December 3, 2015

Be These Three

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18   
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

My personal paraphrase for this verse is: 
Be happy, be praying, be thankful, this is the will of God for us.

The instructions in this verse are often met with difficulty. Life is hard sometimes and that makes it problematic to rejoice always. Trials make it hard to be thankful. To be happy does not mean there is nothing to worry about. It means we choose to trust God and rest in our relationship with Him. 

I do not mean to make light of the troubles we have. Not at all. But I do want to remind us of what we have as believers. We are saved! We belong to God forever! Our sins have been forgiven and paid for by the blood of Jesus. We have the assured and blessed hope of the resurrection. Our future is secure with Him. 

A lady I once knew at a church many years ago used to always say that for the born again believer, “Everything else is icing on the cake!” 

Our greatest gift is our salvation. Everything else, spouse, family, home, jobs, health…everything else is icing on the cake. 

A few months after I first heard her say this, her husband died from injuries sustained in a car accident. She had an eight year old little boy.

Weeks after the funeral, she reminded us with tears in her eyes that we can lose loved ones, our health, our jobs, our homes, but we can’t lose our salvation and we can’t lose God’s love for us. She would still proclaim, “Everything else is icing on the cake.” 

Her words remind me to be happy, be praying, and be thankful.

December 1, 2015

His Undivided Attention

Have you ever tried to get someone’s undivided attention and wished you didn’t have to go to so much effort to get them to stop what they are doing and focus their attention on you? I would guess that most of us have had this experience with family members. On the other hand, we have probably also been the guilty party who did not stop and give someone else the attention they were asking for. 

It feels good to know we have someone’s attention. I thought about this lately in regard to my relationship with the Lord and if it is possible for me to have His undivided attention. 

I will admit that I do feel that I have God’s attention.  As if He is in the room with me, or beside me in my car or when I take a walk. 

That He hears me even though I am just one in millions, yet He knows me.

He hears my conversation, He hears my prayers. My thoughts and prayers and words aren’t just hitting the ceiling. I have His attention.

I love the way I can have an individualized one on one personal relationship with God.

This is a mystery. How His spirit inside us works this, His spirit that is placed in each of us at the point of salvation. His Holy Spirit works this mystery and so much more. 

This mystery assures me that I have His attention. 

He has wanted ours all along. That is the theme of the Bible, God reaching out to man, reaching out to you and me. It is His desire for us to know He is with us and that we have His undivided attention. 

Psalm 116:1-2
I love the Lord, because He has heard my voice and my supplications.
Because He has inclined His ear to me, therefore I will call upon Him as long as I live.

Jeremiah 23:23-24 “Am I a God near at hand,” says the Lord, “And not a God afar off? Can anyone hide himself in secret places, so I shall not see him?” says the Lord; “Do I not fill heaven and earth?” says the Lord.

Acts 17:27-28 So that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also His offspring.’

November 29, 2015

Keep Praying

My phone lit up very early this morning at 5:15 with an incoming text message that was an urgent prayer request for someone’s son who was in the ICU in critical condition with congestive heart failure.   

Another lady from our class stopped me in the church lobby this morning and with tears in her eyes asked me to put her brother and sister-in-law on our prayer request list, they are not saved and do not seem to have any interest in spiritual matters. I encouraged her to keep praying and never give up hope. 

I am the designated person in our Sunday school class who writes down all the prayer requests as they are shared and then sends them out in an email to the class every Monday evening. 

Every week there are prayer requests that include family and friends with varying degrees of cancer and other diseases and illnesses. Every week there are prayer requests for ongoing troubling issues in the lives of family and friends, co-workers and neighbors.

Every week we pray. We keep praying. We don’t know what God will do and we don’t even fully understand the mystery of prayer. But when someone has an urgent prayer request, they are thankful there will be people praying. They are thankful they are not alone in this.

We have a great privilege in sharing our burdens with our brothers and sisters in Christ, and we cherish their prayers for our individual circumstances. What a great comfort are the words in scripture which admonish us to bring our burdens to Him and to cast all our cares on the Lord. We can take all things to Him in prayer. 

Matthew 11:28 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

1 Peter 5:7 Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.

Hebrews 4: 16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.  

November 26, 2015

Give Thanks

I have so much to be thankful for and all my praise is to God,
Who captured my heart many years ago with His deep abiding love.

I am most thankful I am His-
For salvation and a relationship with Him.

I am thankful for my family, home, and loved ones
And for the grace and mercy, patience and love
God shows me every day.

I am thankful for health and freedom
For sunshine and blue skies and needed rain to refresh the earth
For the beauty that surrounds me every day.

I am thankful for turkey golden from the oven
And pies that finish off the perfect meal at small and large gatherings.

I have so much to be thankful for and all my praise is to God.

Hebrews 13:15 Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.

I am also thankful for everyone who reads In Quiet Places and I want to warmly wish each one of you a very Happy Thanksgiving!