Monthly Archives: April 2013

Are you ready?

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Since I’m on my Anointed kick I had to add this video to offer a “two-for” at no extra charge! This song is the one that turned my ear to Anointed. It had so much soul and feeling. This song led me to Take Me Back showcased in the prior post. They are completely different in style, but an equally important message. The Lord is coming so get ready. We don’t know when it’s going to be…tonight?

1 Thessalonians 5:2
…for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.

Take Me Back

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I have loved this song for years. I don’t remember when I first heard it, but it caught me red-handed at the time. I don’t love God as a I ought to. I put myself ahead of Him…but I’m ready to learn how to faithfully love Him with my heart, my soul, my mind. Take a break from whatever you are doing and enjoy. He’s waiting for us.

Unplugged

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Yesterday morning’s routine started as most where I wake up, freshen up a bit and then go on a morning walk with my dog to get both of us exercised and clear-thinking for the day. Spring hasn’t quite gotten the idea that it’s time for it’s arrival yet so the weather outside was a little crisp-like the first bite of fresh Gala apple.
As I assembled myself for the walk I couldn’t find my earbuds anywhere. The typical routine includes my listening to a select number of radio programs on the journey to help camouflage the distance we are trying to attain.

I got the novel idea to free myself from Tune-In and just listen to the natural sounds that surrounded us. I wanted to use my senses to absorb the environment and try to get in touch with the beautiful creations that God gifted to us.

Once I warmed to the slight chill in the air my first sight of beauty was seeing the sun glaze over an initially still pond showing a range of tangerines hues. Slight ripples from a gentle breeze wavered the colors across the water creating interesting effects like the flames of a fire.
Most mornings I notice a few hawks gliding through the sky, but for some reason this day it was two giant black crows. They had words to share that I didn’t understand and swooped up and down around me a few times until they realized my dog and I really weren’t that interesting after all.

The wind picked up slightly and the dry branches of most of the trees tousled about as we passed along our route. Those too timid to sprout displayed the intricate weavings of twigs and leaves that many a bird called home at one time.

A few trees had buds on them, but they must have felt too cold to open up and completely display their colors. Though, there were a few brave enough to expose their flowers with their petals shivering from the cold and breeze.
The terrain is hilly where we walk and there are moments where you see glints of distances miles away with houses and cars and busses hustling to get to their destinations. But that didn’t distract for long as I got reabsorbed in the beauty surrounding me quickly.

What must the first few days of creation been like? A world freshly unpacked and unaffected by man-made things. How did the animals respond to each other? Did the species all get along? The water must have been crystal clear with a purity we will never know in our lifetime. Trees obviously bore fruit. Was the earth filled with color? Was it filled with jumbled sounds from melodic birds? Could you hear a pin drop at night when the stars blazed across the sky? Was the sky so clear it really looked like a curtain of diamonds?
What an amazing 30 minutes I had before reality set in for the day. My dog probably notices this stuff every day. She’s very in tune with her surroundings through her nose and ears and eyes. I take for granted the loveliness God provided to each and every one of us. I need to change that and take advantage of the pleasure that my unplugged walk resulted in. For that unexpected time I give thanks and praise to our Creator.

PSALM 148

1 Praise the Lord.

Praise the Lord from the heavens;
praise him in the heights above.
2 Praise him, all his angels;
praise him, all his heavenly hosts.
3 Praise him, sun and moon;
praise him, all you shining stars.
4 Praise him, you highest heavens
and you waters above the skies.

5 Let them praise the name of the Lord,
for at his command they were created,
6 and he established them for ever and ever—
he issued a decree that will never pass away.

7 Praise the Lord from the earth,
you great sea creatures and all ocean depths,
8 lightning and hail, snow and clouds,
stormy winds that do his bidding,
9 you mountains and all hills,
fruit trees and all cedars,
10 wild animals and all cattle,
small creatures and flying birds,
11 kings of the earth and all nations,
you princes and all rulers on earth,
12 young men and women,
old men and children.

13 Let them praise the name of the Lord,
for his name alone is exalted;
his splendor is above the earth and the heavens.
14 And he has raised up for his people a horn,[b]
the praise of all his faithful servants,
of Israel, the people close to his heart.

Praise the Lord.

God is Everywhere!

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I was driving down the street earlier this week and I saw the van in the photo above.  It reminded me of a close friend’s car and that got me thinking about her and the friends and family I’m missing right now since our move.  What I especially loved was the license plate.  I’m sorry the details aren’t very good in the photo. It says: 

PSLM103

I knew immediately it was referencing Psalm 103.  

It’s one of my Dad’s favorites which made it even more special.  I’ve read it a lot because of him.  

There is a ton of God packed into this Psalm.  It addresses a multitude of situations and so many apply to me right now.  

When I got back home I reminded myself about its message by reading it through.  To get the most out of it I read it slowly.   I split it up to give each section the most meaning for me.

I was immediately reminded how deeply God cares for us.  For me.  He forgives ALL of our sins.  There isn’t a single sin that God says, oops that one was too extreme- can’t forgive that one.  In fact,  as far as the east is from the west he has removed our sin.

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He will not always accuse.  That’s rare in our world.  He is SLOW to anger.  When he has anger he doesn’t hold on to it for long.  I can learn from that.  

God is filled with compassion; in fact, it’s mentioned four times in the Psalm.  

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There’s more and more, but why don’t I just let you read it for yourselves.  Dwell on it.  Enjoy it.  Wrap your mind around it.  Read it again and again.  

I might need to get a new license plate.

PSALM 103

 

 

Praise the Lord, my soul;
    all my inmost being, praise his holy name.

Praise the Lord, my soul,
    and forget not all his benefits
who forgives all your sins
    and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit
    and crowns you with love and compassion,
who satisfies your desires with good things
    so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

The Lord works righteousness
    and justice for all the oppressed.

He made known his ways to Moses,
    his deeds to the people of Israel:

The Lord is compassionate and gracious,
    slow to anger, abounding in love.
He will not always accuse,
    nor will he harbor his anger forever;
10 he does not treat us as our sins deserve
    or repay us according to our iniquities.

11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
    so great is his love for those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west,
    so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

 

13 As a father has compassion on his children,
    so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;
14 for he knows how we are formed,
    he remembers that we are dust.
15 The life of mortals is like grass,
    they flourish like a flower of the field;
16 the wind blows over it and it is gone,
    and its place remembers it no more.
17 But from everlasting to everlasting
    the Lord’s love is with those who fear him,
    and his righteousness with their children’s children—
18 with those who keep his covenant
    and remember to obey his precepts.

19 The Lord has established his throne in heaven,
    and his kingdom rules over all.

20 Praise the Lord, you his angels,
    you mighty ones who do his bidding,
    who obey his word.
21 Praise the Lord, all his heavenly hosts,
    you his servants who do his will.
22 Praise the Lord, all his works
    everywhere in his dominion.

Praise the Lord, my soul.

You Attain In Direct Proportion To What You Attempt

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Too good to keep to myself.  

This message comes from devotion@lutheranchurchcharities.org

Launch Out

When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.” Luke 5:4

Dr. Robert Schuller’s hobbies included raising koi fish. Asked why some grow big while others stay small, he replied, ‘If a koi fish lives in a small tank it will never grow longer than two or three inches. In a larger pond they can grow up to ten inches long—in ponds the size of mine they’ll get to be eighteen inches long—but if they live in a huge lake where they can swim and stretch, they can grow up to three feet long. The size of the pond determines the size of the fish. Similarly, little ideas in little-thinking minds produce little achievements. But little ideas embraced by big-thinking minds produce enormous achievements.’ Jesus said, ‘According to your faith be it unto you’ (Mt 9:29). The size of your faith and your vision determines the outcome of your idea. Edison had to install electric lights for free in an office building before anyone even came to look at them. The first sewing machine invented was destroyed by a mob in France. Morse waited for ten years before the world showed any interest in his telegraph. And when the idea of travelling by railroad was introduced, people scoffed because it was widely believed that travelling at thirty miles per hour stopped blood circulation in the human body. Ronald E. Osborn said, ‘Undertake something difficult; it will do you good. Unless you try something beyond what you have already mastered, you’ll never grow.’ You attain in direct proportion to what you attempt, which is why Jesus said to His disciples: ‘Launch out into the deep.’

Prayer
Heavenly Father, help me to do things that You have planned for me to do in areas that are much bigger than I can imagine. In Jesus’ Name, Amen

 

Lutheran Church Charities • 333 W. Lake Street • Addison, Illinois 60101
www.LutheranChurchCharities.org
(866) 455-6466

 

 

Maybe It’s His Dream…

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I recently moved with my family about 500 miles away from the home where we lived the past twenty or so years.  It was a terribly difficult decision to  make that involved a lot of tears, anxiety, anger, fear, and, I must admit, hope.    We left a place with a million meaningful memories that grew me into the person I am today.  Some of those memories are awful and and left deep battle scars.  Some are the most wonderful things I can imagine that are completely irreplaceable and bring a bring a sensation of joy and relief by their very thought.  As you can imagine, there is then everything in between.

We could have stayed where we were I suppose.  It would have been a very difficult life for us.  The job opportunities we needed just weren’t coming through.  But it would have certainly been easier on me emotionally…at least for a while.

Doors opened in other places-places 500 miles and more away from where my heart was attached to so many other hearts.  A difficult decision had to be made.  I have felt a bit like a traitor coming to this event. Maybe I gave up too soon.  I let money buy me out.  Everyone says follow your dream but my dream became a crumbling mountain that was eroding.   I caved in and I accepted another plan.  

Along the way, to make sure what we were doing was right, I opened my heart to God and I prayed that He would lead me and my family to a place of His will.   I prayed He would help us overcome our financial stress.  I prayed for opportunities to strengthen my family.  I asked for a direction that would help my family and maybe help others somehow.  I prayed all that through tears of hope that maybe that opportunity would be right where we were.  It wasn’t. 

So many “yeses” paved the way to where we are today at this moment.  It is the right place for us to be right now.  Our lives will be improved because we are here.  I don’t know what God has in store, but there were just too many signs that indicated this was the right thing to do.

My heart is still broken.  God didn’t take that from me.  He’s allowed my heart to be broken many times.   Those are the times when I come to Him as a tender child that needs to rely on someone greater than me- even greater than the people I’m surrounded by.   God holds my heart in His hands and He fits the pieces back together.  He fills it with more love, more faith, more caring, more joy, more peace, more blessings.  As with anything broken, it takes time for it to fully heal- to be fully engaged and ready to work at capacity.  That requires we lean on our Maker knowing He will get us to that point at the right time.  

I completely trust being 500 miles from so much that I love and miss is God’s plan.  I am taking a giant leap of faith, but I am certain I will land on firm ground.  Trusting and leaping does not make the pain less at the moment.  It does help me wake each day and say, I’m here for a reason.  Maybe today is the day I’ll begin to realize His dream instead of my own.  Maybe today is the day I’m less self-focused and I can see more clearly the opportunities around me.

 

Jeremiah 29:11 from The Message

I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.

 

 

He Loves Us With The Cross

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For the Lord God is our light and protector.  He gives us grace and glory.  No good thing will the Lord withhold from those who do what is right.  O Lord Almighty, happy are those who trust in you.  (Psalm 84: 11-12)

He left a throne in heaven to come to Bethlehem
And I will not forget the way
He loved me even then
And everywhere He traveled
He spoke with words of love
That said He’d go to any distance
To show what I was worthy of
And when at last the dusty road
Had turned to Calvary
He picked up a rugged burden
So that one day I would see

He loved me with a cross
He loved me with a cross
In answer to the call of love
He loved me with a cross
And I could not imagine what
Loving me would cost
My Jesus went to Calvary
And loved me with a cross

He knew from the beginning
The price He’d have to pay
For my heart had gone so far beyond
What other loves forgave
I wasn’t on that hillside
To see Him on the tree
But as my guilt was placed upon Him
I know that somehow He saw me

He loved me with a cross
He loved me with a cross
In answer to the call of love
He loved me with a cross

And I would be a sinner still
Enslaved by all my sin
If it hadn’t been for Jesus
And the way He loved me still

He loved me with a cross
He loved me with a cross
In answer to the call of love
He loved me with a cross

Thank you for showing us your unfailing love and granting us your salvation (Psalm 85:7)

He is risen…Indeed