Archive | January 2010

Jump!!!

What trust feels like sometimes!

Trust is not a four-letter word, but you’d think it was, I avoid saying it so often, as in, “I trust you, Lord.”  In God I definitely do NOT put my trust, my whole trust and nothing but my trust as often as I should. 

When I was little, my oldest sister and her boyfriend (now her husband) pulled a trick on me.  I was years younger than they and so when they asked me to step up on a board they were holding between them and let someone blindfold me, I did. 

 I trusted them.  Afterall, the board wasn’t very far off the ground.   So, I stood there on the board, with my little right hand up on my sister’s shoulder and my left up on her boyfriend’s for balance while one of their friends knotted a handkerchief behind my head. 

Then my heart skipped a beat as I felt them lifting me high up into the air.  I must have been pretty high, too, I thought, because I had to bend my knees to keep my grip on their shoulders.  My legs were shaking and I was holding on for dear life when they said, “Jump.” 

What?!  They and the other teens in on the joke coaxed and coaxed assuring me I’d be fine.  “Come on!  You can do it!” 

 Finally, I let go and leaped into the air expecting to be falling to my death but was shocked and confused when I landed abruptly on the ground just a few inches beneath me where it’d been all along!  They had just bent down beneath me, making think they’d lifted me up! 

 I‘m sure they all had a good laugh at my expense and it probably took awhile before I’d trust them again.

Sometimes God’s  like that.  

Sometimes he asks us to try something a little scary, like lead a Bible study (I’m not equipped for that!), or help at an orphanage (I’ve never really liked kids…), or fly half-way around the world to love on a people that are COMPLETELY different than us (I can’t!  I just can’t, Lord!).  Or it can be something as simple as speaking kindly to our family (Now, you know they won’t listen to me unless I yell!), or trusting Him enough to stay pure till the wedding day (I’ll die!). It can feel a little like balancing on the edge of a cliff, ’till you take that first step…

When I look back on my life, I can clearly see that when I’ve taken that leap of faith I’ve landed safely every time. 

But when I’ve followed other voices, my own or the devil’s or people’s I thought I could trust, BAM!  I’ve come up dazed and confused and wondering what would have happened if I’d just trusted and obeyed in the first place,  like that old hymn ,

“Trust and obey, for there’s no other way to be happy in Jesus, then to trust and obey.”

I recently read this status about trust on Facebook.  It’s a heart’s cry from my friend’s son, a young soldier in Iraq:

He wrote, “Sometimes I’m so scared of what will happen if I put all my trust in You, but I am terrified of what will happen if I don’t!  What will happen if I keep on living in this rut that I’m in? What will happen if I never put my trust completely in You? How many blessings will I miss?  How many chances will I miss to give your name glory? How many chances will I miss to show your love to those who need it?”  Steve “Blu” Mack.

How ’bout you? Has God asked you to step up on the board and you’re afraid if you do you’ll end up like that guy in the picture at the top of the page?

  I bet, though, if you looked up, you’d see that instead of a jagged cliff, you were holding onto a warm hand all along; the hand of Someone you could trust.

The cliffhanger’s prayer:   “Oh, Father in heaven.  I want to trust you.  I want to agree with the psalmist who wrote, “But I trust in you, O Lord; I say, ‘You are my God.’ ” (Psalms 31:14)  Help me to trust in You at all times, and pour my heart out to You, for You are my refuge. (Psalm 62:8).  And David wrote some of those words when he was besieged in a city with enemies all around.  So, help me to trust you right in the heat of battle when all looks hopeless.  Help me to be still and know You are my God. (Psalm 46:10)  In Jesus’ name, AMEN!”

Read the following verses slowly.  Let them speak to your soul: “Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him.  He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.  My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge.  Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge. Selah”  (Psalm 62:5-8)

Do you know the Lord?  Click on the pic below to be introduced.  Come on!  Trust Him! Jump!! 🙂

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Snowflake Faith

Looking out the window at the occasional  snowflake making its way haphazardly to the ground, my son pooh-poohed the morning’s forecast for snow accumulation. 

But, by afternoon, the weatherman was proved right.  Our lawn and surrounding woods were blanketed in white, and the air was filled with beautiful snowflakes, whirling about and smacking against our window panes.

I can understand my son doubting the power of the flake, though. It’s such a tiny little thing.  But, what are avalanches made of, after all?  Tiny little snowflakes.

Sometime, my prayers seem awfully small, too, compared to the avalanche-sized problem I’m praying about, and my doubts forecast dismal results, but, I’m reminded of another little thing that grows into something big.  Jesus mentioned it centuries ago to his disciples….the mustard seed. 

 

 It’s such a tiny little thing:

 

 

But look how big it grows:

 

 “He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field.  Though it is the smallest of all your seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and perch in its branches.” ~~ Matthew 13:31-32

That’s the kind of faith I want to have — snowflake faith, mustard seed faith.  I want to believe that my little prayers can have HUGE results! 

 

The Snowflake Prayer: “Oh, Father in heaven, You are and You are a rewarder of those who earnestly seek You.  (Hebrews 11:6)  I want to believe that my snowflake prayers  can produce avalanches in the spiritual realm!  So, I cry out like that father in the Bible who wanted you to heal his son, “I DO believe!  Help me overcome my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24)  In Jesus’ name, amen.”

Do you have faith in the One who created the snowflake?  Click on the pic below to begin a relationship with Him that can quickly snowball into an AWESOME life:

 

Haiti, Then and Now…

Haiti….  

Nestled in the Carribean…sounds lovely, right?

Well, instead of being known for this:  

a "muha" photo

 Haiti has been known for this…  

"Hunger and Rage!", Jan Sochor, http://www.jansochor.com, used with permission

 I googled “Port au Prince” images  today to show you what it was like in Haiti’s capitol city before the devastating January 12th earthquake.  I was thinking there’d be a BIG difference between Haiti then and now, but I was completely surprised, in my cushioned Midwest American existence, to see that things have been HORRIBLE with a capital H  in Haiti for a LOOOONG time.  Ever since Columbus discovered it in 1492, in fact. 

The original population of Haiti was virtually wiped out by their discoverers and replaced by slaves from Africa.  Though the poor souls were set free long ago, they have suffered  under corrupt leadership and neglect for centuries.  Abject poverty, street orphans, and violent food lines are the norm, earthquake or no.  

Street Orphan. Photo credit: Jan Sochor, http://www.jansochor.com, used with permission

 Conclusion?! Haitians needs our prayers and whatever aid we can send their way…Tomorrow, I’ll discuss the aid part, but first things first–our prayers…

Jesus said in Matthew 25: 45, “I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these, you did for me.” So, pray with me on behalf of the “least of these”…

“Oh, Maker of Haiti and all her people, You are and You are a rewarder of them that earnestly seek You. (Hebrews 11:6)  We’re earnestly seeking you on behalf of Haiti.

“Send forth Thy light and Thy truth and let them guide the leaders and people of Haiti. (Psalm 43:3)

“Please strengthen the Christians, and others who are really helping, with power through Your Spirit in their inner man/woman. (Ephesians 3:16)

 “Your will be done with Haiti, not the governments, nor foreign powers, nor the voodo high priest’s, but YOURS and YOURS alone!!! In Jesus’ name, AMEN!”

“For their Redeemer is strong…” (Proverbs 3:11)

Do you know the One who made the beautiful Haitian, the talented photographer, and both you and me? Click on the pic below for a quick introduction…

Prayers for Haiti

  

  

I was lying in my cozy bed  in my cozy home when the radio woke me with the tragic news that other people, 1,000’s of other people, were trapped under tons of rubble in Haiti. They had been caught unawares shopping, playing, working, sleeping.  And now they were trapped in the dark and dust, suffering excruciating pain.  The report ended with another shocking fact: the royal palace had also collapsed.  The earthquake was an equal-opportunity destroyer.  No one was spared.  

Today’s update is unfathomable:  200,000 dead; 1.5 million homeless.  From a midwest perspective, that’s  the big city of Peoria, Illinois dead, and the bigger city of Chicago homeless.  Wow…wow…  

Here’s an eye-opening blog post that melted my heart for Haiti when I read it : To the Woman in the Rubble.  Please take a moment to read it yourself, then come back to pray.  

Did you come back?  Great. Let’s roll up our spiritual sleeves.  We’ve got work to do.  

Prayer for Haiti:  (we’ll start out reminding ourselves of God’s goodness, because, at times like this, it’s easy to forget.)  

“Oh, Father in heaven,  because of your great love we are not consumed, for your compassions never fail.  They are new every morning.  They are new every day. Great is Thy faithfulness. ( Lamentations 3:22-23  

“Thank you for all the doctors and nurses, search and rescue teams, soldiers, missionaries, and people off the street that are being heroes right now.  Please give them strength, and understanding of what to do.  

“I pray for anyone still alive in the rubble to be rescued.  I pray for miracle after miracle so the people can see that you are real, that you love them, and that you are helping them.  

“Please provide food for the orphans, and medical attention, and loving homes for them in safe places.  

“Please protect everyone from looters and rioters.  Please may the looters and rioters turn there energy to helping.  Please quiet their fears.  May your voice be the loudest on the streets.  

“Please may the christians in the city and the outlying towns shine like lights in all the darkness; loving, encouraging, blessing, praying.  

“You are, and you reward those who earnestly seek you. (Hebrews 11:6)  We’re seeking you now on behalf of Haiti.  Send forth your light and your truth to guide them. (Psalm 43:3)  In Jesus’ name, amen.  

Here’s another heart-opening blog post about Haiti.  Reflections

Get the Lint Out!!

The other day while rummaging through the fridge, something caught my eye down below.  The vent grill was loose, and, oh-my-goodness!  filthy.

So, I bent down to give it a quick wipe off, but more and more lint kept coming out the vent holes.  Pretty soon I was on all fours with a wooden spoon handle digging out 2 monster lint balls.  That’s them above.  I call them Fred and Martha.   I’m sure my fridge is breathing a little easier without those two.

As I ate what I found in the fridge ( in, mind younot under )  I pondered the lessons to be learned from lint.

Like, why it’s a good habit for a Christian to fast periodically. 

 Fasting opens up our souls; gets the faith-clogging sins and bad habits out in the open so God can deal with them like Fred and Martha — into the garbage!

 

“…as far as the EAST is from the WEST, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.” Psalm 103:12

How ’bout you? Need a little de-linting?   To the right,  click on the fasting links for help and encouragement, and the word “fasting” in the tag cloud for lots of hints, helps and encouragements to get you started.   Come on, get the lint out!

 

THE LINT PRAYER:  Oh, Father in Heaven, You are and you are a Rewarder of them that earnestly seek You. (That’s what Hebrews 11:6 says.)  I’m earnestly seeking You now. Thanks for loving me and being so patient with me. 

The Bible says that when we walk in the light as You are in the light, we have fellowship with one another. (1 John 1:7) That’s what I want, Jesus, fellowship with others, especially with You.

So,  I confess that I’ve been walking in the dark, lately, by hanging onto these sins and bad habits:__________ (say as many as come to mind. Take your time. Get it all out.)

Thank you for forgiving me when I confess my sins, Father. (1 John 1:9)  In Jesus’ name, amen.”

Do you know Jesus? Click on the pic below for a quick introduction.

Do you hear what I hear?

I’d like to introduce you to two awesomely, fantastic  trees today:

First, the beautiful cedar of Lebanon (Cedrus libani).  This fragrant conifer is the pride of its country,  adorning the nation’s flag (see left).

They are up to 130 ft. tall:

Just how big is that?  This statue, Christ the Redeemer, overlooking Rio de Janiero, is 130 ft. tall:
See how little the people are at the base? Imagine if that were a Cedar of Lebanon.  Big tree.
Ok, our second tree is another biggy. The mighty oak. Below is the 1,000 yr. old Majesty Oak tree in Great Britian…

It stands at an impressive  62 ft. and 41 ft. around!   That’s as tall as this gigantic statue of Jesus at the Solid Rock Church in Ohio (click on the pic below to see a larger image):

King of Kings Statue, 62 ft. tall!

See how the statue towers over those trees and the building behind it?

Yes, both the cedar and the oak are big, beautiful trees, admired by people around the world.  But, do you know, there’s  something in the world even more impressive than either of these, but is still, nonetheless, widely ignored?

God’s voice

“The VOICE of the Lord is powerful; the VOICE of the Lord is majestic.  The VOICE of the Lord breaks the cedars;

Cedar of Lebanon

the VOICE of the Lord breaks in pieces the cedars of Lebanon.

The VOICE of the Lord strikes with flashes of lightning.  The VOICE of the Lord twists the oaks and strips the forests bare.

twisted oak after a storm

And in his temple all cry, “Glory!” Psalm 29

NOTE:  When I googled, “What’s 130 ft. tall?” and, “What’s 62 ft. tall?” to give you something for comparison, the statues of Jesus came up first.  That’s appropriate, I think, because according to these verses He’s the maker of all trees:

“Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.”  John 1:3

Do you know Him?

Click on the beautiful Golden-Crowned Kinglet below (see him at the bottom on the branch?) for a quick introduction to One who made the towering trees, the ocean and seas, the gentle, soft breeze, and both you and me.

“I wonder, do you know him today?”

Golden-crowned Kinglet, a Sandra Lawrence photo

“The Lord thundered from heaven; the voice of the Most High resounded.” 2 Samuel 22:14

SOURCES:
fourwindsphotojournalfromoldbooksCedrus libani,
ten-thousand-trees.blogspot,   cathedralgrove

Ears to Hear…

©2009 Karen Winters All Rights Reserved

Recently,  a dear family I know (names withheld to protect the innocent 🙂 )  was having a little family devotional. 

 The mother was growing  increasingly frustrated with her bleary-eyed, obviously bored, not-really-listening, teen-age son, when what to her wondering eyes should appear?! 

 The son suddenly brightened, leaped off the couch (was this a halelujah moment?!) and made a mad dash across the room to his computer.  It had apparently made a bleep sound. 

  The now VERY alert young man leaned over the keys, viewing the screen intently to see what message it could possibly have for him.  He was totally and completely tuned into his computer, whereas the mother hadn’t heard a thing.

“The Lord wants us to be tuned into him like that.”, she called to his back from across the room.

“hmmmm…”, the back replied.

“My sheep hear my voice.”, the Bible says.

Oh, may we be attentive little lambs, Father. Totally and completely tuned into your voice.  Bleep.  Bleep.

photo ©Abby Harris

The little lamb’s prayer:

 Oh, Father.  You are the Good Shepherd. (John 10:11). Your lambs hear your kindly voice and come running. (John 10:3) Oh, give this little lamb of yours ears to hear your voice above all the others that might lead her/him astray.  In Jesus’ name, amen.

Psalm 23:

Do you have a Shepherd?  Click on the pic below to meet mine.  I know He’d love to be yours.

Annie ©Abby Harris

 Special thanks to Abby Harris for the lovely lamb pictures, and Karen Winters  for the colorful ear! 🙂