Thursday, July 21, 2011

A Mary Mind

I have a quiet moment now,
But suddenly I find
that while I have a Mary-heart
I have a Martha-mind.

The things I thought I'd finish with
are springing back to life
like little flames among the brush
of daily cares and strife.

My thoughts seem filled with "brushfires,"
and although I rush and race
as soon as I put out one fire,
another takes its place.

So now I find, when I'm alone
And peace is my desire
My mind's a busy Martha-mind
Tending to one more fire.

O LORD, I know that Martha's hands
are needed, good, and kind.
But in my heart I've one request
grant me a Mary-mind.

author unknown

Luke 10:38-42

I'm not a Super Christian

Fellow handmaidens of the LORD God Almighty, our lives are full of so many things which keep our minds and bodies busy.  The LORD fashioned women, in general, to be able to handle a myriad tasks at the same time.  Sometimes we go through our full life swimmingly, and other times we are so overloaded it is like swimming against the flow.

Do not lose heart, dear readers.  We are not meant to be Super Christians.  We are meant to sit at His feet and rest in Him even though we have much to do, and we need to lean on Him in all we do.  If we try to do everything ourselves we will eventually fail.  What we need to learn is to allow our strength to come from Him.

As a side note: I want to be a “Mary”! But how can I do this if I am such a “Martha”?

~~Mary was seated at the Lord’s feet, listening to His every word, but Martha was distracted with all her preparations~~ Luke 10:38-42

Along with every day life, which is full of many joys, there will be difficulties, sadness, and great sorrows.  Now add to our own prayer list all the people we know who also have joys and sorrows.  Each of our prayer lists are already full of our own issues to cry out to the LORD and so now when we add on every one else’s prayers requests it can be so overwhelming. We can completely give up praying or as I think of it, we go into survival mode and just plain forget to pray.  This can only lead to more feelings of guilt because we have forgotten to pray for those we care about, especially when we have expressed to them that we will indeed pray for them.

In my life I have found that when I am focusing in on my own sorrows and my other issues, I can certainly begin to spiral into despair or just self pity.  I can definitely pray for my issues, but then I need to move on to the other people whom I know and begin to pray for each of them.

I am not a Super Christian!  I forget to pray many times.  I can have days where I pray faithfully for others, I can have days where I am temporarily set free from my own agonies that I forget to pray for others, I can be so full of grief that I do not know how to pray, and I can have prayed for a long standing situation for such a great length of time that I can only cry out to the LORD in anguish.

“…I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin.  For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I do not want to do…” Romans 7:14-25

My encouragement to you, fellow handmaiden, is to not give up on praying for others.  I so often feel completely forgotten in my agony, and then the LORD blesses me as He brings into my path someone who shares that they been praying for me.  To hear such a thing is like beautiful music!  Someone else is crying out to God for me!!

On the other hand, I can express to another person that I have been lifting them up to the LORD in prayer, and I will see the same excitement in their eyes that I must have when told that someone is praying for me.  It is a beautiful thing.

How blessed we are to have the Holy Spirit understand our groans even when we do not know what words to use.

How blessed we are to know that God inclines to us and hears our cries.

How blessed we are to know our almighty God cares for us so much that He sent His Son so we could have such a precious relationship with Him.

How blessed we are to be able to intercede for others.

How blessed we are to know that others can intercede for us.

Your prayers are so important.

Pray for others~~~ stand in the gap for them and glorify the LORD!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

It's a Promise

from January 28, Diamonds in the Dust devotional, by Joni Eareckson Tada


"Even to your old age and gray hairs I am He, I am He who will sustain you.  I have made you and I will carry you;  I will sustain you and I will rescue you."
Isaiah 46:4

Warren Wiersbe once said, "Nothing is harder to heal than a broken heart shattered by experiences that seem so meaningless.  But God's people don't live on explanations;  God's people live on His promises."

A grocery list of biblical reasons explaining the whys and wherefores behind suffering doesn't always help when you're hurting.  What does help are the promises of God.  Even though God's promises are usuually devoid of standard explanations and don't always detail the blueprint behind His plan, they do point to the loving character of our good and kind Lord.

Take Isaiah 46:4.  Even for someone bent over with age and arthritis, God's explanation is simple and powerful, "I am He, I am He who will sustain you."  God wants us to understand that He alone is the source of help and hope.  God owes us no explanations.  He did enough explaining on the cross to show that His love is sufficient to meet every need.

Look again at our verse for the day.  In one short sentence, God promises that He will rescue, carry, and sustain you.  How?  At least six times, God uses the personal pronoun to point to Himself.  His promises are signed, sealed and delivered on the basis of who He is.  And He is faithful.  He is loving.  He rescues you and carries you.  It's a promise.

Lord, I don't survive because You roll out in front of me the blueprint behind my painful experiences.  I don't live on reasons why.  I live on Your promises.  Draw me to them today and help me to lean on Your loving faithfulness.  This will be enough.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

The Unlovable

"Love the unlovable into loveliness."
Elizabeth Fry, 1800's

People come in all ages, sizes, cleaniness, friendliness, cultures, attitudes......and many times they can be unlovely in the many degrees of unloveliness.  This is when it becomes the most difficult to love them.

But we are not alone. We have a great God who can give us the strength and the compassion to love the unlovable.  We need great compassion, His compassion and His wisdom to reach out to the unlovable because we can not do it on our own.

Your next opportunity with a family member, your neighbor, co-worker, or an unlovely stranger can be filled with the Lord's love toward them.  They may never change, but you can change.  Your atttitude towards those who are so unlovable can change if you run to the LORD for His strength.

It is beautiful to see what smiles or kindness can do in this broken world when you do it for Him.

"The name of the LORD is a strong tower;  The righteous runs into it and are safe."
Proverbs 18:10

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

How can God command joy?

From September 4, Diamonds in the Dust, devotional, by Joni Eareckson Tada

Be Joyful in Hope

"Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer."
Romans 12:12

Forced bed rest is no fun.  But I know a secret that helps me face it in faith,  I choose a theme verse to help me keep focused.  During a recent four-week stint in bed, I chose Romans 12:12.

While meditating on that verse, I wondered why God asks us to be joyfuil in hope.  I can understand why He reminds us to be faithful in prayer---so many times in hardships we slack off in prayer.  I can also understand why God asks us to be patient in affliction ---patience is hard to muster when you're hurting.

But why does God say to be joyful in hope?  Obviously, there must be many times when we lack joy in hope.  Think about it.  The focus of our hope is yet to be fulfilled;  we don't yet possess that for which we hope.  And you'll agree that it's hard to be joyful about something we don't yet have!

Lying in bed, it hit home that God wants me to be joyful about future things.  Just as we have the command to be faithful in prayer and patient in affliction, we have a command to be joyful in hope.  How can God command joy?  It's easy once we realize what's over the heavenly horizon.

Does the idea of heavenly glories above put a smile on your face?  Do you get a charge when you talk about the return of the Lord?  Words like "pleasure," "happiness," and "delight" should come to mind when you hope in the Lord.  Heaven will seem more near and real to you as you stir up your joy over that for which you hope.  And remember, it's a command for your own good.

You give me so much hope, Lord, that I can't help but be joyful.  You are the focus of my hope and the source of my delight.  Whatever I face today, may I face it with the attitude of Romans 12:12. 

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Take Refuge in the LORD

PEANUTS by Charles Schultz

"The eyes of the LORD are toward the righteous and His ears are open to their cry.  The face of the LORD is against evildoers, to cut off the memory of them from the earth.  The righteous cry, and the LORD hears and delivers them out of all their troubles.  The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.  Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the LORD delivers him out of them all.

The LORD redeems the soul of His servants, and none of those who take refuge in Him will be condemed"
Psalm 34:15-19, 22

Monday, July 4, 2011

You are more valuable than many sparrows

“….yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father."
Matthew 10:29

Almost a decade ago when our agony was new and so very raw, I sat in a soybean field all alone.  It was the weekend so all of the construction noise which filled the air during the week was gone.  It was completely silent.  We were the only ones at that time living out in this field far from even the sounds of the highways;  the only patch of green in acres of soil.  I could see the farms in the distance, but I could not see any people as I sat on the deck and I cried out to God for help.  Although I was not alone because He was with me, I felt so alone, and so forgotten.

He knew my agony; He was not wringing His hands in shock and fear.  Even so, I needed to share it all with Him again and thus draw nearer to Him;  oh, so much nearer to Him so I would grow to trust Him more in all these things.

Words and tears fell freely and then finally with nothing else to share with Him, I just pictured myself at His feet as His wounded daughter and rested with Him in the wind of the fields.

As I sat there I finally began to notice and hear ~~~ I heard the birds.  The only trees nearby were on the faraway farms, but I could hear the birds chit-chittering as if they were close by.  I could not see them, but I heard them.  It was then that I remembered Matthew 10:29-31.  God knows even when a sparrow falls, and so, He knew my suffering.  I had felt alone and forgotten when I began to cry out to God that afternoon.  He heard my cries before I uttered them, He knew my sorrows, He knew my agony, and He met me there, all alone in that field with the birds I could not see.  I was not forgotten by Him.  He had reminded me that I am more valuable than many sparrows.

“..the very hairs of your head are all numbered.  So do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows.”
Matthew 10:30-31

Wounded sister, do you feel forgotten and alone in your sorrows?  You know He is with you.  Cry out to Him and tell Him all of your pain.  If you are angry with Him, then tell Him --- He already knows how you feel, so be honest.  You may feel He has abandoned you, but you know the truth;  He never leaves nor forsakes, so repent for blaming Him as you finish.  He will surround you with His love, and even if your circumstances never change, He will carry you through this dark valley you are in.  As His wounded daughter, He can use you in ways you have never dreamed possible if you lay at His feet.

"And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to his purpose."
Romans 8:28 

Saturday, July 2, 2011

God cares for each tiny bird ~~ how much more for you?

from May 3, Diamonds in the Dust devotional, by Joni Eareckson Tada

His Eye on the Sparrow

"Are not two sparrows sold for a penny?  Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father."
Matthew 10:29

English Sparrows.  They're worth barely a penny, Jesus said so.  Yet of the world's nine thousand bird species, Jesus singled out the least-noticed and most insignificant of birds to make a point.

If God takes time to keep tabs on every sparrow --- who it is, where it's going, whether or not its needs are being met --- then surely He keeps special tabs on you.  Intimately.  Personally.  And with every detail in mind.

The Bible may point to eagles to underscore courage and power, and it may talk about doves as symbols of peace and contentment.  But God's Word reserves sparrows to teach a lesson about trust.  Just as God tenderly cares for a tiny bird, even making note of when it is harmed, or when it falls to the ground,  He gently reminds you that He is worthy of your greatest trust, your deepest confidence.

How do you approach God today?  Maybe you feel like a ragamuffin house sparrow clinging to an empty birdfeeder with no one to care.  Stop and remember the facts behind Matthew 10:29.  God does care.  He notices.

Try trusting the Lord today as would a sparrow.  No questions asked.  No fears that He won't come through.  Relax in the protection and provision of your greatest God.

Father, it's astounding to think that with so many things to care for, You have a heart for people the world considers small and insignificant.  Forgive me for not believing that You not only notice but intimately care for every detail of my life.  Help me today to believe You for the small things.  May I see every detail as an opportunity to trust You.