Friday, July 26, 2013

Rock of the Aged

Malachi 4:6 "He will restore the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers."

In recent months, the past experiences and defined roles of children and parents, reversed. My husband's mother and father awake to a time in their life when decisions become wreckless, memory escapes them,  anxiety and fear walk with them in every feeble step,  and restless lonliness seem their only companion. New responsibilities and awareness, along with the tangible hands-on activities of  provider/caretaker progress despite high resistance. Yes, a burden we are enduring with God's wisdom and patience.

Still possessing a driver's license, small trips turned into hours of driving lost and confused. The last time, in early summer, they went missing for over a day and a half. Found somewhat safe, no where near their original destination, it became apparent that driving privleges needed to be voided; not by them, but by us (and the police) after this very worrisome and dangerous outing.

Mom and Dad refuse to understand, to accept many facts. Their unpleasant words, and defiance at our attempt to help them and care for them becomes an emotional place where God must intervene, for our tender hearts and minds remember something...someone different.

Providentially, a wonderful man at our church has started workshops for support and answers to many questions dealing with the elderly and dementia.  My brother-in-law received wise counsel and legal advise from his circle of church friends. We talk frequently and move forward, all on the same page to accomplish their complete care despite all the "kicking and screaming."

After the incident when they went missing, God brought a wonderful verse to me in my morning devotions, Psalm 149:4 (NASV): "He will beautify the afflicted ones with salvation." As scripture does so perfectly, it spoke to me, as He has in other situations. The Lord's got this.

 I cannot know how or begin to understand His plan and purpose, but know that Christ endured the Cross for us in love despite His painful scourgings, his beard ripped out, his side pierced. Then he went to the Cross where our own "afflictions" became beautified.  Believing in that great love, we receive the power of the Holy Spirit to endure, to gain wisdom, to have Hope, when others do not.  We need to exemplify that Hope in every touch, every word, every decision we make, to be the Christ to other's who do not know Him.

While digging up a flower bed this last week, my spade hit a little rock. I dug it up and put it aside with my other gardening debris. When I went to clean up, I picked up the rock and brushed off the dirt chunks around it. It was a perfectly shaped heart. Dark and buried, but still, a heart-shape, my mind immediatley thought about my in-laws.  God beautifies even dark and hard hearts and I shall plant the flowers of grace around it.

Father God, fill our hearts with right thinking, with words that soothe and with compassion. We pray for your protection from those who choose to take advantage, who elicit entitlement, and wish to deceive. Guide us to encouragement through Your Godly wisdom. May minds be clear enough to understand love of family, the love of God. Amen.

Friday, July 19, 2013

On Royal Baby Watch

Micah 5:2b "When she who is in labor has borne a child..."

We can't get away from it. Everyone's waiting, watching, wondering. "Royalty! A future heir to the throne," buzzes through the crowds. Commoners set their camps up, the Dignified travel from afar, following their GPS. Light shows begin to flash and glorious announcements prevail throughout the Kingdom. 


For centuries, scribes and prophets recorded this event. Wars raged, nations divided, and then silence for 400 years. Our scrolls, our stories, we've passed on through generations. This One to be born--surely a celebration, a heralding of magnificent Hope, of promised Unity. 

A mother's joyful pain, a father's obedient responsibily, and God's love-filled breath labored through the Holiest of nights. The lamb of God, the Prince of Peace, born King of Kings and Lord of Lords!

It's a Boy!  Emmanuel, God With Us. Hail to the King!  

Heavenly Father, It is not Christmas Season, yet the arrival of Your Son, the Christ-child, fills my heart with exceeding joy. I am honored and humbled to  serve in His Kingdom. He chose me in His sacrifice on the Cross. I choose Him to be my Lord. I pray for others who are watching, waiting for their King, to be drawn into the fellowship of Believer's by the Spirit, for He shall reign forever and ever. Amen.  

Friday, July 12, 2013


Psalm 134:2 "Lift up your hands to the sanctuary, and bless the Lord."

Planting my sunflower garden out my kitchen window,  I stand, sipping my coffee, speaking to the Lord in quiet summer morning reflection. This week, the sunflowers began to open up and I was daily inspired by their faces of glory coming from a little black and white seed. Each day, I've tried to capture a picture, and an inspirational thought to encourage myself and others.

Living in California, our seasons do not fluctuate with such profound definition as other parts of the country. We stay dry, breezy, and temperate; sometimes we'll get an occasional rumble of the earth under your feet. The summer season brings back many memories for all of us, vacation trips with family, sunset beach strolls, camp, and neighborhood gatherings and reunions-- family time. 

THE summer flower, stretching up so quickly and bursting at every branch with buds and promise. The bees gathering their nectar, the beetles taking refuge under the leaves, the praying mantis looking for sustenance, the large leaves like hands lifted up; such diversity and promise. It reminds me of  THE CHURCH, the one Christ left for us to serve in, the Body of Christ. That's what it is, a worship place, a sanctuary out my kitchen window.

Do you have such a place?

Are you dry, blowing here and there with the wind?

steady temperature...

neither hot nor cold?

Unmoving, dormant, infested...

Will you lose your balance if your world decides to tremor?

When was the last time you lifted your hands in complete surrender to Him, trusting in the seeds planted in your heart?

Today in my own struggles and prayer, God brought one verse to mind, one I treasure always as God's wise counsel:

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not unto your own understanding, but in all your ways acknowlege Him and He will make your paths straight."
Proverbs 3:5-6.

I trust when I planted that seed that a sunflower will arise;
 mighty, tall, and glorious-- all it's parts, all working together to delight me.

...but I did have to bury it, water it, even plant a stake or two. Growing a Sanctuary is a team effort.

God and me. 

Now, I stand among them, hands lifted in worship to the Creator, in a Sanctuary of Praise.

God gives me a season, I praise Him for His Church in which I can serve and I lift my hands to His glory and promise. 

Your season?

Right now. 

Plant yourself in His Sanctuary. Lift your hands with others, learning, growing, --sometimes needing stakes and bug spray-- worshippers.  One day, He will gather up His bundle of Sunflowers, and take His Bride Home. 

Bless the Lord. 

Friday, July 5, 2013


Psalm 139:17 How precious also are Thy thoughts to me, O God! How vast is the sum of them!

Boy,  if we could just get a few more minutes to think things out!  So many demands, so much noice,  distractions, and technology.  Events to ponder both worldwide and home town; post a comment on, check. Numbers to calculate,  stuff to organize and boards to "pin," check.  Bible Study to write up, text messages to answer, blog to write, check...

I think I'm doing a good job of thinking about God through all this.  My thoughts wander though, after all, I am made up of the same stuff as everyone...FLESH! 

A few weeks back, I visited a special place, a Chapel made of glass, built in a beautiful garden, overlooking the Pacific Ocean. One of the signs gave the hours it opened for "meditation." The small chapel exuded absolute beautiful architecture as we took in the structure and ambience between wedding ceremonies.   Many people lingered around, some sitting in the wooden pews, but mostly people were snapping pictures...Guilty. 

Wayfarer's Chapel, Rancho Palos Verde, CA 

I am thankful that God looks at the meditation of our hearts, not the "Holy" places where we may think God is waiting, lingering, settled. 

And what about God's meditation towards us?

Can you "meditate" on that for a minute? God, in His Heavenly Throne Room, meditating on YOU!  In the next verse, it says that His thoughts towards us are more numerous than the sands. 

If you're at the beach this summer, grab a handful. Watch it as it falls from your grasp, blowing in the breeze back to the shore it surrounds. Each grain represents a love thought to humanity from the Creator.  Incredible!  My moments can never add up, yet He is pleased  in any humble moment I can give Him. I can only ask to give Him more, to build a sandcastle of meditation in my heart and mind towards His Goodness. 

Lord, thank you that You, the Awesome God, my Creator and Redeemer think of me!  You knew my name when Mary lay you in the manger. You knew my name when You hung Your head and said "It is finished." You knew my name when You ascended to the pit of Hell and when You returned to Your Father. You knew my name when You rose from the grave and encouraged Your followers, resurrected! Your meditations towards us manifest themselves in the gift of the Holy Spirit.  "If I should count them, they would outnumber the sand. When I awake, I am still with Thee." Amen.