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Riding a bike is just great

I say to Him today “I am weary with my groaning; All night I make my bed swim; I drench my couch with my tears. My eye wastes away because of grief.” (Psalm 6:6) I never know when this grief will hit me and take me to my knees.

Today we removed the training wheels from my five-year-old great grandson’s bicycle. He raced around the yard at top speed, so excited with himself. He said, “Riding a bike is just great.” As I watched him, I was reminded of us and the Lord. He is always aware of what we are doing and of how much help we need from Him. I am so thankful He allows me to keep my training wheels. I know I couldn’t make it without this help from Him. When I am so weary I can hardly stand, He is there to catch me. And there are some times when I grow so dependent on Him I tell Him I can’t take any more, then He wraps His arms around me and assures me, “Yes my child, you can.”

 

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Golden Bowls

I don’t know about you, but I really love reading the Scriptures. I love to read almost anything but my favorite is reading the Book that seems to be living. I have read the Bible through several times and I listen to it on CD as I drive to and from almost anywhere. By ‘living’ I mean I can find things that I just read through or over in the past that jump out at me this time. When I come to these special items I feel that God is showing me new things or taking me to new depths. I believe the Bible; I believe there are parts meant literally and some parts are symbolic. There are a couple of Scriptures I have read over and over that just call out to me.

Revelations 5:8 NKJ “Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints”.

In my mind’s eye, I see my prayers ascending into Heaven and being so precious to God the Father that He has them kept safe in bowls. My prayers aren’t just floating around getting mixed up with someone else’s they are accumulated in these golden bowels (in my eyes the bowls are beautifully made of the clearest and purest gold). It’s not only my prayers, but everyone’s prayers God is accumulating, in many, many bowls. (Do we all have our own bowl? I don’t know) When I think of these bowls like that, I can begin to see why sometime I come to Him with a need, asking Him to accomplish what He says in His Word, it takes longer thin I think it should. It’s not a power issue, I know He has the power to do all things. In Psalm 34, David praises God for hearing His people cry out to Him, and there are many more references that assure us God hears his people. Paul tells us in Romans 8:26, the Spirit intercedes for us before the throne. I know He hears my prayers, but maybe I have put a cap on His power with the puny amount of prayer in my bowl. When I have a need/request, God sends an angel to get my bowl: He looks into the bowl and perhaps it’s not full enough for Him to immediately meet the need. Psalm 141:2b says “May my prayers be set before You as incense”. Perhaps the fragrance of my small amount of prayers are not as aromatic to His nostrils as they could be.

Incense was and is important to God. He gave the priests of old a specific recipe for the incense He wanted burned on the golden alter twice daily. Exodus 30:9, “You shall not offer strange incense on it, or a burnt offering, or a grain offering; nor shall you pour a drink offering on it.” He wanted to smell that particular fragrance. The smoke of the incense being burned on the alter and the prayers of the saints went up before God together: they may be considered one or became one as they mixed together, I’m not sure. The alter of incense was placed in the center of the Holy Place. This alter was as close as the priests could get to God when they worshiped with incense. Prayer allows us to get close to God. The Jewish worshipers prayed outside the Tabernacle when the incense was burned. They knew the connection of the two. Luke 1:10 “And the whole multitude of the people was praying outside at the hour of incense”.

In this day and time, we don’t gather at the Tabernacle to pray. But, as individuals, we do know when we go to the Lord in prayer. I want to always be aware of the amount of prayer I have in my bowl. I want to be ready when that beautiful golden bowl is tipped and my blessings fall on me.

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Following The Example of Jesus

Jesus is our teacher and example for prayer. The Father has established Jesus’ prayer life as our example for prayer; He has given us His teachings on prayer as our guide. For many Christians, prayer is their least favorite activity of their life. They close their eyes, fold their hands and sit and wonder what to say. They know they should do more than ask for things, but they just can’t think of what to say.

When people confess to me their hard time with prayer, I can only ask them if they have asked Jesus to help them with this problem. Most tell me they haven’t, one reason being, Jesus knows this already. True. But He still wants to hear it from the one needing help. I advise them to confess to Him their need in this area, show Him their willingness to learn from Him.

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Overcoming Hindrances to Prayer

Many places in Scripture Jesus is pressed upon by others to preach, teach, heal, drive  out demons. He poured Himself ministering to others. You may say, “He came to Earth to minister to others and save mankind.” Yes, He did, but He was a man with a human body; he got tried, he felt drained at times. But do you think the people in the next town cared how tired He was? They heard of Him and His power over the elements that plagued them and just wanted Him to work for them. Luke 5 tells us, “great multitudes came together to hear, and to be healed by Him of their infirmities.” They didn’t care how tired He was, how empty He felt at times. He had to spend time with His Father to re-fill.

No matter how busy your life is, to be effective as a teacher, preacher, boss, mom, anything, you must find time to be re-filled with the rest of the Spirit. Make a list of the hindrances you recognize in your life that keep you from the Lord, from prayer. Commit them into Jesus’ hands, asking Him to help you deal with them. He knows what it is to have demands and a pressure-packed schedule. He sympathizes with you in your struggle to pray. Confess your need to Him and depend on Him to help you in this matter. He will help you overcome whatever is keeping you from spending time with Him. But don’t waste your breath if you are not serious!

 

 

What Keeps Hope Alive?

How do you cultivate hope in your life? Do you find yourself fighting discouragement, resentment, envy, jealousy? When we become discontented where God has us, we wallow in self-pity and despair.
Psalm 33: 20a We wait in hope for the Lord;
Hope is the medicine that cures us of ugly emotions sapping our joy and creativity. But its hard to hold on to hope when we find our self in the pit of self-pity. We look around and think, “How did my life fall apart? Where is God in this thing called life?” God is where He has always been, right beside us. We are the one who made a slight turn and lost sight of Him. He never changes, He wants the best for us and will lead us through the despair.
Psalm 71: 6 From birth I have relied on you;  you brought me forth from my mother’s womb. I will ever praise you
Hope, by definition is the feeling that what you want can be had. Hope is the oxygen of the human soul. When it feels everything goes wrong, and you feel you will never be able to grow again, you may want to give up. But, there is life beyond the pain. How do we find that life? How do we get out of the despair?
  • You are not the only one who has the weight of the world on your shoulders. Someone may be acting childish or being a little rude, if you can, try to let it go. Let their behavior roll off you like water off of a duck’s back. In other words, respond with kindness when you can. And when it is you being the one who is acting a bit rude sometimes, try to respond to yourself with love about that too.
  • Action can help fight the battle of our lack of hope. Look around yourself and see others who have a need you can help meet. If you have too, start small and simple, a word of encouragement, a smile. You can do that!

Romans 5:1-5.  Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

Remember, hope is not an emotion; it’s a way of thinking, a thought process. We have the ability to set goals, we are able to figure out how to achieve those goals, and we have faith in ourselves. Thus, hope is an amalgamation of goal setting, having the resolve and grit to pursue them, then having confidence in our own abilities.

Hope is valuable. Hope is beautiful. Hope is a choice. Can anyone have hope? YES! There is the story of a shop owner who lost his shop in the great Chicago fire of 1871. The next morning, he posted a placard that read, “Everything lost except wife, children, and hope. Business will be resumed as usual tomorrow morning.” Wow. where did he get his hope? not his circumstances, not from other victims of the fire, not his good luck. What he saw in the future for his family was because of a choice he made to have hope. Hope is in the men and women who learn from their losses. In tough times, they choose hope, knowing it will induce them to learn and turn them from victims to victors. In The Dignity of Difference, Jonathan Sacks wrote, “the difference between optimism and hope: Optimism is the belief that things will get better. Hope is the faith that, together, we can make things better. Optimism is a passive virtue, hope an active one. It takes no courage to be an optimist, but it takes a great deal of courage to have hope.”
Hope is a journey, a sometime arduous path through a wonderful and damaged world. A lesson I’ve learned on my journey to Hope is, if there is a thousand miles between you and the Promised Land, take into account, that journey starts with the first step, and the journey does not begin until you have made that first step! So start your journey one step at a time.

Hebrews 6:18,19 that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us. This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil.

I am writing a memoir called “Why Hope?” So I am sharing my view on Hope. Look for portions in my blog soon.

Please leave your views on hope in the comments area on the Contact page, I would love to hear from you.

 

I am a Bible teacher

As I prepare to teach others, I ask You, Father, to give me a teachable spirit. As I lead others, may I be led by Your Holy Spirit. As I open Your Word, give me the words to say that I would not speak out of my own heart, but be guided by You. Please make me aware of any thoughts or actions which could hamper my ability to teach Your Word with truth and clarity. May I be a reflection of the lessons I teach, so others may see Your presence in my life.

Let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands for us. Psalm 90:17

Making Changes

You need to…You can’t do…You aren’t ready for…You should…You shouldn’t…            It would be better if you…You are just like…

How many times has someone said one of the above sentences and made you feel “less than”?  When we grow, mature, become healthier, make changes in who we are or are just walking in more of His grace and love, people don’t understand.  They say they want you to become better and more, until you become better and more. Then things change. Because when we change it requires others to change, too. Change is uncomfortable and most don’t like it.

We will not be whole here on this Earth. We will be whole in Heaven. I used to strive to be perfect. Today I hope to be better than yesterday. Not perfect, just better. God is taking the broken pieces and putting them back together differently. Others may not recognize the new you because it wasn’t what they envisioned, yet it is what He is doing and it’s His vision. Embrace what He is doing in you.

Rest in the new you He is creating even when those in your life just don’t understand.

I hope you enjoy and were blessed by this message that was written by an acquaintance of mine, Tajuan McCarty, founder of The WellHouse. The WellHouse is a rescue and recovery organization for women who are victims of sexual exploitation and trafficking. If you or someone you know needs The WellHouse, please do not hesitate to call tollfree at         1-800-991-0948. This phone line is answered 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by trained and caring rescue coordinators who truly want to help you. This is a helpline only,                   1-800-991-0948.

 

Duties of a Chaplain

Friends, I am sitting with a dying patient at Druid City Regional Hospital, Tuscaloosa, AL where I am a Chaplain. Please pray for this patient and me. He is dying exactly as my husband Tommy did. This patient had a last dialysis treatment on Monday, Feb 20, so time is short unless God intervenes. You know, when you sign on for something like this, you don’t know just who or what you will be called in on. When I came into this room and saw this patient, memories flooded my mind and heart, because of the similarities of 18 months ago. But God knows. If I am to be used as a Chaplain, I must accept all God wants to use me for.

Yesterday evening my grandson wanted to listen to a CD Tommy made of some songs he loved to sing. I was totally surprised by tears streaming down my face when I heard his voice. Sweet memories of a lifetime together. So thankful our great grandson likes to sing along with his Papa.