Tuesday, May 26, 2009

And a Little Child Will Lead Them

It may be, my fellow listening hearts, that some of you are in trouble. If you are, I pray you turn to the Lord when he afflicts you, instead of away from him.
The royal official in John 4:46-53 is one who turned toward God while experiencing heartache--Once more Jesus visited Cana in Galilee, where he had turned the water into wine. And there was a certain royal official whose son lay sick at Capernaum. When this man heard that Jesus had arrived in Galilee from Judea, he went to him and begged him to come and heal his son, who was close to death. Jesus replied, "You may go. Your son will live."
Like this royal official, I too sought Jesus when my child was ill. Our stories are similar, but different. While living as a prodigal daughter, my firstborn son, D.J., came into the world with some medical problems. Before anyone knew exactly what was going on, the doctor chose to give my husband and me the worst case scenario. After 18 hours of hard labor, I could hardly stand under the weight of the bad news. I started praying on behalf of my newborn son like never before. The Lord graciously answered me, even though I had ignored him for years. Much less severe than the doctor’s initial diagnosis, D.J.’s condition was easily treated with surgery with success.

The first real pouring out of my heart to God was brought on by grief over my precious little one. Is it not written, "a little child will lead them" (Isaiah 11:6)? Both of us were led by our little children to Jesus whose mercy is neverending. Won't you allow the troubles in your life to lead you closer to Jesus than ever before?

Picture of the Sculpture "And a Little Child Will Lead Them" at the Jimmy Carter Center in Atlanta, GA by: R. P.-ND burbs courtesy of Flickr.com

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

A Bonus for Today

After I blogged today I found this quote by Charles H. Spurgeon:

"He who sees even the most of this world has but the same sort of eyes that birds and beasts have -- but he who knows his Bible to be true and who realizes the truth of it in his soul -- has another set of eyes that can peer into another realm altogether. He sees spiritual things and around him there shines a Light which is, indeed, marvelous!"

Be encouraged!

Praying for Balance in an Unstable World.

The economy is unstable. People are losing their jobs. Things are going wrong, or so we think. Does it mean we to give up our big house and move into small rooms? Expenses must be cut. Some of us don't even know how we are going to support those we love.

Pray! Pray! And pray some more! Dig up some promises and hold on tight and don't let go like the ones in Psalm 119:116-117: "Sustain me according to your promise, and I will live; do not let my hopes be dashed. Uphold me, and I will be delivered."

You can also go to the sayings of Agur in Proverbs 30. He prayed specifically for balance when he asked the Lord for two things:

"Two things I ask of you, O LORD;

do not refuse me before I die:

Keep falsehood and lies far from me;

give me neither poverty nor riches,

but give me only my daily bread.

Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you

and say, 'Who is the LORD?'

Or I may become poor and steal,

and so dishonor the name of my God."

David wrote: "I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread" (Psalm 37:25). He has always taken care of us and always will. He is able and will do it.

I have discovered that praying for balance brings contentment in whatever situation I find myself in. I want to trust God's faithfulness today and listen for his promises. In them I find life. Won't you join me?
"Balance" photo by hickoree, courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Living Without Regrets

One of those memorable sayings keeps falling on my ears: "Don't die with the music still in you."

What do you think Jesus meant when he said to a scruffy group of fishermen, "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men?" When I open my listening heart, I believe his offer still stands open for you and me. Through his invitation, he is telling us, "Follow me, and you will live without regret. Follow me, and you will live hearing my life-giving music and want to tell others how to hear it too.

Jesus is in the life-changing business, but it doesn't happen by accident. We have to make a conscious decision to apply his promises to our every day life, not just talk about them and believe them intellectually. Why would unbelievers want to follow us, if we are living the same way they do? Where is the hope in that?

Listening to God gives us the rhyme and reason we need to live triumphantly. And how can we hear the music if we don't spend time in our HIM book, the Holy Bible? Surrender to God today and truly live all the music inside.
Dearest Lord Jesus,
You came to earth, died on a cruel cross, and rose again on the third day to make your song of salvation available to all of your creation. In other words, you did not die with the music still in you. Help me to the same. In your precious name. Amen.
Photo by ArtsySF courtesy of Flickr.com

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The Helper of the Pilgrims

I lift up my eyes to the hills-
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the LORD,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
Psalm 121:1-2
Having an alcoholic in the family brings great challenges. My brother, Jeff, who lives with my dad across the street from me, disappeared with his (heroin-addict) girlfriend, Kelly, on Saturday April 18, 2009, after stealing $30.00 and my dad's cell phone. My dad does not have a land line so this left a 79 year old man without 911.
By Monday I was praying about whether or not to report them as missing. Instead of reporting them I started praying over my brother's 21 page Verizon bill and asked God to give me Kelly's mom's phone number. I just had a feeling she would know her daughter's whereabouts. I want you to know the very first number I dialed out of hundreds of calls was Kelly's mom's phone number (my brother and his girlfriend are obviously phone-a-holics, too). God is amazing! Sure enough, I found out that they were arrested downtown, Saturday night on heroin possession and this when they were supposed to attend Kelly's 8 year old daughter's baptism at church the next morning. (Her mother has custody of her daughter)
God really performed some fancy work to answer my prayers and help this pilgrim work on stopping the chaos in my father's home. It's not over by any means, but I will continue to lift up my eyes to the hills, where my LORD comes from. He helps me with every problem I face. Praise the Maker of heaven and earth, the helper of the pilgrims!
Photo, Dunnigan Hills, by encourager, courtesy of www.flickr.com

Friday, May 1, 2009

The "Yes" Principle

In the recent movie release, Yes Man*, Jim Carrey’s character, Carl, signs up for a self-help program based on one simple principle: say yes to everything and anything. At first, unleashing the power of “yes” transforms his life in amazing and unexpected ways, but he soon discovers that opening up his life to endless possibilities can have its drawbacks.

This “yes” principle has stuck in my mind because I realize it works the same way for Christians. This simple three-letter word can turn around our lives for the good. Saying “Yes” to God brings blessings beyond imagining and opens doors to new possibilities. But just like the character in this movie who experienced some snags at first, we need to make sure we are listening to God and allow him to guide the things we say "yes" to so things will not get out of whack.

I am praying for a balanced “yes” principle to permeate each of our lives—for each of us to be Yes Men and Yes Women. For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ (2 Corinthians 1:20). What can you say “Yes” to today that may change your life forever? I am asking God to open our eyes to HIS opportunities today.

*Of course, Hollywood had to ruin this great PG movie with crude sexual humor. :(
Photo by Alexis Wheeler courtesy of www.flickr.com