As the music started, the children in front of me caused me to smile. I suspect they didn’t attend “big church” very often, and they were seriously continue here
Posts tagged ‘Joy’
The Apostle Paul commands us, “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NIV)
But how do we do that? How can we continue reading here
Typically, I don’t publish a blog on Sunday afternoon, but today is a special day. You see, tonight my baby sister will be in labor and her family could use some prayers.
No, she isn’t pregnant, but she will be in labor, and her labor will begin at 5 a.m. Eastern time, 2 a.m. Pacific time.
When she and her husband go to bed tonight, they probably will not fall asleep right away. I suspect they will pray together and then talk about their son, their one and only son, who is far away from them. They will reminisce about his childhood. They will pray for his endurance and strength. They will try to sleep.
When her alarm sounds at 5, if she is not already awake, my sister will get out of bed and recall all the sleepless nights she had when her son was a newborn. She will think of the times she had to get up in the cold and dark and rock him when he was sick. Her arms will ache with the emptiness that comes when you can’t hug someone you love. She will ask God to wrap her son securely in his arms – he will.
As she laces up her running shoes, she will be reminded of her son’s first steps and of all the times she tied his shoes and sent him out to play. She will smile as she recalls her pride in his accomplishments, both then and now. She will ask God to keep his feet secure and steady over the next three days – he will.
She will pull her jacket on and wonder if her son is too cold, or too warm. She will remember all the zippers she zipped getting him ready for school. She will ask God to protect him wherever he is, whatever the weather – he will.
And then, she will run. She is new to running, but it has become her go-to activity for thinking and praying and breathing deeply. She will look at the stars and she will talk with God. She will cry out to him. She will surrender to him. She will trust him. She will hand over her fears and her worries because she knows that her son, her one and only son, is also at this very minute doing the same thing.
And if she, her husband, and her son are in the very same throne room of God, at the same time, seeking grace and mercy in their time of need, then they are all together. They are not a continent apart, and God is in the midst of them.
Zach begins The Crucible (read about it here), tonight. I imagine that is all he is thinking about today. He will probably be in church as you are reading this. He will most likely spend the afternoon thinking about what is ahead and talking about it with his new friends. He will probably not be thinking about what his mom and dad are going through. He has a lot on his plate.
However, I suspect that Zach is not so much thinking about tomorrow at 2 a.m. As he is about Wednesday. I imagine Zach is prepared for this, and has set his face like flint on finishing. He will do whatever he has to do to drop the label ‘recruit’ and become a Marine.
We can’t do anything to help Zach through the physical and mental aspect of this ordeal, but, like his momma, we can pray. And prayer has power because the God to whom we pray is all-powerful! There is nothing too wonderful for him!
When we pray, we do go directly into the throne room of Almighty God. We are allowed in because of the blood of Jesus, who set his face like flint to endure the cross, focusing on the joy that lay beyond it, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. He kept his eyes focused on the end rather than the process of getting there.
Jesus, God’s one and only Son, accomplished for you and for me the salvation and reconciliation that allows us to come into God’s presence for grace and mercy in our time of need. We are told that we are most like Christ when we intercede for others. I think that is true. Christ continually intercedes for you and for me.
The Marines ask that we turn our porch light on to show support for our recruits during the Crucible. My light will be on, because I will be interceding for Zach.
Will you join us? Will you pray for Zach? Will you pray for all of the young men as they become Marines (the ones who stand between us and evil, the ones who fight to secure our right to vote, to go to church, to kneel during the national anthem), and for Zach’s momma as she labors on behalf of her recruit who is becoming a Marine?
If you decide to pray for Zach, and for all of our recruits, and if your porch light is on, will you post a picture of your front porch onto social media with #TheCrucible. You can post to my sister’s FaceBook (here), Zach’s (here)… or mine (here), or share this post and upload your photo along with it.
We’ve been striving toward the goal of contentment throughout the summer, but I dare say, there is one area of our lives where we must fight contentment and purposefully remain discontent. There is a realm where there is no excuse, or room, for contentment.
As Paul taught we must learn contentment in all of our circumstances – the things around us that continually change — however, as Christians, we are not to be content concerning continue here
“I don’t feel very Christmassy this year.”
“I’m just not into it.”
“Where has all the magic gone?”
“Why can’t I feel the excitement like I did when I was a child?”
How many times have you heard something like that this year? How often have you read more here
Bobby, you were three or four months old, it was the middle of the night, you had just finished nursing, and as I got up from the rocking chair to lay you back in your crib, I caught our reflection in the mirror. There I stood, holding my precious little red-headed sleeping baby boy, and I didn’t want the moment to end.
I asked God to sear that image into my mind so that I could forever recall the joy of holding you, my darling son, in my arms. How gracious of God to answer, “Yes.” But He didn’t stop there; He’s given me many precious moments with you over the past thirty years that have become cherished memories.
I love to think of you as a baby. What a sweet baby you were. You slept, ate, smiled, and slept some more. Your smile was contagious. You brought joy to everyone. You were such a charmer! And you still are! You lived every moment to the fullest.
And, you played hard! Whether you were Batman, Robin Hood, a Ninja Turtle, or a Ghost Buster, you were always fighting the bad guys, and you always won. Your personality enabled you to make friends wherever we lived. You pushed yourself and excelled at everything you did, just as you still do.
Bobby, I loved watching you play baseball at GCHS. I still laugh that we pulled dents out of your car with a plunger. And I was so proud to watch you graduate from the U of I. You never did anything half-hearted.
And when I wasn’t looking you grew up! God led you to Jenny and you gave her your whole heart. Then God led you to Texas!
My birthday wish for you is that you will continue to follow God, wherever He leads.
Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” – Isaiah 30:21, NIV
Bobby, you are a man of integrity. Whatever you do, you give it your all. You love wholeheartedly, and you follow God wholeheartedly.
That reminds me of another night that God burned into my memory: August 8, 1995. You couldn’t sleep. When I came into your room, you said, “Mom, if I were to die tonight, would I go to heaven?”
You accepted Jesus as your Savior that night. Then you asked, “Mom, can I be sure?” and we read this verse together:
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord – Romans 8:38-39 NIV
Bobby, nothing can separate you from God’s love or mine. In His amazing grace, God knit our family together in a bond of love.
I am so privileged to be your mom!
Happy Birthday my precious son,
I love you,