Monday, January 31, 2011

Praise Brings the Victory

Good Morning, Dear Friends and Family,

I hope you're all doing well. As I clicked each of your email addresses this morning, special fond thoughts of each of you flooded my mind!!!

Jeannie, how I miss our wonderful days of friendship at Guilford Child Health! Remember all those huge teas you brought me from Chick Fillet?  Joan, how many cherished times we had together at Carolina Christian Academy!!  Dear Treasures, we'll never forget those few precious days at the old home-place in the Catskills!! Each of you wonderful friends hold a special place in the memory bank of my heart!!

This morning, I sit by the window and watch the sun rise. In the faint morning glow, cardinals and chickadees enjoy their breakfast placed in the maple tree. Such beauty, another day to live for Jesus!! How good he is to me.

This week marked my 61st birthday, and next month marks our 40th anniversary!  How did I get here so quickly? I feel so young at heart!

Today I continued my reading in II Kings and then turned to II Chronicles for chronological reading. Good King Jehoshaphat was facing a major invasion and possible annihilation. Alarmed, King Jehoshaphat resolved to seek the Lord.  The people joined him in fasting and prayer. King Jehoshaphat addressed his people with a speech that ended with this prayer, "Lord, we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We don't not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you."

The prophet reminded the King and the people that, "the battle is not yours, but God's. you will not have to fight this battle. Just take your positions and STAND FIRM!"

Sooooo what did King Jehoshaphat do?  Something a bit unusual. He appointed men to go ahead of the army, who AS THEY WENT, sang and praised God for the splendor ofHis Holiness!  Whooo hoo.........   God caused the enemy forces to self-destruct!! And the Israelite army joyfully returned to Jerusalem, praising God and rejoicing over their defeated enemies!!

Okay! Time out!!! I feel my well over flowing!!!!  Do I have some situations in my life that appear to be overwhelming me?  I feel as King Jehosphaphat did! Lord, I don't know what to do, but my EYES ARE UPON you!!  Do I have the answer, No! Am I a bit frightened, yes! Do some of these burdens seem so heavy, yes!  Is my heart breaking, yes!!  BUT, MY EYES ARE UPON YOU!

I am reminded too, that the battle isn't mine! It's the Lord's!  I need to stand still, hold steady, believe, obey, and remain faithful!

But that's not all....  I need to march ahead of the array with a heart filled with praise to God for the splendor of His Holiness, for His unchangeable sufficiency, for His constant steady guidance, for His proven love!!!

Today, Father, I bow my heart before you. I give you my burdens. I gaze upon Your face.  I hide in Your Word.  And I sing praises to you!!!

Have a blessed day....give it all to Jesus!


There's more with us, than be with them
Lord, open our eyes to see.
The mountains around, with chariots abound...
We're trusting, our Lord, in Thee!!
The Devil may boost and marshall his host
And march in battle array..
With Christ in the lead, we're sure to succeed
We're certain to win the day!!  

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

No Turning Back....

Dear Friends and Family,

Hope you're all doing well. I think this has been the worst flu season I've ever known. It seems family and friends across the states are so sick.

Strep, viruses, and pneumonia have made their way around, and around, and around our families since before Thanksgiving.  I think 5 of the 6 in Jon Abram's family are now on antibiotics.  Thankfully, other than a stomach virus, Jon and I have managed to escape the worst of it. We did get our flu shots, but I give the praise to God.

Needless to say, we've seen a lot less of the family the last 3 months. I think everyone is longing for Spring!!!!

This morning, I continued my reading in I Kings. I loved the story of Elijah on Mt. Carmel and the wondrous  victory given there.  In chapter 19, I read  of God's direction and of Elijah calling Elisha to follow him as the next prophet.  Elisha was in a field with others plowing with 12 yoke of oxen.  Elisha answered the call by asking to go home to bid his parents good-bye. Elijah wasn't impressed by Elisha's priorities.

Elisha's yoke of oxen represented his total means of livelihood.  These were equivalent to our present day careers, jobs, insurance,  IRA'S, etc. As typical of his culture, these  oxen may have provided for Elisha's extended family as well.

Elisha slaughtered his oxen, burned the plowing equipment to cook the meat, gave it to the people, and they ate.  Then he set out to follow Elijah and became his attendant, and eventually the next prophet.

Okay......... Here we see Elisha cutting permanently every tie of the past.  Leaving no entanglements, no demands, nothing to beckon him to return to his old paths. The point here isn't to ignore our families, but instead to make sure our #1 loyalty is to our God. Elisha made no provision to return to his old life. He didn't leave his team in the care of family or friend with the idea of one day using it again. Elisha was FINISHED with the old path.  He was 100% committed!  Later Elisha also demonstrates his love and determination to follow God's call upon his life, by dogging Elijah's every moment to make sure Elijah's mantle fell on him, and thus the next ordained prophet.

What a lesson!!  I don't want to hold too tightly to anything this world has to offer. I'm grateful to God for every temporal blessing, but everything I have is only a gift from Him.  I don't want this World's goods to possess me. I want all of them to be a means of serving Him better.  What do I have that I couldn't live without?  Hummmmmmmm.....That's thought provoking, isn't it?  Words come easy, but am I willing to "slay my oxen and burn my plow?"  Is everything so committed to Christ, until there is no "going back?" Do I have a "if this doesn't work out, I can always return to Egypt" attitude?

This morning I was watching a news video of the persecuted Christians in Iraq.  The camera showed the blood stains and bombed church of the Christmas Eve massacre of over 50 Christians.  Yet, these Christians weren't eager to run away.  They felt they were needed there. I was humbled by their steadfastness and determination.  I wondered, would I stand in these circumstances?

Today,God,search my heart. I want to be sure that I don't have any hidden "oxen or unburned plows" lurking in the deepest recesses of my heart. Lord, I want you to completely fill every chamber of my heart, possess me, use me...

Have a blessed day.....
Let's follow Him, let's not look back, let's burn every bridge, let's fix our eyes upon the Easter sky, maybe today...


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Are You Packing/

Dear Friends and Family,

Several have asked why I haven't blogged lately. Well, the children so seldom come home, there's just not been much to say. Jon and I aren't really "news worthy."
Today, Margaret told me she was coming down for a few hours and she could leave a critter with me until Saturday. Of course, that brightened me up!  I assumed she'd leave Jennifer who is such a big help to us.  
After I hung up, I thought of little Jessica Mae who along with JB hardly ever stays with us.  The last two grandchildren are only seeing a shadow of the Nanny that the older children once experienced.  It makes me so sad, but we're not able to keep up with their normal young childish activities.  But this would only be for two days....   Poor Jessica Mae has begged to stay for so long.... in fact it's been over a year since she's stayed with us.
While I was musing on this idea, the phone rung again and it was Margaret.  She'd had the same idea, and we agreed it would be the best time.
At the supper table tonight, Jessica Mae was telling her side of the story.  When her mother had at first told Jennifer to start packing, Jessica Mae begged to be the one allowed to stay.  Margaret said, "Just a moment..." and went to her bedroom, closed the door, and called Nanny.
After Jessica Mae related this to me, I replied, "And I bet you were in the other room praying, weren't you?" 
"Nope!" she said, "I was packing!"
That answer rolled me back on my heels, after all, the answer for over a year had been, no. Wow! What faith!  She wasn't wasting anytime doubting. She just "kept knocking" until the door opened.
She asked...and started packing.
I wonder how often, after praying, do I really believe. Believe that God is interested, able, and willing?
No wonder that Jesus said we needed to be as little children. Their
faith is so simple, so uncomplicated.
How often do I follow my petitions to God with human analysis? I've often said that God doesn't keep our requests in a file box arranged from easy to extremely difficult. It's all the same to Him.  It's only my finite mind that does thus.
Lord, help me today to come humbly and yet bodly before you.
Lord, help me to come with childlike faith.
Lord, help me to "start packing." 
Thanks, Jessica Mae, for reminding Nanny that "the answer is already on it's way."