Sunday, February 27, 2011

Christianity At It's Finest

He walks into church on his tip-ties, one hand in his father's and fingers from the other hand shoved in his mouth.  He is a cute little blonde that we see always smiling, always hugging.    He wants to be with his daddy, whom he adores.  He has a wide forehead, a flatten nose and deep set eyes.  He appears to be calm and a happy child.   His name is Carson and he goes to my church.  He has a rare genetic problem, Smith Magenis Syndrome. 

With two older brothers and a younger sister, he is a force to be reckoned with.  He wants to do what his sister, two years is younger does.  He tries to speak, and does get a few words out, though not a conversationalist.  Carson's ability to communicate is limited.  This syndrome affects his sleep, his learning abilities, and may cause hearing loss as he grows older.  But Carson keeps going on, and so does his family.  His mom doesn't let us see what happens at home, too much.  Carson is like the energizer bunny that never quiets.  He can quickly get in to anything just in the three minutes she leaves the room to take a bathroom break.  She has three other children that need her attention too.  Her husband is there as much as a working father can be, but a lot of dealing with Carson and the others fall on her.  But, this weekend is about Carson.

Our church held a benefit for his mounting medical bills.  Until the insurance catches up and certain things are decided, it is scary to think what they have to endure.  The benefit was tonight as an auction.  Several community businesses, people from our church, and all over to help this family out.  It was Christianity at it's finest.  Bids were made, friendly banter exchanged, and the love for one family, for one little boy has been felt.  This is what God wants us to do.  Help those who can not help themselves.  Take care of those who need and accept it.  Our minister, who is also Carson's grandfather always goes to the song, "Little Is Much When God is In It."  Have you seen a little do great big things because God blessed it?   Praise God and thank him for his blessings.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Be the Doorman!

I am so uplifted by Psalm 84 today!  Yesterday was my birthday and I was crazy busy from the time I woke up, until I sat down on my couch at 8:30 last night.  I think I was asleep by 9:30.  Good thing I DVR'd CSI.

After that last few Psalms of crying out to God, this one is all praise to him.  I know of songs that were wrote because of inspiration of this chapter and I love that.  Another Bible verse or two, I can say I know. 

I love the tenth verse.  I would rather be the doorman for God's house, than a visitor in an evil man's tents.  That is so true.  To be the lowest on the totem pole in heaven is still better than climbing the ladder of deceit.

1 How lovely is your dwelling place,
   LORD Almighty!
2 My soul yearns, even faints,
   for the courts of the LORD;
my heart and my flesh cry out
   for the living God.
3 Even the sparrow has found a home,
   and the swallow a nest for herself,
   where she may have her young—
a place near your altar,
   LORD Almighty, my King and my God.
4 Blessed are those who dwell in your house;
   they are ever praising you.

 5 Blessed are those whose strength is in you,
   whose hearts are set on pilgrimage.
6 As they pass through the Valley of Baka,
   they make it a place of springs;
   the autumn rains also cover it with pools.
7 They go from strength to strength,
   till each appears before God in Zion.

 8 Hear my prayer, LORD God Almighty;
   listen to me, God of Jacob.
9 Look on our shield, O God;
   look with favor on your anointed one.

 10 Better is one day in your courts
   than a thousand elsewhere;
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
   than dwell in the tents of the wicked.
11 For the LORD God is a sun and shield;
   the LORD bestows favor and honor;
no good thing does he withhold
   from those whose walk is blameless.

 12 LORD Almighty,
   blessed is the one who trusts in you.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Revenge, is it so sweet?

When I was little, I am sure that when another child took my toy, I tried to take it back.  As a pre-teen, I would scheme ways to get back at all those kids who hurt my feelings, made me mad and upset me.  Revenge, on paper, seems to always give a purpose when in the planning stages.  You can feel the satisfaction of how the other person should react, and in your minds eye, it is the perfect plan.  But, how far do you actually take it? 

Revenge is like most everything else.  It sounds good on paper, but when you actually follow through with the plan, it leaves you empty.  You have the weight of the shame and guilt on your shoulders like a heavy blanket.  Plus, it usually doesn't make the person you took the revenge on look at you in the same light.  I am not one who honestly likes or plots revenge.  I do not spend a lot of time thinking on what to do to get back at someone.  It's not in my DNA, I think.  Now, as an adult, I have better things to do than worry about how to avenge myself.  some of you may call this a flaw.  That I let people step all over me and take advantage of me.  I have never thought of it as being taken advantage of.  If I had a problem with that, I would speak up.  They say I am too nice.  I say it is less effort to be nice to someone than fight them on it. 

As I was reading Psalm 83, this was the thoughts that came to my mind.  God needs to be the avenger, not us.

 1 O God, do not remain silent;
   do not turn a deaf ear,
   do not stand aloof, O God.
2 See how your enemies growl,
   how your foes rear their heads.
3 With cunning they conspire against your people;
   they plot against those you cherish.
4 “Come,” they say, “let us destroy them as a nation,
   so that Israel’s name is remembered no more.”

 5 With one mind they plot together;
   they form an alliance against you—
6 the tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites,
   of Moab and the Hagrites,
7 Byblos, Ammon and Amalek,
   Philistia, with the people of Tyre.
8 Even Assyria has joined them
   to reinforce Lot’s descendants.

 9 Do to them as you did to Midian,
   as you did to Sisera and Jabin at the river Kishon,
10 who perished at Endor
   and became like dung on the ground.
11 Make their nobles like Oreb and Zeeb,
   all their princes like Zebah and Zalmunna,
12 who said, “Let us take possession
   of the pasturelands of God.”

 13 Make them like tumbleweed, my God,
   like chaff before the wind.
14 As fire consumes the forest
   or a flame sets the mountains ablaze,
15 so pursue them with your tempest
   and terrify them with your storm.
16 Cover their faces with shame, LORD,
   so that they will seek your name.

 17 May they ever be ashamed and dismayed;
   may they perish in disgrace.
18 Let them know that you, whose name is the LORD—
   that you alone are the Most High over all the earth.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

"The 'gods' know nothing..."

Psalm 82

 1 God presides in the great assembly;
   he renders judgment among the “gods”:

 2 “How long will you defend the unjust
   and show partiality to the wicked?
3 Defend the weak and the fatherless;
   uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed.
4 Rescue the weak and the needy;
   deliver them from the hand of the wicked.

 5 “The ‘gods’ know nothing, they understand nothing.
   They walk about in darkness;
   all the foundations of the earth are shaken.

 6 “I said, ‘You are “gods”;
   you are all sons of the Most High.’
7 But you will die like mere mortals;
   you will fall like every other ruler.”

 8 Rise up, O God, judge the earth,
   for all the nations are your inheritance. 

When I read this Psalm, my first thought was toward the Libyan leader,  Moammar Gadhafi.  Now normally, I wouldn't give him much thought.  But with all the unrest in the  Middle East and his country is at the for front of the news right now.  He said in a speech, today, that his country wants glory and that he wants to be a marytr.  He describes the protesters in Tripoli, Libya as misguide youth that have been given drugs and money to attack the government buildings and police.   He goes on to say, "You men and women who love Gadhafi ... get out of your homes and fill the streets," he said. "Leave your homes and attack them in their lairs."

God tells us that these 'gods' know nothing.  They will die just like you and me.  They are no better than us.  Our one true God will judge them as he will judge the earth.  Pray for our brothers and sisters that are in the Middle East.

Monday, February 21, 2011

It's that easy...

Some days it is just hard to concentrate.  Some days, all you want to do is tune out everything.  We are all good at hearing only what we want to hear, and not paying attention to anything else.  Our minister says that God gave you two ears to hear and one mouth to speak, so you should do twice as much listening as you do speaking.  Sometimes, if you would only listen and hear what was being said, conflicts would be squelched, miscommunications would be at a minimum and God's promises would reign.

In Psalm 81, God promises that if his people (us) would listen to him and follow him, he would take care of their enemies and he would take care of their needs.  Would that be wonderful?  God taking care of everything we need and will satisfy us if only we simply listen.  It is that easy.  God doesn't ask us to do hard things.  Listening is one of the most simple things we can do for anyone.  I just had a co-worker come to me and tell me about her weekend.  She got some sad news.  She didn't ask for my advice, she just wanted someone to listen for a bit.  God just wants the same.  He wants us to really listen, with both ears.  He wants us to take in his commands obey them, and he will give us what we need.  How simple is that?

Psalm 81

11 “But my people would not listen to me;
   Israel would not submit to me.
12 So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts
   to follow their own devices.
 13 “If my people would only listen to me,
   if Israel would only follow my ways,
14 how quickly I would subdue their enemies
   and turn my hand against their foes!
15 Those who hate the LORD would cringe before him,
   and their punishment would last forever.
16 But you would be fed with the finest of wheat;
   with honey from the rock I would satisfy you.”

Friday, February 18, 2011

Shine On Us

In this section of the book of Psalms, we are going through a series of prayers.  The people feel that God has abandoned them.  God never abandons you.  He may step back and let you do your own thing to teach you a lesson, but He won't ever leave you or forsake you.  Jesus tells us that.  Some of these prayers are depressing.  But this one, chapter 80, is not as sad.  As with a lot of the hymns, this one was made into a song.  I like the verse that is repeated throughout this chapter several times.  I call it the chorus.  It is found as verse three, verse seven and verse nineteen.  Those three verses bring hope.  All God has to do is look at you and you may be saved, if you are willing.

 7 Restore us, God Almighty;
   make your face shine on us,
   that we may be saved.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Our God

In Psalm 79, the verse that stays with me is the last verse.  And below the verse is a song that I hope we will be singing very soon in church.  This is how I want to praise God!

Psalm 79
13 Then we your people, the sheep of your pasture,
   will praise you forever;
from generation to generation
   we will proclaim your praise.

Our God
Written and Sung by Chris Tomlin
Water you turned into wine, opened the eyes of the blind there's no one like you none like You!
Into the darkness you shine out of the ashes we rise there's no one like you none like You!
Our God is greater, our God is stronger, God you are higher than any other.
Our God is Healer, Awesome in Power, Our God! Our God!

Into the darkness you shine out of the ashes we rise there's no one like you none like You!
Our God is greater, our God is stronger, God you are higher than any other.
Our God is Healer, Awesome in Power, Our God! Our God!
Our God is greater, our God is stronger, God you are higher than any other.
Our God is Healer, Awesome in Power, Our God! Our God!

And if our God is for us, then who could ever stop us.
And if our God is with us, then what could stand against.
And if our God is for us, then who could ever stop us.
And if our God is with us, then what could stand against.
What could stand against.

Our God is greater, our God is stronger, God you are higher than any other.
Our God is Healer, Awesome in Power, Our God! Our God!
Our God is greater, our God is stronger, God you are higher than any other.
Our God is Healer, Awesome in Power, Our God! Our God!
And if our God is for us, then who could ever stop us.
And if our God is with us, then what could stand against.
And if our God is for us, then who could ever stop us.
And if our God is with us, then what could stand against.
Then what could stand against.

Our God is greater, our God is stronger, God you are higher than any other.
Our God is Healer, Awesome in Power, Our God! Our God!
Our God is greater, our God is stronger, God you are higher than any other.
Our God is Healer, Awesome in Power, Our God! Our God!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

A Warning for All Christians

Psalm 78 is a synopsis of the children of God.  It's the story of how God's children treated God and how God responded.  It should be a warning to all us Christians.  What we have that they didn't have is the blood of Jesus covering us.  I am so thankful for that! 

This psalm is long, but some of the most important teachings are in the first eight verses.  The author definitely did not mince words with this one.

 1 My people, hear my teaching;
   listen to the words of my mouth.
2 I will open my mouth with a parable;
   I will utter hidden things, things from of old—
3 things we have heard and known,
   things our ancestors have told us.
4 We will not hide them from their descendants;
   we will tell the next generation
the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD,
   his power, and the wonders he has done.
5 He decreed statutes for Jacob
   and established the law in Israel,
which he commanded our ancestors
   to teach their children,
6 so the next generation would know them,
   even the children yet to be born,
   and they in turn would tell their children.
7 Then they would put their trust in God
   and would not forget his deeds
   but would keep his commands.
8 They would not be like their ancestors—
   a stubborn and rebellious generation,
whose hearts were not loyal to God,
   whose spirits were not faithful to him.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Therapy for the Blues

When we get down, everything seems to fall apart.  We can not seem to see the silver lining, and we think that no one cares for us.  No matter what we do or say, nothing goes right.  Your pity party grows so big, that the sun can not shine on you.  The black cloud seems to stay over your head and you just want everyone to feel sorry for you.

The author of Psalm 77 seems to have the same problem.  He thinks that God has forgotten him and his people.  But then he decides to talk it out with God.  Interesting.  He appeals to God and reminds God and himself of all that he has done and how great God is.  That seems to perk him up.  It lifts me up too, when I go to God.  Whether I am sad, mad, or confused, talking out my problems with God seem to help.  Sometimes just using this devotion to write things out is therapeutic enough to make me feel better.  These verses seem to be where help for everyone can come.

Psalm 77:10-12

10 Then I thought, “To this I will appeal:
   the years when the Most High stretched out his right hand.
11 I will remember the deeds of the LORD;
   yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago.
12 I will consider all your works
   and meditate on all your mighty deeds.”

Monday, February 14, 2011

Loving God

Happy Valentine's Day! Today is the a day to show those you care about how much you care. There were hearts, flowers, cards, and candy at church yesterday. Yesterday was deemed Love Sunday. We gave cards, notes and candy to most everyone. It's a nice way to show our Christian family how much we love them.

How do you show your family love? Do you show them everyday? Valentine's Day is close to my birthday, so I never expect anything. My husband asked me what we were doing for the holdiay. I told him I didn't want to do anything. The kids are going to see the new movie Gnomeo and Juliet, but that's okay. I'd rather stay home. I am making a yummy roast, rice and veggies and bread. I make a pretty good cheesecake, so I am making that for a nice treat.

I love my children and husband and would do almost anything for them. I take them to church, I correct them, talk with them, help them deal with their problems and support them. I love them with everything in my being. But I love God more.

Deuteronomy 6:5 "Love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength."

I think that loving the Lord with all your heart is easy. We are emotional people. Sometimes it is much easier to follow our emotions than our minds. Love is much more than an emotion. It is an action. How do you love? You do things, you say things, and the emotions that you send others. You do everything you can to show your emotion for others.

Loving God with all your soul is tricky. Your soul is not something you feel, or even think about. Our soul is what you put into things. What you do in your job, your life, your family, your relationships, can be your soul. So loving God with all that you have in you may be what this means.

Loving God with all your mind is your concious effort to make decisions, logical ideas and knowing what is right from wrong. Being wise is something that most of deem to be important. But to love God, you have to make that decision to follow God, to put away your old life and follow him in obedience.

I think that loving God with all your strength is exactly that. It takes all your strength at times to love God with your heart, soul and mind. You get so wrapped up in earthly things, that putting your mind on God takes strength. It takes work. It takes devotion, fellowship, and friendship. You have to be devoted to God, you need to be with other Christians, and you need friends of like minds to keep your strength up in loving God. Each Christian depends on each other to be there for them. We need each other to encourage and lift each other up to the Lord in prayer. That is what keeps our strength up in the Lord.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Affirmations May Abound

Psalm 76 is a song to God about his wrath and power.  It tells great things about what God does to those against him and how no one can stand against him.  I hate conflict.  If I do something wrong, I take the blame, right the wrong to the best of my ability, and move on.  If someone comes at me with anger or accusations, I do not put up a fight.  I am terrible at defending myself and do not want to talk out of anger.  I want to let it lie for a few days and either revisit it or it is realized that it was just not that important. 

I know a person that is not easy to work with.  This person does not like to their authority to be questioned or challenged.  If I think an instruction is clear and do it to the best of my ability, it is rarely satisfied by this person.  This has led me to realized that I am someone who needs to have an "atta-boy" thrown at me, so I know that what I am doing is okay.  It doesn't have to be every time, but when I do something at work, I need someone to say that it was fine, or no, there were things that had to be changed.  Giving an affirmation to someone doesn't have to be grand or in public, but even God likes to hear that someone appreciates his greatness and all he does for us!  So your assignment for this weekend, is tell someone that you do not normally talk to, that you appreciate something they do.  You can write them a note, or you can talk to them at church.  Just give them a little love this weekend!

 1 God is renowned in Judah;
   in Israel his name is great.
2 His tent is in Salem,
   his dwelling place in Zion.
3 There he broke the flashing arrows,
   the shields and the swords, the weapons of war.

 4 You are radiant with light,
   more majestic than mountains rich with game.
5 The valiant lie plundered,
   they sleep their last sleep;
not one of the warriors
   can lift his hands.
6 At your rebuke, God of Jacob,
   both horse and chariot lie still.

 7 It is you alone who are to be feared.
   Who can stand before you when you are angry?
8 From heaven you pronounced judgment,
   and the land feared and was quiet—
9 when you, God, rose up to judge,
   to save all the afflicted of the land.
10 Surely your wrath against mankind brings you praise,
   and the survivors of your wrath are restrained.

 11 Make vows to the LORD your God and fulfill them;
   let all the neighboring lands
   bring gifts to the One to be feared.
12 He breaks the spirit of rulers;
   he is feared by the kings of the earth.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

I Want to Feel the Earth Quake

Psalm 75

3 When the earth and all its people quake,
   it is I who hold its pillars firm.

Most weekday mornings, I get up, shower, put on my work clothes, go make lunches and get the kids up for school.  I turn on the news and listen as I am eating breakfast.  Sometimes I hear what is going on, sometimes I don't.  Like I didn't hear about the Taco Bell "what's-in-the-beef" story.  Allie was telling me all about that.  But this morning, I heard that in Kentucky today, the governor has declared today "National Earthquake Awareness Day", or something like that.  Timm thought it was weird, and we discussed the fault line that the Brent Spence Bridge is on.  As I read verse three, I thought of that little, passing conversation.  I also feel cheated.  Well, not really.  But it seems like that when we have an earthquake here, I am in a car or in California.  I do not ever remember feeling the ground shake.  Back in the 1980's, we had a good shaking.  Mom and Dad were sitting on the front porch of our home.  It is a concrete porch and Dad said it was just like someone took it and started shaking it.  They both turned around to see who or what was doing that.  Me?  I was on my way home from working at Kings Island.  I can't imagine what the earthquake in Haiti was like.  God tells us that he will hold us up.

It's not that I want to shake, rattle, and roll.  I am sure I can find something that will simulate what being in an earthquake is like.  But to have that unsureness under my feet, being that off balance, is something that I want to experience.  I want to feel it because I know no fear in this area.  God will probably laugh at what my face will look like when it starts. But he will hold the pillars in place.  We all have that assurance.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

He Doesn't Forget

This devotion may seem like a continuation of yesterday, but sometimes it seems as if those against us get the praise and adoration and we get nothing.  In Psalm 74, the author is pleading with God to remember who mocked his name, who burned down the sanctuary, who is against God.  Like God would forget.  But sometimes it does our heart good to say out loud, or write down our truest feelings.  Please God, don't forget about me!  Don't you think that when you are going through an illness, a family problem, or just feeling down?  I
God doesn't forget about us.  He is totally into you.  He knows your favorites, your wants, desires, and what makes you unique.  He is more personal to you than you will ever be toward Him.  But we should always strive for that and always praise His name.

Psalm 74:21
21 Do not let the oppressed retreat in disgrace;
   may the poor and needy praise your name.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Psalm 73

Sometimes it feels like no matter how much I follow God or how much I try and show His love, people who are self-centered and not what I would call a Christian seems to get ahead and prosper in so many ways while I get deeper in debt and feel so unworthy.  Now part of that is my own self confidence, and part of that may be jealousy. I sound all judgy now, don't I?  That's not where I am trying to go with this.  Sometimes it feels like the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.  Can you tell I just did my taxes? 

Ironically, that is how the psalmist tells it in Psalm 73.

Surely God is good to Israel,
   to those who are pure in heart.
 2 But as for me, my feet had almost slipped;
   I had nearly lost my foothold.
3 For I envied the arrogant
   when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. 

But God will deal with them.  They may get ahead here, but where does that count?  In eternity, it is those who obey and follow God.  You do not have to be the one who stands out in the crowd, but you do have to be the one to do what God wants you to do, when He wants you to do it.  If we worry about everyone else in the world and their actions, we do not concentrate on our own actions and how they fall into God's will.  Think about it.  Are you more worried about what your neighbor is doing than what is happening in your own house?  Are you irritated with what the politicians in Washington are saying, and not talking to the council men in your own town?  Is your heart staying with Jesus, or the world?

I hope you are staying faithful to God.  It's not that you can't worry about others.  Just don't worry to distraction.  We need to keep ourselves from sin.  God will take care of the unrighteous just as he takes care of the righteous.  Sometimes it is not for us to understand until later.

16 When I tried to understand all this,
   it troubled me deeply
17 till I entered the sanctuary of God;
   then I understood their final destiny.


Monday, February 7, 2011

A Prayer for a Son

Psalm 72 is a prayer from David to God about David's son and successor, Solomon.  It's a nice prayer that asks God to give Solomon what he needs to be king of Israel.  The most interesting thing about this prayer is the last verse.  The verse says that this concludes David's prayers.  So does this mean there are no more recorded in the Bible? Did he whisper this prayer on his deathbed?  Whatever the reason, David said a great prayer for his son. 

I pray for my son all the time.  Mostly because I want God to cover him and keep him safe, but partly because Timm is such a free spirit and sometimes he doesn't think before he speaks.  I ask God to keep him safe, help him make the right choices during the day and to be a blessing.  I love my son and hope God's plan for him will be something I will get to see in the future.

Psalm 72

1 Endow the king with your justice, O God,
   the royal son with your righteousness.
2 May he judge your people in righteousness,
   your afflicted ones with justice.
 3 May the mountains bring prosperity to the people,
   the hills the fruit of righteousness.
4 May he defend the afflicted among the people
   and save the children of the needy;
   may he crush the oppressor.
5 May he endure as long as the sun,
   as long as the moon, through all generations.
6 May he be like rain falling on a mown field,
   like showers watering the earth.
7 In his days may the righteous flourish
   and prosperity abound till the moon is no more.

 8 May he rule from sea to sea
   and from the River to the ends of the earth.
9 May the desert tribes bow before him
   and his enemies lick the dust.
10 May the kings of Tarshish and of distant shores
   bring tribute to him.
May the kings of Sheba and Seba
   present him gifts.
11 May all kings bow down to him
   and all nations serve him.

 12 For he will deliver the needy who cry out,
   the afflicted who have no one to help.
13 He will take pity on the weak and the needy
   and save the needy from death.
14 He will rescue them from oppression and violence,
   for precious is their blood in his sight.

 15 Long may he live!
   May gold from Sheba be given him.
May people ever pray for him
   and bless him all day long.
16 May grain abound throughout the land;
   on the tops of the hills may it sway.
May the crops flourish like Lebanon
   and thrive like the grass of the field.
17 May his name endure forever;
   may it continue as long as the sun.

   Then all nations will be blessed through him,
   and they will call him blessed.

 18 Praise be to the LORD God, the God of Israel,
   who alone does marvelous deeds.
19 Praise be to his glorious name forever;
   may the whole earth be filled with his glory.
            Amen and Amen.

 20 This concludes the prayers of David son of Jesse.

Friday, February 4, 2011

You Are As Old As You Feel

In a few weeks I will be a little older.  Not old, mind you, but a year older.  But as the saying goes, "You are as old as you feel."  Most days, I feel I am in my twenties.  Not old enough to have a 16 year old.  But I can see in that the face in the mirror that is looking back at me has aged a little.  I do not feel wiser, that is for sure. That is because I have teenagers.   Have I learned anything in my past few years of life?  I hope so!

I have learned that sometimes making others happy is not always an option.  But making yourself happy is always an option.
I have learned that I am happy with myself. 
I have learned that I do not want to go back to school and get more knowledge.  I am not in a place in my life where that is my desire.
I am a work in progress with God.
I have learned how to read my children and what motivates them.  I am learning the same with others around me too!
I have learned that personally, I do not need a ton of friends. 
I have learned to love my church family!
I have learned that a love story comes in all shapes and sizes.

I thank God that he honors the older generation, because someday we will be part of it.  I started thinking of this on the way to work this morning.  But then I read Psalm 71 and found this verse.  I love that God will take care of me and will keep me as his own when I am more mature.

 9 Do not cast me away when I am old;
   do not forsake me when my strength is gone.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Psalm 70

In our Sunday School class, we just finished up on the Five Love Languages, by Dr. Gary Chapman.  I found out what my love language is and more importantly, what the languages are of people around me.  This morning, I was thinking of different people I know on my drive to work, and realized how much the love languages theme is starting to help me understand others.  I don't try to put on airs or have pity parties, but just be myself.  I like to have fun, try and wait for God to send me on my next path and know that no matter what happens, he will save me!

Psalm 70
4 But may all who seek you
   rejoice and be glad in you;
may those who long for your saving help always say,
   “The LORD is great!”
5 But as for me, I am poor and needy;
   come quickly to me, O God.
You are my help and my deliverer;
   LORD, do not delay.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Whiter Than Snow

I love winter.  Yes, I know.  I am a freak.  One of my favorite series of books is the "Little House on the Prairie" books by Laura Ingalls Wilder.  Of that series, "The Long Winter", is still sitting on my bedside table, for me to pick up whenever I feel the need to go through a blizzard.  I love reading about how the kids get caught at school in a blizzard, how Laura and Mary help Pa tightly twist the hay for fuel and how they keep their spirits up. 

In "The Long Winter", a series of blizzards come through the Midwest.  According to my sources, a lot of this book is true.  There were seven months of blizzards from October 1880 to May 1881.  The railroad shut down and a lot of townspeople starved or nearly starved.  I started thinking about this, obviously because of the large blizzard that has come over the northern middle of our country right now.  We are suppose to get a lot of rain tonight, and we got  little ice last night.  The weather has been very snowy this season, and I heard this morning, that usually, February is the snowiest month of all the winter months.  Are we in trouble?  I don't know.  I can't predict the weather.  I am just glad we have weather people who do and warn us about the weather.

Though I love this cold, white season, I know it brings a lot of people down.  It's cold air makes for aches and pains.  The darker skies bring gloom and sadness.  People do not want to get out in weather like this. It is depressing.  But, on the upside, I love the snow fall, just as it is covering everything.  The world is quiet, the sounds are muted and all you see is white.  It reminds me that God loves me and washes all my sins so they are white a snow.  White as snow may also be how Jesus looks in heaven. To me, snow white is perfection for God.

Psalm 51:7
 7Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

Mark 9:2-3
 2And after six days Jesus taketh with him Peter, and James, and John, and leadeth them up into an high mountain apart by themselves: and he was transfigured before them.
 3And his raiment became shining, exceeding white as snow; so as no fuller on earth can white them.

So don't despair during these long, dark months.  The snow may be deep, and the wind may be harshly cold, but the whiteness of it is something to dwell on.  Sing with me...

Whiter Than Snow
Words by James L. Nicholson
Music by William G. Fischer

Lord Jesus, I long to be perfectly whole;
I want Thee forever to live in my soul.
Break down every idol, cast out every foe;
Now wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

Whiter than snow, yes, whiter than snow.
Now wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

Lord Jesus, let nothing unholy remain,
Apply Thine own blood and extract ev’ry stain;
To get this blest cleansing, I all things forego—
Now wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

Lord Jesus, look down from Thy throne in the skies,
And help me to make a complete sacrifice.
I give up myself, and whatever I know,
Now wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

Lord Jesus, for this I most humbly entreat,
I wait, bless├Ęd Lord, at Thy crucified feet.
By faith, for my cleansing, I see Thy blood flow,
Now wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

Lord Jesus, Thou seest I patiently wait,
Come now, and within me a new heart create;
To those who have sought Thee, Thou never saidst “No,”
Now wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

The blessing by faith, I receive from above;
O glory! my soul is made perfect in love;
My prayer has prevailed, and this moment I know,
The blood is applied, I am whiter than snow.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Out of the Water

When I was about twelve or thirteen, my family and my Dad's sister and her two boys went to Armco Park to go swimming in the lake.  Now as most lakes do, it gets progressively deeper the farther out you go.  While we were swimming, I went out where it was almost to my shoulders.  I'd dive under, grab the mud on the bottom and see what I could bring up.  I could do that for hours.  I love being underwater, especially in dark, murky cool water. 

Well, during this time, I came up for air, I hear someone yelling.  I look over to the shoreline and see my Aunt Judy looking past me and starting to run.  I turn around, and I see John's head going under, maybe for the last time.  So I push myself over to where he is, grab him, and lift him out of the water.  He grabs my neck with all his might and I carry him to the sand.  He got in too deep and couldn't swim well enough to get out. 

I was reminded of this incident when I read the first few verses of Psalm 69.
1 Save me, O God,
   for the waters have come up to my neck.
2 I sink in the miry depths,
   where there is no foothold.
I have come into the deep waters;
   the floods engulf me.
3 I am worn out calling for help;
   my throat is parched. 

When you feel like life is crashing over you like waves, and you can't get your head above the water, God is there.  Verse 29 states this very truth.
 29 But as for me, afflicted and in pain—
   may your salvation, God, protect me. 

 Praise be to God for lifting us out of the waters of despair.  Out of the sin and trouble, he rescues us.