Saturday, November 27, 2010

The "Seaquel": More On Our Scuba Angel!

"When we cried out to the LORD, He heard our cry and sent an angel..."
Numbers 20:16

Previously, I shared about how God answered my prayer for Jim during a stressful vacation moment by sending an angel.  (To read that post, click here:  "An Angel Dressed in Scuba-Diving Gear".)  I promised a sequel to that story, so here it is! 

God's amazing provision and perfect faithfulness during our tangled-up mess left us in jaw-dropping awe.  Yet, as only God can do, He not only blessed our fins off, He blessed the scuba diving angel, too!

The Scuba Diver Angel and Jim

After the scuba diver spent almost an hour cutting and pulling water ski ropes from the boat's engine, my husband and I spent some time talking to him and his wife.  God's glory in the warm afterglow of this rescue made us speechless.  You see, as we told the scuba diver and his wife what an answer to prayer he was to us that day on the lake, his wife told us this:  "Oh no, please understand, this was an answer to prayer for me and my husband.  Him being able to help you with your disabled boat was a blessing to him!  You made his whole summer by him being able to help you!  For years he has been bringing his scuba gear to Camp of The Woods hoping he would be able to use it somehow to help someone.  Every year he packs his gear hoping he will be able to serve the Lord by using it.  Up until today, he has never been able to do that.  Being able to help you today made his entire summer!"  Wow!  Isn't that just like God!?!?  His personal, intimate blessings go all the way around.  And He makes our little messes in life into blessings.  He used our MESS to BLESS!  Redemption!

God is so good.  He not only blessed us by His provision and faithfulness, He blessed the scuba diver angel and his wife, too!  Truly, He so beautifully orchestrates all things to work together for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.  That day on Lake Pleasant, this scuba diver angel was fulfilling his purpose for those amazing moments.  "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose." Romans 8:28

Thank you, Lord, for your perfect provision and faithfulness!  Thank you for working all things together for good in the most amazing ways!  Thank you for blessing our scuba diver angel and his wife!  That was the best way we could say "thank you" to them was by knowing YOU touched their hearts so lovingly!  Only You could write such a Seaquel.

"LORD, You are my God; I will exalt You and praise Your name, for in perfect faithfulness You have done wonderful things, things planned long ago."
Isaiah 25:1

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Ushered In By Giving Thanks

“Enter His gates with thanksgiving
and His courts with praise;
give thanks to Him and praise His name.”
Psalm 100:4
Happy Thanksgiving!

A heart of genuine thanksgiving and praise ushers us across His threshold so we can dwell in the Lord’s presence throughout the day. As we seek to abide in Him, our thankful hearts prepare the way for us. With a grateful and reverent posture before the Lord, we can expect to hear His still, small voice and sense His presence. “The eyes of the Lord are on those who fear Him, on those who hope in His unfailing love.” Psalm 33:18 (NIV)

“In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths.” Proverbs 3:7 (KJV
) Genuine thankfulness flows from a humble and reverent heart before the Lord. As we go to Him with gratitude and acknowledging Him in all things, our hearts are postured to receive direction from Him. Then, as we commune with Him from the depths of our hearts throughout the day, we can bring Him our petitions, our fears and our struggles. With the humility of thankfulness as a backdrop, our hearts are poised reverently before Him. He will guide us and lead us. “I know that it will go better with God-fearing men, who are reverent before God.” Ecc. 8:12

When my children approach me with a humble and thankful heart, it is much easier for me to talk with them, rejoice with them, pray with them and guide them. Their hearts are ready. But when they are being selfish, stubborn, prideful and entitled, they don’t hear and are not ready for my instruction and help. The condition of their heart is key to our communication.

It is the same with us and our Heavenly Father, who loves His children perfectly. When our hearts are right before Him, He can minister His Truth to us and reason with us. He can encourage and equip us. He can commune with us. “He who sacrifices thank offerings honors me, and he prepares the way so that I may show him the salvation of God.” Psalm 50:23 (NIV)

Let’s make it routine not just to count our blessings, but to continually give thanks to God for them. To acknowledge Him in all our ways. To bow before Him with sincerity, thankfulness and reverence. We will dwell in His presence, commune with Him and receive His encouragement and love. Then we'll have “sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord.” Col. 3:22 (NIV)

Gracious Father, You are the giver of all good things. By Your grace, keep my heart poised humbly before You in sincerity, reverence and thankfulness. I want to enter your courts with praise in my heart. Usher me in with a thankful heart. Remind me to acknowledge You in all of my ways. Thank you for loving me perfectly and for Your redemption. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

What are YOU thanking Him for this Thanksgiving season?
I am thankful for my Redeemer, my family and my friends. I am thankful for His truth and faithfulness. I am also thankful for my friend, Rachel Olsen, who is sharing this post on her blog. :)

(This post was originally posted on 11/24/08.)
“Joy and gladness will be found in her,
thanksgiving and the sound of singing.”
Isaiah 51:3 (NIV)

“I will praise God’s name in song and
glorify Him with thanksgiving.”
Psalm 69:30

“Ascribe to the Lord the glory due His name;
worship the Lord in the splendor of His holiness.”
Psalm 29:2

Monday, November 22, 2010

Thankful to Him For Our Blessings

In 2010, I have been reading Blackaby's "Experiencing God Day By Day" devotional.  This devotion from November 20th struck such a chord in my heart that I wanted to share it here.  I am so thankful for to God for His unexpected and bountiful blessings! 

Overtaken by Blessings

"And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, because you obey the voice of the Lord your God." (Deuteronomy 28:2)

"When you walk in fellowship with God, you do not have to ask Him to bless you. He wants to bless you! Just as you enjoy surprising someone you love with unexpected gifts, God delights in giving you His gifts in times and ways that you might never expect. God’s blessings often come in the midst of your everyday life—an encouraging telephone call in the middle of a busy morning or a letter you receive at the end of a hard day. A friend may drop by to help when you are overwhelmed, or you may receive unexpected financial help at a time of need. Often, God’s blessings do not come in spectacular ways but in the ordinary busyness of your life. They come just when you most need an expression of God’s love.

Blessings come as a result of obedience. When you walk closely with the Lord, blessings will come, regardless of whether you seek them. Blessings from your obedience will also come to those around you—to your children and to your grandchildren. Solomon enjoyed vast wealth during his reign, but God’s blessing upon him came largely as a result of his father David’s obedience in the previous generation. God promised Abraham that his obedience would bring blessing to all the families of the earth (Gen. 12:2–3).

Do not take God’s gifts for granted. When you receive an unexpected blessing, thank God for His continuing love and be alert to recognize the next time His blessing overtakes you!" - Blackaby

Friday, November 19, 2010

"Lead Me" - For Husbands

"For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, His body, of which He is the Savior." Ephesians 5:23

My husband, Jim, called me on my cell phone recently and told me he had driven to work in tears listening to the song "Lead Me" by Sanctus Real. He told me he made it a prayer to God for himself and that he wants to be the kind of husband and dad that is reflected in this moving song. That touched my heart and brought me to tears. As I drove the children to school, I put my cell phone on speaker as Jim played the song for us over the phone. It was a tender moment for our family. We are thankful to have a husband and daddy who are devoted to God and our family.

To read this post in its entirety, and to listen to the song "Lead Me" by Sanctus Real, click HERE.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Treasure Verse Tuesday - Perfect Faithfulness

 "LORD, You are my God;
   I will exalt You and praise Your name,
for in perfect faithfulness
   You have done wonderful things,
   things planned long ago."
Isaiah 25:1

I am thankful for His perfect faithfulness.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Live! With Regis and Kelly! (and Harrison Ford and Cher!)

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Once or twice a year, I take an early-morning train ride to New York City to be in the live studio audience of Regis & Kelly!  (When I first started going, it was Regis & Kathie Lee.)   This past Tuesday, my friends Heather and Tricia and Tricia's daughter, Alex, enthusiastically joined me for the unique day trip!  We all woke about 3 AM, gathered for the train ride to The Big Apple, arrived at the studio by 7 AM, enjoyed a show with Harrison Ford, stayed afterwards for a segment they were taping with Cher, window shopped, ate lunch, hopped back on the train and we we home shortly after 3 PM...just in time for the cherubs to arrive home from school!  

The Smilebox captures our day.  Many of these shots were taken by Heather on her terrific camera.  (Thank you, Heather!) 

And just click HERE to order free tickets to "Live! With Regis & Kelly!"

Happy Saturday!     

Monday, November 8, 2010

When Our Children Minister To Us

"My eyes will be on the faithful in the land, that they may dwell with Me; the one whose walk is blameless will minister to Me." 
Psalm 101:6

There is nothing more sweetly humbling nor more meaningful than when the Lord speaks to us through our children.  I have found in motherhood that often the children teach me more than I teach them.  They are used to sanctify me and keep me accountable.  Indeed, motherhood is frequently an unexpected role reversal with the children, usually unknowingly, being used as a precious tool in the Potter's hands as He shapes the parent's heart.   

On a rare occasion recently as I was traveling for a few days away from the family, one of my heart's prayers was that they would grow in the Lord in ways that can only happen with me away.  I remember Beth Moore saying once when she was commenting on being away from home some weekends to teach at women's Bible conferences, "The Holy Spirit has more room to work in my family and home when I am out of the way." That was my prayer.  I asked the Holy Spirit to sweetly work in their hearts so the children grow in confidence, trust and maturity in the Lord.  I asked the Lord to do beautiful things in their hearts that made it so worth this wife and mommy going away.  I also asked the Lord to bless Jim in very personal ways and to minister to his heart.

When I was away for those few days, Jim took over the daily school-day routines with the cherubs for two days.  He chauffeured them to and from school and kept the sweet drive-time traditions the children and I have created together.  He prayed with them first and then sang worship songs together the rest of the way in to school.

I was SO amazed by God's goodness when Jim shared with me how Joshua ministered to him one of those mornings.  Here is a snippet of an e-mail Jim subsequently sent to his Wednesday Morning Guys Prayer/Bible Study group to share with them what God had done.

"As I prayed with the kids on the car-ride into school on Friday morning, I told the Lord that I was feeling anxious about all I had to do that day. My son, Joshua, picked up on this and said to me afterwards: 'Dad, I have a really good verse for you. It's Philippians 4:6-7. God doesn't want you to be anxious about anything, Dad. Maybe you should look it up in your Bible. Here, I'll find it for you…' And then he proceeded to look it up in my King James and recite it to me. 'Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.'  Wow! I don’t know if I was more blessed by the verse, or by the fact that my 10-year-old son was ministering to me. I was so pleased that my son knew this verse and was in tune enough with my prayer that I stopped thinking about all I had to get done that day. Praise you, Father, for blessing me through my son… and through your Son…"

God answered my prayers in the most beautiful and serendipitous way.  God ministered to Jim's heart in a very personal way...through his son.  Amazing.  Truly there is no greater joy.  "I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth."  3 John 1:4  Just as God ministers His grace to us through His Son, He also uses our children to minister to us.  Simply beautiful.

"Behold, children are a gift of the LORD, the fruit of the womb is a reward."
Psalm 127:3

Friday, November 5, 2010

Mirror Messages

"I write this greeting in my own hand...
Grace be with you."
Colossians 4:18

I was recently inspired by my girlfriend's daughter when we were invited to their home for a family dinner. She used dry erase markers to write scripture on all the mirrors in her bedroom (and being a teenager...there were lots of mirrors!). Each time she looks in her mirror, God's love letter is kissing her cheeks and piercing her heart with His truth.

To read this post in its entirety, click here.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Treasure Verse Tuesday - Election Day

"If My people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land."
2 Chronicles 7:14