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The Lord leads with unfailing love and faithfulness all who keep his covenant and obey his demands.     – Psalm 25:10

If you are reading this today, Thursday, Feb 28, please pray for me as I work on an upcoming presentation for our church’s Ladies Night Out.  Quite some time ago, as I was feeling anxiety about this task, God took me aside, set me down at my computer, and started feeding me a wonderful presentation.  I was elated!  Oh, how I was praising!  All I had to do was try to put some graphics with it (something I know nothing about), come up with a title, and practice, practice, practice. 

At that time the event was months away and pressing matters at our church started taking most of my time and attention.  Then the holidays came.  Finally the New Year passed and I sat down again to get my head back into what God began several months ago.  I still needed that title! 

Well, I finally arrived at the right title, and as I did I’m sure I heard God chuckle, because it was a 2-part title.  God had given me the first of the presentation to go with the first part of the title, but it was going to be up to me to come with the rest!  I had to chuckle, too.  Of course I couldnt’ expect Him to make things too easy for me.  🙂

“No problem”, I thought.  I’ll get the rest of this figured out.  However, everytime I’d have a day set aside to work on it, something would come up.  Now, here we are on Feb 28, the event is on March 13 (coming up fast!), and I finally get a few hours to myself to try to finish my presentation!  Yay!!!!  

So please pray for me to do good work and prepare the message God wants shared. 

Oh, are you wondering why God teased me like He did by only giving me part of what I needed?  He wasn’t teasing at all.  He was being very loving, gracious, and encouraging.  He knew the anxieties I was feeling and that I was trying to fight self-doubt.  I couldn’t even arrive at a topic.  God swooped into my head one morning and just started putting it all out there for me.  I went from what my son calls a ‘negative anxious’ to a very excited ‘positive anxious’.  God was showing me that He did want me to do what I’d been asked to do and He was going to be right there with me.  I didn’t need to worry, I just needed to “step out and put my best faith forward” – which coincidentally, became the title of the presentation. (Steppin’ Out – Putting Your Best Faith Forward)

God will be with me today, too.  He’ll just make me work a little harder this time. 

Wherever you are and whatever you’re doing today, I know He’s there with you, too.  Go ahead…Step out and put your best faith forward!

God bless you.

Renee

I praise you, Lord,

for ye though I walked through the Valley of Weeping,

there was peace knowing You were there, too.

My joy, though faint at times, was in You.

I walked bravely, following Your lead,

and just as if on the wings of an eagle,

You lifted me out of the Valley,

up onto Your place for me on Your mountain.

Oh, how beautiful was the view!

How I wish all could know the joy to be found in You. 

Yes, Lord, I praise You, for mountains and valleys,

for in the valleys we walk most closely with You,

and on the mountains we see clearly the beauty in You. 

Hello, I’m sorry that I’ve been a no-show at my own site this past week.  My absence is partly due to problems with internet connection – we keep losing connection! 

He has made everything beautiful in its time.   He has also set in eternity the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.      – Ecclesiastes 3:11

As mentioned previously, I lost a dear uncle last week and have been missing him already.  Then, yesterday we received news that my father-in-law was dying and there probably wouldn’t be time for my husband to get there to see him.  He passed away a short time later.  Then came the news that Tara, mentioned in previous posts, passed away in the morning, too, losing her courageous and inspirational battle with cancer. 

This will be an eventful weekend.   My uncle’s memorial service is tomorrow.  Calling hours for my father-in-law are Sunday, and his burial will be Monday.  Sadly I will miss Tara’s service, as I will be with my husband’s family. 

Although these things bring sadness, they also bring joy.  God has chosen to relieve and lift up two wonderful people who were suffering.  Wave is now walking for the first time in 20 years after an accident left him a quadriplegic – someone I spoke with yesterday said he might even be running!  Tara is beautiful, well, and whole again.  Neither is suffering.  Both are basking in the radiance of the Lord’s presence in heaven.  And as my husband noted yesterday, his dad joined his sweetheart in heaven on Valentine’s Day.  (His mother died from cancer several years ago. )

Unfortunately, we live in a world where accidents happen, causing our existing lives to be shattered and forever changed – like the one that took my healthy, athletic, fit father-in-law and rendered him paralyzed.  However, my husband has said many times that his dad’s accident might have saved his life, forcing him to slow down and change a highly stressful lifestyle that was surely killing him at the time.  He and his sisters would rather have had his dad in a handicapped condition, than not at all – and it was a miracle he survived the severity of the accident. 

I do not know why Tara had to fall victim to a cancer that took her young life, or why God didn’t choose to heal her.  But I do know that Tara brought the Lord much glory as she drew upon her faith to be strong, brave, and courageous in battle, and that through her many lives were touched, inspired, and drawn closer to God. 

Be thankful for what you have.  Make the most of your circumstances whatever they may be.  Reach out and make better those situations and relationships that are broken, hurting, suffering, or need to be improved.  Do not take today or anyone you love for granted.  Make sure others know the good things you feel about them.  Let go of grudges.  Forgive others even if they haven’t asked you to do so. Forgive them again, if necessary.  Most importantly, share all that you can with God and trust Him to lead you as you should go.  At the end of each day thank God and praise Him for the good of that day.  Each morning rise to offer him your best for His glory. 

Grace and peace,

Renee

I just learned that a dear uncle, Uncle Freddie, has passed away.  He was older and ailing.  It was his time.  He died sitting at his table, seemingly at peace, with no signs of pain or discomfort.  Most importantly, he died knowing Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior.

 Uncle Freddie lived very simply compared to most of us.  He knew that life wasn’t about stuff, but was about the stuff of life.  People were more important than possessions.  Giving was more important than getting.  His happiness was found by making others happy.  

I mentioned that he left this earth knowing Jesus as his Lord and Savior, but that just happened in recent years.  His mother, my grandmother, was a woman of deep faith.  Uncle Freddie, though, didn’t use to acknowledge his beliefs, or possible lack thereof.  For years he made no mention of God, Jesus, or church.  He made no responses to my inquiries about his beliefs. 

Then along came a trusted friend in his life, someone like a daughter to him, who took him in and started taking him to church.  As Uncle Freddie put it, he “gave his heart to Jesus” at church on his mother’s birthday while his favorite hymn was playing.  This happened just a few years ago.  I’m so praising the dear friend who led him to that moment. 

Uncle Freddie was my dad’s oldest sibling.  My dad was the baby of the family.  He died when I was just a toddler.  Uncle Freddie seems to have had a special fondness for my dad, because he saved letters my dad wrote from air force bases.  Recently he sent some of those letters and photos of my dad and started telling me about my father. 

I went for most of my life not being in touch with Uncle Freddie.  He lived in West Virginia.  I grew up in Indiana.   Then one day I received a letter from him.  That was the beginning of a special pen-pal bond that carried us through until this day.  I will miss finding his letters in my mailbox. 

May the good Lord bless his dear soul.  Amen. 

Dear Friends,

Wednesday, February 6th, is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the Season of Lent for Christians.  I’m praying you will take time to consider the significance of this season and its meaning to the Christian faith.  Hopefully you will feel it in your heart to observe the Season of Lent in a way that deepens your faith and brings you closer to the Lord.

Ash Wednesday occurs 40 days before Good Friday.  Its Latin name, dies cinerum, means ‘day of ashes’.  The Bible describes many occasions when people marked their faces with ashes as a symbol of grief, repentence, and/or mourning.  It is customary in Ash Wednesday services today to mark foreheads with a cross of  ashes to symbolize belief in Jesus Christ. 

Although the observance of Ash Wednesday is not taught in the Bible, it has become a  common modern day tradition to officially begin the Season of Lent.  The Season of Lent is intended to be a time for Christians to prepare for Easter by devoting 40 days to draw closer to the Lord.  In the Bible, the number ’40’ is often used in association with transformation.  With that in mind, please see my previous post, Season of Lent (Click on Feb 2007 archives.  When it comes up, scroll alllllll the way down to ‘Season of Lent’, printed in purple. ), for more information about observing the Season of Lent. 

Again, I’m praying you will take time to consider the significance of this season and its meaning to the Christian faith.  Hopefully you will feel it in your heart to observe the Season of Lent in a way that deepens your faith and brings you closer to the Lord as we approach Easter and remember the sacrifice Jesus made for each of us on the cross.

Blessings to all,

Renee          Remember, go to Feb ’07 archives to read ‘Season of Lent’.  🙂

This is a Super Sunday, all right, but it has nothing to do with any football game.  Today my prayers came true.  

After abruptly losing our beloved Senior Pastor toward summer’s end, our church was very shaken.  Things were just settling down when the aftershocks started, causing more turmoil than the initial ‘quake’.   Just as earthquakes cause cracks and divisions in the earth’s foundation, the events at our church caused the same damage to our congregation. 

The going has been rough at times, but through it all God’s hand of grace and provision was evident.  It was clear to me that the shake-ups were of God and were for our own good.  Just as Jeremiah 29:11 claims, God had plans and purpose for our church, and dramatic changes were necessary to enable us to fulfill the plans and purposes He has for us. 

Those who ‘stuck it out’ during the difficult times of recent months did so to serve the church as God’s house, and today we received our reward for doing so.  Our new Pastor took the pulpit received by many looking to him with great hope and expectations.  His message was excellent, proving him to be a humble servant of the Lord and one truly called to serve as a minister of Christ’s Word and truth. 

I was literally overcome with tears of joy as the congregation welcomed him with a standing ovation and I realized the moment that I, and many others, had prayed for had finally arrived, the day our new Pastor took over and began leading our church as God wills for us to go. 

Yes, it was a Super Sunday, indeed.  Thank You, Lord!!!!!  

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