Friday, August 29, 2014

Thoughts for today ...

I had some technical difficulties this morning, so I'm temporarily veering off course ...

Over the last few days, I've been engaged in the "five days of thankfulness" challenge on Facebook. I've expressed gratitude for grace and mercy, for my husband, for my friends. For my dogs, for a comfortable home, for a flexible work schedule.

It's a good practice to remember how very, very blessed I am.

I haven't posted today's three things on Facebook, but this is one of the things about which I'm going to write:

I'm thankful for my ill-health. 

I know that may sound strange, but I am. When I wake up each morning, I have to rely on the strength of the Lord. I don't have any choice. My pain requires focus on the only One who can get me through each day. 

I know myself well ... If I were whole and healthy, I would take control of each day and think I had it all together. And I don't. I can be pretty independent, and my health issues keep me dependent on God.

And that's what I really want. To be focused and dependent on my God who has offered me grace and mercy.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Praise Him All Day Long (Psalm 71:7-8)

Today's scripture: Psalm 71:7-8

What do you do all day? Work? Go to school? Take care of your children? Play?

We all have things we have to do throughout each day. I know I do.

Then I read verses like one of today's. Verse eight asks the Lord:

Let my mouth be filled with Your praise
And with Your glory all the day.

All the day ...

Praising God ... all the day.

Being filled with God's glory ... all the day.

The Contemporary English Version says, "I will praise and honor you all day long."

All day long ...

If you're like me, you have your time of Bible study and prayer sometime in the day (I tend to have my quiet time in the morning). How often, however, do we relegate that time to a certain hour of the day? Do we really focus on God the rest of the time? Do we really "praise and honor [Him] all day long"?

Today, I'm going to try to keep my Lord front of mind. I'm going to try to remember to "Let my mouth be filled with [His] praises."

All the day ...

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

You Are Amazing! (Psalm 71:4-6)

Today's scripture: Psalm 71:4-6

You have a purpose. No, really. You do.

God created you to be the unique, amazing person you are. He has "upheld [you] from birth."

Because you can be confident of this, you can have hope that He has a plan for you (Jeremiah 29:11). He has something in store for you that is just as unique and amazing as you are.

I don't feel amazing or unique, you say. I'm just an ordinary person.

Perhaps you are "ordinary" as the world defines it. Perhaps you haven't sung on a Broadway stage or climbed Mount Everest. You haven't developed a cure for cancer or spoken at the U.N. Your name is not known throughout the world.

You feel ordinary.

Guess what? God often does extraordinary things through so-called ordinary people.

Abraham. Moses. Joseph. Joshua. Esther. Ruth. Deborah.

Peter. John. James

Do any of these names sound familiar? Ordinary people. Yet, God created them to be unique, amazing people who did extraordinary things.

God may well use you on a world-wide stage of some sort. More likely, He's going to use you in your own little circle of influence. He's going to use you to encourage a hurting friend. He'll comfort someone because of your words. He'll save a life through your testimony.

You are unique. You are amazing.

You have a purpose. Ask God today, "What is my purpose for just this day? Please use me to glorify Yourself and touch a life. Just for this day."

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

My Refuge (Psalm 71:1-3)

Today's scripture: Psalm 71:1-3

On more days than I care to admit, I need a refuge. I need Someone stronger than I could ever be. I need a rock, a foundation.

I am so very, very weak. Before I get out of bed each morning, I stretch to alleviate some of the pain that seems to accumulate through the night. Then, more often than not, I say something like, "Lord Jesus, please hold my hand more tightly today. Please be my strength today."

Because of how He's carried me in the past, because He has been trustworthy, I know that He'll save me this day.

One day at a time.

I know when I can't do this thing called life on my own, I can run (figuratively, of course!) to a place of refuge: God Himself. I can "resort continually" to His strong arms. I can stand on the solid rock of His presence and seek shelter in His fortress.

Yes, I am weak. Yes, I have little strength on my own. How very, very blessed I am that I'm not alone. I do have a refuge. I do have a loving God to whom I can go.

Are you feeling a bit weak today? Do you need a place of refuge? Run (or walk ... or even crawl) to the One who will be your strength today.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Wait on the Lord (Psalm 27:14)

Today's scripture: Psalm 27:14

Waiting ... one of my least favorite things to do. I don't really like waiting in traffic, waiting in line at the grocery store, or waiting for a doctor's appointment. I'd much rather do than wait.

However, quite often, God asks us to wait. Wait for answered prayer. Wait for direction. Wait for a revelation of His will.

That's not easy for many of us ...

The thing I love most about today's verse is through the waiting comes growth. We become stronger in the wait. We learn to trust Him more. We learn to stay calm in the storm. We learn to see how His plans are always better than our own.

I've been praying for years for something near and dear to my heart. I believe God continues to ask me to wait. As I've waited through the years, I've come to rely more and more on God, trusting Him to work everything out according to His plan and His purpose. I know, because He's asked me to wait in the past, He will answer my prayer one day.

I can wait, with confidence and courage, growing stronger in faith every day.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Don't Lose Heart (Psalm 27:11-13)

Today's scripture: Psalm 27:11-13

I so often resonate with verse 13 of today's reading:

I would have lost heart, unless I had believed
That I would see the goodness of the Lord
In the land of the living.

So often, I despair of the deterioration of this world. I'm often overwhelmed by the pain and suffering of those around me ... and sometimes by my own pain.

If it weren't for the confidence I have that my God has a purpose in all things, that He has a plan for my life, that He is in loving control, I would certainly "lose heart."

For every moment of despair, there is a splash of joy. A phone call from friend. A long hug from my husband. An adoring look from one of my dog "kids."

For every story of catastrophe, there is a reminder of good in many of us. A father writes of his hopes for his children. A random act of kindness. A selfless contribution to a cause.

God is still demonstrating His goodness throughout our world. There is still beauty to behold, creation to admire, and people to love.

Yes, we could "lose heart," but if we serve the one true God, we can see His "goodness in the land of the living."