Friday, August 26, 2011

Never Alone

The Lord your God is with you. He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you. He will quiet you with His love. He will rejoice over you with singing. Zephaniah 3:17 (KJV)

There are times when I feel utterly alone. I cannot pray or even think clearly. Taking my Bible, I go outside to sit on the swing. Only the sound of birds singing, bees buzzing and chattering squirrels break the silence.

Peace enfolds me as bits of sunshine hit my face through the thick canopy of leaves overhead. I let the pages of my Bible fall open and read the scripture above. Letting myself dwell on every word, I realize I need not feel alone, that the Father, the Holy Spirit and Jesus are with me, loving me, lifting me from the depths of depression that threaten to destroy me.

Suddenly my spirit feels light, rejuvenated. A favorite hymn rises in my throat and I belt out the words from a James Rowe song, "Love lifted me."

I leap out of the swing, dance around the yard, and hug my Bible close to my heart in the early morning sunshine. Yes! God's love lifted me. What a happy day!

Thank You, Lord, for each day you give me. You delight in me and quiet me with your love. Amen

(c) 2011 E.Bonnie Ryan

Friday, August 19, 2011

Quiet Love

Therefore, accept each other just as Christ has accepted you so that God will be given glory. Romans 15:7 NLT

As my newly wedded husband and I prepared to leave for our honeymoon, my mother-in-law sweetly mentioned her hope that we would find a nice church to attend after we moved. She was a Christian--polar opposite of my claim of being agnostic. I replied that finding a church was not in my plan. She smiled undaunted and hugged me good-bye.

During those tumultuous, early years of our marriage, her love and acceptance remained steadfast. In retrospect, after experiencing both salvation and motherhood, I am amazed at her self-control. Although I knew it was of great concern to her, “Mom” did not nag us about going to church. She was never judgmental. Quite the contrary, she encouraged me, praising my efforts as a new wife. When I mentioned a problem she responded that she would pray and took the opportunity to quietly share how much the Lord loved and cared for me. I felt totally loved and accepted. Whenever we returned home for a visit, I noticed how she sat in her rocker faithfully praying and reading her Bible every evening before going to bed.

When faced with my own mortality following a cancer diagnosis four years later, I knew when I died my soul was bound for hell. I willingly accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior and rested in His love and forgiveness. That was thirty-three years ago. I truly believe that Mom’s prayers and quiet acceptance simply loved me to the Lord. Sometimes love is spoken loudest with no words at all.

Father, Thank You for everyone along our journey who prayed, accepting us with love. May all the glory be Yours. Amen.

© Bonnie Mae Evans

Friday, August 12, 2011

Think on These Things

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, . . . honest, . . . just, . . . pure, . . . lovely, . . . of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Philippians 4:8 (KJV)

How many thoughts run in my mind throughout the day? let me count the ways. Thoughts of finances, work, family, friends sickness, health, the good, the bad and (no, not the ugly) runs rampant each day. These thoughts turns into worries when I find that things are not going according to my plans. My focus is no longer on the things on which God would have me focus.

It is hard to keep a positive outlook on life when everything seems to be falling apart around you, your family and friends. Loss of loved ones, jobs homes and hope rule your thoughts. Philippians 4:6 tells me "be careful for nothing: but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your request be known unto God." (KJV)

When I take time out of my day to be in the presence of God in prayer, He helps direct my thoughts on things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely and of good report. I can not do it in my own power. It is only through His power that I am strong enough to change my thoughts.

This is a daily struggle for me. Yet, I look forward to God's grace in dealing with the many trials I face. I want Him to be the author of my thoughts.

Thank you God that You are the author of my thoughts and the answer to my prayers. Help me to keep focus on You each day.

(c) Dawn M Sexton

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Tears for a Soldier

There is a time for everything … a time to be born and a time to die … a time for war and a time for peace. (Ecc. 3:1,3:8 NIV)

Struck by gunshot, the Captain’s gloved hand reflexively moved to the wound on his forehead. Men under his command carried him to a field hospital. He died the next morning at age 36.

The day before the battle, he shared with his commanding officer a premonition that death loomed in his immediate future. He requested that his handwritten letter be sent, along with his belongings, to his wife and three daughters who were praying for him.

His canteen, hacky sack, uniform and blood stained white glove still exist. I have seen them. This is remarkable because he died on September 20, 1863 during the Civil War battle of Chickamauga, Tennessee.

Why then, do I find myself teary eyed when I think of this incident? I can touch his humanity because Wm. Jonas Leas was my great-great grandfather.

Captain Leas’ dedication to God and country is no different than his descendents who fought in WWII, nor his forefathers in the Revolutionary War, nor present day patriots fighting in Afghanistan.

God has repeatedly called His people to battle. I believe that war sometimes brings His will to bear. The Lord has honored our belief in Him as a nation with victory in many battles in our over 235-year history as a nation.

However, individual stories of men and women who have suffered loss in these wars should not be discounted or forgotten but rather remembered and honored.

Lord thank You for blessing our nation and for those brave men and women who served You and our country. © Christy Struben 2011