Saturday, January 22, 2011

Quiet Moments With God -- The Key

There's a key to unlocking the door to contentment. It's right in front of us, but we often frantically look for it and can't find it. The reason is, we're looking in the wrong places.

That's me. I do it all the time--even after all the years I've walked with the Lord--I take wrong turns and get myself lost. In the last couple of years, it feels like my life has been one storm after another, and the last five months I've had so many darts hurled my way, I've lost count. The enemy has been at work. And life feels like one big question mark. I don't have the answers so I've done what I often do--worry and fret. Which, by the way doesn't help at all.

Life will always have challenges and surprises. We can't be certain what tomorrow will bring. Why then, do we get ourselves into a worry and fret cycle? At other times, even when we're thrown into the biggest train wreck, we feel peace and we're good right where we are, trusting God. What makes the difference? I guess that depends upon who we are. Usually our strengths are what get us into trouble--they become weaknesses because we depend upon them. We need to know what they are--the enemy does.

I'm a problem solver--I figure there has to be a way to "figure this one out". I've just got to think harder, get out paper and pencil and write down another list--that'll do it. Nope. That's not the way. Not for me, anyway. I want to rely on myself and my own mind. The natural gifts the Lord has given me are helpful, but before I go to them I first need to go to Him. He's the one with the answers. When I get that straight, then peace that passes all understanding drapes its gentle arms around me. Worry and stress slip away and leave me with God's blessed peace.

God's it. He's the answer--every time. He holds the key.

Grace and peace to you from God.


Thursday, January 20, 2011

Tips For Triumphant Living -- LOVE

On days like today I'm reminded --

"If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails.

Sometimes there's nothing more to be said. :-)

Grace and peace to you from God.


Thursday, January 13, 2011

Tips For Triumphant Living -- Praise Him!

I'm not a morning person, and this morning I awoke feeling as if I'd been dumped in a black hole. My mind traveled back to 1991 when my van was hit by a log truck. Life has never been the same, and this morning all I could see were the negatives in my life. On the day of the accident, however, that's not how I felt.

That day, my daughter and I were joyfully overwhelmed by the power and presence of God. When the log truck barreled at us we were certain we had only seconds left on this earth. Miraculously we climbed out of a smashed van. We were alive! We hugged one another and praised the Lord for what He had done. We knew he was good, powerful and full of mercy.

In the days that followed, pain overrode my joy. I sank into a dark place and bitterness toward the man who'd been driving the log truck took hold of my daughter. Our praises ceased, replaced by fear, anger, and sorrow.

I'm thankful those days are behind us, though there are times still when I battle the enemie's attempts to keep me down.

Life isn't easy for any of us, at least not all the time. There are dark places when doubts, fears, and disappointments confuse us and lay us low. And yet, we know nothing touches us that God does not allow. So what do we do about the hard stuff, those things that seem unreasonable--the hardships that have no answers? The God of the universe tells us to walk boldly into His thrown room. He beckons us - "Come."

Draw closer to God, and if we must crawl to Him. Hear His voice. Feel His love, His presence. And remember the wonders He has brought into our lives. I have a list of some of those wonders in the back of my prayer book to remind me of all He has done and how much He has blessed my life.

When we remember thanksgiving will be restored.

May we never forget who He is and what He has done. Together let us lift our voices and our hands in praise to His marvelous, incomprehensible love.

"Give thanks to the Lord, call on his name; make known among the nations what he has done, and proclaim that his name is exalted. Sing to the Lord, for he has done glorious things; let this be known to all the world. Shout aloud and sing for joy, people of Zion, for great is the Holy One of Israel among you." Isaiah 12:4 - 6

Remember. Great is the Lord!

Grace and peace to you from God.


Monday, January 10, 2011

New Years Resolutions: How Are You Doing?

I didn't make a resolution this year, so to speak, but it has been on my heart to love like Jesus loved. I see so much cruelty in the world and it makes me want to cry. However, loving like Jesus loves is a tough (actually impossible) goal. He gave His life. I'm certain He doesn't expect me to be nailed to a cross, but I am to offer my life up to His use and I'm expected to be patient and kind, to not be jealous or boastful or proud or rude. I should never demand my own way, nor be irritable. And I cannot keep a record of wrongs done to me. And I should not rejoice over an injustice, but rather rejoice whenever the truth wins out. I should never give up, never lose faith always be hopeful and endure through every circumstance.

That's a tough list of to-do's and not to-do's. But they are found in I Corinthians 13, and are clearly laid out as examples to Me. So, how I been doing? I've already let God down. But I'm not giving up.

Did you make a resolution? How are you doing?

Grace and peace to you from God.

Monday, January 03, 2011

Quiet Moments With God -- Family

This morning, I woke to an empty house. It was just me and my dog, Bentley. It was too quiet, too empty and I felt lonely.

For nearly two weeks we've had a houseful of family. There were moms and dads, cousins, aunts and uncles, nieces and nephews and grandparents. They came from around the globe. We gathered to celebrate Christmas . . . together. We gabbed, laughed, cried, baked, played games, made snowmen and went sledding, and we remembered Christ. We even shared the flu.(that part could have been left out.) It was a time to build memories, and it ended with warm hearts and tearful farewells.

The last of my family left yesterday. Today I felt sad. I wish so badly that we lived close enough to see each other whenever we liked. It's a wonderful gift to be part of a family who loves one another, warts and all.

As I contemplate on time spent with loved ones I realize how limited my vision is. Family is more than those in my personal lineage. I have a huge family made up of Christian brothers and sisters. We're tied to one another by blood--the blood of Christ. And we have the most outstanding Father who takes good care of each one of us. He even knows the number of hairs on our heads. Amazing!

Rather than feel sad, it is time to rejoice and to settle into the quiet presence of my Heavenly Father--to hear His heart and to feel His peace.

We're family. Let us be mindful of one another. Pray for each other. Clasp arms and rejoice as we dance in the glow of our Father's love.

When I woke this morning, feeling alone I was wrong. I'm never alone--I have all of you and my Father in heaven, who is always with me. I need only stop and listen and I will hear his voice and feel His presence.

Grace and peace to you from God.