Sunday grace

The challenge presented, I kneel at the chair and weep.  I give thanks and make my requests known to the One who already knew them.  But He bids me come near and open my heart, speak my words, spread out my doubts and fears, lay the heavy burdens I’ve been carrying too long at His nail-scared feet.

I am comforted by the intercession of my Great High Priest and the knowledge that the Holy Spirit makes intercession for me when my words falter and fumble.  I pray the prayer that does not fail, “The will of the Lord be done.”

I tape a Scripture verse on the chair, a written word of encouragement for me and a warning proclamation to the enemy of my soul.  He who fights against me fights against God, for I am His and He is mine.  The promises upon which I stand are the only thing stable in this shaky world.

I arise from my prayer session with lightness and praise on my lips.  He has done great things for me.  I trust Him with all that I have and all those I love.

I dare not go into this life’s daily combat zone without first bowing the knee, confessing my own inadequacies, and consulting the Captain of the Lord’s host.  The battle is the Lord’s.  He is the God of angel armies.  And He is for me.

Prayer.  It is our great assault weapon.  Coupled with the Word of God, we are clothed with the power of God through Christ Jesus.  Let us not be weary in doing it well.

Sunday grace, friends.

{inspired by War Room, the movie}

war room

August ending

101_0199

August is winding down, and for me it is really the last month of summer.  While we may still have some warm days next month, I begin to think about snugly clothes and fires on the hearth and shorter days that signal the end of harvest season.

Each season presents its own glories.  I want to enjoy each one in the beauty it offers.

Summer gave me fruits and flowers from the garden, the smell of fresh-cut grass, birds galore on the back deck, and butterflies hovering over blooms.  It gave long, lingering days and time to visit with friends.  And it gave Sweet William and me five wonderful weeks with our three grandchildren who live too far away.  For five weeks they were here, running the lane with cousins, visiting former school friends and present relatives.  We had fun together, drank pots of coffee, played games, watched movies all snuggled on the couch, and time was precious.  Too quickly they are gone.

I’ve learned some things during the summer or perhaps rediscovered them.

One is this.  When life feels like it is spiraling wildly on its own orbit and I can’t stop the madness, I start cleaning out.  If my emotions are in a tornado, I will organize the desk drawer, sort paper clips by size, and put pencils and pens in separate slots.  I see all the superfluous items that take up too much room in my house and my life, and in a frenzy I start making a pile to discard.

I talk to myself through the process with such comments as: “Why do I have so much stuff?”  What in the world am I saving this for?”  What is wrong with me that I can’t let go of these collections?”  And most importantly of all, “Why do I keep accumulating more?”

With my emotional roller coaster rides, I should have the tidiest house in the world.

The stacks of discards get bigger as I look into hidden places.  The Goodwill box in the garage has filled and I really need to make another car run there.  I just realized I’ve been saving tax returns for way too many years and that the files in drawers full to the brim can actually be shredded.  Why didn’t I know that?

A couple of days after I began my frenzy, something clicked in my mind.  I organize when I am feeling stressed and out of control.  When I cannot do anything about that which troubles me, I side track and start taking control of something I can.  I’m not yet sure if this is a healthy, if it is a good coping mechanism or not.

Is it OK to focus on something within my power to do while I release my brain, even for just a little while, from the concerns that I am powerless to do anything about?

I’m still working on that quandary.

In this season of life, the Lord is teaching me to trust Him when I can’t see past today or tomorrow.  And haven’t I been around this curve before?  Of course I have.  Sometimes, I slip into forgetfulness that God is the only One in control, and that I am definitely not.  Patiently, He teaches me again.

He has reminded me through so many different avenues recently that He is big and He is strong and He is able to handle what seems insurmountable to me.  That the concerns of my heart are also a concern of His.  That the ones I hold so dear and love so deeply are the ones He loves most and gave His life for.

While I am so limited in what I can do (cleaning out a closet), He is limitless in power and wisdom, and He will do whatever it takes to accomplish His purpose in the lives of those I love and care so much about.

He is God Almighty.  His promises are sure.  He will not fail.

So as I prepare to enter the next season, I am looking into the face of He who planned seasons, controls them, and fulfills His divine purpose through them.  He loves me.  He loves them.  My prayers are heard.

And I am learning to trust Him even more.

101_0176

101_0147

Sounds of grace

Sing and make melody in your heart to the Lord.  I hear it deep in my spirit, admonition from Holy Writ.  Very Word.  Very God.

* *   Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus  * *   Blessed Assurance   * *   What a Friend We Have in Jesus   * *

How Great Thou Art   * *   My Hiding Place   * *   Rock of Ages

Praise lightens the load, brightens the outlook.  Praise drives away the demons that torment with their lies and their threats.

Praise is comely, beautiful and pleasant on the face of the saint saved by grace, the one who trusts and lays all doubt at His feet.  Gloom and despair are not the expressions of she who is completely, utterly loved.

Music fills the air, fills the heart and lifts the eyes heavenward to the One and only God whose love is extravagant, the One who gave Jesus to the world, the One who sent the Holy Spirit to comfort in times like these.

I begin to sing and my voice joins the throng of those who worship.  My heart is lighter as I look to Him and Him alone.  Let no other face or foe or fearsome enemy cloud my vision.  It is the Lord who leads the procession of triumph in the fiercest battle.

Fixing my eyes on Jesus, the Author and Finisher of my faith, I see Him in His strength and power.  I know and believe He is all and in all.  He is not shaken nor confounded.  He is faithful and true.

He is Captain of the Lord’s host and the battle is His.  He will be victorious.

Sunday grace friends.

101_0084

101_0087

101_0089

What now?

101_0102

The sun shines beautifully amide fluffy white clouds.  Birds sing and gentle breezes blow my hair.  The day is pleasant.

Then suddenly, almost without warning the storm clouds gather, winds whip up ferociously and terror threatens my very core. And where do I go for shelter?  Where can I ride out the storm and be safe? Where is the promised peace in all of this?

101_0101

576

I sit and pray silently, “Oh Jesus help!” over and over because no other words come but those.

I recall stories I’ve heard, how one poor woman cried out for mercy as Jesus passed by, and He stopped, turned His attention to her in a stormy swirl that would not relent.  An impossible situation that she could do nothing about.  Her attempts at fixing it herself were hollow and left her empty.  All her efforts were futile.  She boldly cried out for help, not worrying what anyone would think about her.  That was over, trying to please others or be acceptable.  She was desperate and there was only One who could help her.

I feel it in my own heart.  Desperate.  I cry to the only One who can help me.

The darkness of the storm clouds threaten my joy.  How can I give thanks in this?  How do I count grace and gifts when I am brokenhearted, despairing, and tormented by “what if’s?”

I turn to the only Source I know, the place I’ve run so many times when tempests threaten.  And I am not disappointed.  His Word comforts.  He points me to places I’ve been before, to promises given in dangerous times, and He reminds me that He resurrected the dead.  Not just in centuries past but in my own life.

And He says, “Trust Me.”

But can I do that?  Can I turn my frenzied emotions, my breaking heart, my desperate soul to trust?  I must.  Is there any other place to go?  Who else has the words of life?  Who else calms my storms every single time?  Who else has power over any and all forces in this great expanse of creation?  Who else speaks and it is done?

What else, who else can I trust?  Nothing.  No one.

And my heart responds, faltering at first, the best I can offer.  My best is never enough I know.  His best is always enough.  I reach to the only One who claims my heart and gives me hope.  Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief.

Trust.  In my questions.  In uncertainty.  In the dark.  In the storm.

I will trust You even now.

open bible

Sunday grace

101_0134 101_0140

Rejoice in the goodness of the Lord, for He is always good.

Count His blessings, name them one by one.

Be gentle, unselfish, considerate, for the Lord is near to us all.

Don’t fret and worry.  Anxiety is not the Christ-bearer’s inheritance.

Instead pray and give thanks and tell the Father all that you need.

Expect God’s peace to be your guard, the garrison over your heart

and over all circumstances and threats.

Think about such things as are worthy, honorable, just, pure, lovely and loveable,

kind and gracious, virtuous and excellent.

Practice what you have learned from Jesus’s example, how He lived, walked, spoke, loved.

And the God of peace, of untroubled, undisturbed well-being will be with you.

Live it today.  Live it tomorrow.

Sunday grace, friends.

{from Philippians 4:4-9}

101_0240 101_0476

Long summer days

101_0481
August signals the beginning of school for kids in our area.  The state fair is the coming attraction.  Meteor showers awe us with a light show.  And the days of summer stretch long.  But too soon they are over.  I feel fall in the air.

Sweet William and I have enjoyed some long summer days this year with our three grandchildren who live too far away.  It was a dream to have them for an extended visit.  This year the dream came true, that prayer answered with “yes.”

They are a busy bunch with friends and family to visit.  So many nights they were scattered hither and yon, sleeping at someone else’s house.  So on the days and nights when they all converge together at the Wright House, we relish the moments.

Time is the gift we are given, to share moments, days, weeks with one another.  Time waits for no one.  How quickly we can let it slip without doing what is important or saying the words we need to say.

Because visits with our grands are few and far between in this season of our lives, perhaps we can see more clearly  the value of moments together.  Perhaps we speak words that build up and bite our tongues so as not to hurt or offend.  Perhaps we pick our battles carefully and realize what is important.

Perhaps we seize the day to plant faith, hope, and love into tender hearts so the seeds will take root and grow, so they will remember and find comfort in difficulty.

Gentle good mornings and tender good nights and hugs and kisses and endearments are the goal for this fleeting time.

But why shouldn’t it be that way always?  With people I see every day, with those in my circle of influence, shouldn’t my attitude and actions be just as carefully planned to show the greatest love and respect for each individual?

I say yes, but it is not always that easy.  If absence makes the heart grow fonder, then does common everyday presence make me complacent and lazy?  I say yes, it does.  But it shouldn’t.

Some lessons are learned in the long days of summer.  Lessons that I should take into fall, winter, and spring.

I will never understand why things happen the way they do, why God moves in such mysterious ways past finding out.  I think I only frustrate myself by continuing to search for the reason and rhyme of His doings.

What I can know with surety is that He sets before me a high calling.  It is a calling to love, to do the right thing, to walk in integrity, to live like the long days of summer will not last.

Because they soon slip away.

Monday grace

I read Ephesians 4 for the fifth or sixth day in a row, and I wonder why I’ve never highlighted the first few verses in my marked up Bible?

I beg you . . . to live and act in a way worthy of those who have been chosen for such wonderful blessings as these. Be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Try always to be led along together by the Holy Spirit and so be at peace with one another.  We are all parts of one body, we have the same Spirit, and we have all been called to the same glorious future.”

Humility has never been my strong point.

Yesterday, Sunday, we gathered with fellow believers, dressed up in our Sunday best and smiles that often cover.  Today, Monday, we head into the fray, meeting life head on with those who don’t see things like we do, some who want to argue their point with us, others who are warring against us.

The challenge is to live a life worthy, to be humble and gentle, to be patient, making allowances for other’s faults.  Because of Love.

Because I have been loved, I am called to love in return.  This is my calling no matter my job title, no matter my work schedule. no matter what.

I pray to put on the clothing of Christ:  compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience, forgiveness, unity, love, peace.

Not in my own strength but in His.

Monday grace, friends.  Go with God and in the power of His might.

101_0314 101_0315 101_0316