  OH, HAPPY DAY!

I know – it’s a really old song – but hey – it’s good!  This passage of Scripture does tell us to sing a NEW song – although I highly suspect that has nothing to do with the age of the song – lol.

As Christians, we don’t always live on the mountaintop.  This song has helped me in times of trial so many times.

God didn’t want Heaven without us.  Ponder that for a minute or two…

Sometimes the praise just overflows in the strangest places…  I GO TO THE ROCK.  Dottie Rambo’s timeless lyrics resonate even though the great lady is no longer with us.  I know she’s already heard WELL DONE from the Father – but now I want to tell her THANK YOU!

I’m more than convinced that some of the children in my Sunday School class had never heard Christian music in their home.  Every song they learned in our class was the only exposure to Gospel music they’d ever have.  I was so careful to teach the kids just a few songs that I knew they would remember when they needed it.  It’s amazing what God will bring to your mind when you need praise on your lips!

Giving kids a happy beat and the Gospel truth is a good thing, eh?

Even though we call the 5th Sunday service “Singspiration”, not everyone sings.  Some of the people read aloud a short story or poem they’ve written.  It’s that way in our Singspiration blog post.  Lucinda has written something perfect for us about this Psalm.

So, go INTO the world…  praising the LORD all the way!  🙂

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.  🙂

God Bless You

What IS a blessing?  Well, the kind of blessings we’re talking about today are the invoking of God’s favor upon a person.  While I’m not big on the luck of the Irish, I love Irish blessings!  No country invokes God’s favor upon others quite like the Irish!

Since it’s just one day past St. Patrick’s Day, I wanted to take this opportunity to invoke God’s favor upon you!  Fasten your seat belt…  here we go!

28 May God give you heaven’s dew and earth’s richness— an abundance of grain and new wine.
29 May nations serve you and peoples bow down to you. Be lord over your brothers, and may the sons of your mother bow down to you. May those who curse you be cursed and those who bless you be blessed.  – Genesis 27:28-29

Isn’t that a beautiful photograph?  It was taken by our friend and fellow poet, David Catherwood.

Is there a wedding in your future?  Here’s a beautiful marriage blessing:

OH…  written in the key of E…  ugh.  Good for a guitar player – difficult for a piano player.  LOL!  I could play it…  but I wouldn’t LIKE it.

Here’s a beautiful poem by Lucinda Berry Hill:

We are blessed by God and in turn we bless others.

Near Powerscourt Castle in Ireland

And last, but certainly not least – this beautiful Irish prayer.  I pray this for each of you!

I hope and pray you have a wonderful, blessed week!  🙂

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

In the 50+ years I’ve been alive and kicking, I must admit that there is very little I can explain – except to say…  “It must be God’s will.”  People are big on asking WHY about everything.  If I allowed myself to dwell on the whys in life, it would drive me crazy.  I have to believe that I’m not a mom because God intended for me to do other things.  I was not successful and very unhappy at the workplace, sitting in a chair in a cubicle – but I have to believe there were lessons God wanted me to learn.  I hope I learned those lessons and would be a better person going forward.

We’re not meant to understand things – and I’m not a person who says they will ask God questions when I get to Heaven.  I can’t imagine that any of the small stuff will matter once I get through the pearly gates!  Nothing I face in this life is going to make a bit of difference once I’m in my eternal home!  It’s a place of sweet peace and contentment.  There are no more tears – and I will smile so big my cheeks will hurt!

Life is a mystery.  Everything about life is mysterious, and God wants to keep it that way.  How strong would our faith have to be if things were understood completely?  It’s faith in God’s way and His plan that keeps us afloat in this life.  We know that God loves us and wants His best for us.  It occurs to me that He may have protected me somehow by not blessing me with children.  Who knows what the issue may have been – of course, God knows.  He knows – and that is enough for me.  That’s my faith talking.  I don’t know why, but I know Who does know why – and He’s not going to share that with me.  It’s fine.  I trust that God knows what is best for me.  I pray for His comfort, joy, peace, patience and love.

I love mysteries, as you know.  Whether it’s a book or a movie, or a program on Investigation Discovery channel, I get wrapped up in a good “who done it” – and even though I may figure it out in the first portion of the story, I still like to hear the particulars about the case.  Those mysteries get solved, and we generally learn many crucial details along the way.  God’s mysteries are not solved, except to Him, of course.  The point is, they are His to divulge or keep to Himself.  We have to accept that and place our faith and trust in Him, praising Him for Who He is.

The God who made the Heavens has made for us a way.  🙂