Monday, March 1, 2021

Breakfast with God

 


Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. ~Mark 1:35

The good Lord knows I'm not the type of person who gets up before the dawn in order to pray.  In the first fuzzy moments between getting out of bed and shuffling to the kitchen to start the coffee, my mind is anything but sharp and prepared to spend time with God.  All I can muster before the jolt of caffeine hits is a feeble, "Thank you, Lord, for this day."  I guess I could do worse!

After that, you can find me checking my morning email.  Okay, that doesn't sound very God-centered, but in a way, it is.  I have several verses of the day from multiple sources, and Christian inspirational blogs to turn to.  As I sip my Joe, my head clears, and my focus for the purposefully turns to God and His presence.

Once I've had my coffee and taken a shower, I'm fully awake and ready for breakfast - breakfast with God, that is.

I come by this precious devotional in a serendipitous way.  My dear blogging friend, Linda, announces a while back that she has to place her mother in an assisted living home, and that her mom has decided to give away some of her Christian books that she's already read and reread.  It is a first come, first served arrangement.  When I see the title, Breakfast with God, I know it is meant for me.  And as fortune would have it, Linda declares that the prize is mine.  Oh, happy day!

Now, with breakfast on the table and this devotional and my Bible close at hand, this is truly where a day filled with God's grace, peace and wisdom begins for me.  I cherish this time, as I'm usually the only one up at that time in the morning; all is quiet and still.

I can drink my fill of scripture, pray for those in need, and be ready to surrender another day to Jesus.

And if you'd like your own copy of Breakfast with God, it is still in print, and available on Amazon.

My practice may not be your idea of a morning routine or time spent in God's presence.  Please do share in the comments how and where you set aside time each day to savor God's loving presence.

Amen!

Thursday, February 25, 2021

All Show, But No Go?

 


May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. ~Romans 15:13

It is not unusual here in Georgia for our daffodils to sprout their green fronds around the first week in February.  Even though the temperatures remain quite daunting, they bravely herald the spring that is in the offing, providing hope for those of us ensconced in the winter doldrums.

So, why do I get so excited when I discover this daffodil budding?  It is a part of a row of flowers who faithfully produce green shoots, but never bloom.  All show, but no go.


Well, I won't say they never produce flowers, but it's only happened once in the sixteen years Danny and I have been married.  Once!

Not only are flowers forming on other stalks in this group, but the full-blown daffodil below is the very first of all the daffodils sprinkled throughout our yard to open its face to the springtime.




Just the sight of this infuses me with fresh hope, a much-needed commodity after the trials and troubles of this past year, and the beginning of this one.  These daffodils defy their history of dormancy, and vibrate with new life.  New beginnings.  New hope.

What I once saw as dead lives again.

All show becomes a go!


And I am filled to overflowing with the hope I have in God to fill us all with His joy and peace.

Amen!

Monday, February 22, 2021

Talent on Loan From God

 


"After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them.  The man who had received five bags of gold brought the other five. 'Master,' he said, 'you entrusted me with five bags of gold.  See, I have gained five more.'

"His master replied, 'Well done, good and faithful servant!  You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things.  Come and share your master's happiness.'" ~Matthew 25:19-21

Rush Limbaugh, the greatest talk show host of all time, has passed from this earthly veil.  My heart is broken, shattered by his loss for so many of us, the loyal millions of listeners, who depended on his uplifting messages, inspiration, and unapologetic love for America to see us through the good times and the bad.  I wonder how many tears the Lord is now busy catching in His eternal bottle?  I'm sure it's more than the grains of sand on the shore.

I know there are some of you reading this who either didn't like Rush, or were indifferent to his opinions and observations solidly planted in reality.  I feel so sorry that you missed out on hearing America's Anchorman communicating honest, clear, and yes, sometimes humorous messages to his audience.  Truth be told, I've learned more from Rush about both sides of the existential battle between conservatives and liberals than I could have possibly hoped to glean from any other media outlet.  He understood liberals think better than they do themselves, and he was never reluctant to call out so-called conservatives when he though they strayed from the founding principles of our country.

Rush was an equal opportunity offender, and I loved him for that!

Yes, there are a plethora of memorable stories out there about Rush's career, how he got started in the business, and how he persevered through the tough times to build his EIB (Excellence in Broadcasting) Network into a force to be reckoned with.  I don't choose to make this the focus point of my post today.  Instead, I want to highlight the time when I'm on the receiving end of Rush's generosity toward the members of his audience.

I would send Rush personal messages from time to time via his website, letting him know how much my granddaughter, Virginia, was enjoying his Rush Revere series, how the little grands loved their Liberty stuffed horse, and assuring him that he was in my thoughts and prayers for healing from the cancer.  Much to my surprise last summer, a package arrives at our door.  It's from the EIB Network!

I know I didn't order anything recently, so I'm overwhelmed with curiosity as to what this parcel contains.  When I open it, these gifts are revealed.




Three T-shirts that actually fit me, though how Rush and his dear wife, Kathryn, could have known is beyond me.  This commemorative photo of Rush wearing the Presidential Medal of Freedom awarded at President Trump's last State of the Union address.


I will always cherish this . . .

God has taken our dear Rush into His heavenly arms much too soon, but who are we to question God's timing?

And it gives me great comfort to know that Rush, especially in this last year of his cancer battle, was never shy to share that he had a personal relationship with Jesus.  One could tell that by his day to day demeanor on air, but it became crystal clear in 2020, and he wanted his listeners to know about Jesus' saving grace.

Yes, Rush, you were always right to acknowledge that your incomparable talent was on loan from God, reminding us that all our talents and gifts are the same.  You are now walking side by side with Jesus, and I can hear Him saying, "Well done, my good and faithful servant."

Rest in peace, Rush Hudson Limbaugh III.

Amen!


Thursday, February 18, 2021

God Knows His Plans

 


"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

At age 92, my mother may not have many future plans on her bucket list.  But still, her life is valuable in the eyes of the Lord.  It has broken my heart not to be with her in physical proximity, hugging her, cooking for her, spending the week at her home being daughter, companion, friend.

We are encouraged by the fact that all of us have gotten our first Covid vaccine shots.  The second ones are looming (Danny's already had his), and it looks like we will all be able to get together safely around March 20th.  What great news!  I can't ask for a better gift than to be able to be with my mother in a normal and natural way.

Mom and I have an established routine.  I give her a wake-up call every morning at 8:00.  Yes, Mom wears hearing aids, which she takes out at night, but seems to have no trouble hearing the ring from the cell phone next to her bed.

Until last Saturday.

My calls persist, off and on, from 8:00 until 9:45.  No answer!  In desperation, I contact my mother's neighbor, Mary, who has been a faithful and life-saving help when it comes to checking on Mom's well being.  Mary calls me when she is parked in the driveway.  The house is dark.  No light or movement detected.  And my fears run wild!

Has Mom met her Maker?  And I couldn't be there to say good-bye?  How will I handle this situation?  How can I travel safely there, and then execute all that needs to be done?  What is the best way to break the worst news to my children and grandchildren?  I cry out, "Lord, this is just too much!"

Mary calls again, asking me where my mother's bedroom is located in the house.  After I give her directives, it is not long before she reports back.  "I couldn't get a response when I rapped on her window, but when I returned to the kitchen door, the lights were on!  Your mother let me in.  She just overslept."

She just overslept?  And without hearing the repeated phone rings in any way, shape or form?  I am relieved beyond words, but also concerned beyond measure.  My mom's not getting any younger, and the sooner I can travel to her home and spend time with her, the better it will be for all of us.  Danged this horrid Covid!

The Lord knows His plans for all of us, and will enact those in His time.  I only hope and pray that Mom will be around for a few years longer, and that we may share the love and companionship in person as God intended.  And I give thanks to those folks, like Mary, who have made it their mission to be Mom's hands and feet during this turbulent and troubling season.  Mary, indeed, is the epitome of the Good Samaritan.

And for her, Lord, I give thanks, and upon her, I wish endless blessings!

Amen!

Monday, February 15, 2021

Everlasting Bond

 


I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business.  Instead, I have called you friends, for everything I that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. ~John 15:15

I adore this photo of granddaughter, Virginia Rose, and family cat, Henry.  Their joy and contentment radiate for all to see, and I can't help but smile whenever I gaze upon this duo.  Yes, Henry may only be a kitty, but to Virginia, he is a best friend, too!

And I'm sure that all of us, who have ever owned a pet, have experienced the unique bond that forms between human and animal.  There's nothing like it!  Dissimilar from human friendships, your cat or dog will never talk back, never turn its back on you, and will love you unconditionally.

Now, that's what I'd call a genuine BFF!

Such a shame that our friendships with other people don't come with the same guarantee.  One reason I leave Facebook is precisely because of this.  People whom I trust, think highly of, and yes, even love, part ways with me because of differing opinions.  As a person who values dialogue and the healthy exchange of ideas, I find this mind boggling.  Shouldn't friendship create the ties that bind?

In an ideal world - yes!

But that's something we won't realize until Jesus returns.

In the meantime, we can take comfort in the knowledge that Jesus already calls us friends, just as He did His disciples.  He is always present to listen to our prayers, to provide a welcoming lap into which we can crawl up and feel safe, and will love us eternally and completely when we believe in Him.

The Lord doesn't hold our transgressions against us, but forgives us every time we earnestly repent.

I couldn't ask for a better friend that that.  Could you?

Henry is up there in years.  It will be a devastating day for Virginia when he crosses over the rainbow bridge, but not even death will erase the deep connection they share.

Just as nothing can separate us from the love that God, the Father, has demonstrated by giving us His precious Son.

That bond is everlasting.

Amen!

Thursday, February 11, 2021

Propitious Smiles of Heaven

 


If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. ~2 Chronicles 7:14

Since we ought to be no less persuaded that the propitious smiles of Heaven, can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right, which Heaven itself has ordained:  And since the preservation of the sacred fire of liberty, and the destiny of the Republican model of Government, are justly considered as deeply, perhaps as finally staked, on the experiment entrusted to the hands of the American people.  ~George Washington - First Inaugural Address.

The year is 1963.  Our nation is grieving the tragic loss of President John F. Kennedy.  I am eight-years-old.

My parents decide to take us on the train to be with family in Massachusetts for the Christmas holidays.  But the trip is planned with a strategic stop in Washington, D.C.  Though time has faded some memories, I do recall a few vividly.  We stayed at the historic Mayflower Hotel.  We also trekked to the grave of JFK to observe the eternal flame glowing, the one of hope for the perseverance of this nation.  My poor Mary-Jane clad feet practically freeze off!

Yet another memory, shrouded in the past, resurfaces this week as I witness members of the Senate shredding the precepts of our Constitution.  During our D.C. stay, our parents take my brother and I to the National Archives Museum.  The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution are displayed there, under protective glass, but still accessible to viewing.  I recall my father's words as if it were yesterday.

"Martha Jane, Billy, you are looking at America's Bible.  These are the documents that define our nation.  Don't ever forget that."

At that very moment, I feel an awe I can't put into words.  Yes, I believe what my dad has said, but it goes beyond that.  It points to our eternal God, because without Him and His precepts, this country would never have been founded in the way it was.  His blessings, His Word, gave birth to a nation of hope and promise.

A Judeo-Christian vision whose light cannot be quenched.

Or, so we thought.

What I witness the United States Senate do this week, voting to impeach a former president, who is now a private citizen, chills my blood.  This goes against every law and precept upon which our nation is founded.  They are not calling upon the "propitious smiles of Heaven," but forging ahead with their own selfish, self-serving interests, calling down the anger of God in the process.

The Lord of all knew what He was about when He created us "One Nation, Under God," and He is not pleased.  The divisiveness and rancor are not His doing, and in His mercy, He longs for us to repent of our many sins and return to Him with humble hearts.

This week, "America's Bible" is being desecrated.  What are we going to do about it?  How are we to proceed going forward?

Let us pray, long and hard, that God will prevail upon the wicked, causing them to see His light, and cleanse them from their evil ways.

May the Lord show mercy to us all.

Amen!

Monday, February 8, 2021

There is the Word

 


In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was with God at the beginning.  Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. ~John 1:1-3


There is the Word

There is a choice

One stands eternal

Other one deceives

One would look

With eyes unjaded

On the obvious

Yet, obfuscated

Is the truth

By the liar

From the beginning

Awake, our souls

To learn, discern

The voice of the Lord

Cry out for mercy

Plead forgiveness

Embrace God's grace

And pass it on

To those who trespass

Amen!

Breakfast with God

  Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. ~Mark ...