Trusting God

Today I received word that I have 212 consecutive days where I have shared posts on WordPress. It just happened that I had not planned to share anything today since we are in the midst of moving. So, I couldn’t drop off – I decided to share one of my blog posts that is special to me. I pray you are having a great day.

Donna's Morning Coffee

Psalms 71:5-6:

For thou, O Lord, art my hope, my trust, O Lord, from my youth. Upon thee I have leaned from my birth; thou art he who took me from my mother’s womb, My praise is continually of thee. (RSV)

Thought for the Day:  Having faith as a child

When my brother was 6 years old, he had an experience where he had to trust. My dad was a pastor, and as many pastor families do, my dad and mom went to church in separate cars. Daddy went early to make sure the doors were opened and mama came later with the children. On this day they got home after church to realize that neither one of them had my brother, Ricky, with them. Of course, the family immediately drove back to the church. Ricky was found swinging on the church sign next to the drive just waiting for my…

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Here I Am, Put Me to Work

John 13:12-14

When he had washed their feet, and taken his garments, and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.”

Thought for the Day:  Instead of “Call if you need me”, say “Here I am, Send me.”

Text: “I am available on Monday, what time do you want me?” Talk: “I can’t help on Saturday or Sunday because of family, but I will call you Sunday night to find out if you need me for Monday.” Text: “When can we come to help? – We understand you can use all the hours we can give?” Yesterday was very humbling for me because God showed us love in a special way. I am not one who easily calls friends for help. It takes all that is in me to even call babysitters for my children. So, when we started getting close to our last day of packing I was trying to do it all myself as I will do. Then these texts and talks took place. I did not ask for these friends to help, they just became available and they came to our help. These four friends came in, dug in, and knocked out more than I could have imagined doing on my own. These four friends, my gifts from God, came in and made themselves to be God’s hands for my family. I still feel humbled that they came, but I am very grateful.

As I look back on the way these friends volunteered in a way that I could not say no, I thought about how many times I have said the words “Call me if you need anything” when people are grieving and sick. These words have been said to me on many occasions as well. As the person needing help occasionally through times of trouble and grief, I am reluctant to call the person who said, “Call me if you need anything.” But these four friends did something different, instead of saying “Call me if you need anything, they said “Here I am, put me to work.” They responded to what I believe was God’s calling by saying, “Here I am Lord, Send me.” Today, I pray that instead of telling someone to call if they need me I will step in as these four friends did and say, Here I Am, Send me.”

Prayer:   God, thank you. Thank you for humbling me by sending friends to help me in my time of need. Help me to be more like these friends who said, “Here Am I, Send me”, to those in need and those needing to see Your hands. You loved me in a special way by sending them to me. You showed up and showed out through them.  Amen.

Prayer Focus: THOSE HELPING OTHERS

 

Emoticons

Ezekiel 1:28

Like the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud on the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness round about. Such was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord. And when I saw it, I fell upon my face, and I heard the voice of one speaking.

Thought for the Day:  Open your eyes, look up, and pray.  You will see a little glimpse of God’s glory.

Excited. Anxious. Overwhelmed. Tired. Emotional. Happy. Sad. Exuberant. As I wrote these feelings, the new word “Emoticons” came to my mind. These are those tiny pictures we put on emails and Facebook messages to share some type of emotion. In recent days I have felt all of these emotions plus many, many more as we have packed and then as I have gotten overwhelmed about our move. As I think about what emoticons to use for each of these emotions, I see smiles, grimaces, dancing, tears, and so many more.

Today, I read the first Chapter in the book of Ezekiel about how Ezekiel saw and then tried to express in words the glory of God he witnessed as he looked up into the sky. He admitted in his writing that he had done the best he could using words but that God’s presence was too indescribable to put into simple words. God is too big and too powerful to describe, but through our Worship and spending time with Him, we can see a little bit of His glory. We might not be able to see Him in the sky as bright as Ezekiel saw, but if we believe and have faith, we will see Him. Through His words of scripture and prayer, we can learn the “art of adoration”, and we can and will see a glimpse of the glory that Ezekiel saw.

As I enter our last full day of packing and preparing for movers, I want to keep focused on the glory of God where I can see Him as I go through the day. The emoticons of the day should not show grimaces, tears, anger, or sadness. The emoticons of the day should be of Joy that God is with us. The emoticon of the day should be that indescribable picture of true elation.

Prayer:   Father, thank you for life and the experiences You give us. Help us, Lord, to keep focused on you as we go through change and as we find ourselves tired in mundane situations. Help us to keep our eyes on You to see just a little glimpse of Your glory. Amen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Prayer Focus: THOSE TIRED

 

 

Go Ye Into the World

Mark 16:15

And He said, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation.

Thought for the Day:  How do we begin to preach the Gospel to every creature? We say, “Here Am I?”

Last commandment: Go ye into the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. As I read scriptures and devotionals each morning, I wait to hear the Word God is trying to give me that day. Then, there are days when the Word is so obvious and I have to determine what it means for me in that moment. Today was one of those days. I read today’s Upper Room Devotional about Mary and the devotion she had for Jesus and how she listened so intently to Him. Then, I decided to pick up a very old Upper Room devotional book that belonged to my grandmother. It was dated October 1957. “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” That devotional called readers to remember the “main task” – to preach the gospel to every creature. Words from a dying man to his son-in-law asked him why he stood idle when he should be out spreading the gospel. Then he said, “You do not work for Christ”. My reaction to that reading was a hurt in my heart because I asked myself the question, “Do I remember the main task – Do I work for Christ?” I later read another devotional by Chris Tiegreen that was based on Isaiah’s witness of worship in Heaven where he saw God in all His glory and the amazing way the angels worshipped. Isaiah 6:8 read, “And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “’Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?’ Then I said, ‘Here am I, Send me.’” The devotional stated that we have an “exhilarating mission”. He said, “Like Isaiah, we stand between a perfect God and an imperfect world with an imperative: point to the Bridge between them. Live your mission as your highest act of worship.”

As a reader of the Upper Room Devotional, I am not sure today’s daily devotions speak quite as harshly as to say, “You do not work for Christ”. However, those words spoken to me from a 1957 writing along with the Chris  Tiegreen devotion from Isaiah made me stop and think about my life. What is my mission? Most of my personal mission seems to be taking care of my family and preparing to do a good job at work. What should my mission be? My main task should be to “Go into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” Can I do this easily as I take care of my family and go to work each day? Yes, the “world” is where I am in the moment. I can preach the gospel right where I am. “Here I am Lord, Send me.”

Prayer:   God, thank you for bringing words to us that were written to touch people almost 60 years ago. Those words written in a different style than today’s writings brought us back to the “main task” and made us think. Be with us as we respond to you by saying “Here I am Lord, Send me” and help us know how to “go into the world to spread your Word”. Amen.

Prayer Focus: THOSE SPREADING GOD’S WORD

Normal

Luke 2:10-11

And the angel said to them, “Be not afraid: for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people; for to you is born this day in the city of David, a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”

Thought for the Day:  Christmas brings us back to “normal” through the birth of Jesus Christ.

A year ago, we had a Christmas that was the most difficult my husband and I had ever experienced as we did not know what our future would hold. We did our best to give our children a “normal” Christmas although there was nothing “normal” about our situation. There was, however, the “normal” warmth and love at Christmas that we had always felt from family and friends. There was the reason for Christmas that never changed in that we celebrated the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. There was the “normal” knowledge and feeling that God was with us as we went through the struggle.

As we celebrated Christmas with family this year, we found that things were not “normal” again as we were in the last few days before a major move. We did find “normal” in the voices of our family and friends as we shared time with them. My husband was able to share with his family about where God has led us and where we can look back and see His hand in everything that has taken place since our time with them on Christmas Day a year ago. After he shared, he felt that he had shared too much and taken too much of his family’s precious time in telling our story. Afterwards, however, several came up to me saying “I am so glad Mark shared all of that with us”, “I am so glad the youth and children were able to hear your story because it could change their lives”, and “It is wonderful to hear about yours and Mark’s faith and how God has brought you to this new place.”

As I look back at my life with many periods of grief, and then I look back over the Christmases experienced after those loses, I immediately realize that the “normal” Christmas with the celebration of Jesus’ birth was there every year to remind me that God was indeed with me. The “normal” Christmas sharing with family was always there. The “normal” Christmas was there to remind me of my faith and through my faith I could always know that God would indeed take care of me.

Prayer:   God, thank you for Christmas. Thank you for a time we can celebrate each year the birth of Jesus. That time brings us back to “normal” as we celebrate His birth with family and friends. That time brings our minds back to You no matter what we are going through. Amen.

Prayer Focus: THOSE STRUGGLING AT CHRISTMAS TIME

 

 

Worship the Baby Jesus

Matthew 2:15-16

When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they went with haste, and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger.

Thought for the Day:  How will we worship the Christ Child today?

The days of anticipation have passed and I awake on this Christmas morning. God’s Son has been born in a manger and we, His children, have come to celebrate His coming. As we enter the humble manger, we immediately see Mary. She has just given birth but her face is glowing in a beautiful way because she is a mama and is cuddling her baby in the swaddling clothes. We then see Joseph standing near looking lovingly toward Mary. In his vision is the woman he loves holding that precious baby, that tiny baby that he had been told is the Son of God. Immediately after the birth of Jesus, Mary and Joseph were alone in that stable with this tiny baby trying to do what they could to keep him warm and safe, just as all parents of babies do. Then, out of what seemed to be nowhere, shepherds came into the stable and bowed down to Worship that tiny child. They had come because an angel had appeared to them announcing that a baby, Christ the Lord, had been born. The angel told them that they would find the child, wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger. Mary and Joseph looked at the shepherds and were filled with awe that these men had come to Worship their tiny baby. Mary, humbled and quiet, took it all in as mother’s do when they are visited after the birth of a child. Mary, now the mother of Jesus, looked into the face of her baby. She looked into the face of God.

On Christmas, we celebrate the Birthday of Christ the Lord. How will we celebrate? Will we immediately dig into the gifts under the tree? Will we yell out and scream, “Merry Christmas” to all who enter the room? Will we diligently work around the house preparing for our guests to come for a meal? As we answer “Yes” to most of those questions, we think about how we can begin the day remembering the true reason for us waking up on Christmas morning. How will we celebrate the birth of Jesus in a special way? We enter into the stable…..we see Mary……we see Joseph…..we see Baby Jesus…..we bow down and worship him.

Prayer:   Precious Father, thank you for sending your Son to earth so many years ago in the form of baby. You sent Him to grow up with us where we could see You living a human life. Through that precious baby born so many years ago, we saw Your face in human light. Today, we bow down to worship you knowing You sent Your Son to save us. Be with all those today who are worshipping you and be with those who are still searching. Amen.

Prayer Focus: THOSE MAKING CHRISTMAS SPECIAL

God’s Unlimited Gifts

Philippians 1:6

And I am sure that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.

Thought for the Day:  God is unlimited in His gifts to us.

Over 30 years ago, I found out that I was a carrier of Duchene Muscular Dystrophy. Although I knew that I probably was a carrier, that moment of surety about the situation was difficult. As I read scriptures this morning about Abram and Sarai, I read about their situation of not having children at their old age and of them thinking God had let them down. At that young age of 24, I made the decision not to have children of my own because I knew if I did there would be a great possibility that if I had a boy he would have the disease, and if I had a girl she would be a carrier. I knew that adoption was going to be my only possibility of having children. I prayed and I waited for many years before that first adoption took place. Through those 20 years, I married a wonderful man who gave me so much love and gave me a special family. But, we never tried to adopt as he was several years younger than I and we felt we needed more time before we began the process. When he passed away in a car accident, his family remained a huge part of my heart. I later married another sweet gentleman and we shared so much love but still needed time to prepare our lives for the entrance of a baby. There were times through all of these years when I thought I would not even have a child through adoption because now I was almost too old. I never thought those 20 years earlier that I would be in my forties and still not have a child. I remember weeping alone and with my husband that we were going to remain childless.

God had another plan for our life though. At the sweet ages 45 and 42, my husband and I adopted the most precious baby boy. At that precious moment when our baby was placed in our arms, our thought of age disappeared and we felt blessed. We felt God, through the social worker, handing us OUR baby, the most precious gift either of us had ever received. But, God wasn’t finished giving gifts quite yet. Later, again after several more years of waiting and thinking we were really too old, God again placed another baby boy in our arms. We felt blessed and we felt God had come through for us in bigger ways than we ever imagined.

Abram and Sarai had many troubles along life’s way and felt that the promise God had given was going to be an unbroken promise. They even took matters into their own hands not trusting that an heir was going be given but God did fulfill His promise to them. Mark and I had many troubles along our life journey that kept us from getting that child through adoption and the years made us feel we would remain childless. But, God did it. We had limited God. We let our scars and brokenness limit, in our minds, God’s ability to give us the gift of children. Now, we have two beautiful children. Nathaniel is our “Gift of God” and Jonathan is “God’s Gift”, and they were both given to us in a way that only God can imagine in His own limitless way. We are blessed.to us. You take us from the limits we place in our own minds to the answered unlimited promises answered. Help us praise You for your unlimited gifts and be more able to see You in unlimited ways. Amen.

Prayer Focus:  THOSE AWAITING CHILDREN

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We Give Him Our Heart

Matthew 2:11

And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.

Thought for the Day:  We gift can we give – We can give Him our heart.

As my family enters into the days before Christmas, I find that we are in such a different place than we have ever been to celebrate the birth of Jesus. This year, our days are spent planning for our transition and move taking place in the next week. I have found that my mind awakes each day thinking about what needs to be done for the move and I dig into packing boxes, throwing things out, preparing things for charity pick-up, and so many more moving jobs. I have gone through life memories as I have taken time to go through my mother’s things that have been in the attic, finding treasures to give away to special family members. As I dug into a box yesterday, I found my Barbie dolls with all the clothes my mother made for them when I was a little girl. I took them out of their cases and looked them over for the first time in many years. Then I thought, “Who can I give my Barbie dolls to who would enjoy them in the way I enjoyed them as a little girl?” I offered them to my cousin who has two little girls and she said, “It would be an honor.” My heart leapt when she responded in that way and I feel blessed today that they will be going to a loving home.

Today, I awoke to my two daily devotionals that  were  both based on Matthew 2:1-11 and the story of the wisemen bringing Jesus their treasures. I thought about how I felt when my Barbie dolls had been accepted by someone so graciously and the warmth it brought to my heart. Today, I am pondering what gift I am bringing to the Baby Jesus that will bring the same warmth as the wisemen felt long ago. They gave their most expensive and priceless treasures. In the craziness of life for our family right now, I realized that the gift I can give Jesus is my heart, yes, my heart is what I can give Him today and everyday. That is what He desires and that is what can be constantly given to him if we give our most precious and priceless gift.

Prayer:   God, thank you for loving us and for sending Your Son to us as a tiny baby. What a precious gift you gave and are giving to us everyday. Today, help us Lord, to give the Baby Jesus our most precious gift. What gift can we bring, Lord, to the Baby Jesus. We give Him our heart. Yes, we give Him our heart. Amen.

Prayer Focus: THOSE GIVING THE PRICELESS GIFT

Christmas Anticipation

Luke 1:30-31

And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus.”

Thought for the Day:  I have a plan for you, just follow where I lead.

Mary is depicted in thousands of images that have been painted or drawn through the ages as riding on a donkey across the countryside. That silhouette of a very expectant woman sitting on the donkey as a man walks along beside her is what I visualize as I hear the story of Mary. As I look at that image today, I wonder what Mary was thinking as she rode those many days to get to Bethlehem. The first thought, I imagine, was the remembrance that an angel of the Lord had come to her and told her she would bear God’s son. Then, I feel sure, were the thoughts that she was traveling across hard country as was about to give birth. I wonder what she was thinking. Did she think, “What if the baby is born right now as I sit upon a donkey?” or “What if the baby doesn’t have a place to lay?” But then, I can see her look up into the Heavens and pray, “Lord, be with us and keep this baby safe.” And finally, I can hear God say to her, “Child, you are carrying my only Son and I have a plan for you. Just follow where I lead and this baby will be safe.” I can imagine her smiling then looking down at where the Baby Jesus is safe and secure in her womb. “God is with us.”

Today, as I look expectantly toward Christmas morning when we will awake to the coming of the Baby Jesus, what will I feel? What do I feel today? Today, I will think about the things that need to be done for my family as we prepare for Christmas. Today, I will think about what I need to do to prepare my heart for that morning. I will pray, “Lord, be with us and keep us safe.” Then I will remember that God has already said, “I have a plan for you – just follow where I lead.” Remember Mary in your heart today and the faith she had as she carried the Son of God, and then as she gave birth to Baby Jesus on that Christmas long ago.

Prayer:   Lord, be with us today and keep us safe. Thank you God for the blessings you give us each day to remind us of your love and that you are leading us through the path you have for us. Be with those searching for your love today and help them see that Your hand is reaching down to take theirs if they will only accept it. Amen.

Prayer Focus: THOSE ANTICIPATING CHRISTMAS

 

A Child’s Ministry

Proverbs 3:5-6

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

Thought for the Day:  Where is God leading us in ministry?

“Mama, Logan’s acolyting and they need a cross-bearer. Can I do it?” I could see excitement in his eyes as he asked and I immediately said yes. It touched my heart that he wanted to acolyte after such a long time of transition for our family but I didn’t realize how much it would touch me until I saw him. Our son, Nathaniel, had a ministry that he loved during our time at one church and when we left he missed it immensely. He was always available on his scheduled days to acolyte and was also available when someone scheduled was absent. He was one of the main acolytes, along with a sweet friend, when the Memphis Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church met at our church. This ministry was and is obviously still a part of this little boy. To be able to witness him as cross-bearer one more time was priceless. An acolyte’s ministry is to carry in the light from the world into the sanctuary and then to carry the light back into the world. The cross-bearer’s ministry is to center the thoughts of the people on Christ and to lead the people into the world at the end of the service. Now, these may not be the exact definitions, but they are what I see as I witness the acolytes and cross-bearers.

As I reflect now on my son’s want to minister in his special way one more time, I remember the serious way he always did this ministry. I remember several years ago asking him if something was wrong after he ministered as acolyte one morning because I noticed he did not look happy as he was doing it. His reply was, “Mama, this is an important job and I take it seriously.” Today, I will ponder in my heart and I will remember forever my son doing this ministry God ordained him to do. And, I also pray that he will find new and exciting ministries, as I know he will, in this wonderful God-led life of his.

Prayer:   God, thank you for leading us to the ministries you have planned for us. Help us realize that there are many ministry areas we can participate in and where you lead us is the ministry you would have us do. Thank you for letting us witness children doing the work of Your kingdom. Amen.

Prayer Focus: THOSE FINDING AREAS OF MINISTRY