Category Archives: TRUSTING GOD

Those Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Days We All Have

Recently, my daughter found a copy at a thrift store of “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day” by   Judith Viorst (available at Amazon at  http://amzn.to/1PLVLTq     This delightful, insightful book is most certainly at your local library also.

When my daughter was little, I never actually read the book to her but I talked about it and explained the principle behind it.  That principle is that all of us, sometimes, have days when things, every little thing, just seems to go wrong – all dreary day long.  And, like the little boy in the book, we want to move to Australia – or anywhere, to escape what our life is like today.

I had one of those days yesterday – yes, out of the blue it seemed.  And yes, though I have oh so gratefully followed Jesus for more than 30 years now. I should know better than to give in to feelings.  I should have been able to rise about it immediately.  But, I am human, oh so so very human.

Having been blessed with good health for most of my life, this aging thing has been hard to accept, and especially being sick and asthmatic for two months as the cedar and mold levels have exploded here in Austin.  It finally got to me as did the fact of having gotten little work done during these last two months while I have felt so bad.

But God. . . but God saw and He understood.  I just told Him how I felt, and finally just laid it all in His hands, confessing my sin of doubt and, yes, resentment about being sick, and fear that it would grow worse and that I was getting too old and tired to work productively. (Now that was all certainly a poison bouquet of lies from the enemy of our souls!)

Nothing happened immediately, except a sense of relief at finally labelling the feeling, with God, in prayer.  Then I fixed my oatmeal and took it with me to eat at my daughter’s house, where I help with my two grandsons.

As I helped with their breakfast and held the sleepy two year old while he ate his “bed”, as I took my four-year old grandson to the gym with me, and then played on the playground after. . . I got my perspective back, and rather quickly.

Making an effort to get your mind off your problems and to actively trust God,  counting your blessings – and genuinely enjoying them, just as they are presented to you, and seeking to help others – it works every time, even when our humanity and the enemy have managed to gain a foothold of fear and worry we did not recognize until it has grown to stumbling block size.

In First Peter, chapter 5, verse 7, God says to “Cast all our anxiety on Him [God] because He cares for you.”    Dear friend, what more do we need to know than that?  Listen to this song and be lifted up.  http://http://amzn.to/1PLVLTq

He loves you so so much more than we can ever imagine!

Classic Hymns to Give You Hope

The Magic of Music

The simplest way I know to explain how God can comfort  a troubled soul simply by hearing a beautiful song is “magic”, simply “God’s magic.”  Scholars have produced a large body of scientific research on the power of music to soothe and to heal, books have been written, we all talk about it – but only God can really explain it.

The Classic Hymns are Filled with Bible Truths

Music. . . God's Incomprehensible Magic for the Human Soul
Music. . . God’s Incomprehensible Magic for the Human Soul

I count it one of my biggest blessings that I grew up attending a Southern Baptist Church and each week sang the old hymns of the church.  The early hymn writers used the Bible as their primary source of inspiration.  So the lyrics to these beautiful hymns are packed with Bible truths and phrases.

Below are some of my favorite hymns.  Listen and let God touch your heart through His magic of music.

And don’t stop with just these few.  If you enter the title of any hymn into a search engine, you will find an abundance of styles from which to choose.  And if you do not know the titles, type in “List of Christian Hymns” or “Most Loved Christian Hymns”.

“He Leadeth Me”   http://yhoo.it/1VmoYEw

“O God, Our Help in Ages Past.”  http://yhoo.it/1TkFHJQ

“Jesus, the Light of the World.”http://yhoo.it/1OLqMFl

“The Solid Rock”  http://yhoo.it/1S7xeKU

“Count Your Blessings” http://bit.ly/1POwAf1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Month Eating Out of My Cabinets – An Exercise in Humility

1cupof coffee

It had been such a beautiful Saturday morning!  I “awakened the dawn”, as the Psalmist David says.  For a solid hour, I sat with a cup of coffee and watched the sun rise and then dapple the trees with its rays, then shine in full brilliance.

After such a glorious start, motivation was high enough to tackle cleaning up my writing papers, a most necessary but long-delayed task.  During that dreaded process I found an unexpected bill for $100, due this month, which meant I could not do the too long delayed oil change, pay the small fee to have the ring my daughter gave me 20 years ago repaired, nor could I keep buying lots of low calorie fresh food which had FINALLY helped me take off five of the 30 pounds I needed to drop because of high blood pressure.   My happy bubble burst and I just lay down for a few minutes – to rest and to pray.

“Well, Lord, maybe now is the time to finally eat out of my cupboards until they are totally bare.  You know I am trying desperately to lose weight and losing weight with the food that I already have in the house seems impossible, but I am going to try it.  I will trust in You to either help me lose weight or else be content with staying as I am. 

Please forgive me for ungrateful for all Your generosity.  Help me fully appreciate that it is a luxury to even think about weight loss when so many are desperately trying to just stay alive.  Teach me this month, dear Lord, what You want me to learn. And thank you for reminding me of the Scripture “If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small.” (Proverbs 24:10, New American Standard version).   Help me be strong in what is really an easy task.  And let’s have fun with it!”

To be honest, that thought about having fun with it surprised me, but then when I pray I am always surprised at the wonderful thoughts God gives.  I’m sure He laughed at that one.   Here is a record of the fun we had that month.

  • I immediately put a bag of pinto beans in water to soak.
  • I made a list of my low calorie soup ingredients, which were cheap as well as healthy and would be enough fresh food.
  • I checked everything in every kitchen cabinet and found I had more than enough to do just fine, I had:    A box of popcorn, two boxes of diet chocolate pudding, five cans of beans, four cans of vegetables, a box and a half of oatmeal, two jars of applesauce, two boxes of six-pack crackers for snacks for my grandsons, one box of chocolate poptarts (my secret super indulgence for years), five tins of smoked sardines (which I genuinely like), two packs of ground beef in the freezer,  and on and on  – you get the picture.  I had PLENTY of food in my cabinets and refrigerator.

Bottom line?  That month was just fine.  I never went hungry and even managed to stay the same weight.  And through it all I was reminded, each day, with every meal and snack that I had, that I was eating far, far better than many Americans were eating this month and countless millions across the globe.

What I initially thought was a bad thing God had, as always, turned out for my good.  I had needed a fresh reminder to be truly, sincerely grateful and to fervently pray for those struggling in true poverty.

What a kind and loving Father He is to gently nudge us toward truths we need to remember!

Trees. . . so pleasing to the human eye!

1treesPEACEFULforestSCENE

Few things are as calming to my soul as trees.  All kinds of trees, in all seasons, in all locations – they all comfort my heart and, “magically”, make me feel secure.   And I can explain why.

Pleasing to the eye

In telling us about creation, God says in Genesis chapter 2, verse 9:

And the LORD God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye [emphasis added] and good for food.” (New International Version). 

I have always loved the outdoors, though I’ve been a city dweller all my life.  Maybe that’s one reason I’ve always loved trees – they are a part of nature that is in cities and yet remain much as they would be in the woods.    Their branches reach outward from a trunk in the same way, their leaves sway with the wind in the same way, and they stretch their branches up toward heaven in the same way.   Trees do this whether they are in a city or in a wilderness where no one but God sees them.

The Bible tells us that God called all that He created “good”.  I believe God thinks trees are beautiful, too.  I believe that they are pleasing to His eye, just as they are to mine.  Our all-powerful Father in heaven, our Creator and the Creator of the universe, could have made earth obtain its oxygen in an invisible manner.  But He chose to cover the earth with beautiful flowers, bushes, and trees. . . majestic, glorious, upward-reaching trees.

1autumn_trres_PANORAMIC

Whether you live on a mountain with a panoramic view all around or, like me, in an urban area with one tree outside my window, I pray you will pause and let the beauty of trees bring you pleasure, as God intended.  Let them remind you to lift your heart towards heaven, just as the trees lift their branches to heaven.

“The heavens declare the glory of God. . . ” (Psalm 19:1, NIV)

Together with all of creation, let us praise and glorify and love the wonderful One who made us and gave us such a beautiful earth to call our temporary home.

1TREE_ONLYONE_LOOKING UPINTO IT

 

The Best New Year’s Resolutions – Gratitude and Trusting God

obstacle

Christian Values and Goal Setting

My personality type constantly plans and sets goals, sometimes to excess, I admit.  Below are two good links about making goals and plans.  My two main goals for 2016 are to be more grateful and to trust God more.  (Along with trusting God, of  course, goes worrying less!)  I encourage myself often by remembering that nothing is impossible with God.   As Proverbs 16:3 says “Commit to the LORD whatever you do and your plans will succeed (New International Version.)

This fist link regarding goals is entitled “Personal Goal Setting:  Planning to Live Your Life Your Way.” Although this webpage is not about setting goals as a Christ follower, you can adapt it for goals related to your life with God.   http://bit.ly/1LabpRU

The next link entitled “Five Tips for Setting Christian Goals” focuses specifically on spiritual goals.   I found it personally highly  useful and thought-provoking.  http://bit.ly/1Zw3B6P

And Have Fun Planning and Anticipating!

dog jumping obstacleIf you have ever watched the amazing things dogs do during obstacle course competition, one thing is clear:   the dogs are having a great time – doing what they are meant to do.  We, too, are made to be overcomers.  Let’s enjoy the journey!

Trusting God

Dear Father in heaven,

I ask that You would graciously guide each of us, as You promise in James 1.   As we trust You, give us wisdom in setting goals for the next year.  Help us not to get  caught up in the process or  start depending upon ourselves.  Rather, keep reminding us that You are  in charge of our lives and that You have everything in control.  All we need to do is serve you with our whole heart, and soul and mind and trust You for the results.  We love You, Jesus!”

 

Trusting God – Easier Said Than Done!

Trusting God vs. Overplanning

planning papers 2015

This last week I’ve had extra time to work on my blogs because my teacher son-in-law has been home to help with childcare.  I confess I’ve gotten myself overwhelmed by too much planning.  How can I improve my blogs, how can I EVER get comfortable with Facebook and Twitter?  How can I find more time to write and do all the peripheral work related to blogging without sacrificing these next few  precious preschool years with my grandsons? The answer?  I cannot, of course.

Family First 

All my writing is about how to “focus on your family”, which is the God-directed duty of every parent.  I can reduce my family time and try to bulldoze my way to success. Or, I can choose to trust God and keep priorities in line.  Just as He has worked every single thing in my life out for my good (Romans 8:28!!) so He will continue to do so.

It Does Take Faith!

I admit it takes faith to spend hours with the family when I still have not done so much that the expert bloggers recommend.  But I know, day by day, God and I are taking huge steps, and I am learning to “build my  author platform” so that eventually  publishers will be interested.

God NEVER Leaves Us and He NEVER  Forsakes Us – NEVER!

I can no longer stay up late and get up early to do the writing, as I did when Sharon was little.  However, over the years God has graciously shown me the effectiveness of prayer and faith and  committing all that I do to Him.  God has no favorites.  And just as He enabled George Mueller to accomplish a lifetime of miracles through prayer alone, He will help me with the writer’s life to which He has called me.  Below is a link to a description of this amazing believer’s life.  I read an entire book about him years ago.  I have always remembered, that, as this link says:

 “God answered his prayers. The needs of the orphanage were met each day. Sometimes a wealthy person would send a large amount of money, or a child would give a small amount received as a gift or for doing chores. Many times food, supplies or money came at the last minute, but God always provided without George telling anyone about his needs. He just prayed and waited on God.”

http://bit.ly/1NIky6u

By God’s unfathomable grace, may we all spend more time in prayer about our work for God!  As the hymn at the link below says – He never fails, He yet prevails!  Have faith in God. . . have faith in God!”

http://yhoo.it/1QQqjW2

 

What the World Needs Now. . . A True Fortress

autumn leavesI

I was pondering what would be appropriate to say about Christmas in general, as the days of mid December fly by.  Here in central Texas, the golden and red-hued leaves are starting to fall off the trees, all at once it seems, as the wind blows, and sometimes blasts, through the branches.

In the last post, I included a link to a video by Christy Nockels and Janna Long.  I think the best thoughts I can offer you today about Christmas are in the link below.  In it, Christy Nockels sings a beautiful rendition of the classic hymn “A Mighty Fortress is our God’, which is based on Psalm 94:22.

In the middle of this stress-filled world we live in, at this time of year when so many are troubled by what they do not and cannot possess, what better thought can there be than this simple unalterable fact:   the God Who created the universe is with and tenderly watches over His children?  He truly is our fortress, no matter what comes.

Let this video help you keep your eyes and your heart on our loving Creator during times of personal unrest and distress.  And remember the comforting words of Jesus to those who have decided to follow Him:

“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.  I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. [emphasis added]”   (John 10:27-28, New International Version)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YRQp1bUJkBE

“We have nothing to fear. . . ” – Part Two

That’s become the SOP when I take my Barny back for visits to the veterinarian.  The receptionist smiles “Welcome back, Mr. Houdini!” and off we go, directly to a quiet exam room to wait for Dr. Smith.  No more noisy big back room for Barny.  He is in my arms, or in his carrier with my arms firmly around the carrier, the entire time.

God speaks unceasingly to His children, all day, every day, if we have ears to listen.  That first day and every day since when I take my fearful little Barny for his nail-trimming, God reminds me, yet again, that I do not need to worry.  I only need to actively trust Him.  I may still feel fearful, like my little cat, but so long as I stay in God’s arms—in the path of obedience—I am completely and totally safe.  And, eventually, my fear fades as I relax into God’s calming, loving presence.

Our Heavenly Father whose love for us is greater than the height of the heavens above the earth (Psalm 103), who is all-knowing, all-wise and, all-powerful has promised never, no never, to leave His children   He daily carries us close to his heart, like a shepherd with an injured lamb.

In His infinite, boundless wisdom He gives us the ability to think on one thing at a time, if we choose to focus.  He promises to keep us in complete peace IF we fix our hearts on Him.  (Isaiah 26:3)  That is often a challenging “if” for my type of personality but I usually get my mind where it should be, sooner rather than later now.

He also soothingly tells us we will face trouble each day but not to worry for He HAS ALREADY overcome the world.  By His grace, I am learning to take a light-hearted approach to problems and to see them as chances to stay close to my beloved Father.  I am learning to sense His nearness and hear His soothing whispers of love, right in the middle of my storms, just like my darling Barny.

One of the many places God promises to be with us and to take care of us always is Deuteronomy 31: 6.  In this passage, God is reassuring Joshua, who is soon to succeed Moses, who led God’s people for forty years.  The Israelites are about to enter the land promised to them, but it is a land occupied by their enemies.

Each and every day, if we are following Christ with all our heart, we can confidently face whatever fear or danger lies ahead.   We have this promise from God. And He is oh so faithful, oh so trustworthy!

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them [the enemy – explanation added], for the LORD your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you.”  Deuteronomy 31:6 (New International Version)

“We have nothing to fear. . . ” – Part One

1 Barny summer 2015

(Isn’t my Barny gorgeous???  This is his favorite “observation post” by the porch window.)

“We have nothing to fear but fear itself.”  Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

For 19 years, I had a beloved Tonkinese cat named Thellie.  He passed away shortly before I moved from Florida to Texas in 2012.   My darling little shadow, Thellie, lies at rest in my neighbor’s back yard, with a little marker I made just for him.

Exactly two weeks before I relocated from my daughter’s home (where I’d lived for two tender years as a live-in Nana when I moved from Florida), God sent my beloved Tonkinese, Barnabus Bartholomew Farmer, through a rescue shelter.  He was the only natural mink-Tonkinese listed for rescue in the entire state of Texas (which is fairly big, you know!).   His coat is, indeed, a luxuriantly rich mink color, just like my little Thellie was.  They could have been twins.

Typical of his breed, Barny is hypersensitive.  In addition, somewhere in his previous five years he was apparently traumatized about some things, like feeling pinned down.  I can hold and cuddle him a long time but the moment he feels squeezed or pinned down, he becomes the world’s best escape artist.  Clipping his nails by myself was out of the question.

His first two visits to the veterinarian with me, my little Houdini quickly escaped two different vet techicians who were trying to clip his nails.

“Cat on the loose!” I heard from the back room.   I had to go back to the big workroom and coax him out of the tiny corner he’d found, the dark underside of the desk in the very back of the workroom.  The technicians, smiling and laughing, put us both in an exam room to wait for the veterinarian.

When Dr. Smith came in, I was holding Barny lightly, but up close to my face, murmuring baby talk and rubbing my face over his fur, like we cuddled at home.   Dr. Smith paused and studied the two of us for a moment.  Then she smiled.

“He obviously trusts you so let’s see if I can do his nails while you hold him.”  Barny flinched a bit but never even tensed his muscles to leap out of my arms.  He did, indeed, trust me!

That Precious Deer

I held my breath.  The little yearling dear, two feet away from the kitchen window, looked right into my eyes.  His gauntness accentuated the size of his liquid brown eyes, and in those long seconds I felt a love almost as deep as the first day I held my daughter in my arms.  I love animals, but I had never felt like I was looking soul to soul into one’s eyes like I did now.

His look was so trusting, so desperate, so pleading.  I had just spent the previous 30 minutes caring for the horses, weeping the entire time, looking down toward the fence every few minutes where the deer leaned against the wire and then laid down, too weak to move.  When I had gone inside he must have come up to the house.

He nibbled on flowers and licked the concrete where water had run off from watering the collection of flowers and plants in pots.   As I kept working in the kitchen, he again came and stood close to the window and stared, again, a very long time.  The tears flowed again and so did my prayers.

We were many miles outside Austin, where I help a retired lady care for her horses.  “Oh, dear Father, please do something for that little deer.  Either heal it or take it home or let someone come take away its pain and take it home to You, Lord.  Please, Lord, please, don’t let it suffer.  It is so innocent and so trusting and so fragile. I know You love animals, Father.  Your concern for them is all throughout Your Word.”

Two days ago, my employer had said it was surely dying and probably was diseased.  She said when does had new babies they often ran off the yearlings and this seemed to be the case.  I had seen a buck, a doe and three fawns the day before standing, framed like a painting by the morning mist, walking away from their night-time nibbling toward the cover of thick bushes and trees.

I think I will see that little yearling’s eyes for the rest of my life.  Later that day, much much later that day, when I had finally managed to fully trust God to take care of His precious little deer, I finally understood what God was saying.

If it crushed  my heart to see that little deer suffer, and to know that more suffering surely lay ahead for it, how unimaginably more had God hurt to see His Son Jesus suffer?  If I felt that little animal’s soul look into mine, what had God the Father felt when His Son looked at Him and pleaded, “My Father!  If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me.  Yet I want Your will to be done, not mine.” (Matthew 26:39b, NLT).  How did God feel when He watched His pure, innocent Son suffer and die so terrible a death – all that I might know Him?

How dare I ever forget this lesson?   How dare I ever neglect any chance I have to tell another suffering human soul of the great love our Heavenly Father has all His beloved humans, the crown of all His creation?