Wednesday, January 30, 2019
A Prayer for Guidance~
A Psalm of David
1. "Give ear to my words, O Lord,
Consider my meditation.
2. Give heed to the voice of my cry,
My King and my God,
for to You I will pray.
3. My voice You shall hear in the morning, O Lord;
In the morning I will direct it to You,
And I will look up.
4. For You are not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness,
Nor shall evil dwell with You.
5. The boastful shall not stand in Your sight;
You hate all workers of iniquity.
6. You shall destroy those who speak falsehood;
The Lord abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful man.
7. But as for me, I will come into Your house in the multitude of Your mercy;
In fear of You I will worship toward Your holy temple.
8. Lead me, O Lord, in Your righteousness
because of my enemies;
Make Your way straight before my face.
9. For there is no faithfulness in their mouth;
Their inward part is destruction;
Their throat is an open tomb;
They flatter with their tongue.
10. Pronounce them guilty, O God!
Let them fall by their own counsels;
Cast them out in the multitude of their transgressions,
For they have rebelled against You.
11. But let all those rejoice who put their trust in You;
Let them ever shout for joy,
because You defend them;
Let those also who love Your name be joyful in You.
12. For You, O Lord, will bless the righteous;
With favor You will surround him as with a shield."
(Photos were taken early on a foggy morning this week as I walked to our neighborhood pond, praying and contemplating all the sorrows of our nation over the past few weeks, especially this past week with the rulings on late term abortion coming out of the state of New York, and then later that same day in the evening when the sun was going down on our way to choir practice at our church)
Please continue to pray for our nation, our President and our leaders. May God give our President much strength, wisdom and courage as he seeks to do what is best for our country.
Monday, January 28, 2019
Today I am reposting this to take you back in time to a sad, sad day in the history of our nation...Thirty Three years ago today, 1/28/1986, we were all horrified as we watched the Space Shuttle Challenger blow up as it was launched into space, with 7 courageous, wonderful crew members on board. I'm sure all of us who were living at that time can remember where we were when this disastrous tragedy occurred. I was living in Gainesville, Georgia, and our kids were out of school for the day due to an unusually extremely frigid, below freezing morning. We actually were visiting with some friends so our kids could have something to do when the news came on the TV...and from then on our eyes were glued to the set as our hearts were breaking.
My mother and father were at their home in Florida, the home I grew up in, and one advantage to their home was that one could always get a good view of the rocket/space shuttle launches from the back yard...even though Cape Kennedy (Canaveral) was some 100 miles away from our home.
Because this particular launch was to be so historical, my mother was right there watching with her camera in hand (I wonder where I got that trait????), and now I am privileged to have these shapshots, with my mother's own written narrative on the back of each picture, telling the sad and tragic story of the explosion of the Space Shuttle Challenger. Therefore, I am sharing this bit of history with you today, on the 33rd anniversary of that horrific event. I hope you can decipher my mother's handwriting...and can sense the horror she felt as she witnessed this sorrowful disaster. I'm sorry the photos aren't clearer, but they are pretty good for 1986.
I will let my mother's notes explain each preceding picture:
"Lift up your eyes to the heavens,
and look on the earth beneath.
For the heavens will vanish away like smoke,
The earth will grow old like a garment,
And those who dwell in it will die in like manner;
But MY salvation will be forever,
And My righteousness will not be abolished."
"I, even I, am He who comforts you."
Jesus calls His first disciples in the fifth chapter of Luke. Jesus had been preaching through the towns and along the shores of Galilee...He was teaching, preaching, casting out demons, healing the sick...and the crowds were pressing so hard about Him that He had to get into a boat and asked the fishermen to row out a ways so that He could speak to the multitudes who were standing on the shore. When He had stopped speaking (Luke 5:4), He said to Simon (who was also known as Peter),
"Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch."
Simon told the Lord that they had been toiling all night long and had caught nothing, but "nevertheless, at Your word I will let down the net." (Luke 5:5)
And the Bible tells us that they caught so many fish that their nets were breaking...and they had so many fish that their boats began to sink! Simon Peter was so astonished at this huge catch of fish that he "fell down at Jesus' knees saying, 'Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!'" (verse 8).
Verse 10 tells us that Simon's partners, James and John, were also there and they were very amazed as well. Jesus then said to Simon,
"Do not be afraid. From now on you will catch men."
"So when they had brought their boats to land, they forsook all and followed Him." (Luke 5:11)
And thus began the adventure of their lives that would not only change their lives, but all the world for all eternity...
So now fast forward to Luke chapter 15. Jesus and His disciples have been traveling throughout the land, and many multitudes of people are following them, and listening intently to all the teachings of Christ. Even the "tax collectors and the sinners drew near to Him to hear Him." (Luke 15:1) The Pharisees and scribes were complaining, saying "This Man receives sinners and eats with them." (Luke 15:2) So thus begins a series of teachings of parables about God's grace and unconditional love, as evidenced by these stories of joy over being "lost and found".
In Luke 15:3-32, Jesus gives them examples that show us how God Himself rejoices when that which was lost is found...See the parable about the lost sheep in verses 4-7, the lost coin in verses 8-10, and then the most profound story of all, the lost son, or better known as "The Prodigal Son", in verses 11-32.
In each of these parables we see how first there was that keen sense of loss...and then that thrill of discovery, joy, and jubilee when that which was lost was found.
Imagine what it must feel like to be God, when He sees His lost "sheep", "sons and daughters" come back to the fold of home...to the bosom of God Himself.
Luke 15:7 tells us,
"I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents
than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance."
Luke 15:10 says:
"Likewise, I say to you,
there is joy in the presence of the angels of God
over one sinner who repents."
And even closer to home, in the story of the prodigal who returns home, there is much celebration and rejoicing:
"And he (the younger son) arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him."
and the father tells his older son in Luke 15:32
"It was right that we should make merry and be glad,
for your brother was dead and is alive again,
and was lost and is found."
These examples show us that God plays by His rules...not our rules. The prodigal's older brother was envious of the attention shown to his errant brother...He did not think it was fair that there should be such a celebration on his behalf when he had squandered his inheritance with riotous living and had ended up living in the squalor of the pig sty. He was crying "No fair! I've been good and haven't been so rebellious...and you've never done anything special for me." The father said to him in Luke 15:31,
"Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours." The father is representative of God here, and how He looks at those who have been lost and found...He will always celebrate the sinner who comes back home to the Father. And so should we celebrate as well and rejoice with the Father.
Who do we know who might be out there somewhere, lost and wishing they could come home, but they are too ashamed, too embarrassed, too fearful that they will be rejected and scorned by family, friends, and even the church? The church especially...should be a place where we welcome the sinner with open arms when he or she has repented and is in need of our love and forgiveness...and grace.
Grace...that love that is so undeserved, but given freely with joy when we least expect it.
Again, think how God must feel when that errant child comes home...God plays by His own rules...not ours, not the Pharisees', not even the "church"...sad to say ... God throws a big celebration, dances with the outcast, welcomes the sinner home with open arms.
This is the love that God the Father has for us. All of us were once dead in sin before we came to the Lord. God does not hold our sins against us...God is not embarrassed by anything we have done...He welcomes us home with open arms. Through the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ on the cross, God has provided a way for you and me to return to the family of God. Please don't let fear or embarrassment keep you away...let grace win the victory.
Sermon Notes from FUMC Interlachen, FL., Pastor A.C. Myers, 1/27/2019
Please Note : I want to repeat this disclaimer here...the notes, outline, and content included here are based upon my own personal understanding of the message that was being given. I am not attempting to completely quote or reproduce this message or any other message I've shared previously. Just as each person reading these notes may glean insights and thoughts that seem to directly apply to one's own situation and interpretation, my own delivery of these messages is skewed by my hearing and translation of what is being said. Some may read my notes here and wonder if they were hearing the same message as I...and I say, God speaks to each of us as He wills...there are things He is trying to get across to each individual that may be entirely different than what the person sitting next to you in the pew is needing to hear... That is how the Holy Spirit works! He knows what we need to hear and how to apply it to our hearts. So it is with that understanding that I present these sermon notes to you.
Sunday, January 27, 2019
This was originally written a couple of years ago, when the Secret Garden was a new place for me to sit and "rest" and pray and worship the Lord. I am sorry to say that I have fallen away from that daily habit in the years since, although I do still go out there periodically when I really need to just be "silent" before the Lord. I think I am due for a visit, but not today. It's been raining non-stop all day and is about 48 degrees out there right now. However, since this is a Sunday afternoon, my thoughts have been on resting in the Lord. This past week was full of turmoil in the world, and my heart and soul need a rest from the news and sorrow of how dark our nation is becoming. So come along with me as we enter the Secret Garden and sit silently and give our hearts and minds some "rest".
Original Post 1/28/17:
As we enter the Secret Garden today, this song comes back to me once again:
"The Lord is in His holy temple,
The Lord is in His holy temple;
Let all the earth keep silence,
Let all the earth keep silence before Him,
Keep silence, keep silence before Him."
In yesterday's post I wrote about Psalm 37, and in the process of reading that passage, verse 7 in particular...please note where it says "REST in the Lord...", there is a reference in my Bible that says the words "Rest in the Lord" literally means "Be silent to the Lord, and it gives a reference to Psalm 62:1, which says "Truly my soul silently waits for God..."
Well, since writing yesterday's post these words keep coming back to me, especially in the form of the call to worship chorus "The Lord Is In His Holy Temple", which is actually a quote from Habakkuk 2:20. In trying to understand how the words "REST in the Lord" equates with the translation "Be SILENT to the Lord", the Lord drew my attention back to this song...and it's as if God is making a point here to me to notice something in this song that further explains what He means by REST=SILENCE.
Let us look at this music score together so we can further understand what God is telling me through this passage:
Do you see where it says, "Let all the earth keep silence" and then there is a little note or musical symbol after the word SILENCE...and that symbol is actually called a REST, which means that the singer and the instruments literally stop and REST, or be SILENT for just that moment before continuing on to the next phrase/note. If you will further "note" (pun intended) the REST comes again after "Let all the earth keep silence before Him, and then every time after the word "Silence", there is another REST! Do you see what I see???
Lord, I love that YOU are making this point, especially in light of the fact that my "One Word" for 2017 is REST...and here I am, attempting to do just that as I come before Your presence here in this place that has been set apart particularly for worship, meditation, and REST in You. I am in awe of what You are showing me as we come together each day. Even though we are learning here that REST=SILENCE, I am seeing that in this time of RESTing in You, and being SILENT to You, I am learning more about what it means to truly WORSHIP YOU. The only thing is, it really is difficult for me to be SILENT when everything we do here leads me to give You praise! However, I know there is something beautiful in silently coming before the Lord...and waiting on You to lead the way.
These songs come to my mind and voice as I think about this...
"Open my eyes that I may see
Glimpses of truth Thou hast for me.
Place in my hands the wonderful key
that shall unclasp and set me free.
Silently now I wait for Thee,
Ready my God, Thy will to see,
Open my eyes, illumine me,
("Open My Eyes That I May See" by Clara H. Scott)
"Spirit of the Living God,
Fall fresh on me,
Spirit of the Living God,
Fall fresh on me.
Melt me, Mold me, Fill me, Use me.
Spirit of the Living God,
Fall fresh on me."
("Spirit of the Living God" by Daniel Iverson)
Thank You, Lord, for allowing me to come into Your Presence each day. As I leave this place today, I am refreshed and rested. I am learning more about what it means to be silent before the Lord...and to allow His soothing Presence to calm my spirit and fill me with His Spirit...and then I am better equipped to tackle whatever comes along.
Friday, January 25, 2019
Good Morning Friday Foto Friends. It feels good to be sharing some beautiful pictures from nature and God's amazing creation today. It's been a difficult week in the world, and I've been taking things pretty seriously, so I needed to just stop and chill...and let the beauty of God's world around us give me peace and help me regain a sense of balance and perspective. I promise not to visit anything negative here today.
We took a little ride the other morning down by Big Lake Kerr. It was a gloriously clear, sunshiny, chilly, but beautiful day. These two Sand Hill Cranes were out for their morning walk. What a thrill to be able to watch as they strolled along the shore:
Are they smooching here? Could be...I like that thought, so yes, I'll say they are...
They were actually finding their morning treats in the shallows of the lakeshore...
As we headed back up the road away from the lake, a deer bolted into the woods ahead of us. We slowed down and searched to see if we could still see her...and yes...she was there watching us from the protection of the woods. Can you see her?
Later that evening we took our weekly ride up the road a ways to the little town where we attend church so that we could attend choir practice. One of the perks of that ride is that we usually get to see some beautiful sunsets if we time it just right. Almost missed it:
Lately the power company in our area has been exchanging power poles to larger, taller ones. This was going on outside our house one morning this week. My thanks to these brave men who work so diligently to keep us powered up. Without their dedicated service we would not be able to sit here in our comfortable warm, well-lit homes and write messages to each other on our computers or have lights to see what we are doing...or power to cook our food and keep our food cold in the refrigerators, power to wash and dry our clothes, and on and on and on. Thank you, Clay Electric!
Today (Thursday) we took a ride with some dear friends to meet another dear friend for lunch. This was a place quite a little distance away, but it was well worth the trip.
This was the view from our window seat inside "Red's" Restaurant, along the Withlacoochee River. I'm sure it is a much prettier view in spring and summer and fall, when the leaves are on the trees.
We had a very good visit with our friends, one of whom lost her husband last year after his battle with cancer. She wanted to show us what she was making as memorial gifts for their grandchildren and family. She used different shirts, jeans, sweatshirts, and neckties that belonged to her husband and created these wonderful teddy bears. What a wonderful, touching gift for any who knew and loved her sweet husband. And yes, my friend is a very talented and "crafty" lady. She creates so many beautiful things, and this was a kind of therapy for her.
Here's our whole gang...the other couple on the left are good friends of ours as well as we all used to belong to the same church in Ohio many years ago when my hubby was the pastor there. We have been friends for almost 40 years. What a blessing to still have such wonderful friends. We do miss our dear friend who passed away, however. He was a wonderful, godly Christian man. We know we'll see him again someday in heaven.
Here's we three "musketeers"
And now for a blast from the past, there is a picture of us three girls you need to see on the following link:
Click HERE for another time when we all got together. many moons ago, in another time and another place! (be sure to scroll down in this post link so you can see the pictures I'm talking about. It will be worth the trip and give you a good laugh)
And now, for "Something Beautiful, Something Good" Sing along with me:
Bill Gaither – Something Beautiful Lyrics
"Something beautiful, something good
All my confusion He understood
All I had to offer Him was brokenness and strife
But He made something beautiful of my life
If there ever were dreams
That were lofty and noble
They were my dreams at the start
And hope for life's best were the hopes
That I harbor down deep in my heart
But my dreams turned to ashes
And my castles all crumbled, my fortune turned to loss
So I wrapped it all in the rags of life
And laid it at the cross.
Something beautiful, something good
All my confusion He understood
All I had to offer Him was brokenness and strife
But He made something beautiful of my life"
Okay, friends...that's it for this week. I pray that your week has been filled with "something beautiful and something good". Isn't it wonderful when God makes "something beautiful of (our) lives?"
Now let us head over to someplace beautiful...Deb's place at Breathing in Grace, and see what our other Friday Foto Friends have been doing this week. Have a blessed and glorious week my friends.