At other’s mercy

But you, my Lord, are a God of compassion and mercy; you are very patient and full of faithful love. ~Psalm 86:15 (CEB)

There have been times that I have found myself in a place where I have had to rely on someone’s mercy for my basic needs. I have found myself relying on someone to provide a place for my stuff, food to eat and a space to lay my head for sleep. It can be awkward and uncomfortable being left to someone else’s discretion for meeting these basic needs. I may not get to eat the type of food I like to eat. I may have to share a small space with my whole family that normally would accommodate just one. There may be no guarantee of when I will get to take a shower and even then I may be rushed through it because others need to use the same bathroom. This can cause moments of discomfort, like when I am hungry, tired or frustrated at different ways of doing things.

A recent experience with this has had me thinking about the homeless families who struggle with finding a space to put their stuff and who find themselves at the mercies of others. Unlike my circumstances where I was simply visiting family for a short time where the minor discomforts were countered with joyous times, there are families who have found themselves at others mercies because of tragedy. Unlike my situation, they don’t know the end of their time of depending on someone else to provide for their needs. There are no guarantees that they will be given the basics of food and space.

It can be easy to blame someone for their circumstances and to look the other way. It is easy to say well they did this to themselves so I am resolved of any responsibility. Well the Bible has a lot to say about mercy and that we are to be hospitable. But it is also easy to dismiss a “group” of people. It is harder when I come into contact with individuals and learn about their circumstances. It is hard once I get to know someone not to have compassion.

Compassion is having God’s heart to look past someone’s faults or how they got into their circumstances, yet loving them enough to show them mercy. Mercy could be the shot in the arm that someone needed to rise above their circumstances. Being filled with God’s patience and faithful love I can make a difference in an individual life. I may never change the masses but I may be called to serve in an individual life.

Heavenly Father, when opportunities arise to serve, may I be Your love and mercy. I thank You for those who have showed mercy and compassion to me. Amen.

Advertisements

Endurance

I’ve said these things to you so that you will have peace in me. In the world you have distress. But be encouraged! I have conquered the world. ~John 16:33 (CEB)

There are several things that I know but have not conquered. Anxiety is one of them. I manage to keep anxiety at bay until about 3:00 in the morning, then those anxious thoughts that I managed to ignore during the day come slithering in under the cover of night. Just when things are at its quietest, anxious thoughts slip into the corners of my mind. And wake me up.

If I turn in my Bible and look up anxiety or worry, the Bible has a lot to say. Matthew chapter 6 talks quite a lot about worry and that God doesn’t want me to worry. In fact verse 34 says, “Who among you can add a single moment to your life?”  Worry does not bring me answers. I know that anxiety can raise blood pressure and cause other health issues that can actually shorten a life span. Chapter 6 of Matthew tells me that I should not be anxious. I should know if God feeds the sparrows and dresses the flowers that He will take care of me too.  Even though I know these truths, it is hard to keep the panic at bay when a lot of financial things come up at once making money tight. I know in my head that God will see me through but it is still hard to practice the truths that I know.

Even though I cannot stop my worry completely I do try to put into practice verse 34 from chapter 6, “Therefore, stop worrying about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” I know that I can’t have all the answers immediately and that answers will reveal themselves in time but it is hard to put into practice dealing with things just as they come. Another verse that I tuck away in my heart is from Philippians 3:14, “I can endure all things through the power of the One who gives me strength.” Psalms 29:11 says, “Let the LORD give strength to his people! Let the LORD bless his people with peace!” I want to live a life of peace so I try every day to practice believing that God will give me strength and endurance.

Lord, I know that You will give me just what I need for this day. Only in You can I have enough strength and endurance to get through this day. I thank you for all that you do. Amen.

A sign upon my heart

In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth ~Genesis 1:1 (NRSV)

I spent my growing up years in little country churches with my daddy as the preacher. The churches often were so small that to have special music my daddy had to pull from his family resources. A few times my sister and I were asked to sing. One song we had worked up was entitled, “He’s Still Working on Me”.

The first verse says, “There really ought to be, a sign upon my heart, don’t judge me yet there’s an unfinished part. But I’ll be perfect just according to His plan, fashioned by the Master’s loving hand.” Then the Chorus says, “He’s still working on me, to make me what I ought to be. It took Him just a week to make the moon and the stars, the Sun and the Earth and Jupiter and Mars. How loving and faithful He must be, ‘cause He’s still working on me.” The last verse says, “The mirrors of my heart, reflections that I see, make me wonder why He never gave up on me. But He loves me as I am and He helps me when I prayer. Remember He’s the potter I’m the clay.”

When I sang this song at eleven I didn’t have the life experiences behind me to appreciate the message of this song. Thirty years or so later of living, I am thankful that God isn’t finished with me yet. I am far from perfect but God loves me as I am. He loves me enough to patiently shape and mold me into what I ought to be. To think that the God who made the universe faithful works on me is more than I can fathom. All I can do is my part by continuing to be mold-able until He deems me finished.

Heavenly Father, may I always be open to your pushing and prodding me in the way I need to change and grow. I thank you for Your patience and love. Thank you for not giving up on me. Amen

The air I breathe

The LORD God proclaims to these bones: I am about to put breath in you, and you will live again. ~ Ezekiel37:5 (CEB)

There was a time in my life that I struggled just to breathe. I carried such burdens inside of me I felt that there was no more space left for my lungs to fill with air. My breathing actually felt shallow. Breathing is essential but unless there is something wrong we never pay attention to the act of breathing. The Bible speaks about the Holy Spirit being the breath of God, breathing in us. The Greek word for “spirit” is pneuma, which means “breath.”

There is a song by Mercy Me, “Breathe”. At times when I was almost gasping for air I would say in my heart, “You are the air I breathe; You are the air I breathe”. This was my prayer when no other words would form. Ezekiel 37:9 says, “Breathe into these dead bodies and let them live.” I feel that God has done that in my life. Every time I reached out to Him, He breathed life back into this dead heart bit by bit.

When I don’t have words to pray, Romans 8:36 assures me “In the same way, the Spirit comes to help our weakness. We don’t know what we should pray, but the Spirit himself pleads our case with unexpressed groans.” It is the Holy Spirit of God who prays in us, who offers us the gifts of love, forgiveness, kindness, goodness, gentleness, peace, and joy. Lamentations 3:25 tells me “The Lord is good to those who hope in Him, to the person who seeks Him”, so I hope in God with my whole heart. Psalm 130:5 says, “I hope, LORD. My whole being hopes, and I wait for God’s promise.” What is God’s promise to me? “Don’t you know that you are God’s temple and God’s Spirit lives in you?” (1Co 3:16) As long as I let Him live in me I can have life because it is His breath that breathes through me. When it is God’s breath flowing through my lungs it is not a struggle to breathe.

Lord, You are the air I breathe. I thank You for your Holy Presence that lives in me. I thank You that You give me words every day to tuck deep in my heart. I would be lost without You. May I always be desperate for Your love. Amen.

More than I am

Send your light and truth—those will guide me!Let them bring me to your holy mountain,to your dwelling place. ~Psa 43:3 (CEB)

I cannot spell. In my early years I was told I “was lazy”; I might “have some dyslexia”; “artistic people are naturally not good spellers”; or that I probably “didn’t hear sounds correctly”. But the simple fact is probably somewhere along the way I didn’t learn the rules of spelling. If I had learned these rules it would have been easier to spell words even if I wasn’t born a natural speller.

Sometimes I treat the “rules” from the Bible in the same way. I am just too lazy; I feel that it will stifle my creative spirit; I am afraid it will cramp my life style; or maybe I won’t understand what has been written. These are lies that Satan feeds me. But what is the real truth? I know what happened when I didn’t take the time to learn the rules for spelling… and grammar. I became conditioned into thinking that I was not good at writing.

In my junior year of High School I had an English teacher who looked past my inabilities and saw my capabilities. She saw me as I was, a poor speller who did not grasp the rules of grammar, but she didn’t let me stay there. She pushed my creativity and helped me wrestle with how to line words up in a way that made more sense.

I think that we can get conditioned into believing that we are incapable of doing things right. We get trapped in Satan’s lies. Thank goodness God accepts us where we are in life but He doesn’t leave us there. He brings us up out of our misunderstandings and confusion, guiding our steps to walk in truth. His boundaries are meant to give us Life.

Lord, I want to truly live. Help me hide your truths in my heart so that I may feel the freedom and confidence of being a child of God. Help me step out of my conditioned self-concepts and learn to be more than I think I am. Amen.

Know that I am God

Be still, and know that I am God  ~Psalm 46:10a (ASV)

I have always been drawn to this verse. Maybe it is because I have such a hard time being still so I am drawn to the words “be still” like a magnet. Somehow even though I have a hard time sitting still my soul knows this is something I need in my everyday life, stillness. It is not enough to just carry this verse longingly in my heart. Being still isn’t the whole picture. The next phrase says, “and know I am God.” Do I take the time to know God and acknowledge Him? When I rush from one thing to another I crowd out that still small voice that tries to direct my steps. I need to learn to be quiet on the inside and stay in that peaceful state so that I can readily hear God’s voice.  Only when I spend time daily in the Word can I get to know Him enough to learn to hear that still small voice.

I love to compare scriptures. In the CEB version it says, “That’s enough! Now know that I am God!” Stated this way it is like a command from God to wake up and pay attention. God is like that. Sometimes His presence is quiet and subtle making me look up to see Him. Other times He does things to get my attention. The best description for this is to compare morning skies. Some mornings the light sneaks in with varying shades of soft colors gently changing from one to the other and growing in brightness. It is easy to overlook its beauty on this type of a morning unless I make it my practice to look up. Other mornings the sky is ablaze with reds and golds so bright it would be hard to miss the splendor splashed across the sky no matter how busy I am. God is like that in my life.

Heavenly Father, I thank you for the quiet times when you Spirit whispers love to my heart guiding my steps. I also thank you for the times that you have blazed in, leaving no doubt and waking me up to Your presence in my life. Amen.

In His shadow

You are my secret hideout!

You protect me from trouble.

You surround me with songs of rescue!   

I will instruct you and teach you

about the direction you should go.

I’ll advise you and keep my eye on

~Psalm 32:7-8 (CEB)

 

I miss my shadow. When I step right he steps with me. When I step left he still follows. Sometimes I am unaware of his presence as he quietly watches what I do. Other times he is more in front of me tripping me up as I try to go about my day. He is always there. I was a shadow to my mother too. I knew it was time to give my mother some space when she started singing “Me and my shadow”. My shadow is a little more persistent and tends to cling more when I hint or outright ask for space. I have learned to breath through the claustrophobic moments because as he briefly told me “Bye mom, Love you,” when he dismissed me to run off and join his camp family for the week, I know these times are limited.

As I have hummed the tune to a song I only know four words to, I think about how we are supposed to be shadows too. God has asked me to be His hands and feet in the world. I often wonder how I am to know how to do that. But God sent Jesus into the world for me to shadow. Where He has stepped we are to follow. When He loves the unloved, I am to love. When He reaches out to the forgotten, I am to reach out. The things that make Him sad should make me sad too. The things that make Him mad should bring a righteous anger in me as well. Jesus is the example I am to shadow in this world. And when I feel lost, alone, afraid or upset, it is Jesus whom I should cling to as close as a shadow can be, never letting go.

Dear Jesus, sometimes I am as unsure as a young child. I don’t always know what to do or where to go. Thank You for being in the world for me to shadow. Help me to remember to cling to You in all circumstances. Guide me as I try to be in this world doing what You have called me to do. Amen.

Previous Older Entries