Abraham was faithful. He depended upon God, was obedient to Him. He had a relationship with His God. His faith was “counted to Him as righteousness.” I have a relationship with God because I want to be close.
I have worked so much of my life to be independent, having a life I could call my own, but faith in the LORD, being married to Kenneth, talking with one of my sisters each weekend on the phone, are relationships that mean so very much to me and call me to obedience and dependence. Being dependent is not a bad thing as the world often portrays it. From the Mosaic Bible’s devotions: “While relationship doesn’t demand the sacrifice of independence, it offers the gift of meeting our inadequacies. In such moments of weakness, we realize the strength of dependence.”
I Cannot Do This Alone
by Dietrich Bonhoeffer
From where does my help come?
My help comes from the Lord,
who made heaven and earth.
But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 2 Corinthians 12:9
LORD, I need You and You alone. May the needing of You be joyful and may it be the delight of my heart. LORD, help me release my need to be self-sufficient so that I may always be God-dependent. Amen.
For I was hungry and you gave Me food, I was thirsty and you gave Me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed Me, I was naked and you clothed Me, I was sick and you visited Me, I was in prison and you came to Me.’ Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? And when did we see You a stranger and welcome You, or naked and clothe You? And when did we see You sick or in prison and visit You?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these My brothers, you did it to Me.’ Matthew 25:35-40
I have just finished reading “The Grapes of Wrath” by John Steinbeck, written in 1939. Prior to that book, I read “Just Mercy” by Bryan Stevenson, written in 2014. In this world today…my heart, my eyes, my ears see and sense injustice, inequality, desperation in trying to migrate or to escape across waters and harsh lands, living in war-torn countries, starvation, sex and slave trafficking, and this list goes on and on. I also see the good and the great, but these books have focused my attention on these harder issues.
The first of these books wraps around the issues of migrant farm work back in the Dust Bowl period and the Depression. The misuse of land, bank loans, and then corporations getting the land of small farmers, set these families off their land. When they saw handbills advertising workers were needed in the rich, fertile valleys of California, far too many went out there without enough work for all. Then corruption reared its ugly head all across the state in many forms. The circumstances of it all broke the spirits of many of these people, yet many overcame as best they could to survive.
The second book is about a lawyer who meets prisoners on death row. These men come together when Bryan Stevenson goes to the South for a month-long class while attending Harvard Law School. He meets men who have been locked up in solitary confinement for years upon years. Eventually, the ones in the book are found to be innocent, yet never had the council necessary to have a fair trial. People in authority used their powers unjustly to lock up innocent people to keep the guilty out of prison or to keep their own name from coming under ridicule when they did not arrest a guilty party.
Although one book is fiction, it is based on events over years and of many that actually did occur. It is like a composite of the times. The other is nonfiction. My heart strings have been pulled immensely these weeks. I am sad for the injustice that took place so long ago in many situations, and still takes place to this very day.
Jesus calls us to feed the hungry, to visit prisoners, to welcome a stranger. When we look around, there seems so very much that needs to be done. Overwhelming, indeed. And we often sit still, doing nothing because we don’t know where to begin or it seems like too daunting of a task. Bryan S. thought such thoughts, but he began with one prisoner. Casy, in Steinbeck’s book, stood up for the downtrodden who were being underpaid, overworked, and betrayed because someone else was willing to do their job for less so the wealthy landowners hired the new ones for half the price and forced the others to take that same pay or get out. Tom Joad, a main character, planned to take up that mantle after Casy was killed in trying. Tom was willing to risk it all.
Risking is hard. Yet…can we lift a hand to help another? Can we offer a drink of water? Can we feed the starving? Can we bring Jesus to the hearts of the lost? Will we?
Father, I ask Your forgiveness for all of the open doors I have walked passed, missing the golden moments to offer help. And thank You for giving me an opportunity to feed one from Cuba recently when he asked for money for food. We were just outside a cafe so I invited him in and bought his lunch. He was most grateful. You blessed me, LORD, for this man truly wanted a meal. My cynicism creeps in when so many have a hand out with looks of drug and alcohol abuse. My trust in their request is zero for I judge them and think I know what it is they really want. Guide me to those who You want me to help. I trust in You and You alone. Then I will know. Father, take me by the hand and teach me Your ways that I will see Jesus in these with a need. I don’t want to get to Heaven and find out just how many, many times I have missed Him here on this earth. I know I will have missed many, but I don’t want to add to that number now. I lift this prayer to You in Your Son’s Name. Amen.
Martin Luther King, Jr. photo: https://www.facebook.com/RevivalAmerica
Charles Dickens’ Quote: http://www.verybestquotes.com
Commit your way to the LORD;
trust in Him, and He will act.
He will bring forth your righteousness as the light,
and your justice as the noonday. Psalm 37:5-6
Playing with a ball brings to mind rolling. Lying at the top of a grassy knoll brings a delightful roll down the hill on one’s side. Playing marbles is about rolling. Using an exercise ball calls for a rolling action of the body upon the ball, whether standing up against it or lying atop of it. We roll.
Commit, in the verse above, is about rolling our cares off from ourselves and onto God. We are to…
remove from ourselves
throw off, give, cast off a burden
Roll unto Jehovah thy works, And established are thy purposes,… Proverbs 16:3 YLT
“Roll upon Jehovah thy way,”… i.e., commit all my concerns to God.
And the LORD said to Joshua, “Today I have rolled away the reproach of Egypt from you.” And so the name of that place is called Gilgal to this day. Joshua 5:9
Jesus tells us, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Matthew 6:25
…casting all your anxieties on him, because He cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7
All of our cares, those anxious moments, those tender ones whom we love so…give them all to Him. Our job is just that.
Then Jephthah went with the elders of Gilead, and the people made him head and chief over them; and Jephthah spoke all his words before the LORD at Mizpah. Judges 11:11
Jephthah gave all his concerns to the LORD and trusted Him with the outcome for in verse 7, Jephthah asks, “And Jephthah said unto the elders of Gilead, Did not ye hate me, and expel me out of my father’s house? and why are ye come unto me now when ye are in distress?” He had reason for concern.
Naomi said to Ruth, “Then said she, Sit still, my daughter, until thou know how the matter will fall: for the man will not be in rest, until he have finished the thing this day.” Ruth 3:18
In His time, God will roll away the reproach, bring forth righteousness and honor due to the one who is rolling away his cares onto the LORD. Just because God takes on our cares does not mean that we should stand far off, be afraid that these cares, concerns will be back in our own hands.
Yes, I do take them back all on my own, but God usually does not give them back. I tend to roll them over to Him time and time again, because I take them back time and time again.
BUT…I am to stay near to God…
Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. James 4:8
Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will exalt you. James 4:10
Father God, You want me to roll my burdens to You, to “roll upon Jevovah thy ways.” I want to. I do. I forget and take them back. I am sorry. I am learning. I wish that I were a child and still rolling down those green hills with laughter bubbling out of my mouth and heart, never thinking once, let alone twice, about cares and concerns. I was a kid having fun “without a care in the world.” I want to roll down those green, lush hills, but I can no longer do that physically. You know that of me. But you also know that I can lighten my load by giving it to You. Teach me Your ways, O LORD. I want to learn to roll, to commit my burdens to the One Who can do something about them. I want to quit pretending that I can do things better than You. I want to lay down my pretenses of strength and allow You to be my Strength. I want to roll everything onto Your back for You can carry these loads. I cannot. Then when I finally let them go, Father, I can heart-fully roll down those green hills once again with the lightness and laughter of long ago when I did not even know “burdens.” O Father, I can be the child I miss so, sometimes. I can be Your child and run, walk, roll, and stay close because You love me so. I am Yours, Father. I pray these words in the Name of Your Son, my Brother. Amen.
Rolling Ball Clipart: http://imgarcade.com/1/rolling-ball-clipart/
Children rolling down hill: https://beingwovenzephaniah317.files.wordpress.com/2015/06/290a7-rollingdown.jpg
health, healing, cure
health, as of sound mind
refreshing of the body, of the mind
relaxed, tranquility of mind, meekness
This is where I am today. Surgery…knee arthroscopy: torn meniscus, arthritis rubbing on bone. A week ago, that surgery. Yesterday, doctor appointment. I am walking without Mama’s walker, weight-bearing on the right knee and leg. I am not quite ready to leap out of those stalls with the calves, but soon! I begin outpatient physical therapy this week to gain strength, better mobility. God is so good and so gracious to this one. I am so grateful to my Healer.
Behold, I will bring it health and cure, and I will cure them, and will reveal unto them the abundance of peace and truth. Jeremiah 33:6
A tranquil heart gives life to the flesh,
but envy makes the bones rot. Proverbs 14:30
A sound heart, a heart of meekness, a tranquil heart, a peaceful heart…gives life to this flesh. LORD, You alone have given me this calmness throughout this time. The trust in my surgeon comes from You. The staff that took care of me from pre-op to post-op and all of those in between were just so kind and caring. You sent me to this small hospital that is doctor owned two years ago for a hip replacement that first time. It was just as fine in an outpatient setting as it was when I spent nights after surgery. You know my every need and You held my heart and mind in Your mighty hands. Your heart melded around mine and kept all systems running perfectly as I underwent this surgery. Oh, God, I praise You. My heart tonight still feels the peace of a week ago. You have walked every step with me this week. With all the love I have to give You back, I hand my heart overflowing with love to You, O Father. In the Name of Your Son, I pray. Amen.
- It is a day to remember that there are many, this very day, who are wearing one of these uniforms and are in harm’s way…this very day!
May we stand proud for the United States of America whether we believe in all that is going on in the country today or not. This is our country. We must stand proud of the flag, the Pledge of Allegiance, our National Anthem. As we stand with our hand over our heart, be proud because these men and women in uniform are standing in obedience to the orders they receive from their commanders. They are doing this for us, in our name, for we are citizens of the USA.
You and I are to stand in obedience to God Who is our Commander in Chief, our Stronghold, our Refuge, our Protector. His Son shed His Blood for us…His red blood…in obedience to His Father Who is our Father.
Father God, may we look to You for all of Your commands, Your will, for our lives each day. May we honor those who stand for this country, who die for this country. Please care for them as they fight or assist in war-torn countries, or work in places that have been ravaged by natural disasters and have been sent to help. We lift up the many families who have lost loved ones in these many battles this country has been involved in. We lift up those families who have someone in uniform right now and are fighting, protecting, assisting, or are preparing to go into a place that could be dangerous in one way or another. Please guard them with your legions of angels. We pray in the Powerful Name of Jesus. Amen.
But this command I gave them: ‘Obey My voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be My people. And walk in all the way that I command you, that it may be well with you.’ Jeremiah 7:23
For He will command His angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways. Psalm 91:11
“This is a mission unique to members of the 3d United States Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard), which has the distinction of being the oldest active unit in the United States Army dating back to 1784. The Old Guard is the Army’s ceremonial unit serving as honor guard to the President of the United States, and performing burial services for fallen service members, veterans and their family members at Arlington Cemetery.” Arlington Cemetery
Both of my parents are now buried in Arlington National Cemetery.
There is a flag on their grave this very day and I remember.
I am honored to remember.
I am married to a Vietnam Veteran and am honored to have my hand in his.
I do not forget.
Photo of Young boy saluting flag: http://365atlanta.com/2010/11/11/286-a-simple-thing-to-do-thank-a-veteran-every-day-not-just-on-veterans-day/
The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad;
the desert shall rejoice and blossom like the crocus;
it shall blossom abundantly
and rejoice with joy and singing.
The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it,
the majesty of Carmel and Sharon.
They shall see the glory of the Lord,
the majesty of our God.
Strengthen the weak hands,
and make firm the feeble knees.
Say to those who have an anxious heart,
“Be strong; fear not!
Behold, your God
will come with vengeance,
with the recompense of God.
He will come and save you.”
Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened,
and the ears of the deaf unstopped;
then shall the lame man leap like a deer,
and the tongue of the mute sing for joy.
For waters break forth in the wilderness,
and streams in the desert;
the burning sand shall become a pool,
and the thirsty ground springs of water;
in the haunt of jackals, where they lie down,
the grass shall become reeds and rushes.
And a highway shall be there,
and it shall be called the Way of Holiness;
the unclean shall not pass over it.
It shall belong to those who walk on the way;
No lion shall be there,
nor shall any ravenous beast come up on it;
they shall not be found there,
but the redeemed shall walk there.
And the ransomed of the Lord shall return
and come to Zion with singing;
everlasting joy shall be upon their heads;
they shall obtain gladness and joy,
and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.
The Way of Holiness is surrounded by waters, plants, and animals that reveal the glory of the LORD. All of creation shouts. Redemption has come and we, the people, sing with rejoicing. Healing and forgiveness make way for gladness and joy. The hard things of this world fade away, leaving sorrow and tears to be no more.
The LORD your God is in your midst,
a Mighty One Who will save;
He will rejoice over you with gladness;
He will quiet you by His love;
He will exult over you with loud singing. Zephaniah 3:17
Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice,
and let them say among the nations, “The LORD reigns!” 1 Chronicles 16:31
Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices;
my flesh also dwells secure. Psalm 16:9
Father God, I rejoice in Your Holy Name. I sing to You and worship only You as I continue to learn of Your ways. Your highway to holiness is the only way I want to be journey upon. Your Way is the Truth. May I walk steadfastly along that highway, remaining close to You, precious LORD. As I ponder these and other verses about rejoicing, my heart lightens. The heaviness of this world, all the heartaches and soul aches I see and hear about me seem to fade into the background as You stand strong and faithful beside me. You come before me and are my way. I follow You. May I be in Your will in this world, and may I be strong in You that my heart would not grow faint.
Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The LORD is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
his understanding is unsearchable.
He gives power to the faint,
and to him who has no might he increases strength.
Even youths shall faint and be weary,
and young men shall fall exhausted;
but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:28-31
May I wait upon You and sing praises of joy to You, only to You. In the Strong Name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.