What Do You See Outside YOUR Open Window Today?

What Do You See Outside YOUR Open Window Today?
Remember: "When God closes a door, He always opens a window!" You never know what might be out there waiting for you!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Do Not Fret...

"Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him; do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass.  Cease from anger, and forsake wrath; do not fret--it only causes harm."  Psalm 37:7-8

"Do not fret"...who among us has never been guilty of fretting at one time or another ?(or many times...) 
If fretting is not something you can identify with, then you probably have been living in a bubble kind of world.  But if you are human, you most likely have fretted about something..perhaps even within the past few hours or minutes!

Verse 8 says, "Do not fret--it only causes harm."   How true that is...Fretting is a form of worry, stress and fear.  Stress in particular has been linked to many diseases...heart disease, strokes, gastrointestinal disease and distress, high blood pressure, and possibly even cancer.  In other words, it is a killer....the Bible is correct..."it only causes harm".  It not only causes harm to the individual who continually frets about things over which he (she) has no control, but it causes harm to those who may be the recipients of that worry and stress...the caregivers and family members and friends of the stressed out person.  Those who truly care about their stressed out friend or loved one end up fretting themselves when they are unable to help their friend.  It becomes a vicious cycle...and none of it is good.

So, what is the remedy?  Psalm 37 has the answers: 
  • Verse 7: "Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for HIM; ...
  • Verse 8, "Cease from anger, and forsake wrath..."....
  • Verse 3: "Trust in the Lord, and do good"
  • Verse 4: "Delight yourself in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart."
  • Verse 5: "Commit your way to the Lord"
  • Verse 5: "Trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass."
  • Verse 1: "Do not fret because of evildoers"
  • Verse 1: "Nor be envious of the workers of iniquity"
God says in verse 9: "Evildoers shall be cut off; but those who wait on the Lord, they shall inherit the earth."

So, when you are feeling fretful, overly worried, or giving in to stress...think about these verses in Psalm 37.    I like what verses 23-25 say in particular:
  • "The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and He (God) delights in his way.
  • "Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down;"
  • "For the Lord upholds him with His hand"
  • "I have been young, and now am old; yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his descendants begging bread."
What have I to fret about?  I know that my God is in control...no matter what...I can trust in Him...He will uphold me with HIS hand!  There can be no safer "bubble" in which to dwell...I do not need to fret.

I believe I can sleep a lot more soundly tonight knowing that my God has all my worries in His hands...
Good night!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Are YOU Experiencing a "New Normal" in Your Life?

I do hope to get back to some kind of "normal" someday...I guess I just need to adjust to our "new normal"...and I am very thankful for what God is doing here...but I still need His wisdom and grace each day...  

This was going to be my status statement on my facebook page today, but then I thought perhaps it might need too many explanations, so I decided to move it over to my blog instead.  For those of you who have no idea what I am talking about, here goes...

A couple of weeks before Christmas my 87 year old mother in law came to live with us. Now, don't get me wrong...I dearly love my mother in law...she is a beautiful and wonderful person... and we have always had a great relationship...one that has spanned over 41 years!  We have been through a lot of trials and joys together.  She has been a strong support for our family during times of illness and trauma.  She was there for me following my two major surgeries...caring for my personal needs as well as the needs of my home and family when I was unable to get up on my own.  She also came to stay with us many years ago when our son Matthew was undergoing surgery for a brain tumor, and I don't know what I would have done without her help during those very difficult and uncertain days.  She has helped us pack and move more times than I care to remember...and was there helping with the unpacking and resettling as well.  When our children were very small she and my father in law came almost every Sunday afternoon with a car load of groceries to help us through some difficult times.  When my husband felt the call to prepare for the ministry, and our plans got turned upside down because our 18 month old son was hit by a car and we had to make some quick decisions about employment and housing, it was my in-laws' support that carried us through the remainder of that very difficult school year so that we didn't have to drop out of school prematurely. 

The list could go on an on...and actually this has been a very good exercise for me to pause and remember just how much genuine unselfish love this dear lady has showered on our family throughout the years.  It actually is helping me to put things in perspective...

Yes, we are experiencing some major adjustments with these changes that are happening in our home presently...but how could I allow it to be any other way?  How could I not open my home to this dear one who has sacrificed so much for me and mine throughout the years? That's what family is all about...when things get difficult for one or the other...we do whatever we need to do to help the one in need.

Jesus said in Matthew 25:34-36, "Then the King will say to those on His right hand, 'Come you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.'"  
And He concludes this portion in verse 40 with His response to the "sheep" who wondered when they had done all of those things with the following words, "And the King will answer and say to them, 'Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.'"   

My mother in law truly exemplifies the "sheep" in the above passage...she has literally fulfilled all of the examples given in verses 35-36 in caring for our family so completely throughout the years.  I have no doubt that God, the Great King, will one day say to her, "Vivian, come you blessed of My Father and inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world."   And, knowing my dear humble mother in law, she will respond with awe and amazement, "Lord, when did I do any of those things you mentioned?" and He will tell her, "When you so lovingly cared for your children and grandchildren, and for your own husband and mother and father and sisters (and her own mother and father in law as well)...when you always put others ahead of yourself...and when you loved your daughter-in-law like your very own daughter...even when she was not always as grateful as she should have been and was too proud and selfish to understand how much you truly cared... Yes, Vivian, assuredly I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me." 

Yes, our family is experiencing a new kind of normal these days...we have added the laughter and sweetness of my mother in law to our home.  And even though she is going through some major adjustments in her own mind and heart and body, she continues to try to do her very best to care for the rest of us at the same time.  We are blessed by her presence, for however long God allows her to stay...and we know that He will give us the grace and wisdom we need each day. 

Thank you, Father, for this lesson today.  It has helped me to recognize exactly what You intended all along.  Amen.

This was our son Benton and my mother in law  on "Nanny Steiner's" 87th birthday in July last year. She loved hearing us sing
"Happy Birthday" to her!  Such a great lady!!!

How about you?  What kind of "new normal" are you experiencing these days?  My prayer is that God will give you His insight and grace to help you get through each new day.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

"Wait, I say, on the Lord!"

Psalm 27:13-14 "I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.  Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the Lord!"

Have you ever felt like your prayers were never being heard, let alone answered?  Have you wondered if God was even listening...or if He actually cared about the things that concerned you? I am certain we have all felt that way more often than we'd like to admit.  I've noticed that I most often feel this way during the night, when I lie awake struggling to get back to sleep. That is when I find myself laboring over the long lists of things that are troubling me, whether they be viable concerns or subconscious fears that boil up to the surface when I am least able to control them. 

Like the Psalmist in Psalm 119:145-148,
"I cry out with my whole heart; Hear me, O Lord! I will keep Your statutes. I cry out to You; Save me, and I will keep Your testimonies.  I rise before the dawning of the morning, and cry for help; I hope in Your word.  My eyes are awake through the night watches, that I may meditate on Your word."
Actually, I would be much better off if I would take advantage of that wakeful time to meditate on God's Word.  I find that I am usually so frustrated at being unable to get back to sleep that I forget to do the very thing that would bring the desired result the quickest way...pray, claim God's promises, and trust in His Word.

Psalm 28:7 says, "The Lord is my strength and my shield; My heart trusted in Him, and I am helped; Therefore my heart greatly rejoices, and with my song I will praise Him."

So tonight when those voices of fear, doubt and anxiety start whispering in my ear, arousing me from my much needed rest, I will remember these promises of God...I will "be of good courage", I will let my heart "trust in Him", so that I will be helped and strengthened by His love and power.  I pray that I will awaken in the morning with a song of praise on my lips and a heart full of courage.  I also pray that I will remember to "wait on the Lord." Then I will definitely see "the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living."

How about you?  Did you need this reminder today?  If so, it is my hope that God will meet you in your time of need and help your heart to greatly rejoice...and with your song to give praise to Him.  When we deliberately determine in our hearts to praise Him, there is no room for fear and doubt to remain. It has to flee.

Me and My Daddy
Good Night, Sleep Tight! ("don't let the bed-bugs bite")...Sweet Dreams...and May the Lord bless you with His peace.  Amen.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

You know you've been away too long when you can't remember your password...

Psalm 145:1-3 "I will extol You, my God, O King; and I will bless Your name forever and ever.  Every day I will bless You, and I will praise Your name forever and ever.  Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; and His greatness is unsearchable."

This has to be the longest I've ever stayed away from writing on my blog...and I had to retry my password twice before I could log on...not a good sign.  I posted a picture of my sweet little "Baby Elva" on facebook sitting at my computer keyboard, and someone suggested that maybe she should update my blog for me....I took that as a hint to get back at it quick! 

So here I am...and what do I have to say?  I am not too sure at this point. It has been a very stressful start of the new year for me...both at work and at home...nothing earth shattering, but just a lot of adjustments and pressures that I am finding more difficult to cope with at this "old age".  However, this reminder to get back to my writing has helped me remember the goals that I had set for myself last year around this time...primarily that I would make an honest effort to write something uplifting, encouraging and praiseworthy every day.  Just like the Psalmist above, "I will extol You, my God, O King; and I will bless Your name forever and ever....Every day I will bless You, and I will praise Your name forever and ever." 

It is already the 8th day of the New Year, and I am just getting around to it...
Lord, please forgive me!  Help me to get back on the right track immediately...and keep me there so I will not go astray in my thoughts and meditations of You.  Even when my body is weak and my mind is weary, open my eyes, my ears, my heart, and cause me to focus my attention on You.  Then I know I will have the words that You desire me to share with others...and You will give me the purpose I need to keep moving forward.  Thank you, Lord, for not giving up on me.  Amen.
"The Lord upholds all who fall, and raises up all who are bowed down.  The eyes of all look expectantly to You, and You give them their food in due season.  You open Your hand and satisfy the desire of every  living thing."  Psalm 145:14-16

What new goals and "resolutions" have you made for this year?  How are you doing so far?
It's a good time to take stock of ourselves and think about the areas in which we need to improve...and then ask God to begin the work.  Don't try to do it alone...Let God be your guide and support team...He will never fail you.

"The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth.  He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him; He also will hear their cry and save them.  The Lord preserves all who love Him...but all the wicked He will destroy.  My mouth shall speak the praise of the Lord, and all flesh shall bless His holy name forever and ever." Psalm 145:18-21

Looking forward to hearing from each of you this year...I know that God has great plans for all of us.  Now, let's just get moving!!!