He Has Dealt Bountifully With Me

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(I am blessed to be a guest devotional writer today over at Granola Bar Devotional.)

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I would cry out, “How long, O Lord? How long” as I would leave the nursing home where my mother spent the last five years of her life. Due to a terrible fall and surgery, Mama would never be able to fully walk again. Previously, her mind had slipped into a roller coaster of dementia-ridden fear, repetition, accusation, jealousy, confusion, and hallucinations. Diabetes turned to Type 1 at age 85, making her insulin-dependent until the day she died at age 98. Then in her last year of life, she got an extremely painful, odd cancer.

I loved my Mama dearly and she loved her family. I loved to see her smile, hear her laughter, feel her motherly arms around me.  She lived near me the last fifteen years of her life where I watched and lived her life daily so also watched the hard side to aging.

Mama was one of those 1940s gals who went to work for the war effort. She married a Navy doctor. She owned a dress shop. She raised three daughters alone after Daddy died from Pancreatic cancer. We were only 12, 10, and 7. She had her hands full raising us in the 1960s and 70s, but she did. She loved us through the hard places, never giving up on any of us. She took care of herself. She was just an amazing lady.

As her body and mind deteriorated in her aged years, I saw my proud, strong mother become dependent, confused, in pain. Mama could be so afraid over something imaginary, be so angry or jealous with those who cared for her; her blood sugar would drop so low that she required hand-feeding, or the pain of the cancer would be intense. Anguish built up in me. I would hold on, quietly praying for Him to calm us both. As I left her in the care of others, I would cry out to God, “How long, O LORD?” Not that I wanted her to die for I would (and now do) miss her terribly, but watching her go through so much for so long, I just wondered if God had forgotten her.

He had not. God never left either of us. The number of Mama’s days were in God’s hands. He is the LORD Who sees, Yahweh Roi. God was drawing Mama closer to Himself all along through beautiful avenues. He drew me into His arms of peace, of hope, of gentleness. I can sing with joy for He, indeed, dealt with me bountifully.

Memory Verse:
“But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation. I will sing to the LORD, because he has dealt bountifully with me.”
– Psalm 13:5-6 (ESV)

Prayer Prompt:
“Father God, I rejoice and sing to You. You truly have dealt with me bountifully and lovingly….”

Originally published @ @ Granola Bar Devotional…

This post has been linked up through Granola Bar Devotional FaceBook as well @ https://www.facebook.com/GBDevotional

Listen to Me

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Psalm 81

Oh, That My People Would Listen to Me

To the choirmaster: according to The Gittith. Of Asaph.

Sing aloud to God our strength;
shout for joy to the God of Jacob!
Raise a song; sound the tambourine,
the sweet lyre with the harp.
Blow the trumpet at the new moon,
at the full moon, on our feast day.

 For it is a statute for Israel,

a rule of the God of Jacob.
He made it a decree in Joseph
when he went out over the land of Egypt.
I hear a language I had not known:
 “I relieved your shoulder of the burden;
your hands were freed from the basket.
In distress you called, and I delivered you;
I answered you in the secret place of thunder;
I tested you at the waters of Meribah.   Selah
Hear, O my people, while I admonish you!
O Israel, if you would but listen to me!
There shall be no strange god among you;
you shall not bow down to a foreign god.
I am the Lord your God,
who brought you up out of the land of Egypt.

Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it.

“But my people did not listen to my voice;
Israel would not submit to me.
So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts,
to follow their own counsels.
Oh, that my people would listen to me,
that Israel would walk in my ways!
I would soon subdue their enemies
and turn my hand against their foes.
Those who hate the Lord would cringe toward him,
and their fate would last forever.
But he would feed you with the finest of the wheat,

and with honey from the rock I would satisfy you.”

In His mighty strength, He relieves, He frees, He delivers, He answers.  In His powerful justice, He tests, admonishes, and He gives over to their (our) own ways.  He will fill and feed, He will protect, He will satisfy.  He is their (our) God.  He loves us and will do anything for us that is in our best interest, even admonishing.  We must learn.  We must seek Him.  We must listen.  We must follow His ways and not ours.  

This Psalm brings to mind all that is going on in the world today in the Middle East and in Israel.  A world turning upside down.  A time of change.  Things are happening so quickly and for so many reasons.  Many questions without answers.

For Israel, God is still calling them to listen, just as God calls me to listen. 

“Listen”.      shama`      shä·mah’         שָׁמַע
  to hear, listen to, obey
Yisra’el        יִשְׂרָאֵל   
God Prevails

Israel is made up of two roots:
1.   sarah    sä·rä’      שָׂרָה
     contend, have power, contend with, persist, exert oneself, persevere
2.  ‘el          āl             אֵל  
1) god, god-like one, mighty one
a) mighty men, men of rank, mighty heroes
b) angels
c) god, false god, (demons, imaginations)
d) God, the one true God, Jehovah
2) mighty things in nature
3) strength, power

On that day I will make Jerusalem a heavy stone for all the peoples; all who lift it shall grievously hurt themselves.  And all the nations of the earth will come together against it.  Zechariah 12:3
In the end, God prevails.

 

Thus says the Lord of hosts: behold, I will save my people from the east country and from the west country, and I will bring them to dwell in the midst of Jerusalem.  And they shall be my people, and I will be their God, in faithfulness and in righteousness.”  Zechariah 8:7-8

“Thus says the Lord of hosts: In those days ten men from the nations of every tongue shall take hold of the robe of a Jew, saying, ‘Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.’”  Zechariah 8:23

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Oh Heavenly Father, may our hearts stay focused upon You.  May we love, pray, help in ways we can the children of Israel.  Please don’t allow us to be afraid and not stand up for them.  May Israel listen and may their ears be ready to hear that the Messiah is here.  Oh, what a glorious day when we are all with You, with Jesus.  To shout for joy and sing a song aloud … All In His Wonderful Name, Amen.


** In the lines with the Hebrew, the first word is the “transliteration”, second is the pronunciation, and, of course, the final is the Hebrew.  

Postcards of Hope

I have been blessed to share a ray of hope from my experience with my Mama over on Stories of Hope in God (no longer running online).

Anita Hunt “runs the Scattering the Stones Christian ministry … a place of peace, praise, and prayer, with the aim to encourage you; focusing on the gifts of grace, joy & hope, with a thankful heart.”

 

She and her husband “live in the beautiful county of Dorset in England.”

Anita shares that she “had the pleasure of studying at Bible college, gaining a degree specialising in Theology and Pastoral care.” She says, “God called me to be a Christian writer sharing His love, hope, and Good News in 2011. My heart’s desire is to walk alongside those who are in pain, reflecting God’s love and grace, and share the Hope of the world (Matt 12:21).”

Stories of Hope in God is a part of her ministry and is a special place to sit awhile.

Hope-in-the-Lord

My story…

“I will sing to the LORD, because he has dealt bountifully with me.”  Psalm 13:6 ESV

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“How long, O Lord?  Will you forget me forever? 

How long will you hide your face from me?
 

How long must I take counsel in my soul
 and have sorrow in my heart all the day?
 

How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?”   Psalm 13:1-2 ESV

I would cry the first line of words out over and over again as I would leave the nursing home where my mother had to spend the last five years of her life.  She took a terrible fall, shattering an ankle and the bones in her lower leg.  So after surgery, she would never be able to fully walk again, although she could stand up momentarily and get around in a wheelchair.  Previously, as well, her mind had slipped into a roller coaster of dementia-ridden fear, repetition, accusation, jealousy, confusion, and hallucinations.  The diabetes she got at age 55 turned to Type 1 at age 85, making her insulin-dependent until the day she died at age 98 years and 10 months.

I loved my Mama dearly.  She loved me, my sisters, and her one and only grandchild.  She lived near me the last fifteen years of her life.  I watched and lived my Mama’s life daily.  I loved to see her smile, hear her laughter, feel her motherly arms around me.  A mother’s love is mighty precious.  As her mind diminished, I found it most difficult to watch her change from a proud and strong woman to a dependent and often confused woman.  Mama raised us three girls alone after Daddy died from Pancreatic cancer.  We were only 12, 10, and 7.  She had her hands full raising three girls in the 1960s and 70s, but she did it.  She was pleased and proud of us all after we got through those rugged teen years.  She loved us through the hard places though and never gave up on any of us.  She was one of those gals during World War II who went to work for the war effort.  She married a Navy doctor.  She owned a dress shop.  She took care of herself, physically and mentally.  She was just an amazing lady.  But over time, not much it seemed, she changed so much that the mother I had always known was vanishing.  She had vascular dementia.  So as this disease diminished her mental abilities, along with the physical struggles, I came to see my Mama was just as vulnerable as I had been when I was a child.  She needed to be handled with respect, dignity, and loving care.  She needed strength when weakness overtook her.

As her daughter, I came to know a mother who I was quite unfamiliar with, but wanted to know.  I wanted to learn how to be the kind of daughter who could also give her the best care.  The nights when she would be so angry over something imaginary, or when her blood sugar would be extremely low and she needed to be hand fed, or the times when she would scream at a hard-working, poorly-paid staff member, I would be all torn up inside.  I was the one who needed care sometimes.  Yet, I would hold up while I was with her, calling upon the LORD to calm me and her.  When I would leave for the night, I would walk toward my car and cry out to the heavens, “How long, O LORD, how long?”  Not that I wanted her to die for I would (and do now) miss her terribly, but watching her mind go through so much, getting a very odd and extremely painful cancer the last year of her life, continually left me in stress and anguish over my Mama.  It all went on and on, and I just wondered if God had forgotten about her, about me.

Consider and answer me, O Lord my God;
light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death,
lest my enemy say, “I have prevailed over him,”
lest my foes rejoice because I am shaken.
  Psalm 13:3-4

But He had not.  God never left either of us.  The number of Mama’s days were in God’s hands.  God was our strength.  He is the LORD Who sees, Yahweh Roi.  He knows and sees all.  God was drawing Mama closer to Himself all along through prayer, through the precious witness of a kitchen staff member who would share her Bible study on Mom’s clear-minded days, and through the divine appointment of a Christian caregiver who came to be with Mom two nights a week so that I could spend those evenings with my husband.  And I know that God, Yahweh Roi, took her to heaven on that final numbered day.  He also drew me closer to Him through His Word, through the love of my husband, through His children on staff, and through quiet moments with Him as I sat with Mama during her sleeping times, or when I was on my knees in prayer before Him, or when I was alone with His Word on my lap.  Yahweh Roi, the LORD Who sees, never left me nor my Mama.  Drawing near to Him grew my relationship with the LORD and gave me peace and hope as I drew upon His power and might.  Through His love and hope for Mama’s future and mine, I have been reassured of His Presence and Omniscience in my life.  I know that I have a hope in the LORD that is truly unsinkable.  I can sing with joy for He, indeed, dealt with me bountifully.

But I have trusted in your steadfast love;
my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.
I will sing to the Lord,
because he has dealt bountifully with me.
Psalm 13:5-6

Father God, I do rejoice and sing to You.  You truly have dealt with me bountifully and lovingly for I never walked alone through the many years caring for my mother.  During the hard times, you were with me, even when I forgot.  During my weaknesses, you never stopped holding me up.  As I walked around unknown corners, I would find You there waiting for me with the caress of Your Godly love.  Oh, Father, You have blessed me beyond my thoughts.  I know that my mother is with You and that I will one day be there too.  Your bountiful gifts never ceased even when I could not see them.  I look back and know that You were always there.  You are my God Whom I trust and sing to today because You have sustained me, loved me, comforted me, answered me, and, most of all, tenderly cared for and brought salvation to my Mama.  In the Perfect Name of Jesus, I pray.  Amen.

…..

 

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Quietly, I Pray

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With a quiet mind, heart and soul, I pray for the peace of Jerusalem.  God, I have no words but to lift up Your city, Your people, to You and only You.  My heart longs for peace in this world.  There is so much turmoil everywhere I turn.  Yet, it is with the deepest prayer that I call out and pray for Your Israel, Your Jerusalem, Your precious people.  Hear me, O God.  Hear me.  Amen.

Psalm 122

A Song of Ascents. Of David.

I was glad when they said to me,

“Let us go to the house of the Lord!”

Our feet have been standing

within your gates, O Jerusalem!

Jerusalem—built as a city

that is bound firmly together,

to which the tribes go up,

the tribes of the Lord,

as was decreed for Israel,

to give thanks to the name of the Lord.

There thrones for judgment were set,

the thrones of the house of David.

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem!

“May they be secure who love you!

Peace be within your walls

and security within your towers!”

For my brothers and companions’ sake

I will say, “Peace be within you!”

For the sake of the house of the Lord our God,

I will seek your good.

Verse 6 of Psalm 122:

 שָׁאַל

sha’al

pray

to ask, to inquire

שָׁלוֹם

shalowm

completeness, soundness, welfare, peace

peace, quiet, tranquility, contentment, peace (from war)

יְרוּשָׁלַם

Yĕruwshalaim

Jerusalem = “teaching of peace”

שָׁלָה

shalah

to be at rest, to be or have quiet, to be at ease, to prosper

אָהַב

‘ahab

to love

…human love for another, includes family

…human love for or to God

…act of being a friend

…God’s love toward man…

     …to individual men

     …to the people of Israel

    …to righteousness


From Matthew Henry’s Commentary on Psalm 122:

“This psalm seems to have been penned by David for the use of the people of Israel, when they came up to Jerusalem to worship at the three solemn feasts. It was in David’s time that Jerusalem was first chosen to be the city where God would record his name. It being a new thing, this, among other means, was used to bring the people to be in love with Jerusalem, as the holy city, though it was but the other day in the hands of the Jebusites. Observe, I. The joy with which they were to go up to Jerusalem (v. 1, 2). II. The great esteem they were to have of Jerusalem (v. 3-5). III. The great concern they were to have for Jerusalem, and the prayers they were to put up for its welfare (v. 6-9).

….

“Here, I. David calls upon others to which well to Jerusalem, v. 6, 7. Pray for the peace of Jerusalem, for the welfare of it, for all good to it, particularly for the uniting of the inhabitants among themselves and their preservation from the incursions of enemies. This we may truly desire, that in the peace thereof we may have peace; and this we must earnestly pray for, for it is the gift of God, and for it he will be enquired of. Those that can do nothing else for the peace of Jerusalem can pray for it, which is something more than showing their good-will; it is the appointed way of fetching in mercy. The peace and welfare of the gospel church, particularly in our land, is to be earnestly desired and prayed for by every one of us. Now, 1. We are here encouraged in our prayers for Jerusalem’s peace: Those shall prosper that love thee. We must pray for Jerusalem, not out of custom, nor for fashion’s sake, but out of a principle of love to God’s government of man and man’s worship of God; and, in seeking the public welfare, we seek our own, for so well does God love the gates of Zion that he will love all those that do love them, and therefore they cannot but prosper; at least their souls shall prosper by the ordinances they so dearly love. 2. We are here directed in our prayers for it and words are put into our mouths (v. 7): Peace be within thy walls. He teaches us to pray, (1.) For all the inhabitants in general, all within the walls, from the least to the greatest. Peace be in thy fortifications; let them never be attacked, or, if they be, let them never be taken, but be an effectual security to the city. (2.) For the princes and rulers especially: Let prosperity be in the palaces of the great men that sit at the helm and have the direction of public affairs; for, if they prosper, it will be well for the public. The poorer sort are apt to envy the prosperity of the palaces, but they are here taught to pray for it.”

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Henry Commentaries on the Whole Bible by Matthew Henry

graphic:  http://gatewaychristiancenter.org/pray-for-the-peace-of-israel/

photo/graphic: http://whowillyouserve.blogspot.com/2012/09/psalm-122.html

Praising My LORD with His Words

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Psalm 146

I praise, You, my Lord!

I praise You, my Lord, O my soul!

I will praise You as long as I live;

I will sing praises to You, my God, while I have my being.

I will not put my trust in princes,

in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation.

When his breath departs, he returns to the earth;

on that very day his plans perish.

I am blessed for my help is the God of Jacob,

my hope is in the Lord, my God,

who made heaven and earth,

the sea, and all that is in them,

You keep faith forever;

You execute justice for the oppressed,

You give food to the hungry.

Lord, You set the prisoners free;

You open the eyes of the blind.

My Lord lifts up those who are bowed down;

and You love the righteous.

You watch over the sojourners;

You upholds the widow and the fatherless,

but the way of the wicked You bring to ruin.

Lord, You will reign forever,

and be our God, O Zion, to all generations.

I praise the Lord!

Amen.

 

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I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.  Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may
discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.  Romans 12: 1-2

May I present myself to You, my God, to You alone.   You teach me why and how I am to present myself to You and that is my desire, LORD.  Amen.

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http://wallpaper4god.com/en/background_psalm-1462/

http://www.teach4god.com/OTS/category/daily-studies/psalms/

Sustains, Lifts, Delivers

Psalm145-14

The LORD sustains all who fall
And raises up all who are bowed down.  Psalm 145:14

The LORD helps the fallen
and lifts those bent beneath their loads.  NLT

The LORD upholds all who fall,
And raises up all who are bowed down.  NKJV

סָמַךְ

camak

to sustain, refresh, revive

זָקַףi

zaqaph

to raise up, to comfort the afflicted

God takes care of His own.

He upholds all that fall…we may fall, but we are not cast down, made downhearted, demoralized.  Illness, distress, falling into sin, into despair, can take us down, but God sustains us, keeps us near to His bosom.  His grace covers us, holds us up, may prevent the fall, recovers the fall quickly.  It is by His love that we are held and He holds our spirits up as well.

When affliction and oppression burden us, taking us down, God raises us, comforts us, brings us back into His arms.

Praise Him.  He is the Mighty One Who saves.

יָשַׁע

yasha`

to deliver, to save, be saved, to be liberated, be victorious, to save from moral troubles

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.
   Zephaniah3:16

Thank You, Father, for always being right here, for being ready to pick me up and hold me near.  Thank You for loving me unconditionally just as I am.  I am always mindful, LORD, that You have reached out to this child, caring about me, for me.  You rejoice over me with Your love…rejoice.over.me!  You.  The Father of all.  The Creator.  The Mighty One.  Oh, I am humbled because You love me.  You even sing over me.   I am just amazed, Father.  So amazed.  I just am as I smile widely.  In the beautiful Name of Jesus.  Amen.

 

 

Photo/graphic:  http://hearjesuschrist.blogspot.com/2012/01/bible-verse-wallpaper-psalm-14514.html

Preventest?

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“Thou preventest him with the blessings of goodness: thou settest a crown of pure gold on his head.”
-Psalm 21:3

For you meet him with rich blessings;
you set a crown of fine gold upon his head.   ESV

You came to greet him with rich blessings and placed a crown of pure gold on his head.  NIV

קָדַם

qadam

The biblical word for “prevent” signifies a meaning other than to prevent.  It means “to anticipate, to precede, to foresee and fulfill in advance, to pay a debt before it is due.”  Where we find this word in God’s Word, the emotion that erupts is pleasure and delight.

I rise before dawn and cry for help;
I wait for Your words.

My eyes anticipate the night watches,
That I may meditate on Your word.  Psalm 119:147-148

Bring water for the thirsty,
O inhabitants of the land of Tema,
Meet the fugitive with bread.  Isaiah 21:14

My God in His lovingkindness will meet me;
God will let me look triumphantly upon my foes. Psalm 59:10

God goes before us and meets us at the very need we ask, are about to ask, haven’t even thought to ask.  He knows our every need in the very moment of need.

Turn the coin over and we find that we can anticipate meeting God too:

Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving,
Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms.  Psalm 95:2

But I, O LORD, have cried out to You for help,
And in the morning my prayer comes before You.  Psalm 88:13

 

The Greek has a word meaning to meet one:

ἀπάντησις

apantēsis

But at midnight there was a cry, ‘Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’  (Matthew 25:6)

Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord.  (1 Thessalonians 4:17)

 

Father, I am blessed to know that You go before me and meet me at my need.  You are ready to give me the gifts that You have for me, care for me, answer prayers that I have yet to pray.  More than anything, You gave Your Son for me before I even could utter the words that ‘I am a sinner and need Him to be my Savior and LORD.’  You love me so.  You would do so very much for me.  I know that You want me to grow in the Light of Your Holiness so not everything is easy.  Yet, You are always there and right here besides me.  I am grateful and blessed, precious Father.   I look forward to the greatest meeting when I will meet You in the air, LORD Jesus.  I pray in Your Holy Name.  Amen.

 

 

Photo with verse:  http://ibibleverses.christianpost.com/bible-verses-about-devotional/blessing-goodness

He Regards the Humble, the Lowly

lowly

Though the LORD is on high,
Yet He regards the lowly;
But the proud He knows from afar.  Psalm 138:6 NKJV

Though the LORD be high, yet hath he respect unto the lowly: but the proud he knoweth afar off.  KJV

For though the LORD is high, he regards the lowly,
but the haughty he knows from afar.  ESV

Though the LORD is great, he cares for the humble,
but he keeps his distance from the proud.  NLT

Though the LORD is exalted, he looks kindly on the lowly; though lofty, he sees them from afar.  NIV

For high is Jehovah, and the lowly He seeth, And the haughty from afar He knoweth.  YLT

 

God is LORD of lords, King of kings.  He is the Holy One of Israel, the Creator.  He is my Father, my Joy, my life, my Hope, and my Refuge.  He is my Shelter, my Strength.  He is Omniscient, Omnipresent, and Omnipotent.  Look at these Names of God:

Adonai-Jehovah — The Lord our Sovereign
El-Elyon — The Lord Most High
El-Olam — The Everlasting God
El-Shaddai — The God Who is Sufficient for the Needs of His People
Jehovah-Elohim — The Eternal Creator
Jehovah-Jireh — The Lord our Provider
Jehovah-Nissi — The Lord our Banner
Jehovah-Ropheka — The Lord our Healer
Jehovah-Shalom — The Lord our Peace
Jehovah-Tsidkenu — The Lord our Righteousness
Jehovah-Mekaddishkem — The Lord our Sanctifier
Jehovah-Sabaoth — The Lord of Hosts
Jehovah-Shammah — The Lord is Present
Jehovah-Rohi — The Lord our Shepherd
Jehovah-Hoseenu — The Lord our Maker
Jehovah-Eloheenu — The Lord our God

These are not JUST names.  They are Who He is.  And God, God with names that make me as a human think that He would never even see me, this God does look upon me, that flower growing to bloom in a crack of dirt beside a wall, that little one sipping water from a dirty river, that elderly man barely able to walk, that bright young woman who has lost her whole family, that child who will never be born.  God sees and knows.  He is right here for us.  He does not forget His children.  He does not walk away from us.  He does not want us to walk away from Him.  He wants us to turn to Him.

That pink flower turns its little drooping head towards the sun and God rains down upon that little flower.  The water and the sunshine will keep it growing to become the flower which He created.  We are like that flower.  No matter what our lives are like, no matter what we are going through, God waters us and shines His everlasting Light upon us.  We may be needy, but He loves us and wants us to grow into the likeness of His Son.  He regards us, He is kind towards us.  He cares for us and respects us.  He sees us.  O, Hallelujah!

May I never think that I am not good enough for You, Father, for You made me and love me and gave Your Son for me.  I am Yours and want to always stand tall before You, Father.  You are so very much, so HUGE in my mind’s eye, in my heart.  Yet You kneel down and pick me up as a father would pick up his little child, hug her to his chest, and tell her he loves her, that she is beautiful, that she is his sunshine, his special flower.  O, Abba Father, You are my All, my Everything.  You make me smile.  I love You back.  Amen. 

 

 

 

photo:  http://www.brittonchurch.com/2013/03/25/think-about-it-32/

Miss Mary Mack

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Miss Mary Mack, Mack, Mack   Hand motion:  Arms across chest     Pat thighs     Clap hands

All dressed in black, black, black   Clap right palms with partner

With silver buttons, buttons, buttons [butt’ns]   Clap left palms with partner

All down her back, back, back.   Clap both palms with partner

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She asked her mother, mother, mother

for fifty cents, cents, cents

To see the elephants, elephants, elephants (or hippos)

Jump the fence, fence, fence.

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They jumped so high, high, high

they reached the sky, sky, sky

And didn’t come back, back, back

Till the 4th of July, ly, ly!

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I grew up with hand-clapping games as a young girl.  They were fun and delightful, brought camaraderie, and even taught gross motor skills and keeping a steady beat.  I had thought them to be on their way out, if not already out, but they are not.  REALLY!  In certain areas…in inner cities (where I had taught and saw them being used daily along with the fun rhymes for jumping rope), in the country where playing outdoors is part of living in the country, and the kids I am tutoring today use them so they are not endangered nor extinct.  These rhyming games are still used and causing kids to have fun…even some adults join in!

When I was a kid, I loved them for we had to be two or more in order to play.  We learned rhymes.  We had to know or be willing to learn the clapping part.  It took cooperation.  And the better we got at doing these, the faster the game became.  When they were too fast, the game fell apart, we fell on the ground or floor and rolled around laughing like crazy.  Just kids having a lot of fun!

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The pastures of the wilderness overflow,

the hills gird themselves with joy,

the meadows clothe themselves with flocks,

the valleys deck themselves with grain,

they shout and sing together for joy. 

Psalm 65:12-13

Together… we learn to cooperate, to dance, to share, to give, and to love.  Together.  God shows us the beauty of His natural world and the blessings that flow from their abundance.  He has given us the abundance of His love, His kindness, His shelter, His gentleness, His patience.  And, most of all, He has given us His Son for Whom we rejoice as a body, His church, His children.

LORD, may we remember these gifts and Your many blessings, even in the midst of hard things, tough lessons, sad moments.  May we rejoice in the Name of Jesus and know that You saved us from ourselves.  May we never forget that You formed us and wove us, that You gave us the gift to be joyful and be as children.  And may we remember the love that Jesus had for the little children, for the lessons He taught using a child… And He took a child and put him in the midst of them, and taking him in His arms, He said to them, “Whoever receives one such child in My Name receives Me, and whoever receives Me, receives not Me but Him who sent Me.”  Mark 9:36-37  But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to M; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God.  Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.”  And He took them in His arms and blessed them, laying His hands on them.  Mark 10:14-16   May I be as a child, Precious LORD.  I pray in the Name of Your Son, Amen.

 

Photo of two girls clapping/playing game:  http://media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/e2/9f/ec/e29fecdd659a2e1bb210bb405cb0c6e8.jpg

Miss Mary Mack/owl picture:  http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Hand-Clapping-Game-Miss-Mary-Mack-390566

Above All Names

I love You, O LORD, my Strength.  

The LORD is my Rock and my Fortress and my Deliverer,
my God, my Rock, in whom I take refuge,
my Shield, and the Horn of my salvation, my Stronghold.

I call upon the LORD, Who is worthy to be praised,
and I am saved from my enemies.  Psalm 18:1b-3

psalm 18

In three small verses, David calls God powerful names.  They are each words that we would use to suggest power, might, and protection.  God is all of those and so much more.  He is strong  חֵזֶק chezeq …in the sense of help, our Strength.  He is  סֶלַע cela` … security, a stronghold of Jehovah, a safe haven, our Rock.  He is our Fortress מָצוּד matsuwd …fastness, a strong place, a defensive position.  As Deliverer, פָּלַט palat … He brings us into security or safety from a danger, an insecurity, a dark place.  The Rock, צוּר tsuwr …a slightly different Hebrew word for Rock than above …”the rock where they took refuge,” the refuge and protection of Israel, God is the Rock still.  As in a rock, He is our Refuge, חָסָה chacah …to trust in God, confide or hope in Him.  God is the Shield, מָגֵן magen, …the Protector, carrying the shield before the enemy, before us in whatever or whomever we may find ourselves in and amongst.   He is our Horn, קֶרֶן qeren ...as David says, “the horn of my help” or “the horn of my liberation,” taken from the image of animals using their horns for defense.  The Horn of my Salvation, קֶרֶן יֵשַׁע qeren yesha` …placing both words together, God is the God of our help (salvation), safety, welfare, our Saviour.  He is our Stronghold, מִשְׂגָּב misgab …God is the lofty place affording shelter and security, a refuge.  He is the LORD, יְהֹוָה Yĕhovah …the One true God, “the Existing One.”

psalm-18

LORD, You are my All in all.  You defend me.  You hold me in the cleft of Your rock.  You hold me near.  You shield me from fears and darkness.  You protect me.  You have saved me and will bring me into Your Kingdom one day.  Oh, LORD, I am ever so grateful and fall to my knees in adoration of You, the One and Only.  You are truly worthy to be praised, my Father.  In the Name of Jesus, I pray.  Amen.

 

Graphics:  http://www.heartlight.org