Wednesday, March 31, 2010

For more years than I care to count I have used Bob Hostetler's "Parents Prayer Calendar" to pray valuable character traits not just into my children's lives, but lately more my own. Posted on my fridge for easy access, I find on it the current date and read the trait to pray about that day. I've been doing it for so long now, however, that rarely do I need to actually check the calendar to guide my daily prayer.

The 30th day of the month has always been a scary one for me in that regard. Praying for courage as the calendar suggests brings thoughts of trial and tribulations requiring the same that I'd rather avoid altogether! I likewise have a list of daily prayer requests to make on behalf of a pastor, and on that page the other night I found the instruction to pray for courage for every task. Now, that I can do, without fear and trembling about what might be coming down the pike.

Thank You, God, for sending that my way... so timely, too, since yesterday's character trait was...courage!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Thinking about the way God keeps us safe from worry and fear when we're resting in Him, my contemplation was disturbed by a situation with my pets. Suddenly I realized He'd just given me a perfect illustration of the concept. My cat (contentment) had been sitting on my lap, purring peacefully. Suddenly the dog (worry and fear) started edging closer and closer, soon making whining noises in his throat which I knew would quickly erupt into a full-fledged bark. So I picked up the cat and carried her towards the safety of the stairs to the basement where she spends most of her time. I turned my body as I did so to shield her from the dog's torment, and even kicked him back a few times when he would try to get in front of us and hinder our progress, jumping and trying to nip at the furry bundle I carried in my arms. In like manner does God shield and protect us, carrying us safely all the way Home.

"...I will contend with him who contends with you, and I will give safety to your children and ease them."
(Isaiah 49:25 AMP)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

This week's Italian phrase (see New Year, New Languages, is "E stato fantastico" which means "that was amazing" and describes so perfectly each of my experiences with God! Today I am particularly amazed that the Creator of the universe is interested in conversing with us, and the creative ways He finds to do so. The particular incident I was thinking about (just one of so many!) occurred some years ago when I was still driving one of my kids back and forth to school. On my way home from one such morning run I was talking to God about an issue that had arisen in the last twenty-four hours. A well-meaning friend had called to give me some information she thought I should know, but my spirit was rejecting and almost resenting what she had to say. I know her heart and understand that she meant well, but what she was saying wasn't sitting well with me. Rather than being helpful it had a tendency to lead me into doubt and worry. I felt that I was to ignore it, but then wondered again if I was perhaps in a "state of denial" about the situation. Was I being spiritually lazy by not being more concerned about it, or was I right to leave it in God's hands and simply trust that He would work it out? I felt that God would give me His answer on the subject in my morning devotional time and hurried home to receive it. When I was finally sitting at my kitchen table and picked up the study guide I was using, these were the words that I read:

...stay in step with God and hear the beat. That sometimes means turning a deaf ear to the clamor of the outside world or the advice of well-intentioned friends. (emphasis mine)

Wow! E stato fantastico!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The news has been full of reports of earthquakes in one spot after another lately - first the devastating one in Haiti, then Chili, then somewhere else, then yesterday it was Turkey... reminds me of the Scripture "For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in place after place." (Matt 24:7 AMP). On a whim I googled "recent earthquakes" and was directed to, "Latest Earthquakes in the World - Past 7 Days". That site will literally rock your world! Amazing!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

After my Glove Lost, Purpose Found incident at work the other day ( I felt the Holy Spirit reminding me yesterday to keep my eyes open for who I might have an opportunity to love on in some way. After a while a group of girls clustered near the entry door caught my attention and I recognized one of them as the pregnant girlfriend of one of our baggers. The other girls were interestedly examining her now bulging belly. Soon one of the store cashiers ran over and took the girls away, saying something about the bagger boyfriend having had to run to the bathroom. I watched for him to come back, wanting to tease him, saying, "I just saw your baby!" But when he again came into view I could see the the last thing he needed was teasing. His eyes red and wet from the tears he had obviously been shedding, he was trying his best to get himself together. Since her pregnancy began, his girlfriend hasn't wanted anything to do with him, and he's been frustrated and discouraged, wondering if it's due to her fluctuating hormone levels or some other reason. So I kept quiet, but prayed silently, asking God to help him, a kid in wrong circumstances who was trying to do the right thing. I asked Him to bless that little family of three. Then, having done all I could do, I had to leave the situation in God's hands. But I watched the boy the rest of the evening, quietly rejoicing each time I saw him laugh or smile. Surely God was doing the same.

Friday, March 5, 2010

I got an eye-opener into my own spiritual life yesterday through that of one of my sons. Out of the blue he mentioned that he was thinking of going to the "onething regional" conference in Nashville this weekend, Friday evening through Saturday an outreach of the International House of Prayer. Since the registration was free, he was only concerned with coming up with the gas money. I told him I'd pay for that, but asked what he was going to do about a motel. He looked surprised, held up the comforter from off of his bed and said he'd simply sleep in his truck, amazingly undisturbed by the thoughts of possible nighttime big city violence which bothered his mom.

"What about money for food?" I asked.

"Mom, that's what dollar menus are for!"

Then I said, "But won't you be lonely, going by yourself?" He smiled and said, "Me and Jesus, driving down the highway. I'll be fine."

What a wake-up call to my spiritually lazy self! If God can even get me to leave the comforts and schedules of my life at home to consider going away to a conference, too often the spiritual content of the meeting takes second place to the other reasons I come up with for going. For example, who doesn't enjoy a night away at a nice hotel? And the restaurants! I probably put more time into thinking where I'll eat each meal than I devote to anticipating each service. And surely I think about who else might be going, and whether we'll bond more closely together as a result of the trip.

My son's purpose in going was solely to bond closer to Jesus. As it turned out, his father was delighted with his travel plans and offered to pay for a room and give him some money to eat off of - in essence to fund the trip. And isn't that what God has done for us? He paid the price for our spiritual journey with the death of His Son, that we might bond more closely with Jesus. All He's looking for in us is simply the desire to go.

“One thing I have desired of the Lord, that will I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in His temple."
(Psalm 27:4 NKJV)
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