As we listen to the news, it can become daunting. Everyone is predicting how different the future could be. Not only fear, but hatred seems to be dominant. As I prayed for God to lead me to a verse I could hold on to, I was led to Deuteronomy 31:8 reads “The Lord Himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” Actually, I felt His presence as I read this verse and I knew this was His message for me today.
There is never anything to fear when we allow God to lead and wholeheartedly put our trust in Him. My heart fills with humility and gratitude as I ponder this verse.
It is becoming more clear daily that true Church has nothing to do with a building! It is people reaching out to one another in love and compassion. All of the Churches in our area are closing their doors so now we are experiencing real Church. It has absolutely nothing to do with the frock you are wearing nor how much money you are giving in the offering. It is what is in our heart and how we treat our fellowman. So grateful for this time where the best of people is brought out.
Psalm 37:4 states “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.” One finds himself in the giving to others.
Yesterday we were on a four-hour flight home after a week-end of Church meetings. As the plane filled up, there was a young man across the aisle from us who was obviously suffering. His eyes were red and he constantly was wiping his face with a tissue and blowing his nose. He would alternate from putting his head on the tray in front of him to pulling his cap over his face to lean back and attempt to sleep.
My husband even pointed this out to me and I began praying and prayed off and on all the way home. At one time, I almost wrote “God loves you” on a slip of paper and pass over to him but didn’t, but did continue to pray about his true identity as a child of God. My heart filled with love for this young man and as we landed and were in line to leave the plane, my eyes met the clearest blue eyes as I asked him if he was feeling better. He replied that he was and I told him I had been praying for him the entire trip. We just smiled at each other and I will never see him again but I know we will both remember that trip. In my heart, I knew he was well.
“Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4
For the second time in the five years of art classes, I have taken to class a piece that at one time, I wanted to toss. Once again, my teacher patiently looks at it, giving me guidance and suggestions on how to correct the errors. Never does she condemn or criticize unkindly, but urges me onward with suggestions that will correct. This reminds me of God guiding me in times I may feel that I totally messed up and there is no way out. He doesn’t punish me nor does He condemn me but gently lifts me up to a clearer and higher view of the challenge. Graciously, my thought begins to change as I remove ego.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18 reads “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
Recently I saw where a five-year old autistic little boy was playing in a skate board park while his mother was sitting on a nearby bench watching him. Along comes 7 or 8 middle school young boys into the park. Normally, the five-year old was afraid of groups of people but one of the older boys came over to him and began walking beside him while he skate-boarded. After a bit, the others followed suit playing with him and he became so joyous and the mother was amazed.
She began to take pictures and post them. Later, the police had a pizza party for this group of young boys and they now have become friends with the little one and play with him from time to time. From there we don’t know where it has gone, but my heart fills with love and gratitude for this outpouring of love. So often, we read opposite reports of vandalism or terrorism while there is so very much good going on. Today, my focus will be seeing what God is seeing and sharing this information!
“My heart says of you, ‘Seek His face!’ Your face, Lord, I will seek.” Psalm 27:8
This morning, as I study, the thought came about a recent conversation I overheard regarding a quarterback whose team is going to the championship game. He was being praised while I immediately was reminded that he wouldn’t be that great if he didn’t have good receivers. Then, was thinking about how needed the blockers were! As I was thinking along this line, I thought when someone is healthy but has a broken-down car, a good car mechanic would be much greater than a doctor.
Soon my heart filled with love and gratitude for everyone, no matter what his station in life must be. I was led to think about prayer and often we may want to ask God to bless our plans rather than ask Him what His plan is for us. Today I will be praying with Jeremiah 29:11 which states “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'”
“The Answer” is a poem by Maxine Le Pelley which is definitely worth reading.
“In the words of the young man whom Jesus met, he too asked: ‘Lord, what lack I yet?’ What do I need to heal this case and error’s picture to erase? Do I need more humility, More meekness, and less vanity? Lack I still yet a motive pure, A little faith that will endure? Is it more gratitude I need, More honesty of thought and deed? What is my need, all else above? The answer came, ‘To love, to love!'”
When my heart is filled with Love, the answer is always obvious, but when it is dark, I can neither see nor feel love. Habakkuk 3: 17-19 states “Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. The Sovereign Lord is my strength; He makes my feet like the feet of a deer, He enables me to go on the heights.” We are receptive to all Good when we continue to love more and our Good multiplies! The answer then is always simple. Just love more.
So often we think something needs to happen in order for us to experience joy! Actually, we can be joyful right here, right now and anywhere. Just read a cute poem which reads, “The heart is a garden, your thoughts are the seeds, You can grow flowers or you can grow weeds.” The choice is always ours.
Psalm 23:4 states, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.” No matter what the human experience, the Christ is right there lovingly pointing out our blessing.
This morning I have been praying about our precious little Church, which expresses magnanimity since Love guides, not countless detailed rules. As I think about the committees I serve, I ask myself does my prayer mean listening for Love’s guidance or for my views to prevail? And I do feel our Church is and should be inclusive rather than exclusive and cliquish. My heart fills with humility and gratitude as I think about our membership and I turn to Ephesians 3:20-21 which reads, “Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the Church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen.”
There are times I feel as if my prayers are effective and then, there are times when they seem “hit and miss”. As I still my thoughts and soften my heart, right then and right there I realize that is when they are working because I know without a doubt it is God and not me. The doubts I entertain are never, ever about God but my worthiness or receptivity. Humility and gratitude fill my heart as I lay my earthly all on the altar. I also know I am worthy and the precious child of God as we all are.
Psalm 5:3 reads “In the morning, O Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation.”