Tag Archives: Our Father

THE CHRISTMAS BELL

In the past couple of months, we’ve started this thing on Sunday morning. The Hubby gets up and starts a fire in the patio wood stove. The daughter brings her family for breakfast. And me? Well – I manage to roll out of bed a few minutes before they arrive and start my portion of whatever kind of the breakfast meal is on the agenda. And if I am really on my game, I set out some kind of craft on Saturday night for the kids to work on while they wait for breakfast to finish up. Last week it was looking through circulars and making wish lists.

Today – – – it was THE CHRISTMAS BELL.

Not sure when we started the Christmas Bell tradition, but I’m pretty sure we were still living in Killbuck, and it took both me and Grandma Mickey to help get the kids’ bells done. Where the idea came from?? I have no clue, but it might have been a suggestion from one of the teachers I worked with at West Holmes or something that I read – somewhere. All I really know is that the tradition continued through our many Perrysville homesteads and on into NC.

Christmas music playing on the record player, cassette tape, CD or radio. A plain paper bell waiting to be decorated. A short poem that the kidlets would trace or copy or write (and that grown kidlets can still recite today). A paper chain of whatever paper we could scrounge up. Bouncing kids squabbling over scissors, crayons, markers, glitter, tape, glue, etc. And finally – a couple of tired parents or Grandma Mickey who all had love lights in their eyes at night as they tucked those kidlets into bed “after prayers had been said”.

Traditions are special. Whether it is Sunday morning breakfasts or pigroasts or family reunions or Christmas Bells…traditions carry much more than just the activity. Jewish traditions suggest that way, way back in time, Adam sat down and noticed that the days were growing shorter after he and Eve were kicked out of the garden. He prayed and fasted wondering if there would continue to be light in the world after choosing to eat that one piece of fruit. However with time, he noticed God started lengthening the days. His prayers had been answered.

Light Be!

Throughout Jewish history, God continued to bring light to the darkening world. Moses noticed the burning bush. Moses brought down Light from Mt. Sinai. The Macabees, after being lost in the darkness of their culture for many years, found one blessed oil container that miraculously remained untouched, and it supplied light in the temple for 8 days instead of one. A baby boy born on a dark night in a tiny stable with a dirt floor and laid in a manager.

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.”~ Matt 5:17

Hanukkah was a relatively new festival when Jesus was walking this earth. Yet, it was a festival that he would have honored during his time as a man. His own words continue to push us to notice all the times God has put His Light in front of us – IF – we just notice.

Adam noticed more light.
Moses noticed the burning bush.
When Moses brought the Jewish people to Mount Sinai, they noticed the fire and the shaking of the earth.
The shepherds and wisemen noticed the Light in the sky and followed it.

We just have to notice. We don’t have to find reasons or logic to explain the miraculous, we just have to notice its existence and praise God for reminding us that He always provides the Light to our the darkness. Faith mixed with a simple action of “thanks” thins the veil between earth and heaven just a little more, and we can almost feel the touch of His hand as He covers us with His love.

“For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”~Matt 5:18-20

A good way to start the first day of Hanukkah and the first Sunday of Advent as we notice Our Father continuing to add Light back in our world of darkness.

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GUITAR PICKIN’ HOME

I can think of no better way to start a Sabbath than listening to some awesome bluegrass, guitar-pickin’ gospel songs. Probably, because there used to be no better way to fall asleep than listening to my dad, mom and assorted friends sing those same songs. It can pull me into the presence of GOD faster than those fingers can fly over the strings. It also can bring me to tears even faster.
 
Today was one such day. Blessings at every turn. A daughter beside me in church. Grands (albeit a little grumpy at being separated from their friends more than they like) listening to me talk on and on about the Veterans displays spread around our church campus. Another daughter’s excited voice describing life in the monster city of New York. A nighttime prayer in our quiet neighborhood as I take our “girls” out for one last time.
 
“I will praise the name of God with a song; I will magnify him with thanksgiving.”~Ps 69:30
 
Election day is just a two days away. Veterans Day is a week away. Two important days in our nation.
I take a deep breath and pray for both groups of people.
I will go and vote.
I will honor those who sacrifice every day for my freedom to vote.
I offer thankful prayers for both, and feel blessed to have been born for this special time and place.
 
Despite all the chaos that seems to circle everywhere this year, I continue learn from both of these special days. It is one of those rare gifts of freedom that comes with faith. The faith to believe that despite the outward appearance, there is a Hand that continues to bless us when we humble ourselves and remember. I read somewhere this week that there is another way to look at “chaos”:
C – Christ
H – has
A – all
O – our
S – solutions
 
“Yours is the kingdom, O LORD, and you are exalted as head above all. Both riches and honor come from you, and you rule over all. In your hand are power and might, and in your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all. And now we thank you, our God, and praise your glorious name.”~1 Chron 29:11b-13
 
As SSS (Shadow-Spooky-Sparkle) kitten sits on my lap, and I yawn for the umpteenth time, I’m thinking that I’m glad I got that extra hour of sleep last night. The allergies are still keeping me busy blowing my nose, and the flu shot added an extra dimension of coughing, and yet – I totally feel peaceful about tomorrow, the next day and the day after that and the day after that and the day….(I know you get the idea). The peace of God is way beyond my understanding, but today as I listened to those old, time gospel songs and listened to my daughter’s voice in my ear, I felt the peace of Home – where my parents are still singing and a Father holds out His favorite cloak to wrap around my shoulders. Best of all, I have kept “Home” with me all day.
 
Blessings!Be! Sweet Dreams! And may His will be accomplished “…on earth as it is in Heaven…”
 

“You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which will through us produce thanksgiving to God.” ~2 Corinthians 9:11 ESV 

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FANTASTIC GIFTS OF FALL

“Pastor Phil had a farm…”

Yesterday was just what I needed. A day on the farm. The smell of freshly baled hay. Two hayrides out into open fields with parents, teachers, and students. A petting barn full of animals. Dogs, goats, horse, however the cows, chickens and quinea hens were a little stand offish – especially with all the excited kidlets running around, so I couldn’t quite pet them all. (Goats are still my favorite – even if there weren’t any Nubians.)

It was a true “harvest” festival. Pumpkins got decorated. Stories were mixed with songs. Long tables set with picnic lunches. Laughter and smiles on every face – except maybe for Pastor Phil when his tractor got a flat during the hayride. All in all – a day to give “Thank you, GOD, for everything praise in our loudest voices.”

“Land that drinks in the rain often falling on it and that produces a crop useful to those for whom it is farmed receives the blessing of God.”~Heb 6:7

It reminded me how much I miss being on a farm. Born and bred as a “townie“, I was surprised at how well I took to farm life. My in-laws were the perfect mentors for me. Mom K. took me under her wing and taught me to feed chickens, gather eggs, cook, can and freeze. Pop K took me to the barn and taught me to feed the cows, throw hale bales (if they weren’t the huge ones) and stack them in the back of the wagon. I even learned to milk the cows – although, I was never good at it. My one claim to fame was milking out a cow with mastitis when everyone was sick. Pop would laugh every time he told that story, but his voice told me how proud he was that I did it well.

OK – I think I got a little side-tracked into my treasure chest of memories in that last paragraph. What I really wanted to talk about was that being on the farm reminded me of how close it always makes me feel to Our Father. It is one of my “happy” places – a gem in a treasure chest. A place where I sang Pop’s favorite hymns and songs as I cleaned the milk tank. A place where I walked in the cow pasture or the hay field to sit under a tree just to watch the cows, write or pray. There is just something about a farm that opens up my eyes to how blessed it is to be truly known and truly loved by Our Father.

Yesterday, was our own version of Sukkot and full of “Fantastic Gifts of Fall”. it was a blessing to all who were able to be there to enjoy the hayrides, stories, songs, food, fellowship that filled our harvest cornucopia. Throw in the sounds of a few animals, the laughter of children and adults, and it is as close to perfect as you can make it on this earth. 

“This is what the Sovereign LORD, the Holy One of Israel, says: 
‘Only in returning to me and resting in me will you be saved. 
In quietness and confidence is your strength.’ “~ Is 30:14-15

#fivedaystoelection #Godisgood#prayforournation

 

OLD BAG OF WIND

When that old bag of wind Florence decides to come for a visit – uninvited, I might add, one puts their “normal” Monday activities on hold and begins the process of battening down the hatches on the home front.

Plants moved indoors. Yard decorations cleaned and stored in garage. Fire pit burned and emptied. Wind chimes silenced. Trash hauled. Lawn chairs and tables debated over and finally just up-ended. The rest – oh well – I’ll just have to wait and see how Florence wants to redecorate.

Tonight, after I picked up the Grands from school, and listened to them laugh and plan for maybe getting a day off at the end of the week just because Florence might be coming for a visit, I laughed as well. I walked around the yard and just smiled as I enjoyed Our Father’s presence.

“The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”~Deut 31:8

Florence may be coming. She may huff and puff and blow our house and trees and little wires that most of us don’t know how to live without. She may dump a bunch of water that she doesn’t need anymore – and yet – – 
and yet – – 
all in all – – 
it is just stuff that she is blowing and dumping all over. Except for my critters and family, it is just stuff.

We fill our lives with lots of stuff, little treasures “stuffed” here and there (ever wonder where that verb came from?), bigger things that fill buildings with their importance, pictures of memories that are already stored in our heads, and things that we don’t even remember having in the first place.

Tonight’s sunset brought the darkness of the second day in the Jewish High Holy Days. A new day to think about where I’ve been and where I want to go. A day to wonder what I’ve done to enhance His kingdom on earth, and what I’ve done that might have caused a stumbling block to others.

A moment – this moment – to ponder.

So tonight, as I look out into the darkness, I sniff the wet humid air, listen to the thunder that generally foretells the coming of storms in our lives, and seek my knees. 
Knees that groan in protest. 
Knees that resent this position. 
Knees that remind me: life is not easy.

I find I am praying for Florence, Olivia, Issac – that their visits are quick and painless as they blow through farms, hamlets and cities. Praying for the emergency workers who always respond during these times and stand in the gap for the rest of us. Praying for the wildfires that still rage and the fire workers who stand in the gap there. Pray for the people, the animals and crops, the nations, the world. Praying for things that I know not.

And as I pray, I remember the words that Billy Graham’s mother once wrote to her struggling son:

“Son, there are many times when God withdraws to test your faith. He wants you to trust Him in the darkness. Now, Son, reach up by faith in the fog, and you will find that His hand will be there.”~Morrow Graham, Billy Graham’s mother.

I think before I go to bed tonight and before that old bag of wind gets here, I will venture out on our small porch and reach out my hand into the darkness.    

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CLAPPING TREES

“If someone ventures a word with you, will you be impatient? But who can keep from speaking? Think how you have instructed many, how you have strengthened feeble hands. Your words have supported those who stumbled; you have strengthened faltering knees. But now trouble comes to you, and you are discouraged; it strikes you, and you are dismayed. Should not your piety be your confidence and your blameless ways your hope?”~ Job 4:2-6
 
There has been only quiet and emptiness. The sky thunderously dark and empty of light mocked the brightness of previous days, and the night withheld its dim beauty. Job knew this period of life well. Many of us know this period of life.
 
“Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, “Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.” And God granted his request.”~1 Chron 4:10
 
When I get full of myself, I have this crazy tendency to pray this simple prayer by a man only mentioned one time in the Bible. A man that had his prayer answered. I always think, “Ok, I’ve grown a lot in the past few years, right, Father? Expanding my territory will mean that it will be much easier than the last time I prayed this prayer, right?”
 
“Right?”
 
It never is. In fact, it is always a little more challenging. It is why I have only prayed this prayer 3 times. Right now – I don’t know if I will ever be brave enough to pray it again – but then again – I have said this before.
 
It is a prayer that – for me – tears off the veils that I have used to cover all those weak areas in my life that are buried so deeply that most of the time I can pretend they don’t exist.
Physical.
Emotional.
Spiritual.
And even – those states that exist so far beyond my logical understanding that I have no words for them. The good news?God knows them – knows of their existence – even if I don’t, and He strips the veils away to expand my territory in Him.
 
In January I prayed. God answered…as He always does. Territory expanded and…as always…a blessed period of rest begins. A tiny flower of clarity. A deep breath that I had been holding for almost six months. And a whole bunch of Grace shining so brightly that I almost feel ready to stand up and begin my journey again.
 
“You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.”~Is 55:12
 
Four weeks ago, just before my scheduled trip to NYC with the daughters, I was still struggling. This test had been longer and more intense than the other two times, and I was tired – – – very tired. It was then He woke me up in the middle of the night and gave this verse in Isaiah. The darkness was pushed back to reveal the stars that had been there all along.
 
It was time to step out in joy and let Him lead me forth in peace. The mountains continue to sing as the trees clap their hands and I am looking forward to starting a new adventure. I get to be a librarian again. It looks like I will end my working career the way I started it long ago when I was a page in the Loudonville library. I also get to work in a new Christian school that is just starting in NC.
K-3.
A small room.
A few shelves of books.
A chance to help build a room in Our Father’s house – – – “…on earth as it is in heaven.”~Matt 6:10b
 
There are mountainous songs circling and trees clapping.
Can you hear them?
 

Grace Christian Academy – can’t wait to see what Our Father is about to do. 

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BREADCRUMBS: Little Things

For the past few months, we have not been able to figure out why the dogs go crazy when we let them out at night. They run into the side yard and start barking. The youngster, torn ACL completely forgotten, runs into the woods and comes back with the biggest smile on her face.

One of my friends came over last night and as we sat outside, kitties started appearing at our feet. One, two, three – We petted them and enjoyed their company as we talked. Later, I remained outside for a little bit and started counting again. There was a herd of kitties.

Our yard was a kitty amusement park.

You see – I haven’t taken down my last Christmas light that shines into our woods. It is one of those star projectors with dancing red and green lights. They roam all over the trees, bushes, shed and grass right off our porch. Hubby and I enjoy watching those silly lights bounce around. Apparently, the kitties do, too.

So last night, I spent some time watching kitties run hither and yon while pouncing on every light they could see. Laughter gurgled. I closed my eyes and let the little kitties tamp down the sadness of our broken world and resurrect that peace that the Shepherd always brings.

It is in the little things, right?

“He made everything beautiful in its time.”~Ecc 3:11

Prayer doesn’t come easy for me. Since I was little, I haven’t felt like I am good at it. My mind skips around to everything under the sun except being still. It even as the audacity to yak at me when I already told it a thousand time to shut up because I need to listen. Even after reading tons of – alright – maybe not tons – – but quite a few – devotionals on how to pray, I still end up with a stumbling tongue and a frustrated head.

It is then – in that choice moment – that I start giving thanks.

Thanks for a stumbling tongue that makes me work a little harder. 
Thanks for role models in my life who can string pearls as they pray. 
Thanks for the WORD who lifts me up from my bruised knees by His grace. 
Thanks to the Holy Spirit who groans – probably with a chuckle at how often she has to jump in for me – speaking the words I cannot find. 
Thanks for a millisecond of quiet from my brain every now and then when I can hear My Shepherd call my name. 
Thanks for a Savior who carved my true name in the palm of His hand and cradles me when there is sadness beyond explanation.

Thanks for the little things.

“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”~Phil 4:6-9 

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12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS 2017 #10

“On the 10th day of Christmas my true love gave to me…”

JOY!

Not sure why staying home, doing mundane, everyday things bring me want to leap for joy. I just know it does.

Cardinals fussing around the bird feeders. A chicken hawk trying to grab a grey squirrel off a tree (he missed by the way – and boy – did that squirrel scurry down the tree). Dogs sliding in the snow just so they could roll in it one more time. Kitten playing in the box I’m trying to fill with Christmas past. Folding laundry. Cooking hot dogs with onions wrapped in a toasted tortilla. Learning something new during devotions.

It all just makes me – – – full of leaping joy.

“On the 10th day of Christmas my true love gave to me: 10 lords a-leaping.”

Traditionally, the 10 lords refer to the 10 commandments. 10 road markers to guide a weary traveler. 10 rock-solid principles in a wacky world of slithering truths. 10 laws that guided a way-ward, stubborn people out of slavery and idolatry into the promise land of new milk and honey sweet manna. 10 laws that Rabbi Yeshua followed faithfully as He walked in this physical world.

“But let all who take refuge in You rejoice; let them sing joyful praises forever. Spread Your protection over them, that all who love Your name may be filled with joy. For You bless the godly, O LORD; You surround them with Your shield of Love.”~Ps 5:11-12

JOY!

One of the fruits of the Holy Spirit. One of the words the angels used on the night Our Father sent His Son to live with us. One of the words that Rabbi Yeshua used often. Is it any surprise that I’m leaping for joy tonight? It may be cold outside. I may still have a coughing, sniffling cold. I may not leave the house for another three days because I just don’t want to do so.

JOY!

“These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.”~Jn 15:11 

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GRATITUDE ATTITUDE 2017 #26

Gratitude is precious. I know because my heart is bubbling over with Gratitude Attitude.
 
Our 3 year old choc lab was sick on Thanksgiving. Not bad sick, just off her feed. By Saturday, I was cuddled on the floor beside her non-moving body and destroying the full box of tissue beside me. Needless to say, trying to sleep on a cold wooden floor – not to mention trying to get up and down from said flooring – or being awakened by a barfing dog tends to disrupt the sleep patterns of any senior citizen. 
 
By last night – not only was my sleep disrupted – I was off my feed and praying – – or maybe I should say crying and groaning – – a lot.
 
“In this way also The Spirit helps our weakness. We do not know what we should pray for, whenever it is necessary, but that Spirit prays in our place with groaning which is unspoken.”~Rm. 8:26
 
The power of prayer is far beyond my understanding. When I was young, I saw my parents in deep prayer a few times. Twice with my dad. Three times with my mom. Prayer changes people who pray. It changes those around them. It changed me.
 
While being mentioned over 260+ times in the New Testament, the name of the Holy Spirit is only mentioned 3 times in the Old Testament; instead it is commonly referred to as the Spirit of God over 88 times. However, it is interesting to note that King David, after being chastised by the Prophet Nathan and becoming “poor in spirit”, says, “Do not banish me from Your presence, and don’t take Your Holy Spirit from me.” Ps 51:11
 
When we are shattered into shards of our former self, when we look around us and see the ugliness we have created, when our heart aches so deeply that the world spins into darkness, when no words seem adequate – let alone coherent or effective, that is when the Holy Spirit speaks for us – – to us – – replacing the ravages of the storm with the Peace of the Father.
 
I’m not sure how this whole pet thing works in the scheme of the spiritual realm. Who has eternal souls and who doesn’t. What I do know is that we are all created to glorify Our Father. From the tiniest particle of matter to the complex forms of humans, we are handcrafted in love and heard – – – even if the answer isn’t what we wanted to hear when we started the conversation.
 
Last night, after I had moved Koay’s body close to the couch so I could still pet her and lay on the couch, I had peace (and not just because I was more comfortable on the couch). Somewhere in the midst of sniffling and ranting and groaning, His Peace encircled me and my eyes were able to drift shut.
 
Our Father doesn’t send bad things to us. He is all goodness and love. It is our world that is “crap full” (as mom used to say) of bad apple choices and the resulting mutations of creation. What He does promise is to weave bad things, good things, even the mediocre, minor-things-we-don’t-even-notice together for the good of those who love Him.
 
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”~Rm 8:28
 
We were blessed today and our Gratitude Attitude grew 10 times larger. At 3 AM, Koay lifted her head for the first time in a very long afternoon-evening of darkness. She drank some water that I held for her, then her head fell back on the blanket with a plop. When next she woke me at 6 AM, it was because she had squirmed her body even closer to my hand and curled her head my palm. I got up and offered her some food that I had been trying to feed her for 24 hours. 
 
She ate.
She has been eating, drinking all day.
Better yet – no barfing.
But best of all? She wagged her tail. She had not wagged it for 3 days.
 
We are still keeping her close. Feeding her small portions throughout the day. Making sure she has plenty of water. And – we find that in all things, we see a blessing. The illness had kept her off her torn ACL leg, and now she is putting a little more weight on it.
 
So before I go to bed and try to catch up on all the sleep I have missed over the past two nights, I will take her outside and sing my own song of praise and Gratitude that we get to walk together one more day, find more new life that continues to blossom in the NC sunshine, and hopefully – walk a little further every day after that.
 
God is good and worthy to be praised. [personal photos]

 

GRATITUDE ATTITUDE 2017 #8

About 7 days prior to Halloween, I start putting the candles back in the windows so that all the windows are filled by Halloween. It is my own little tradition. I don’t think Hubby or anyone else in my world notices, but I do.

The sun sets earlier. Daylight savings time kicks back to regular time. And since Halloween has become a much “darker” celebration than I remember it being as a child, I feel like I need to put a little light into the night.

It makes me very thankful to have a Light in the darkness.

“For thou wilt light my candle: the LORD my God will enlighten my darkness.”~Ps 18:28

Candles in the windows are so easy these days. A couple batteries. A solar sensor that recognizes the darkening skies or lightening skies. Poof! A Light, barely distinguishable during the day, becomes a welcoming beacon in the night. A light that speaks of home, of warmth, of love, of dreams yet to come. A place where everything is RIGHT with the world.

I bumbled around tonight trying to find a wrap up for this Gratitude Attitude, I was clicking my way through a lot of different Roku options, and I found an old film called “Beyond Christmas”. In 1940, it was originally labeled, “Beyond Tomorrow”. Surprise – surprise – as I sniffled my way through the ending, the main character drove home the theme of the whole movie with this quote:

“Sometimes we have to go to the darkness alone before we can see the Light.”

On this 312th day of my 67th year, I am still amazed at how Our Father uses all things to work for His purposes. Here I am struggling, wondering how I am going to tie all of this together, and He just hands it to me, “Sometimes we have to go to the darkness alone…”

It has been a year fraught with many tragedies. It has also been a year abounding with bounteous blessings. We tend to ignore the Lights around us when everything is light, but when the darkness descends, those Lights are an essential guide to bring us home. I am thankful for the LIGHTS in the night that have guided me and perhaps – perhaps – my Lights in the darkness will guide someone else as well.

“Then the righteous will shine as the sun in the Kingdom of their Father. Whoever has an ear that will hear, let him hear.”~Matt 13:43  [google images]

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GRATITUDE OF ATTITUDE 2017 #5

I didn’t think I would write today. Sunday is the day of renewal for me in more ways than one. Another great sermon by our preacher often stirs my meandering thoughts to take longer to process than a few hours. Then I saw the news. A new week begins with a new tragedy. The renovation of my mind came to a standstill.

Until I remembered. Gratitude is an attitude.

““Things are not going well for those who returned to the province of Judah. They are in great trouble and disgrace.”~Neh 1:3

The news I heard when I got home from church sounded familiar. I went and got my Bible.  We had just read similar words in church. Things were not going well in Nehemiah’s homeland. Things are not going well here. The people were in great trouble and disgrace. The people here are in great trouble and disgrace.

Disgrace. Trouble.

How do I write with such sadness on my heart? I didn’t even feel like watching Hallmark movies or fussing with the few Christmas houses I’ve pulled out. Lucky for me, eldest daughter, busy-mama-soccer-playing daughter called about Koay and to set our weekly schedule. Then my Littlest, far-away-on-her-own-life adventure, called. My far way bestie/sister-of-a-different-mother/harmonizer-to-my-melody, called. My mind, filled with the wonderful things we discussed on the phone, interspersed mong the church words and news words running through my head.

I remembered.

In times of disgrace and trouble, Our Father ALWAYS calls one person to step into the gap. One person “…born for times like these.” A Nehemiah. An ordinary cupbearer far away from home. who heard the words: his people – God’s people – were in “great trouble and disgrace.” It is his reaction that makes me thankful today.

“When I heard this, I sat down and wept. In fact, for days I mourned, fasted, and prayed to the God of heaven.”~Neh 1:4-5

Unlike Nehemiah, I did not sit down and weep when I heard the news today. I have not mourned or fasted. I did pray – a passing prayer – a whispered heart prayer to Our Father as I listened to reports. It is not enough. Our Father’s people are in great trouble and disgrace and need a Nehemiah. An ordinary cupbearer who will stand in the gap and encourage others to join him in God’s vision for his people.

Nehemiah’s prayer, recorded in the first chapter of a book by his name, provides an outline. The Holy Spirit will supply the groanings for which we know not how to express. Our Father promises that He will hear us from Heaven by the Grace of His Son, Yeshua Christus., for He does have a vision even for a people in great trouble and disgrace. And for all of that – I am thankful.

“O LORD, God of heaven, the great and awesome God who keeps his covenant of unfailing love with those who love him and obey his commands, listen to my prayer! Look down and see me praying night and day for your people Israel. I confess that we have sinned against you. Yes, even my own family and I have sinned! We have sinned terribly by not obeying the commands, decrees, and regulations that you gave us through your servant Moses.

“Please remember what you told your servant Moses: ‘If you are unfaithful to me, I will scatter you among the nations. But if you return to me and obey my commands and live by them, then even if you are exiled to the ends of the earth, I will bring you back to the place I have chosen for my name to be honored.’
“The people you rescued by your great power and strong hand are your servants. O Lord, please hear my prayer! Listen to the prayers of those of us who delight in honoring you. Please grant me success today by making the king favorable to me.b Put it into his heart to be kind to me.”~Neh 1:5-11  [google images]