A Song of Praise

Did you find yourself humming this morning while you were getting ready for the day? Is there a song that is “stuck” in your mind from the weekend? Was it a song of God’s goodness or of praise to Him?

Psalm 59:17 says, Unto thee, O my strength, will I sing; for God is my defence, and the God of my mercy. Even if you’re not a morning person, or even if you can’t carry a tune there should have a song in our heart if we’re saved. Who else could be our strength today? Who else will stand today to defend us when the enemy strikes? Who else will show such mercy as our great God? NO ONE!

“There’s not a friend like the lowly Jesus, no not one! No not one!”
“What a friend we have in Jesus…”
“No one ever cared for me like Jesus”

What song is on your lips?

Driven to Prayer

I just finished reading a captivating book called, Relinquishing my Dreams, by Sue Burrows and Tricia Bradley. The subtitle is “How to Survive a Prodigal.” This is the true story of one family that dealt with their daughter’s rebellion beginning when she was fourteen years of age. The book also includes survival tips in each chapter, biblical characters to study, and then it ends with a Bible study of twenty-six different Bible characters that will help one to have hope and know how to deal with their prodigal. It’s excellent.

It’s not surprising that one of the characters that the authors study is David. David had a prodigal son named Absolam. Though I haven’t done the study in my new book yet, I did just recently read Psalm 55 where David addresses the hurt and pain he’s experiencing because of a betrayal. This came in the form of an old counsellor of David’s – Ahithophel. Now this man is giving Absolam counsel – against his father. Wow! A double whammy!
David reflects on his relationship with Ahithophel in the early years. In Psalm 55:12-14 he says, for it was not an enemy that reproached me; then I could have borne it; neither was it he that hated me that did magnify himself against me; then I would have hid myself from him. but it was thou, a man mine equal, my guide , and mine acquaintance. We took sweet counsel together, and walked unto the house of God in company. David is referencing Ahithophel’s betrayal in II Samuel 17 where Ahithophel says to Absolam: Let me choose out twelve thousand men, and I will arise and pursue after David this night: and I will come upon him while he is weary and weak handed, and will make him afraid; and all the people that are with him shall flee; and I will smite the king only.

It wouldn’t be half as bad if we would read that Absolam cries out, “No! How could I do such a thing as to betray my own father, the king?” But sadly it reads instead, And the saying pleased Absalom well…

Is there any burden so great as the rebellion of your own child? How did David deal with this pain? We read in Psalm 55:16, 17 As for me, I will call upon God; and the Lord shall save me. Evening and morning and at noon will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice. David found comfort in prayer. He reminded himself that God would hear him. Note that he doesn’t just whisper a prayer, he’s crying out!! He’s desperate for God’s help and intervention.

None of us like the thoughts of going through something as hard as what David is experiencing here, but it will do to us what it did to David – it will drive us to our knees. It’s as though that burden is bearing down on us until we are bowed down. It’s that place where we realize that the greatest resource we have is prayer. Whatever your burden is today, whether you’re dealing with a prodigal, financial struggles, health issues, relationship problems or your own flesh, let it drive you morning, noon and night to cry out in desperate prayer. David’s God is your God. Divine help is on the way!

The resource table at Boones Creek will be making the book, Relinquishing my Dreams available soon.

Contemplating Thanks

Can you believe that a week from today is Thanksgiving? It seems like autumn just started and now the holiday season is upon us! If you’re like me and find yourself covered over it can be so easy to let Thanksgiving come and go without a whole lot of contemplation about your gratitude. Oh, perhaps when everyone sits around the dinner table we’ll be asked to tell what we’re thankful for and then we’ll contemplate our blessings, but why not begin today? Here are a few suggestions to conjure up your gratitude to the Lord:

  • Using a dry erase marker, make a list on the bathroom mirror for your husband/and or children to tell them why you’re thankful for them.
  • Before dinner each night this week have everyone write down why they’re thankful for a particular family member, then read them before or after you eat.
  • Spend your whole prayer time in praising God. Don’t ask Him for anything!
  • Sit down and write a card to someone (or several) to tell them you’re thankful for them and why. Send it in the mail.
  • Make a list of blessings in your prayer journal and keep adding to it all week.
  • If you have small children give them construction paper leaves and write on each one something they’re thankful for. Make a tree in the hallway or their bedroom wall with the leaves.
Rejoice in the Lord, O ye righteous; for praise is comely for the upright. Psalm 33:1

Faith’s Booster Shot

One of my most treasured possessions is my prayer journal (pictured here). It appears that Liza loves it too! It’s probably as dear to me as my Bible. In it I list the things I want to pray for each day of the week. Below a family member’s name I’ll list the specific needs of their life. On the salvation page are lists of names that don’t yet know Christ. The missionary page holds the names and places of those serving the Lord on some foreign field who have written with requests detailed in their prayer letters. The church leader page lists the deacons serving at Boones Creek and their wives. It is my privilege to lift up each one of these and pray specifically for them. Proverbs 15:8b The prayer of the upright is his delight. Imagine that!

What a blessing it is to watch how God answers my prayers; not always exactly how I asked or when I thought it should happen, but He does answer. Then I go back to my journal and place a big check mark there next to the request as well as the date it was answered. Going back and looking at the check marks is like getting a booster shot of faith. It’s a reminder that God is on the throne and is listening to my feeble prayers. Wow!

Just this week I watched Him care for the needs of our daughter, Whitney, who was in need of housing by Thanksgiving. My specific prayer was that she might find a cozy apartment that some family had built over their garage. My thinking was that it would keep her from the sometimes noisy situations of regular apartment living, would probably be more reasonable rent-wise, and would also provide safety. She had looked all over and at many different situations, but none really panned out. THEN someone told her about a basement apartment they had heard of. It’s a ground level basement created for a family’s daughter a few years ago. “It’s beautiful!” were Whitney’s words when she described it to me. It’s bright, clean, homey, and very nice – perfect for her needs! We will be moving her in this weekend!

God is so good and I praise Him for answering my prayer. No it wasn’t up over the garage, but God knew my heart and provided for her in a way that only He could do. A huge “check mark” is there next to that request now, reminding me that God answered again! Another booster shot! There are many more requests on my list that I’m still praying about, but my faith is resting in my great God that delights in my prayers.

What recent requests has He answered for you? Tell me about it in the “comment” section of this blog!

Taxis and Terror

New York city and taxi cabs go together like peanut butter and jelly. Likewise, taxi cabs and terror are on equal terms in my book, based on my recent experience! Before we went to NYC a friend told us, “get in the taxi, close your eyes and hold on for dear life!” If a taxi wants to move over in front of a tour bus they simply blow their horn and move over! A car’s turning and is slowing the taxi down? No problem, he just squeezes himself between the cars and goes around! I’m not sure I understand what their hurry is…don’t they get paid more each minute you’re in their car? Perhaps it’s just the whole reputation they feel they need to keep up with.

On our last taxi ride we were on our way to the airport. The doorman hailed the cab driver, loaded our bags in the back of the taxi van and wished us a good trip. When we climbed in the back seat, we saw that an oriental man was driving our car. Most everyone in the city is from another country; no problem, however this man spoke very little English! We couldn’t understand him and he couldn’t understand us! Now that’s not a big problem if you’re saying hello on the street, but if this is the person that’s going to take you to the airport that has five different terminals, THAT’S A PROBLEM! We told him we needed to go to Laguardia Airport to the Delta terminal. “WHERE YOU GO? THERE FIVE TERMINALS! WHERE YOU GO? I NOT WANT TO GO AROUND COUNTRY” (or something like that)!
My sisters and I did what any married woman would do: we got on our cell phones and called our husbands! My “know-how-to-get-anywhere husband got on map quest and found the airport and described the airport and where each terminal was located. I leaned forward and spoke loudly to the driver (the language barrier somehow makes us think people are also hard of hearing!). “We need to go to terminal “D” for Delta. The poor man sighed heavily and leaned over the steering wheel. He’s probably home blogging about me right now!
My sweet husband told me to just stay on the phone with him and tell him where we were at each intersection to be sure the driver understood us. My hubby would say, “What’s the next street?” I’d tell him and he’d say, “You’re going the right way. You’re almost there.” He was such a comfort as we sped our way to the airport. What a wonderful sight it was when we saw the airport in front of us! We got off at Delta to boot! Another blessing we did not take for granted!
After the escapade was over we were able to chuckle about it and also reflect. I thought about the many times the Lord has let my life be taken to a place where I felt uncertain and afraid. Things were moving along too quickly by my estimation; I felt out of control. But all along the way He had it all mapped out and was watching over me and loving me even more than a husband who was worried about his wife. I cannot get lost or lose my way while guided by His hand, and I will never be alone. What a comfort to my frantic-filled heart!
One good thing about this taxi cab driving is that I think I’ll feel much safer riding with my 17 year-old now! God is good!

Worship the King

I just got back from a long weekend in NYC. What a blessing that the Lord afforded me this trip! My travelling companions were my two sisters…another blessing. We’ve never had the opportunity to take a trip together. Many fun and special memories were created during our time together in The Big Apple. What did we do?

  • Took a carriage ride through Central Park
  • Went to Columbus Circle
  • Good Morning America
  • FAO Schwartz
  • The subway!
  • Battery Park
  • Staten Island Ferry
  • Statue of Liberty
  • Trinity Church
  • Ground Zero
  • New Amsterdam Theatre – Mary Poppins
  • Broadway and Times Square
  • Macy’s
  • Calvary Baptist Church on 57th
  • American Girl Store
  • Rockefeller Center
  • Top of the Rock
  • Saw the Empire State Bldg.
  • Radio City Music Hall
  • NBC Station
  • Plaza Hotel

One of the greatest blessings of our weekend was the opportunity to attend church on Sunday morning at Calvary Baptist. This church is right on the street and is ministering to the city in unbelievable ways. When we entered the doors we were greeted by members of the church. As the service started and the organ music swelled in that beautiful building we lifted our voices together and sang, O Worship the King. My heart overflowed. As we worshipped I thought to myself, “A huge city like New York City seems much smaller when you gather together with other believers to ‘worship the King.’

It is our privilege to travel and see the country, but it’s an even greater privilege to find a place of worship while we are away. What a God we serve!