Sunday, April 27, 2014

No Letdown

It's the Sunday after Easter. It's been a good week -- and today was a good day. 

Even though I knew I wanted to make the two-hour drive to Gainesville for a family reunion, I also wanted to go to church. So I went to the early service, and the first Sunday after Easter had a good message for me. The sermon included reminders of the doubts of the disciple Thomas -- and how maybe doubting disciples are part of God's plan. 

"It is in the struggle that we gain clarity," pastor Jim Shepherd said. 

I believe that. And I also know that sometimes clarity comes very slowly. And Jim offered counsel on that: When you see someone struggling with their faith in a situation, encourage them to keep working through it and help them see that God is with them and working with them through it. That's helpful to me, because my tendency is to feel ashamed that I am struggling, whether it be with my faith or with some particular or general area of life. 

So, once more, my list of things I want to write about grows longer and longer, but I'm out of time again. 

The songs of Easter, sung at worship today, are still with me. 

"He lives! He lives! Christ Jesus lives today. He walks with me and talks with me along life's narrow way.  He lives -- salvation to impart. You ask me how I know He lives? He lives within my heart!"

And: "Because He lives, I can face tomorrow. Because He lives, all fear is gone. Because I know He holds the future, life is worth living."

May I live to His glory. 

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Easter praise

Oh happy day. Blessed day. Christ is risen. Love wins. Love always wins -- even if we don't see it in our lifetime. But so often we can see it -- and do. 

 I want to live every day in the love of the risen Christ -- reflecting God's love so great for me and all the world that He gave His one and only precious Son to die, so that I and all Who believe in Him would not perish but have eternal life. 

Eternal life? Is that really possible? It must be. How can it not be? I feel Christ's presence within and all around me. If that is possible -- if I believe that is possible -- how can I not believe all good things are possible. And so I do. 

"Because He lives, I can face tomorrow. Because He lives, all fear is gone. Because I know He holds the future, life  is worth living."
He lives!

"He lives! He lives! Christ Jesus lives today. He walks with me and talks with me along life's narrow way.
"He lives! He lives! Salvation to impart. You ask me how I know He lives? He lives within my heart!"

I love You, Lord! I trust You, Lord. Thank You!!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Random reflections on Palm Sunday

So much to be grateful for. 

-- My mom and family. Spending time with them is always a joy. 

-- My husband. He works so hard. I want to be more supportive. It's a struggle when I am so disorganized.
-- God's great grace. How I needed it this week -- and of course it was there.
-- Hope that springs eternal and fresh each day -- great is God's faithfulness!

-- Sight. Hearing. Taste.  Smell. Touch. 

-- Voice to speak and sing. 

-- Hands to type and write and work. 

-- Church family. Today's worship included a Palm procession with the children and choir; a baptism and confirmation; anthem with a Passion theme; and then a wedding! That service missed the sermon with such a compelling title (What a friend He had in Judas.) I couldn't resist asking the pastor about it and was glad I did, because it offered insight about Christ's love that added to the fullness of the day. 

-- Home. Job. Car. Health. 

-- The ability to read and the freedom to pray and study. This week's First 15 from Craig Denison includes some writings from his dad, Jim Denison, that are part of the elder's Lenten Bible study.  (See

These are two paragraphs I want to keep fresh in my mind, from today's installment:

Where am I in the crowd? .... Consider one other option. On Palm Sunday, the donkey had the greatest honor of all: it carried Jesus. The donkey carried him to Jerusalem for Easter, just as a donkey had carried his mother to Bethlehem for Christmas. The donkey brought Jesus to the people he came to save. In the midst of a fickle crowd, prideful authorities, and faithless disciples, the donkey did its job. It alone was faithful. 

And now Jesus asks me to love him enough to be his donkey. To carry him to the fickle, prideful, faithless people who need him. To tell his story and share his love in mine. The donkey doesn't matter—only the One it bears.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Still trying to figure things out

Time got away again. I barely scratched the surface of a major cleaning chore this weekend, and about an hour ago realized it was decision time on whether to post anything this week. So, here I am. That's the spirit!
I feel like I'm getting further and further behind on everything -- cards and calls; cleaning; helping; caring. But my  spirit remains hopeful.  God is still preparing me, perhaps? All of my slowness, missed opportunities and shortcomings -- can I believe He will redeem even these things? I know He redeems the big ones. But -- will He redeem  even things that seem to be my fault, such as those brought on by fear-driven procrastination or by my poor choices for how to use my time, serving idols (including my job/desire for security, and health/appearance pride issues) instead of truly seeking to know and do God's will?
When I force myself to slow down and get quiet and listen and be honest about what I hear, I have to say, for today,  I think the answer is yes. 
I need to be grateful and thank God for this weekend's opportunities to enjoy time with a support group; to soak in some sunshine and breathe in fresh air on a walk; to shop and pay for groceries; to sing and worship and have Communion and give in support of outreach programs; to visit a dear friend who likely will be moving out of state; to appreciate light rain; to talk on the phone to loved ones; and to get even some small amount done on that cleaning. To me, it doesn't seem like enough. And maybe that's still the big struggle: instead of relying on what I think, I need to be trusting God. 

"Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths." (Proverbs 3:5, 6 KJV)