Wednesday, October 23, 2013

When Darkness Blocks Our View

The very first thing I did this morning was pray about my daughter’s doctor appointment. As I was praying for her a thought went through my mind…how many other mom’s are praying for their children? How many are broken-hearted watching their children suffer because they are hungry, sick, and so on and so on.

The last couple of nights I’ve been reading the book Prisoners of Hope by Dayna Curry and Heather Mercer with Stacy Mattingly, it’s about two missionary girls who were imprisoned by the Taliban in Afghanistan back in 2001. Before their arrest they interacted with many women who suffered in a war zone, widowed and trying to find a way to feed their children, or deal with their illnesses.

I stopped my prayer. The room was dark and the darkness seemed to come between me and God causing my prayer to be blocked.

I really wanted to be able to go to God with my daughter’s plight, but I wondered why would He answer when there were so many other moms desperately seeking Him?

And then a really incredible thought went through my mind.

God went to Afghanistan.

Joy filled my heart when I realized that yes, God did go to Afghanistan through the people He sent out on the missions. The story I’m reading is very clear on how their heart was set to go to this county despite all of the dangers that could await them. Still, these ladies knew it was where they were to go.

Because…God sent them.

Because…God went to those in Afghanistan who were suffering.

And with that…I prayed for my daughter, believing God was listening and God cared.

If God goes to Afghanistan, I know He will go with us to the doctor. I know He will get us through this.
In those moments when doubts cloud our view and cause our faith to falter…truth is His view is never cloudy and He never falters.

I can cast my cares upon Him because He cares for me.

That simple children’s song, Jesus loves me this I know for the Bible tells me so.


Well, it’s true because the Bible does tell me so. 

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Walk On Water

Philippians 4:6-7
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Yesterday, I woke up feeling anxious. My husband having minor surgery during the morning, to take some cancer out of his leg, may have had something to do with that anxiety. On top of that it was my second day at a new part-time job. And a few of my friends had called with some bad news in their life. It all added to stress I was already feeling.

I went for a walk to get some endorphins going and of course, to strengthen my heart, and to make sure my jeans didn’t shrink when I put them on in the morning.

At first I just felt anxious, and the annoying crows that are around the neighborhood were getting on my nerves making it hard to enjoy the walk I normally enjoyed.

As I walked and prayed, I started to faintly hear the sounds of a different bird not only tweeting, but whistling and then tweeting. The sound became more and more clear, and the sound of the crows cawing became faint as I focused to hear the incredible sound of this bird.

And when I rounded the curve right in front of me there was a flower still on the bush…
I started seeing the beauty of the change of the leaves, and the cool morning air. I was thankful for the break in the rain.

I realized if I keep focusing on the annoying things, I will feel annoyed. And if I keep thinking of those things that make me anxious then I will feel anxious. And I won’t be able to see the blessings around me.

Instead, I needed to just trust what the Bible says and give my anxious thoughts to God so His peace that passes all understanding will fill me.

I was focusing too much on the negative. The Bible says to meditate on the good things.

Philippians 4:8
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 

And then this morning while I walked, I was listening to a song by Amy Grant. One of the lines she sang brought to my mind my favorite story of Peter joining Jesus out on the water in the middle of a storm.

As I thought of this story, I realized that when Peter asked to be able to come out there with Jesus…Jesus called him out. Jesus was walking on water in the middle of a scary storm. And yet, he didn’t tell Peter to stay in the boat. He said for him to come out to him while the winds were blowing and the waves were crashing. So Peter did.

And Peter was just fine as long as he kept his eyes on Jesus.

Peter was just fine in the storm because Jesus was with him. Jesus called him.

It wasn’t until Peter looked at the storm and let it freak him out that he sunk. He was fine with his eyes on Jesus. And He was fine again, when Jesus took his hand and walked with him to the boat. The storm was still doing its thing and Peter was able to walk on that water with Jesus holding him.

No matter what storm is blowing like crazy in my life, Jesus is there…I can walk through the storm and not let it cause me anxiety, fear, or to sink while my eyes are on Jesus.

When my eyes focus on the storm…well, it can be overwhelming. And it can make me feel so downcast and helpless. My faith can just blow away with the wind.

But…

When my faith fails, I can still call out to Him, and like with Peter, I know He will be there to pull me up and walk me through that storm. And the storm will settle, maybe not right away, but someday. I just need to hold on to Jesus and walk with Him to the boat. Stay close to Him until He calms the storm in my life.

Matthew 14:22-30
22Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. 23 After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone, 24 and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it. 25 Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear. 27 But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” 28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” 29 “Come,” he said.
Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”



Monday, October 7, 2013

Where Music Takes Us

I closed the front door behind me, leaving the stacks of papers on my desk and unopened emails in my computer behind. I stuck my ear-buds in and turned on the music in my phone.

I started walking down the hill toward my favorite neighborhood to walk through. I love looking at the houses, the yards, and I love all of the hills.

I finally started to relax after I walked for a few minutes, and focused on the music that played in my ear, instead of on the unending demands that filled my day.  The pressures of unfinished work suddenly didn’t feel so heavy on my shoulders.

I struggled to refrain from singing out loud to one of my favorite songs while I strolled through the neighborhood. Instead, I tried to hum, but then decided, I better not… with the ear buds in, even humming might be pretty loud.

Now, I’m not a bird lover as those close to me know, but on this walk I actually enjoyed watching the birds flitting from tree to tree. They kept my attention as they tweeted and flew from branch to branch. It looked like they were truly enjoying the day.

The songs played and played while I walked the stress off. Soon I was able to just talk to God about the things that were heavy on my mind. And then it was time to go back home and face the work again, yet I had a different frame of mind. I’d listened to music that spoke of God’s love, God’s power, and it had brought me right to the one they were singing about.

Music does that. It brings you places.

The other night we watched a really cute movie that had great background music. Quite a few of the songs were from the Beach Boys which brought a feeling of fun and sun. I remember listening to the Beach Boys or songs from the movie Grease while I waxed my car to get it ready for cruising downtown on the weekend.

Cruising downtown was fun in itself. A person would drive with the windows down no matter how hot, cold, or wet the weather, and music would blare from each of the cars. So now when I hear certain songs from that time, my mind remembers, and it gives me a happy feeling.

A few of my friends and I used to lay out in the hot sun, tanning all day long, drinking Cola’s, and eating chips. We listened to some of our favorite music groups, and sometimes afterward we would dance around singing. Still to this day, I will hear that music, and have to stop with a smile treasuring the memory.

Music does that. It brings us back to moments. The song played at a wedding, a song dedicated to someone loved, a special song at an event.

It can be wonderful.

Psalm 146

Praise the Lord.[a]
Praise the Lord, my soul.
I will praise the Lord all my life;
    I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.
Do not put your trust in princes,
    in human beings, who cannot save.
When their spirit departs, they return to the ground;
    on that very day their plans come to nothing.
Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob,
    whose hope is in the Lord their God.
He is the Maker of heaven and earth,
    the sea, and everything in them—
    he remains faithful forever.
He upholds the cause of the oppressed
    and gives food to the hungry.
The Lord sets prisoners free,
    the Lord gives sight to the blind,
the Lord lifts up those who are bowed down,
    the Lord loves the righteous.
The Lord watches over the foreigner
    and sustains the fatherless and the widow,
    but he frustrates the ways of the wicked.
10 The Lord reigns forever,
    your God, O Zion, for all generations.
Praise the Lord.

There are so many passages about praising God in the book of Psalms.

Just like music we hear from the past, and from special times, can bring us back to a moment, it can also bring us to a place, to a person. It can bring us into the presence of the only True God, before His heavenly throne.