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Say Yes to God

“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered.  “May it be to me as you have said.”  Then the angel left her.  Luke 1:38 NIV

 Mary could have refused.  God would not have forced the Christ child upon her against her will. But Mary, the young girl from Nazareth, said yes to God.  It was not an easy answer.  Her mind must have whirled with questions. What would Joseph and her parents think if she were pregnant?  After all, she was unmarried.  Surely they would think the worst.  Her reputation would be ruined.  What would her future hold?

Mary did not know the outcome but she heard the question.  She said yes. Her answer led her into the greatest adventure of her life.  It was not easy but God helped her.  The world is still blessed by her response.

God has a specific role for each of us. When your opportunity to serve God arises, remember Mary’s example.  Say yes—and hang on for the ride of your life.

 

 

One of Ten

As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him.  They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!” Luke 17:12-13 NIV

Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed?  Where are the other nine?” Luke 17:17 NIV

A few years ago, Maren, our then four-year-old granddaughter, danced in her first recital. The lessons were our gift for her November birthday.  It was money well spent as evidenced by her enthusiasm for the weekly class and her joy in dressing up for the recital.  I saw the video—how darling she looked in her yellow tutu and tights.  Her blond hair angelic in the stage lights.

Later, when I asked Maren to tell me about the recital, she refused to give me the time of day.  Instead, she ran off with a playmate and left me standing alone.  I could hear her telling her friend about the recital.  In her four-year-old universe, she was oblivious to the connection that the lessons had been our gift to her.

Multiply that moment by a billion times and you see how we respond to God.  In the passage above, ten lepers were healed of an incurable, hideous disease.  Only one returned to even say thank you.  Can’t you hear the disappointment and incredulity in Jesus’ voice when He asks the whereabouts of the other nine?

I’d like to say that I remember to thank God for my blessings, but I must admit, I’m no better than my granddaughter.  Just think, today I woke up in a warm house with clean clothes, nutritious food, fresh water, clean air, and the health to enjoy them. My husband and I are visiting out-of-town family and will spend the week with grandkids.  Most certainly the good in our lives outweighs the troubles and challenges that come our way.

I don’t want to be like our little granddaughter who did not understand gratitude.  Join with me in giving thanks this Thanksgiving Day.

God, Open our eyes to see your many blessings to us and make us truly grateful. Amen.

 

Moses’ Mother


My four-year-old granddaughter surprised us one year by announcing that for Halloween she would dress up as Moses’ mother.  Moses’ mother?  The rest of the family chuckled.  After all, who was Moses’ mother?

I stumbled across Moses’ mother this week in the Book of Exodus. For three months she hid her son from the blood-thirsty decree that demanded all Hebrew baby boys be killed.  Finally she realized that she could hide him no longer.  She had done her best. The rest was in the hands of God.

She lovingly fashioned a papyrus basket and dabbed it with pitch to make it water tight.  Then she nursed him for the last time, kissed her little guy good-bye and placed the little boat along the reeds in the river. He’d be hungry soon.  Would he starve? Would a crocodile eat him for lunch?   What if there wasn’t enough pitch?  What if he rolled over and tipped himself into the water?  She couldn’t bear to watch. With a broken heart she sent her daughter to witness what would happen to her precious baby.  You can read the story in Exodus chapter two. Pharaoh’s daughter heard him crying among the rushes and adopted him.  Moses grew up in the palace of the greatest ruler in Egypt.  God intervened and answered the prayers of this brave mother.

Every mom relates to this story for it illustrates our desperate desire to protect our children.  We do all we can.  But then that day arrives when it is time to let go.  We build our little boats and breathe a prayer with every weave of papyrus.  We dab the pitch, kiss her good bye, and let God do what he’s been doing all along.  For isn’t safety an illusion?  There is not a parent alive who can protect his child from every danger. We do our best and trust God with the rest.

Just like Moses’ mother.  Maybe not such a bad example for my granddaughter to imitate.

Dear Lord, It’s hard knowing how to be a good parent.  Please give us the wisdom to know when to hold on and when to let go.  Bless us with the courage to do what’s right.  Amen.

Overwhelmed Without Reason

There they were, overwhelmed with dread, when there was nothing to dread.  Psalm 53:5a NIV

Sometimes anxiety nibbles like a single buzzing fly.  Other time it swarms like angry bees.  It’s that niggle of worry that keeps me awake or the feeling of dread that weighs me down and makes me want to give up completely.  Anxiety makes me dread the day and robs me of my confidence.

Recently, I checked last year’s journal and was surprised to find that most of the things I was worrying about never happened.  Those troubles that did materialize were nothing for my God to handle.  I can truthfully say that I came out on top—in spite of worry and anxiety along the way.

The above scripture says they were overwhelmed for nothing.  I consider the verse with my name inserted:  There Candace was, overwhelmed with dread, when there was nothing for her to dread.

Why not put your name in the verse and print it out as a reminder how to deal with anxiety.  Remember Psalm 55:22, Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall.

Dear Lord, we come to you with our fears and anxiety.  We know these negative emotions are not from you.  We refuse them residence in our minds in the Name of Jesus.  We invite you to bring peace into our thoughts and minds and to sustain us through today’s battle.  We embrace your holy presence.   Amen.

 

 

Unexpected, but Oh So Welcome!

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.  Romans 3:23-24 NIV

We do a lot of traveling and often use online hotel websites to save money.  You know what I mean, pay for a reduced-rate room with the stipulation that the reservations cannot be cancelled or altered.  We’ve never had a problem.

This week was different.  Plans to visit Omaha had to be cancelled because of a death in our son-in-law’s family.  They headed to Ohio for the funeral making our trip to Omaha impossible.

Ah yes.  The prepaid reservations came back to bite us.  Almost on a whim, I called the Omaha hotel and explained the situation, telling their manager the details of our cancelled trip.  I explained that our reservations were non-refundable but asked if she had any suggestions.  Long story short, they agreed not to bill the online service.  Another call to the booking site and our reservations were cancelled without penalty.

The unexpected kindness brought tears to my eyes.  I had read the fine print and knew I did not deserve a refund.  Yet somehow they showed mercy.  It made my day and helped take away the sting of missing a week with the grandkids.

This homey example is a feeble example of God’s grace in our lives.  We know we’re doing it wrong and deserve condemnation.  But God in his infinite love and care offers us grace instead.  Unmerited favor.  Something surprising.  A pat on the back instead of a kick in the pants.  Just because He loves us.  Because Jesus died for us.

Grace underserved and surprising—but oh, so welcome.