...running the course God sets before us, no matter the cost, no matter the task, to the end, for His glory

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Take My Hand

Note: the following poem comes mostly from my reading in the Psalms.

Take My Hand
Can you walk with Me through all your doubts?
Can you believe Me when shifts the sand?
Can you trust Me as rain pours down?
Will you reach up and take My hand?

Life may not be as you expected.
There are times that your heart has broke.
But remember the times I have held you.
And remember the words I have spoke.

Can you trust me to work in your life?
To redeem everything that is done?
Can you remember before when I've saved you?
Can you recall fights that I've already won?

Can you see that I am your fortress?
I am your hope and rock where you stand.
I am your shield and your joy and your refuge.
I sustain you and hold tight to your hand.

I will never leave or forsake you.
I will be with you when trouble surrounds.
I will rescue and satisfy you.
I will plant you in the firm ground.

Can you walk with Me through all your doubts?
Can you believe Me and firmly stand?
I am all that can save and sustain you.
Will you reach up and take My hand?

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

So the clouds were gathering this morning- foggy, stormy, raining.

Uh, no, not outside. Outside was gloriously beautiful with the blue sky that seems to have its own special hue down here in Texas.

No, the storm was in my heart. I hurt my back somehow yesterday. I must be getting really old and broken down, because I am not really sure what even happened. I mean if I had been lifting a big box, or moving furniture, or one of those other kind of "heavy" things I tend to do myself instead of asking for help...well if it had been one of those things I could just chalk it up to my over doing it. But I can't even think of what to blame this on. Certainly it couldn't be that I don't exercise enough- you know, core strength and all.

But back to this morning- my storm clouds gathering and spilling over to run down my cheeks. I was laying on the bed, still in pajamas, flat on my back with pillows propped under my legs to take the pressure off my back. I mean, this is the day before Thanksgiving, the day to bake, and pack, and play Christmas music two days early. I was in the midst of a swelling pity party with self condemnation being the main guest when a Word broke in,

"Be still my daughter, I love you so much and you are beautiful to Me."

"How can you think I am beautiful? I am a mess and I need to vacuum and the dust bunnies under my dressers are about to be dust lions. I am not ready for this trip. Why can I never seem to get around to all there is to do? How can You love me and how can You think I am beautiful? And by the way Lord, is this really You, because I don't want to listen to myself right now!"

And then His word repeated in my soul, "Be still my daughter, I love you so much and you are beautiful to Me."

I knew it must be my Lord because I could feel the beginnings of the Light streaming around the edges of my clouds. I began to feel the wash of His love and acceptance and began to accept where He had me this morning- flat on my back, still enough to hear His sweet voice. I love that He repeated the same words to me. There was no need of explanations, of reasons why this occurred today, of a plan of action. Just reassurance and His precious love.

Why does He love me? Because it is His nature.
Why does He think I am beautiful? Because He created me.

He created me to need Him. And this Thanksgiving I think that is the thing I am thankful for the most.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Be joyful always? Really? ALWAYS?

Be joyful always, pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.     -- 1 Thessalonians 5:16-

When God say always does He really mean ALWAYS?  Like ALL the time?  No matter what? Without exception?  Every time?  Every circumstance?  Could He possible mean THAT?
I mean- how is that even possible.  Today I woke up with the remain of a migraine that will not quite go away that has interposed on my sleep for two nights.  Was I supposed to joyful with THAT?
This afternoon I was ready to strangle someone I love very much.  Someone I have cared and nurtured for many years.  Was I supposed to be joyful THEN?
When I got home a car wouldn't start and we had to jump it.  Was I supposed to be joyful THEN?
Then I finally got inside, out of the cold wind (was I supposed to be joyful when I was cold?) and was met at the door with a "We have something to tell you" and the look from the supervising sibling that communicated that serious parental intervention was required.  Then? Was I supposed to be joyful THEN?
Yes. Really!  I was.  Supposed to be that is.  I wasn't.  Joyful I mean.  How could God expect me to feel joy in all these circumstances?  Uh-  well-  I guess He didn't command me to feel anything.  He really just commanded me to BE something and He was gracious enough to tell me how.
Praying continually. Being thankful.  If I am supposed to be praying continually then it must mean that I am going to need a lot more of God and a lot less of me in order to be joyful.
And if I am "giving thanks in all things" I am going to be awfully busy.  In fact I will have little time left over for feeling sorry for myself or feeling angry at a mistake or feeling envious of another's abundance.
So I think I better have a "do over" today- Thank you Lord for the headache: thank You that I have to slow down, and for medicine that can work, and family that cares that I am in pain.  Thank you Lord for the mistake of my child: thank You for the opportunity for a lesson to be learned, and thank You for ready solutions, and thank you for the opportunity I will have to apologize when he gets home, and thank You for love that covers a multitude of sins.  Thank You Lord for a car with a bad battery: 
thank You for a responsible son who doesn't expect me to fix everything for him, and thank You for jumper cables, and thank You for a car at all and that it still runs after 180,000 miles.  Thank You for the cold wind: I like sweaters.  Thank you Lord for my young child and her sins: thank You for the chance to share how You hate lies, and thank You that You hate lies, and thank You for creative ideas, and thank You for a big sister who cares for their younger sister, and thank You that I was with her for this valuable lesson.
Thank You that I do not have to feel happy to BE joyful.  Thank YOU.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

How Deep the Father's Love for Us

I John 4:9 By this the love of God is revealed in us: that God has sent his one and only Son into the world so that we may live through him. 4:10 In this is love: not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. 4:11 Dear friends, if God so loved us, then we also ought to love one another. 4:12 No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God resides in us, and his love is perfected in us.

My love does not reflect my Father's love when:

  • it looks for what it gets instead of what it can give
  • it is affected by circumstance
  • it is limited by irritants
  • it doesn't cover over sins
  • it keeps account of wrongs
  • it selfishly tries to get its way
  • it requires emotions to work
  • it desires revenge
  • it looks at me before others
  • it tires out
  • it runs out of hope
  • it looks at the surface of things
  • it assumes
  • it grabs
  • it gives up
  • it stops trying
  • it hides
  • it waits for a return
  • it says, "No more!"
His love has no limit
His grace has no measure
His power no boundary known unto man
For out of His infinite riches in Jesus
He giveth and giveth and giveth again.
-Annie J Flint

Saturday, October 17, 2009


I love old silverplated silverware from the 40's and 50's. I like to pick it up at garage sales and antique stores a few pieces at a time. I found some this week at a garage sale. It was so tarnished- even black in places- that she let me have it all for $.50. I was thrilled and more than glad to put in the sweat equity and spend the time and effort to shine it up.

Tonight when I cleaned and polished my new finds, I was pleased with how well and how easily they cleaned up. As I dried each fork and spoon and knife I began to recall how "polishing the silver" is a chore often mentioned in old books but is one my children never have to think about. For while I enjoy having this silverware to put out for special occasions, our day to day use is entirely the good old stainless steal that needs no polishing. Other than washing, it is pretty maintenance free.

So why, I wondered, do I prefer so many things that are NOT maintenance free (like this lovely silverplate that requires polishing to stay lovely). And it hit me. Maybe because I identify with it. I need maintenance too. Just like my favorite cotton shirts. There are shirts that never need ironing in my closet, but I really like the feel of the ones that are 100% cotton- you know the kind that get wrinkles the moment the dryer stops.

A silver spoon, left in the drawer, will tarnish and darken. A cotton shirt, left at the bottom of the clothes basket, will rummple and wrinkle. And a girl, left to her own devices and her own efforts, will tire and change courses and forget what her mission is. Trust me, I know.

I also know that with a little spit and polish and elbow grease that same girl can have her tarnish cleaned off and her shine come back. But what I know the most is where I have to go for that "cleaning treatment". Straight into the arms of my Heavenly Father. He was there all along, ready to polish me up and iron out exactly where and when I got dirty and wrinkled.

Tonight I think I will put a cotton tablecloth on the table, after I iron it of course, and use the new silverplate, which I just polished, to set it for dinner. Yes, it will take more effort and time, but then again real stuff always does. And it is worth it. Are you feeling a little dirty or wrinkled? There is only one place to get clean and get pressed.

Sprinkle me with water and I will be pure; wash me and I will be whiter than snow.
(Psalm 51:7)

Monday, October 5, 2009

Whatever Lord!

Whatever Lord!

What does that mean? What are we signing up for when we say those words?

The saints through the ages who have lived those words are the ones who have walked through wind, rain, and storm, getting wet and cold and bruised in the process but believing Him all the while to faithfully complete what He has begun in them.

What does it mean to say, "Whatever Lord!"

If you are Abraham it means leaving all your family and your home and your security for a promise that seems impossible. It means believing when all hope seems foolish. And it means taking the hope that has been fulfilled and laying it on the altar of God's will.

If you are Hannah it means humbling yourself with grief in your plea to the Lord to the point that the priest thinks you are drunk. It means going home in hope and faith and then seeing your greatest desire fulfilled. It means raising that love of your heart in the knowledge you will soon take him to the Temple to spend the rest of his life there.

If you are Hosea it means dieing to the dreams of a happy home and family that rests in the heart of every young man and instead following the Lord's direction and marrying the one who was guaranteed to defraud you, shame you, and break your heart. And then it means taking her back again and again so as to be a living example of the One who does the same for all His people.

If you are John the Baptist it means leaving the parents whose delight you are to live in the desert and wear uncomfortable clothes and eat bugs. It means proclaiming a message of repentance instead of one of prosperity. It means scorning the leaders yet gaining a following of the common people. And then it means purposefully withdrawing from that fame so you will decrease that Another can increase. And finally it means proclaiming the truth so forcefully to the wickedness around you that your head is severed from your body.

What is God asking of you today? Is it hard or uncomfortable? Is it outside your comfort zone? Outside your gifts? Does it run counter to your plans and dreams? Does it involve a cost, whether personal or physical?

May He find us, His people, ready and willing, and shouting at the top of our lungs, "Whatever Lord! I'm your man! I'm your woman! Send me!"