Archive for the ‘faith’ Tag

REMEMBER   Leave a comment

We remember, Jesus, what you did for us.

We remember, Jesus, the beatings and disrespect and the blood you shed for us.

We remember, Jesus, that you took our sins upon yourself.

We remember, Jesus, that you loved us so much you did that for us.  The wretched, cracked, broken, and leaky clay vessels that we are.

Thank you, Jesus.   I remember today.

Posted April 14, 2017 by Maureen in Christian, Uncategorized

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Daniel’s Parents   Leave a comment

The church I attend is starting “The Daniel Plan”, based on the Rick Warren book.  As part of that, we are studying the book of Daniel and talking about it.

My mind many times goes to ‘the story behind the story’ when reading the Bible.  And I was struck by how Daniel’s parents must have influenced him.  His friends also, but I’ll focus on Daniel.

As near as we can guess, he and the other young men that were taken to Babylon with the first invasion of Jerusalem were probably around 15 years old.  Daniel was born during King Josiah’s reign, so there was a great revival in Israel during that time which much have influenced his parents and him in his early years.

I like to think of Daniel’s parents being friends and even perhaps business associates of Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah’s parents.  I picture all the boys as being friends, perhaps living in the same district in Jerusalem.  Playing together, going to temple together, being taught by their parents.  Celebrating Passover together, and the other feasts.  Living a good, carefree (one would hope) life.  Until the years before the first invasion by the Babylonians, when it must have been difficult to continue to live as an orthodox Jew.  The people were falling away from their worship of God and following other gods.  They must have seen shrines, and idols.  They probably saw and heard rituals and practices of those who worshiped the other gods.  Maybe some of their friends stopped coming to temple with them, stopped talking to them, because their parents started following these other gods.

I can’t imagine how difficult it was to hear of and then see the Babylonian army come against Jerusalem.  How frightening that must have been!  And yet, I think that Daniel’s parents had started planning for this.  Instilling in their son the teachings of the Torah, and helping him to learn as much as he could.  I think they knew what an exceptional son they had.  And I think they knew it was a good chance this son of theirs would be taken from them and be brought to Babylon.

I’m imagining that Daniel’s parents, his father especially, had talked to traders and anyone else he could.  Asking them about the Babylonians.  Asking about what happened to people taken to Babylon.  And so he prepared his son.  I think he exhorted his son in the strongest terms to hold tight to his faith and belief in Yahweh, and no matter what, to  continue to pray and live as he should as a follower of God.  As the army came against Jerusalem and there was no more hope that God would save them as He had done before, I imagine that Daniel’s father, as well as the fathers of his three friends, took the boys and talked with them about what was to come.

They would make a long journey.  They would be taken care of, since they were to go into service for the King of Babylon.  They would be brought to the palace grounds, into the service of the chief of the eunuchs.  I am sure they explained to these boys they would never father children.  The King would want them to be eunuchs so they would devote all their time and energy to his kingdom and its business.  Can you imagine a teenage boy hearing that?  What must have gone through their minds?  What they must have been thinking?

I think the fathers encouraged the boys and told them to use the gifts Yahweh had given them to bring glory to Him.  To do the best they could.  To stand firm.  And these boys, being intelligent and quick to learn, used to following their parents and obeying, probably drew strength from their fathers.

There must have been tears.  Everyone must have been frightened. But the Babylonians did take the boys, just as the fathers said they would.  And everything happened as they had been told.  They made a long trip, but they were taken care of.  I imagine on the trip the four boys continued to pray and worship Yahweh, talking among themselves and helping each other to stay positive.

When they arrived and were made eunuchs, Daniel became their spokesperson.  He knew they should not be eating the food or drinking the wine that had been offered to idols and were unclean.  I’m sure he sent up prayers to God for help, and then he boldly spoke up, and was granted favor.  While the other young men ate the unclean food and drank the wine, Daniel and his friends stayed strong.  And they flourished.

If you notice, Daniel and his three friends are talked about during the book of Daniel, but all the other young men “without any physical defect, handsome, showing aptitude for every kind of learning, well informed, quick to understand” – they were never heard about again.

 

Hold tight to God!

Posted February 3, 2017 by Maureen in Christian, Musings, Stories

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DEEP POOL   Leave a comment

I am not one to make New Year’s resolutions, as I’ve posted here before.  But this year I seem led to seek God’s will and plan and purpose for my life to a level I have not experienced before.  I want to live the way He wants me to live, and be the kind of light that He wants me to be, where He has placed me.

As I was praying today I thought about a deep pool.  Picture a tall hillside.  It is rocky, but covered densely in trees and brush.  There is a tall waterfall, seeming to come down from heaven.  It is falling straight into a natural pool.  The pool is wide and deep, and at the far end where it narrows a bit, the water spills out into another waterfall that falls into another pool, which falls into another pool, and so on.

The first waterfall is the presence of God, His blessings, the empowerment of God to me.  He pours down His wisdom, his discernment, his knowledge.  His blessings flow, and His peace, and His grace.  The water is His love and patience (oh, so much patience!) flowing down, pouring into the pool.  The water is the presence of the Holy Spirit, the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit.  The pool holds the water, swirls all of it around, and embraces it between the banks.  But it does not keep all this.  No, all those things make their way to the far end of the pool, where they find an opening, an outlet, and flow and splash down to others.

As I was praying today I saw the pool, and the waterfall, and the other waterfalls flowing down.  And I pictured myself in the pool.  I’m not a good swimmer, but in my prayer I was swimming down, deeper in the pool.  I embraced the water all around me, going deeper.  I could feel the water pressing in and the purity of it as I went deeper.  Though I was deep, I wasn’t afraid.  Though I was deep, it wasn’t too dark.  I could look up, and through the grace and love and peace and wisdom and blessings I was surrounded by, and I could see the light above.

And I wanted to go deeper still.  I think I will get there.  Maybe not this year, but someday.  In the Narnia series of books that C.S. Lewis wrote, in the last book, after the characters have entered Aslan’s land (though they don’t know it yet), one of them states “Further up and further in!”  I have always remembered that phrase. It is what I feel led to do.  Go further up in my walk; go further in, closer to God.

Posted January 24, 2017 by Maureen in Christian, Musings, Randomness

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OPENING   Leave a comment

Have you been opening your gifts this month?  The gifts that God is waiting to give you, that He has all ready and wrapped for you?

I had a small gift opening last week. I have a friend, a former co-worker.  She is out on disability, which is a long story I won’t get into.  She was raised Catholic but rejected that once she became an adult.  Now in her 60’s I’m not sure what she believes, but she has stated clearly that she thinks people who go to church are stupid.

And yet she does not object to my asking her if I can pray for her, or telling her I prayed for her.  She admits she prays.  At any rate, we recently had a bad wind and rain storm and during the course of about an hour and a half the power went out and came back on several times.  The longest time was about 25 minutes.

I realized how grateful I was that Randy was not there.  My dear husband, the past few years of his life, was on supplemental oxygen.  When he was in the house we had an oxygen concentrator and a long tube (really, a series of tubes) that connected to his cannula and he could be on the oxygen anywhere in the house.  When he had to leave the house, he used portable tanks.  He could last about 45 minutes without oxygen, but that would be cutting it close.  It was always very, very stressful and frightening when he ran out of oxygen when we were going somewhere and we had to switch tanks.  And ditto for when the power went out, or the concentrator died for other reasons.

And now I don’t have that worry.   Now my stress and anxiety don’t spike when the power goes out.  I shared this with my friend, and I told her that it was a little funny to me that after almost 10 months of him being gone, I could find something to be grateful for that he was not there.

She wrote back and thanked me for sharing that, and told me it gave her a new outlook on her own situation with work and being on disability.  I really felt that was a gift from God.  Out of my pain and loss, I was able to help someone else.  It blessed my heart.

Posted January 18, 2017 by Maureen in Christian, Stories

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Imitation   Leave a comment

These days I do a pretty good imitation of a happy, got-it-all-together kind of gal.

Trust me — it is all on the surface.  I’m able to do my job and I do try to do the best job I can.  I like my job and want to continue staying there, and it is interesting and busy so that helps.  But so much of my life is a struggle to appear normal and to get the things done that need to be done.  House cleaning.  Laundry.  Dish washing.  Cooking.

Sometimes, like this weekend, I go through the struggles because I know I must and it will be better if I do, though no one knows how often I do my dishes or wash my clothes, my heavenly father seems.  So I can spend hours painting or reading or embroidering, and that can pass the time in numbness and quiet and I can keep busy doing something creative at the same time.

I hope I will not always have to imitate.  It is hard to see that right now, because my love, my sweet, my heart, is gone from my life.  I miss my Randy every moment of every day.  But I am ever reminded (and remind myself) that God is good, and God is faithful. Blessed be the name of the Lord.  He is here, He knows, He understands, He hears, He sees.

Posted October 24, 2016 by Maureen in Christian

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Prayer   Leave a comment

I moved to my smaller apartment on the 23rd.  It was just as stressful and exhausting as I thought it might be.  All during that long, busy day when I would feel my feeling start to overwhelm me, a peace would come on me, and I would find a strength.

Have you ever felt what it was like to feel someone praying for you?  Someone you asked to pray for you, and on the day and time you needed it, they prayed, and you felt it?  I don’t know how to describe the feeling, but that is what I felt like all Friday.

The prayers of the people I know and who I asked to pray for me lifted me up and sustained me and strengthened me.  God is good and God is faithful.  Blessed be the name of the Lord.

Posted October 2, 2016 by Maureen in Christian, Musings

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PROGRESS ?   Leave a comment

I’m not sure if you could call this progress.  Moving forward maybe.  Positive movement might even be a better, more accurate phrase.

I have to downsize.  Without my husband’s income I can’t continue living where I am, I have to move to a place that is smaller.  This will be the THIRD TIME I’ve had to downsize in the past eight years.  Before I got married last year I had gotten rid of literally over half the things I owned. Then we got married and we bought a lot of things together. New dishes. New silverware.  New pots and pans. Rugs.  Bookcases.

And now I have to get rid of at least 1/3 of all that.  The first two weeks after Randy passed away it was so sad and depressing for me to even think about getting rid of this stuff.  I was mad and upset and sad that I had to downsize.  AGAIN.

Eventually, after most of the emotions had passed, I was able to talk to God about it.  A lot, actually.  And I finally received His peace.  It was there all along, waiting for me.  But I had to come to that point where I accepted it.

So I have been packing, and hauling boxes to Goodwill.  Then I pack some more, and make another trip.  I have sold some things, and given away some things.  And you know what?  I feel better. So I asked myself: “Self, why do you feel better?”  And I think it is because I do not feel like a helpless victim of my circumstances. Rather, I am taking responsibility and doing something about my situation.  I am taking positive steps to making my life better and live somewhere I can afford.

And in the meantime, I have been able to bless people with what I gave away and what I have sold.  I have had to make tough choices on what to give away, but I am keeping all the things that 1) I need and 2) are important to me.  Not only that, but the $4,500 or so in debt I found out I was in from unpaid bills is almost totally taken care of.  And that, people, is GOD.  No other way to explain all the events that had to take place, all the things that had to fall into place, so that all that debt would be paid.

Thank you, God, for being patient with me.  I don’t know how you do it, but I am glad you do. Thank you for being my provider, my rock, my fortress, my very foundation.  To you be all glory and honor and praise.

Posted May 10, 2016 by Maureen in Christian, Married Musings, Uncategorized

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