The Better Way to Elsie

One cannot expect things to go smoothly on all counts, every day.  But when you travel, it’s not wrong to pray for this.  I mean, literally and out loud.

So we took a day trip through Grand Rapids, from our little home town of Allegan, south of there.  To wit, we’d be leaving our car for the day at the Toyota dealership over a recall item, get a rental and drive north of Lansing, to Elsie.  There, we would meet the family of a darling elderly friend who passed away suddenly last Spring.

We started a few minutes late, but not enough to upset the fruit basket. Still, we had to get gas.  And, it started raining.  I don’t think that was three strikes against us, but it made me wonder.  We were now nearly a quarter of an hour behind schedule, and not how I wanted our day to begin.  I prayed silently for a safe trip, and for us to have clear directions.  We had a Michigan map, hand written directions from the Peterson’s to their house, and both our smart phones.  It seemed like those, and our plea for mercy would make the trip foolproof.

My husband had taken charge of the dealership arrangement, and its address was straightforward,  an uncomplicated 28th Street exit off state highway 131 North.  No problem. An easy find. Can do.

As the front seat passenger, I had to privilege of reading and writing, and my head was down. The straightforward exit somehow got passed.  Alas! Had only we caught that turn,  our turmoil would have been avoided.  But in a car zooming along at sixty miles an hour, there’s no time to lament one’s demise. One must gather their wits, like it or not, and come up with a cool Plan B.

I never do quite understand why sometimes it’s as though shutters close upon us, even when you have done all you can to avoid them.  But they do.

Immediately I brought up the GPS , and we took the soonest next exit, Hall Street, it said.  But it directed us left, not right.  What?  The dealership was east, not west.  Faith flew the coop.  My mate wanted to get back on the freeway, and keep heading north, thinking 28th Street was still ahead.  We plodded our way back to the freeway, having pulled off on a one way street, facing the opposite way. Of course.

Once there, state highway 131 N thrust us immediately into downtown Grand Rapids, north of the dealership.  The GPS confused us again, because we thought it directed us to get off. This made no sense— we were squarely in the middle of the business district.  Obviously, we misinterpreted its nanno second direction to take the 96 East.  How could that be the way?  We weren’t ready to head to Lansing yet.

So we now we were lost again.  The GPS  talked us back to the freeway, but its direction to go left at the light onto the freeway was not the truth.  We were supposed to go straight, and then left.  GPS’s never differentiate when to turn left, have you noticed?  We made an illegal turn to return to the intersection, and finally made the turn correctly.

96 East then took us around the top of the city, east to the Beltline, where we could exit, and connect to 28th Street, five miles away.  A very out of the way, turmoiled route, confusing, upsetting, and hard to follow.  Not the foolproof trip I’d hoped for. And all because those ‘shutters’ blocked us from seeing that 28th street exit.

Once the trading of our vehicle was done, hope sprung eternal, and we found the 96 East easily this time, and headed toward Lansing.  However, the Michigan map got left behind in the Toyota, oh joy, and now we were down to my trusty hand written directions, and our fully charged smart phones.  Nevertheless, we thought we were safe. And this time, we took time to pray out loud together, asking for no further complications.

The first connection was made  easily to 69 East, but when Michigan 21 came up, there was a north and south distinction, as I recall. We figured that out, only to be faced head on with a split in the road, asking us if we wanted to go to St. Johns or Clare?  Boom!  Just like that.  We were supposed to know which one ?  My hand written directions were folded up.  The GPS didn’t talk soon enough, and I was asked to make a nanno second decision for which I was not qualified.  And so we digressed. Again.

I put away the written directions.  We were getting to Elsie by way of an entirely different route. The Michigan map had been left behind, there was nothing we could check.  My phone was losing its power, and we could not spare pulling up maps, with the remaining power of the second phone. I had to just sit back, and let my husband follow the GPS with Plan C.  And hope for the best.

In the end, we got there.  As fate would have it, this new route was shorter, with fewer twists.  We had an absolutely delightful visit with our new friends in Elsie.  In this particular instance, all’s well that ends well.

But we never know that, no matter the juncture.

We travel this thing called life, and proceed, as best we can.  Shutters hide things from us, at times.  Split second decisions converge.  We pray, and give ourselves up to the Lord.

We are not guaranteed we’ll find our way, the first time out.  We’re not promised we won’t get lost, or escape momentary confusion.  Praying is smart, and it is fine to hope for good results.  But the results are in His hands.  He gives us something better than good results, He goes with us.  The Lord will be with us.

I love that about Him.

“Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the world.”  ~Matthew 28:20

 

~A Prayer~

Thank You, Father God, that this is true.

You go with us. You dwell with us.

Sorrows may inflict us momentarily, or reside with us, for a time.
But You are there, beside us.

Help us content ourselves with this consolation. And draw close to You.

Amen.

 

 

The Delight of Truth

Today, I celebrate the delight of truth.  My prayer for our country and all countries, is for truth.

Jesus said, “You shall know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”  Anything short of truth is not freedom.

July 2, 1776 our forefathers formally declared our country’s independence, Congress approved the document July 4th, and it was signed August 2, 1776.  A new government or the notion of a new government began, floundered and still flounders, each term replete with its benchmarks and errors.  Sometimes our leaders erred, and others guilty of underhanded deeds, deeds of intent.

We were born into this time of history, two hundred and fifty one years after the Declaration.  Isn’t that interesting.  No doubt our founding patriots expected the presidents, among other things, to be upstanding, truthful, bi-partisan, and a strong commander in chief. That job description seems to have been filled by only a few pair of shoes since 1776.  Thankfully, some attributes still exist, in part.

I delight in truth, and as a Christian, believe that the way to the truth is Jesus. The closer we are to Him, the less the collateral damage.

Truth is a delightful thing.  It cannot be repressed. We are supposed to stand with the truth, in respectful ways. Today, in our country, we need truth more than ever.  Perhaps we can pray for it more than we do.

Without truth, a sad continuum follows. First comes an evil, next the hiding of it.  Corruption has deep roots and long reaching branches, going far beyond the act itself.  It seeks annihilation of the truth in any way possible.  It needs a network of those nearest it, to learn and cooperate with a new version of the truth.  There might be a killing or removal of a witness who knows the truth.  Or, a burying or sealing of the evidence, in a secret place.

But can truth be altered or stopped?

I can lie about a sin, but my maker knows what I did. He ingrains the knowledge in my conscience.  Until I confess it, it remains there.  When I was five, I stole some gum or some such, in a corner store.  I knew it was wrong, I felt guilty.  My mother made me pay for it, apologize, and tell them I wouldn’t do it again. Pilate tried to wash his hands of the murder of Christ.  But he couldn’t—water being a mere removal of the blood upon the knife.  How interesting Pilate did this.  He felt the stain upon him, and wanted to be freed of it, underscoring a universal truth.  We all want our sins washed away.

A loving God knows that.  The plan of salvation is simple, but complex. To summarize the genius of it, God sacrificed what was dearest to His heart, Jesus.  He made Jesus to be sin for us, and put power in the blood. That shed blood is the compound that washes our sin white, as stark as snow. He alone can hear our confession, and remove not only the stain of, but the sin itself.

I can burn a document to make it disappear, but whatever was written thereon remains. When King Jehoiakim burned God’s scrolls in the hearth fire, God dictated a replica to Jeremiah, and then Baruch the scribe, and God added several more words to it the second time. (Jeremiah 36). My childhood diary is long gone, but God heard the words of a little girl’s heart on those pages; they remain in His heart.

If someone is murdered, God knows who and where, and exactly when.  He is an avenging God, the Judge of all good and evil. When Cain murdered Abel, Abel’s blood cried out from the soil. (Genesis 4) God made Cain a fugitive and vagabond, though he did set a protective mark upon him, as well.  The truth mixed with grace.

 The Lord sorrows with those who sorrow for the truth. He may tarry, but He will not let unrequited sin go unpunished.  He loves to forgive, but he wants people to live by the truth; these are partnered.

Truth comes around full circle, for it dwells eternal.  Buried truth is not unknown to God.  When Achan stole a Babylonian robe, two hundred pieces of silver and a gold bar worth fifty gold pieces from the spoils of Jericho, items God said belonged to Him, God revealed where Achan buried them, in his tent. Achan and his family were stoned for it, because he defied God right to His face. This was no small thing. It was brash disobedience, and put all of Israel in danger.

Locked up truth has chains that snap. Guards, barred doors, thick walls and ankle bracelets did nothing to stop the release the Paul and Silas in prison. They’d been singing praises to God for hours.  And at midnight, God sent an angel to wake them up, and accompany them into the street, where they went free.

If man thinks truth can be altered, burned, forgotten, buried or locked up, he’s a fool.

I like the third verse of The Battle Hymn of the Republic:  He has sounded forth the trumpet that shall never call retreat; he is sifting out the hearts of men before his judgment seat;  O be swift, my soul, to answer him; be jubilant, my feet!

     Our God is marching on. 

Our country is not perfect. Some presidents have done things unbecoming of their stature.  Perhaps Abraham Lincoln comes closest to having a pure heart.  He was not without opposition, of course (though the Lord Himself had enemies).  But Mr. Lincoln believed in sincerity of prayer, and working for a land free of enslaved thinking.  In our house hangs this of his wise sayings, “I have been driven many times upon my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go.”

“Be joyful always; pray continually.”  ~1 Thessalonians 5:  16, 17

Happy July Fourth!  We cannot celebrate a perfect nation. But we can celebrate God’s watch care of this nation, for two hundred and fifty one years.  And delight in truth.

Rejoice. And pray often.

 

 

 

Is there something else you pray for our country?

 

 

 

Ten

I love the concept of ten.  Ten is the number of completion or perfection in the Bible.

A good friend just sent me a post on Facebook by God Fruits that list the 10 Things God Wants you to Know.  They include some of the following since I cannot copy them without copyright permission: He will give us rest.  He will answer us.  He will not fail us.  He will provide for us and be with us. These are so wonderful to know.

This inspired me to write my own list of 10 Things We Can Count On from God.

1   He is in charge and I am not afraid of tomorrow.

2   He invites me to put my trust Jesus, failing that I have not pleased Him.

3   Heaven is mine,  through a life lived in Jesus.

4   He provides stellar insight into Himself through His written Word, time warp resistant.

5   He is the rock solid ground beneath me. Around me, life shakes, under me, stability.

6   His news always has good in it, His news is gospel.

7   He sustains and helps me when I am weary or ill.

8   His love is a constant, whether alone or in company of others, His love is best.

9   He gives me the honor of exchange conversation, in prayer.

10  I can awake every morning knowing in Him I have a brand new day.

What is your list?

On That Day

by Deborah Thomas

How could Jesus bear

the betrayal of a strident patriot seeking a messiah despot,

the arrest at night, secure in numbers, dragging him to the high priest,

the questioning from men drunk on power, driven by fear of a greater power,

the adjudicating of Caiaphas, Herod and Pilate, curious but ignorant of the riches in their hands, too full of self pride to see it,

the  postulating of Pilate to make an offer of life not his to give,

the stripping of His robe, the stabbing of the thorns, the blows from fists He could not see,

the tearing of His flesh with hooks flailing His blood into the air,

the staggering climb to Golgatha, lined with gawkers or sympathizers, neither willing or else able to help,

the nailing hammer blows to hands and feet, enough to wish for unconsciousness,

the fastening of His body to a common cross, weighted by the gravity he created,

the mocking of the son of man, son of God,

the silence of his Heavenly Father, to sacrifice His only son, for the payment of our sins,

on that day.

Such love and mercy given.

This our greatest gift of life.

John 3: 15-18 The Message

…[for]it is necessary for the Son of Man to be lifted up—and everyone who looks up to him, trusting and expectant, will gain a real life, eternal life.

16-18 “This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life.

God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted;

anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it.  And why?

Because of that person’s failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

A Prayer for you

May the Lord bless your Holy week.

May you find respite in the confession and forgiveness of your sins,

and rejoice in eternal life through His son Jesus.

May you enjoy His company, love Him deeply, thank Him always,

and from His storehouses, be given helpful goodnesses.

A Daily Miracle

Part II, a Lenten treatise

Deborah J. Thomas

Lent begins the first Wednesday of March this year. This season is one of God’s best gifts.

When I visited my sister recently, we sang a few worship songs at her piano. One captivated me, a beautiful melody about the Holy Spirit. I pondered His role, and I’m still pondering Him.

Practicing Christians know the basics. He’s the third being of the Triune: God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit, we say in that order.  God the Father sits and rules from His throne in Heaven, and Jesus as Son is seated at His right hand.  But where is the Holy Spirit?  Perhaps He is the most mysterious of the Trinity.

Of course, all of the Lord God Almighty is mystery.  But the Father and Son have been more revealed or at least visible, over time, than the Holy Spirit. God the Father directed mankind, and spoke to his prophets throughout scripture. Thus, He’s become more familiar to us.  God the Son came to earth and people living at that time got to see him—Son of Man and Son of God, Jesus was called. The account of the gospels taught and showed us all manner of truth about God the Son, Jesus.

But the Holy Spirit is lesser seen, lesser known. His name makes that obvious: He is Spirit. Not seen by human eyes. However, just like the wind, He’s there.  (And sometimes witnessed through evidence.) Ephesians 1: 27 states that God wished to “…make known the riches of his glory (knowledge of Him) among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you…” In other words, the Holy Spirit dwelling in the true believer. After Jesus returned to heaven, the Holy Spirit came to his followers, so they’d sense God with them, in Jesus’ s absence. Stunning! The Holy Spirit resides in any person who invites Jesus Christ into their heart. A miracle!

‘Rauch’ was the name of that haunting Hebrew melody. It transports the listener to a pre-Messianic period as if it were wafting through the doors of the Temple in Jerusalem. “Spirit, Spirit, Spirit divine,” it sings, followed by “Not by might or by power, but by My Spirit,” says the Lord God Almighty. (Zech. 4:6) The setting for this passage in Zechariah is that part of Israel’s history when the Lord instructed Zerubbabel and Joshua to lead the Jews in the rebuilding of the temple.  It would not be physical strength or societal position that would build the temple from the ground up. It would be the Spirit. In short, not by man, but by the Lord.

This principle can be applied beautifully. First, in Jesus our example, in His sacrifice and resurrection. How he endured the crucifixion is an enigma. I barely stomached watching Gibson’s movie The Passion.  I wept. Though overdramatized in parts, it showed with certainty no man could have survived the abuse, flogging, climb to Golgatha, and piecing of hands and feet in meager human strength.  It had to be the spirit of God giving him ability, which He begged God for in Gethsemane. And the resurrection? The spirit of God.  In fact, Jesus’ entire life was partnered with the Spirit—in His stories, His prayers, His miraculous healings and restoring of life to the dead.  All was unconventional, unexpected, radical, and offsetting—but done under the moving of the Spirit. The Holy Spirit’s the difference between climbing countless flights of stairs alone (and perhaps not making it) or taking the escalator!

I think God sent Jesus to illustrate He delights in us. That humanity is what He wants to use. Not ‘by might or by power,’—not with the strength of horses and chariots, the savvy of kings and wise men.  Not by man—man fails and comes to his end.  But by the Spirit. The Spirit is our provision, just as he was Christ’s. As He did for Zerubbabel and Joshua, he can do for us, to build us. (Be prepared for those hammer blows, at times. He doesn’t spare the anvil.) He’s our ability to cope and overcome. To forgive. To be humble and unselfish.  To serve others.  He’s the miraculous in daily life!

 

Holy Spirit, thank you for coming and being the miraculous to us. We need you.

Wake us to invite you into our days. Enter our prayer life.

Please use us purposely. Help us with life’s trials; give us strength and endurance.

This Lent, breathe into us, Breath of Life. Fill us with life anew.

In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Set Aside

 

Part I of a treatise on the miraculous, for Lent

Everybody wants to be loved, we latch onto it. Love helps us cope with life. In 1958, Phil Spector cut a song, To Know, Know, Know Him and I thought it was cool. Here are the first nine lines.

To know know know him
Is to love love love him
Just to see that smile
Makes my life worthwhile

To know know know him
Is to love love love him
And I do
And I do
And I do

As a young girl, I began to feel I was not quite like other people.  That I was different and not preferred.  I wore glasses from the age of two. When I was five,  I was given penicillin for a boil on my behind, and broke out with a rash that never left. I was the middle child of three. My older brother liked my sister more than me. Or at least it felt like that. And my foster brother also liked Karen more.

Happily, there were some reprieves from my poor self image. I did well in school and I learned piano well. I also had two good friends, Marilou Hage, and Marcia Dorman.  My parents and grandparents loved me dearly, and my sister adored me. These things brought me great happiness.

Still, when winter came to Grand Rapids, Michigan, my life got hard. The harsh and frequent snow, and icy weather had an immediate effect upon my skin.  It chapped, cracked and bled.  I had scabs and sometimes staff infection entered the wounds.  I’d have to stay home from school to recover. My parents gave me support and understanding.  I was taken to doctors and later, the Mayo clinic to seek solutions.

Kids asked questions about my rash and scabs and it was embarrassing.  I can remember how I flushed, as I gave them a reply. I tried to hide my skin, but the eczema broke out everywhere there was a joint or flap:  behind my knees, armpits, my neck, at the bottom of my ear lobes, every finger knuckle, my wrists, and then on my lower arms, where there were no joints at all. Though my siblings never made fun of me, my classmates’ curiosity and probing made my self-esteem plummet.  Michigan winters gave me a good understanding of what it was like to feel ‘set aside.’ But I think God used those winters to offset my life in a permanent way.

I think each of us has a life experience that leaves a lasting mark. A relative of mine was abused as a girl.  My mother lost her thirteen year old brother when he ran away from home to find his mother who left the family. Georgie jumped off a train from a bridge, into the river below, and drowned.  My grandfather’s eyesight failed in his twenties, and he lost his accounting job. My former husband was mistreated by both his parents his whole life without reprieve, and no apology was given him later on. These kind of things make us feel as if we’ve been ‘set aside’, singled out, a product of the extraordinary.

Could it be that God marks us, as if to distinguish us—in love?  Surely the One who made us couldn’t want that we should have a life of unrelenting hardship and abuse.  Yes, there are cultures where cruelty and persecution goes on for years.  In The Immortal Irishman, we read how the English Parliament suppressed and battered the Irish for years, believing them to be inferior Catholics. How sorrowful that some cultures must endure dictators, oppression or depraved poverty without relief.  These things defy understanding except we know that in this earthly life, evil sometimes gains an upper hand.  A good God raises up the good to fight against the evil, for His intention is for it to be conquered and replaced with goodnesses.  Praise God this is so.

The Lord marks all of us, one way or another.  He calls all people to come to Him in earnestness, to “know, know, know” Him. True followers are given a gift, His Presence inside them. Philippians 4:11 says, “The Lord is near.” With this gift, we are ‘set aside’ from the world.  In good ways, in servitude.  For to know His presence is to love Him.

Part II will consider this amazing presence of God within us, a most miraculous thing.

Mermaid

One of my childhood fantasies was to be a mermaid. Ha! Of course I had no idea what this would entail, (or should I say, entale)—but with life under water, you can choose whatever role you wish it to be. I was fascinated with the notion of mermaids. I put myself into the role and felt magically transformed into a romantic and attractive creature, swishing my long fantail to get me where I needed to go. Fantasy is so great, you become whoever you want to be. There I was without my eyeglasses, no ugly skin disorder, no disabilities at all. Something transitory overcame me, and I was a swimming beauty, admired by all, lovely beyond compare, a princess of the sea. If something went wrong, all I had to do was swim away and escape to wherever it is mermaids go for refuge. Ha.
Sometimes, while swimming at our summer cottage lake, or later on, our swimming pool in Tucson, I would pretend to be a mermaid, and swim with my legs together. We would play games, such as play Mermaid Tag and “It” and the players could only swim with their legs together in the game. It was pretty fun.
When the movie The Little Mermaid came out, I thought this was one of the Disney’s best except for the ugly, dark witch. Of course every story has to have a villain, but this one seemed excessively wicked. The story line however, was most clever and I still very much like this movie, one of my favorites– for Ariel (whom we named a third cat we got since she felt so out of place), and her friends, the good godmother, and of course her dashing prince who loved her for who she was.
All kinds of things happen to us in life. Evil rears its ugly head at some point or another, sometimes more often than we would like. But there is a way of escape in the real world. God gives us a Knight in shining armor, Christ Jesus. In His comforting and strong arms, we can know rescue and delight.

Fred

Fred by Deborah Thomas

I get a kick out of the name Fred.

“My name is Fred, they call me Fred.  When I get tired, I go to– ‘DUH’……(long pause, waiting for the listener to say the answer)…BED, Fred!” the students yelled the answer and laughed at the doofus way I sang.  Then I’d continue the song with a new word that rhymed with Fred… “My name is Fred, they call me Fred.  My favorite color’s always–duh…..RED, Fred!”  And the kids would laugh again.

A favorite teaching exercise, I’d make up all kinds of words that rhymed with Fred, to extend the song, then invited them to come up with one.  It was a hoot.  I remember using dead, head, lead, Ned, Ted, shed, wed.  I wish I could sing you the tune, it was so cute.  I think it was from Sesame Street some years before–do you know it?

My grandpa told me I had an uncle Fred whose hair was red.  Ha ha!  Mother always wanted one of her children to have the red hair, but that didn’t occur for another two generations—I have two grandchildren with red hair.

In high school, a new student arrived in concert choir.  ‘Freddy’ had the red hair, gorgeous bouncy red hair. I admired herShe was an accompaniest like I was, only a much better one.

Fred in the Sesame song. Uncle Fred. Freddy in choir.  All make the name Fred a friendly one for me.

I bet you have a name or two you especially like and with good reasons.  I heard tell that God will give us a new name in Heaven. How fun.  With the imagination He has, how beautiful our names shall be!

I appreciate He knows me by my given name and my name to come.  He’s familiar with my inner self. “You have searched me and known me, O Lord; You know when I sit down and when I stand up; You discern my thoughts from afar….You are intimately acquainted with all my ways.”  (an American translation from The Complete Bible)

Recently I misplaced our address book.  I wracked my mind for memory traces of its whereabouts and prayed for revelation.  But they were hurried prayers, prayers on the run and the book’s location remains an enigma.  When I read these scriptures, I realized the Lord witnessed me at the exact moment I misplaced the book. He see me sit down and stand up, so He has to know what I was thinking when I laid that book in an odd place. I’m on a trip right now, clear across the country.  God discerns my thoughts  a thousand miles from that book.  If I give Him my time, and draw close to Him, I believe He will reveal the secret of where that book is hiding.

What is a name you enjoy and why?

Can you draw close to the Lord and let Him tell you a secret?

Smart Counsel

Smart Counsel

Per chance, I found a poignant book called: My Lord and I- Daily Meditations, by Harry Tippett in a thrift store some months back.  I was smitten, given it was a cross-hatched 4.5 by 6 inch thick book, and published in 1948, the year of my birth.  Its entries are nothing of regular nature.  It’s a pearl. I relish each reading, albeit not all entries are just for me.  You know what I mean.

But on my August birthday, I was hoping for a gem.  I wasn’t disappointed. Its title of Jesus Our Counselor was followed by Eccl. 9: 11 “The race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.”

To wit, this could mean that no matter how quick, strong, wise or skilled a person, it is not these that God blesses, but rather He bestows in time and through His own choosing what will happen.

And on this note, I’m at peace.  We live in crazy times, a world with crumbling order, terrorism gone wild and denial of its threat thereof, race relations under attack, corruption in highest levels by-passed, it would appear, by our justice department.  Harsh statements, falsehoods, accusations, misleadings are the deluge— how shall we be saved from this state of affairs?

I bewail a lack of integrity in but a few leaders today. Can the Lord intervene and do something miraculous?  Of course!  “Time and chance happeneth to them all.”  Yesterday in a sermon, I learned about Don Piper who was killed in a head-on collision in 1989.  A passing by pastor was directed of the Lord to stop and pray, but was told the driver of the car was dead; they tarped the gruesome car, waiting for authorities to come remove the man.  The pastor went into the car, and prayed for the deceased Mr. Piper. After an hour, he ran out of things to pray and began to sing, ‘What a Friend We Have in Jesus.’  Suddenly, a voice joined him.  Mr. Piper rose to life!

Who in this world would follow such a God directive, to pray for a dead man?  To believe it mattered?  Instead, we gauge the worth or progress of something by outward appearances, or numbers, am I right?

The author Tippett:  This emphasis upon worldly advantage has captured modern thinking…our measurements of value…often gauged by mere bulk or numbers.  Counting noses in God’s work has been frowned upon by Heaven ever since the days of the numbering of Israel against His express command.  We triumph in majorities and hold contempt for minorities.  We honor men who boast, “Is not this great Babylon that I have built…by the might of my power?”  Dan. 4:30.  This veneration of size and truckling to power…{is called} megalomania, the craze for bigness.

But Jesus was never overawed by size or majorities.  The temple of Herod was the greatest pride of the Jewish church.  The priests were dismayed when Christ predicted its destruction.  In the teachings of the Master, mountains of difficulty give way to simple prayer, and “out of the mouths of babies and sucklings” He ordains strength.  End quote.

My former pastor’s young daughter recently took issue with the gender bathroom controversy.  On her own but with her parents’ permission, she gathered signatures and sent them to the state legislature to protest the allowance of the cross gendered to enter the bathrooms at her elementary school. She petitioned for a bathroom of their own.  She sent it to her legislator and now, the legislature is voting on a law that will make all persons use the bathroom of their birth.  This child has been invited to come speak to the legislature about her concerns. Is not this phenomenal? I rejoice to see how the Lord is using this young girl to accomplish His ways on earth. If the bill is passed, this child’s name is going to be on it!

Tippett: “He ordains strength.”  Psalms 8:2.  All through the Bible, greatness in worldly evaluations is in sharp contrast to the humble heart and teachable spirit Christ lauds as Heaven’s true cloth of gold.  [It is}…not the cause with the greatest financial backing nor the leader with the best education, nor the artisan with the swiftest skill—none of these are necessarily signs of favor with Heaven.  “Not by might and not by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord” is the formula.  End quote.

I believe that when we pray, we invite Jesus’ counsel. It doesn’t get any smarter than that.  May’nt this be a way out of the current bungle of politico?  His plans are remarkable; He directed a pastor to stop and pray for a dead man, a child to gather signatures of protest. He directed me to pray for my mom’s rescue from death often.  I prayed with a friend and then on my own as I drove to my sister’s side, not knowing she was having a fibrillation attack.  I called out to Jesus by name when I was nearly hit head on with my babies in the car with me.  He so wants our prayers, prayers for others, prayers for our needy country. Time and “chance” belong to Him. Pray, pray hard.

 

When did Jesus send you a directive to pray and what was the result?

Blue

 

 

Anybody feeling blue today? “I feel blue, you would, too. If each plan that you had done fell through,” goes the Ricky Nelson song. I can hear its melody in my head. Loved his singing voice.  And Bobby Vinton sang, “Blue, blue, my world is blue…” Maybe it is the most popular color sung about.
I have a melancholy personality and can turn blue from one hour to the next. But it comes on gradually usually. And it takes more than one thing to make me blue. I have to gather four or five eggs of discouraging issues and then it arrives. Thankfully it is short term since I do things to chase it. I take a funny sounding herb to enhance my mood and it works every time, St. John’s Wort. Laugh all you want to, it really works. Psychologists say that anti depressants have St. John’s in them. I exercise, swimming is my favorite but only on my bad hair days. I pray, read something in the Bible of inspiration. I talk to a friend, my sister is an instant pick me up.  I sing a peppy song or play the piano.  You can use a CD player, just as good.
All around us is blue. So it’s not supposed to symbolize depression at all. Water reflects the sky and each ocean or lake or pond has a shade of blue all its own. And of course, there is the sky.  What about that sky?  Is this not one of God’s most amazing glories.
I think probably sky blue is my favorite blue. And another way I perk up. I look at the blue sky. “Blue skies lookin’ at me, nothin’ but blue skies, can’t you see?”

 

What do you do when you feel blue?