Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Friday, March 26, 2010

Wavering Heart

Do you remember carrying a palm branch down the church aisle on Palm Sunday? This Bible story of Christ's triumphal entry into Jerusalem recorded in Mark 11 always seemed to be custom-made for children to act out.

The Sunday School teacher would line us up smallest to tallest and hand out the palm branches in front of the entrance to the sanctuary. As the organ sounded the first hymn the ushers would swing open the doors and we would troop down the center aisle waving the willowy fronds.

When I grew up, I learned the same crowd that cheered Jesus during His triumphal entry into Jerusalem was likely the same group that condemned Him to death days later. What must Jesus have thought as He rode into town on the donkey. His joy must have been bittersweet - For he knew who was going to betray him - John 13:11. He also knew this crowd for He understood men's hearts.

As I prepare for Easter I've thought about my heart. There are days that my spirit soars and I promise great things for God. I feel at other times like Peter who rejects Christ after promising He'll never leave Him or disappoint Him. It is never a surprise to Christ when I falter or lack faith.

The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure.
Who can understand it?
Jeremiah 17:9

I am so thankful that Christ loves me while knowing my heart from the start to the finish of my life.

For spiritual encouragement, visit Spiritual Sunday.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Springtime in East Texas

He directs the snow to fall on the earth....
Job 37:6

Ahhh-- springtime in East Texas. Today we had our second 35-year-snow of the year.

We woke to 3 inches of snow and watched it snow all day. Just weeks ago it snowed 8 inches.

Well, nothing is impossible with God. It will be 60 degrees tomorrow and 70 by Wednesday. You never know what He has in store for you.

Have you entered the storehouses of the snow? Job 38:22

Friday, March 19, 2010

Death's Sting

As Easter approaches I am posting a link to my article from the Easter issue of Focus on the Family magazine in 2009, Death's Sting. This story of an unthinkable Easter event tells how the resurrection became more than just a Bible story to our family.

Join Spiritual Sunday for more weekend refreshment.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Garden Watch

I love the arrival of the hummingbirds at my house. I've been checking online at the hummingbird tracking site. East Texas already has sightings.

Today could be the day for hummers to arrive in my garden. I pulled out my feeder, cleaned it and filled it with sugar water. It is hanging, ready for the arrival of the hummers.

The first sighting is thrilling. I'm usually washing dishes when I see a flash of color and hear the high pitched squeaking from just outside the window. I really believe the same birds come back to my house each year. They seem to know where the feeders were the year before as they return to the same spot and buzz about.

I imagine what their past week was like as they left Mexico or Central America. They fly such long distances always staying on course to return to their breeding grounds in North America. Before starting their journey they gorge on insects and nectar. It is believed that the birds fly the 500 miles across the Gulf of Mexico in one 18-22 hour trip. They may stop on oil rigs or boats for a brief rest. After the one strenuous day crossing the water, they have lost half of their weight and arrive ravenous, ready to gorge again. What an amazing feat. What an amazing God who created the tiny, beautiful bird.

For anyone who read Wake Up Call, here is a picture of "alpha dog" the collie in our household.

Enjoy your week. Hope you see something wonderful in your garden.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

How to Pray for a Missionary

All week long I helped my husband and daughter pack for their spring break mission trip. They would join our oldest daughter on a medical mission trip on the Texas border. As soon as they drove off I logged onto my email site and marshaled the prayer troops.

The modern age of computers makes it easy. Our church has a coordinator who sends out instant requests to members of our prayer team.

As a mom and a wife, my top concern for my travelling missionaries was for safety. Okay, add team cooperation and open hearts for the team members. Oh, and good health for the patients. That should do it.

God then prompted the memory of a verse in Acts.

Now, Lord,
consider their threats
and enable your servants
to speak your word
with great boldness.
Acts 4:29

In the face of imprisonment and threats against their lives, Peter and John gathered with the saints and requested--not protection--but greater boldness to speak God's truth.

That was their number one request. They understood the real purpose of their ministry. It wasn't about them but about God.

I logged back onto the computer and sent an addendum to my prayer request. I asked to change the top request on the list.

Pray for boldness in words and actions in every opportunity on this trip.

I'm learning to be the mom and wife of missionaries. God knows my heart and concerns; I am seeking to learn God's heart and understand how to pray for a missionary, especially when they are members of my own family.

Join Spiritual Sundays for more encouragement this weekend.

Heart of the Matter Online: A+ Job Skills for Teens

Will your teen look for a job this summer? The Wall Street Journal just wrote that there are only enough jobs for a third of those on the search. Even the odds by reading my article:

Sunday, March 7, 2010

The Right Time to Pray

I babbled on about everything that bothered me. My friend listened through dinner, through dessert and all the way back to my house where we planned to watch a movie.

As we arrived at my house my friend grabbed my hand and said, "Let's pray about these things, right now."

Could we do that? This was a new concept for me--praying immediately and specifically even if only if only there are two of us.

If two of you agree on earth
about anything that they may ask,
it shall be done for them
by My Father who is in heaven.
For where two or three have gathered together
in My name,
I am there in their midst.
Matthew 18: 19, 20

I admit I was more interested in emoting about my issues that night than taking them to God. My friend taught me a truth about prayer when she took my "gripe session" and turned it into prayer. I have used this lesson many times since then.

When a friend shares a concern, I ask if she wants to pray, right then. I have prayed sitting in cars, over the phone, and through the Internet by emailing a prayer back to a friend. The truth I learned from my friend--I don't have to wait to pray. God is there with us. There is no better time to pray.

I have applied this lesson as a parent. I often pray with my kids in the car. When we hear prayer needs on the radio, we pray. On the way to church, we pray for the service. I hope that I have passed on to my children that anytime is the right time to pray.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Joyfully Resolute

As the disciples approached Jerusalem for the last time with Jesus, they started realizing what lay ahead. He told them plainly, "We are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will hand him over to the Gentiles, who will mock him and spit on him, flog him and kill him."

This was not what Jesus' followers wanted to hear. I discovered a treasure this week in a verse I've read many times.

They were on their way up to Jerusalem,
with Jesus leading the way,
and the disciples were astonished,
while those who followed were afraid.
Mark 10:32 NIV

I considered the members of Christ's band and their responses. In the face of disaster, some were in shock, others were afraid, but Jesus lead the way. When Jesus calls me to do hard things and obey when I do not want to, I have choices in my reaction. I can allow myself to be paralyzed with fear. I can run around wringing my hands and say, "I just can't believe this is happening.!" Or, I can step resolutely and quickly do the Father's will.

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus,
the author and perfecter of our faith,
who for the joy set before him,
endured the cross
and despised the shame...
Hebrew 12:2

Visit Spiritual Sundays for more inspiration.

Thursday, March 4, 2010


"I'm not the woman you married," I sometimes confess to my husband.

"And I'm not the man you married," he grins.

No, we're not living with the wrong person. We are just so glad we have grown in our faith and our marriage. We do not treat each other the way we did almost 30 years ago. And that is a good thing.

I understood, as I entered marriage, that a wife was to be a helpmate to her husband. I took that role seriously. I had help for him in his job. I had help for him in his Bible study. I had lots of help for him in his role as a husband and a church member.

Usually, this help came in the form of advice or nuggets of truth. The core of what I offered him was not bad; what it came wrapped in was ugly. I nagged.

My words offered little grace. I used shame, belittling or pouting to punctuate my helpful advice. If those techniques didn't work, I started the list over again insisting that I be heard.

My help, at the center, was truth. However, I offered it in such stinky wrappings, it smelled like a three day old fish in newspaper. My husband's nose couldn't get past the wrappings so he did not receive what I said--he was not going to bother to unwrap it. I could not be heard because of how I delivered the message.

Thankfully, God got through to me about my nagging habits. I realized that I truly was the contentious wife described in Proverbs 27:15. The verse compares her to a constant dripping on a rainy day--pretty annoying.

During my season of change and growth, a wise woman taught me this principle: A woman can make her husband into a cripple or a champion by the words she speaks to him.

I purposed to begin speaking gracious words to build up my spouse. I chose not to be his Holy Spirit; my job was not to convict my husband.

No, I am not the same woman that married my husband. I hope I'm not going to be the same woman at the end of our earthly journey that I am today. I pray that I will grow continuously into the likeness of Christ, offering only wise help with grace.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Under Siege

My son loves Lego. I am a relaxed housekeeper and it doesn't bother me to have Lego toys scattered around the house. The creativity that goes into all of the battle scenes is fun to watch.

Sometimes I find Legos in the hallway in little clusters. When I ask my son about these he explains that they are on maneuvers.

I have found Legos in the Christmas tree or lining the mantle. My son assures me that these are just major troop movements in preparation for battles.

I usually call for a Lego cleanup when we expect company. One night we planned to have our home Bible study meet at our house. I reminded my son to scan the house and roundup the Lego soldiers and artillery.

As I washed dishes, I heard the sounds of a Lego battle continue in the next room. There were machine gun noises and apparently some serious aerial attacks. Hmmm! That didn't sound like they were being put up.

"Son, I though I told you to put the Lego away"

He had a logical response, "It's a lot easier to put them up after they are all dead."

By the time the company arrived, the Lego were safely away in their storage bin--recharging for another day of battle.