Lord, Save Us!

    

Psalm 118:25

Lord, save us! Lord, grant us success!

Lent is a traditional time of self reflection and soul-searching.

In reality… I should do this daily. My soul needs to be renewed, refreshed, searched, and recharged. My soul gets weary.

I cry out to God… Lord, save us! Save this land, save my loved ones, and save us from a bountiful harvest of sins.

I know He hears us. I know He hears me. I pray He grants success to all who call upon His name.

Amen and amen.

From my Dad’s mouth…

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Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. Philippines 4:11

I did not grow up poor but I do remember some months where funds were “tight” and we had to watch our pennies. I especially remember meals of toast and soupy rice. That is rice cooked in milk with butter and sugar garnished by a side of toast. For the record, it was delicious.

My father was an optimist. He would look at our meal and he would say “I wonder what the poor people are eating tonight?” Dad would say this in times of plenty and times of want. He knew that we would have days of blessings and days not so blessed.

Today, I sit here and feel sorry for myself over life events. It’s easy to do. The days where you just want to throw in the towel and give up.

But, my father’s words reminded me that I am blessed beyond measure and should have a heart filled with gratitude.

I don’t think these words came to me by accident, I believe “someone” wants me to remember his sage advice. I ask God to forgive me for wanting more.

I know He hears me.

I know my Dad is smiling.

I Hate Cancer! Remembering Karen Long.

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I will not die but live and will proclaim what the Lord has done.” Psalm 118:17

Cancer sucks

I don’t know any way to sugar coat that comment and make it more “religiously” correct. I just know that cancer has robbed too many of my loved ones of a few more days with their families.

For me, it is more than pink ribbons and races. It’s more than t-shirts, bottles, caps and blankets. It’s not an opportunity to make money in October…it’s a reality that I have seen too often and have experienced with my own Mother.

Today, so many in Orlando mourn the loss of one of the bravest warriors I have ever met. Karen Long was a believer, wife, mother, daughter, sister, police officer, and friend to many. Her smile and happy spirit were infectious. She didn’t let cancer define her and Karen met this disease with a passion for God that she felt carried her through the “valley.”

Yesterday, Karen was victorious over her 8-year illness and crossed from this life into another with Jesus. She was 41 and leaves a husband and two children ages 10 and 12.

It’s not fair.

…and I don’t blame God.

The God I love weeps with us, while He welcomes Karen to glory with open arms of love and grace.

I cling to the words that Karen often said and shared with so many: “One thing I know for sure is that God will not give me one less day on Earth than what He intended. I will not give up, I will fight with all my might and continue to declare my healing!”

Karen is healed. She just isn’t with us on this side of heaven.

And that makes me sad.

Karen’s story:

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/breaking-news/os-officer-karen-long-cancer-dies-20151011-story.html

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God is just a Heartbeat Away.

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There are days when I am full of wonder and there are days that I am not.

When I think of God, I think too often with my head and intellect. I try to discern the meaning of scripture, instead; I should be seeking God with my heart.

It is easy for me to believe in God, it is easy to follow man-made rules, it is easy to listen to leaders and prophets but it is not so easy to listen with the heart. To listen with a pure heart is to be open to God without reservation.

To open your heart risks hurt. To seek God with your whole heart requires giving your very soul and essence to the Lord.

I want to say that I have done a good job of this but I am a work in progress. I love the Lord with all my heart and all my soul, but my heart is heavy and burdensome. I worry. I fret. I want to know the future and what it holds for those I love. I want control.

I feel my heart beating in my chest. I feel the heaviness of a heart that hurts so much for this world. I want to give it all away to Him who loves me more than I can imagine.

It is my loving Father who made my heart beat and it is that same beating heart that longs for a deeper relationship with Him.

In the words of a famous hymn, “Take my heart, it is Thine own, it shall be Thy royal throne.” Oh, that is may be so.

The Lord says: “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is based on merely human rules they have been taught.” Isaiah 29:13

Praying with the faithful at a little country church…

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Now, our God, hear the prayers and petitions of your servant. For your sake, Lord, look with favor on your desolate sanctuary. Give ear, our God, and hear; open your eyes and see the desolation of the city that bears your Name. We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy. Daniel 9:17-18

My parents were faithful members of a country Baptist church. They believed in the power of prayer.

Every Wednesday night they attended a service with Bible study followed by the prayers and petitions of the faithful and sometimes not so faith-filled. There were no time limits. If you needed prayer, they stayed and prayed.

Some nights I sat there astonished at the requests. Yes, they prayed for someone’s boils and another’s warts, but they also prayed for life and death situations and believe me when I tell you…they prayed in earnest. Whether it was what we might consider trivial or life threatening, each prayer was met with sincerity and seriousness.

My Dad used to say, “Not all prayer requests are the same, but all requests are to be considered and lifted to the Lord.”

I like that way of thinking. Too often we believe that the trivial isn’t worth bringing to the Lord but in fact, everything is worth asking God’s help to resolve.

Bring your petitions to God and sit back and watch what happens. It might not be what you expected, but it will be more than you can imagine. I have seen the power of prayer at work.

A little country Baptist church remains faithful to God’s call and someone is comforted.

God is good…

Amen.

Tough Memories of Heroes – Lent 9

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My Dad was a Prisoner of War in Nazi Germany. It was an important part of his legacy.

As the pilot of a B-17, he was shot down over Stuttgart and parachuted into a lake where he treaded water until the German military arrived. Any soldier who swam to shore would be beaten or killed by waiting citizens. This was the reality of war.

My Dad did not start talking about his war experience until late in life. I think his sons, grandsons (one of whom is a Naval Commander) and friends wanted to know his story. It was dramatic and cringe-worthy and was difficult for me to comprehend. War is just so horrible.

This was a big part of my Dad’s life; a life lived well with significant highs and lows. The war was a low point for a man who was never defeated in spirit.

However, I really didn’t want to hear about it. I didn’t like to hear about my Father in danger.

I am proud of my Father’s heroism and his military skills of survival. But, I liked the Dad that I knew personally. You see, my Father was one of the most fun-loving and joy-filled people that I ever knew. He had a wicked grin and a lovely sense of humor. He delighted in pranking his children and pulled some funny, funny tricks over his 91 years on this earth. There are so many stories that I can’t begin to share them all. Suffice it to say, there was rarely a dull moment around my home. He was the life of the party and the person we all wanted to be around. He was a magnet for people and they clung to him in love and laughter.

Dad had seen the worst in people including some horrid atrocities that come with being a soldier in combat. He had seen death in so many ways and did not relive those moments often.

Lent is like that for me. I have to force myself to walk through the awful process to get to the resurrection on Easter Sunday. I don’t want to consider the beaten, spit upon, abused, and mocked Jesus. That’s too hard. I don’t want to think of the blood, sweat and tears of Jesus. It is simply too painful to ponder. But sometimes, we have to remember in order to understand and appreciate the never-ending gift given to us through the shed blood of Christ. Sometimes we have to go through the worst to get to the best.

My Dad’s laugh resonates in my heart. My Lord’s sacrifice blesses my soul. The grace of Jesus Christ keeps me safe.

I am grateful. Eternally so…

“A time is coming and in fact has come when you will be scattered, each to your own home. You will leave me all alone. Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me.I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:32-33

Palm Sunday in September?

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Retailers have discovered the benefits of having a Christmas in July marketing promotion so count me as pleased when the Dean of our Cathedral decided to study Palm Sunday in September. What a great idea.

I love Palm Sunday where we remember Jesus’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem. It allows us to forget, for a moment, that this joy leads to sorrow. But, and pardon the expression, it is also the ultimate comeback story.

This particular Sunday in the church calendar sometimes seems like a warmup for Easter. Palm Sunday is an important day. It is shared in all four gospels but it is also significant for the mere fact that Jesus allows people to recognize His fulfillment of prophecy.

Sadly, these same people will be calling for His crucifixion in a few short days. It all went very wrong but in the end it was so right…for us.

What a sacrifice. What a King.

Hosannah in September and forever!

A Princess Never Cooks


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I saw a t-shirt today with the words, “A princess never cooks.” If you knew me, you would know how much that statement would apply to this princess.

On Mother’s Day, I would like to remember the men in my life.

Beginning with my grandfather to my dad, husband, brothers, and son-in-law, I have been treated like a princess my entire life. I have been ridiculously blessed which is  not a term I use lightly.

The benefit of strong male influences has made me a better daughter, sister, wife, and mother. These men have not granted or permitted me to do anything. They have not ruled my life but have encouraged me and loved me. Love is more important than anything.

Having strong men in my life has made me a strong female. In turn, this gives me the freedom to share my hopes, dreams and desires with others. As a Mom, I want my daughters and granddaughter to know this is unique to our family and to most families. These great guys make my life happy and peace-filled.

It is also a daily reminder of our Father in heaven who calls me and all women “daughter” – what a joy, what a gift, what a comfort!

We are all daughter of the King. The Lord encourages us, walks with us through this earthly life, and waits for us in glory.

On this Mother’s Day, I give thanks for the men who have been so present in my life. But, I especially thank the Lord for being a heavenly Father who will never disappoint me and who guides and leads me daily.

I’m a princess, indeed.

“…and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me,
says the Lord Almighty.” 2 Corinthians 6:18