Saturday, February 28, 2009

Children of the Heavenly Father
As she walked into the room her joy grabbed at our hearts and her presence lit up the waiting room at the Doctor’s office. I heard her Daddy call her Alexis as she paraded by my chair. Her eyes sparkled with fun and mischief as she climbed up into her chair which was taller than her. As her brilliant blue eyes gazed around the room she invited a smile from who were waiting for their medical procedures.

Her Daddy was reading her the comics and after each line she would throw back her head and laugh with pure glee. This little ray of sunshine captivated my heart for those minutes we shared in the same waiting room and for the rest of the day. There were two distinct differences about this precious child, which you could not miss. The light in the room danced off her perfect little head and her tiny chest contained a port which at times allowed dangerous drugs to enter her system to kill off the deadly cancer cells in her little body.

Her parents eyes brimmed with deep love for their little girl, but you could see the lines of worry and weariness etched around their eyes.

As a parent, I could feel the icy claws of fear begin to grip my heart as I began to think about my children. How many of you have broken out into a cold sweat at the thought of watching your child suffer from a life-threatening disease? Have you ever bargained with God? Begging and pleading with Him to let you take the suffering and pain on your child’s behalf? Most parents would take the place of their sick child in an instant, and not give it a second thought.

Sadly, we do not get to choose who becomes sick in our families. God does not choose either; sickness is in our world because of sin.

God weeps with us in our moments of deepest sorrow. He offers us His peace and strength in the moments when we feel like we cannot breathe because the burden is so great. He carries us through the moments when we feel like cannot cope.

I do not know what is in store for my sons as they walk through this life. But I do know the Lord loves them even more than I do. I will cling to the promises of God’s word and entrust my family to His care.

Matthew 11: 28-30 “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."

Thursday, February 26, 2009

I am posting Friday's reflection tonight. I will be leaving early tomorrow morning for my appointment in Iowa City to see the specialist. I am a little nervous and anxious but I know the Lord goes with me. I would like to share with you my Grandmother Katherine's favorite Psalm. She prayed this Psalm everyday for her children and grandchildren. It brought her a lot of comfort. I have found encouragment and strength from the words of this Psalm many times and espcially as I think about my health issues.

Psalm 91
My Refuge and My Fortress

1He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
2I will say to the LORD, "My refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust."

3For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler
and from the deadly pestilence.
4He will cover you with his pinions,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.
5 You will not fear the terror of the night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,
6nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness,
nor the destruction that wastes at noonday.

7A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand,
but it will not come near you.
8You will only look with your eyes
and see the recompense of the wicked.

9Because you have made the LORD your dwelling place—
the Most High, who is my refuge—
10 no evil shall be allowed to befall you,
no plague come near your tent.

11 For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways.
12On their hands they will bear you up,
lest you strike your foot against a stone.
13You will tread on the lion and the adder;
the young lion and the serpent you will trample underfoot.

14"Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him;
I will protect him, because he knows my name.
15When he calls to me, I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble;
I will rescue him and honor him.
16With long life I will satisfy him
and show him my salvation."

Troy and I have had the privilege of teaching Jr. and Sr. High kids in Sunday school and youth group over the years and we have learned a lot from them. There have been times in order to avoid studying the lesson they will ask questions. In one particular class they wanted to know about our confirmation classes and what did we learn. We have learned over the years to take the situation and turn it into a “teachable moment”.

I told them I remembered the very first question my Pastor asked in confirmation. They all laughed and told me it was so long ago, how could I ever remember J Of course they wanted to know the question. Our Pastor walked into the class and asked us if any of us thought we were good enough to go to heaven? If we did, we needed to raise our hand. No one raised their hand. The Pastor shocked us by saying you are right, none of you are good enough to go to heaven and you never will be. He had our attention.

Of course he went on to explain, heaven is not something we can earn for ourselves, but Jesus paid the price for our sins, so we can go to heaven.

Our class wanted to know what I had ever done to think I didn’t deserve to go to heaven when I was young. I shared with them, I knew I was a sinner, and I wasn’t good. I asked them, if they had ever felt remorseful over their sins? Sometimes was their answer.

I have noticed two extremes in the lives of Christians they are either so consumed with guilt they consider themselves unworthy; or they never stop to think about how they are living their lives because they know God will love them anyways.

In both cases they miss out on the joy of understanding God’s grace and forgiveness. I don’t know if you have experienced either extreme, I know I have.

Two Bible verses come to mind: Psalm 103:12 “as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.” As we repent and ask for forgiveness God removes our sins and remembers them no more.

Psalm 139: “23Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts!24And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!
Sometimes we do not see the sin in our lives, and this is a good Bible verse to reflect upon. Asking the Lord to show you how you might live differently.

Again, I want to emphasize there is nothing we can do to earn favor with God. Jesus has done it all for us. My prayer for you during this Lenten Journey is you will experience the joy of understanding the precious gift of Salvation God has given you and how much He loves you.

I have found listening to music a wonderful way to reflect. This is one of my favorite Hymns/songs during the Lenten Season.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Ash Wednesday
How many of you really lived it up yesterday (Fat Tuesday) because you knew today started your Lenten journey? I have never understood the concept, I'm going to party like there is no tomorrow, because for the next 40 days of Lent I need to be really good.
I want to take a look at the comment, " I need to be really good" throughout this reflection today. Today along with other Christians from all over the world, I will observe Ash Wednesday by going to church. As part of the service, I will go forward and kneel at the altar. The Pastor will make a sign of the cross on my forehead and say, "Remember from dust you came and to dust you shall return."
I could get bogged down with the dust comment and for 40 days remind myself of how unworthy I am and that I do not deserve God's love. I could become depressed over the realization I can never be good enough. I would encourage you instead of just reflecting upon yourself, reflect upon what God has done for you.
I do think we need to realize we are poor miserable sinners and there is nothing we can do to earn God's favor. It's when we get to that point we realize we need a Savior, because we can not do it on our own.
In our Lenten Journey we remember, Jesus has all ready walked the road to calvary. He walked for you and for me. Our sins nailed Him to the cross. If you would have been the only person on earth, Jesus would have died on the cross, just for you.
Beneath the cross of dust on my forehead, is a permanent cross that was made at my baptism. I have been made a child of God forever. There is nothing I did to deserve it, God gave it to me as a gift, the gift of being His child forever. Through Him, I will have eternal life. It doesn't matter to me if my physical body returns to the dust, because my spiritual body, will be with Jesus forever.
Romans 8: 38-39 "For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord."
I would like to share with you one of my favorite songs, In Christ Alone. As you take the time to watch it may you be reminded of how much Jesus loves you. May God fill you with His perfect peace today and always.
In the opening scenes of this youtube clip. You will see Jesus drawing a line in the dust/sand. It is the story of the woman caught in adultery. You will see the men lined up to stone how she approaches Jesus and how He treats her.

Here are the words to this song if you are not familiar with it.

In Christ alone my hope is found
He is my light, my strength, my song
This Cornerstone, this solid ground
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm
What heights of love, what depths of peace
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease
My Comforter, my All in All
Here in the love of Christ I stand

In Christ alone, who took on flesh
Fullness of God in helpless babe
This gift of love and righteousness
Scorned by the ones He came to save
'Till on that cross as Jesus died
The wrath of God was satisfied
For every sin on Him was laid
Here in the death of Christ I live

There in the ground His body lay
Light of the world by darkness slain
Then bursting forth in glorious Day
Up from the grave He rose again
And as He stands in victory
Sin's curse has lost it's grip on me
For I am His and He is mine
Bought with the precious blood of Christ

No guilt in life, no fear in death
This is the power of Christ in me
From life's first cry to final breath
Jesus commands my destiny
No power of hell, no scheme of man
Can ever pluck me from His hand
'Till He returns or calls me home
Here in the power of Christ I'll stand

Sunday, February 15, 2009

I have seen this on several blogs. It is well worth the time to listen to the words of wisdom from one of our greatest Presidents, Ronald Wilson Reagan. I will never believe in the change Obama wants to bring to America. Socialism has always failed...I do not want to see the country I love go down this road.