Friday, May 22, 2015

Benediction


Psalm 113:3 (ESV) ~

From the rising of the sun to its setting, the name of the LORD is to be praised!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Throwback Thursday

 
This girl is going to be 16 soon.  Sigh.   Time flies. 
 
 
Of course, she keeps reminding me that after next Saturday she can get her driver's permit.  How did this happen?  My baby is becoming an adult.  For those of you with little ones, enjoy those precious moments because in a blink they are grown up. 
 
That's not a bad thing and adulthood brings new joys.  But every now and then I do miss those little ones. :-)

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Wednesday Words of Encouragement


John 10:24-29 (NIV) ~

And the people gathered all around him. They said, “How long are you going to keep us guessing? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly!”

Jesus answered:
I have told you, and you refused to believe me. The things I do by my Father’s authority show who I am. But since you are not my sheep, you don’t believe me. My sheep know my voice, and I know them. They follow me, and I give them eternal life, so that they will never be lost. No one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father gave them to me, and he is greater than all others.   No one can snatch them from his hands, and I am one with the Father.

Years ago, Dan & I worked for an inner city ministry.  One of the programs in our ministry was an early learning center for eighty 2 1/2 to 5 year olds.  Often we would take the children for walks.  When we came to a street and had to cross, we would take them by the hand.  I would take the children I was responsible for with an iron clad grip and would not let go until I knew we were safely across the street.  I didn't want them to wander off the crosswalk.  I didn't want something unimaginable to happen.  They knew better than to try and let go of my hand.

There is a song that I love.  It's entitled, "You Never Let Go."  The image we have is in the midst of life and the middle of our trials, tragedies and triumphs God is holding onto us tightly.  He never lets go of us, even when we don't feel His presence or when we try to wander away from Him.

I love this passage in John.  Jesus tells the people that his sheep know who he is.  They follow him and he gives them eternal life.  But more importantly, he tells them that no one can snatch them out of his hands.  His grip is tight.  His desire to keep hold of us is such that no one or nothing can make him let go.  His hold on us is secure.

When we go through difficulties and trials, we can feel as if God is not there.  We think he doesn't care.  But he does!  He is holding tightly to you.  He will not let you go.  He is right beside you in the midst of the struggles.  We need to relax and trust his grip.  Trust that he knows what you need.  That he has a purpose for you.  He is with you.

Nothing or no one can snatch you away.  His grip is tight.  He will never let go!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Abundant Life

 
John 10:10 (HCSB) ~
 
A thief comes only to steal and to kill and to destroy. I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance.
 
Flowers are vibrant, colorful, fragrant, fresh, alive, sweet, uplifting, inspirational, and beautiful.  Words that should describe us as believers in Christ if we are rooted in him.  But so often we seem to reflect a wilted bunch of flowers instead.  We have the life of Christ in us but have forgotten that He wants us to have abundant life.  We are drooping!
 
This can happen because of various obstacles and distractions in our lives.  And when that happens, the thief (the devil) is thrilled.  Because that is exactly what he wants.  Us to live ineffectual, "going through the motions" life.
 
 
 

As we dig into God's word and spend time in prayer, listening and then obeying what the Lord wants us to do, we will find that abundance in Him.

I know my desire is to live that abundant life.  It won't happen though if I remain distracted.  It won't happen if you remain distracted.  Distractions can take on many forms and will probably be different for different people.

For me, it can be trying to please people or worrying about what other people think.  It can be too much time spent on technology.  It can be just sheer laziness.  For others, it may be something else.  Each of us knows the thing that holds us back.

My prayer is that we would put aside those distractions and obstacles and move forward and spring to life.  My prayer is that we would have a full to the top, overflowing spiritual life that permeates every thing that we say, do and think.

Praying that each of you live that abundant life today!
 

Monday, May 18, 2015

Hearts in Service


When I started this blog years ago I came up with the name, Hearts in Service.  The reason for that was that my prayer for as long as I can remember is that the Lord would use me as His servant here.  I want my life to emit the sweet fragrance of Christ.

I have always loved the verses in Philippians 2:3-4.  "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others."  I have tried to live these out, though not always successfully.

Sometimes I get distracted or tired or discouraged and at those times it's harder to remember what my goal in life has been.  Yet God faithfully reminds me of my prayer to him all these many years.  I truly do want to have a heart that is in service to my Lord and through my acts of service my desire is to point others to Him.

That has been the biggest blessing in my life. 

This week I'm also thankful for blessings #2441 - 2455.

2441.  A wonderful 12 days with my mom, stepdad and grandmother.

2442.  Safety while traveling back home.

2443.  Stephen is home from college for a few weeks before he starts his summer job. 

2444.  Sleeping in my own bed.

2445.  A productive work day at church on Saturday and a beautiful new area to work with the children at church.

2446.  Being asked to pray with two different women on Sunday.

2447.  I'm so thankful for my husband who held down the fort while I was away.

2448.  Stephen preached yesterday and it is wonderful to see how he has grown spiritually.

2449.  Teen girls cooking in my kitchen and having fun.

2450.  Beautiful sights and sounds.

2451.  Lunch out with Dan and walking by the lake.

2452.  A morning walk with a neighbor each day.

2453.  Listening to a bird chirping brightly as I type.

2454.  Getting back into my normal routine again.

and finally...

2455.  Having a heart in the service of the Lord.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

A Sight for Sore Eyes


Oh I've missed this!  Sweet smells in the air.  Beautiful sights.  Birds singing, bees buzzing and flowers blooming.  All the things that bring me joy!

 
 
 
I feel like I am waking up and it's a wonderful feeling.  As I walked around the property this afternoon, I felt my heart singing out praises to my Lord.

 


 
I could have spent hours out there, drinking in the wonderful sights and sounds. 


I'm so thankful spring has finally arrived!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Wednesday Words of Encouragement

James 5:13-16 ~

"Is anyone among you suffering? Then he must pray. Is anyone cheerful? He is to sing praises. Is anyone among you sick? Then he must call for the elders of the church and they are to pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up, and if he has committed sins, they will be forgiven him.

Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much."


Why is it so difficult for us to pray both individually and corporately? When I read these verses and see the power there is in prayer, it makes me wonder why prayer seems to be something we struggle to do.

I know that many would say they do pray. However, often our prayers are little popcorn prayers we throw up to God. "Help my child pass this test." "Help me at work today." "Please heal Sue." "Give me strength." We very rarely stop and spend quality time sitting down and devoting a chunk of time to prayer.

Yet, it is something we are called to do as believers. We are told in verse 16 that our prayer can accomplish much. However, look at that adjective "effective". What is an effective prayer?

I do believe it has to do with the intensity and quality of our prayers. Shooting up little prayers here and there definitely has a place, but I do believe that we need to set aside time and concentrate on our prayers.

Many of us will say that we live busy lives and have no time. Yet we have time for the things we think are important - computer, television, exercise, talking on the phone with friends, going to the movies, going shopping.

I'm as guilty of this as anyone else. I've been so convicted lately about setting aside time each day to pray and hear from God. How can we hear from Him when we can't stop our constant motion?

I encourage you today to stop, listen, pray and hear what God is saying to you today!