Eternal House

 

 

I hadn’t planned to go.

That wasn’t God’s plan, however.

Coming home from the grocery store, I made a quick, spontaneous decision. With one simple turn, I was headed toward the cemetery. It was nearing sundown and the air was cooling and gentle.

I drove to the area of our son’s grave and looked briefly at the flowers there. Feeling the familiar sense of loss and grief, I talked to God.

As I maneuvered my vehicle through the road leading out to the highway, I could see a woman at a nearby grave.

I pulled over and got out of the car.

"Did you lose someone recently?" I asked.

"Not recently,"  came the reply.  "Four years ago."

"Same with me," I said. "Four years and four months."

Those words began a dialogue of at least a half an hour or more. Sharing our individual stories of love and grief, faith in God and eternal life created an instant bridge of understanding.

As we talked, she shared that she rarely visited the cemetery during the week. Today was different.

I hadn’t planned to come, either—we both felt that we were somehow meant to talk.

My personal belief is that God intended us to have that encounter—to encourage one another in the Lord.

As I began to drive away, my heart was filled with joy and praise.

God knows our deepest hurts and He never, ever, leaves us alone…

 

 

 

 

 

 

No Moth Destroys

 

 

 

It was early morning—only about an hour and a half after sunrise. I hadn’t been at work long. As my door opened, my visitor walked in with a Luna Moth they had found outside. It was very colorful and quite large with a wingspan of at least three inches.

Some may view moths as beautiful creatures, displaying a myriad of designs and hues. Others may view them as serious pests, as their caterpillars eat plants and clothing.

In Luke, chapter 12, we are reminded that there is a treasure in heaven for us that cannot be exhausted; no theif can take it away—moths cannot destroy it.  This treasure is our eternal life, offered as a gift from God, paid for with the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross to redeem us.

Do you have this treasure today?

 

 

 

"Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys."    —Luke 12:32,33

 

 

 

 

With Gratitude

 

 

I heard someone praying yesterday.

Although I cannot remember the exact words that were spoken, I remember the sentiment well.

He was rejoicing in the fact that God had allowed him to live long enough to see his granddaughter accept God’s forgiveness and become a Christian.

Not having the words to say to fully express to God all that he was feeling, he simply asked Him to reach down into his heart and search for the gratitude that was within it.

I’d not thought of this before—wanting so to tell God the deep emotions that flood our hearts, and in failing at the attempt to find adequate verbage—asking Him to communicate with us on a level only He could accomplish.

A translation of communication from our spirit to God.

 

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.  —-Colossians 3:16

 

 

 

 

 

Remember Jesus Christ

 

This is an important week to remember.

A friend shared this idea with a group that I attend weekly.

She explained how today was Palm Sunday and next week would be Easter; however, the events of this week that took place when Jesus was on the earth need to be remembered and pondered.

How many days before He would eat with His disciples for the last time?

How many days before He was to be crucified for our sins?

It is an important week to remember.

He died.

He rose again.

He offers us new life.

 

 

 

New life in Him.

 

 

I Will Praise

 

 

What does it mean to sing praises to God?

What does it mean to praise Him among the nations?

What about the time you shared what God was doing in your life to your spouse’s parents?

What about the time you prayed with your neighbor who was in the hospital and you told him that he could trust God?

What about all the times you sang "Jesus Love Me" to your children when they were little?

What about the time you washed cars to raise money to send Bibles to an underpriviledged country?

Are your actions singing praise to God?

Are your words praising Him?

Testimonies of word and action surely are a form of praise.

God has done great and marvelous things for me and for you.

Therefore, we should praise Him.

 

 

 

 

 

The Wonder

The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

You’ve heard of them, haven’t you?

Remarkable works of construction.

Incredible.

Each a wonder on its own.

As I was reading the Bible this evening, this scripture stood out to me:

Show the wonder of your great love,

You who save by your right hand

those who take refuge in you from their foes.

Psalm 17:7

When we experience God’s great love, is it not remarkable? Incredible? A wonder?

Oh, the many ways He saves us, moment by moment, day after day.

What refuge He provides, protecting our very thoughts, calming our deepest fears.

The wonder of His great love.

Love for me.

Love for you.

 

 

 

 

 

Purify Us

 

 

But if we walk in the light,

as he is in the light,

we have fellowship with one another,

and the blood of Jesus, his Son,

purifies us from all sin.

If we claim to be without sin,

we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.

If we confess our sins,

he is faithful and just

and will forgive us

our sins and purify us

from all unrighteousness.

I John 1:7-9

 

 

 

 

 

Follow Me

 

 Then he said to them all:

"If anyone would come after me,

he must deny himself and take up

his cross daily and follow me.

For whoever wants to save his life

will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it.

What good is it for a man to gain the whole world,

and yet lose or forfeit his very self?

If anyone is ashamed of me and my words,

the Son of Man will be ashamed of him

when he comes in his glory and in the glory

of the Father and of the holy angels."

 Luke 9:23-26

 

 

 

Justice

 

 

 

Appoint judges and officials for each of your tribes in every town the LORD your God is giving you, and they shall judge the people fairly.  Do not pervert justice or show partiality. Do not accept a bribe, for a bribe blinds the eyes of the wise and twists the words of the righteous.  Follow justice and justice alone, so that you may live and possess the land the LORD your God is giving you.  —-Deuteronomy 16:18-20

 

 

Mighty Power

 

Be strong.

Be strong in the Lord.

Be strong in His power.

Be strong in His mighty power.

Everyone faces challenging situations in their lives. Some are bigger than others, but challenges do come.

When we are really strong is when we come to the point where we can say,

"I am weak; I need God to get me through this."

Perhaps you are sick, and you’ve lost your employment.

Perhaps you are quite well, and you’ve just accepted your dream job.

Both are challenges.

Maybe you’ve lost a good friend.

You might be at the beginning of a new relationship.

Both are challenges.

Does God care about the challenges in our lives?

Does He offer help?

The answer to both of these questions is simply, "Yes."

Invite Him to give you strength to face those moments that loom large in the pathway before you.

Ask Him to give you the power that you need to accomplish what He wants you to.

Ask Him to give you wisdom.

Ask Him to give you the words to say.

He hears.

Ephesians 6:10 says,

"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power."

 

 

 

 

 

God Will Supply

 

 

At the end of last summer, it was time to think of new shoes for work.

Only one year before, I was in the very same store, purchasing a pair of brown shoes. They proved to be great shoes, and I found myself wearing them almost every day. After about 9 months, the heals were so worn down that they began to throw my feet off balance. I had to make the decision—I threw them away.

So, here I was in the store and —-there they were! The very same shoes! Even though they were available, my budget was not in a position to withstand such a purchase. Sadly, I did not get them. That was about 8 months ago….

Last evening, I remembered my favorite shoes once again. I recalled to my husband how I had seen the shoes but hadn’t bought them. Oh, well.

This morning, I didn’t have to go to work. It was a sunny Saturday. I decided to go to some garage sales.

At the very first home I visited, I walked up to a table laden with items for sale. There, in front of me were two boxes, each holding a a pair of shoes.

New shoes.

In their original boxes.

With the expensive price stickers from the store still on them.

On sale for FIVE DOLLARS each.

A brown pair AND a black pair.

In my size.

THE VERY SAME SHOES I WANTED!

Not one pair, but two!!

I was smiling big as I bent over to try them on. I knew they were for me. From God. A gift.

I explained the significance of what was taking place to the woman hosting the sale. She replied, "God is good."

Indeed, He is!

 

And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

 Now to our God and Father be the glory forever and ever. Amen.

Philippians 4:19,20

 

 

 

 

 

Instead of the Thornbush

 

 

Yes, things were different then.

Earlier today, I was thinking about how things had changed in my life from just over a year ago. Prayers have been answered. Areas of concern have greatly improved. Looking back, enormous gains have been made. It is obvious to me that God has brought about miraculous events.

The 55th chapter of Isaiah is an invitation from God. Verses 12 and 13 tell of the good things replacing the bad:

You will go out in joy
       and be led forth in peace;
       the mountains and hills
       will burst into song before you,
       and all the trees of the field
       will clap their hands.

  Instead of the thornbush will grow the pine tree,
       and instead of briers the myrtle will grow.
       This will be for the LORD’s renown,
       for an everlasting sign,
       which will not be destroyed.

It has seemed to me that many times I have had a thornbush growing.

A spiritual thornbush.

A family thornbush.

A financial thornbush.

A relational thornbush.

Have I really had the faith to believe that God could replace them? Did I notice when the seed -bearing cones appeared?

With gratefulness welling up in my heart, I can truly say that there are now pines where many of the thornbushes once grew.

God is at work in my life… and in yours.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

He Draws Up

 

 

 

How great is God—beyond our understanding!
       The number of his years is past finding out.

  He draws up the drops of water,
       which distill as rain to the streams;

  the clouds pour down their moisture
       and abundant showers fall on mankind.

  Who can understand how he spreads out the clouds,
       how he thunders from his pavilion?

  See how he scatters his lightning about him,
       bathing the depths of the sea.

Job 36:26-30

 

Lord, you are so wonderful. You bless me with life and with love. You never leave me, even for one moment. You allow me to see your greatness in nature. You allow me to know your faithfulness within my heart. Help me to follow You each day.

 

Hide Me

 

 

 

It was windy. VERY windy.

I had driven by a road marked with a sign indicating a wildlife preserve many times over the years, but I had never taken the time to actually visit. Now was the time.

Pleasantly surprised, the acreage was inviting. With winds of 25 to 30 miles an hour, the air rushing through the trees mimicked the sound of the ocean.

New spring blossoms were scattered about. Small birds scurried from tree to tree, chirping and calling to one another. Overhead, larger birds maneuvered themselves in the swift currents blowing from across the lake.

At times, it seemed that the birds were suspended in one place, unable to fly into the wind or be blown back. It was fascinating to watch. On occasion, I would see the shadow on the ground of a large bird flying above me, blocking the sunlight.

Psalm 17:6-8 speaks of the shadow of God’s wings:

I call on you, O God, for you will answer me;
       give ear to me and hear my prayer.

  Show the wonder of your great love,
       you who save by your right hand
       those who take refuge in you from their foes.

  Keep me as the apple of your eye;
       hide me in the shadow of your wings…

Unlike the birds I saw at the preserve, God is not affected by strong winds. Nor does He struggle to move forward or backward, up or down. He is in complete control.

And the shadow of His wings? We may take refuge there, knowing that He is protecting us and ever watchful.

 

 

 

 

 

Make Disciples

 

Tomorrow is St. Patrick’s Day. Is this more than just a celebration of all things green, drawings of shamrocks on school room windows and pinching those unfortunate people who have forgotten to wear that certain special color?

If our busy lives were to slow down just a bit, we might actually stop to consider for a moment—who was Saint Patrick, anyway?

While I am confident that a great many people know exactly who he was and why we remember him, I must confess that I did not…

At least, until today.

After doing a little research, I was pleased to find out about Saint Patrick’s faith in God. 

His father was a deacon and his grandfather was a priest in Great Britain. When Patrick was only sixteen years old, he was kidnapped and carried to Ireland to be a slave. He worked as a herdsman for six years. In a letter, Patrick wrote that his faith grew while he was in captivity and that he had prayed every day. God revealed to him that he would soon go home, and within a series of events, he escaped and found passage on a ship that delivered him back to England to be reunited with his family. He was now in his early twenties. After a period of years had passed, he was led to return to Ireland. By his own account, he reported that he had, "baptized thousands of people," and had ordained priests to lead new Christian communities.

Matthew 28:19 and 20 states:

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.

Saint Patrick was obedient to his calling. He returned to the place of his captors in order to help bring the good news of Jesus Christ to the people of Ireland.

Tomorrow will be special for me. As I wear my green shirt to work, I can smile inside, knowing that centuries back, a young man with a heart turned to God chose to love others unconditionally.

Saint Patrick.

I’m glad I know…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blessed is He

 

The next day the great crowd that had come for the Feast heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting,
   "Hosanna!"
   "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!"
   "Blessed is the King of Israel!" Jesus found a young donkey and sat upon it, as it is written,
 "Do not be afraid, O Daughter of Zion;
      see, your king is coming,
      seated on a donkey’s colt."

John 12:12-15

 

 

 

 

Christ Lives in Me

 

 

The "old" me that was truly me before I accepted Jesus as my Savior is gone. That me doesn’t exist anymore.

Is that a difficult concept?

When I asked for forgiveness, seeking God, a transformation occurred.

I still knew all the things that I did before; I looked the same.

In a place deep down inside, where only God can reach, He came to live.

It was still me, but it was me plus Him.

Nothing was the same with Him there.

When placed together, the darkness and a single candle flame become light.

Darkness is simply crowded out.

No room for that anymore.

The "old" me is different, because Christ lives "in" me.

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. —Galatians 2:20

 

 

 

 

 

It is You

Psalm 142:3a

When my spirit was overwhelmed within me, then thou knewest my path. (KJV)

And whenever I feel low, you are there to guide me. (CEV)

As I sink in despair, my spirit ebbing away, you know how I’m feeling. (The Message)

When I am overwhelmed, you alone know the way I should turn. (NLT)

When my spirit grows faint within me, it is you who know my way.(NIV)

 

In reading several versions of Psalm 142, this seemed to be the heartfelt "collage" of the earnest prayer from verse three:

Whenever I am feeling low and my spirit is overwhelmed within me, ebbing away, and I’m sinking in despair, growing faint, You are there to guide me; you know my  path, my way–the way I should turn; You know how I’m feeling.

Overwhelming times will come. Despair will sit on your doorstep. In those moments, knowing that God knows us is a great comfort. He is faithful to guide us each day through our path.


 

 

 

 

 

If Anyone Hears

 

 

The Amen,

the faithful and true Witness,

the Beginning of the creation of God,

says this:

‘Behold, I stand at the door and knock;

if anyone hears My voice and opens the door,

I will come in to him

and will dine with him,

and he with Me.

Revelation 14:b,20

 

Is Jesus standing at your door and knocking today?

Will you choose to let Him in?

I remember the day that I heard Him knocking.

I opened the door.

Listen….do you hear Him?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Washed

 

 

Could a song be annointed?

There are certain songs that bring the desire to praise God bubbling out of my heart. To me, there is an empowering of that which we call music to reach hidden places of my soul.

One such song is "Alive Again" by Matt Mahr. Consider his words:

You shattered my darkness

Washed away my blindness

Now I’m breathing in and breathing out

I’m alive again

 

When I hear those words coupled with the instruments, I want to join in the praise. God DID shatter my darkness;

He washed away my spiritual blindness.

I’m breathing in and breathing out a life not possible without His forgiveness. I am truly alive again.

There was a very strong rainstorm this afternoon. As it subsided, I found myself out in the fresh air, looking at the water droplets suspended on the plants. The rain had washed the flowers, the bushes and the trees, leaving them vibrant and renewed.

In John 9:11 we read, "The man they call Jesus made some mud and put it on my eyes. He told me to go to Siloam and wash. So I went and washed, and then I could see."

God washed away my blindness years ago, and then, I could see. I could see His love. I could see His forgiveness.

As the rain washes the leaves and blossoms, His love washes us clean from our sin.

……I’m alive again!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Across the Expanse

 

And God said,

"Let the water teem with living creatures,

and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the sky."

 So God created the great creatures of the sea

and every living and moving thing with which the water teems,

according to their kinds,

and every winged bird according to its kind.

And God saw that it was good.

Genesis 1:20,21

 

 

 

 

 

Run With Perseverance

 

To run.

I thought I knew what that was. I’ve seen it done. I’ve done it myself. However, I’ve never thought about it this way.

According to the dictionary, this is what "run" really means:

 

"to go quickly by moving the legs more rapidly than at a walk and in such a manner that for an instant in each step all or both feet are off the ground."

The phrase "both feet off the ground" got my attention. Continually lifting ourselves above the ground, time and again, with purpose.

For each of us there is a spiritual race marked out. It cannot be separated from our physical lives, because God works in us through our earthly experiences, challenges and goals. We find God beside us as we go the distance.

Could it be that we are to "run" in our journey of faith, being lifted above the temptation to become stationary?

As we determine to run, is it not God who repeatedly lifts our feet?

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.

—Hebrews 12:1

 

 

 

 

 

 

Door of My Lips

 

It was an interesting idea.

As part of a group activity, everyone was to take a blank sheet of paper and draw.

Not just draw, but draw specific representations.

Not just any representations, but those that the leader of the activity specified.

I was uncomfortable with some of the topics to be illustrated.

One was the topic of regret.

Something you’d done that you wish you hadn’t.

I drew a stick figure.

Next, I drew another–a shorter stick figure beside it.

I drew lines coming from the mouth of the taller one.

What did all this mean?

I had thought of words that I had said from years ago when raising my children that I wish I hadn’t said.

Not horrible things, but perhaps discouraging remarks.

Remarks that showed dissapointment in them rather than encouragement.

Irritable remarks instead of kinder, more understanding comments.

What I didn’t know was that the leader was going to have each of us show our drawings and explain their meaning.

Did I mention being uncomfortable before?

I do regret the failings of the past.

So, what is there to do?

Ask God for forgiveness.

Resolve to use words of gratitude, sincerity and kindness.

Correct others when necessary, but using compassionate words formed from a heart with a right attitude toward the situation.

Psalm 141:3 says:

Set a guard over my mouth, O LORD; keep watch over the door of my lips.

 

 

 

 

 

Resurrection

Lord," Martha said to Jesus, "if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask."

 Jesus said to her, "Your brother will rise again."

 Martha answered, "I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day."

 Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?"

 "Yes, Lord," she told him, "I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who was to come into the world."

—John 11:21-27

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Day to Day Journal

 

Throughout my life I have taught many piano lessons.

After a beginning student has successfully progressed to perhaps the middle of the first method book, I have been known to have them look back at the first few pages to see just how far they have come. In their own estimation, it is evident that the  exercises and short melodies seem incredibly simple. They are no longer at the level where they started. Given their present maturity of skill, the previous pages are but a memory of struggles past. Enjoying their present abilities, they look forward to the future, certain of greater proficiency and heightened development.

We are all enrolled in lessons—-life lessons. Who is the teacher? God is. What method is He using? It’s perfectly personalized for each one of us individually. We begin our sessions with simple understandings of God as He patiently instructs us through our lives, one page at a time. Each day is a fresh assignment, to be accomplished using what we have already learned, with the addition of newly presented wisdom ready for our embrace.

As we look back occassionally over the previous pages in our personal record book of life, do the earlier chapters seem like chronicles of simple melodies and short exercises when compared to our current relationship with God?

In the Book of Esther in the Old Testament, we are given the account of an evening when King Xerxes was having difficulty sleeping. He ordered that a book containing events that had happened during his reign be brought to him and read. Most of us have no written account of our every day lives, yet God has kept our "lesson notes" with every detail finely recorded. He is aware of the pages where we struggled the most; He knows the tunes that flowed effortlessly after hours of practice and submission to His will.

Thinking back, we’re not where we once were. We look forward to the future, certain of greater closeness with God and a heightened awareness of His unfailing love.

That night the king couldn’t sleep. He ordered the record book, the day-by-day journal of events, to be brought and read to him.

 —Esther 6:1 The Message

 

 

 

At the End of the Journey

 

The promise of "arrival" and "rest" is still there for God’s people.

God himself is at rest.

And at the end of the journey we’ll surely rest with God.

So let’s keep at it and eventually arrive at the place of rest,

not drop out through some sort of disobedience. 

God means what he says.

What he says goes.

 

–from Hebrews 4:8-13 The Message