Feeling Grateful

Today it feels like the day was given back to me.

I planned to report for jury duty early this morning, but when I called in to the Lancaster Courthouse last night, I got a recording that said jury duty was cancelled and will not be rescheduled.

I was not looking forward to the uncertainty of jury duty.

My Daily Prayer

by Doris High 

Lord, I need Your help today to stay focused on You.

  • Empower me as I begin another day of active duty in spiritual warfare.
  • Stay in my face.
  • Intrude in my life.
  • Keep me from stupid sins – from thinking I can take over Your work.

Thank You for being my Shepherd.

  • I am grateful to have everything I need.
  • I am blessed to know – You will provide for me today.

Help me to remember

  • Love is kind.
  • Love does not give up.

If I want to embrace life and see this day fill up with good

  • I must cultivate good.
  • I must run after peace for all I am worth.
    • 1 Peter 3:10-2 The Message

I love knowing that You are as close to me at the clothes I wear.

  • Romans 13:14 New Living Bible

I love setting my heart to serve You at the beginning of each day.

  • Today
    • I want to be a vessel of Your powerful Spirit.
    • I want to lay down my desires and submit to Your desire.
    • I want to remember and understand when the noise in my spirit is beyond my control – and give the noise to You.

I want to be a “Resurrection” Person.

  • One who believes
    • Hope rises from dead places.
    • Impossible stones can be rolled away.

Thank You for our family.

  • Bless them with Your protection, power, and wisdom today.
  • Intrude in their lives.
  • Spin and mold their clay.
  • Let them be a blessing to those they meet.
  • Guide them to people who will bless and encourage them.

Because You love our family even more than I do

  • I bring each one to You with great joy
  • Knowing without a doubt that You are working in their lives – especially in things that concern me.
  • Protect them from evil today.

I love You, Lord.

I love being Your daughter.

Amen

Sacrifice of Praise

Let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name. Hebrews 13:15 King James Version

 How do you get to a point of giving God a “sacrifice of praise” when you have been hurt or when you have hurt someone?

We have all been there (some more painful than others) and at times have trouble turning a painful situation into an item of praise to God – a stepping stone for spiritual growth. But let me assure you…

…if you do not turn pain into a sacrifice of praise, the pain ­will hinder your walk with the Lord.

Healing from the pain of a broken bone is far easier than healing from emotional pain. I grew up in a home where I was sheltered from a lot of emotional pain, so dealing with gossip, hearing cruel things about myself, or learning that I have hurt someone is difficult for me. I have a Pollyanna-type personality that wants everyone to be happy.

I gave you that bit of information to say – if I can turn emotional pain into a sacrifice of praise, you can do it too.

One of the most painful things that ever happened to me involved gossip against Cerwin and me. It happened several years ago after an incident at our house while we were on vacation. We learned about it six or seven weeks later during the early part of the gossip. We tried to bring peace to those who were offended. It was probably eight months later when a godly man approached Cerwin and told him how angry he was at us for serving beer to underage young people. He was especially offended because of what we represent in our ministry with TFC and the church we attend. What? We do not allow alcohol in our house nor do we drink alcohol of any kind. But, before confronting Cerwin, this man learned the truth and came to apologize for his bitter feelings toward us. Wow! How did the gossip trail get to that strange place?

The gossip was more painful to me than the actual situation – especially because it traveled way beyond our circle of friends and church family. How many other people heard the incorrect information? There was great temptation to be angry or even quit serving with TFC because of the humiliation. But, I didn’t have to think about that very long before I saw the “footprints” of Satan.

Sometimes I wish there had been just one person who had stopped the gossip early in its journey and said, “Wait a minute. I know Cerwin and Doris better than that, let’s ask them about it.”

It still bothers me on occasion (like in the next situation). Other times I smile and know in my heart that this bit of pain and humiliation was nothing compared to what many people have faced or what Christ faced when he was misunderstood and even crucified.

It was about a year after the man approached Cerwin that a woman came up to one of our children and hissed, “You must have the most awful mother in the world.” Our child (an adult) did not know the person, or why it was said, and was too surprised to ask. Had this person heard the gossip or had I or our child angered her in some way? I don’t even know who it is to ask what I have done.

How did I turn that pain into a sacrifice of praise? It has become a huge stepping stone for me to be careful what I believe and say when I hear gossip or bits and pieces from an unsettled, difficult situation. My faith in God has become stronger and I have become more patient and established in waiting on God.

I have done some things that caused my own pain.

Because I love to capture life in pictures, you won’t find it surprising that I have offended people by pictures I have posted on Facebook or in my blog. Even when I meant to honor someone or something, my carelessness or eagerness to share a story caused them humiliation or pain. I didn’t try to make them angry, but it did. Other times I learn that someone is offended because I didn’t post a picture.

Because I want everyone to be happy – their frustration causes me great pain. How did I turn my pain into a sacrifice of praise? I could do what my flesh feels like doing at times, and just quit taking and posting pictures. But I know that it is God who gave me a passion for capturing life in photographs, so I have become more cautious in what I post and more creative in how I do it without always showing faces.

When I have trouble forgiving myself or feel that someone hasn’t forgiven me I try to do something positive – something to share the love of God with others – my sacrifice of praise.

It’s what propelled me to turn some of my photos into Bible verses.

Give Them Love Anyway

I love what Ann Voskamp posted on Instagram today  – and since I don’t have time to post pictures tonight, I am sharing part of it with you. If you want to see the rest, go to: https://www.instagram.com/annvoskamp/

Giving isn’t about what you have in your hands — it’s what you have in your heart. .And never doubt it
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An act of kindness, giving it forward, can be more powerful than a sword in starting needed revolutions.
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True, people may be angry,
Give them love anyway.
.
People may not like your way,
Give them kindness anyway.
.
People may be divisive,
Give them dignity anyway.
.
People may be indifferent,
Give them genuine attention anyway.
.
People may build fences,
Give them a gate anyway.
.
People may disagree with you,
Give them space at the table anyway.
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People may climb over each other to get ahead
Give them a bit of your heart anyway.
.
Because honestly?
Giving kindness is how to give sight and hearing to those who hearts may be blind and deaf.

A Lesson from Fighting Hummingbirds

This morning I watched a pair of hummingbirds fight over the sweet syrup I have in one of our five feeders.

1 (1)As soon as one got near the feeder, the other chased it away. I couldn’t tell if one was the aggressor (as often happens) or if both were being selfish.

Because they fly and swoop so quickly, I never did get a shot with both in the same picture.

1 (4)They fought for a full fifteen minutes – never letting the other one at the syrup.

I would have liked to tell them to share – that there is enough syrup for both of them because there are four other feeders and each is filled with fresh syrup. 🙂

PS: I am writing this eight hours after taking these pictures – and they are back at it again. 🙂

Both will starve if they keep this up.

1 (2)As I watched them, I thought about the many times Christians do the same thing – fight over a spiritual matter – even though there is enough “sweet stuff” for everyone.

Psalm 119:113 reminds us that God’s Word and its teachings are sweeter than honey.

There is enough for each of us, but when we fight, no one is feasting on the sweet Word of God.

Could that be part of the reason why there is great spiritual starvation in our nation and in the world – because of selfishness and fighting within the Church.

DSC_5599I smiled when I saw this one on a high branch – waiting for the other – to make sure it wouldn’t take its syrup. However, the entire time it sat here it could not take in the fresh, sweet syrup that I put out yesterday.

How many times do people (including me) do that? Sit self-righteously – from what we think is a high place – looking down on those we do not understand – those who make mistakes or even blatantly sin.

How much of God’s sweet nectar (His Word) do we miss because our attitude is feasting on anger, selfishness, or jealously?

DSC_5572Then I saw something that made me smile. While those two fought over the syrup in one feeder, this one peacefully drank from another.

Selfish, controlling Christians can starve spiritually while others are peacefully drinking in God’s Word.

DSC_5594Then I noticed another feeder – something of another species.

Could this represent a Christian from another denomination or country – someone who looks and thinks differently than you or me.  Maybe it’s someone with whom we strongly disagree. Consider that this person may be taking in the sweet Word of God while you or I sit in a self-righteous high place – starving spiritually – while trying to be in control.

~~~

I love when God teaches me lessons from nature.