Devotions

TIME WELL SPENT IN GOD’S WAITING ROOM

Posted by on Dec 3, 2013 in Blog, Commentary, Devotions, Uncategorized | 6 comments

How many times have you been in the midst of a difficult situation, whether it’s related to a job, financial struggles, damaged relationships, a health crisis, or a profound loss? Perhaps you are in the whirlwind of just such circumstances right now and are wondering how you are going to get through it.  It’s so easy in the midst of difficulties to grow discouraged and focus inward. This is when it can be helpful to remember, everyone has “stuff” they are dealing with. As we age, and experience more of these “detours”, it can grow easier to weather these storms, because we have reached safe shores in the past.
 
Ever notice how solutions rarely come when we want them? For Christians, we reach out to God for answers, all the while reminding ourselves that He’s in control. We know we need to be walking with Him, seeking His guidance, and waiting for His answers. Meanwhile our emotions can range from shock, confusion, denial, grief, anger, fear, anxiety, anticipation, impatience, and finally acceptance. 
 
“To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven”
Ecclesiastes 3:1
 
I remember reading a blogpost some time ago that referred to this time as “God’s Waiting Room”, a place where God meets us, and if we allow Him, He guides us through this season. While none of us seek trials, it is often in the midst of such events when we realize our limitations, gain some humility, and are finally willing to let go and let God. Isn’t that really what God wants from us, to be submissive, open to Him, and allow the One who has our best interests at heart to guide us?
 
God’s Waiting Room may be a lonely spot, but it is also a refuge, where life slows, and in its stillness, provides an opportunity for us to draw closer to Him. Here, we quietly acknowledge what is past, honestly evaluate where we are, and think about what is next. So what do we do A woman at prayerwhile we are in this sanctuary? We can read God’s Word, and pray. And we can listen. We find encouragement as we recall all the people and things for which to be thankful. As we enumerate how the Lord has brought us through other challenges, our perceptions change. It will probably not alter our current circumstances, but it can revise our attitude as we navigate our way through them. 
 
It is human nature to try to orchestrate our lives, whether about family, jobs or other pursuits. However, how often have you heard from someone, whose life has been involuntarily disrupted and sent in an unintended direction, that they could never have anticipated the benefits or blessings missed had they remained in their previous situation? 
 
“pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:17, 18
 
 
“Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.”
Proverbs 16:3
 
So, when we face the changes that come into our lives, do we have to navigate that journey alone? No! It is often in God’s waiting room that He does His finest work.
 
 
“Change is always in your favor when you’re walking with the Lord.”
Words from a wise friend
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PRAYER

Posted by on Oct 21, 2013 in Blog, Devotions | 2 comments

Prayer  ~ Webster’s defines it as a humble entreaty made to God. 
 
As Christians we learn from Jesus to make prayer a priority.
 
 He often withdrew to lonely places to pray. (Luke 5:16)
 He rose early in the morning and went to a solitary place to pray. (Mark 1:35)
 He reminds us that we should always pray and not give up (Luke 18:1) 
 He entreated believers to call out to Him day and night (Luke 18:7)
 He encourages us to not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving present our requests to God. (Philippians 4:6)
 He assures us that He hears and answers our prayers. (Matt 7:7,8  Matt 21:22  John 16:23,24   John 15:7   1st John 5:14,15)
                                                                                       
Our response should be ~ to be joyful always; pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances for this is God’s will for us in Christ Jesus.  (1st Thessalonians 5:16-1)
       
 
Prayer can take a variety of forms; it might be done privately or with others, silent, or with words or song. Communication is essential for a healthy relationship with people and with God. Prayer is communicating with our Creator, Sustainer, Redeemer and Savior. Some prayers come spontaneously from deep within; others may be inspired by the Holy Spirit and others may be prayers that have been passed down over the millennia. 
 
While I love to pray conversationally with God, I also appreciate the prayers of others. One of my favorites is the Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi. Francis, a thirteenth century saint who founded two religious orders; the Franciscan Order of monks and the Poor Clares, an order of nuns.   
Praying Hands -Bible, etc.
Prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.
 
O Divine Master, 
grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.  
AMEN
 

Michael Podesta Calligraphy

PRAYER OF ST. FRANCIS   ~    Michael Podesta Calligraphy

Do you have any favorite prayers? 
This was a post of mine on Colonial Quills earlier this year.
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COMMUNITY BIBLE STUDY ~ A Fall Tradition

Posted by on Oct 9, 2013 in Blog, Devotions, Journal | 2 comments

There are many things I love about this season of the year, but one of my favorites might surprise you. For nearly thirty years I have taken part in Community Bible Study (CBS) classes. Each autumn when the new class starts, I’m eager to begin whatever course my class is studying that year. This year our class is delving into Galatians, Hebrews, and PhilippiansCBS Course Material

Community Bible Study in an interdenominational ministry that offers in-depth Bible studies available to all. It doesn’t matter whether one has never studied the Bible before or if they’ve been studying the Scriptures for years.  It’s a place where men and women, children and teens from whatever religious tradition or denomination can gather in a friendly, accepting setting and study God’s Word. As CBS states on its website, they “concentrate on the essentials of the Christian faith, not on denominational distinctives.”

Many churches graciously host the classes even though the ministry has no ties to any specific church or denomination. There are now about 700 classes around the United States and many additional classes offered in 70 countries around the world.  There are day, evening, student, teen, after school, Inprison, and international classes. In addition, many adult classes have programs for children of all ages. The children’s ministry curriculum alone has blessed so many families. There is nothing more adorable than watching preschoolers quoting Scripture or singing songs of faith that will be remembered forever.

Community Bible Study even has material available that can be purchased and used in home or church Bible studies.

Classes typically run for thirty weeks with a few weeks off in December and another week-long break in the spring. People can join anytime, not just in the fall.

Over the years I’ve been involved in many different classes; I’ve experienced, and watched others, form life long friendships as well as casual ones. I love passing on information to people moving to another area about the CBS classes in their new locale, since it’s a great way to make friends and also to learn more about the churches in the area.

There are many wonderful Bible studies available through other para-church ministries and churches; I just appreciate all I’ve witnessed at Community Bible Study. If this sounds like some thing you might be interested in check out http://www.communitybiblestudy.org/index.aspx.


Praying Hands -Bible, etc.Once on the website, there are a variety of menu choices so you can learn more about CBS, as well as find a class near you.

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REMEMBERING THAT AMERICAN HERO

Posted by on Sep 29, 2013 in Blog, Devotions, History | 2 comments

On Thursday I shared with you about when I, and many others, met and thanked returning Viet Nam POW Gary Thornton. Well, that wasn’t the last I’d hear about this American hero.

After the evening of the Seabee Ball in early March of 1973, my momentary life in the limelight ended. Gary Thornton had a lot of living to catch up on and I hoped only the best for him. Having been married to a Viet Nam vet, I was well acquainted with the many adjustments involved for people returning from the war, but for POW’s, reentry to family life and to living in the United States had to be incredible. 

While I can’t recall the exact date, I do recall praying that Gary was finding joy and peace with his new found freedom. Still living in the San Francisco Bay Area, I remember sitting on the floor of my apartment one Saturday listening to the radio, and involved in some craft, when a news broadcaster announced that Gary Thornton, one of the Viet Nam POWs, had just married a former Playboy bunny.

My heart was pounding, and my jaw probably dropped.  I had just heard on the radio an answer to my vague request that I’d had never even verbalized. Since I worked five days a week, what were the chances that I’d be home and listening to the radio at just the exact time that this somewhat obscure announcement was made? Yet I had an answer I didn’t really deserve. At that time in my life I thought it an amazing coincidence.

I married another military man and relocated to northern Virginia. Years passed, and in 1983 I entered a Redbook Magazine’ Great Embarrassing Moments Contest. The event I wrote about for the contest took place on an evening when I was being given the instructions on the protocol of the Seabee Ball that I referred to in my earlier post.  As I wrote the piece for the contest, it brought back so many memories of the Seabee Ball events I had participated in ten years earlier. Again, I wondered about how Gary Thornton was faring, and prayed that his life and marriage had been blessed.

Shortly after submitting my contest entry, I made my monthly trip to the Ft.Belvoir commissary to stock up on food and goods.  While there I spotted a free magazine called Ladycom, and for some reason, this time I picked one up.  After arriving home, stowing the food, and taking care of my young sons I sat sown to enjoy a cup of coffee and glanced through Ladycom.  As I tuned the pages I came to an article about how some Viet Nam POW families were faring ten years after returning home. Gary Thornton was one of five or six POWs, interviewed for the story. He was still married to the former Playboy bunny; they had a daughter and were living very happily.

I was struck by all the combined factors necessary for me to have an answer to my simple prayer.

~ It had only been a short time since I wrote the piece for the contest and prayed.

~ Ten and a half years had passed.

~ Of the 556 returned POWs, Gary Thornton was one of only six or so interviewed.

~ I lived three thousand miles away from where I did on the evening of the Seabee Ball

~ I rarely went to the commissary and even less often picked up Ladycom.

Some people call it serendipity; others call it luck or coincidence. By that time in my life, I gave no credence to coincidence. I’d had the eyes of my heart opened enough times to see how God reveals Himself, and how He works in our lives and in the lives of others. It was such a simple request, yet I was delighted for His generous gift.  Once again, I could only thank Him and praise Him for His faithfulness.

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God is Faithful

Posted by on Sep 9, 2013 in Blog, Devotions, Journal, Uncategorized | 6 comments

God is Faithful

I’ve been reminded of God’s faithfulness several times over the past few days.

 

On Sunday morning at church:

~We heard several testimonies of God’s faithfulness in the lives of people.

~We were reminded of His faithfulness in providing for a debt free facility during a time when

people’s jobs and finances took a big hit.

~We sang O God, Our Help In Ages Past, Isaac Watts’ ancient hymn, based on Psalm 90, that has brought comfort and encouragement to many over the centuries. It’s a reminder that the same God who has been with us through earlier trials will continue to guide us through whatever sorrows and challenges life will bring in the future.

 

Earlier Sunday morning:

~Our daily devotional, Jesus Calling by Sarah Young reminded us that each day we can turn to God at any point and He will not reject us. He will encourage us, give us the strength for each moment and all we need for each day. We can trust Him by relying on His empowering presence.   (my paraphrase)

On Saturday:

God is Faithful

~I read

“God’s voice has never misspoken…

His faithfulness has never betrayed…

His care has never faltered…

His kindness has never disappointed…

His love has never failed.

His love will not fail you now.”

– Roy Lessin

“I have loved you with an everlasting love;

therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.”

 Jeremiah 31:3 ESV

 

On Friday:

~We celebrated our tenth wedding anniversary  

~a marriage designed in heaven

 

The Man

Widowed after a happy marriage of 34 years.He prays and asks God to select a wife for him, and to prepare her heart and identify her.

God selected the wife and identified her in a crowd of about 750 people.

The man, not expecting to hear God’s voice, says, “Now what do I do?”

And God helped the man and showed him the way to win her heart.

 

  The Woman

Alone for 10 years and not interested in dating much less getting married.

When caring friends suggested re-marrying might be God’s will for her, she would answer, “if it was God’s will that she married again, God would have to send the man, God would have to prove He sent the man, and God would have to change her heart.

And God sent the man, proved in numerous ways that He sent the man. And God changed her heart. 

 September 6, 2003

God is Faithful

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Maximizing Your Influence

Posted by on Aug 27, 2013 in Blog, Commentary, Devotions, Journal, Uncategorized | 6 comments

I have to admit it, creating and maintaining my own website was not on my bucket list. My preference would be to spend my “computer time” catching up on news, communicating with friends and family, or working on writing projects. However, successful writers, agents, and publishers stress the importance of having a web presence, a platform, where we can maximize our influence.

So, almost two years ago when I was invited to become a regular contributor to a group blog, Colonial Quills http://colonialquills.blogspot.com/ I was thrilled. Most of the other writers who contribute to this site were multi-published authors and all share a common interest in our colonial past. This would give me a chance to write about topics dear to me, our incredible history and the Christian faith.  Terrific! Now I had a web presence.

In 2012, Michael S. Hyatt, the former Chairman and CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers, one of the largest trade book publishing companies in the U.S. produced a bestseller on just this topic. Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World. Wanting to be current, I read this excellent book about getting our message out, and getting Platform 1noticed. http://michaelhyatt.com/platform

Perusing the web and checking out many author’s blog and websites was fascinating with so much talent, creativity, and my goodness, so many published books on display. Hmm, I would certainly need to get a website as soon as my manuscript was picked up by a publisher. It didn’t take long to notice that almost all the writers that I knew, published or not, already were on the web. I needed to take the plunge and not put it off any longer

Now, two weeks after launching my website, I’ve learned so much, and like so many other things in my life, I’ve learned some important lessons the hard way. My first lesson was; after you post, ALWAYS review it again to be sure it is ALL there, no missing paragraphs, words, or letters.

In addition to reading Jesus Calling every morning, I also receive a wonderful devotional from Nicky Gumbel, the Vicar of Holy Trinity Brompton, the largest Anglican Church in Britain. He pioneered the Alpha Course, an evangelism ministry that I was involved with for many years. http://www.alphausa.org/Groups/1000065342/Alt_Home_page.aspx

On August 14th, the very day my website went live Nicky’s devotional was waiting for me in my inbox. Now, why would I be surprised at the timing of his message?

“Maximizing Your Influence”

(used with Nicky’s permission)

1.  Use your influence for the good of everyone   Psalm 96:1-13

2.  Use your influence to spread the good news 1 Corinthians 9:1-18

3.  Use your influence to plant good seeds Ecclesiastes 9:13-12:14

          •        Watch your words

          •        Take risks

          •        Spread your efforts

          •        Take your opportunities

I particularly appreciated his closing prayer.

“Lord, help me and help our community to make the most of every opportunity that you have given us.  Help us to fear you and keep your commandments.  Help us to use our influence for good and not for evil.  Help us to make the most of every opportunity that you have put before us.”

‘Of the making of books there is no end, and much study wearies the body.’ 

Ecclesiastes 12:12  NIV – UK

http://www.htb.org.uk/bioy

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