Jun 6, 2013
Dear Lord; Happy Thankful Thursday Father!
I fear Lord, that we miss the point far too often…
Jesus taught us to reach out to all those in need… Yet, we find ways to justify being selective with our service to others.
You make it very clear through Scripture that Your primary desire for our lives is to love… But more often than not we cling to judgment in its stead.
As the body of Christ, the church’s mission is to act as the hands and feet of Jesus and aid one another on our walk to You … However far too regularly that directive is tainted by individual ambitions and agendas.
We sit in condemnation of the sins of those around us, feeling superior for our elevated moral perspective… All the while completely missing the plank sticking out of our own eye.
We dwell on legalism and focus on how many Bible verses we can recite on command… Instead of praying for Your truths contained therein to guide our hearts…
And yet, even with all that corruption peppering our mortal lives Father…
You love us,
And comfort us.
You shower us in your mercy,
And fill our world with signs of that gracious love.
Thank You Father.
From Christ’s perfect example, the presence of the Holy Spirit within us and the blessings you pile upon us each and every day, I pray we draw ever closer to Your true intent…
And get the point.
As I continue to list some of Your many blessings in my life Father, this week I’d like to give thanks for:
676. Your nourishing and cleansing rain which is helping our new garden grow.
677. A wonderful “ministry moment” while chatting with a friend the other night.
678. Your perfect timing, even when I don’t recognize it.
679. A safe and uneventful flight for Shannon yesterday on her way to visit her family.
680. A fun evening of fellowship and good food with some dear friends.
681. A good checkup for Jonathan at the eye doctor this week, and finding an optician who takes his insurance for glasses.
682. The opportunity to visit Aidan’s class for “Culture Day” and see him be a living statue of the Greek deity Poseidon.
683. Your gentle hand holding my heart and guiding my words when upsetting situations arise.
684. Eggs cooked in bacon grease. 🙂
685. Finding a wonderful deal on some photography equipment I needed.
686. Your protection and comfort for Shannon and her family as they were hit with a tropical storm this week while she was visiting.
687. That both my boys are finished another school year as of tomorrow.
688. Simple solutions.
689. Pastor Kris receiving her well-earned official Ordination by the United Methodist Church this week.
690. That even when we “miss the point”, Your gracious love for us remains.
And so very, very much more Lord…
For it’s in Your precious name I pray,
Jan 2, 2012
Dear Lord; Happy Meditations Monday, and Happy New Year Father!
As we bid farewell to 2011 Lord, I confess that my feelings on it’s passing are somewhat conflicted. In a number of respects, this past year brought with it some of the most difficult trials our little family has experienced in quite some time. And yet, along with those stresses and struggles, I can honestly say that Your presence in our lives has never felt more powerful, or been more obvious…
In the midst of our fears, You comforted us.
When we struggled for direction, You guided our hearts.
When we doubted our value, You reminded us that we’re Your Beloved.
In our moment of need, You provided a path.
When we sought for community, You led us to our church family.
As our financial security was threatened, You showed us that our true wealth lay elsewhere.
The world knocked us down Father, over and over…
And yet, You were there… each and every time.
“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,
whose trust is the Lord.
He is like a tree planted by water,
that sends out its roots by the stream,
and does not fear when heat comes,
for its leaves remain green,
and is not anxious in the year of drought,
for it does not cease to bear fruit.” – Jeremiah 17:7-8 (ESV)
While from a worldly perspective 2011 was a trying, difficult year for us Father, every time we stumbled, You picked us up and drew us to You.
The drought came Lord, but in You we were nourished.
I pray that 2012 brings us even closer.
Dec 15, 2011
Dear Lord; Happy Thankful Thursday Father!
Grumble, grumble, grumble…
This Father, was the response (the nicer version of it anyways) that greeted me upon trying to wake my “just turned twelve” son Jonathan this morning. Now, he’s always been a little sluggish getting moving in the morning, but last night he ended up staying awake far later than usual to try and finish some homework, and this morning when I tried to get him up for school…
After much cajoling, some veiled threats of consequences, and yes, some “raised voices” (smiles), he finally got up and begrudgingly got ready for school.
Later in the day as I mulled over the morning’s epic struggle, it dawned on me that I’d been guilty of similar offenses this week as well…
I’ve grumbled to You Lord, more than once.
Money is exceptionally tight this year… grumble, grumble, grumble
I haven’t had a full night’s sleep in what seems like forever… grumble, grumble, grumble
The dogs just won’t stop barking… grumble, grumble, grumble
I never seem to have time to do the things I want to do… grumble, grumble, grumble
And yet Father, in the midst of all my grumbling, You’ve stayed by my side; encouraging me, comforting me, and faithfully guiding me through each and every storm.
And You’ve never grumbled about it.
Thank you Lord, for setting that example. 🙂
Now Father, as opposed to grumbling (smiles again), I’d like to present You with this week’s Thankful Thursday list! Even though this past week has certainly provided more than a few challenges for me Lord, I’ve still found myself surrounded by signs of Your gracious love. And while I’m thankful for all of the wonderful gifts You’ve Blessed my life with Father, this week I’m especially grateful for:
436. A fun, silly dinner at Friendly’s to celebrate Jonathan’s birthday.
437. Those guiding whispers to my heart when I’m about to say something I shouldn’t.
438. That our Tuesday night Small Group has connected in such a powerful way that we all feel comfortable coming to one another in times of need.
439. Twelve years of having Jonathan in our lives.
440. That the new Ewell’s – St. Paul UMC website is nearly completed. 🙂
441. Chocolate and peanut butter oreo balls.
442. The divine gift of marriage, and Blessing me with the call to join two people in Your love.
443. A significant savings on gasoline through a local grocery store discount program.
444. That when my limited understanding obscures my needs, Your Spirit knows all the same.
445. Christmas cookies.
446. That in my weakness, Your grace strengthens and emboldens me.
447. That one way or another Lord, You always deliver on Your promises.
448. An exceptional friend that knew I needed a break, and stepped in without asking to help.
449. Guiding messages from my Heavenly Father that help steer me through difficulties.
450. The “Road Signs” in Your Word that help to guide my life.
We thank You Lord, for the multitude of Blessings You surround us with each day; both those that light up the sky with Your brilliance, and those gifts that grace our lives quietly from the shadows…
Even when we grumble.
In Jesus’ Name we pray,
Dec 12, 2011
Dear Lord; Happy Meditations Monday Father!
Well Father, it certainly was a busy weekend that You Blessed us with! Between household chores that needed to be done, cooking (lots of cooking!), baking and time spent enjoying the fellowship and company of friends, our weekend was jam-packed and quite enjoyable. Thank You so much for that time together Lord!
And on top of such a happy, hectic weekend Father, yesterday marks the one-year wedding anniversary of two wonderful friends of mine; Dan and Francine. One year ago Sunday, I was both honored and Blessed to stand with them in Your presence, and pronounce them joined as man and wife. It was a beautiful event Lord, and Your love was abundantly felt by all those in attendance.
“The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him. So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man.
Then the man said,
“This at last is bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called Woman,
because she was taken out of Man.”
Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” – Genesis 2:20-24 (ESV)
From the first days of Adam in the Garden Father, You knew that it wasn’t good for man to be alone. To bring him that “completeness” and give him a partner to share Your love, You drew from his flesh and breathed life into the one with whom Adam’s life was to be made whole; man and woman joined together in the presence of their Creator.
And so it continues to this day. 🙂
We thank You Lord, for Your faithfulness in bringing together those whom You intend to be joined, and uniting them through Your gift of Holy Matrimony. For those awaiting Your match for them Father; please grant them the patience, comfort and discernment to take the time necessary to know Your will. For those that You’ve already brought together in that union, guide them Father; Bless them with the knowledge of Your will for them, the compassion to put their spouses first, and the discipline to cling to one another when difficulties occur. Help us Lord, to recognize marriage for the Blessing that it is, and to honor You by holding it sacred as You intend.
In Jesus’ Name we pray,
P.S. Happy Anniversary Dan and Francine!
Nov 17, 2011
“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” – Ephesians 4:29-32 (ESV)
Words are powerful; they can serve to bring encouragement, comfort and compassion to others, or just as easily can tear them down, causing discouragement, pain and upset. Through the example of Christ Jesus we’re called to be ambassadors of God’s love, letting His grace and mercy flow through us to others by way of our words, our decisions and our actions.