Rest, Peace, Joy

School is out for the summer, my students are excited. My grad school assignments for the week are completed. I have no appointments today. I’ve already done the grocery shopping for the week. Everything is pretty much done….so I am taking today as my mini vacation. I will blog. I will journal. I will play with the dogs. I will read. I will watch a marathon of X-Files, this evening, with my husband.

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I need today.

Time to breathe. Time to ponder. Time to do nothing, but just be still.

How many times have I been guilty of rushing around, finishing things, checking items off my lists, proofreading that paper, meeting with people to the point of exhaustion?

I appreciate  these days of doing nothing, which are few and far between. These days turn out to mean everything.

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Thank you, Lord……that I can find rest, and peace, and joy in You.

Psalm 62:5 “Yes, my soul, find rest in God: my hope comes from him.” Amen.

 

Fingerprints Of The Creator

The rogue raccoon is driving me nuts. He continues his nightly visits to the barn and eats all the barn cats’ food. Currently the dogs have him cornered under our house deck. They can’t get to him right now, but they are trying….because that is what raccoons do, and that is also what dogs do.

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I hear people say, “If only we (humans) were more like animals. They are loving and loyal.” Well, with some animals that may be true in certain circumstances, but for the most part animals act on instinct and live by the rule of survival of the fittest. My dogs love me, but they will kill that raccoon if they can ever reach it. My cats can be sweet and purring, but become furry assassins when there is a mouse, bug, or small snake involved. Chickens can be cruel. When one gets injured they peck at her when she is down. There is no loyalty or friendship amongst fowl. I could go on and on.

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Even in situations such as what is going on at my house this morning, God reminds me that I am loved. I am different than all His other creations. I am created in His image, and so are you. The image of the Almighty. Just take that in for a moment…..

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26 Then God said, “Let us (speaking to Jesus) make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

27 So God created mankind in his own image,
    in the image of God he created them;
    male and female he created them.

28 God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” Genesis 1

Or the beloved verses of Psalm 139

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13 For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.
15 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.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
    all the days ordained for me were written in your book
    before one of them came to be.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts, God!
    How vast is the sum of them!
18 Were I to count them,
    they would outnumber the grains of sand—
    when I awake, I am still with you.

You, my friend, have the fingerprints of the Creator, on your soul.

 

 

Father, You Are Good

I found a little treasure when I was out shopping yesterday. A tiny book entitled “Pocket Prayers” by Max Lucado. I was drawn to this book because I don’t know about you, but often times I feel stymied by what I think prayer is supposed to be. How do I really talk with my Creator? The One who knows me better than I know myself? I’ve been praying to Him since I was a child, but here I am nearly five decades later still wondering if I am missing something?

On page seven, Mr. Lucado compiled all the prayers of the Bible into one “pocket size” prayer.

“Father, you are good. I need help. Heal me and forgive me. They need help. Thank you. In Jesus’ name, amen.”

So simple, but oh, yes! I can relate to these words. They are few, and yet so full of meaning.

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Father,

You are good.…..A good, good Father. You are always good. You don’t know how to be anything but good and holy, and loving, and just. You are the ultimate truth and life.

I need help. Oh, how I need you. Not only do I need you for the hard and difficult things in life, but even those things I consider involuntary, like breathing, are under your control. You know my name. You know every hair on my head. You have already marked all my days in your book. When I call to you for help, you are always there.

Heal me and forgive me. I live in a world that is broken. Those of us on this spinning orb know what it is to feel pain, discontent, and regret. These feelings can weigh heavy on a heart that longs for forgiveness. Freedom from sickness and freedom from baggage, I was never meant to carry.

They need help. I’ve cried, because people I love are hurting. I’ve mourned their losses, I’ve held hands, and heard hearts. Sick beds, and sick souls. People that need help. It can seem overwhelming. Help them to find their peace in You.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you for your love. Thank you for your presence. Thank you for your wisdom. Thank you for your creations. Thank you for your death and resurrection. Thank you for your grace. Thank you for life.

In Jesus’ name, amen. The name above all names. The One who is fully God and was also fully man. He who died, so I could live. Savior. Lamb. The Son. The Prince of Peace. Lord of lords. The Good Shepherd. Emmanuel.

Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow. James 1:17 

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. Romans 8:26-27

“I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me.” John 10:14 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How Is Easter Real To You?

I found this post that I previously wrote about Easter. It is just as true today, as the day that I first wrote it. I needed to read it again…..maybe you will too?

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“I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me, though he dies, yet shall he live.”    John 11:25

How many of us have stood over a casket, looking down at one we loved?

Tears leaking down our cheeks…already missing the one that is gone.

The body so still. The breath has ceased. The lids now closed.

Burial. In the ground. Dirt covered.

And we weep.

And yet…

Jesus‘ words ring out in the darkness. The darkness of hopelessness. The darkness of fear. The darkness of death.

I am the resurrection and the life.  Alive again. Living. Breathing. In glory.

Jesus saith unto him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”  John 14:6

He who believes in me, though he dies,

yet shall he live. Shall live. With Him. Forever. Real. Oh, so real.

No more heart hurt, no more rampant cancer, no more diseased body, no more accidents, no more shallow breathing, no more depression, no more pain, no more poor vision, no more sickness…

No more.

Believe in Me, Jesus whispers to our souls.

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him, shall have everlasting life. John 3:16

Jesus says,

I have conquered death. I have taken your place.

It is finished. 

Words that echo through the ages.

How is Easter real to you? Not only on a Sunday in Spring…but, all year long?

You Might Be The One To Make A Difference

 

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I read something not long ago about the church. This particular article focused on families that have children with disabilities. Being a special education teacher, and a vocal advocate for those with disabilities, these kinds of articles always catch my attention.

I have heard over and over again from parents who have children on the autism spectrum, about how they want to go to church. They want to worship with fellow believers. They love singing both praise music as well as old, familiar hymns. They want to quiet their souls so they can hear a word from God. The thing is, they don’t always feel welcomed when they cross over the threshold of the church building.

Oh, it is not always the words that say, “You’re not welcome”. Sometimes it is the stares. Sometimes it shows itself as impatience with or fear of someone who looks or acts differently. Sometimes it isn’t intentional. Sometimes people just don’t know what to do, how to act, or what to say…..so they don’t do anything.

And with that, the door slams shut on a vast mission field.

Autism. Intellectual Disability. Learning Differences. Anxiety or Depression. Emotional Issues. A different physical appearance. ADD/ADHD. Health Impaired. Chronic medical issues. Sometimes the disability is obvious, but often times it is not………..until it is.

As followers of Christ, He calls us to love our neighbors…whether they are literally next door, down the street, on the job, at school…..or at church on Sunday morning.

“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’There is no commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:30-31

This Sunday open your eyes and look around your church. See people.

You never know……you might be the one to make a difference in someone’s life.

The world is desperate for those who are willing step out of their comfort zones.

I Am, Because He Is!

Are you like me? Do you find yourself looking in the bathroom mirror while you are getting ready in the morning, giving yourself a “pep talk” before the day officially begins? Sometimes the pep talk is meant to pump up my motivation for that day. Other times the talk just falls flat. It feels empty, and I am left wondering who I am and what is my purpose?

Who am I, really? Who are you? Am I really anything special? The question hangs there, in the early morning air, leaving me wondering.

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Then Jesus speaks to me and my heart responds.

He tells me…….

I am loved.  —  We are more than conquerors through Him who loved us…(nothing) can separate us from the love of God. Romans 8:37-39

I am strong.   — I can do all this through Him who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13

I am wonderful.  — I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Psalm 139:14

I am wanted.  — God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8 

I am……..because, HE IS!

How Much Do I Love?

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This morning during worship, in between praise songs, a question was asked. One of the young men very simply said, “Would the people that I love in my life, know that I love them, if I treated them the same way I treat my relationship with God?”

Only a moment long question, before we started singing the next song. I’ve been thinking about that question ever since. Words versus actions.

How can I show God this week, how much I love him? How can you?

Just something for us all to think about.

Jesus replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” Matthew 22:37 NIV