Wednesday, April 29, 2009


God did not bless me with a sibling called a 'sister'. My mother had three of them and two half-sisters, as well. I watched Mom and my aunts' relationships and always thought of them as best friends. It made the fact that I didn't have a sister even more vivid to me.

I always thought how wonderful it would be to have another girl in the house that I could share secrets with, borrow clothing from and do things with. I was quite close to one of my brothers and grateful for both of them, but they weren't sisters!

Over the years I've been fortunate to have some very good friends. Through our growing up we shared the experiences of sleep-overs, dating, shopping sprees, and all the wonders of being a teenaged girl. Later, we shared marriage plans, weddings, childbirth, child rearing, failing marriages, deaths of loved ones, moves across the miles. We've shared phone calls, prayers, encouragement. We've even, on occasion, shared disagreements and short separation. These friends have been like sisters, and the closest thing I've ever had to one.

As I look back at my Mom's relationship with her sisters and compare those with the times I've shared with my female companions, I've come to wonder, are my relationships any different? Is it blood which makes women 'sisters'? Or, could it be something more? Perhaps it is the tying of heart strings rather than sanguinity. I believe that might be so.


Probably every Christian knows the reasons to pray and the power there is in prayer. Certainly, I have seen the wonders that come from laying my concerns before the God of the Universe. I firmly believe that if we are obedient to God in praying, He will bless us in our obedience. He will answer, according to His will, not our own, but He will answer.

We need to pray for many reasons. God is our Father, and He created us to have fellowship with Him. He desires for us to talk with Him about all things in our thoughts and lives. Can you imagine going through life and not speaking with your mother, father or others who love you?
Would you spend the day on an outing with a friend and not discuss it with them as you go? God is with us in every moment, and I'm sure He'd like to have us share with Him as we walk through the day.

There are times when we behave in ways that aren't pleasing to God, things that are in disobedience to what He's taught. At those times, it's especially important to pray...for forgiveness. We need to ask for a restructuring of our thoughts and actions. He will be faithful to answer this prayer!

We need to pray when we feel thankful. So often we are overcome with gratitude in our lives. Sometimes it's just something small that happens but we are so glad for the occurance. God is the giver of all good gifts, and we should not forget to thank Him for them, no matter how small the gift might appear to be. Can you imagine giving your best to someone you love, and never receiving a thank you for it? It would hurt you, wouldn't it? Let us remember to give God His due...our praise for His goodness and our thanks for His gracious gifts.

I cannot think of a time when it would not be appropriate to speak with our Father. When we are hurt, He cares. When we need direction or correction, He'll provide it. Whatever we need, it will be provided, but the Lord delights in our prayers. As Paul writes in I Thess 5:17, "Pray, without ceasing." In every situation, in every moment, remember to speak with the Lord.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


If you want to learn anything, have children. They will teach you things you'd never dreamed of!

We were talking in Sunday school class about discipline of children, and how it has changed since we were children. Our parents thought nothing of getting our attention with a swat to the seat of our britches. There was no slap on the wrist or time out chair then. Sometimes we had a separation period from the rest of the family or a sibling with whom we were at war. But correction was offered in ways that didn't always feel good. I'm not talking about child abuse. I'm not talking about beatings. I mean a smack on a clothed bottom that says, "Hey! It's time for a change in behavior". In those days, such correction did not land parents in jail or on lists of child abusers. We kids didn't have the options of turning our parents over to authorities for trying to make us law abiding, respectful people.

When our parents said, "this hurts you more than it hurts me", it very well could have. Who likes having to discipline a little person? Who can stand to hear their children's tears? But what would happen without correction? The Bible tells us in Proverbs that 'Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child, but the rod of correction will drive it far from him.' God speaks of correction in many ways through His word. It is because He loves us that He corrects us. It is because we love our children and care what kind of people they will become that we correct them.

As a young mother, I had an experience one day that taught me something that I haven't forgotten. My then four year old and I had had a particularly bad day. She was determined to avoid doing anything I'd told her to do that day, and seemed that she would not hear any instruction. All the talking was getting me no where, and because she was continually disobedient that day, in the end, she got my hand on her chubby little bottom. When we had our before bed prayers, I said, "Let's ask Jesus to help you be a better little girl tomorrow." My daughter answered, "and YOU a better Mommy!"

While some might think she was being disrespectful, I had to agree. I needed prayer to be a better Mommy. I still do. We all do. Our children are not born with instructions as to how to parent them. We seek the Lord, we read His word, we do the best we can, but we are not perfect parents, just as the kids aren't perfect. We need to be praying for our children, and each other's children. And we need to pray for one another as parents, and to ask our children to pray for us. This will help them in many ways. They will learn that we know we aren't in need of correction ourselves, that we desire to be good parents to them, and that we need to all pray for our family's needs. They will come to know, as they watch us admit to our short-comings and ask for God's help, that they, too, can do the same in their lives.

Lesson taught, lesson learned....just one of many that children have to offer.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Who Am I To Question?

Today my heart is heavy for a family. Their teenaged daughter gave birth prematurely to her twins, and it was too early. The babies lived only for a few hours. If that wasn't enough, the family has been struggling to make ends meet with no work at this time. My mind whirls, just thinking of their predicament. With all the financial worries, how will they meet the hospital bills and the burial costs? Undoubtedly there will be those who give in whatever ways they can to lighten the burden for these folks. We are told in the Word to 'weep with those who weep' and we certainly have no trouble doing that today for this family. We know that the Lord will also continue to be near, providing for them, offering His peace and comfort.

No matter how strong our faith is, no matter how much we trust God, there are still those times when trials come to someone we know and we wonder how much more they can take. I don't believe that is a lack of trust or a lack of faith. It's a question that comes from our human side and from our compassion. We ache for the suffering. We know that life brings times that test our faith. We also know that they will endure, by God's grace and goodness.

Our prayers for God's compassion and mercy are being said. We will support our friends with our prayers and with our helping hands. It's all that we can do right now.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Palm Sunday

  • Yesterday was Palm Sunday...the prelude to Easter week. I've always enjoyed the church service held on Palm Sunday and looked forward to the Bible's account of Jesus riding into the city on the back of a donkey. Throngs of people lined the streets to bow and wave palm branches as He rode by. I've always liked hearing and singing the special hymns written about that day.
"Hosannas, loud hosannas, the little children sang...." Jesus must have been blessed to hear their praises as He made His way through the city.

Palm Sunday and its history is familiar to me. I learned about it first in Sunday School and heard it repeated throughout my years in church. Often Palm branches were offered as a reminder of the Triumphant Entry and the beginning of the Easter season.

Recently we began attending a new church here in SC. In the adult Sunday School class yesterday, the leader pointed out that it was Palm Sunday, and he asked if anyone could tell the class why the day was significant. Not a soul that he chose to answer could give the account. I was shocked and amazed that these people, many of whom have been in church for their entire lives, could not give an answer! This is the Bible Belt, and I was under the impression that these faithful church-goers would know 'everything' about the Bible, especially those old stories that are so familiar to me. It made me stop and wonder about the other accounts of Jesus' activities.

Do they know how the dove descended on our Lord when He was baptised by John the Baptist?
Do they know that the dove signifies the Holy Spirit coming upon Him? Do they know the stories of the miracles that Christ performed? Do they understand the parables Christ spoke ?
I do know that they know the salvation message and what one must believe to be saved. But, what about the rest of the Word?

In wondering about these people's understanding, I began to realize once more how important it is to study and work and pray for knowledge and understanding. How can we know what is expected of us if we do not truly know Jesus? Oh yes, we might have found salvation through our belief in Jesus' sacrifice, but how can we know how to live, how to love, how to treat others, without the understanding of the attributes of Christ?

It has given me a new zeal for learning and a new desire to be closer still to this Savior who is so gracious to me. I want to know His ways, to learn His precepts, to adjust my thinking and doing so that I might become more like Him. Lord, thank you for this lesson.

Friday, April 3, 2009


My little granddaughter is afraid of the dark. Night lights don't seem to alleviate her fears. Her Mommy taught her a scripture verse in the hope that she would say that to herself when her terror gripped her. "God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of sound mind." I understand our little one's reluctance to be in a dark place. I was that way as a child too, imagining that every twisted tree branch was a snake or that every corner held a boogyman.

I've grown up to realize that the dark is a space without light. There is, in a spiritual sense, much darkness in this world today. You have only to turn on the news to become swiftly aware that the world is not living in the Light of God. People who walk in the Light are not ashamed of their deeds, for they are in obedience to God. They need not be afraid, for God walks with them. Those who walk a path in darkness have reason to fear. They have no protector, no guard, no guide. How does one manuever through that sort of life and maintain a sane mind or a fearless attitude? They have no power to fight off evil and show no love in doing their own evil acts.

How wonderful to be able to say that I walk in the Light, without fear of the things in the dark!
How blessed to know that the Savior called to me, and hearing Him, I answered. How comforting to know that I am protected by His love and power!

God is not willing that you should walk alone, in darkness. He is not a respector of persons. What He has done for me, He will do for you. Wake up from your sleep in the darkness. Hear Him as He calls your name. Say "Here I am, Lord", and watch the Light fall around you! There will be no need ever again to fear, for He will stay beside you always. Choose the Light.