Friday, April 19, 2013

Psalm 59 for Boston, USA

Today, we pray for you Boston
Thank you to so many heroes. 

Psalm 59

Deliver me from my enemies, O God;
    be my fortress against those who are attacking me.
Deliver me from evildoers
    and save me from those who are after my blood.
See how they lie in wait for me!
    Fierce men conspire against me
    for no offense or sin of mine, Lord.
I have done no wrong, yet they are ready to attack me.
    Arise to help me; look on my plight!
You, Lord God Almighty,
    you who are the God of Israel,
rouse yourself to punish all the nations;
    show no mercy to wicked traitors.

They return at evening,
    snarling like dogs,
    and prowl about the city.
See what they spew from their mouths
    the words from their lips are sharp as swords,
    and they think, “Who can hear us?”
But you laugh at them, Lord;
    you scoff at all those nations.
You are my strength, I watch for you;
    you, God, are my fortress,
10     my God on whom I can rely.
God will go before me
    and will let me gloat over those who slander me.
11 But do not kill them, Lord our shield,[d]
    or my people will forget.
In your might uproot them
    and bring them down.
12 For the sins of their mouths,
    for the words of their lips,
    let them be caught in their pride.
For the curses and lies they utter,
13     consume them in your wrath,
    consume them till they are no more.
Then it will be known to the ends of the earth
    that God rules over Jacob.
14 They return at evening,
    snarling like dogs,
    and prowl about the city.
15 They wander about for food
    and howl if not satisfied.
16 But I will sing of your strength,
    in the morning I will sing of your love;
for you are my fortress,
    my refuge in times of trouble.
17 You are my strength, I sing praise to you;
    you, God, are my fortress,
    my God on whom I can rely.

Lord God, we ask why. When will this stop? Terror, policeman down, mutilation, fear. This is a world in need of a Savior and history continues to repeat itself of horrendous acts whether from a few individuals, an organized group or a dictator. What can we do? We continue to pray and to love and to share the good news that Christ came, He rose from the dead and He reigns. One glorious day, in His perfect timing, He will come again.  Lord, you told us to watch, to be on alert, instructed over 2000 years ago. Your word applies today. Keep us grounded in your Truth, compassionate and kind to others, engaging in healthy dialogue of encouragement and hope, even when these times seem hopeless.  Somedays we cannot do this without your strength.  Other days, we just don't want to.  Many times these "talks" are with our own kids. Lord, we ask for Your wisdom and Your words. Thank you Lord, for Your Hope.  

West, Texas, prayers also come your way, for your pain is not forgotten. First Responders lost their lives. A town is leveled and the injured... many are homeless.  Driving my son home tonight, he started naming the tragedies this year. 

I don't want him to number and name the tragedies...I want him to count his blessings!

 "You know what is good medicine for your sadness son?"

"You're going to say God, right mom?"

"Yes, I am. Come to church, sing loud and then sing loud again."

For He alone deserves our praise.  

I continue to trust in the Lord.

Friday, April 12, 2013

1-800 GOD

I wrote this little "one act drama" a few years back (4/08) and while cleaning out files this week, found it, so I'm morphing it a bit to bring it into a "devotional."  The inspiration here is the 1-800 Dentist commercials. Enough said, here it goes...

Psalms 4:1 Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness! Thou has relieved me in my distress; Be gracious to me and hear my prayer."

"1-800 GOD, Can I help you?"

"Yes, Hello, I've hear that you can help me find The Good God." 

"Yes, We can point you in the right direction, but it still will be your choice. Can I ask you a few questions?" 

"Sure, I guess."

"Ok...How long has it been since you last talked to God?"

"I'm not sure, probably when I was a kid." 

"Ok, sounds like you need a good amount of basic care and forgiveness. We don't need to take any x-rays, God knows your heart, your teeth and every hair on your head."

"Yeah? Sounds good. I hear God can make all things new. I've had a lot of crooked and rotten stuff in my life. I'm in a lot of pain."

"Yes, That's His specialty. Actually, every patient does, you're not alone." 

"I don't have insurance. What do I need to bring?"

"God provides assurance and your debt is paid in full. All you need to bring is a humble heart. A mustard seed of faith will work as your co-pay."

"Hmmm, I get nervous..."

"God will calm all your fears."

"Allright, make me an appointment."

He's ready for you right now and we'll get you accountable to someone for follow up appointments." 

"Will that run me extra?"

"Just trust and patience."

"I'll see what I can do."

"That sounds like a little faith already! God actually helps you with the trust and patience part. He gives you an Advisor."

"Are there a lot of forms to fill out?"

"No, God already knows you through and through. He created you."

"Ok, I'll come right now. What's the address?"

"Take St. John Hwy. route 316 and exit Romans Road. Stay to the right and you will feel Him approaching when you cross the Messiah Bridge. He'll meet you personally at the foot of the Crossway. It's 1010 Romans Road for your records."

"That sounds easy enough."

"Some times the road is rough along the way, and you might be tempted by different routes. There is a discourager who lurks along the path.  He's the one with the deceitful smile and no teeth. Just pass him up and don't listen to his bad breathy whispers. Follow the Light.  God gives us directions and leads the way even if you are the only one lost. You might also pass people wandering. Encourage them to join you.  When you arrive, you'll receive a complete Care Package of God's Word. He instructs that you continue follow-up with others weekly."

"Well, thank you. I am eternally grateful I called."

"You'll find God gentle and thorough. You'll want to recommend Him to others soon. God is always in favor of making more people smile from inside their hearts. He loves His practice." 

 Lord, appointments and follow up with you is important. May it always be a good habit, a daily routine that brings me joy and good results. You are my trusted internal hygienist. I promise to brush diligently with your Word and floss with prayer. SMILE, FOR GOD LOVES US! Amen.  

Friday, April 5, 2013

Growing Season

Isaiah 43:19 See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland."

Sometimes, things end.

A break up happens, a final moment, a graduation of sorts.

Sometimes, things get stale, people move away, energy fades. 

Sometimes, we’ve learned, we’ve mentored, we’ve shared, and we just know it’s the right time to venture out, gather around some new faces. Not that they need to learn from me, but more, so new experiences and learning/growing begins to excite the soul once more. A new pathway can lead to new insights. 

Its spring! Let's look at some of our potted plants. Are you finding overcrowding, bursting- at- the -seams geraniums? They divide easily. It just takes a small section to break off, re-root and in no time, you’ve got a new plant.

An old Aloe Vera shoots off new arms every year and I frequently break off a cluster to start in a pot for someone. They come in handy for sunburns. 

A piece of ground that held my beautiful impatients, sits restless, after the frost got to them this year. The dirt longs for some new color and I hope to fill the space up soon. 

Enumerable buds are about to burst on my roses and the Amaryllis are just about to open. 
Wouldn’t it be sad if they just stayed in their bud form, never getting the chance to open up and absorb the sunshine and show off their beauty. After all, that is their purpose.

People are like that sometimes. They stay in their safe little bud, afraid to branch out, open up to what lies in their God-created cells, afraid what Holiness, Christ-likeness means, what it changes. 

What if they were meant to be a prize rose? What if they were meant to adorn a bouquet for a wedding and then preserved in a memory book? What if they were gathered to bridge a friendship in an act of forgiveness, bring joy to an ill or grieving person, or even "soothe a sunburn"?

And what if their only purpose was for the joy of the moment, and they bloomed to their full potential in their season? 

The "sometimes" do happen, and the "what-ifs" do too.

This week after listening to God, I know what the “sometimes” are, and He inspired me about the “what-ifs.”

With that thought in mind, I am gathering my spade, my planting mix, a few selected pots and with the Creator’s skill and green thumb, hope to begin a new “potted garden” of joyful, beautiful petals, willing to sink their roots in the warm soil of His grace. 

Lord, OK, I am stepping out in obedience here. I’m listening and trusting, cultivating faith in Your plan. Keep my “pots” ready and willing to be filled with your good nurturing and I look forward to replanted and bursting buds multiplying out JOY in the garden of our hearts, Amen.