Thursday, July 28, 2011

Can't Wait!

What are we waiting for?
It seems to me that through all of life we are waiting for something.

As a little child we can't wait to be big. 
Then many can't wait until they are old enough for school.
And so it goes...

I can't wait to be...
       A teenager
             Entering high school
                   Able to drive
                           Earning my own money                                  
                                     Going to college
                                            Free to make my own decisions
                                                    On my own
                                                                Meeting that someone special
                                                                        Going on vacation

That kind of thinking pours over into our walk with God.

We are eager to obey to get to the end result; to learn the lesson, become the person that He intends for us, so we can reach the outcome.

Oswald Chambers got me thinking along this line this morning.
It isn't new to my thinking.  I just am giving it more thought.

Do we dream of success as an outcome of God's purpose for me?
Do we go through life waiting for the end result so we can move on?

Papa is training us, not for later, but for now.  To quote O. C.,
"God's end is to enable me to see that He can walk on the chaos of my life just now."
Meaning that He is in the moment, drawing us into the moment.  Much that goes on around us and much of what He has called us to do is for our own benefits.  The fruit that He is seeking is us, not something we do for Him.

My Papa is always speaking to me about being in the moment.  It is so easy to fill one's head with all the plans and concerns that beyond today and often beyond our control.
He would have me (us) take in all He offers and is doing and teaching in this moment.

An example comes to mind. 

Often Papa urges me to love on someone and give them some special attention.  Other times He directs me to speak into another life.
If I obey in anticipation of what will happen, I will often be disappointed.  However, should I simply obey out of a joy to bless my God, well then I am blessed and free to enjoy the moment unhindered by my expectations!

I am so grateful that my God is all about grace.  He knows I am weak and am but dust.  He is very, very patient.
Little by little I am learning to embrace His perspective.  That means I will not look for the end result, but seek to discover abundant life in the now.

By the way, there is one thing that I can't wait for, which I am certain He doesn't want me to change:
I cannot wait to see Him face-to-face!!


Wednesday, July 27, 2011


On my last birthday one of the gifts that Mindy gave me was a daily calendar dedicated to the topic of motherhood.
Each day's comment is by a different person who was either commenting on their own mother or attempting to define what it means to be a mother.

The contributions ranged from memories of how their mom perpetually served leftovers that's origin was long forgotten to the fact that being a mother does not end when one's children have reached adulthood; it is a lifetime position.

My family chuckled over the comment about the meals.  I am known for gathering up the leftovers and making something new that will never, ever be able to be recreated. 
I hate waste, so I think that helps me become creative in such instances.

As far as the duration of motherhood, it is indeed for life and beyond!
It is a connection that never ends  The way of connecting changes, but it is through a bond that's glue is love.

How would one define motherhood?  It is far more than giving birth and then caring for and raising a child.  It is envisioning a future and a hope for them.   Few do not have grand visions as they hold their child for the first time.  We desire the best for our precious ones.

Mothers are studies of their children.  We know them; their weaknesses and strengths, as well as their bent.

I have learned that what is best is for them to know they are loved; not only by their mother and family, but especially by the Mighty God.  This will put them on the path of a bright future filled with hope.  God alone knows how to take all that makes up a person and make it all come together for good.  He is our designer and He knows what will best fit that design.
Something else that I have learned is that all I can do is love them myself and give them opportunities to encounter Papa.  The true encounter is nothing that I can manufacture.

When I know that any one of my children is in relationship with Him, then I can rest in the knowledge that they are secure in Him. 

What got me going on this theme of motherhood?

Today is our third son's birthday.  Jonathan is twenty-seven.
I have been thinking of his birth day and all the days that have followed.  The memories are innumerable.
Some bring a smile and even a hearty laugh.  Others were difficult and happily in the past.  All represent the path that he has taken.  A path with some doubling back and some zigs and zags, but one that he has not walked alone.
Of that I am glad.
I want to celebrate.
Not only Jonathan's life, but God's mercy and faithfulness!

I also want to celebrate the privilege of being a mother.  It is one of my favorite roles!!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

It's More than Tangles and Knots!

There is an analogy that, I think, helps to explain the difference between God's perspective on life and ours.
It involves a cross-stitched quilt. 
The design comes together, stitch by stitch.  
It involves a mix of colors that are incorporated one thread at a time.

If you were to judge how well it is coming together by the underneath, you would mistakenly believe that it was just a tangle of mismatched threads.
However, should you turn it over you would see a lovely pattern in process.

So with life.

Often we cannot see beyond the tangle and knots that seem to make up our lives.  It can lead us to question what God is thinking or if He is even involved.
We do not realize that He is seeing the "top" of the quilt and knows what colors and threads are needed for it to be complete.  For the depth of beauty to be full.

It is too easy, at times, to let those tangles and knots fill my vision.  When that happens, Papa in His infinite wisdom and grace waits until I bring the mess to Him.  Once I do He reminds me that He is making something beautiful out of all of it, that He has a good plan, that He hasn't deserted me and will not in the future.

If I refuse to turn to Him, I begin to believe that I am a victim.  I become weighted down with the mess.  Poor me. 
That leads to a sense of helplessness of the kind that leads to hopelessness.

Then the colors that are being woven will lose their vibrant colors and grow dull.
The design will be less creative and grow unappealing.
The knots and tangles will become the main thing.

Not something the wonderful Creator would choose.
His creation is far from dull and unappealing.
All that He has created is intricate and beautiful.

Today I spoke with a woman who had been in a serious car accident a number of months ago.
She wanted to list all the injustices that had been done to her and all her needs.
I let her talk.

She wanted justice.
She wanted her needs met at the cost of others.
And she wanted it all now.  (Don't we all!)
She was bitter.

I asked her to tell me about the accident. 
The bottom line?
She got into the car of someone who was going to drive drunk.
Choices were made.
All choices have consequences, some good, some bad.

Now it was my turn to talk.

The real bottom line is that she needs to turn to the Living God.
She replied that she believed in God.
Ah, so do the demons.

It takes more than believing.
It takes receiving. 
It takes a relationship. 
One that involves our hearts.

It begins with a realization of our need.
Our need of a Savior.
Not just for the present situation, but for all of life, past, present and future.

He is the One who can and will make sense out of all the tangles and knots.

I told her that, most likely, He won't wave His Hand and set everything right, but He will give her peace and guide her through all of it step by step.
I encouraged her to put her trust in Him, one day she will look back and say that all the mess was worth it all because she came to know Him and His love.

One day, thirty-two years ago He spoke to me in the Eleventh chapter of Matthew, verses twenty-eight through thirty and I went to Him.

"Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and you shall find rest for your souls.  For My yoke is easy, and My load is light."

As I trust Him to take the lead and thus follow Him, I get glimpses of the beautiful weaving that His skillful Hands are creating from the tangles and knots of my life.  He desires to do that in each and every life.
Allow the Master  to make something beautiful from what looks like one big mess. 
In His Hands it is far from only tangles and knots!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

The Heat of Heaviness

This has been a very difficult week.

It was hard for me to tell how much was simply because of the oppressive heat.
Was it the heat that caused such heaviness that felt like a slab of concrete lying on my chest? 
Was it solely the heat that was clouding my mind?
Can I blame the heat for the deep feeling of being overwhelmed?
How about the impatience and frustration?  Can it be laid at the feet of the heat that has plagued the area this week?

Most days I am eager to find time to write and am usually gathering thoughts to share here, but not this past week. 
I didn't care. 
Well, I didn't want to care.
It was the fact that I did and do care about many things, especially people, that added to the weight.
In truth it was the weight.
So much was thrown into the mix.
I would have been so glad to just write it off to the weather, but the burden that burned within my heart and mind, which was bearing down on me, was only amplified by the physical discomfort of high humidity and temperatures. 
Unfortunately, it took a good part of the week to admit it.

Yesterday I dragged myself into the rehab for my weekly visit.  Everyone was physically dragging, but I had the added burden that was both emotional and spiritual.
Some of my friends there were a bit shaken that Debbie was not her usual bubbly self.

I am always honest with them.  It would do them no favor to think that I just floated through life, carried by God and untouchable.  It would present an impossible hope for them.
I am carried by my God, but through, not above the troubles of life.  They (we) all need to understand this truth.  This gives hope.  It is my desire to give them hope, so I shared this with them.

By the time our time together was ending I realized that my heart was much lighter.
What did it? 
In reflection I concluded that Papa used both my visit with them and a brief visit with a beloved friend just a short time before.

Every week I am welcomed by the residents of the program.  There are hugs and good conversation, honest conversation.  It always does my heart good.  Sometimes I wonder who gains the most from my visits!

The earlier visit with my friend, Joan was brief, as I said, but it was long enough for her to encourage my heart.  I had shared with her an encounter I had had earlier that morning.  I had needed to reinforce a boundary with my youngest.  He did not take kindly to my firm words.  It grieved my heart.  He wasn't listening to Papa.
Joan's response to what I shared was to tell me that I had done well and good for me for I had done the right, though difficult thing.
I had to rush off from her home to be on time for my rehab friends.  Thus no time to digest her words.  They worked their way into my heart during the next little while.
Thank you Papa for good friends!

Was that incident what was responsible for all the heaviness I was struggling under?

It took a couple of friends to identify what I couldn't or wouldn't.  You see, we are His body and He uses use to minister to one another.

I love having family close. 
There is only one hitch to living together; conflict is inevitable.
That is to be expected.
However, somehow everyone has come to look to me to fix all of it!
My friend, Dina, said it sounds like back in the days of a house of teens.  UGH!!

I have and will continue to remove myself from the position of middle-momma.

Okay that is one, which by itself is not overwhelming.
There is more.

There are a few family members, both near and far making some poor choices that weigh heavily on my heart.  I wish I could make them see their foolishness, but Papa is reminding me that is not my job.

Still not the crux of my burden.

Another good friend, Laura, who also does counseling, made an observation that struck a cord.
It is not unusual for someone to crash after a major traumatic incident in their lives; once the dust settles and reality sets in.
During the crisis one stands strong and carries on.
In my case, by the grace of God I could do much of it joyfully.

Unfortunately, a crisis often carries a number of long term consequences.  That certainly is the case for the Reynolds clan.

The reality of my new reality has been wearing thin.

Ray and I had become a really good team.  Between us we kept our home and lives running smoothly, at least, on the physical level.
Now it is all on me.
Ray's job had him on the road and he was free to handle many errands.
Banking?  I can count on one hand how many times I had to make the trip across the city of Waterbury to our credit union.
Now?  Why count?

To be honest, I can handle all of those things.   That is part of life and many do it.

The added burden of keeping track of all that goes with Ray's disability; doctor appointments, prescriptions, therapy, disability payments and so on, all need a bit of attention. 
Over the past fifteen months there have been numerous errors by doctors' offices, whether sending in updated information to the insurance company, which resulted in denial of benefits, or submitting a prescription; they have all needed to be kept up on. By me.
This week Ray's prescription for his pain patch was not submitted properly, according to our mail order company, so I had to pick it up from the doctor, who is half an hour away and bring it to our local pharmacy.  They need to special order it and I am not sure that the insurance will cover it since we are not using the mail order this time.
So many details.

The reality that my life is different and may just be staying this way has been weighing heavily upon me.
My honey looks to me for everything.  I have to remind him, very often, that there are a number of things that he is capable of doing!

He thanks the LORD for me each day, which is nice, but I think I was letting that make me feel guilty that I do not want my husband to be so dependent upon me.

One final thing.  At some time in the late night or early morning I am awoken by severe foot cramps.   Nothing helps but walking around and should I try to climb back into bed, they start up again.  This leaves my feet sore for most of the day.

I have shared this for two reasons.
First, because I do not want anyone to ever think that this lady is invincible!
Secondly, because many of you are praying people, so pray for me, for us.

This morning I clicked on my iTunes and chose the play list of my top twenty-five songs.
The first song that played was entitled "New Warriors."
Why Warriors? you might ask.
Yes, warriors.
It is a spiritual battle and we must fight, not give in to the forces that would drag us down and keep us down.  These forces are the ones that drag down and keep down our loved ones.

All who are in Christ are on the winning side, but there are battles to be won until that final day.  Battles fought and won with the banner of the LORD unfurled before and over us.  And His banner is love!
One phrase from the song says,
"He will lead the way."
I think, no I know, that I have been trying to take the lead. 
Futile and frustrating.  For there is no victory without Jesus.

Another song came on and its chorus resounded in my heart,

"Here I am to worship, here I am to bow down, here I am to say that You're my God. You're all together lovely, all together worthy, all together wonderful to me."
Time with Him and His lovely body, has lifted the heaviness.   Now if He would tend to this oppressive weather!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Family Memo

Matt has been making fun of Mindy and me.  He often comes upon the two of us having discussions about any number of things.  Quite often after a meal is over we will continue to sit at the table and talk for a while.  There is always much to discuss:
-Household details: menus and grocery lists, concerns for one another, schedules, et cetra.
-Family at large, which gives us a lot to talk about!
-Others that are either going through a blessed time or are struggling.
-Faith and what that means in all of the above.

The comparison has been made between our conversations and the TV show, The View.  Matt says that all we need is two more people to balance out the panel.
Funny guy!

Well, we have decided that were we to take this show on the road we would call it The Family Memo.  There are a couple of people that Mindy and I feel would fit well to round out our little panel.  One of which is Tim's ex-girlfriend.
We don't think he would be too receptive to the idea....

In the meantime, we might just try a paper version that sums up our conclusions.  It would be distributed within our little household on a weekly basis.
A few of the comments for this week's memo would be as follows:

-Roo (our kitty) please use the new route to the rafters or you will be footing the bill for screen repairs!
-Tim, the trash can is under the porch not on it!
-Also Tim, we are requesting all young ladies to wear more than bikini bottoms and small tops while lounging on said porch...there are other men on the premises.
-The grocery fairies cannot be relied upon to notice all items that need replacing.  There is a white board available-use it!
-Mom and Mindy will be out for a while, as they are on a mission to help that marriage, new parents, etc.
-After serious review we have been able to identify why some persons get under our skin so very easily - speak to us for clarification.  It has to do with all the drama we two experienced in our separate households growing up...
-All toilet lids must be down, as Roo doesn't know that cats do not like water!
-No cell phones at the dinner table.  This means no texting or surfing the Internet to be exact!
-Mom and Mindy will be out for a while, as it is time to check out Retail 101 again.
-Senior and Junior Arborists, Matt and Tim please shake off before entering the house at the end of the day.  The wood chip trails give the impression that beavers live here.
-Yes, there are cold cuts for the week.  You just have to move an item or two in the fridge to find them!
-Oh yes, Matt and Tim we would appreciate no more conversations about intestinal issues at the dinner table.
-Ray, as the official loader of the dishwasher please stack items side to side, as they do not clean well on top of each other.  Mindy is determined that she is going to get a food borne illness!

Some of what is found on the Family Memo takes no time to discuss, which is good, as there is always something of more substance to discuss and, hopefully, solve in the end.
That is where faith comes in.  Confidence that there is One who has all the answers.
He is a permanent member of the panel, actually Papa is the Chairman!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Good or Glory?

"What about the good person?"
Many a person has presented this question in response to my mention of every one's need of a Savior. 

Well, what about the good person?

Paul addressed this in the Second chapter of Romans.  I am quoting from "The Message," as it puts it very well:

" When outsiders who have never heard of God's law follow it more or less by instinct, they confirm its truth by their obedience.  They show that God's law is not something alien, imposed on us from without, but woven into the very fabric of our creation.  There is something deep within them that echoes God's yes and no, right and wrong."

Simply put, we are designed to do good.  It is the sin nature that throws us off our God-given track.  It is Jesus that makes it possible for us to get back on that track.  The track that leads to eternal life.

The fact is that a time will come when what track we chose is revealed.   Paul explains that in the rest of the paragraph from Romans.
"Their response to God's yes and no will become public knowledge on the day God makes His final decision about every man and woman."
So being good is not enough.  We need to be perfect.  Anybody out there that has reached perfection?
Even if there was someone the fact still remains of past sins.  How to atone for them? 
You might take care of a few, but in reality there are just too many.  Besides sometimes we are oblivious that we even sinned!  What do you do about those??

Jesus makes the whole difference!  His sacrifice covers all of our sin.  Praise His Beautiful Name!!

Another question that I am asked is,
"How do you know for certain?"
It is a gift.  A gift of faith.

In the First chapter of Colossians, the twenty-seventh verse we can read,
"...Christ in you, the hope of glory." 
Because my relationship with my Savior is an intimate, personal one I have the assurance within me; the assurance that I am on the right track - the track to glory! 
Because His Spirit lives within I am confident of the future.  I am also confident of the now.

This faith gives me the confidence to be sure of the things I am hoping for, knowing they are real, even if unseen, at the moment.
That is what Hebrews Eleven, One tells us;
"Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen."
Some may be able to live a good life apart from Jesus.  I know I would never be able to keep it up on my own, but some may.  Not perfect, of course, but good.
However, life on this planet does end and without Jesus life ends for eternity. 

With Jesus, Oh Glory!!  Truly, glory, for He shares His Glory with us!

I told someone recently that if I could go back thirty-two years and not choose Jesus in exchange for a guaranteed good life, I wouldn't.  I would choose Jesus every time!
When we begin a relationship with Him, we begin a glorious adventure.  One where we get to know Him more fully along the way.

Let's see a good life?  Or a glorious life without end?

I choose glory!!  And with that I get the good life too!!
All Praise to Jesus!!!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


At times grief shows its face without any warning.  At other times it is very predictable.
Today is tinged with sorrow, as it is my niece Sara's birthday. 
Sorrow is to be expected.
Another milestone of grief.

Yet, a deeper grief was in residence the two previous days.
Because grief does not follow any schedule.  It doesn't have to, nor will it.
It does not offer any apology.

It has been my experience that grief will surface when I am dealing with any emotional issues.  This emotion is also sensitive to weariness.
I know that I am not alone in that I have more difficulty with emotions when I am over tired.
So I have been both overly tired and dealing with a few issues, which offered fertile soil for grief to thrive in.

What to do?

Take it all to Papa.
He is all wise.  He is the peace giver.  He delights in taking our burdens.

My way of doing this, often is through worship.
Worship enlarges our vision of our God.
As He fills our vision our perspective changes.  Our struggles are not minimized, but rather our God is seen for Who He really is and that gives us confidence that everything is going to be alright.

A reading in "My Utmost for His Highest," by Oswald Chambers spoke of what our true goal needs to be.  We need to press on to know Jesus better and more fully.
That is my desire.  I have walked with Him long enough to know that there is nothing, nor anyone,that is as satisfying as my Jesus.
He has never deserted me.  He promised that He wouldn't and He keeps His Word.

I also am learning that when anything is given over to Him, it is made into something beautiful! 
Every single milestone and every step in between.

When we give our very selves over to Him, well, He will make us beautiful.  Just the way He already sees us!

I am reading in Galatians right now and just read one of my long-time favorite verses.  It is found in the second chapter, the twentieth verse,

" I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and delivered Himself up for me."

Such a lovely picture!

I surrender myself to Him; identify myself with His sacrifice, which means that I accept the fact that I, a sinner, have a Savior, who paid for every wrong I ever did or will ever commit!
Washed clean and filled with...Him! 
My God, my Savior with me, leading me, carrying me, until that glorious day. 
The day that I stand before Him and He wipes away every tear and welcomes me home. 
That will be the final milestone and then grief will be banished for all time!

Sunday, July 10, 2011


If each "Thank you!" that I heard yesterday was accompanied by a nickel, well...
Ray's and my dinner last night would have been fully paid...

We ate out because I was too exhausted to prepare anything and takeout would have incurred some sort of clean up, the only option was to allow someone else to do all of it.
It was (and still is) a good tired.  Let me add that I was not the only one worn out.  A few very dear people were just as busy as I was.  All are in agreement that it was very well worthwhile.

Twenty-one of my friends from the rehab wore twenty-one smiles from start to finish.

A day off. 
A break from the rules and responsibilities of their present residence.
An opportunity to experience some good, clean, sober fun...

Water balloons (A really BIG hit-in more ways than one!)
Ball games of sorts

An opportunity to enjoy picking and choosing from the banquet before them...

A variety of meat
Side dishes in abundance (Thanks to the ladies of my church)
Brownies and ice cream (Contributed by more kindhearted friends)
Many other goodies
Clothing for all!

An opportunity to hear from Papa though His messengers...

Tony, the young man who should have lost his life in the car accident eight years ago
Dennis, a down-to-earth man, whose message was heaven sent.

Time to...

Enjoy live music with a message of hope and music that was just plain fun
Lie in the sun
Interact with some good men that came solely to hang out with them
Be reminded that they are of immeasurable worth!

Yes, it was a very satisfying day.

Why was it so satisfying?
Was it a sense of satisfaction because a plan came together?
In a way.
What truly was satisfying to me was that His plan came together.  It was satisfying to see His fingerprints all over the day and to know that He was at work in lives and hearts.

You know, anyone could have put the day together successfully.  It might have taken a little more effort to bring all the details together.  In this case, every time I would start to chew my lower lip over a detail, Papa would remind me with the words, "I've got this.  This is my idea and I am bringing it together."
And He did.

Every day people do amazing things, pulling together events much more complicated than my little barbecue.  Whether they make an eternal difference depends upon who's in charge.
I jotted something down the other day and do not know if it was a thought that came to me or something I read.  I learn towards a thought, as I usually note the author, but I am not positive.
This is what it says,
"A person who is moral apart from faith in God is simply reflecting what his Creator placed within him."
So when we do good things, it is because we were designed to do so.  Of course, we need to choose whether we follow the inclination or not.  However, when we do the good or right thing what matters is the motive behind it.  Apart from God I doubt that much is done solely from a pure motive.
Even with God I know much of what I do has mixed motives.  It is hard not to think about what others are thinking, how we appear to them.
I am learning though.

My last posting spoke of being like minded with God.  That comes from learning to trust Him.  Then though we may not understand what He is up to or how something will work out or....
Whatever (fill in the blank)...

We can rest in Who He is..
The list is endless...

David Jeremiah reflected on wisdom in one of my daily readings today.  As I meditated on what I read I thought to myself...
Wisdom is knowing you know very little, that God knows everything and then following His leading.
As we grow in wisdom we not only realize how true the words of Jesus are:
"Apart from Me, you can do nothing."
...we also accept them. 
No more striving, no more fussing, no more seeking to be validated. 

We desire significance that can only be found in Jesus.

That is what I hope my friends caught a glimpse of yesterday.

I know that Papa was among us speaking His love to each heart.
I will continue to confidently trust Him to continue to call them to His side.

Friday, July 8, 2011


As I was spending some alone time with Papa this morning, a fresh revelation came my way.

A number of people and a few situations had come up in our conversation.

A codependency group gathers every other week, at our home, on Wednesday evenings.  We gained a new attender this week.  After a little conversation it became obvious that Papa lead her to us.   She has been struggling for a long time, a struggle for peace and a sense of worth.
We know there is only One who gives "peace that passes all understanding" and who treasures us with no ulterior motives.

Then there is the barbecue that a few of us have organized for my friends at the rehab.  It is happening tomorrow...
Many loose strings had needed gathering up.  One by one they came together. I was thanking and praising Papa for His help.

That is when it hit me...

Prayer is simply a conversation with my God, my Savior, my Papa.
In relationship with Him we learn, not only, more about Him, but also His will.  As we walk with Him, over time we become more and more like minded.
What hit me this morning was that it wasn't me searching out people to join the Wednesday group, nor was it me who had this grand idea to do something for the guys at the rehab.
No, it was Papa.
He had put it in my heart and then He grew it.

One Sunday I was musing over what to do for the guys and how to do it. In one moment and (!) I had the answer. Even though I didn't go over the details right then, but I knew they all were there for me to think through later on.

He has supplied all the help and all the stuff that was needed to make it a good day.
A tent?  No problem!  My friends are putting it up in the morning before heading off on vacation!
Ideas for games?  All taken care of!
Clothing for everyone of my guys?  Bag after bag has found its way to us!
Food & beverages?  One by one either the item was donated or money was contributed!
People to come alongside me?  One of my dear friends and one of Ray's have gone above and beyond!
Many other willing hands will join us for set up and then stay through until all is cleaned up!
A speaker?  He gave me the name and, of course, our speaker is available!

I praise my God, not because He answers my petitions, but that He fulfills His plan through me.  He allows me to be His hands and feet! 
Glory to Jesus!!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

To His Glory!

Over the past two weeks I have read three books.
Three books, three different topics, three different authors, but one Source...
That meant that each topic was viewed through the lens of God.

The authors wrote with an urgency.
God had given them a message and they sought to deliver it.
And they did.

"The Undeserved Miracle" by Antonio Marques Jr. (as told to Franklin E Rutledge) told the story of God's grace in Antonio's life.
Tony was in a terrible car accident.  I remember the accident, as it happened about a mile and a half from our home.  Our son, Matt, saw the aftermath and was shaken.
The car was a crumpled bit of metal; so destroyed that it was impossible to even tell that it had been a car.

Tony's best friend died in that accident.
The medical team told Tony's parents that he would die too so they should go home and make funeral arrangements.
But Papa had other plans...

One of the first people to come across the accident, was Carol, a woman that I have known for years.  She and her daughter saw Tony's body in the street and went to him.  He looked very bad, but Carol laid her hands on him and asked God to spare his life.
He did.

That was eight years ago.
Tony is in a wheel chair, but the joy of the LORD radiates from him.
He wrote the book so many could hear of God's mercy and grace.  He wants Jesus to get the glory.
That is his daily goal.

Tony's story increased my joy.  Our God is a faithful and merciful God!

A dear friend, Sergey Akhmedzyanov, who happens to be a Russian pastor, has written an important book, "Russia and America at the Crossroads."
The message he had to deliver concerns the national identity of our two countries and really is a warning for all nations of the world.
Sergey recounts the history of his country and shows how trying to built a nation on any foundation apart from God ultimately leads to failure.
He is greatly concerned for the direction that our nation, the United States, is taking.
He is not alone.

My friend's words of explanation regarding the importance of being concerned for and involved in what is happening in one's own country spoke to my heart.  I had never heard them laid out so succinctly.
This was from my God.

I rejoice in this author's desire for God's glory!

"Stand Up and Fight," by Barry Austin is the third and final book that has had my attention recently.
The writer did not say anything that I did not already know, but his book was a good reminder, particularly, of the power of prayer.
When you pray for specific concerns, situations and people in the situations, it can begin to get stale.
Day after day, week after week, how do you pray?  What else can you say?

However, if we first spend time with Jesus and then let Him lead you, you will be surprised at the life that comes back into your tired words.
Why?  Because time with Jesus refreshes our spirits and reminds us that we are bringing these prayers to the Living God, who is deeply interested in what we have to say.
I was reminded of who I am and the power that is available to me.  I need but tap into it!

This writer longs to see God's glory reflected in our our lives.  Me too!

There is another author, who has written a number of books and I have read them all, many times!
He is the Apostle Paul.

Just this morning I read what he wrote to the church in Thessalonica.  It was in his second letter to them, the first chapter.
He said that Jesus will be coming to be glorified in His saints.
What struck me was the next few words.
"And to be marveled at among all who have believed..."
Just think, no matter how much we get to know Him here, no matter how amazed we are by what we learn and experience of Him here...
We will be awestruck when we see Him face-to-face! 
There are times when I am bowled over by God, but in comparison to that wonderful day in the future, it is but a glimpse!

Paul continues by saying that he was praying for the Christians to live in a way that glorified the Name of our LORD Jesus.  He didn't stop there, but continued to say that the glory was to be in them also!

Our God not only covers our sins and gives us heaven, but He , the King of Kings, reaches down and takes our hand to lift us from the position of His subject to make us His friends and fellow partakers of His glory!!

To quote Paul...
"Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only true God, be honor and glory forever and ever.  Amen!"

Monday, July 4, 2011

Raining Grace!

"Hallelujah!  Grace like rain falls down on me!"
This line from the song "Grace Like Rain" sung by Todd Agnew was the first conscious thought that I had today.
It stayed with me throughout my day.
Just like grace does. 

Grace rains down on me!

Beautiful Savior...
His constant Presence...
which brings joy...
and peace...
and help...
and guidance...
Loving family...
and friends...

None of which did I earn, nor deserve.

"And all my stains are washed away....
they're washed away"
That's the rest of the chorus

Max Lucado commenting on the topic of grace said,
"Seems that God is looking more for ways to get us home, than for ways to keep us out."
Grace is unmerited favor.  God loves us no matter what.  He desires an intimate relationship with each one of us.  For eternity.

Job recognized this truth and we find his words in the twelfth verse of the tenth chapter of the book by his name.
"You gave me life and showed me kindness, and in your care you watched over me."
Today was one of those days where I was acutely aware of being enveloped in Papa's grace. 
Like a baby in a womb.
The most amazing womb, a place of safety, yet brimming with unlimited possibilities!

His grace allows me to bring Him all my burdens and heartaches and leave them there.
It assures me that I am treasured; that I am of such great value to my God. 
So valuable that His Son died so I could be part of His Kingdom for ever!

Yesterday we spent time with extended family, as well as many of their friends.
Often Papa uses my time with others to reveals things that He would have me focus on in prayer.
He helped me see how many are struggling in pain; so many are wandering seeking something to satisfy.

Each week I spend time at the drug/alcohol rehab and Papa is faithful to help me see who needs added attention and how to pray for them.

I pray His grace to become real to each and every one whether it be my friends at the rehab, my family or any others that cross my path.  That includes the readers of these words!  That is His desire also.

He calls to any who are hungry to come and be fed; to those who are thirsty to come and drink.  He satisfies as nothing else can or will.
His grace makes the whole difference.

His grace is being poured out continually. 
Tilt back your head, look up and let it rain down on you!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Central Fact

"The Presence of God is the central fact of Christianity.  At the heart of the Christian message is God Himself waiting for His redeemed children to push in to conscious awareness of His Presence."
These words from A W Tozer greeted me this morning.  I share them with you and urge all to look beyond the trappings of religion, the man-made form and encounter our Beautiful Savior!

Seek and you will find!

Saturday, July 2, 2011


At some point in our lives we wonder what life is all about.
I believe the answer is found in one word.

What is the worth of life apart from relationships?

I am a people person.  I enjoy  people.  Over the years I have been engaged in a few jobs that kept me isolated from people.  It was not worth it for me.
Yet, I am not thrilled with large groups.  It is the face-to-face, relationship building experiences that work for me.

Of course, not everyone enjoys being around people.  Some thrive working, et cetera, by themselves.  However, at some point, they need to connect with a human being or two.
We are designed for relationship.

Our Creator models that in the Godhead.  The three persons of God are in relationship with one another.  And this mysterious, extraordinary God pursues relationship with each one of us.

The importance of relationship was inferred in my posting of yesterday.
To love is to relate.

Love is the purpose.  Even when I withdraw from others to recharge, it is out of love. 
I don't want to get cranky!  It isn't very pretty!

My God never needs to recharge, thus He never withdraws.  Papa is always active in my life to enrich our relationship.

I read something by Max Lucado this morning about seeking constant communion with God.
This brought me back to the idea of Him being Omnipresent.

He is in each moment of every day.  When I am aware of this fact, then the most ordinary, commonplace parts of my day can be transformed into the uncommon.  My every moment becomes pregnant with possibilities!

I will end with the last verse found in Psalm Sixteen;
"You will make known to me the path of life; in Your Presence is fullness of joy; in Your right hand there are pleasures forever."

Friday, July 1, 2011

Longing Hearts

"...he has broken my covenant"
Those words from the Seventeenth chapter of Genesis caused my heart to ache.  They were spoken by God to Abraham.  He was explaining that when someone does not follow His instructions they have broken covenant with Him.

A covenant is an agreement, a promise or a pledge.

The Living God has laid out the guidelines that make for a rich life.  With them comes His promise of a relationship.  By desiring to adhere to them we demonstrate a faith in Him and honor Him.  By ignoring them we show a lack of faith and reverence for the LORD God.   This choice is one for relationship or not with our Creator.
Many are not conscious of the choice they are making.  It is a choice between life and death. 
It is not a matter of earning the relationship.  It is a matter solely of faith. 

Many do not stop to think about God.  Many simply seek to gratify their desires.  The desire of their heart is for Him, though they do not often recognize it.  Life has deadened them to the truth. 
Our God has placed a longing for Him in each one of our hearts.  Numerous things distract and conceal this desire.  We are lied to and told that something(s) else will satisfy the emptiness we experience.
It never works.

Last night I was in a deep sleep when I was awakened by a sound.  It was midnight. Someone in my neighborhood was wailing.  At least that is what it sounded like to me.
I got up and investigated. 
The sound stopped.  Yet, the neighborhood was far from quiet.  Many lights were on in a number of homes and someone was banging around in their yard.
The natives were restless.
I believe the emptiness of their unsatisfied hearts was at the root of the turmoil out there in the night.

Such a contrast to my experience earlier in the evening.

We sat peacefully on our porch with friends. 
No emptiness.
No dissatisfaction.
No turmoil.

Because none of us have unresolved issues?  Or struggles?
His Presence made the difference.  Our awareness of His Presence and our desire for and delight in that Presence.

As I sat on the same porch this morning enjoying the fresh new day with Papa, my phone rang.  The caller ID said that it was a private number.  A friend's number shows up that way so I answered it.  I hadn't spoken to her in a while and she has been on my heart.
It wasn't her.

At first I thought it was a bad connection, but quickly realized it was bad for certain because of the intention of the caller.
It was an obscene caller.
I could not believe it!
Once it registered with me I disconnected the call.
A minute later the caller tried again, but I did not answer.
At least they didn't leave a message!

In a way I did want to speak to the caller.  I wanted to urge him to not cheat himself out of all that can be his in Jesus.  I wanted to tell him that all that he is seeking to satisfy...won't.

This afternoon I visited my friends at the drug/alcohol rehab. 
Tension...frustration...disharmony filled the air.
More restlessness.

This time I got the opportunity to speak into the situation.  My friends willingly sat and listened.  I think it is because they know I love them.

There lies the key.

All Papa does is out of love and a desire for relationship with each one of us.  When we get that, then we are willing to listen.
If we want to reach others.  If we want to make a difference in others' lives, then they need to know that we love them.
How can we love them?  How could I love that caller?
Only by receiving Papa's love for ourselves.
His love has a way of multiplying.  It grows exponentially and ends up overflowing our lives.
Then all the dear ones that are in our lives will not only know we love them, but will begin to believe that our God does too!