Saturday, March 29, 2014

In Preparation

Luke 21:36 "But keep on alert at all times, praying in order that you may have strength
 to escape all those things that are about to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man."

This week it was my high school's year to present the full assembly, "Every 15 Minutes." A re-enactment of an alcohol-caused collision involving our own students before their Prom night, it involves several agencies cooperating to pull this off. MADD/SADD, Chino Hills Sheriff, the school district, city officials and local hospital staff, work to give a visual, a warning, a chance to think about the consequences of drinking and driving. The major street through town, which happens to run right in front of the high school, is closed down. The props of wrecked cars and the re-enactors proceed to give us a scary and potential view of "what could happen." "Grim Reapers" walk around the site and in front of the grandstands of juniors and seniors watching. One of the girls in her prom dress is placed on a gurney, the sheet pulled over her head. Her prom date receives a field sobriety test. A helicopter lands across the street to whisk away the injured. Day two, a memorial assembly, "funeral" for the student "killed."

It's only a re-enactment, hopefully a sobering one.

In the last few weeks California has experienced what Californians know is an everyday potential occurance, earthquakes.  We've had several in the last 24 hours as I type this. Earthquake drills at school and emergency plans are set up. There will be a rush to big box stores to get  more earthquake kits put together and purchases of extra bottled water. Throw those tennis shoes in the trunk of the car, you might have to walk amongst broken glass if you're away from home. Did you feel it?"...and the posts pop up frequently for local facebook friends.

5.1, 4.4...3.0.  They are small tremors; nerve-racking, yes. Japan's quake in 2011 was 9.0

In the first paragraph, there is a responsibility to make a choice not to drink and drive. We can be proactive in taking keys, calling a taxi, being a designated driver. In the second scenario, we can be prepared, try not to panic, work in safe buildings, know how to turn off the gas, move out of California.

We can do all the right things, and still get hit by a drunk driver, or have the walls tumble down around us.

We can be in plane that flys off course
Under a mountain that slides.
In a doctor's office when bad news is presented.
At the receiving end of a pink slip.

There are things we cannot control.

God tells us to prepare, prepare our hearts, our lives. While we can do the tangible, practical things to be safe, be smart, protect ourselves, God is and always will be our first responder when we put our trust in Him.

There is no one that cannot escape every bad thing. When your heart belongs to God, your eternal preparation is done. Accepting the truth that you need retrofitting by the Holy Spirit, that your life requires a designated driver everyday, is how in this uncertainty in life, we can have the promise of hope and peace. God prepares His Goodness for us today and for always.

 Lord, help me to be proactive in my watching and waiting. Instruct me through Your Word,  in my need to contol things, to let you have the wheel, to allow you to fill me with the things that work together to prepare my heart for Your will. Thank you for your protection. Everything is OK. In the end, I know You always work things out. Help me Lord to re-enact my trust in You; that it is a natural response, a testimony to others. Guide the way in my prayers for my loved ones to prepare their own hearts for your Truth. Amen.

Friday, March 21, 2014

An Acceptable Time.

"At the acceptable time, I listened to you, and on the Day of Salvation, I helped you."  Isaiah 49:8, II Corinthians 6:2 

I made it to the store this week to purchase a few cards. I had to make a list.  I purchased 5 sympathy cards, 2 cards for healing, and 2 cards for encouragement. The 5 sympathy cards were unrelated to each other. This week, I learned of two more friends receiving an unfavorable diagnosis.

Last month, I went to a funeral for a woman engaged to be married with an 21month old son.

There is a jet plane missing for 2 weeks now with 239 people aboard.

Russian leaders are puffing out their chests and returning to "invade and conquer" mindsets.

Syrian refugee children are starving.

We strain in our prayers for the joy of our own salvation, yet it is amazing grace that pierces the darkness to awake us every morning.

Some days...many days, the encourager needs encouraging.

And I sit, and I wait on the Lord. And I know I need to write it out tonight...that encouragement.

Where does my help come from?

He pops in with his daddy, that little 3 year old that smiles shyly tonight because he's a tired little guy, playing t-ball and such. I do get a hug, and it lingers and it is soft with cookie crumb kisses.

I prayed with my own son this week, if only for a few seconds; my heart saw a new horizon and a mountain seemed a little smaller.

And God's Word is there; THE Encourager of a soul needing a jump. It seems I let the engine run with the radio on and just can't get it to kick over. He reaches out with the Cables of Truth to recharge.

And I rev the engine of His Word...

II Corinthians 6:2-10

for He says,
“At the acceptable time I listened to you,
 and on the day of salvation I helped you.”
Behold, now is “the acceptable time,” behold, now is “the day of salvation”— giving no cause for offense in anything, so that the ministry will not be discredited, but in everything commending ourselves as servants of God, in much endurance, in afflictions, in hardships, in distresses, in beatings, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in sleeplessness, in hunger, in purity, in knowledge, in patience, in kindness, in the Holy Spirit, in genuine love, in the word of truth, in the power of God; by the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and the left, by glory and dishonor, by evil report and good report; regarded as deceivers and yet true; as unknown yet well-known, as dying yet behold, we live; as punished yet not put to death, as sorrowful yet always rejoicing, as poor yet making many rich, as having nothing yet possessing all things.

Today is the day of my Salvation, and this is what He promises. My Salvation!  

And in that I can rest my weary head and say Amen. 

Lord, your encouragement in the Word is Spring sunshine through the clouds of dreary despair. Through the work of the Holy Spirit, we can know the joy of our salvation, despite the afflictions all of us encounter. In You, we possess all things. In You are encouragement massages our shoulders and tucks us in to sleep restful with the promise of grace in each new day. Let us be encouraged with every sunrise as a day to give You praise, as a day to serve You in the service of others, as a day to be reminded to pray for those who need to know this same comfort.  Amen.  

Friday, March 14, 2014

"Praying Through"

Deuteronomy 31:8a And the Lord is the one who goes ahead of you...

Have you ever had one of those weeks when you've received certain scriptures from the Lord, but you really didn't see the connection until a prayer was answered?  Suddenly, you recognize not only the puzzle pieces of scripture,  but how they were being pieced together within your prayers.

Without details here, let's just say I am earnestly praying for my beloved son. Some things are given, some things are taken away and some things GET in the way of sound judgment; discarded.  Anger,  impulsivness and may I add a little arrogance, are not good companions for our emotional health. I've certainly had my share of days like that. Life is learning, growing, making a few bad choices and making some better choices.

I knew I couldn't fix this one, didn't really want to. This decision he made as an adult, he'd have to live with. That didn't mean though, that I did not intervene spiritually. I've never stopped praying. I never will.

Random scriptures stopped me this week, ones I pondered over, prayed over and posted on my Facebook wall.

MONDAY: Ecclesiastes 12:1 Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth, before the evil days come and the years draw near when you will say, "I have no delight in them."

and in this verse, I prayed.

TUESDAY: Proverbs 18:12 "Before destruction, the heart of man is haughty, but humility goes before honor."

...and in this verse I prayed again
WEDNESDAY I Timothy 4:12 "Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity."

Praying Lord, for a softened heart...

THURSDAY:  This day, I posted a picture of my son when he was a baby, helping his dad out. The caption I put, though silly at the time, turned out to be very prophetic, and an exclamation point to an answered prayer later on that evening. My son received a restoration, finding his own humbleness to redeem what he disregarded and lost.  

It was quiet evident that God is hearing my prayers and working on my son's heart in His own way and in His own timing.  I know, I recognize through the scriptures God gave me this week, the wisdom words to pray over, to pray through.

...and I pray my son will someday see the evidence before him and the beautiful puzzle pieces of love and purpose God has for him too. 

Praying through scripture is powerful. God's Word is Truth. 

Lord, thank you for giving me these powerful scriptures this week in which to focus my prayers and my heart towards the things that concern me for my loved ones. The gift of the Holy Scriptures coupled with The Holy Spirit gives insight into how to be, how to live, how to love, and how to pray. I am grateful and thankful for this wisdom which brings me  the promise, that a heart will be restored as well.