Tears and Joy

I know many who have shed tears in recent times.  There are all kinds of reasons for those tears.  The Psalmist had many trials and difficulties. He took them to the Lord to find the help he needed.  We don’t know when we will have the shouts of joy – sowing tears can seem like a long process. 

I know that God always does what He promises.   While the tears are heavy and the suffering can seem long, I know that we will reap with shouts of joy!

Dear Heavenly Father, please help those who are shedding tears while sowing for You.  Please strengthen them.  Help them to remember they will reap with shouts of joy.

I pray this in Jesus’ name.

God is so good.

Thankfulness to Heal

I know I can struggle with being thankful.  This week was extra hard.  Work is tough with our new computer system issues and I had a coworker out on vacation.  I also faced a health issue that went a direction I didn’t want.  I was diagnosed with ductal carcinoma in situ.  It sounds kind of scary, but in situ is my new favorite term.  It means the carcinoma is believed to be contained. I will be facing surgery to remove the tumor and possibly some other treatment after (to be determined based on surgery results).

As I faced this week, I knew I would need God’s grace.  This was my first mammogram, and I knew I was likely to need a biopsy.  Not an easy thing for this introvert.  There is also the emotion of dread if the results are bad.  I struggle counting trials joy because it can feel like we have to lie.  Brutal honesty – the biopsy wasn’t exactly fun.  There were several hard things for my introverted personality during the tests.  I didn’t want to take my worry out on the medical professionals providing my care.  I spent a lot of time praying, both before and during the appointment.  I asked God to show me His grace and make me aware of the ways He sent it.  God came through with His usual generosity.  My interactions with the medical professionals that day and after have been wonderful.  They showed great compassion and care.

When I find it hard to thank God for a mammogram and biopsy or a diagnosis that requires surgery, I can easily thank God for the many evidences of His grace through trials. Medical research shows that thankfulness helps with healing.  I will need that in the next weeks.  

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the kindness, care and compassion that You sent through medical professionals this week.  Thank You for friends and family who are joining me on this journey.  Thank you for the joy and comfort Your grace provides.  Please help me to honor You throughout this journey.

I pray this in Jesus’ name.

God is so good.

Christmas Truth

I fear the concept of truth has been taking hits for many years.  We confuse opinion with truth.  We have to form opinions – it is in our nature, but I think we need to be careful about the basis for our opinions. 

One thing I know for sure is that Jesus, Who is God, came to earth to be born as a baby.  He grew up to die to save us from our sins.  Many in the world today do not know the truth of Jesus. This has caused us to be at war with each other.  If we were to focus on and cling to Jesus Christ, we could stop the warring.  Jesus is the only way to peace.

I enjoy Christmas songs that remind us of this truth.  One is the song “Glorious Light” by Keith & Kristyn Getty and Ian Hannah. 

Glorious light! see the dawn of Salvation:
Angels in white fill the skies with their wondrous song;
Awakening earth with news of His birth;
Join the hymn of the highest heavens!

Long has the world fought the song of the angels.
Heavenly music is drowned by a warring world;
Yet hope burns a light, that shatters the night;
Turn your heart to the call of glory!

Glory to God in the highest!
Peace to men on earth.
Come and adore Him with wonder –
Christ Lord of Heaven and earth.

Keith & Kristyn Getty and Ian Hannah

As I have said before, I pray you know Jesus.  He is the only way to have peace and joy.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Jesus. Thank You for the beautiful music many have written about Your Son.  Please open eyes to the truth of Who Jesus truly is.  Please help me to be an instrument of that truth.

I pray this in Jesus’ name.

God is so good.

Christmas Humility

Humility is a concept that is often considered distasteful in our society today.  I think we decide as long as we don’t have extreme arrogance, we aren’t so bad.  However, as a child of God, my example of Jesus Christ shows a much deeper kind of humility.  Although He is God, He chose to be born as a baby.  Then He grew up to be a servant – willing to die.  This isn’t the glorious story we tend to like.  Humility is grueling work.  I believe this hard work is worth it.  Jesus is worthy of my allegiance.  Humility is following His example. 

This Christmas, I hope you will look at the example of Jesus Christ.  His way is the only way to find peace and joy during tough times and good ones.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the truth of Jesus coming to be born as a baby.  Thank You for His example of humility.  Please help me to learn humility and live that example to all who see my life.  May they see You in my life.

I pray this in Jesus’ name.

God is so good.

Christmas Opinion

There can be no surprise that opinions abound regarding Christmas, just as they do with most things.  As I have stated many times in my writing, I believe in the Bible as a solid foundation.  The Bible tells us the origins of Christmas.  The real deal – not something made up.  I know not everyone believes the Bible, but I have found the Bible to be true and trustworthy. 

The Bible tells us that we are sinners.  We have chosen to do wrong, hurtful things (Romans 3:10).  The Bible tells us there is a punishment for wrong (Romans 6:23).  The punishment is more than we can pay – we can only be saved by faith in Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:8-9).

The verse I posted today tells us about Christmas.  When the time God chose came, He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to be born of Mary.  Jesus grew up to die on the cross.  His shed blood paid the penalty for our sin (Hebrews 9:22).  This makes it possible for us to be a part of God’s family.  Those of us who have trusted in Christ know the joy of becoming God’s child.  I pray you will learn this if you have not. There is no greater joy.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Jesus to be born to pay the penalty for our sin.  Please help me to share this joy with others.  I want to see them come to know You and the joy only You can bring.

I pray this in Jesus’ name.

God is so good.

Thank You to Hard Workers

Today I want to take time to thank all of those who work hard in their jobs, no matter what the job is.  This year we have had a lot of talk about “essential workers”.  While I understand the concept at the time, anyone who provides an income is essential.  And sadly, I have seen some in the “essential” roles who have not worked hard.  I believe that is true in every profession.  Some people work hard and sadly some are lazy. 

I am thankful for all who work hard.  Whether in stores, distribution centers, truck drivers who provide us with products we need for life or medical professionals who work hard to take care of our health and learn as new things come along.  The single parent who works doubly hard to provide for family, the caregiver who is navigating new circumstances and so many others.  All of you are a blessing to me.  I have worked with both hard workers and lazy employees.  I much prefer the hard workers and I know that God is pleased with hard workers (Proverbs 14:23, Acts 20:35, 2 Timothy 2:6).

Again – I say, “thank you”, to all of you. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for all who work hard.  Their effort brings things necessary for life and joy to the recipients.  Please help those who do not work hard to see the benefit and joy of putting more effort in.  This will bring glory to Your name.

I pray this in Jesus’ name. 

God is so good.

Happy Joyful Noise

Has 2020 been an easy year to sing praise and be thankful?  I have often found it difficult.  It is too easy to fall into complaining.  That is why I wanted to spend extra time expressing gratitude this month.  The Bible often tells us to be glad and rejoice. Even when there is a difficult time, there is reason to praise God.  God would not have asked us to praise Him if there was not.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for giving us the Bible with reminders to be joyful.  I want to serve You with gladness and to sing in Your presence.  You are so good!

I pray this in Jesus’ name.

God is so good.

The Pilgrims’ Thanksgiving

I find it sad that few people know the story of the Pilgrims sailing to Massachusetts in 1620 on the Mayflower.  They had a very difficult 2 month journey from England.  The Pilgrims left England, because they were not allowed to worship as they believed God wanted them to.  When they arrived in Massachusetts they had to face a tough winter.  Over half of the original 102 passengers died.  That spring they had help from the Wampanoag tribe to plant crops.  The harvest of 1621 was a good one.  They invited the Wampanoag to join them in celebration and thankfulness to God for His provision.

We don’t have recorded transcripts from their conversations, but it is known that the Pilgrims practiced thankfulness on a regular basis.  I think they might have read Psalm 9.  This psalm talks about God’s provision during tough times.  

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the example of the Pilgrims. Thank you that they spent time regularly declaring thanksgiving. Please help me to follow their example.

I pray this in Jesus’ name.

God is so good.

Gathering in Jesus Name

Today I am thankful for those who gather in the name of Jesus.  My church family has commented on how much we missed gathering from March – May this year.  If you haven’t learned what gathering around the name of Jesus is, you have missed out. We aren’t perfect, but when we have our eyes fixed on God, the fellowship is wonderful.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for my church family and others who gather in Your name.  Thank you for the joy when we are in tune with Christ.  Thank You for the unity we can have when we put You first. Please help us to focus on You and all You have done for us.

I pray this in Jesus’ name.

God is so good.

Rejoice and Repeat

Today’s verses are compliments of my mom.  I love the book of Philippians.  There is so much practical advice for daily living.  Verse 4 tells us to rejoice – twice!  I also appreciate the reminder in verse 6 to bring requests with thanksgiving.  The beauty of this practice is the peace it brings.  Peace that can only come from God.

Peace can seem elusive when times are tough.  I think we sometimes don’t have peace when things are good, because we look for peace in the wrong places.  We think it will come from the right job, house, possessions, people. Godly friends can help us achieve peace, but only if they direct us to Christ.

Friends, I pray you know Jesus Christ as your savior according to what the Bible says.  If not, please contact me. I would be happy to share the truth of the gospel with you. God is worth it!

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for providing peace when we come to You with our praise and requests.  Thank You for the protection for our hearts and minds.  Please help me to rejoice and have a gentle spirit every day.

I pray this in Jesus’ name.

God is so good.