"How precious it is, Lord, to realize that you are thinking about me constantly!
I can't even count how many times a day your thoughts turn toward me…"
Psalm 139:17 - 18 (Living Bible)
Two of our grandchildren have gone out of state for a few days to visit some of their family. My husband and I are finding it a very lonely time. Daily those two girls bring sunshine into our lives. We miss the hugs and kisses they shower upon us. We miss their laughter. Several times a day we are used to hearing "I love you, Grandma," and "I love you, Granddad," spoken very lovingly.
We have found ourselves thinking about them often, and longing for the time when they return to us from their mini vacation.
How precious it is to know that our wonderful Lord thinks about us constantly. He misses us very much if we are not communicating with him daily. God longs for us to show our love toward Him by reading His Holy Word and praying without ceasing.
Even though our thoughts turn often to Faith and Mary Kathryn, we cannot even begin to count how many times a day our wonderful Lord is thinking about us and praying for us. We can, however, renew the intimacy we once had with Him as we again seek God with our whole heart.
A dear friend just e-mailed me a PowerPoint message that really struck home. Entitled "Smile," it tells the story of a little girl who walks to and from school every day. One day, in the early afternoon, a storm brews. As thunder claps and lightning strikes all around, the mother gets in her car to drive her daughter's walking route, meet her and get her safely home. From a distance, she sees her daughter and notices her doing something very odd. After each flash of lightning, the little girl stops, looks up at the sky and smiles. Once the mother has her safely in the car, she asks about that behavior. Her daughter replies, "I am trying to look pretty. God is taking my picture."
The message of that e-mail was to "face the storms that come our way, and don't forget to smile." But as I thought about it more, having come through some pretty scary "storms" lately, (which don't appear to be ending anytime real soon) I thought, "What if that was true... that God was taking my picture?" If so, what did the flash reveal in my face? Fear, faith, doubt, trust, anger, peace, hopelessness, hope...? At first, I felt shame because many of my snapshots won't show a confident, full-of-faith woman; some will resemble a frightened, lost little girl. You know what; I'll bet God's photo album of your pictures won't be too much different from mine. Am I right?
But while I initially felt shame that I was not a pillar of strength at all times, I realized something that DID put a smile on my face. Are you ready? God didn't EXPECT me to be! Remember what the psalmist said?
As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him;
for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust.
(Psalm 103:13-14, NIV, emphasis added)
Isn't that encouraging??! If God expected us to be able to handle life on our own, using only our faith, would Jesus have promised, "I am with you always, even to the end of the earth?"
Would Paul have felt the need to record Romans 8:26?
"In the same way, the spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express." (emphasis added)
Throughout dark and stormy times, God does not judge us harshly for our weakness. He simply gives more love, more blessing, and more grace!
Remembering this, let's look back at those photo albums. What do you see? The face of a child of God who is blessed? Blessed, because no matter what happens in this life, given to God it will be used for good? Each trial makes us uniquely suited to help someone else facing a similar storm. Each victory strengthens us for the next trial. Every troublesome time reminds us that we are not alone, and that God WILL give us what we need.
See another storm brewing? Say "cheese!" FLASH!
Dear God, I just want to thank you that you didn't leave me here alone, but that you are with me each step of the way. Thank you for your patience and your forgiveness when I get discouraged and full of pity for myself, and thank you for sending friends to me who lift me up and point me back to you! Your grace amazes me, your love fills me up, and I am so blessed to be your daughter! Thank you!! Amen
"And thou shalt love the Lord thy God will all thine heart, and with all thy soul,
and with all thy might." Deut 6:5 (KJV)
Rocket. It sounds like a missile high in the sky!
Actually it is the name of our four year-old granddaughter Brooke's new puppy. The deepest longing in Brooke's heart was for a puppy. Since barely old enough to speak, she had begged anyone who would listen to her for a puppy.
There must be several dozen puppies in her house, their car, and even here at grandma's house. Stuffed ones, ceramic ones, and plastic puppies of every size, breed, and color are everywhere. But, they aren't alive. Their hearts don't beat. The fur isn't real and tails don't wag when they see Brooke coming.
Finally, this week her mother and daddy said yes. Brooke would get a puppy! She could hardly wait for pre-school to be over because she was going to get Rocket. A tiny eight week-old Sheltie.
The next morning on the way to school she brought Rocket by our house for granddaddy and grandma to see and hold and love. It was a precious time. The longing we had heard in Brooke's voice had overnight turned to a deep love. She gently laid Rocket in my arms, asking me, with her eyes, to respond with that same love to Rocket.
Brooke and granddaddy played with him in the floor for a few minutes and then she picked Rocket up and once again ever so soft and lovingly placed him in my arms. I saw that pleading in her eyes for me to show my affection for that little furry animal she now loved so much. It was easy to discern how Brooke already loved Rocket with all her heart.
Soon, she and her mother gathered up Rocket and went out the door to get busy with school and work for the day.
I now look forward to the time when Brooke will have that same longing in her heart for our wonderful Lord. May the day come when she loves Him with all her grown-up heart. Let there be a day when nothing less than the real thing will do. Stuffed animals did not satisfy the desire Brooke had for a puppy, and I pray material things will not satisfy the desire Brooke will have for God. No substitutes. Only Jesus will do.
Brooke loves feeding and playing with Rocket every minute she can. As she matures into a beautiful young lady, God give her a longing and love in her heart to pray, spend time in the Word, and enjoy communing with our wonderful Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
"And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those
who love God and are called according to His purpose for them."
Romans 8:28 (NLT)
Levi is in the second grade. Since preschool days our only grandson has loved getting up early in the mornings, donning his uniform khakis and shirt and heading to Ridgefield Christian School for the day. Time spent with friends Findley and Ryan is very important to him. But, learning came fairly easy too. Levi's report cards have reflected his love for school. A's have been prevalent every time he brought home a grade summary.
And then in the second grade his teacher began to instruct the class in cursive writing. Suddenly, all of his school work must be done, not in printing that Levi had mastered so easily, but in this altogether new style.
For the first time Levi encountered difficulty in class. When he left home in the morning he could spell his words correctly, but somewhere in the transition to cursive writing something was lost. For a few weeks his spelling grade was lowered to a 'C'. But, with extra practice and added homework, Levi learned the new strange way of penmanship. Once again he was earning an 'A' in spelling.
Sometimes life seems to be progressing so beautifully for us. And then suddenly something is thrown in our path that is unfamiliar. An illness in the family, an unforeseen divorce, or a financial loss can completely set us back for a while.
If we persevere we learn anew that God can work all things for good. He can even turn into commendable what others meant for evil. So, if you conclude that you have a C in your life's journey, continue to trust God. Allow Him to bring good out of your adverse situation. God does work in everything for our good, fulfilling His purpose in our lives. When you love God and are called by Him this promise is true for you.
Levi persisted and endured and regained an 'A' in spelling. If your faith does not waver in the days of pain, God will turn your circumstance around for your long-range good.
"Listen to this, all you people! Pay attention, everyone in the world!
High and low, rich and poor – listen! For my words
Are wise, and my thoughts are filled with insight."
Psalm 49:1-3 (NLT)
We were winding down a business vacation time. Everyone high and low, rich and poor from around the world seemed to be crowded into the same famous hotel. There were so many people, so many things to do, and so many places to go here in this swampland that had been turned into a vacation Mecca.
From the magical fantasyland that many came here to visit, to the beautiful cypress gardens just a few miles south, families gathered in large numbers. From the western boundary bordering the Gulf of Mexico to the east shores along the Atlantic Ocean, people were hurrying and scurrying about trying to fit it all in during their few days of vacation.
When I looked out from my hotel room to the busy interstate twelve floors below I saw vehicles of every description going in all directions. Leaving the room to once again mingle with others from every nation, I was reminded that rich and poor alike ought not trust in their own wealth nor boast about their earthly rules for they all must surely die.
So amidst the frenzy of your bustling day take time to listen and pay attention to God's words for He is wise. Take time to commune with Him and read His Holy Word so you will be filled with insight. Receive Him as your personal Savior and you will live with Him forever.