Monthly Archives: November 2009

Strengthen my Heart

I’m visiting my parents in Florida. My dad has been battling high blood pressure as well as a slew of other ailments. He owns his own blood pressure monitor. As I watch him check the numbers frequently I’m reminded of a particular verse.

“May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones.” 1 Thessalonians 3:13

Our hearts are weak vessels. Finicky, and in need of strengthening. This verse captures my hope and prayer for my children. I want them to lean into God’s strengthening.

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Prayer vs. Action

I was saying prayers with my daughter the other night, when she said…

“Dear Lord,
Please help me to stop cracking my knuckles.”

She paused for a minute, then added,

“I know I can pray all I want, God, but if I don’t do my part, it’s not going to happen. So please help me to do my part too.”

Her prayer reminded me of that saying…

Pray like everything depends on God, then act like everything depends on you.

And I think it’s true. We can cry out to God for help in any area of our lives—and we should—but if we don’t do our part to make changes or act on what we are needing help with, we will likely be frustrated with the results.

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Never left out

“I didn’t like it today when Ella liked Tommy more than me.” My six year old had a rough time on a play date when his ‘favorite girl’ had her cousin visiting and they all had trouble making the 3-way playgroup work.

Just a few short weeks ago though, he was the one in the middle as we visited far-away friends. His closest chum from infancy hung back a bit while his sister enthusiastically did whatever Bug initiated. By the end of our visit it was clear that his buddy was feeling left out too. At the time, it was hard to get Bug to see why he needed to make more of an effort to reach out to his pal when it was easier just to play with Sis.

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Turn Your Head

Direct me in the path of your commands, for there I find delight. Psalm 119:35 NIV

“Come on, sweet girl. Turn your head this way,” I coaxed my newborn baby. As I tried to gently turn her soft head to the left, she tensed up and held her head in the opposite direction. I sighed, envisioning her head forming in the lumpy shape it currently held.

The doctor told me to encourage her to look left as much as possible. She favored lying with her head to the right. “Lay her in the bed so when she turns right, she faces the wall,” she told me.

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The Martha Complex

I have felt very distracted lately. Worries about money, sick children, church situations have left me feeling a little disoriented. I’ve been praying that God would help me to regain my focus. And then these familiar verses turned up in my devotional reading:

But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself ? Tell her to help me!”
“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things,
but only one thing is needed.

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Do not be Afraid

On the heels of Halloween and as we head into the holiday season, I found verses that made me think more about the word fear. I used to loathe the idea of fearing God. I know the Bible mentions doing that, but the mere thought made me think that I had a God that could not be trusted, that he’d whip out his rod iron ready to whip me into spiritual shape at any given moment. This has been far from true of the God I know. I’ve grown to understand the word fear to mean respect/stand in awe of God, as opposed to be afraid of/frightened by God.

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Give Thanks in All Circumstances

Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Give thanks in all circumstances! Have you ever struggled with that passage? Here we are in the month of November. Two weeks from today is Thanksgiving. We’ve started preparing for our celebrations by planning menus, sending invitations, designing tablescapes, making shopping lists….

It’s easier to think about being thankful at this time of the year. It’s expected! It’s what we do! Or maybe not, maybe your income has been cut or lost in the past year, maybe you or someone you love is fighting a serious illness, maybe depression is a constant companion, maybe you will be alone for the first time this year, or maybe you are grieving the loss of a loved one.

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Why Worry?

One of my favorite verses in the Bible is Matthew 6:25-34…

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?

And why do you worry about clothes?

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