Friday, August 28, 2009

Psalm 23

You, LORD, are my shepherd. I will never be in need. You let me rest in fields of green grass. You lead me to streams of peaceful water, and you refresh my life. You are true to your name, and you lead me along the right paths. I may walk through valleys as dark as death, but I won't be afraid. You are with me, and your shepherd's rod makes me feel safe. You treat me to a feast, while my enemies watch. You honor me as your guest, and you fill my cup until it overflows. Your kindness and love will always be with me each day of my life, and I will live forever in your house, LORD. Ps. 23

In his classic book A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23, W. Phillip Keller gives a striking picture of the care and gentleness of a shepherd. In verse 3 when David says, “He restores my soul,” he uses language every shepherd would understand.
Sheep are built in such a way that if they fall over on their side and then onto their back, it is very difficult for them to get up again. They flail their legs in the air, bleat, and cry. After a few hours on their backs, gas begins to collect in their stomachs, the stomach hardens, the air passage is cut off, and the sheep will eventually suffocate. This is referred to as a “cast down” position.

When a shepherd restores a cast down sheep, he reassures it, massages its legs to restore circulation, gently turns the sheep over, lifts it up, and holds it so it can regain its equilibrium.

What a picture of what God wants to do for us! When we are on our backs, flailing because of guilt, grief, or grudges, our loving Shepherd reassures us with His grace, lifts us up, and holds us until we’ve gained our spiritual equilibrium.
If you’ve been cast down for any reason, God is the only one who can help you get on your feet again. He will restore your confidence, joy, and strength. — Marvin Williams

This Shepherd of mine knows each trial, each snare,And at just the right moment my Lord will be there,On His shoulders to carry each burden for me—Yes, the Lord is my Shepherd, and always shall be.

The weak and the helpless are in the Good Shepherd’s special care

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Respect Your Elders!

Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor. Romans 13:7

Respect! Oh! Most shudder at the word, yet today that is a dying necessity. Too many parents now adays are not instilling this in their kids. Not only are kids disrespecting their parents, siblings and teachers, but it is being carried into the workplace that they blindly go in to thinking if their boss does not treat them with respect, they don't have to treat their boss with respect. This is wrong.

This has been a growing issue in our home, especially with my son. I recently made my two youngest skip dessert because they were being disrespectful. I had brought out a cake and cut it into pieces. My son, even though he was not near finished with his supper, immediately claimed a piece. My youngest daughter did not want to be outdone and intentionally put her finger in the piece he chose. Then my son put his finger in another piece and told her that was her piece. I immediately took the cake away and told both they were disrespecting the family's cake and each other and that, because of their disrespect, neither would have a piece of cake.

We need to teach our children to respect us, as their authority and each other. How can they learn to respect others if they don't learn it at home? They need to learn that although you may not feel respected by the person or you disagree with them, you need to still show respect and that needs to follow them into the classroom and the workplace. I recently had a conversation with my baby brother who was borm much later than I about our mother. He carried quite a bit of disdain for my parents authority, especially my mother. The conversation got around as to why I listen to her. I told him that she is my mother and, even if I do not agree with everything she says, I do show her the respect of listening to her. I am hoping he took something from that conversation.

We, as the parents, are given the responsibility of teaching our children. If they don't learn this from us, they most certainly won't learn this in the world that teaches the total opposite.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Keep Your Eyes On Him!

We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.
2 Corinthians 4:8-10
Lately at church it seems like so many are being afflicted with cancer or some type of illness. Our church has recently started a cancer support and it's like God saw the need coming and placed it there at just the right time. We, ourselves, have struggled with my cancer. It hits hard on every front and it can be really hard not to get really down. My husband and I have struggled with emotions which come out in all kinds of unexpected ways. It's been stressful. The hardest thing to do is to keep looking up to Him and keep praising him through it all. Yet, through Him we have been receiving extraordinary blessings. Yes, I am still fighting cancer but I hae not been sick like some and my outlook looks pretty good. I just need to keep my eyes on Him.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Love and Marriage

Recently I was privy to a conversation I would have rather not had. An older wife asked me to help her fill out an Advanced Directive for her husband. She was quite adamant about not wanting to give him any type of medical help and stated that she preferred he just go. I looked at her in shock and pity thinking, "What has happened in this Christian marriage that she hates him so much?" I asked her son about their past and he shared about an unstable, extremely rocky childhood. His father sounded mentally unstable and it made for an unstable unhealthy marriage. I, myself had often heard hurtful remarks directed at this woman from this man's mouth but it just saddened me to hear these words from her lips and hurt for her unhappiness. It just makes the hurdles that my own husband and I have overcome together all the more the miracle. It says in Colossians 3:18-19 "Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them. " God tells women to respect their husbands and for husbands to give love to their wives. It's easy for each to do the opposite but that is why God gives such a command. It is needed to keep them on the marriage merry-go-round. If someone does not get what he/she needs, then they can't give what the other needs. If you have difficulty giving what God commanded then ask God to work on your heart so that you can.

Sunday, February 15, 2009


Hope But as for me, I will always have hope; I will praise you more and more. Psalm 71:14

Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Romans 12:11-12

These verses seem to speak to me lately.....about having hope. Sometimes when you are going through a tough time, it's hard to have hope. In fact sometimes I feel like Mulan when, in order to get over the mountain, they had to travel this treacherous pass full of murderers and climate hazards. Once they got through the pass the view of "the city" was simply beautiful but they had to travel the dangerous pass to get there. It's been tough lately to have this hope as I am fighting a terrible disease, but God wants us to keep believing and serving him in all faith, being patient through my illness and to keep up the ongoing discussions with Him.
Ricky Bolden once played for the Cleveland Browns and he had a saying about faith: Faith is acting like it is, even though it's not, in hopes that it might be.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Encourage Your Husband

The steaks were sizzling on the grill and I joyfully anticipated the look on my husband's facewhen he saw the deer steaks I had finally made for him. Hearing the phone ring, I hurried inside to answer. It was Norm's supervisor, "Kyle", calling him in early to his scond shift job due to a minor crisis and Kyle thinking my husband would appreciate the overtime. With a sinking heart, I realized he would miss the special lunch I had prepared for him. As he hurried around the house preparing for work, he seemed agitated with Kyle and his management skills. With a quick kiss, he grabbed his lunch box and was out the door leaving my preschooler and I to enjoy his special lunch by ourselves. Somehow the joy had been taken out of it.
Then I thought about my husband who must have been tired and disapppointed. I knew, the way he exited, that tonight may not be a good night for him, but instead, a busy, exhausting one. I knew the added stress of taking care of new problems presented were not going to go well.

It was at that time I remembered Sunday, when, due to inclement weather, he was deprived of overtime and had expressed that disappointment. That was when I felt the tug of the Holy SPirit to send him a message so I dug out my cell phone and sent the following, "Before you get angry with Kyle, consider this: Maybe God did this because you lost your overtime on Sunday." Then I hit "Send" and hoped he'd receive it with a receptive heart.

I knew this really was of the Spirit because normally I probably would have moped and pouted because of a spoiled special dinner, but, instead, I obeyed the SPirit's call to encourage my husband. I have been learning lately that it is a wise wife who will "encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfullness." (Heb. 3:13)

I just heard God telling me to encourage him in love and deeds and in my impromtu Word Bible Study on Encouragement, I found the verse from 1 Thess. 4:18. "Therefore encourage each other with these words. " There are so many instructions in the Bible for encouraging others. Many forget that also pertains to their spouse. How can you encourage your husband today?

More verses on encouragement:

Job 16:5...But my mouth would encourage you; comfort from my lips would bring you relief.
Acts 15:32Judas and Silas, who themselves were prophets, said much to encourage and strengthen the brothers.

Romans 12:8...if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.

Romans 15:4...For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.

Ephesians 6:22...I am sending him to you for this very purpose, that you may know how we are, and that he may encourage you.

1 Thessalonians 5:11...Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

1 Thessalonians 5:14...And we urge you, brothers, warn those who are idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone.

Titus 2:6...Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled

Titus 2:15...These, then, are the things you should teach. Encourage and rebuke with all authority. Do not let anyone despise you.

Philemon 1:7...Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the saints.

****Names changed for privacy purpooses.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

That Mother In Law Thing

One thing that triggers shivers down many women's backs. Their mother in law. It is the phrase women feel a common bond of shared grief. My own mother-in-law used to drive me absolutely crazy. She was controlling. She was bossy. She undermined my authority with my children. She took over our wedding photographer. When my brother in law married my sister-in-law, I witnessed her do the same to them as well and my sister-in-law saying, "I don't remember her being this way at your wedding." I laughed and said, "Yes, she did!" She showed up at our house early one Saturday morning and went around the house trying every door until she found one open and, of course, walked right in, sending my husband and I scrambling for decent clothes. Yes, she drove me crazy.

Yet, I decided to try something one day. I took her to God in prayer. I prayed, "God, she drives me crazy. I don't know what to do with her. I cannot go on like this. Please, if it be Your will, open my eyes. Reveal to me what akes her tick.... why she does things the way she does." Looking back, I realize those are the kind of prayers God loves to answer...and He did in a big way. He opened my eyes and I saw things I had missed before. Things right in front of me. Suddenly I understood why she did things the way she did. And just as suddenly was the compassion it stirred inside of me toward her.

In the second book of Kings, chapter 6, verses 13-19, Elisha and his servant are in a city and find themselves surrounded by an enemy out to kill them, but Elisha saw something his servant did not. In verse he prayed, "O LORD, open his eyes so he may see." Then the LORD opened the servant's eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. Then Elisha did something even more extraordinary. He prayed that the army out to kill him would be made blind and he was able to lead this army away from the city because they could not see who he was.

When I was married over 12 years, I suffered a miscarriage. Not only was my mother in law the only one who showed compassion to me, she actually remembered when my baby would have been born. That touched me so much. I am blessed to have someone like her in my life and I would not have said that early on in my marriage.

Is there someone in your life that is just so hard to show love to? Are they impossible to love? Then here is a prayer for you. "Open the eyes of my heart, Lord. Open the eyes of my heart."