Thursday, November 24, 2011

Stitched and Patched

 Ecclesiastes 3:7a   A time to tear and a time to mend…

“Put that in the ‘to be mended pile’,” my mother would say. 

An expert seamstress, nothing remained ripped or torn for too long.  She used what looked like a plastic Easter egg to darn holes in my dad’s socks,  sewed back buttons and slip-stitched my girl scout patches on my sash.  Every formal dress for my high school dances, she carefully put together to my design and color, especially paying attention to detail.  I learned to sew as well on the same machine, double checking all my seams to make sure they were the standard 5/8’s inch; if not, I had to do some “ripping out” and a redo.

Reminded of where my sewing ability came from as I finally got around to mending a pillow whose stuffing peeked out, I opened the same drawer of the sewing machine my mother used; now sitting in my own bedroom. Still filled with a multitude of threads and sewing accessories to complete the job, I reached in and found the perfect color thread to stitch together the torn apart side of the pillow. 

 When things in our life become ripped apart, torn, shredded and in need of mending, God just doesn’t throw us in the “to be” pile.  He reaches for that perfectly matching thread of grace, love, mercy and wisdom.  With tender care, we rest in His arms and allow Him to make us like new, and more than likely, stronger than the original.  God is seen in the intricate details of our life; a fabric of forgiveness, a silk-lining of service, a needlework of worship, a pattern of prayer; hemmed in humility, to bring glory to the Designer. 

Father, today I thank you for creating me with your divine thread of purpose.  Though at times I may become a little frayed, You still renew me with your perfect detailed stitches and patches of love. 

Friday, November 11, 2011

Arms of Love

Deuteronomy 33:27 (NIV)

 The eternal God is your refuge,
   and underneath are the everlasting arms.
He will drive out your enemies before you,
   saying, ‘Destroy them!’

My friend’s daughter serves in the U.S. Military, stationed in Iraq; she tends to the wounded in the wind-blown tents of uncertainty. Her two sons also serve in active combat duty, somewhere in the Afghan wilderness—three children in harm’s way.  My friend shared her news with me that her daughter and son-in-law received leave and planned on traveling from Texas, their base,  to California. Excited to reunite with her family, my friend still holds the same concern for this journey as well; not quite relaxing until her daughter’s physical presence arrives and she can wrap her arms around her. A woman of great strength and obvious sacrifice, she trusts God for her children’s protection. 

Our Heavenly Father cares for us in the same way; as His children. In the battlefields surrounded by enemy fire in a far off land or the familiar surroundings of home or work, God is ever near. He longs to keep us close, share in our journeys, rejoice in our homecoming and hold us safe in His arms. 

Heavenly Father, thank you for your protection from the enemy and for the prayer warriors in my life who trust You to intercede for me and many others. Your arms stretched out across a wooden cross, and now reach down and embrace me each day. 

In memory of my friend, Debbie Wilson, whose life story inspired this devotional. God Bless America and the Wilson family. 

Veteran’s Day Prayer

Dear Lord,
Today we honor our veterans,
worthy men and women
who gave their best
when they were called upon
to serve and protect their country.
We pray that you will bless them, Lord,
for their unselfish service
in the continual struggle
to preserve our freedoms, our safety,
and our country’s heritage, for all of us.
Bless them abundantly
for the hardships they faced,
for the sacrifices they made
for their many different contributions
to America’s victories
over tyranny and oppression.
We respect them, we thank them,
we honor them, we are proud of them,
and we pray that you will watch over
these special people
and bless them with peace and happiness.
In Jesus’ name we pray; Amen.

                           By Joann Fuchs                             


Friday, November 4, 2011

Holy Highway

II Corinthians 12:9 But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.

Peyton Avenue crosses north and south through Chino Hills; the major road to reach the high school, post office and city hall. Once a country road with horse trails connecting to ranch properties; the swelling suburb demanded a transformation of the road to a major thoroughfare. The morning traffic approaching the high school is difficult enough, but the second week of school, construction started on Peyton to widen the area directly in front of the school. Today, nine weeks later, the new lane opened up for traffic. Although not complete and perfect, construction graders and hard-hatted workmen still visible; cars traveled, following the new painted lines directing the flow. Smooth asphalt lay under the trusting tires and it functioned well. 

Sometimes, we don’t feel ready to open up God’s improvement project in our hearts, until we feel it is totally complete.  Our orange cones of fear stay in place while we continue to wait for God to smooth out our rough edges and fill up our "pot-holes" of weak faith. But God is our mighty road engineer, wanting to work through us in our imperfection.  When you hear God tell you that the barricades need to come down, trust that He wants to widen your purpose for His Glory destination. 

Lord, I am humbled to know that even though I feel inadequate and insufficient, you fill me with hope and strength,  that I can do all things through you.  May you always receive the glory. Amen.