Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Peace Be Unto You

In spite of bad weather, earthquakes, volcanoes, oil spilling in the gulf and a corrupt government in place; even though there is sickness and pain and grief in this world; and even though it seems that the world is in chaos, live today moment by moment, giving thanks to the Father above for the gift of life and salvation and for his peace. For his peace is not the peace of this world. His peace passes all understanding.

Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be
troubled, neither let it be afraid. John 14:27


When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.

It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

“Praise the Lord, O my soul.” Psalm 146:1

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be
removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though the waters thereof roar and
be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah. Psalm 46:1-3

May God bless you this 4th of July with His peace and His presence in your life.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

How Beautiful...........

I walk approximately two miles just about every morning. The Lord has lavished His blessing upon me by putting me smack dab in what I consider to be the most desirable location in southwest Ohio (and I know what I'm talking about because I have been a top producing Realtor in this area for the last 21 years).

This neighborhood is quiet, except for the singing of the birds, croaking of the toads, quacking of the ducks and the scary honking of the geese. It's enveloped by big, old trees of many varieties that have witnessed many changes to the 'hood over probably the last four to five hundred years. There's not much traffic; Honey Creek ambles across the path on several occasions, and the homes that dot the horizon are pretty, well-taken care of homes that show lots of pride of ownership. What the average Realtor/homeowner calls pride of ownership is a little different from my personal application of it: God owns my home and I am so proud of Him that I MUST let all who see it know just how much I want to please Him by taking care of it.

My one acre yard is filled with flowering trees, shrubs and plants. Fly-through restaurants are on many corners to serve the needs of my busy neighbors, the Titmouses, the Finches, the Cardinals and the Jay family. It is a special place to live, love and grow (literally, i.e., my plants and figuratively, me and my family in the love and admonition of the Lord).

My Home in the Fall

My Home in the Winter"

The path I take offers a beautiful landscape and small animals and birds thrive here. I have been treated to glimpses of: baby deer (you know, the ones with little white spots on their backs...really little), groundhogs, raccoons, oppossum, rabbitts, squirrels, cows and their calves, horses and their babies, and red and gray fox. Some evenings you can hear the coyotes calling.

It's beautiful here in my little neck of the woods. You don't hear much about the beauty to be found here in Ohio but it's here, you just have to want to find it and then take the time to look for it.

One shrub that catches my attention every time I walk by it is this one. It never fails to make me think about Jesus and the crown of thorns that was thrust on to his head before he was crucified. The thorns are hidden now, covered over by an abundance of beautiful leaves that look like they have been cut out with crimping shears and attached by invisible thread to the limbs.

It's interesting to note that in Genesis, Chapter 3, verses 17 and 18, when God cursed the land after Adam and Eve had sinned, he said this:

...cursed [is] the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat [of] it all the days of thy life;
Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field...

Jesus wore the curse of God upon his head as He hung upon the cross. Profound, isn't it, how the Word brings these things to light when read with the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

What a God we serve! Jesus deserves our love, devotion, and worship. Actually, Jesus deserves our all. Everything we have, we owe to Him because without Him, we would be wearing that curse upon our heads. But, our wonderful, loving Heavenly Father, loved us so much that He sent His son to bear the burden for us. How can you not love Him?

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A Conversation with My Son.....

It seems that my son and I have our most interesting talks in the car. His name is Gavin and he will be 11 in September. I love Him just because he is my son and for many other reasons, but one reason I love him so much is just because he is his father's son, and my husband is the love of my life. That doesn't make it easy and it doesn't make my son perfect, but he will always be the fruit of my youthful love for my husband.

He is in some ways a difficult child...headstrong, stubborn, and he always has to have the last word, but in other ways he's a joy to watch....strong, completely confident in his ability, friendly, and smart.

Today I was taking him to summer camp early because they're going to the zoo. I look over at him, and I'm struck by how much his hair looks just like Jim Carey's in Dumb & Dumber, so I say to him, "You know, Gavin, you're getting to the age where if you want your hair to look nice, you have to work with it. You have to wash it, comb it, part it, put gel on it everyday. That way, it gets used to being put in a certain way, not just doing what it wants. You have to train your hair to do what you want it do. You don't just want your hair to look like Jim Carey's in Dumb & Dumber, do you?" He just gave me his little "maybe" smile, and I told him I guess he wasn't as smart as I thought he was. That little conversation got us to talking about how we each need to prepare ourselves each day for how we want to be perceived by the people we meet each day and that everyone we come in contact can be affected for good or for bad. I told him that we need God's help in preparing us. We need time with God in His Word and in prayer, and then we can possibly help someone to come to know Jesus by the things we say and do or we can help someone move away from knowing Jesus by choosing to do and say things that are wrong and not pleasing to God. I told him, "Everything you do and say influences the people you come in contact with for good and bad. Which one do you want to be to people today?" I could see the wheels turning in his little brain. (Gavin's teachers tell me he is a great leader; and that some days that he leads them to good and other days, not so much!)

God is so good. I've been praying for Him to help me talk to Gavin, for Him to parent Gavin, to love Gavin through me. This conversation went so well because God spoke through me, in love, not in criticism or condemnation, but by telling Gavin that he has an opportunity to be an example and to think about what kind of example he wants to be. I pray that God will remind him of what he used to tell me when he was just a real little guy, "Mommy, someday I'm going to be a righteous man of God" and that he will choose to lead them on the path to heaven.

God is saying that to all of us today. So, how about you? Do you want to help people along on the road to heaven or the other road, so well traveled these days?

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

What Does Daddy Mean to You?

Gal. 4:6 And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.

Vine's Expository Dictionary defines "Abba" as: an Aramaic word, found in Mar 14:36; Rom 8:15 and Gal 4:6. In the Gemara (a Rabbinical commentary on the Mishna, the traditional teaching of the Jews) it is stated that slaves were forbidden to address the head of the family by this title. It approximates to a personal name, in contrast to "Father," with which it is always joined in the NT. This is probably due to the fact that, abba having practically become a proper name, Greek-speaking Jews added the Greek word pater, "father," from the language they used. "Abba" is the word framed by the lips of infants, and betokens unreasoning trust; "father" expresses an intelligent apprehension of the relationship. The two together express the love and intelligent confidence of the child.

Many times in the past, I have heard that the word Abba was akin to saying "Daddy".

My daughter and I were driving down the road the other day having a conversation about fathers. I asked her what the word "Daddy" meant to her. She didn't appear to have a real clear answer for this question because she has never had a close relationship with her father. So, on Sunday morning as I sat quietly reading The Word and praying, I began to think about my own father. I had always told people that I had been close to my father, but I realized in those moments that I had never really had a "daddy" either. My father was a fisherman and a hunter and he liked to sit in The Madison Inn tossing back a few with his friends and compadres. I can remember driving there with my mom and sisters more than a few times to find him (that was back when NO ONE had a cell phone and many didn't even have home phones). He worked all day, drank after work, hunted many nights and fished on the weekends. He just plain wasn't there until he got injured at work when he was struck on the head; this later progressed into parkinson's disease which stopped him from doing all the things he had so loved. I grieved about that (the fact that I felt the need to make our relationship look better than it actually was) for a while.

Then, the Spirit brought to my mind the above verse in Galatians. Abba is used three times in the New Testament, one time of which was when Christ was in the Garden of Gethsemane praying prior to his arrest and crucifixion. I believe this word portrays a very close relationship; one in which the son who is crying out knows that his father loves him unconditionally, wholeheartedly and everlastingly; and one in which the son knows that his father is 100% just, wise, and in control; that there is no evil in his father and that the father is 100% trustworthy.

I asked the Lord to help me understand who He is as my "daddy", and He showed me His great, unconditional love for me, and how if I fall down and hurt myself or hurt someone else, all I have to do is run to Him. He has the answer. He knows how to heal my wounds (whether they be physical or emotional or spiritual) and everyone else's too. I saw myself wrapped in His embrace -- big arms, warmth emmanating from Him; he was patting my back and rubbing His cheek against mine. He was murmuring softly "everyting will be fine, my beloved", "I'll take care of it", "Trust me".

I saw my self walking down the street with Him; He had his arm around my shoulders, and we were casually talking about birds, trees, life, death, friends, family; anything that was on my heart. I could tell He cared. He listened with his whole being. He looked at me with eyes wide open and directed onto my face. His love and concern could not be missed.

I could tell that daddy was kind and good, that he was patient, that he was even handed; that He took joy in sharing my life and that he would never just "do" or "say" something just to do it or say it, but that He had lots of self-control and would only say or do something after thinking and praying about it. He was the embodiment of trust, love, protectiveness, wise counsellor, trusted friend, and loving parent. I could feel His love pouring over me, and I cried out of the pure joy of knowing I could be loved in this way. It was something I had never experienced before, and I am a better woman for having done so. To know how precious you are in God's eyes and how much He loves you is worth all you have to give, sell or lend. It's so .... comforting, restoring, uplifting, and encouraging! It gives rich meaning to your life.

It made me realize that there is nothing on earth or in the sky or under the earth that is as valuable or vital to my life than the love of God, my daddy.

I also realized that as we grow and mature in Him; specifically, as He reveals Himself to us and let's us really know Him, our love matures to one in which we call him "Dad". It's a familiar name that embodies all that the word "daddy" implies plus the fact of familiarity. This is no short term love; it has depth, breadth and trust to define it.

And as our walk through life has extended over the years, our relationship has deepened even more. He is my Father, the one I trust to advise me, protect me, lead me, deliver me and love me.

That's the kind of Daddy I want, and no, my human father was incapable of giving me these things, but my heavenly father is well able and willing to do so. I only need to call out "Abba, Father" to him and He is faithful to hear my call and draw close to me.

I pray that you might also know your Daddy who loves you in this manner today. Won't you call out to Him now? He's waiting to hearing from you.

God bless you today.