Category Archives: Bible

The King’s Favor

The king’s wrath is as the roaring of a lion; but his favor is as dew upon the grass. Proverbs 19:12

It happens every time we go camping. In stillness, quietness and obscurity, after the moon and stars appear. Atmospheric water vapor condenses into droplets. By sunrise, the ground, picnic table and anything left outside is covered with glistening beads of moisture–dew.

And so it is with The King’s favor, and favor with people (Proverbs 19:12). It happens softly, slowly, in ways we can’t see, yet we know when His favor is upon us.

Jesus,
Bless my friends with favor wherever they go–jobs, stores, gas station, drive-thrus and neighborhoods. May your presence draw in souls. Your promises are true. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 

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A Glorious Morning

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Many Christmas seasons have passed since the ten days we spent devoid of electricity and modern conveniences.

On New Year’s Day, our family, along with many other northeast Texans, awoke to see fields, roofs, trees, roads and powerlines covered in a two-inch thick glaze of ice. An unexpected overnight storm of sleet followed by freezing rain paralyzed travel, business and most of all, my college break. Linemen worked as fast as they could to restore power in cities and towns. But, we knew it would be a while before they reached our rural area. Dad, mom and I spent our days huddled by the fireplace, our only source of heat, and our nights sleeping beside it.

Six days later roads were still hazardous. Since we couldn’t go to church, Dad decided we’d have our own church at home, by the fireplace.

“Luke chapter two,” Dad said opening his Bible.

What? The Christmas story? Christmas was two weeks ago. Oh well. Wish I had a quilt. Three layers of clothes, a coat and two blankets aren’t enough. Brrrrr. Dad read. Mom and I listened.

And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. (Luke 2: 6)

No room for them in the inn. Probably warm there. Sent to a stable. A drafty, smelly stable. No heat. No bed. Is Dad’s voice cracking?

I glanced upward and watched him take a white handkerchief from his pocket. I could count on one hand the times I’ve seen him cry.

Manger.

Swaddling clothes.

Such harsh conditions. I pulled the blankets closer to my face.

Mary.

Joseph.

The baby.

Jesus—the Prince of Peace. A newborn prince born in a stable, placed in a feeding trough. I’ve heard this story all my life but somehow, today it’s . . . I never really thought . . . tears gushed as I placed myself within the primitive birthing room. I sobbed and bawled and felt foolish for feeling sorry for myself, for being grumpy about the cold and disrupted plans.

Shepherds.

Angels.

Dad closed his Bible. I folded the wet corner of my blanket and wiped my face. Forever changed.

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A Compassionate King

For years Nehemiah thought about his ancestors’ desecrated graves. These thoughts troubled him. Then one day he could no longer hide his feelings behind a forced smile and his routine servant-cup-bearing duties.

“Why is your face so sad?” asked King Artaxerxes. Thick silence filled the throne room.

How do I answer him, thought Nehemiah. Will my reply cost me? My job? My life?

With trembling knees and hands he drew in a deep breath, admonished the king, then told him his desires.

If an earthly king can detect a downcast servant how much more can our Heavenly King discern our intents and desires (Hebrews 4:15)?

Dear Jesus,

You’re our Creator–a God of details. Your word teaches us we ‘have not because we ask not’ (James 4:2). You know the longings, and at times the aches in our hearts. Help us to give voice to those yearnings as we cast our cares on you. More importantly, cause our thoughts to align with your will. In your name we pray, Amen.

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A Memorable Break

At seventeen I had a lot of questions–few answers. Questions about life. Questions about the future. Questions about God. Is He real? And is there more to being a Christian than going to church and trying to live a good life? Yes, I had questions and a job as the Assistant Head Dining Room Girl at  summer camp.

My duties included setting tables, serving food, serving second and third helpings of food, cleaning tables, washing dishes and mopping floors. As second in command of the eight Dining Room Girls, I had to make sure all our tasks were completed and help solve any problems among us. Consequently, serving three meals a day, plus a night-time snack to staff left little time to enjoy any camp activities.

However, one day before supper, we were invited to step outside and join the campers.

“Everyone take on of these slips of paper from the basket,” said the Camp Director. “Now walk to an area by yourself, sit down and think about what you’re reading. Stay in your spot until you hear the dinner bell.”

I reached into the wicker basket and took one of the folded white papers and meandered to a nearby tree. I plopped beneath it feeling grateful to sit outside a few minutes, even if it was July. I leaned against the tree and opened my assignment.

 Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine      own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Proverbs 3: 5-6

At last–an answer.

I peered at the sky then down again to what became my favorite Bible verses.

Yes Lord.

I will trust.

 

 

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An Orchestrated Wilderness

PIt’s in the wilderness I broke.

I emptied out and You poured in.

In weakness I gained strength and my vision became clearer as I viewed the battle of good and evil, flesh and spirit and the strategy of the enemy.

There I felt Your grace–genuine grace.

My unplanned wilderness was all in Your plan.

Such a productive time.

Thank you Lord.

Thank you.

 

 

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Hungry?


I remember my stomach growling and that caving in feeling. Never in all my nine years of living did I feel so famished.

“I’m gonna die. Keel over. Die of starvation,” I groaned. You can really work up an appetite climbing trees, playing tag and hide-and-go-seek.

“Dinner’s ready!” mom announced. I ran into the house and plopped into my seat. After the blessing, I ate and ate and ate. Even the hot white mashed stuff with specks of orange in it.

“Mmm. What is this mom? It’s so good.”

“Mashed turnips with some diced carrots mixed in.”

Turnips? Turnips? Mom knows they’re on my Do Not Like list, along with broccoli, greens and brussel sprouts. But . . . why do they taste so good?

Oh yeah. I was hungry . . . real hungry.

Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness for they shall be filled. Matthew 5:6

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I Just Want to be a Sheep . . . baa

 

I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep, and they know me.

John 10:14 NLT

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Don’t Ask the Blessing, Offer One

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Why do we pray before meals? Habit? Tradition? For the answer, click here:

http://www.joyfulheart.com/thanksgiving/offer-blessing.htm

When I read this eight years ago it changed my pre-meal perspective and consequently my prayer. Now instead of asking God to bless my food, I bless God, the provider of my food.

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How Long?

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During a weary time in my life I asked the Lord,

How Long? How long do I stay faithful?

Later that day I found the answer.

. . . be thou faithful unto death and I will give thee a crown of life.  

Revelation 2:10

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Music from the Ashes

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Digging through the charred rubble of the Su Valley Junior-Senior High School near Talkeetna, Alaska, volunteers recovered several musical instruments. Clarinets, brass horns and a tuba passed from person to person. Elementary School music teacher Sandy Shoulders called it “music from the ashes.”1

A few years ago I experienced a low time in my life. Weeks turned into months and eventually my mental cloud dissipated. Then one day something funny happened at work and I erupted with a loud belly laugh.

“Mary, I’ve never heard you laugh like that,” my co-worker said.

It was true. I hadn’t laughed in a long time. The sound of joy returned, and like the salvaged band instruments, it was music from the ashes.

A cheerful heart is good medicine. Proverbs 17:22 NIV

1 Associated Press. “Searchers salvage musical instruments from Su Valley rubble.” KTVH-TV June 18, 2007  http://www.webcenter11.com

11/1/08

“Mary, you’re so funny.”

I heard this twice last week. I’m not a comedian by any means, but the sound of laughter confirms the inward joy that God has restored in me. I’m free from things that oppressed and weighed me down. I’m free to be myself. Free to laugh, dance, run, sing and shout. Yes I’m free.

Thank you Jesus.

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