Thursday, April 30, 2009
Sunday, April 26, 2009
Thursday, April 23, 2009
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Part of our purpose here on earth is to serve and glorify God in all we do. To me, this song is a request for God's help in our quest to become more Christ-like as His followers.
Fall afresh: Send your spirit to renew me Lord.
Melt me: I surrender all to you precious Jesus.
Mold me: You created and shaped me Lord with a plan and purpose in mind.
Fill me: Come, thou Holy Spirit, fill me with all I need.
Use me: Lord, I am your servant, use me according to your purpose to tell others about You, and glorify You in all I say and do.
Lord, give me the strength to fulfill the dream You have put in my heart.
Friday, April 17, 2009
My husband has officiated at over 200 funerals and as his wife I have attended my fair share in years past. What we have learned is that funerals are kind of a mixed bag of emotions. For those who are Christians the service is a place not only to grieve the death of a loved one, but it is a place of celebration for that person's life. It is what we call grieving with hope~the hope of knowing our loved ones have gone to heaven to be with our Lord and that someday we will all be together again.
The lunch that follows is usually a time of not only expressing our condolences to the family, but also a time of sharing stories about the person who has died, and a time for fellowship with people we may not see very often. You will see tears and deep sadness along with laughter and joy filling the hearts of those who sit together, communing with nourishment. Nourishment not only for their bodies, but for their souls.
As Christians we have the peace of knowing that our loved ones who die before us are with our Lord. They are safe, secure and no longer enduring any earthly trials. We will miss them terribly and often an empty place finds permanent residence within us, but when we lift our eyes to the Heavens we will also be able to see through our pain to a quiet place of assurance in knowing. Knowing that they are in HIS presence.
Grieving with HOPE.
Sunday, April 12, 2009
I have been thinking about all the Easter services we have attended over the past 40+ years. Twenty-three moves have had us worshiping at churches in Illinois, Utah, New Mexico, Minnesota, Iowa, Montana, and The Philippine Islands. When our children were all home we usually bought new spring outfits for them to wear ~ no Easter bonnets though :) ~ and spent quite a bit of time coloring dozens of hard boiled eggs. An egg hunt would follow our Sunday services and special ham dinner. Some years we hid eggs outside and others when it was too cold…we hid them around the house. Only one year do I recall a strong stench a few weeks later, which eventually led us to a rotten Easter egg! Each of the kids received an Easter basket filled with candy, colored eggs, and the yearly gift of a book. Finding places to hide a basket for 7 children was at times challenging! It was always a very special time for us.
It was not so important where we worshiped ~ whether it was in the heat and humidity of an early morning outdoor service in the Philippines or in a small church with 25 people in northern Montana where winter often lasts into April. What was important was that everyone gathered together to worship the Resurrection of Jesus Christ our Lord!
We have an empty nest now and spend most Easters alone. Life is always changing, but I still am focusing on Holy Week ~ especially Good Friday and Easter Sunday. Not because of the commercial trappings of baskets, candy, or egg hunts ~ but because I need to reflect on what it was like when Christ hung from the cross and Mary found the tomb empty 3 days later. Even though I now need to worship from home, my Easter services are still filled with joy ~the music inspires me, the sermons sustain me, and the words of Jesus strengthen me and give me hope.
In a world where we often question what tomorrow will bring, we can stand firm on the foundation of our Lord. On this day, Easter, as we worship the ressurection of our Lord Jesus Christ, we are reminded of God's love for us, His children. We rejoice!
Friday, April 10, 2009
On this night my brother-in-law who is like a father to me is dying. The leukemia has quickly ravaged his body and the family has been called to the hospital to be by his bedside. Even though he is still conscious, he is very weak, and they don't expect him to last the night. Joel has gone to be there while I am at home too ill to travel. My brother is flying back from Hawaii and hopes to be able to get back in time. The rest of the family has come together in an ICU room in the hospital. The doctors will do what they can to make is comfortable, but his passing is not in there hands now. The family has all been able to be there to pray and share with D. what he means to them. What a blessing for him at the end of his life.
Tonight I was watching Max Lucado on TV and he was actually speaking about death. Stephen Curtis Chapman was also there. Chapmans lost their sweet 5 year old daughter in 2008 to a terrible accident. They spoke about how no one escapes death. We don't usually know when we will die or how, but what we do know is that we are not alone. Tonight I was praying that D. would know he was not alone, that God would be with him when he died. Soon after Lucado spoke, a beautiful woman sang,and in the song was a verse..."God is there...with you in the ICU when the doctors don't know what else to do......" Tonight I have assurance and peace of mind that yes, God is in the ICU with D. and the family. He is here with me, He is with each of us~ only a prayer away.
Good Friday and the death of Christ does not last. There is hope for Easter Sunday and there is hope even as we grief because we believe that we will see those who have died before us once again.
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
**We have slides of the Flagellants, so I am using photos I found online and keeping them small so at not to be to disturbing.***
Sunday, April 5, 2009
Psalm 46:10 tells us, "Be still and know that I am God."
During the years I was editor of "The Encourager", I connected often with many of the subscribers. The members of this newsletter were Christians living with chronic illnesses. Their faith sustained them as they dealt not only with disabling diseases, but also with financial burdens, isolation, and all the grief of lost expectations for a healthy life. For the most part they were able to live a life of acceptance with a fighting spirit...knowing that God was in control, and that everyone's prayers would be answered in His time, in His way, and for His glory. We encouraged each other on our journeys and held each other up in prayer. It gave us the strength we needed to live a joy-filled life each day.
There are times I feel like the world is spinning on an extra fast axis and I am not sure whether I am coming or going. According to the my doctor, the illnesses I live with make it more challenging to cope with the crises that come into my life. My body responds very quickly to outside stimuli of any kind so when a crisis pops up, I need to work extra hard not to let it affect my health in a negative way. I heard someone say that the Chinese characters used for the word crisis are both disaster and opportunity. I find this very interesting. When a crisis comes our way disaster can be close at hand, but when we make the choice to look at it as a time for growth or change, it becomes an opportunity. When we trust God to work things out in His time, in His way, and for His purpose and glory, we are able to surrender to His plan for our lives. In turn, this helps us stay faith-centered, with the knowledge that God works all things together for good according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28)
Certainly, at times it is very difficult to be in a season of trials. We may find ourselves wondering if God has closed His ears to our pleading voice as we ask for mercy. We believe we know what would stop our world from spinning, and cannot understand why God does not rescue us or those we love and care about according to our plans. When we come a place of confusion and pleading, we need to be still. No need to panic! Surrendering to our Lord's will, we are able to step out in faith, remembering that God is God and our situations or those of our loved ones are in His hands. We truly can trust that all things work together for good in His time, in His way, and for His purpose and glory.
Saturday, April 4, 2009
Praying to God, Petitioning our requests, and Praising Him for the many blessings He gives us.
Opening Our hearts to God's love and purpose for Our lives.
Walking the path God has given us, following His planWillingly.
Exalt His Holy name! Examine ourselves.
Repent of our sins. Be Renewed ~ Rejoice!!
It is a privilege to be able to come to our Lord in prayer! He is our heavenly Father, our friend, our Comforter. We are blessed!
Friday, April 3, 2009
Do you find comfort in this verse? Sometimes we find ourselves in a place of confusion where the way is just not clear to us. Whether it has to do with a relationship, a move, a new job.....or any life changing decision~ when choices are not easy or clear to us, we need to wait with a listening ear for the voice of God to direct our ways.
In our present situation, Joel and I take great comfort in knowing that God is with us. He WILL guide us each step of the way as we surrender to His plans....plans for good and not for evil. (Jeremiah 29:11) For now we stand together at our own Four Corners and in God's time~ the best time~we will hear a voice telling us, "This is the way, walk in it."