Tuesday, July 18, 2017

My Prayer Corner


Acts 2:42
They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.

Do you have a special place in your home set aside for Bible/devotional reading and prayer?

I do. That is until my son moves in with us last year, and is given the spare bedroom where I've set up shop.  Do I miss it?  Definitely!  I so like having a dedicated space for home worship and study.

But I work it out.  Sometimes, I'm at our dining room table.  Other days, weather permitting, I sit on our back deck, a delightful venue where I'm surrounded by forest and bird songs.

Still.  It's not quite the same . . .

It isn't until I decide several weeks ago to stand, instead of sit, at my computer desk, that I'm given a revelation.  In looking for spot in our living room to stash the chair, an underutilized corner catches my eye.  The space is too small for an armchair or rocker, but it's the perfect fit for this chair!

And the window seats provide the means to set up what I now call my Prayer Corner.  No, it's not fancy, but everything I need to spend quiet time with God is here.


My Bible and notebook for reflecting on Scripture


My current devotional and Prayer/Thankfulness Journal

And a whole host of gentle reminders that the Lord is near.


Don't you just love this bookmark?


Kneeling Angel


The Risen Lord

Inspirational Messages



And of course, my Walk to Emmaus rooster!


How I love my new Prayer Corner!


And I hope, if you don't have a devoted area in your home for daily communion with God, that you will consider creating one.

If you do have a spot already set aside, I hope you will describe, in the comments section, the sanctuary you've created as an inspiration to others.

May God bless and keep you all!

Amen!


Friday, July 14, 2017

Rave Reviews!


Thessalonians 5:11
Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

Not long ago, I hold a give-away here at Meditations of My Heart for my first book in The Glade Series, A Trip, a Tryst and a Terror.  One of the many takers is Pamela Steiner who blogs regularly over at Closed Doors, Open Windows.  I find her posts always uplifting, encouraging and inspiring, and we have become fast friends through our blogging relationship.

So imagine my delight when Pamela reviews my first three novels on her blog!!!  Did she make my day?  You better believe it!

In light of this, instead of writing my own post today, I'm linking you to Pamela's latest review for The Moment of Truth.  She has added links at the bottom of this blog so you can easily view her previous posts on A Trip, a Tryst and a Terror and Children in the Garden.

My prayer is that you will visit Pamela here to read and enjoy her rave reviews and thoughtful insights.  I guarantee, you will be both encouraged and richly blessed.

Thank you, Pamela!  Love and blessings!

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

The Canon of Grace


Galatians 2:20-21
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.  The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.  I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!

I am watching a touching video shared by a Facebook friend when I notice that my husband, Danny, has drawn close to watch with me.  As I turn toward him, out of the corner of my eye, I spy a wrapped package sitting on our dining room table.  It is my son, Daniel's, birthday today, and my first reaction is to assume Danny has added yet another gift to those we've already given him.

I am wrong.

When I inquire about it, Danny says, "It's something for you."

"But it's not my birthday," I counter.  "Why a gift?"

"Why not?"  Danny asks.  "Can't I give you something just because?"

The tears already generated by the moving video no flow even more freely at the unexpected delight and anticipation of what could possibly lay beneath the festive wrappings.  But it's the note from Danny that I read before opening the gift that frees the flood gates.

You will say that I shouldn't have bought you anything, you don't need this, but it isn't about any of that stuff.  It's about thanking you for all you have done since last March.  You gave up vacation, you tended to me in two hospitals, you drove my car down a four-lane highway, you stayed by yourself under duress in a strange city in a strange hotel, you were brave during surgeries, you were my doctor and gave me meds.  You were there through everything, so yes, you deserve this.  I love you so much for who you are every day.  I'll explain the gift when you open it, but actually you DO need this and deserve this.  I couldn't find a card that said what I wanted to, so better to simply write this note.
Best of my love,
Danny

Okay, I'm breaking the Guiness Book of World Records in how many tissues can be used up in a minute.  How could I have possibly done, with God's help all the way, anything less than what I did for this man I love and treasure?  There is no gift necessary.  None deserved!  What can this gift possibly be?

Time to open and discover . . .



A Canon camera!!!  Lightweight, easy to use from the get-go, and incredible zoom lens power for all those wildlife shots I've been longing to take!  What a welcome reprieve from my limited phone camera!

An undeserved gift, no matter what Danny declares.

And God's grace is like that.

It is not a gift to be set aside, but opened joyfully and expectantly.

It is not a gift to be taken lightly, because we know the sacrificial gift of Christ Jesus who love us and offered Himself for us, once and for all, without reservation.

It's a gift that cannot be earned, no matter how hard we try.

And no law, nor effort on our part, can alter its redeeming power.

Will you accept God's gift of grace?

Embrace it?

And know it is by grace alone that you are saved.

Amen!

~

The zoom lens proves to be absolutely amazing!  Of course, Racer informs me, on no uncertain terms, that our backyard squirrels should be the subjects of my first photo shoot.  Enjoy!







Friday, July 7, 2017

Standing in the Need of Prayer


Psalm 89:2
I will declare that your love stands firm forever, that you have established your faithfulness in heaven itself. (NIV)

Recently, I read a post from fellow blogger, Christopher Jennings Penders, at Wisdom and Life, on how we can all begin to take better care of ourselves.  One of his many suggestions includes switching from the traditional "sitting" desk to a standing one.

Chris writes:  I found that sitting all the time at home to write or do any kind of work at my computer, compressed my spine so badly that I started to experience lower back stress.  Now that I have my standing desk, it's helped ease much of the stress on my back.

This gets me thinking . . .

My computer perches atop an early 20th Century drafting table.  My dad got it for me almost forty years ago from Emory University's biology department when they were going through a major remodeling.  This table was destined for the dump until Dad intervened.  So glad he did!




Because of the desk's height, my chair, too, is a tall, cushioned bar stool.



When I remove the chair, and simply stand in front of my desk, I discover it's the perfect height for me to type/read on my computer!  And that's precisely what I'm doing as I compose this post.

Did I decide to try out a standing desk only because Chris finds it beneficial?  Not at all.  I've been hearing positive things about them in the media for months.  And according to the article, The Benefits and Considerations of Using a Standing Desk, research indicates that the health perks of standing while working are many.  Here are just a few highlights:

  • Less obesity risk
  • Reduced cancer risk - this is especially true for breast and colon cancers
  • Longer life - we all know that being too sedentary is not good for us
  • Better posture - a real bonus for me as I already have osteoporosis, and need to keep up my core strength to combat it.
Another thumbs-up for me in standing at the computer is that I don't stop moving; I may shuffle my feet, sway slightly from side to side, or roll up gently on the balls of my feet.  And my leg muscles, which often feel flaccid and lazy when I get up after sitting too long, act more like they've just enjoyed a brisk, 30-minute stint on the treadmill.  Who can argue with that!

If after reading this, you are interested in purchasing a stand-up desk, I encourage you to read the article linked above in full.  And don't stop there.  Google is full of information on this subject.

But whether we choose to sit or stand while working, we can all take solace and comfort in the knowledge that God's love for us stands forever firm, forever faithful.  We can stand strong in this world because of His grace and mercy that are readily available to each and every one of us.

We need only pray.

Amen.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Happy Birthday, America!


I have quoted John Winthrop's words more than once on the campaign trail this year - for I believe that Americans in 1980 are every bit as committed to that vision of a shining "city on a hill," as were those long ago settlers . . .
These visitors to that city on the Potomac do not come as white or black, red or yellow; they are not Jews or Christians; conservatives or liberals; Democrats or Republicans.  They are Americans awed by what has gone before, proud of what for them is still . . . a shining city on a hill.  ~President Ronald Reagan


Happy Birthday, America!!!

How blessed we are to live in the land of the free and the home of the brave!  And all because our Founding Fathers understood that true freedom is founded by God, found through Christ Jesus, His Son, and grounded in us by the Holy Spirit.  Yes, in spite of what you may hear from the protests of disgruntled and history-quelling voices, the United States of America is a "shining city on a hill," a nation of laws; laws decreed by our Judeo-Christian heritage.

At no time in human history has such a nation existed; one of and for and by The People.  It is thoroughly unique and uniquely radical, as it places the responsibility of governing not on a king or a tyrant, but on the will of the people.  A people, who at the time the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were written, were dedicated in their hearts and souls to the Living God.

They understood the necessity of the Biblical law, but believed that those who follow Jesus are enabled to do the right thing, because He is the fulfillment of the Law and the Prophets.

So as you prepare to wave the American flag at your local parade, grill those burgers and hot dogs to perfection, set off backyard fireworks, or attend a professional display, my prayer is that you will remember those who set all this freedom in motion.  Inspired by God to stand up against a worldly king, determined to help establish God's kingdom here on earth, our Founding Fathers have bestowed upon us a legacy of freedom that must never be betrayed, compromised or forgotten.

With that said, let us explore, on this most memorable day, what the Scriptures have to say about freedom.  (All excerpts featured are NIV translations)

I will walk about in freedom, for I have sought out your precepts. ~Psalm 119:45

"The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor. ~Luke 4:18-19

For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God. ~Romans 8:20-21

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. ~2 Corinthians 3:17

You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free.  But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh, rather, serve one another humbly in love. ~Galatians 5:13

In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence. ~Ephesians 3:12

But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it - not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it - they will be blessed in what they do. ~James 1:25

Live as a free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God's slaves. 1 Peter 2:16

Wishing each and every one of you a happy and blessed Independence Day!

Friday, June 30, 2017

God's Super Heroes! Part 2


2 Corinthians 12:9
But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."  Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.

Psalm 34:14b
Do good, seek peace, and go after it.

On the final day of Vacation Bible School, the children are met with a challenge that, at first glance, seems insurmountable.  They are given two sheets of printer paper, six pieces of masking tape, and a stack of five hymnals.  Working in groups of two, and without any adult assistance, these rising 2nd grade super heroes are told they have to figure out a way to manipulate the paper in order to support the weight of at least one book.

I'm stymied.  Stumped!  You see, when God doled out my particular gifts, a penchant for engineering was definitely not in the mix.  And I notice that many of the children appear to be just as baffled as I am at the prospect of successfully executing the project.

Granddaughter, Virginia Rose, and her partner, Stella, don't seem perturbed or befuddled by the assignment, and eagerly pose possibilities to one another.  They come close to a solution, but it's not until a precocious young lady named Sydney actually balances three books on her paper that Virginia and Stella figure out how it's done.  (Why more children in the group didn't follow Sydney's example, I have no clue.)

Here are the two girls hard at work.  Will they succeed?



Careful!  Careful!




Got it!!!


Can we get two?




Yes!  Yes!
Let's try for three!




Uh-oh!  The walls come tumbling down!  But how proud these two are to have accomplished such a feat!

~

Without God's strength, we are like those flimsy pieces of paper, unable to support ourselves under the weight of cares, worries, troubles, and strife that life inevitably brings our way.  But when we call upon Christ's all-sufficient grace, allowing His power to be made perfect in our weakness, then we become like those two sturdy towers, able to withstand anything and everything the world throws at us.

As the chorus of the Casting Crowns' song, "In Me," so aptly expresses:

'Cause when I'm weak, You make me strong
When I'm blind, You shine the light on me
'Cause I'll never get by living on my own ability
How refreshing to know You don't need me
How amazing to find that You want me
So I'll stand on Your truth
And I'll fight with Your strength
Until You bring the victory
By the power of Christ in me

Amen!

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

God's Super Heroes! Part 1


Psalm 34:14b
Do good, seek peace, and go after it.
(Our guiding verse for VBS)

Oh, wow!  Just wow!  This past week assisting with our church's Vacation Bible School is nothing short of fabulous, wondrous and heroic.  Our program is "Hero Central," and all the amazing children who attend learn about super heroes in the Bible, and how they, too, can be super heroes for God right here and right now.

Granddaughter, Virginia Rose, stays with us the entire week in order to attend the daily morning events with me.  Ever since last year's VBS, she has been eagerly anticipating this special time spent with us, and the opportunity to learn more about God's great love for her.

Each day, we focus on a different aspect of what makes God's super heroes so super:  Heart; Courage; Wisdom; Hope, and Power.  The children rotate with their class from station to station throughout the morning, but we all gather at the beginning of the day for energetic, spirit-filled songs and dances.







Every super hero needs a costume, right?  So on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday in Discovery, the children create shields, masks and capes that best describe the super hero they wish to be for God.











Meet Virginia, the Rainbow Heart!  She has the power to change into animals, to fly, and transform objects into different colors.  (And yes, she came up with this compendium of ideas all by herself!)



And what super hero would be complete if he or she didn't help others?  Virginia and her friends learn about aiding poor families in Haiti; we bring in money earmarked for Heifer International, an organization that provides farm animals for people who otherwise couldn't afford them.  We raise almost $500!  In addition to this, our super heroes also donate a total of 84 jump ropes that will be taken to Haitian children by our mission team this week.  What big hearts these kids have!





We enjoy dedicated Bible story time, too, where the children learn of heroes in the Old and New Testaments.  Heart:  the anointing of King David.  Courage:  Abigail taking provisions to David and his army against the will of her husband.  Wisdom:  The boy, Jesus, astounding the teachers in the temple.  Hope:  Jesus teaching the Beatitudes.  Power:  God raises Jesus from the dead.





Outdoor activities are a must for these active and growing super heroes!  And what could be better than playing with Captain Shield, our VBS leader?





Unless, it's a special visit from Wonder Woman!





But the most astonishing event, and the one that creates unbridled excitement for Virginia Rose and her new friend, Stella, happens on the very last day of Hero Central.

Stay tuned!!!

My Prayer Corner

Acts 2:42 They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Do you have...