“I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them.” I Timothy 2:1 (NLT)

Father God, You see the whole world. Your eyes do not miss those who are ill or those who are weeping, those who are grieving, those who are frightened and unsure. Each person, each problem, each dilemma is being noticed by Your eyes.

Today I humbly ask that You allow those whose tears are falling to feel Your perfect presence. For those who are in lonely places, sit beside them and comfort them. For those in the hospital, speak healing and restoration to them. For those who are grieving, wrap Your arms of understanding around them.

Daily, Lord we hear of requests for prayer. Each one brought because of the weight that is being carried by those we love and care for. We can only offer ourselves as listeners, but You can resolve issues and pains.

Father, open our eyes to see Your glory, Your power, and Your presence. Alone we are nothing. Together, if we keep our eyes on You, we can stand, and hold one another up. Brace and embrace today Lord. I ask this in Your precious Name. Amen

“O Lord, You have heard the desire of the humble and oppressed; You will strengthen their heart, You will incline Your ear to hear,” Psalm 10:17 (AMP)

A Glimpse ~ God, Our Hiding Place

“You are my hiding place; You shall preserve me from trouble; You shall surround me with songs of deliverance.” Psalm 32:7 (NKJV)

With a shout of “Ready or not, here I come” the searching begins in a game of hide and seek. We have each played this game, trying to find the best hiding spots. Our granddaughter loves this game and I have played it with her, finding spots where she would not look. She is a great ‘hider’ too. She has stumped me many times.

Hiding in play is one thing, but I remember my youngest would often try to hide behind me when she was around strangers. I was her shield and protection. I sometimes would gently pull her from behind me to introduce her to people and allow her to warm up to them.

I have been known to just hide. This is during times of stress for me, when I need to collect my thoughts and my peace. I usually quietly head to a closet and stand there. If I have to, I take a deep breath and start to pray, sometimes crying when situations have upset me emotionally.

God is our Hiding Place. In times of distress, I can picture myself like my youngest, grabbing onto the robe of God and hiding there, occasionally peeking our from around Him to glimpse at what is going on. As He is the perfect parent, He knows I am there and allows me to use Him as a shield. But, when the time comes, He gently reaches around and brings me out, reassuring me that is it okay and I no longer need to hide.

God is always there. He is always ready to be that perfect place to hide. It is not a fearful place, or an obvious place, but He is a place of security and protection. A perfect hiding spot.

The Lord who Heals Me ~ Jehovah Rapha

I am the God that Healeth thee I am the Lord Your healer I sent My word
And I healed your disease I am the Lord Your healer

You are the God that Healeth me You are the Lord My healer You sent Your word And You healed my disease You are the Lord My healer You sent Your word And You healed My disease You are the Lord My healer You sent Your word And You healed My disease You are the Lord My healer
Lyrics Don Moen, I am the Lord who healeth you

Exodus 1:2-26 says, “So he cried out to the Lord, and the Lord showed him a tree. When he cast it into the waters, the waters were made sweet. There He made a statute and an ordinance for them, and there He tested them, 26 and said, “If you diligently heed the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in His sight, give ear to His commandments and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have brought on the Egyptians. For I am the Lord who heals you.” (NKJV)

We acknowledge that God is a mighty God, that He is good, just, protects, provides and sees us, but most stop there. Our God heals. Let me repeat that, Our God Heals.

I think our health is one issue we pray for the most. It’s easy to say we need prayer and mention an infirmity. How often do we ask for prayer and while being prayed for we are thinking, well, we’ll see what the doctor says when I go this week? I am guilty of this.

In response to this, I have to challenge myself and ask rightly, ‘If I am thinking of a doctor then why am I asking for prayer?’ Do I believe that God is more capable than a physician here on earth? God is the great Physician. He is Jehovah Rapha.

The New Testament is filled with healing miracles from Jesus and through His disciples. Our God heals.

Now, the wavering I have felt at times could be legitimate, but, I have seen God heal. He removed a tumor in me and left scar tissue, which confounded my surgeon. It was years ago and you can still see the scar tissue to this day on a mammogram.

I have seen blind people regain their sight. Twice I have seen this. One was a teenager and the other a grown man. One in Maine and the other in San Diego.

I have seen someone healed from pancreatic cancer, seen it totally removed from a person who was in the late stages of the disease.

Yes, God heals. He does it today. It wasn’t for olden times, biblical times, His healing is for now. Yet, do we pray expecting to receive a miracle? Do we ask in faith believing?

Jehovah-Rapha, You are the God who heals. Heal all reading who need a physical, emotional or mental touch from You. Remove disease, restore health to bodies. Heal those who are mentally and emotionally exhausted, restore peace and calm to them. Lord, let us pray believing that You will hear and heal. Thank you for what You do Lord. Amen

The God who Sees Me ~ Jehovah El ro i

“Then she called the name of the Lord who spoke to her, “You are God Who Sees”; for she said, “Have I not even here [in the wilderness] remained alive after seeing Him [who sees me with understanding and compassion]?” Genesis 16:13 (AMP)

Each of us have had those moments in our lives where we feel alone. We may be in a group of people, or in the middle of a job, or shopping in a mall, yet, we feel alone, isolated, unseen.

I have had those seasons. Times when I felt that if I walked off the face of the earth no one would notice. These periods can be referred to as depression, abandonment, isolation, distant, we each have put a name to the feeling.

I spent many years feeling this way. Invisible.

The verse above talks about Hagar, she was pregnant with Abraham’s son and was frightened. She fled to the desert and there she met God. This verse gives the name to God, in Hebrew El roi; which means God never sleeps, He sees, He is aware, He is the great Omnipresent God.

I had a moment when I realized that God did see me. He knew what I was dealing with, He saw my heart and my mind. He reached down to me and I knew that I knew that He saw me.

God does see us each day. He sees our discouragement, He sees our victories. He sees our doubts and fears and He gives us direction. He never disappoints, He never sleeps, He watches over us while we sleep, but He doesn’t drift off to sleep. He sees us. He sees us at our worst and at our best.

When others seem to drop off in being there for you, God does not. His presence is a constant presence. His love never wavers. He cares for us with an everlasting care. He will never leave us, for He is the God who sees us.

When I think of this, it does baffle my mind. I think I need to be worthy of His gaze, be someone or something special. El ro i, has no agenda, He meets us in the desert with all of our fears, and dread. He presents His care, His love in abundance, He is the oasis in our personal deserts. Praise Him!

Lord, reveal Yourself to those who may be struggling while reading this. Where there is that feeling of not being seen by anyone, reveal Yourself to them. Let them see Your magnificent presence. To feel drawn into Your love, Your peace, Your acceptance. Amen.

The Lord will Provide ~ Jehovah-Jireh

“Then Abraham lifted his eyes and looked, and there behind him was a ram caught in a thicket by its horns. So Abraham went and took the ram, and offered it up for a burnt offering instead of his son. 14 And Abraham called the name of the place, The-Lord-Will-Provide; as it is said to this day, “In the Mount of the Lord it shall be provided.” Genesis 22:13-14 (NKJV)

There is a song we have sung at church by Don Moen, “Jehovah-Jireh”. It talks about our God providing for us. It is a song that comes into my mind often.

Each day we experience God’s provision. It may be little things, food on our table, gas in our vehicles, roof over our head, clothes in our closet. Each of these are provisions from our God. Yes, we have worked for them and paid for them, but it from the Lord’s provision that this was possible.

I try to be cognizant of these daily things in my life. They are blessings to me. There have been times where my faith has been tested. Times when we looked at our accounts and knew there was not enough to meet the need. Other times when illness was front and center in our lives and we did not know what would come next. Times when I have felt like I was locked in a closet without a way to exit, that feeling of hopelessness and despair. The times when my faith was not robust, but still was the size of a mustard seed.

It is during seasons like this, that along with fear and doubt comes self-condemnation, allowing the noise to keep playing in your mind that you are not good enough, that no one cares, that if I only would do (and then fill in the blanks). The enemy of our souls has a good time in these seasons. It is during these times I go to Matthew 10:29-31, “What is the price of two sparrows—one copper coin? But not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it. 30 And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. 31 So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows.” (NLT)

Our God is a God of provision. Nothing escapes His attention. He does provide. I have seen it over and over in my life. He has provided Christmas gifts, shoes, formals, groceries, encouraging words at just the exact time they were needed. He has made meals stretch, groceries last, power bills to be reasonable. He is Jehovah-Jireh, my provider. His grace is sufficient for me.

The provisions don’t come with a loud fanfare, it is not announced via a bullhorn for all to hear and notice. No, like providing a ram stuck in bushes for Abraham, He will provide for me and for you. After that provision, your faith will grow just a bit more. In each place we have lived, I have experienced times where I did not think there was a provision for the problems I was facing. I have stood at windows praying for help, for guidance, for provision. And, at each place the Lord would have me focus at what I was looking at while praying, Mt Fuji, Mt. Desert, the Pacific Ocean, ponds with alligators, and comforting woods, all breath-taking vistas. They stood as a reminder of where the Lord had taken me, and what I was enjoying already. How gracious is my God in that while I was in misery, I was in places of awe for most of the world. It would stir me to recognize the great provision I had already received. Then with His perfect grace, God would again provide for me.

“My God shall supply all my needs
According to His riches in glory
He will give His angels
Charge over me

Jehovah Jireh cares for me, for me, for me
Jehovah Jireh cares for me

Jehovah Jireh
My provider
His grace is sufficient
For me, for me, for me

Jehovah Jireh
My provider
His grace is sufficient
For me” Don Moen

He’s Got This

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;” Philippians 4:6 (NKJV)

I can either be a Pollyanna person, seeing just the best in all situations or a Scarlett O’Hara who will fiddle de de a situation into tomorrow when I will think about it. Neither one is a good solution permanently, there is a need for balance in all things.

I do love this scripture, though, for it’s beginning, be anxious for nothing. I need that reminder often. When I have something to pray for or about, I can find myself being anxious. Eventually, I am able to give over the situations to God. Place my cares, my anxieties, my doubts into the precious hands of our Lord and let Him take care of it.

There is time when I apply all parts of this scripture to a cause or person. I can honestly approach the throne of grace and lay out my concerns, my dilemma, or a loved one placing them at the feet of God. It is in those times that I am comfortable in my prayer and attitude.

Prayer is a tricky thing, I think. What we pray in the natural mind and for what we think is a viable prayer is one thing. Our God knows our heart. He sees beyond the words spoken and looks into our hearts and into the reason of prayer. It is often said that God answers prayer three ways, yes, no, or wait. I also think there is a fourth way that prayer is answered. This answer is beyond our expectations. As I said, God looks at what we praying for, and He sees the person, the situation that is the object of prayer. Our God sees it all. Our heart, our need, our situation. He is intimately aware of the entire situation.

What we may perceive as a wonderful answer for us, may not be wonderful for a situation or a person we are praying for. We tend to ask for a resolution and a positive action. We want it all tied up in a pretty package with a lovely bow on top. Sometimes that may not be the best thing. That is where faith and trust in God comes.

We see with our human eyes and imagine outcomes from our human brains. God is so much greater. He sees eternity. He sees the beginning, the middle and the end. It’s not that prayer is unnecessary, it’s just that in our human ways we can limit God, thinking we know what the best answer is.

When we entrust our prayers to God, we know that He will work all things out. That is who He is. It is then that we must remember to thank Him for all that He has done. How many times do we say, “that’s an answer to prayer”? Do we then stop and thank our Father in heaven for that answer? It is my belief that this is a vital part of prayer. Thanksgiving and thankfulness is a condition we need to clothe ourselves in. As a child I learned please and thank-you as good manners, with our God we can say please often, but is it followed with thank-you?

“in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” I Thessalonians 5:18 (NKJV)

Today I had news of an answered prayer I have brought before the Lord for years. It is a prayer close to my heart for someone I love. As I hung up from the phone call, I smiled and said, “Thank You Lord, this is above my wildest expectations. You are so great.” He is great and worthy to be praised.

Back to School

“For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.” Ecclesiastes 3:1 (NLT)

School started back this morning here in the upstate. My facebook page is filled with first day of school photos of kids either very excited or the middle school and high school kids with sleepy expressions and that first day of school look. I smile with each picture I see, as I remember the feeling of the first day of school and I think of my daughter’s first day of school each year.

It is the feeling on mornings like this that the school year looms ominously ahead. Going back to having to wake up early, starting a schedule again, and the uncertainty of what the year holds. To me, it is a reminder of when to plan my shopping trips so that I don’t end up behind school buses making the thirty minute trip to town more like forty-five minutes.

My Little Man started his school year last week. He is homeschooled, and in the fifth grade. I know his fifth grade teacher is much better than my own. Of course, I also know my youngest is an excellent teacher. Little Miss starts early September. She will head into second grade.

This fall, my younger sister will realize she is a retired teacher. She retired in June, but, like every year previous, she had the summer off. She is now realizing that there are no lesson plans to get ready, no classroom to prepare, that school is out forever. In years past, she said school was a word off limits for the month of July and August. I remember hearing that and still I smile. I can’t help but feel a bit melancholy for her this year. She touched so many lives which in turn will reach future generations. I admire her.

So, as I think of this new school year, all bright and shiny with new pens, pencils and crayons that have points I pray for each teacher, student, cafeteria workers, bus drivers, and staff that helps everyone run. May this be a year of joy. A year of learning, not only head knowledge, but heart knowledge. May there be peace and safety on the school grounds and on the bus runs. May our Lord bless those who touch our precious ones with learning.

Sunday Quiet

“There remains therefore a rest for the people of God.” Hebrews 4:9 (NKJV)

It is late Sunday afternoon. Our day has gone well, up and out of the house in time for worship practice for Dale and then church.

Church was wonderful and we left refreshed from the service. We grabbed some lunch and headed home.

This is usually what our Sundays look like. Sundays are a quiet day, no unnecessary activity, just what is needed. Naps are often part of the afternoons, and Dale slept in his chair today while I walked.

As I walked, I thought about how quickly this summer has passed by. I complain about summer, I dread it’s beginning, I dislike the heat and the humidity and I dread the season. This afternoon it occurred to me that it really doesn’t last long, my attitude towards it lasts longer.

Seasons pass by too soon. Days also. It’s nice to take time once a week to slow down. It is on Sundays that I spend much of my time thinking. Yes, I am blessed by church services, by prayer through the morning, and conversations that I have. Then, at home I think of all my should haves and could haves. My why haven’t I accomplished this, or when are you going to do this?

I blame the quiet. It gives me time to think, to ponder and to comprehend how I feel about friends and family. Sundays are the days I allow myself to think about those who are dear to me. To recognize those homesick feelings for people who live away from me.

Yes, I am thankful for quiet days. I love Sundays. I feel challenged, though, as to how to communicate with family how much I care and love them. How my heart longs to talk uninterrupted and for length. Times and seasons pass, I need to learn to put into action how to communicate and spend the time with those I love.

Thoughts and Prayer

During my quiet time today I read several scriptures that spoke to my heart in a deep way. The words incited me to pray for our country. I often do pray for our country, but today I felt such a need to really pray.

We are living in times where we sometimes wonder where this world is going. We are confused as to what is going on and why it is. As Christians, we know this looks like the end times. I then realize that many times in my Christian walk, I have felt that way. Then the season passes and we are still here.

I know only God the Father knows when the end times are. I do question Him at times and ask how it could ever get worse. Yet, we may recognize the seasons, but God… God knows the time.

The prompting to pray has followed me throughout today. I have tried to be obedient.

It’s not like I am frightened by the world. That is not it. I guess I am looking at the current season.

Psalm 27:13-14 says, “I would have lost heart, unless I had believed That I would see the goodness of the Lord In the land of the living. 14 Wait on the Lord; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the Lord!” (NKJV)

Lord, help me to wait on You. Strengthen and encourage me to be of good courage. Let me lean into You, knowing the times and the seasons are Yours and Yours alone. For our country, Lord, I ask that You cover this land, open eyes that are blinded and ears that are dull. Reveal Yourself to this land. Let us look up, recognize You as Lord and live for You. Amen.

Mountain Retreat, 1977

“I will lift up my eyes to the hills— From whence comes my help?
My help comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth.” Psalm 12:1-2 (NKJV)

This verse was part of my devotions today. I always smile when I read this verse. Then I remember my first retreat in the mountains south of Tokyo so long ago.

We went with our Friday night fellowship group and traveled by car. The night before we left Dale was working on the car, prepping it for the long trip. It was growing dark and supper was ready to eat. I walked out of our home and went to where he was. He had a pair of pliers in his hand and I startled him. The result was that the pliers swung around and shorted out the battery. It being 1977, and in a foreign country, there was no where to find a replacement battery and we were leaving early in the morning. But, we were young, and I was strong and the car was light, so we pushed the car, Dale jumped in and hit the clutch and away we went. We did get several looks whenever we stopped as these crazy Americans pushing a car to get it to go. Eventually we arrived at the retreat center.

The lodge was settled amongst the mountains. We all arrived at the same time. Our friend Pam jumped out of their car and we both talked of the beauty of this place. That was the first time I heard the above scripture. I had never heard it before then, and I will always connect it with that time and place.

In fact, I really cannot remember any of the messages, I know I took notes. The scripture in Psalm 121 was my lesson. I lift up my eyes to the hills. I know where my help comes from. I have never looked at another mountain the same way. Each time that scripture resonates in my mind and envelopes me with sweet memories.

The retreat was Japanese style. No beds, just futons. Layers of comfy quilts piled on top of another. Sleep was probably some of the best sleep I have had. Each night we pulled out the futons and slept and each morning, they were put away in the closet. Futons had their own space for storage.

The meals all had mushrooms in them. It was a bit overpowering and it did turn me off of mushrooms for a long time. The other staple were eggs. From quail eggs to huge eggs that one could feed a family.

The showers were in a different building, an ofuro, a building for men and the other for women. It was a public bath. You would wash off in what looked like a locker room and then take your clean body to soak in this huge shallow pool filled with steaming water and lots of strangers. It was something I never adjusted to that week, but, I admit that once sitting in the pool every muscle relaxed and renewed.

I have thought of that week today. I never imagined that I would have had these experiences. When I think on them, it is like a dream that was real Moments in life have a way of etching themselves in you. Memories tattoo themselves in your mind. Sometimes a reading of a devotional can once more transport you back to a time and place you never could have imagined.

I am thankful daily for the life the Lord has given me. It has been filled to overflowing with adventure and surprise. Thank You, Jesus.