Monday, July 23, 2012

A Letter to the Lord

Dear Jesus,

I love You.  I  love our Father.  My life is in Your hands, and although that is the safest and most wonderful place to be, sometimes, for reasons that don't make any sense at all, I choose to walk away from that protection and security to a place that is on the doorway to hate, unforgiveness, pride, and judgement.

I can even hear You calling after me, "Come back child, My grace is sufficient," and yet I ignore You - my Friend, my Redeemer, my  Comforter.  It's like I've put on the iPod of the world, plugged it into my ears, and turned up the noise.  I have completely drown out the symphonic choir and the glorious melody of the heavenly host.

My life quickly spirals into a dark place where my anger surprises even me.  My rebellion makes me stop and wonder who I have become and how did I become so arrogant?

I find that I have become lost.  It was just a short time ago that I was laughing and praying and thanking You for all the pleasures of this life, great and small.  How does this happen so quickly?  Why don't I see it coming?

Why do I let myself fall out of Your grace?  I know that You haven't said, "See you later," but I did.  I know that Your heart aches for me, because I am Your love, as You are mine.

You wait patiently for me as I recover my wits and hold my hands to my ears and scream, "Stop it!  Just stop it!  I can't hear myself think with all the noise!"

I cry because my life is miserable, I am no longer happy, and I feel alone.  I have said things I regret, and acted like a fool.  I am so remorseful.  I don't believe I am worthy to ask for Your forgiveness, because I knew better, and this time I really messed up!  I feel like all is lost, and that even You, the great Forgiver and Healer has closed Your holy eyes to my plight.

Of course this is one of the biggest lies the enemy has placed in the front of my mind, the lie that says that I am unworthy, and unacceptable to You, because You are God and I have finally met the end of Your tolerance for walking out on my own!

Lord, forgive me once more.  Your word says that Your mercies are new every morning.  You say you will protect me from evil.

I believe You, I believe in You!  I trust that Your Word is Life.  I trust You, O Lord!

Forgive me once more and receive me into Your loving embrace.  I have returned downtrodden and humbled.  Filled with humility from the error of my ways!

Thank You, Father for always forgiving me and reminding me that Your mercy endures forever!

I thank You, Jesus for Your inspiration today.  Thank You for speaking to my very heart!  I love You.  Thank You for rescuing me.  Help me to help others.

Your child.

"The Lord will keep you from all harm - He will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore." Psalm 1221:7-8 NIV

"Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever." Psalm 23:6

"Listen God, I'm calling at the top of my lungs: "Be good to me! Answer me!" When my heart whispered "Seek God," my whole being replied, "I'm seeking Him!" Don't hide from me now!  You've always been right there for me; don't turn Your back on me now. Don't throw me out, don't abandon me; You've always kept the door open. My father and mother walked out and left me, but God took me in.  Point me down Your highway, God; direct me along a well-lighted street; show my enemies whose side You're on. Don't throw me to the dogs, those liars who are out to get me, filling the air with their threats.  I'm sure now I'll see God's goodness in the exuberant earth. Stay with God! Take heart. Don't quit.  I'll say it again: "Stay with God." Psalm 27:7-14 MSG

"Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever." Psalm 118:29

Friday, July 20, 2012

He Has Always Been With Us!

I trust You.  I believe in You.  You are God.  You created the earth.  You lay with me from when I was just a single cell, a single fertilized cell!  And as I grew to 16 cells, You watched and formed.  And I started to look like my parents and like You, because I was created in Your image, and You shaped me, right there in my mother's womb!

You shared that small space with me!  You were in my mother with me!  You let me lay my head on Your shoulder!  You were the first one to hold me and let me curl my tiny fingers around Yours!

You gave me dark brown eyes and curly hair.  You gave me my mother's smile and my father's lips.  You gave me long legs and told me to be tall!  You touched my hands and blessed them so that one day I would do as You said in Isaiah 50:4, that "The Lord God gives me the right words to encourage the weary.  Each day He awakens me eager to learn His teaching."  (CEV)

You smiled at me.  You told me You loved me.  You nurtured me, and put something so holy into my heart that I knew, even when I wanted to die because I felt so unloved, that there was hope.  You always stopped me from making a big mistake.

Is deja vu real?  Did You show me my life before I was born?  Did You show me heaven?  Is it all my imagination when I start thinking about how You placed me at a certain spot at a certain time and changed my life?  I don't think so.

When You said You would never leave nor forsake me, You meant that from the moment I was conceived, didn't You?  It wasn't words of encouragement only for when I was an adult and going through hardship!  No!  It was during those sweet moments of sheer bliss when I got a home run or won the race, or heard my baby's heartbeat within me.  You were there when I passed my summer school classes and when I graduated, and when I could have died in a car accident.  You shielded me from a much greater harm!  You called Your angels to spread their wings around me and to turn my body just right so that I didn't break my neck.  It was You walking beside me when I was going home after dark keeping me safe.  It was You who made me courageous when I wanted to hide!  It was You who mended my broken heart time after time, and it was YOU who gave me a heart to forgive!  You, Jesus, only You!

You brought laughter into my life and showed me how good it feels!  You brought people who are fun and funny to me to be friends with so that I could have joy in my heart and smile and laugh, because a merry heart is good medicine!

Thank You!  Thank You!  Thank You!  I love You so much!

© dft

"Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness..."  Genesis 1:26

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations.”  Jeremiah 1:5

"A merry heart does good, like medicine, But a broken spirit dries the bones."  Proverbs 17:22

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Oh How I Love the Lord!

Jesus, I love You!  You are all I need to live. I thank You for who You are.  I thank You for Your love for me. Thank You for teaching me and for hearing my prayers and for guiding me with Your Holy Spirit presence within me!  Thank You for all You do to speak to the Father on my behalf!

Thank You for being perfect love, like He is, and an example of that for me.  I don't know the words, only the feelings I have for You.  The desire I have for You in my heart overwhelms me at times and I must weep because I can't touch You in the natural.  I long for You so I can feast my eyes on Your beauty and light.

I know it is only a matter of time until I am sweetly nestled in Your arms feeling Your heartbeat!  O what ecstasy!  My heart will surely leap from my chest in utter joy and surrender!

I need You so much.  Even when I am not consciously aware, while I enjoy life's little pleasures, my heart cries out for more, for the unseen, for You to smile in my direction!  Just a glance.  Just a small acknowledgement of my existence is all my heart can ask for, and yet You have not just glanced, You gaze at me!  You don't put limits on Your grace.  You smile, You laugh, and You cry through the joys and sadness I go through in my life.  You are with me always!  You are in me!  You are my Friend, my Lover, my glorious Redeemer.  You are my Deliverer, my Savior.  You are the beat of my heart and the smile on my face.  You are my heart's desire.

I will love you until time is no more, and then I will love You still!  Through eternity I will bow before Your throne and give You honor.  I praise You.

And when every knee bows down and every tongue speaks Your name, I hope mine is the loudest!  I love You, I love You, I love You!

© dft

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Why Does God Place Us Where He Does?

One morning recently I was listening to a Joyce Meyer series called "Alive."  She said, "Sometimes the people God puts in our lives are there because they have something you need."

I had to shut off the CD because I needed to think about that for awhile.  What about someone who annoys you?  It could be someone you work with, or go to school with, a neighbor, or even someone in your own household.  Why would an all-loving God intentionally put someone that grates at our last nerve in our life?  What could they possibly have that we need?

Well, it may be the experience that their annoying habit brings us.  If someone makes us want to scream just by entering the room, perhaps God is giving us this trial so that we will learn patience, or tolerance, or perhaps it's to show us we have a similar fault.  Maybe it's for us to understand that we, like them, are not perfect.  Who knows?  Perhaps we have the same negative effect on someone else!  Wow, isn't that a thought!

Maybe you are surrounded by peaceful people who love you.  What a blessing that is!  Are you still appreciating that peacefulness or are you thinking your life is dull and unexciting?  Would you trade that peace for mayhem?  I hope not!  What are you learning from that peace you think is boring? 

Dear Reader, our lives are gifts from God.  We should be living our lives for His glory.  There is always a way to grow in wisdom and to bring thanksgiving to our Father.  Every person, whether good or bad, funny or sad, smart or not, rich or poor, or healthy or sick, every one of those people that God has put in our life has something we need.  We can grow by accepting their differences with open arms instead of with trepidation and anxiety.  Why do we turn away from the person in the wheelchair?  Is it because we don't want to make them uncomfortable, or does our avoiding their eyes cause them to be uncomfortable?  Is it because it makes us feel uncomfortable?  What would Jesus do?  Would he see their infirmity or their heart?

Today, learn what you can about how you feel when you are around certain people.  Do they make you miserable?  Why?  What area in your life do you need to work on?  Do they bring you joy?  Why?  And do you turn around and share that joy with others?  All these things we feel are gifts from God. Let's grow today by understanding that through looking at others and how we react to them, we see a side of ourselves.  Do we need to forgive?  If so, don't hesitate!  Our walk is unique to each of us.  Even though we meet people in life who seem to be kindred spirits, and their experiences seem to mirror our own, don't be fooled, not for one minute do you process the places they've been or the things they've done the exact same. 

God made each of us unique.  There is none like Him, and there is no one else like you or me.  Celebrate your uniqueness today, and learn about yourself.  Become aware of your faults and your gifts.  Give those gifts away--your smile, your patience, your gift of listening, your time, your joy.  God will keep replenishing them.   And learn to love the unlovable.

© dft

"Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous; not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing."  1 Peter 3:8-9

Saturday, July 7, 2012

What We Have Here Is A Failure To Communicate

What happens when we don't communicate?  So many times we talk, but we don't speak.  And sometimes we hear, but we don't listen.  We may as well be talking to a wall (or listening to one).

It's like this with how we talk to God too.  We need to make our desires clear if we want Him to hear us.  Even though He knows our every need (long before we do), it keeps us humble to admit that we are lost or that we are sorry for sinning.  We need to listen to what HE is telling us and obey immediately.  Even if it is something we really don't want to do.  After all, He knows better. 

When we don't communicate we lose the message and rely on our own resources to get us through.  Mostly that is going to fail us.  Study the word, dear Reader, so that you know His voice.  Study so that you understand His words.

This is just a little humor (please don't be offended, I am of Irish and Austrian descent), but it shows what happens when our communication skills are less than ideal.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

A Morning Prayer

My Dearest Lord,

I submit to You today.  I will resist the devil so he must flee from me.  I draw near to You so that You will draw near to me!  I want to know You better.  I want to feel You close to me!  I want to love You and walk with You this day.  It is a beautiful day, one You have made for me.  It is a day that is unique; there is nothing about today that has ever been before, and there is nothing that ever will be exactly like this one again.

The same bird will not have flown the same way on the same breeze as it just did.  The sounds of birds and crickets and insects, and of dogs barking in the distance will never again all come together at this time of day while the breeze blows in this direction.  Your wonders are great!  Your glory is profound!

I thank You for opening my eyes to the beauty that is right in front of me in this world that has become hideous in it's sin and idolatry.  From where You have blessed me to sit this morning, on my back porch, I see a hazy blue sky with wispy clouds, some reflecting the pink of the new morning's rising sun.  They glide across the sky from the west to the northeast changing shapes as they go.

I see the tall chinaberry trees looking stately as only the very top leaves are moved by a breeze.  Each set of leaves is like an umbrella, shielding the branch on which they grow.  The branches that sway seem joyful, free if you will, enjoying the dust being blown off them. They dance for You, Lord, in sweet surrender.

I see the bright pink crepe myrtles, the flowers like soft cones facing the heavens.  They don't have a breeze to sway in, their glory is their beautiful bud.  Beneath them I see the beautiful bright yellow lantana.  The flower like a golden trumpet beckoning the small hummingbird to its nectar-filled horn.

The leaves of the fruitless mulberry begin to sway in the breeze, making a sound like paper blowing on the street.  The birds chirp their songs of praise to You, glorifying the God who created them. It all comes together in a symphony of glorious worship that can only be heard by You, and at this moment in time, on this unique one-of-a-kind morning, by me.

Thank You Lord for sharing Your glory with me!  It is so easy to see You in everything when I just stop and look.  I can smile, and know that You and I are one!  My God and me, enjoying each other's company. Thank You for this beautiful day.  And thank You for the inspiration!

The sky has darkened from the east, Father, so I got up to see if there were rain clouds.  No, just a lot of movement in the sky.  Wispy clouds, moving quickly, but so thin, like the fiberglass Christmas snow.  And what is that?  A colorful reflection on the very tip of the cloud that looks like, could it be, a rainbow?!  There is no rain, but there are beautiful pinks and greens like a very small piece of a rainbow!  My gift from God telling me that He loves me and reminding me that His promises are real.

It's all gone now, clouds all over, but I know that You cherish me and gave me a reminder that You do.  I am awed by Your love for me.

It seems that the sweetest places to find You are literally, right in my own backyard!  I love You, Lord.  Amen.

© dft

"Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you."  James 4:7-8

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Something Funny for Today

Dear Reader,

I don't normally put funny things in my blog, but God didn't mean for us to always be serious.  He created us to have fun and to enjoy life.  He gave us a sense of humor.  I had the following in my email inbox since 2006, and thought I would share it with you.  Being a writer, editor, and author, I know I must have driven some of my teachers a little crazy back in the day too.  I have made several new friends, all writers, who I have grown a sweet affection for.  This is for them.  The laughs are for everyone.

Please enjoy, and remember,

"A merry heart does good, like medicine, But a broken spirit dries the bones."  Proverbs 17:22

"Go, eat your bread with joy, And drink your wine with a merry heart; For God has already accepted your works".  Ecclesiastes 9:7

Every year, English teachers from across the country can submit their collections of actual analogies and metaphors found in high school essays.

These excerpts are published each year to the amusement of teachers across the country.

Here are 2005's winners.....

1. Her face was a perfect oval, like a circle that had its two sides gently compressed by a Thigh Master.

2. His thoughts tumbled in his head, making and breaking alliances like underpants in a dryer without Cling Free.

3. He spoke with the wisdom that can only come from experience, like a guy who went blind because he looked at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it and now goes around the country speaking at high schools about the dangers of looking at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it.

4. She grew on him like she was a colony of E. Coli, and he was room-temperature Canadian beef.

5. She had a deep, throaty, genuine laugh, like that sound a dog makes just before it throws up.

6. Her vocabulary was as bad as, like, whatever.

7. He was as tall as a six-foot, three-inch tree.

8. The revelation that his marriage of 30 years had disintegrated because of his wife's infidelity came as a rude shock, like a surcharge at a formerly surcharge-free ATM machine.

9. The little boat gently drifted across the pond exactly the way a bowling ball wouldn't.

10. McBride fell 12 stories, hitting the pavement like a Hefty bag filled with vegetable soup.

11. From the attic came an unearthly howl. The whole scene had an eerie, surreal quality, like when you're on vacation in another city and Jeopardy comes on at 7:00 p.m. instead of 7:30.

12. Her hair glistened in the rain like a nose hair after a sneeze.

13. The hailstones leaped from the pavement, just like maggots when you fry them in hot grease.

14. Long separated by cruel fate, the star-crossed lovers raced across the grassy field toward each other like two freight trains, one having left Cleveland at 6:36 p.m. traveling at 55 mph, the other from Topeka at 4:19 p.m. at a speed of 35 mph.

15. John and Mary had never met. They were like two hummingbirds who had also never met.

16. He fell for her like his heart was a mob informant, and she was the East River.

17. Even in his last years, Granddad had a mind like a steel trap, only one that had been left out so long, it had rusted shut.

18. Shots rang out, as shots are wont to do.

19. The plan was simple, like my brother-in-law Phil. But unlike Phil, this plan just might work.

20. The young fighter had a hungry look, the kind you get from not eating for a while.

21. He was as lame as a duck. Not the metaphorical lame duck, either, but a real duck that was actually lame, maybe from stepping on a land mine or something.

22. The ballerina rose gracefully en Pointe and extended one slender leg behind her, like a dog at a fire hydrant.

23. It was an American tradition, like fathers chasing kids around with power tools.

24. He was deeply in love. When she spoke, he thought he heard bells, as if she were a garbage truck backing up.