Friday, June 28, 2013

are you normal?

"The Lord is good to allhe has compassion on all he has made." Psalm 145:9

Discrimination... you can see the hurt of it on many faces.  Faces of color, lifestyle, physical, mental or emotion differences. They all painfully know how it feels to be ridiculed, mistreated or ignored daily by the so called normal. Being "normal" puts us in a dangerous position of passing judgement on others.  Is it right to judge people different from what we view as normal or acceptable? We don't choose our makeup; we are all created by God.  The psalmist wrote --

For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.
 My frame was not hidden from you
    when I was made in the secret place,
    when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.

The psalmist goes on to say --
Lord, you have assigned me my portion and my cup; you make my lot secure.

God who created and knows us completely... loves us without barriers and prejudicesSometimes i wonder if He allowed differences to separate the sheep from the wolves... to show the destruction of prejudice... to shame pride...  to grow compassion... to smack the face of arrogance... to test our following of His second greatest commandment -- love your neighbor as yourself.  

I think God wants to flip the tables.  I think He wants the normal to feel uncomfortable enough to change their heart and hurtful ways.  To be like Jesus is to love like Jesus.  And He loved all. 

Father, i don't want to be normal; i want to be more like You.  Remove any barriers i have to your people, so i can love them all like You.  Only You can judge... You alone know our hearts.

have a love-filled day!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

i'm sorry... BUT

"yet now I am happy, not because you were made sorry, but because your sorrow led you to repentance. For you became sorrowful as God intended... Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret..." 2 Corinthians 7:10

It's just three letters, but it possesses the power of an atom bomb. When detonated, it kills an apology.  But, I didn't like... but, you don't understand... but, I was hurting... but, you made me mad... but, but but.  The but wants to justify the harm.  It's like saying, I'm sorry, but not really.

Father, when I have afflicted someone and need to apologize, I want it to be sincere.  It's embarrassing to make mistakes or hurt someone, but it happens.  Accepting responsibility of our actions is needed.  Remove my pride and let true sorrow be present instead.  Only then does healing begin for all.

have a peace-filled day!

Monday, June 24, 2013

tunnel vision

"My eyes are ever on the LORD, for only He will release my feet from the snare." Psalm 25:15

My mind was racing.  I was concerned about the health of family members, decisions my children were making, actions taken by my husband's employer, economic down turns.  The questions and concerns were exhausting.  And there was nothing i could do.  Or, so i thought.

Looking down on my canna lilies, i was reminded what i needed -- tunnel vision. 
The stamen nestled down deep in the wrap of the flower was secure and protected... i wanted to feel like that too. My head was filled with issues i had no control over, yet they were controlling and crippling me. I needed tunnel vision.  I needed to focus on God, and look to Him for guidance, strength and peace in my life.

Father, i want to be forever wrapped in Your Loving Arms.  I know it won't stop storms or hardships from coming into my life, but Your protection is perfect. You know exactly what is needed to grow and strengthen us in You.  Let my eyes and trust be on You always.

have a trust-filled day!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

no explanation needed

"As you do not know the path of the wind, or how the body is formed in a mother's womb, so you cannot understand the work of God, the Maker of all things." Ecclesiastes 11:5  

I don't understand it, but i absolutely love it.  My hydrangea plant has multicolored flowers all over it. From a deep, rich violet to pale pink, the assortment is beautiful... and they all stem from a single plant.   How can one plant have so many colors?

I'm sure there is a scientific reason for the multicolored flowers, but it doesn't matter to me.  I rather just enjoy the beauty of it.

Father, i want to have that same attitude with You.  One of not needing to understand Your love for me, but just accepting it. From You, our one God, flow multiple blessings everyday.  You are actively aware and  involved in each and every detail of my life and the lives of all your children. How can this be?! I can't fathom such greatness.  I want to live with a heart full of joy for You, so others can enjoy Your beauty too.

Not everything in life can be explained... sometimes, we just need to say thanks.

Thank You, Father.

have a joy-filled day!

Friday, June 21, 2013

the painful lie

"Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again; from the depths of the earth you will again bring me up.  You will increase my honor and comfort me once again." Psalm 71:20-21

She had lost her mother, and i wanted to comfort her, but i couldn't tell her time heals.  Anyone who has lost a loved one, or experienced a tragedy, know these words alone are a lie. Time on it's own, can be more harmful and destructive than healing.  How we spend our time determines the healing we receive.

Through prayer with God and reading His Word, we can find direction, strength and hope in dealing with hardships. Sharing and talking with others who have experienced similar pain also is comforting.  When i lost my mother, i found living my life in a way to honor her helpful.  It didn't bring her back physically, but it emotionally put her in a healthy, wonderful place in my heart. 

Are you hurting?  It's easy to stay in the pit of hurt or anger, but you don't have to. I pray in time with God, you allow Him to fill your heart with peace and guidance, as only He can.  

Times does not heal, Truth heals.  Thank You, Father.

have a truth-filled day!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

are you being rained on?

"Finally, brothers/sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things." Philippians 4:8

Three weeks and still going strong.  No, i'm not referring to the energizer battery, but all the rain and storms.  And, it appears more are still ahead. Is so much rain ever good? It feels like the washing of a lifetime!

Could this signal the need for a washing of our souls more than our land?  Are there hidden secrets, dirt or ugliness the Father wants to remove for us?  Are our thoughts and motives selfless and pure?

Father, Our lands truly thirst for Your healing reign. We are still surrounded by droughts of love, care, and kindness to others. We want to be true and acceptable in Your sight.  Please keep reigning over our thoughts, words and actions. 

have a watch-filled day!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

where are you??

The Lord says...
"at the time it happens, I am there." Isaiah  48:16

No more needs to be said... except, thank You, Father.

have a peace-filled day!

Monday, June 17, 2013

who will know?

"You have searched me, Lord, and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue 
you, Lord, know it completely."  Psalm 139:1-4

The kitchen looked clean and uncluttered... too uncluttered.  Soon we realized a kitchen stool was missing.  We made a thorough search of the house with no luck -- but hours later, looking in the back of a bedroom closet we did.  Embarrassed, he hid the broken stool, thinking we wouldn't miss it.

Is there something about your life troubling you?  God knows our secrets, our motives and even our thoughts.  We hold no surprises for Him. 

Father, it's embarrassing and humbling to acknowledge how well You know us.  But, it's also a relief.  You know us better than we do.  Thank You for not giving up on us, and thinking us worthy of pursuing, even when we mess up. Coming to You first when trouble arises is what we need to do. You are our Peace.

have a calm-filled day!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

where's your Daddy?

"He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them His way. All the ways of the LORD are loving and faithful for those who keep the demands of His covenant." Psalm 25:9-10

Death and serious illness drove me back home earlier this week. Anxiety first jumped in the suitcase for the four-hour drive. But the week long visit quickly filled my heart with joy instead.

First, the anticipated drive alone was cut in half, when God-incidentally made way for my Aunt Mary  to accompany me for half the trip. Then, someone i met helped me reconnect with my college roomy, Kathy. All unexpected blessings at a needed time.

But the biggest blessing of all.... Daddy time.  During a time of sadness and stress, i witnessed Daddy love and take care of family, friends and even customers in his tire store. He's not only a daddy to me and my brother, but to others.  His kind, compassionate and protective nature flows over to others in need.  And my brother, Eddie, walks in his steps... a daddy to many -- not by blood but by the heart.

Happy Father's Day to the many who give, guide, share, teach and love all who look up to them.  Thank You, God, for all these special daddies, of the past and present. My Good Father (on earth and heaven) makes me happy, happy, happy.  I love you, Daddy.

have a love-filled day!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

a Mighty Word ~ precious

How precious are you to our Father?  Just read...

"for whoever touches you touches the apple of His eye."

You are the sweetness on His breath.  
Close and personal... He loves you mightily.
Thank You, Father.

have a special-filled day!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

not another storm!

"Our Lord said, 'I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go.'" Genesis 28:15

It's summer and time for lots of sun and fun, right? But lately with all the ferocious storms, a big damper has dropped on many outdoor activities.  Just as we think things are clearing up, BOOM! another storm moves in and forces us to change our plans.  'Tis the season of sporadic summer storms.

So, it is with life too.  Everything is going smoothly and then, BOOM!  An unexpected event takes place, changing the day or possibly our entire future.  Sometimes like the summer weather, the storms swirl up out of nowhere and are unending.  We find ourselves wondering, how can we deal with another one.  When will the sun return?

May it help to remember "the Son" is always with us.  He has not promised no stormy days or seasons, but He has promised to always be with us and lead us through them.

Thank You, Father!

have a Son-filled day!

Monday, June 10, 2013

and the award goes to...

His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’" Matthew 25:21

I normally don't follow award programs, but last night was different.  From childhood my nephew, Hugh Hayes, developed a strong love for the theater world.  He pursued his dream endlessly and passionately despite the ups and downs.  And, last night he had the opportunity to taste Broadway success as one of the producers for Pippin, receiving a Tony award for Best Revival of a Musical.

Thank You, Father, for letting us see dreams come true.  So often when we are experiencing hardships in life we want to just give up.   It's the easiest choice to make when we feel we have reached the end of a rope and options appear nil.  Thank You for showing us rewards don't always come easily or quickly.  And faithfulness in believing and doing is a key ingredient in succeeding... whether in the bright lights on Broadway or as a Light for You in our heart.  Thank You for allowing inspiration and perspiration  to produce good results, so others may see and have their hope restored.

How blessed we are to serve You, our Awesome Lord and Master.  To be called by You some day 'a good and faithful servant' is the greatest reward possible, and available to all.  Thank You for loving us and encouraging us to keep walking towards You... the Greatest Glory and Gift of all.

have a thank-filled day!

Saturday, June 8, 2013

what did you decide?

"whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you." Philippians 4:8-9

Consider every decision you have made in life. Our decisions are connected to actions, reactions or lack of.  Each one has played a part in getting us where we are today... go left, right, turn around, stop -- say yes, no, ignore, override. There have been good ones, bad, stupid, brilliant, crazy and embarrassing decisions. And each one has played a part in where we are today; decisions are the building blocks of our life.

Where we go from here depends on our decisions today and tomorrow. With each decision we have opportunities for greater growth and change, if needed.  May they all count to the good of God, others and then self. 

Building our life on Him and His Word provides security, strength and peace for every day. What are your decisions building for you?

have a thought-filled day!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

toss the plastic forks

"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God." 2 Corinthians 1:3

Snap, crackle, POP!
Plastic forks, i have a love/hate relationship with them.  Using them with beans is a cinch, but throw a steak on the plate and watch out! The deeper you need to cut, the weaker the plastic fork becomes under pressure. It's a guessing game as to how many bites might be cut before the fork snaps. Real cutlery is needed for real, serious eating.

What would happen if we all put our plastic smiles away and became real with each other?  Can you imagine the healing that could occur?  Real life is hard... and we need to be real with each other.  As believers we draw comfort, peace and guidance through our faith. God provides us with what we need, including others.  Them for us, and us for them.

Father, in our little communities at work or other groups, we have an opportunity to move towards peace, when we are honest and available to one another. Help us to throw away the fragile, plastic walls of compliance and niceties.  We need the strength and ability to dig deep into the heart of others with truth, love, understanding and compassion.  

have a kind-filled day!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

no discounts here

"Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers." Galatians 6:9-10

Don’t discount anything you do.  What might seem like nothing to you, might mean the world to another.

have a giving-filled day!

Monday, June 3, 2013

a PJ day

"Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience." Colossians 3:12

What to wear the first day of summer break is as important as what to wear the first day of school.  And for Summer Break Day One, i vote for pajamas!  This sets my mood for the Summer 3-R's ... Rest, Relaxation and Refueling. 
Thank You, for this summer season of 3-R's. A change of some clothes is great. But help me remember what i wear on the outside isn't nearly as important as what's on the inside.  And what's on the inside, needs to never change.  I pray Your Spirit keeps me clothed in compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience every day of my life.  May these clothes never get old, worn out or outdated in my soul.

have a PJ-filled day!