How Can I Pray?

Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good. – Romans 8:26-28 (The Message)

Today is a day when I don’t have words to express what I am thinking or feeling. When I try to express myself, I fall short or the words seem inadequate to express the depth of what I am feeling.

And so I turned to God and cried out, “Father God!” and the tears flowed. So did His understanding. I don’t know how the situations will turn out, which I am praying about today, but I know my Father God has the wisdom, compassion and loving plan to walk each step with me and those I am praying about today.

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My Life – Yes?


In John 14-17, Jesus speaks very intently about who I am as His disciple and who He is as my Savior, Redeemer and brother who shows me how to live closely with our Father. The chapters are beautiful, filled with love and an intense entreaty to live a life connected 24/7 to Him. Jesus never spoke in compartments like being His disciple was a job that I lived in a shift and lived another part of my life “off-shift.”

My life is – my life. There was a time when I thought there was a “ministry” I was called to and I did that ministry much like I did my job as a nurse or a book editor. I “clocked in” and “clocked out” as I used the gifts God had given me to do ministry,implying I have time when the Disciple is “off duty” or “on vacation.” When would that be?

On that July night in 1996 when I said, “I am a sinner. I need a Savior. Father, please forgive me, through Jesus’ Blood.” I needed Jesus to wash my whole life, not just the 9-5 part. I knew that I could not live my life any more in my own power.

And so my life, my whole life, is a life of a Disciple. Whether I am in my home, in the grocery store or in church, or in a restaurant-bar with friends, I am Jesus’ disciple. I made that commitment 23 years ago and I have not backed out of the deal. Jesus has certainly kept His end of the contract!

Do I walk with a halo around my head? No. But I do walk in this world like an alien. People may observe that I “don’t quite seem like everyone else” and I am okay with that.

I ask Jesus to help me bring joy into everyone I meet. I greet people, strangers, in the grocery store. I give them a genuine smile. I want to “be nice.” “Be kind.” God has given me a gift to encourage others and I haven’t really met anyone yet who didn’t need some of that in their life, whether they were 10 and in school or 75 and slowly walking in a corridor at church or in a hospital.

Scenes in my every day life when I am me:

  • at home: This may be the most forgotten and difficult place to be a disciple, whether it’s because I don’t put forth any effort or I think that my husband will love me no matter what, the fruit of the Spirit [love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,gentleness, and self-control.- Galatians 5:22-22 NLT] is often lacking inside my home when I joyfully toss it around every where else!
  • With friends: It is so important that I come across as the real me, no extra fake syrup on my life. Just letting God’s grace and mercy treat every relationship with those whom I love with the real feelings and beliefs that I have is a wonderful testimony to how God has really made a lasting change in my life.
  • At work: Yes, I can live my life with Christ within the confines of the culture of the workplace. If my boss takes a hard line about praying in the lunchroom or offering prayer with a co-worker or client, then there is no restriction in silent prayer and I have seen phenomenal changes happen without my saying a single outloud word! God is not restricted by silence. I have seen the countenance on a comatose patient change in response to someone in the room praying.
  • At Church: There is no place where we need prayer more and arguing less. To lay our concerns before God about the direction of our church or how our church is to fulfill the Great Commission, is all about maximum prayer and less arguing to convince people.
  • Parking lots, malls, gas stations, etc – There are just so many opportunities to make someone’s day a little better if we just open our eyes and ask the Holy Spirit to point out the moments. Or maybe you see a mom/dad with children and they are all tired! Say a prayer for them. Right there. Silently. Say a prayer. We say we believe in the power of God – well unleash that power to bless someone who may really need it. You never know what the end result may be.

I was a hospice nurse for over 12 years. I went to many, many, many funerals. A common characteristic was the telling of stories, you might even call them testimonies, about the intangibles that the deceased showed in his/her life. I never heard about their piles of money or beautiful homes or big cars. Stories about opening their doors for people to share a meal or give them a ride to church or the doctor’s office. Maybe they came for a visit when the person needed someone to just hold their hand and listen. That is God’s love – with skin on it.

My life belongs to Jesus because He saved me. I am 100% His disciple. That’s my life focus and goal.

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How Far Am I Willing To Go?


I was thinking this morning about Jesus sitting on a hillside talking to 2, 3, 4,000 people. I am not an ancient near Eastern historian so I don’t know what the population of Nazareth or even Jerusalem was. It struck me that these people walked from their homes to go hear what this “Teacher” had to say. Would I walk a mile to hear a good teacher talk about God? Would I walk 5 miles and leave my place of business for the day and lose that income to hear some “good word”? Maybe all I had to do that day was glean some wheat from a field. Wheat that would make the bread that would be the only dinner that my family would have that day. How far was I willing to go for some “good new” from God?

Some of us have been going to church for most of our lives. It’s what we do. It’s the right thing to do every week. Am I hearing “Good News”? Am I hearing something like Jesus spoke to the crowds about? Am I sitting up straighter in my seat and even looking for a pen that I can copy down a note so I can look up something and think about it some more when it’s quiet at home? Or do I walk out of the meeting and never think another thing about it until the next week when I am fed warm, sweet cereal again that requires no chewing or thinking about to swallow?

How far am I willing to go?

Have I heard about a Thursday evening Bible study that my friend is SO excited about? They have been going every week for 3 months and say its worth getting the kids ready for bed and all that’s involved to get away for 2 hours every Thursday night to go to this get-together.

How far am I willing to go?

This opportunity to hear some “good news” about Jesus may look pretty different than I am used to. And it may even evolve into me going on Thursday nights and not going to a church building on Sunday because Thursday has truly become a worship of God through study and listening and studying some more on my own time! I come away knowing I’ve been in God’s presence. And I’m changing. I am kinder and more patient. I go out of my way to help someone. I am willing to drive the 30 minutes to that study on Thursday night just as that farmer was willing to walk two hours to listen to Jesus on a mountainside.

How far am I willing to go to drink some Living Water? To eat some bread that was multiplied by a teacher who listened to what God had to share?

[Jesus said, sitting on the grass on a hillside,]“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it give light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” – Matthew 5:14-16 (NIV)

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Adult Sunday School Observations

I have two terrific SS (Sunday School) teachers. They take time every week to read the material, check other sources for what they say about the subject or the time frame. One of the teachers has a Masters Degree in Biblical Languages and the other teacher reads extensively and brings us many perspectives from Oswald Chambers, Matthew Henry
and some people I’ve never heard before but because of this teacher, I follow up with further “Google” research and learn more!

I am always looking at a biblical passage for how it applies to my life. I am a “rubber-meets-the road” disciple. The variety of ways that God uses words to convey who and what He is and who and what I am to Him is amazing.

Some passages are just beautiful in the pictures I see through the inspired words.

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. – Psalm 46:1-3 (NIV)

Some passages are encouraging, even assuring in the message of God’s love & commitment to me.

One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple. – Psalm 27:4 (NIV)

And some passages are clear in their teaching of how God wants me to live my life as His disciple.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. – 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 (NIV)

I believe one of the most important passages in the New Testament gives me reassurance of my Father God’s relationship with me and a mandate that I should continue to come together with other disciples to learn and grow together as a family of God’s children.

let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. – Hebrews 10:22-25 (NIV)

I don’t always feel like going to church on Sunday. And some weeks, I really don’t feel like getting there another hour earlier for Sunday School. And then it hits me. God is with me 24 hours/day, 7 days/week – and I’m whining about giving 1-2 hours in my week to study and worship Him!?!

I am not too old to continue to go to school and learn something new, about my Father God from my wonderful teachers and fellow students:

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. – Lamentations 3:22-23 (NIV)

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Mother’s Day 2019 – Faith & Trust

Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against,so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.” – Luke 2:34-35 (NIV)

This, then, is how you should pray: ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come,
your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.’” – Matthew 6:9-13 (NIV)

I have a friend who lives in Highland Ranch, CO and her child goes to the high school where the shooting took place. They knew the underage shooter and classmates who were injured or killed. Yesterday, one of my grandchildren stayed home from school in Ft. Mill, SC because a written threat was posted that some of the kids would be saving the price of a lunch the next day!

For many years I have felt the LORD telling me that “things” were going to get very bad in this world. We, as Christ’s disciples, would have to walk our faith in many ways like the 1st century Church, trusting our Father God for each day’s needs. Trusting our Father when terrible things happen, even to Believers. (Remember how Jesus said we would have trouble in this world? John 16:33)

For many years, Henry and I have trusted God for food and clothing, utilities, things that I took for granted in my early adult life because I could provide them, even if it was with a credit card! This morning I am struck silent as I consider whether I trust God with the lives of my grandchildren.

As I began to pray I considered my words and I considered Jesus’ words and actions in the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus asked for another scenario, another outcome for the mission He had been given. He was fully God but also fully human. He knew what His mission here on earth was. He knew the soldiers were coming for Him and the trial and punishment would be horrendous, ending in death. He showed us how to take our orders and how to walk on with faith and trust in Father God.

What will be my orders tomorrow? Next week? Next year? What mission will my grandchild be called to do for the Kingdom of God? What will be the cost?

The days ahead may be very difficult. I may be asked to be a part of missions that I would prefer to refuse. I may be praying for my children and grandchildren with all that I am. Am I convinced that my Father God will provide me with the bread I need for each day? The strength I need for the day? That His grace will always be sufficient? That His Hope will always, always be there for my tomorrow?

Faith and Trust … Teach me, Jesus.

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.

The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells.
God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day.
Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall; he lifts his voice, the earth melts.

Come and see what the Lord has done, the desolations he has brought on the earth.
He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth.
He breaks the bow and shatters the spear; he burns the shields with fire.
He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.”

The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. – Psalm 46 (NIV)

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Why Did Jesus Come to Earth for Me?

Instead of focusing my attention on what all is going on in my “normal” week, I’ve been meditating on what Jesus’ week may have been like. It’s Holy Week.

Question: Why did Jesus, Immanuel, God-in-the-flesh, come for me? He could have fulfilled the need for a perfect sacrifice without coming to earth. He could have certainly done it without having to go through 33 years of humanness. Here are some thoughts that have come to me to further meditate on:

  • He came to show me how to live joyfully without.

Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” – Matthew 8:20 (NIV) I look around me and I am blessed beyond measure with so much that truly counts. I, too, can go to a quiet place and speak to my Father God in the middle of the night, just as Jesus did. I, too, may have people who let me down, but I also have my LORD, who I can count on every day, in every way. I have His promises. I have His Word which shows me how to walk with joy as He did.

  • He came to show me how to love without conditions.

[Jesus said,] “I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.This is my command: Love each other.” – John 15:15-17 (NIV) Jesus shows me what His grace, unconditional love, and mercy, unconditional forgiveness, looks like. Jesus knew what role Judas was going to play in His sacrificial death, and yet, He washed Judas’ feet just as He did John’s and Peter’s.

  • He came to deliver the promise: ‘I have come so that you will have an abundant life.’

[Jesus said,] “I am the Gate. Anyone who goes through me will be cared for—will freely go in and out, and find pasture. A thief is only there to steal and kill and destroy. I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.” – John 10:9-10 (The Message) Jesus didn’t come to just give me a few years, even 80 – 90 years, of a “good” life. Jesus came so that I can live FOREVER with my Father God. I don’t know that I can even truly understand what it means that I will live forever. Every aspect of my life has been counted out with numbers: years I have been alive, number of hours in a given day, minutes that it takes to boil an egg. How do I understand the concept of eternity which means that my life with God, with those that I love who also love God, will go on without an end?

  • He came to show me how to walk my own Via Dolorosa.

Finally Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified. So the soldiers took charge of Jesus. Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha). There they crucified him, and with him two others—one on each side and Jesus in the middle. – John 19:16-18 (NIV) Jesus warned us that in this life we would have troubles but we shouldn’t worry because He had overcome the evil of this world! (John 16) Jesus came to be the blood sacrifice for my sins. But the torture and suffering and humiliation given to a single human is difficult to accept. I have had some roads filled with suffering. I have been frightened and overwhelmed. But I remember that even in the middle of the journey, I was not alone. I looked around and saw no one else but I felt the presence, the strength, of Jesus that I knew had walked this before and would stay with me as I walked my “way of suffering.”

Jesus came that I would have “an abundant life” despite the troubles of this world or the suffering that may come to me. I have an abundant life because Jesus is in it. I will have an abundant life for all eternity because Jesus will be in it.

HALLELUJAH! JESUS IS ALIVE!

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The Darkness Around Christmas

There is a Child within a manger
Whose love can reach the smallest heart,
From kings to shepherds, To everyone of us whose dreams have been torn apart.
And he was born for all the children
Who watch the snow and dream their dream.
He is the Sunrise, He is the Child of Hope,
The Star of Bethlehem.

I am going to step out on a limb knowing that there may be many who will run to their sheds and grab a hatchet and chop right through my limb! “It’s a time for JOY, Jody!” Yes, it is, so stay with me here through the last note of the song.  

Most of us will not have a Norman Rockwell Christmas.

There will be no children chattering happily about presents. No family gathering around a table groaning with delicious dishes of food from recipes handed down from previous generations. There is no Christmas tree with piles of presents because – why bother when there is no one to see it?!

I bring this picture to light because I’ve recently read on social media about the suicidal death of two young men who shocked their family and friends by their actions. Those left behind are devastated and questioning what they could have done differently.

Not all nights are “merry and bright.” Instead nights are often when time seems suspended and no one is around to care or speak up that they are even praying. Being alone with a voice inside whose sole purpose is to convince us that this is all we will ever have – nothing. And it’s all I will ever have. That negative voice lies!

Christmas is about a child, a baby that was born to very poor parents in a very small village. He was wrapped in simple cloths, no Osh Kosh onesie. Sheep and a donkey, maybe a cow, were the only ones sharing their presence. No family. No doctor. No palace for The King. There was no crowd of people “oohing” and “ahhing” over the new baby, just a crowd of angels singing!

This child came to bring light into my life. This child came to chase away the darkness of lies and shine the truth of who I am to Him. This child is my Savior; He made it possible for me to have life forever with my Father and all those I love and who love Him. He gave His life for me. A gift. A gift that is worth more than I can imagine!

Nevertheless, that time of darkness and despair will not go on forever. The land of Zebulun and Naphtali will be humbled, but there will be a time in the future when Galilee of the Gentiles, which lies along the road that runs between the Jordan and the sea, will be filled with glory.
2 The people who walk in darkness will see a great light.
For those who live in a land of deep darkness, a light will shine.
3 You will enlarge the nation of Israel, and its people will rejoice.
They will rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest
and like warriors dividing the plunder.
4 For
you will break the yoke of their slavery and lift the heavy burden from their shoulders. You will break the oppressor’s rod, just as you did when you destroyed the army of Midian.
5 The boots of the warrior and the uniforms bloodstained by war will all be burned. They will be fuel for the fire.
6 For a child is born to us, a son is given to us.
The government will rest on his shoulders.
And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
7 His government and its peace will never end.
He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David for all eternity. — 
Isaiah 9:2-7 (NLT)

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Love One Another

… you can’t come where I am going. So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” John 13:33-35 (NLT)

Jesus said this to His disciples at their last supper. Time was seriously running out. So whatever He said to them, had to be crucial to the mission.

I am to love others as Jesus has loved me and in that true example of loving, others, even unbelieving enemies, would know that I was His disciple. That’s an amazing thing! Frankly there are some people who aren’t very lovable! And yet, Jesus does not qualify His statement.

My pastor published on the week’s bulletin a list of Scriptures which may teach and encourage me in my desire to love others. I’d like to share them here – with some personal notes.

Proverbs 18 Each chapter of Proverbs may seem like a list of random thoughts but often there is a thread which “connects the dots.” For me in this chapter, I really get lessons in the use of my mouth and how I will reap much wisdom if I listen more, listen first, and then consider whether to speak or not. Definitely a chapter to read more often!

James 1:19 While this chapter also encourages me to wisely be slow to anger, it also has an important phrase “be slow to anger.” When you get angry, does it come over you like a slow burn or like a flash? Yes, me too. Anger is a white hot, flash of lightning that rarely has anything to do with slow, methodical thinking!

Proverbs 21:26 Some people are able to present a good face. They may have a broken wrist or a broken heart – but everything is “fine.” Most of us have “secret sins” that we hide. Sin thrives in darkness. It flees in the Light of God’s Presence! Oh how much God wants me to keep growing closer and closer to Him. He wants me to be real!

Colossians 1:9 Most of us grow up wanting to please our parents or mentors or teachers. We want their approval. As I got to know Abba, Father God, I wanted to be so close to Him. I read and studied the Bible for hours. And sometimes I found, what seemed to be conflicting directions. I wanted more wisdom. I wanted more clarity. Our Father is faithful. We can trust Him. He will keep meeting, keep teaching us.

Proverbs 17:1 I am going to climb on my soap box. Reality shows with all their drama, including fighting, screaming, lying, cheating – certainly a crust of bread for dinner is better than living with people who find that kind of behavior acceptable for a home! Reading the whole Proverb is a good, healthy meal I will go back to read again.

Ephesians 4:15 This chapter admonishes the leaders of the church that their job is to grow up the members of Christ’s Body to maturity. Leaders such as pastors and teachers are not there to do all the work of ministry but to empower all of us to do the work we have all been given talents to do.

Philippians 2:14 “Do everything without complaining and arguing” is Paul’s admonition that most of us skip when we read this part of Philippians. We want to be an example to others but we do not necessarily want to do that without being given credit for the difficulties and hard work we put in to make it happen.

1 Corinthians 13:7 This chapter of 1 Corinthians is often viewed as the definitive biblical explanation of “love.” No matter how many times I read through the chapter, I am always convicted to assess my own life and how I apply love to those who are in my life, whether friends, acquaintances or even – not friends. It is a good lesson and I need to review it often!

Colossians 3:13 God loves you and has chosen you as his own special people. So be gentle, kind, humble, meek, and patient. 13 Put up with each other, and forgive anyone who does you wrong, just as Christ has forgiven you. 14 Love is more important than anything else. It is what ties everything completely together. (Colossians 3:12-14, CEV) Whether I am applying this to my parents, siblings, spouse, children or church members, there is no wiggle room to exempt me from forgiveness as I have already been forgiven much! Forgiving someone isn’t letting them off the hook! They were never on my hook to begin with! It is for Jesus to judge and bring justice.

Proverbs 13:12 Jesus’ name brings hope, His perfect Hope into my spirit. No matter how many times I am knocked down, Jesus puts His hand out and Hope covers me, lifts me, brings me up and sets me on the path where Abba wants me.

No matter what a week brings, God’s Word is there to guide, heal and bring me to the place He wants me – closer to Him.

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Let Me Live in the Glory of Your Grace

I was listening to this song two nights ago and I was struck by the phrase, Let me live in the glory of Your grace. What does this mean?

I define God’s grace as His unconditional love. It is His grace that sent Jesus to die for my sins before I was born, before I knew Him, and certainly before I loved Him. It is Abba’s grace, freely given to me, that overflows in me and out of me to others. I love others that, in my own ability, I would not be able to be kind, even forgiving to as we interact.

God’s grace, His love, is perfect, as He is perfect. So now I follow the word trail that God’s grace would also be covered in His glory. What is “glory”? The presence of God? God’s essence?

The heavens proclaim the glory of God.
The skies display his craftsmanship.
Day after day they continue to speak;
night after night they make him known.
They speak without a sound or word;
their voice is never heard.
Yet their message has gone throughout the earth,
and their words to all the world. Psalm 19:1-4 (NLT)

God’s glory has gone throughout the world. It has gone. It is here. It is available to me through His love. God, my good and perfect Father, holds nothing good back from His children.

Did you see the glory of God on this child’s face? It’s there not because of who she is but because of whose she is! She saw a man who was hungry. Her heart, her spirit given to her by her Heavenly Father, was touched and responded with His grace, His unconditional love. God’s glory was manifested in this child.

If the heavens proclaim God’s glory, what is my life proclaiming? As Darlene Zschech said in the lyrics of the song, Let me live in the glory of His grace. I have a choice of where I live. Every day, help me make a God-choice, Abba.

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“I love you, Jody!”

How often have you heard God say that to you?

How often does a father tell his child “I love you”? Once in a lifetime? Every year? Every month? Every week? Every day?

[Jesus said,] “Is there anyone among you who, if your child asks for bread, will give a stone? Or if the child asks for a fish, will give a snake? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask him!”                    – Matthew 7:9-11 (NRSV)

Jesus also said that the second most important commandment was for me to “love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:39) Jesus is warning me that if I do not love myself, I cannot love my neighbor. So what do I hear in my head every day? Do I hear words of love?

I’ve been talking to my Abba, my Father, about this. I decided on the name Abba because Father seemed too formal and Daddy too casual. When I picture Abba in my mind, He is grand. He the King! But then I look into His eyes. They are kind. They are familiar. They know me. They have seen me at my most vulnerable; when I have been in the most pain and so very weak.

Every day, or night depending, I have spent some quiet time with Abba and I start our time with, “I love You, Abba.” Just a quiet, from the heart statement. And then I don’t rush on to the next thing but let that statement mean something. I consider what it means. I meditate on how I allowed my love to show itself in my heart and my life. And then … I wait for it. I wait to hear “I love you, Jody.”

I look up into the eyes of my Father. I look at His eyes and consider what they are saying to me and about me. Do I hear correction? Sometimes. But it is correction, not humiliating condemnation. My Abba steers me in His right direction. He teaches me about cultivating more fruit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23) Abba shows me how to keep my mind on what is good:

Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. – Philippians 4:8 (NLT)

Our lives are so filled with “stuff.” The demands on our time are sometimes worthy (serving others, family, job etc) but can often be good, but not necessarily God (entertainment, job, serving others, etc). For me, it has taken me so long to learn that when someone asks me to do something or an opportunity opens for me to participate, my response should always be, “I’ll pray about it and let you know.” And then do that. Listen to what God has to say. Would God actually tell me not to cancel our family vacation in order to help at Vacation Bible School? Would God ask me to reschedule our family vacation in order to help with VBS? Yes, to both questions. God has a plan. His plan to bless and show His love for me may include allowing me to help children and receive their unconditional love. He may also know that my family needs the time He has planned for us. What have He and I been talking about lately? What is it that I need to learn about? Let me slow down. Let me listen to hear Abba tell me how much He loves me.

“I love you, Jody.” I want to hear this every day. I want to take time for what is important in my life.

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