Thursday, November 27, 2008
Tuesday, November 25, God blessed us with our second precious granddaughter and our son became a Daddy!!! She weighed 6 pounds, 4 ounces...a tiny little miracle!
My eyes have feasted on not only her beauty but seeing with my own eyes such a miracle. New life is one of God's greatest miracles. A line from a song comes to mind as I think of that: "how God could take the love of a man and a wife and blossom it into the gift of life"! (can't remember who sang it :()
My eyes have gone from soaking up her sweet face to watching my son as a Daddy! To see this tough, hard-working, deer-slayer, man's man who I once held in MY hands, holding this tiny baby with such love and tenderness melts my heart!!!!!!!! That, too, has to be a miracle!
So today, I can do nothing but praise the Lord! HE alone is worthy of praise and honor and glory! He alone deserves all the thanksgiving!
"O give thanks unto the Lord, for He is good!" Psalm 107:1
"I will praise the Lord according to HIS righteousness and will sing praise to the name of the Lord most High!" Psalm 7: 17
"I will praise the O Lord with my WHOLE HEART, I will proclaim all your marvelous works!" Psalm 9: 1
"I will sing unto the Lord, for He has dealt BOUNTIFULLY with me!!" Psalm 13:6
"The Lord liveth and blessed be my rock, and let the God of my salvation be exalted." Psalm 18: 46
"Thou hast given [me my] heart's desire and has not withheld the request of [my] lips." Psalm 21: 2
"The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in Him and I am helped; therfore my heart greatly rejoices and with my song I will praise Him." Psalm 28: 7
"Thou hast turned my mourning into dancing; thou hast put off my sackcloth and gifded me with gladness to the end that my glory may sing praise and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks unto thee forever!!!!!" Psalm 30: 11, 12
"O MAGNIFY THE LORD WITH ME AND LET US EXALT HIS NAME TOGETHER!!!!!" Psalm 34: 3
"Many O Lord my God are thy wonderful works which thou has done and thy thoughts which are toward us cannot be reckoned up in order unto thee; if I would declare them and speak of them, THEY ARE MORE THAN CAN BE NUMBERED!!" Psalm 40: 5
Today as you gather with your family to enjoy a bountiful meal with those you love, would you give praise to our great God for me? There are not enough words in my vocabulary to give Him the praise He so richly deserves, so I ask you to help me to magnify the Lord and give all honor and glory and praise to our GREAT GOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Early on we try to teach our children and grandchildren the importance of having good manners, to say PLEASE and THANK YOU. Our two year old granddaughter has learned this very well. When she was first able to talk, she'd say "t'ank choo", then she graduated to "thank you" and now she says a very drawn out "thaaaannnkks"....too cute! (I'm a grandmother, what can I say?) I'm just thankful that she has learned it and pray that she will continue it for the rest of her life.
Even as adults we often neglect this small pleasantry way too often. We forget to thank our loved ones when they bring us a cup of coffee or do a favor for us. We forget to acknowledge the little things that they do for us on a daily basis. We forget to say thank you to the waiter who pours our coffee or to the clerk who finds us the object we were searching for. So it's no wonder that we forget to thank God for all that He does for us.
I want to spur you to say THANKS today. We are living in difficult days when our troubles SEEM to outweigh our blessings. But, I promise you that if you will stop and count your blessings today and thank the Lord for them, you will soon see that you are way more blessed than you had imagined.
I'm going to give you a few to get you started, and encourage you to continue to add to the list.
I'm thankful :
To have been able to get out of the bed this morning (don't laugh...there are many who can't ).
I am thankful that I am able to walk without assistance.
I am thankful that I can see, hear and talk, unhindered.
I am thankful that I can taste my coffee (I couldn't for a while and it was awful!!).
I am thankful for the wonderful invention of email and computers.
I am thankful that gas has dropped below $1.99!!!
I am thankful for my wonderful husband who loves me and has been faithful to me for 35 years.
I am thankful for my precious children...
.....my dear son whom I love dearly and is about to become a daddy any day now
.....my sweet daughter whom I love and enjoy very much
I am thankful for my precious "grafted in " children....
......my wonderful son-in-love who is a terrific husband and father
......my sweet daughter-in-love who loves my son so much and is about to bless us with another granddaughter!
I am thankful for our precious, adorable granddaughter who is my sunshine.
I am thankful for the newest granddaughter who is not here yet, but whom we love already.
I am thankful for dear and precious friends of many years who are a continual blessing to my life.
I am thankful for a church that continually points others to Christ.
I am thankful for friends who storm Heaven in my behalf.
I am thankful to be a part of a women's ministry that spurs women to point others to Christ and whose goal is "every woman praying".
I am thankful for the women I've met through this ministry and the new friends I've made that have been such a blessing to my life.
I am thankful for my mother who loves me more than anything else in the world and would do anything for me.
I am thankful for my mother-in-law who has always loved me, been so good to me, and will celebrate her 94th birthday this Wednesday, Good Lord willing!
I am thankful for the health of my family.
I am thankful for our farm where we can go and get away from the everyday madness and noise and just be still and drink in God's presence.
I am thankful for God's word that shows me how to live and reminds me of God's great love for me.
I am thankful for prayer so I can communicate with Him and He with me.
I am thankful for God's love....a love not based on my performance...He just loves!
I am thankful for Jesus Christ who paid my sin debt, a debt I could not pay and because He did I have His presence daily in my life and will spend eternity with Him one day.
I am thankful for Heaven....it gives me something to look forward to when times are hard.
WHAT ARE YOU THANKFUL FOR TODAY???????????
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Catastrophic illnesses of children and adults
Hearts aching for prodigal children
Loss of loved ones
Homes and businesses burglarized
People being mugged/brutally attacked
The list is seemingly endless.........and hopeless.
Timothy warned us that these days were coming:
" 1-5 Don't be naive. There are difficult times ahead. As the end approaches, people are going to be self-absorbed, money-hungry, self-promoting, stuck-up, profane, contemptuous of parents, crude, coarse, dog-eat-dog, unbending, slanderers, impulsively wild, savage, cynical, treacherous, ruthless, bloated windbags, addicted to lust, and allergic to God. They'll make a show of religion, but behind the scenes they're animals. Stay clear of these people. " (The Message)
Jesus also warned us:
"In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." John 6:33 KJV
Now I'm not a big fan of THE MESSAGE but, understanding this is a paraphrase and not a proper translation, this describes where we are today pretty well. It's enough to make you just want to crawl into bed, cover up your head and wait for the Lord to return and take us out of this mess. But...that is NOT how God would have us handle it.
We are at war, and I'm not referring to the one in Iraq. We are in a spiritual war and as the days draw near for Jesus' return, the war that is being raged against us is getting hotter and hotter. Satan knows that his days are numbered, so he is unleashing all the forces of Hell against us as believers. Can't you feel the heat?!
But, God knew in advance that this was going to happen. He has not left us to fend for ourselves. Remember, GOD IS WITH US! Emmanuel means GOD WITH US!! II Timothy 4: 18 says, "the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work and will preserve me for his heavenly kingdom to whom be glory forever and ever!"
Ephesians 6: 12 warns us "For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places." But He also tells us how to win this war.
"Put on the whole armour of God that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil...that you may be able to stand and to withstand the devil in the evil day and having done all to remain standing. " Ephesians 6: 11, 13
The MESSAGE gives us our marching orders this way:
Be prepared. You're up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it's all over but the shouting you'll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You'll need them throughout your life. God's Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other's spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out. Ephesians 6: 13-18
So we must get up, get out of bed, put on our armor and head into battle. We must raise His banner high and go forth knowing that we go in the power of the Lord Jesus Christ. Whatever we may face today, He is already aware of. We are not alone nor are we defenseless. HE IS OUR HOPE! Let us be found standing and doing battle in His name, sharing with others how they too can put their hope in Him.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
The 23rd Psalm is written from a sheep's perspective. Jesus compares us to sheep several times throughout the New Testament. Now at first glance that may seem really sweet. We picture sheep as these cute, wooly little creatures in greeting cards and stuffed animals. The truth is that sheep are one of the dumbest animals alive and they stink! That is why they need a shepherd.
Sheep are creatures of habit. They will stay in one place, grazing on the same spot til they have eaten it clean down to the dirt. Unless a shepherd comes and leads them to green grass, they will starve. He is there to lead them to a place of nourishment and sustenance, to keep them well fed. Without God's guidance, we will get in a rut of sin that can also lead to death. But Jesus came that we might have abundant life IF we follow Him, our shepherd.
Sheep must have clean water to drink and they will not drink from a rushing stream. In the arid regions that Jesus lived in, finding a cool, still stream was not always easy. The sheep had to depend on their shepherd to find such a source of water for them. Drinking from polluted sources could cause sickness and even death. Once again, they needed their shepherd to lead them to still, pure water. Jesus knows exactly what we need in our lives. If we choose to follow Him, he will provide for our every need.
The sheep had to be willing to follow their shepherd. Yet often one would wander away from the fold. Then the shepherd would seek him til he was found and bring him back. God will often allow us to wander a ways on our own, but if we belong to Him, He will always draw us back to Him...He will seek us til we are found. Max Lucado calls Him the "Hound of Heaven".
A smart sheep will learn to heed the voice of his master, following him, trusting him to lead the way and to provide for his needs. The sheep does not question the direction the shepherd is leading nor does he fret and worry over where the shepherd is taking them. They simply take each day as it comes, obeying the voice of the master, knowing that his job is to care for them.
I want to be a simple sheep.
Monday, November 17, 2008
It is interesting how we can get so familiar with something that we almost become oblivious to it. Take housecleaning for instance. Ever notice how you can walk through your house day after day and it seems "pretty clean" to you. But plan a party or know someone is coming to dinner and suddenly you see things you have not seen in months! Like dust bunnies scurrying across the floor, spider webs lurking in every corner, fingerprints on the windows, that growing spot on the carpet......you get the picture.
I've noticed that reading the Bible can be much the same way. There are some passages that we've read, memorized, quoted, and heard since childhood. Psalm 23 is one of them. I can remember reciting it in grade school. (Yes, that was way back when the Bible was still read in school!) It is almost simplistic in its style, yet profound truth is enclosed in every verse.
Lately God has been drawing me again and again to this Psalm. As you well know by now, I camp with David quite a lot in the book of Psalms. And I'm about to wear out that particular page in my Bible!
Last night at a Writers' Group meeting, someone shared that she reads the Bible through every year, often in a different translation. (Now that is still one of my longterm goals. One of these days I'm going to accomplish it, but so far I've made it as far as Malachi) What intrigued me about what she shared, however, was that one night she read Psalm 51 and the next night she was prepared to read Psalm 52. For some reason, God seemed to impress her to return to Psalm 51 and read it again. She did, and saw something she had completely missed the night before. What's more....God took her back to that same Psalm, 17 nights in a row!!!! And, each night she saw something different.
When was the last time YOU read some passage 17 times in a row? I have read a few 3 or 4 times...especially if they were short, but NOT 17 times in a row. Obviously God had something He wanted to say to her and, thankfully, for her sake, she was willing and obedient or she would have missed all He had for her.
I confess that I've been drawn to Psalm 23 several times and turned away thinking "I just read that yesterday." No more. There must be lots there that God has to say to me and I want t o hear it ALL!! I want to be a willing sheep, following My Shepherd. I want to lie down in green pastures and allow Him to restore my soul. I want to come to a place where I do not want, but I am content just to be with Him. I want to walk with Him...even through the valleys filled with dark shadows....and FEAR NO EVIL. I want to dwell in His presence forever, experiencing ALL of His goodness and ALL of His profound mercy.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Does God care? Does God put all this on us just to make us miserable and to watch us suffer? Absolutely God cares and no, He doesn't enjoy our suffering. But He does USE our suffering to refine us and to test us. It is a painful place to be.
Os Hillman offers a word of encouragement to those who are in that place of suffering right now...whether it be from physical ailments, relationship heartaches, broken families, financial burdens, loss of jobs.....whatever your situation, I pray that God will speak to you and encourage your heart through this word....
Prosperity in Afflictions
Today God Is First
Volume 1 by Os Hillman
Thursday, November 13 2008
"The second son he named Ephraim and said, 'It is because God has made me fruitful in the land of my suffering.'" Genesis 41:52
When Joseph was elevated to rule over the Egyptian kingdom, he revealed some profound truths gained from the experiences of his years of adversity. He named his first son, Manasseh for, he said, "God has made me forget all my trouble and all my father's household" (Gen. 41:51b). His second son was named Ephraim because, "God has made me fruitful in the land of my suffering."
Whenever God takes us through the land of affliction, He will do two things through that affliction: 1) He will bring such healing that we will be able to forget the pain, and 2) He will make us fruitful from the painful experiences.
God does not waste our afflictions if we allow Him the freedom to complete the work in us. His desire is to create virtue that remains during the times of testing so that He can bring us into the place of fruitfulness in the very area of our testing. He has never promised to keep us from entering the valleys of testing, but He has promised to make us fruitful in them. He is the God who turns the Valley of Achor (trouble) into a door of hope (see Hos. 2:15).
If you are in the valley of affliction, now is the time to press into Him. When the time comes to bring you out of this valley, He will heal your memories and bring fruit from this very time.