Choosing the Good Part

I sat on my six-year-old daughter’s bed and clasped her tiny hand. In her sing-song voice, she began her nightly prayers.

“Lord, bless my mama. Lord, bless my daddy. Lord, bless my bubba. Mama, you’re sitting on my leg.”

I apologized and scooted over. “Is that better?”

“Yes, ma’am.”

“Okay. Let’s start again.”

Head bowed once more, I waited.

“One plus one is two. One plus two is three. One plus three is four…”

A smile spread across my face. I peeked out of one eye and waited for her to realize what she was saying.

“One plus five is six. One plus six is…,” she began giggling. “I was saying my addition facts.”

“Yes. You’ve been busy today. You have a lot on your mind, don’t you?”

“I want to start over.”

She started once more and finished her prayer. I kissed her good-night, tucked her in, and switched off the light.

Twelve years have passed since that night. But the memory is still as fresh as if it were yesterday. Not only does it hold precious memories, but spiritual truths.

Work-Work-Work

During the years, when my children were small, my husband worked crazy hours. At one point in our lives, he worked three different shifts in three weeks. No full days off. So, I was alone with the kids most of the time.

elephant-830782_1280

Pixabay

Both refused to sleep once they arrived. My son was colicky and cried for hours. My daughter, the same. As babies, I rocked them while crying and praying for their relief. I did everything I could to ease their pain while ignoring my own needs.

Not bragging. That’s what mothers do.

Hair? Forget styling. Pull it up in a ponytail. No one is coming. Teeth. Don’t worry, you can brush, later. Eat? You have three meals. You’re bound to eat one. Never mind going to the bathroom.

When it came time for school, my husband and I agreed to homeschool so that our week-ends coincided with his.

During those early years, I grew tired. I loved being a wife and mother more than anything! But, I missed my alone time with God. At times, I felt guilty for not spending time with Him like I did before motherhood.

Ever been there?

As was His loving way, He led me to His Word.

“He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.” Isaiah 40:11 KJV

Funny how you never see a scripture until the Lord opens your eyes to it.

I knew the time would come when my children were older and I could once again have my time.

But, during those years I became accustomed to the busyness of life. I quickly learned to adapt. I ate on the run, wrote on the run, prayed and studied on the run. That was life.

I quickly realized I had a problem when the Lord called me to Him. I no longer hungered for the alone time. I was satisfied with what I viewed as normal.

My prayer routine usually started with me kneeling on the floor, my head on my Bible. The days I didn’t fall asleep, I fished forgotten Lego and sippy cups from underneath the furniture.

It’s not easy breaking a habit. But break it we must if we are to see what’s before us.

A Needful Rest

The Bible tells us when Jesus entered a certain village, Martha invited Him to her house. Can you imagine the hoopla that took place? Everything had to be perfect.

One problem.

Mary, Martha’s sister, wasn’t helping. She had chosen to sit at the feet of Jesus. Mary’s action—or inaction irritated the industrious Martha to the point she complained to the Master.

I don’t know about you, but I can see both sides here. 🙂

But, on the other hand…  Imagine Martha’s story.

“Oh, honey, let me tell you. I had to set up two extra tables. I didn’t think I would ever fit everyone inside. But you know me. I can do anything I set my mind to. For the main course, I served roasted lamb. And if I have to say so myself, it was delicious. In fact, the disciples said they had never tasted anything like it.”

Exaggerated? Sure. But, my point is, if we listen carefully, it’s what we sound like when touting the accomplishment deemed necessary in this life.

Yes. Things must be done. But, there’s a “good part” that we are missing.

Now let’s listen to Mary’s story.

“Oh, my dearest friend, I could never explain to you what I felt while seated at His feet. When He looked at me, nothing else mattered. Everything vanished. Every trouble, every care. And then, His love washed over me like warm oil and filled every part of my being. As I listened to the sound of His voice, my strength was renewed. I found new hope.”

Seasons change and so must we. In the busy times of life, we do what we must do. And when the time comes, we change. Whether we are running, walking, or sitting at this time, let us be mindful that we always have a guest. May we cast aside our cares of the day, sit at His feet and focus only on Him.

Blessings

Gail

 

 

WDYB~What Do You Believe?

Imagine Jerusalem filled with today’s technology…

This is Mark Jacobs with a special report from downtown Jerusalem in the WDYB studio.

Good evening. With what started as a typical day has rekindled the past firestorm of controversy surrounding the man known as Jesus Christ of Nazareth. For those just now joining us, we’ll start with the story of his birth.

His mother Mary told me the Holy Spirit overshadowed her and she conceived, making His birth a scientific wonder. She also said, after losing Him one day, she found Him teaching in the temple.

Nothing miraculous there, until she told me He was twelve-years-old at the time.

After that, I didn’t uncover much about his early life, but I did learn He left His carpentry job and began ministering to the poor and needy.

Now, this is where it gets interesting, folks.

He was hauled before the leaders accused and crucified. But He didn’t remain in the tomb. People are claiming He is alive. And so, this reporter followed his nose and boy, did I find  a story!

I spent days speaking with eyewitnesses as they recounted their experiences with this quiet, unassuming man. I have to caution you, I have never heard anything like it before. I daresay, it will challenge your way of thinking.

One such witness, named Jairus, declared this Jesus raised his twelve-year-old daughter from the dead.

And that’s not all. Two sisters, Mary and Martha claimed He raised their decaying, stinking brother, Lazarus from the dead, also.

Another witness, by the name of Bartimaeus, said Jesus, who he called the Son of David, restored his sight.

I continued my research and found another man who told me of a banquet for 5000 in the middle of nowhere. One woman with an issue of blood for twelve years was healed when she touched the hem of His garment. Can you believe it?

I’m sorry, folks, but I have to smile when I think of the physician’s reaction. Incredible!

Here at WDYB we are fair and balanced, so, I went to the other side of town and spoke with those who are adamant in their unbelief.

Included in that crowd, were those who called Him a fraud, and a blasphemer. They claimed He didn’t rise from the dead, but His followers stole his body away in the middle of the night.

I returned to my hotel only to meet with two who claimed to have talked with Him while traveling to Emmaus. They reported while they conversed with Him their hearts burned within them.

And that brings us to the story of the hour. When asking where I could find this Jesus, they told me, He had gone away but promised to return soon.

In preparation for His return, certain followers are waiting in an upper room. When I asked what they were waiting for, Simon Peter, apparently the spokesman for the group, said, “ We were commanded to tarry until we receive power from on high. Afterward, we are to carry the Gospel to the far corners of the world.”

Then he shared the Gospel with me. What an amazing story!

So there, you have it, folks. Whether you believe or not, one thing is undeniable. This man called Jesus has turned the world, as we know it, upside down. And I expect years from now, there will still be debates about Him.

But as for me, I began this journey for answers. And I have concluded, I cannot deny the testimony of those who experienced first hand this man called Jesus of Nazareth. Truly, He is the Son of God.

So I will leave it with you.

This is Mark Jacobs in Jerusalem, signing off for WDYB. What do you believe?

Good night.

He Lives!

 

She tried her best to tell them, He no longer lay,

Crucified by soldiers, and in a borrowed grave

Silently, they listened to the words she had to say,

All the while, wondering, how could he live again.

 

He lives! He lives! I talked to Him today.

He lives! He lives, is all she could say.

 

They failed to find Him in the tomb, yet they could not perceive.

The story of His resurrection they would not believe.

Eleven sat within the room weeping for Him when

Suddenly, He appeared, their Savior and Friend.

 

He lives. He lives I talked to Him today.

He lives. He lives, is all they could say

 

But Thomas was a doubter and he would not believe

Until He saw the nail prints in both His hands and feet.

“I want to touch His nail-scarred hands and the wound in His side,

To know, He is Jesus Christ, the Lamb, Who gave His life.”

 

Then Jesus stood within the midst and said, “Come and see.

Reach forth thine hand, doubting not, touch me and believe.”

No longer plagued by fear and doubt, Thomas stood before

The risen King of Glory, Jesus Christ the Lord.

 

He lives! He lives! I talked to Him today.

He lives! He lives, is all he could say.

 

He lives! He lives! I talked to Him today.

He lives! He lives, is all I can say.

Words and Music ~ Linda Gail Johnson

© Copyright 1999 all rights reserved

Steal, Kill, and Destroy Part 2

The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. John 10:10

The first time I heard Annie Johnson Flint’s story was during a Gaither Homecoming program. Gloria Gaither told the story of a courageous woman who supported herself through writing, even though she was stricken with debilitating arthritis that eventually left her an invalid.

In the end, when she couldn’t hold a pencil, she held a piece of chalk and wrote on a board suspended above her bed.

When you read Annie Johnson Flint’s poems, you do not hear “Woe is me” in her verses. What you hear, is a steady peace, an active joy, and a quiet trust. Annie learned faith as a child, as a woman she learned to trust.

The difference?

Faith believes God can, while trust rests in knowing He will. Many have learned faith, but struggle with trust. “I believe God can do it; I just don’t know if He will.”

And there’s the problem.

When my peace is disturbed, my joy dwindles. My focus turns inward. I no longer offer sacrifices of praise, but worship at the altar of self. My trust waivers. I question God. How long? Why? When? Will You?

Jesus never lied to His listeners. He promised troubles and tribulations. But the object is to overcome them, not be overtaken by them.

Annie knew that joy, like peace, is a fruit. It isn’t found in happy circumstances.

It’s found in Christ Jesus. It is proof of His Spirit working in our lives. It is us decreasing, Christ increasing.

Annie understood.

When the winds of adversity blew, rocking her to and fro, Annie, like a tree used it to her advantaged and sent her roots deeper into the softened soil. She raised her limbs heavenward and soaked in the Son. She drank the water of the Word and ate of the Bread of Life. She did not bend to self-pity but was strengthened by God’s Spirit. Her fruit remains with us today, a testimony to His faithfulness. And what a testimony it is!

What God Hath Promised~ Annie Johnson Flint~ Public Domain

God hath not promised skies always blue;

Flower-strewn pathways all our lives through;

God hath not promised sun without rain,

Joy without sorrow, peace without pain.

But God promised strength for the day,

Rest for the labor, light for the way,

Grace for the trials, help from above,

Unfailing kindness, undying love. Read more here

You can read more about Annie Johnson Flint by searching her name or her poems and songs, What God Hath Promised and He Giveth More Grace.

XOXO

Gail

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Steal, Kill, and Destroy

The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. John 10:10 KJV

 

Wave Ivan Aivazovsky public domain

Wiki Commons

Worry is often like a trebuchet’s projectile against a castle wall. An unexpected problem explodes in my life and sends my world careening. The invading circumstance steals my peace and imprisons my joy. Furthermore, if I allow it to continue disrupting my thought life, it threatens my trust as I become dissatisfied with my circumstances and begin questioning God.

Worry verb (used without object), worried, worrying. 1. to torment oneself with or suffer from disturbing thoughts; fret. 3. to torment with cares, anxieties, etc.; trouble; plague 4. to seize, especially by the throat, with the teeth and shake or mangle, as one animal does another Dictionary.com

After reading the definition, I envisioned worry as a predator. Have you ever felt as if something had you by the throat and wouldn’t let go? I have. Until I realized the goal of the enemy is to destroy me, but the Lord promised me an abundant life filled with the fruits of the Spirit, including joy and peace.

Isaiah 26:3 Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Isaiah 26:3

Peace is a fruit, and it must be cultivated. It doesn’t just pop up from the earth. Neither does it mean having my world in perfect order. It’s thinking differently about my world. Rather than dwelling on my problem, I ponder on Him and His promises.

(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; 2 Corinthians 10:4-5

Doubt doesn’t line up with the Word, so I must discipline my mind to think of good things. Jesus didn’t doubt His Father’s love or ability to take care of Him. I must do the same. When I do, I will have peace in my spirit although the storm rages about me.

And the peace of God which passeth all understanding shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7

“The better we understand God’s Word, the more comfort we find in it. The darkness of trouble arises from the darkness of ignorance.” Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary on the Bible

God has promised us true peace that can only be found in Him. Do you know that peace?

 

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