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I ran into a neighbor this weekend at our local Starbucks. After saying hello he asked if I knew his mother had just passed away. I hadn’t heard. The pain of his loss was evident in his eyes. I expressed my sympathy. He said it was really hard (to deal with) because he’d lost 3 people in 4 months. His twin sisters had died just weeks apart, then he lost his mother. My heart went out to him.
Later that day my husband and I got to speak with our friend and his wife. They told us that his mother had been a devout Catholic who pursued her faith until her death. Her roommate, however, an alzheimers patient, was not a religious person – although she’d been a wonderful friend and roommate to his mother. After the mother’s death, they told the roommate that her friend was gone. When she learned of the death, this alzheimers patient paused and then began reciting one of the Catholic prayers of blessing. Our friends and the nurses were amazed and said it was just beautiful. Then the roommate left. The stunned nurses told our friends this woman was not mentally capable of reciting something like that, and that it wasn’t ‘her’ speaking. Our friends realized they’d been given a very special gift, through God’s presence in that woman. They felt the mother letting them know she was ok and leaving them with a blessing.
Shortly after this, the roommate returned. They thanked her for the beautiful prayer. “What prayer?!”, she asked as if they were the crazy ones. She didn’t remember anything about it. Yes, it must have been God.
Isn’t that a wonderful story? My friends, God is with us, too. He doesn’t always reveal Himself to us in situations like that, but He does make Himself known in many other ways. Often He will later prove that He was indeed with us even if it didn’t seem so at the time. Whether you are in a time of need, a time of uncertainty or unrest, or a time of peace and happiness, I pray God will make Himself known to you in awesome ways, too.
God bless and keep you.
Hello, friends –
I’m sorry it’s been over a week since I’ve written a new post. I’ve just been extra busy! It’s all good, though! This coming week is full, too, as I keep up with our Disciple study, make progress on the Walk with Me mentoring program, and wrap things up in preparation for our upcoming women’s retreat. I’ll be leading the communion segment and sharing about the Walk with Me program. We’ll leave for Blowing Rock on Friday afternoon.
As busy as things have been, things really have been going well. Each day I’ve been asking God to be with me in all I have to do. My daily task lists were big last week, but each day went great! Praise! I made good use of my time and was even able to tend to the unexpecteds that popped up each day. Hopefully this will be another good week. Once I get through this week, things will settle down and I’ll be able to get back to my usual writing. (I miss it!)
If you think about it, please pray for all who are preparing for the women’s retreat and all who will be attending the retreat. Please pray for me to have another productive week, that I’ll make the most of my time and make good progress. Please also pray for my son, Zach. He’s been running fevers for over 24 hours and is weak/tired. Please pray this is just a general virus, not H1N1, and that he gets well quickly. And I will be giving praise for my other son, Jackson, who will be 9 tomorrow. May he have many more happy, healthy years ahead of him, and may my husband, his brother, and I have many more happy, healthy years with him!
Thank you very much. Your prayers will be appreciated. In return, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment or contact me by my email to let me know how I can pray for you, too. I’m never too busy to pray for others. 🙂
Blessings to all,
The weather forecast predicted a beautiful day today, so I delayed my morning walk until later in the morning so I could fully enjoy the sunshine and late summer/early autumn air. I looked forward to having a peaceful walk, time alone when my thoughts could roam free, and hopefully encounter God somehow with something inspiring or gaining His perspective in my thoughts.
What I encountered were the neighborhood garbage trucks! Not only were they loud and distracting, they STUNK!!! Oh, the smell was awful! And they were all throughout the neighborhood! I’d manage to get ahead of one, and another would pull out in front of me. They were ALL stinky!
Stinkin’ thinkin’ entered my head as I silently grumbled, “Why do I have to smell so many stinky smells? First thing this morning was the cat’s litter box (yuck). Then I discovered the dog’s ‘accident’. She can’t help it, she has tummy problems, but it’s stinky and disgusting nonetheless. The next bad smell was my son’s soured towel. And this was all before 5:30 this morning! Then there’s my son’s stinky-sweaty football gear he brings home everyday. Worse than that is smelling him for 20 minutes on the way home from his sweaty practices. Oh, and what about the boys when they come in from the fresh outdoors not smelling so fresh?” (My husband says I smell bad, too, when I come in from outside. Surely not! ) Even my walk is spoiled with the smell of garbage!” Before my grumbling could go on, God broke into my thoughts to say, “I have to smell bad things, too.” At first I wondered if he could smell our stinky rotten trash all the way up to wherever He is, then I remembered the Bible says our bad behaviors, evil ways, ignorance of God, and hypocritical worship rise up as a bad stench to the Lord. In reference to the sinful people of Isaiah’s time, God said: “…These people are a stench in my nostrils, an acrid smell that never goes away.” (Isaiah 65:5) Surely that stench is worse than any we encounter here on earth. “Sorry, God.”
As I continued my walk, my thoughts continued, too. Stinky waste and refuse are an unavoidable part of our existence on this planet. Bad behaviors and sinful worship are not. Instead of living and worshipping (or failing to worship at all) in a way that rises like a stench to the Lord, we can live and worship in ways that rise up like a pleasing fragrance, instead. We should live this way not only to be pleasing to God, but also to help lead others to Him, as stated in 2 Corinthians 2:15: For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.
No more stinkin’ thinkin’ (or behavior) for me. I want to be a pleasing fragrance to the Lord and those around me, too.
The garbage trucks continued to be with me until I turned onto our street. As I walked up the hill that leads to our house, a fresh breeze began to blow. I wanted to gulp it in to rid myself of the garbage smell stuck in my nose. All I could think as I approached our house was that I could use some aroma therapy! God responded with humor in His tone to say, “I could use some, too!” So noted, God. We’ll try to do better.
May the fragrance of goodness be all about you as you seek to please Him, too. God bless you!
Remember to observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days a week are set apart for your daily duties and regular work, but the seventh day is a day of rest dedicated to the LORD your God. – Exodus 20:8-10
“I slept, therefore I am,” I thought when I woke up this morning feeling much better today than I did yesterday.
I hit a brick wall yesterday (figuratively speaking). Since school started, things have been good but hectic. This past week especially – busy days, late nights when my son stayed up doing homework, and 4:00-4:30 a.m. wake-up times started my days. By yesterday I was drained. My spirits were good, thoughts still positive, but physically I was done. Not only did I feel exhausted, I was also getting warning signs/symptoms of fatigue.
With much regret I cancelled out of yesterday’s commitments knowing I had to take time to rest. I did only the chores and errands that were necessary. My only trips out were to a restful hair appointment, picking up my son from school, and getting our dog from the vet. I fixed a no-fuss meal, kept clean-up simple, and then spent the evening resting until I could go to bed.
I felt guilty that I’d cancelling out of plans, but I knew I had to take time to rest. If not, I’d have run myself down completely, my physical symptoms would have gotten worse, and I’d be forced to take a longer time-out which would mean I have to cancel more plans and back out of more committments.
I had to tell myself that taking time to rest isn’t selfish. It’s necessary. It’s even biblical! Included in the Ten Commandments is the commandment to rest, and the Ten Commandments appear twice! (Genesis, chapter 20 and Deuteronomy, chapter 5) We know from 2 Timothy 3:26-17 that all scripture is ‘God inspired’, so if God inspired the Ten Commandments to be stated twice, then they must be important! Consequently, the commandment to observe the ‘sabbath’ , which commands us to take time to rest, must be important, too! Nowhere in the Bible does God lead His people to run themselves ragged and get stressed out. He commands us to do the opposite. After six days of work and labor, God commands us to rest.
Unfortunately, America’s way of life doesn’t encourage us to observe the Sabbath, and it certainly doesn’t provide a balance between work, play and rest. We have to examine our schedules and carve out the time needed for rest.
A friend stated it well in Bible study one day when she said, “If God could create the world in six days and then take a day of rest, shouldn’t we be able to do our work in six days and take a day of rest, too?”
Further, the prescribed Sabbath Day was not just a day of rest to restore ourselves physically. It was also a day to worship and reflect on the Lord so that we could refresh and restore ourselves spiritually, too.
Are you taking the necessary time you need to rest and refresh yourself physically and spiritually?
If not, how might you and your loved ones benefit if you were better rested and better fed spiritually?
How might your job performance improve? (At home and/or in a work setting)
How might YOU benefit from being well-rested and spiritually refreshed?
May you find the time you need to rest and be refreshed, and may God bless and keep you.
“Are you burdened? Take My yoke. – Jesus” (Archives April 15 2007)
“Saving the Sabbath” (Archives March 2008)
My older son is on a high school JV football team. His coach has ‘mistake period’ after each practice for players who were late, absent the day before, spoke inappropriately, acted inappropriately, didn’t follow instructions, and various other infractions. In mistake period, the coach has the players run and do various exercises that are not pleasant to do – and this is done AFTER an already physically demanding practice. No one wants to stay for mistake period! This makes it a very good thing.
By imposing mistake period, the coach is teaching the boys that there are significant consequences for bad choices, wrong-doing, and inappropriate behavior. He’s also giving them the ability to avoid mistake period by following the rules. What a great way to bring about discipline.
I spoke with a player today who had to stay for mistake period when he missed the first part of the practice due to a doctor’s appointment. He’s a good kid and didn’t expect the partial absence for a doctor’s appointment to be cause for mistake period, but it was. I felt sorry for him that he had to suffer such consequences, but admire the coach for what he’s doing. He’s consistently holding his players to the same standards and making examples out of those who mistakes. Consequently, players are very mindful to follow rules, follow instructions, and do whatever it takes to avoid the fate of mistake period.
As I thought about this today, I thought about the ‘mistake periods’ in my life. Many were self-imposed as the result of bad choices. Some mistakes might not have brought about consequences right away, but consequences caught up with me eventually! Thinking further about this, I realized God imposes His mistake periods in much the same way as the coach. He lets us know what is expected of us, warns us that there will be consequences if we fail to obey, and then fairly and consistently imposes mistake periods as needed. The Bible is full of stories and examples of people not following God’s instructions and finding themselves in His mistake periods. Our times today are full of the same.
God put his Play Book out there for us. The rules are clear. His warnings are clear. Still we fail to heed His rules and teachings, and eventually mistake period catches up with us. However, the good news is that God follows up His mistake periods with forgiveness and grace if we seek it. His Play Book tells us He does not keep track of wrong-doings and that His mercies are new every morning!
God erases the stats with our errors, fumbles, and missed attempts when we seek Him with a willingness to go with His grace and make a better play next time. Praise be to God!