Saturday, January 28, 2017

Sometimes I write out prayers, so that I can slow down and think about what I am praying and hear direction as to how I should pray.  Here is one that I wrote in January:

Beloved God, it is a joy to know that you exist and that your strength, wisdom and love are available to us if we can just open ourselves to receive you. It is my heart's delight to know that the power at the center of the universe is good, omniscient, and faithful. When I think of who you really are, I can't help but have hope, even for this world, because you care for it. Despite whatever I may see, I can be encouraged, because the ultimate power, the final decision-maker is merciful, gracious and kind. Thank you for calling me to you; help me always to grow closer to you.  In the name of Jesus, who did everything possible to reveal your heart to us, Amen.

Friday, January 27, 2017



Faith like a child. It's a beautiful phrase, and I grew up in faith, with a mother who deeply loved and believed in God. In my bedroom hung an embroidered picture of Jesus with little children, and I used to imagine that I was one of the children, assigning my brother and cousins to the other figures. In our kitchen hung a sampler Mom had made, with the text: "Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain who build it" (Psalm 127:1). I even remember being a young child and making a cross from sticks, then putting it in a grassy corner of the backyard, near our strawberry patch.
And yet with all that love and support for my faith, I came to a time in my life where I put my own needs and desires before my trust in God.  A lot of us are like that, I think.  Because of pain, damage, or disappointment, we get so hungry for a solution, for satisfaction in the world's terms, that we try to grab what we think we need instead of waiting for God to fulfill us. We don't trust God to give us the best.
All the time I was apart from God, I felt a deep sorrow.  The sorrow came from within me, but it also resonated through my spirit, as if God grieved, too. I know that I never stopped loving God, but obedience seemed too hard.  I thought, "if someone is starving, they have a right to steal bread." I tried to steal happiness.
Thankfully, God never gave up on me, and I eventually recognized that my only true joy could come from living as God intended. I began to build on a firmer foundation and each day grow closer to my childhood trust, joy and peace.
I pray that none of us ever leave true joy behind, in search of quick fixes, shallow satisfaction.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

My greatest hope in life is based on the love and character of God as revealed through Jesus Christ. I hope for the mending of this world through Christ's sacrificial death and from his avowed mission to bring God's kingdom and its mercies to all people. Even in our broken world, we can take hope in the words of Jesus:  "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor: he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord" (Luke 4:18-19).
We pray for this healing, and we work for it in every possible way, so that some day we can approach the vision of the psalmist who wrote: "Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other" (Psalm 85:10).
I pray that mercy and truth, peace and righteousness will fill your spirit.
There are so many amazing individuals and groups in the world working to bring love, healing, education and hope to those struggling in terrible conditions.  I know that I could never deliver medical help to people suffering from malaria, teach in a crumbling school, help rebuild a town after a hurricane, or rescue refugees from a capsized boat.  But I do try to find ways to "hold up the arms" of those doing this.
My inspiration is the story from Exodus 17: 8-13.  The Israelites have been wandering in the desert under the leadership of Moses.  The Amalekites attack them, and Moses goes up to the top of a hill with his staff, the one used at the parting of the Red Sea.  As long as Moses holds up his staff, the Israelites are winning the battle.  But when, in fatigue, Moses lowers his arms, the tide of battle turns in favor of the Amalekites.  Two of Moses's followers, Aaron and Hur, sit him down on a rock and, one on each side, they hold up his arms. With their support, the Israelites are victorious.
There are many agencies, church groups and causes that support those in need throughout our country and the world. A simple, cost-free way to contribute to this work is to click on www.thehungersite.com. From there you can also find other "Greater Good" sites that support research and work on autism, breast cancer, veterans, diabetes, Alzheimer's, animal welfare, literacy, and the environment.
Your prayers can also lift up someone's arms.  I invite you to remember first responders, teachers or any individuals you know who are caring for others and might need prayerful support to "hold up their arms."

Welcome

Welcome to my first post.  Reading and writing have always been immensely important in my life, and there's nothing more important I could write about than my faith.  I'll be posting on my own faith journey and the stories, quotes and experiences that give me hope.  I believe that God is working in our world and calling us to work alongside in bringing the love, mercy and justice of God's kingdom to the greatest possible realization in a fallen world. I hope my posts will encourage any readers. And since I'm also writing fiction, I'll post notes about that as things move along.
I look forward to sharing this journey with you.