Saturday, February 27, 2010

His Answer Upon A Scroll


"I call on you, O God, for You will answer me; give ear to me and hear my prayer." Psalm 17:6

I love to rejoice in and share answers to prayer, especially when they come through our children. "...and a little child will lead them." (Isaiah 11:6) I am humbled continually how God uses our children in our lives. Both of our children have been His vessel in our lives in so many ways, including being answers to prayer.


God used Gabrielle (and her hand-made craft for me) as a beautiful answer to a heartfelt prayer in Autumn 2007, which resulted in an intimate testimony of His faithfulness and love for me and her, and in me having my very first published devotion: "A Heart More Beautiful".
God used Gabrielle and her hand-made craft again this past Thursday 2/25.


Our children were home from school yesterday and Thursday due to another Nor' Easter Snow Storm, touted as a "Snowicane" due to the heavy winds and predicted white outs. I was up earlier than usual on Thursday morning waiting to see if school was on or off. Once I knew school was canceled for the day, I stayed up and enjoyed lingering quiet time with the Lord and in His Word.


Just after 7 AM when the cherubs awoke and our serendipitous snow day together began, I felt my body tiring. Tossing the third load of laundry of the day into the washer just before 9 AM, I silently prayed to the Lord. "Lord, I am feeling tired this morning. I'd love to take a little nap today. But the kids are home and I don't want to nap while they are home. I want to cherish this time with them. But if it pleases You that I take a nap today, can you please speak through one of my children? I'd love a little nap today. Thank you."


Now, I don't think I have ever prayed a prayer like that before. First of all, naps these days are a rare treasure. When the cherubs were babies and toddlers, I often napped when they did. It was necessary for my survival. Their napping days are long over, which mean my afternoon naps have vanished as well. Secondly, while I pray God lives and dwells in the hearts of my children daily, I don't usually pray that He would speak through them to me as an answer to prayer. (Perhaps I should pray that more often!)


I continued about my day asking the Lord to direct my steps. My private prayer to the Lord for a little nap was kept quietly in my heart. I was thankful to have an unexpected day home to get some projects and chores accomplished. (Mondays and Thursdays are the days I work outside of the home.) And being together with my cherubs on our snow days, making memories of hot chocolate with a dollop of Marshmallow Fluff and having warmed outerwear ready for them to go outside and frolic in the snow are privileges I treasure as a mom. I asked God to balance my day and establish the work of my hands. "May the favor of the Lord our God rest upon us; establish the work of our hands for us— yes, establish the work of our hands." (Psalm 90:17)


Shortly before lunch on Thursday, after spending some time in her "craft corner" in the basement playroom, Gabrielle skipped up to me and said, "Mommy I made something for you. I made you a scroll with a special message just for you!" She opened the scroll and began reading her edict to me:
"Dear Mom: Go nap when you have a chance. It's OK. Trust me. Now, go nap. You really need one.
Love, Brie
"

(For a brief moment, I was tempted to over-analyze her statement "You really need one." However, I let that go quickly knowing that she was being used as God's vessel for me.)
I was once again in jaw-dropping awe of God's amazing goodness. He answered a mommy's prayer through her child. While I was thankful that the Lord ordained a nap for me, I was more excited to proclaim His goodness and His specific answer to prayer through my daughter!!! I was so excited to tell her about my silent prayer and how God used her as His vessel!!! May He impress her heart with His love for her permanently!!! As I shared my private prayer with Gabrielle and how God used her, an ear-to-ear smile sparkled on her face. Oh, I pray she knows His love for her always!!! Thank you, Lord, for answering my prayer. Thank you more for encouraging this mommy's heart and the heart of my child!!!
After serving lunch and being sure the cherubs were safe and content, this mommy snuggled up on the sofa with my favorite blanket and napped for an hour. Ahhhh....... "The sleep of a laborer is sweet..." Ecc. 5:12

"...when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet." Proverbs 3:24

Friday, February 26, 2010

Praying For My Husband

"Now I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ's sake, and for the love of the Spirit, that ye strive together with me in your prayers to God for me..." Romans 15:30 (KJV)

The most precious and meaningful changes that come in our hearts are done through the work of the Holy Spirit. The most valuable offering of love we can give to our spouse is to pray for him or her. Keeping our own hearts humble and moldable before the Lord, we must pray for our spouse. In Romans 15:30, Paul is begging fellow believers to "strive together with me in your prayers to God for me". Praying daily for your spouse can be laborious, a "striving" so to speak, but seeing and tasting the fruit of your prayers to a faithful and loving God is an abundant and satisfying benefit.


Click on over to Titus 2 In Action to read the rest of this post:


"For this is what the high and lofty One says—He who lives forever, whose name is holy: 'I live in a high and holy place, but also with him who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite." (Isaiah 57:15 NIV)

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Treasure Verse Tuesday - Psalm 63:1-4

"O God, You are my God, earnestly I seek You; my soul thirsts for You, my body longs for You, in a dry and weary land where there is no water. I have seen You in the sanctuary and beheld Your power and Your glory. Because Your love is better than life, my lips will glorify You. I will praise You as long as I live, and in Your name I will lift up my hands."

Psalm 63:1-4

Friday, February 19, 2010

Unruffled? Undisturbed? Giving God Secondhand Glory?

"For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart." Hebrews 4:12


I do love God's Word. His truths bring absolute comfort, peace and assurance. His Word also penetrates our hearts with conviction and the command to yield to His Spirit and pursue His holiness.


This devotion from "Day by Day" on Wednesday 2/17 was one of those where God's Word penetrated my heart and caused me to ask Him to search my heart. I thought I'd share it today.



Wednesday, February 17, 2010
"Deny Yourself"

Then Jesus said to His disciples, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. (Matthew 16:24)

Sin causes us to be self-centered, shifting our hearts from God to self. The essence of salvation is an about-face from self-centeredness to God-centeredness. The Christian must spend a lifetime denying self. Our great temptation will be to affirm ourselves while we follow Jesus. James and John did this when they chose to follow Jesus but asked for the two most prominent positions in Jesus’ kingdom (Mark 10:35–37). James and John wanted a discipleship that would not impede their personal desires and aspirations. Like them, we say, “Lord, I want to be pleasing to you, but I want to stay where I am.”

Self-centered people try to keep their lives unruffled and undisturbed, safe and secure. Our temptation is to give our time and effort to the goals of this world. Then, when we are successful in the world’s eyes, we seek to bring God into our world by honoring Him with our success. We may say, “Now that I have succeeded in business [or sports, or politics, or with my family, or even Christian ministry], I want to give God the glory for it!” God is not interested in receiving secondhand glory from our activity. God receives glory from His activity through our lives.
The world will entice you to adopt its goals and to invest in temporal things. Resist the temptation to pursue your own goals, asking God to bless them. Rather, deny yourself and join the activity of God as He reveals it to you.
"This is the one I esteem: he who is humble and contrite in spirit, and trembles at My word."
Isaiah 66:2

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Eskimo-Esque!

"But let all who take refuge in You be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread Your protection over them, that those who love Your name may rejoice in You. For surely, O Lord, You bless the righteous; You surround them with Your favor as a shield." Psalm 5:11-12
"He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty." Psalm 91:1

"I long to dwell in Your tent forever and take refuge in the shelter of Your wings. Selah" Psalm 61:4

Monday, February 15, 2010

Love Covers

“He who covers over an offense promotes love,
but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends.”
Proverbs 17:9


Today I am participating in Rachel Olsen's "Devotion Carnival"! The theme of today's "Devotional Carnival" is LOVE. I had written this particular devotion "Love Covers" in September of 2009 during a bittersweet time when God faithfully re-taught me, in a deeply personal way, that His love covers....and obeying His commands brings peace and life. Last evening as Jim and I were enjoying a nice Valentine's dinner together and talking about many things, I asked him if there was wisdom in me sharing this devotion today for the "Love Devotional Carnival", and he said "yes, absolutely." So, we pray "Love Covers" speaks to someone's heart today about God's covering love, His gracious love and His merciful love.

Devotion:
I dialed my friend’s number as I whispered a prayer to the Lord, “Please bring Your truth, understanding and healing to this relationship.” My heart was hopeful, but after an unexpectedly messy conversation, my heart ached and tears spilled down my cheeks. Her words seemed unreasonable, judgmental, based in suspicion rather than truth. A call for healing resulted in greater sorrow. I stared at my silent cell phone as if it would give me some answers, but I knew I needed to be on my knees.

I prayed and sought the Lord. His command to me was crystal clear as He spoke to me through Proverbs 17:9. “Sharon, cover this completely in My love. Do not defend yourself. Pray for your sister in the Lord. Your heart has been for her, not against her. Keep your heart postured that way. Stay soft before Me.” Then came the crescendo in His command to me: “Do not repeat this matter…not even to a trusted confidant.” His command to me was emphatic and inflexible.

Gossip was not the issue here. I did not want to gossip about my friend. Before the Lord, I wanted to honor that friendship and His Word. I did not want to tear down a relationship He had built. "The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down." Proverbs 14:1 (NIV)

However, I did want to talk with a dear, mature, trusted friend/confidant about what had been said to me. I wanted understanding, accountability and truth. Was I way off base? Did I handle this incorrectly? Was I seeing things clearly? Was I being unreasonable? Was there truth in what she had said to me?

Nonetheless, His command to me was immutable: “Do not repeat the matter…not even to a trusted confidant.” Why? So my friend’s reputation would not be questioned or harmed. So suspicions did not spring up about her. So others would not have an opening to tear her down. So my trustworthiness as a friend as unto the Lord maintained integrity before Him. So I did not cause further separation in my relationship with my friend or any of her other friendships by repeating the matter. Love covers. My love for her wanted to protect her. Peace and healing were my heart’s prayer for our relationship. I desired unity, not separation. My heart was grieved and I desired restoration. Only by honoring God's Word,obeying His commands and yielding to the Holy Spirit could this occur.

“In return for my friendship they accuse me, but I am a [wo]man of prayer.” Psalm 109:4 The other command and desire of my heart the Lord had given me was to pray for her. I prayed sincerely for my friend. That her family would be blessed and abide in Him daily. That her unsaved family members would come to know the Lord and walk with Him with fervor. That God would bless any ministry to which He put her heart and hands. That her friendships would blossom and flourish beautifully. That He would show her His favor. That He would heal her heart. That trust would be restored. That His truth would reign.

"He will quiet you with His love." Zephaniah 3:17 God quieted my heart with His perfect love.
The Lord had told me to “Hush your heart with My love and pray.” By obeying Him even through the pain of the fragmented relationship, God gave me the treasure of tasting His wonderful truths. His Word brings life. His commands bring forth fruit. Love covers.

By obeying His command and quietly trusting Him alone with the details and by not repeating the matter, one of the greatest joys He gave me was the blessing of giving my friend a precious, intangible gift. Perhaps a gift she does not even know was unwrapped for her: the gift of being covered in love by not repeating the matter. The gift of forgiveness. The gift of freedom that she did not have to be concerned about me speaking about the matter to anyone. God had kept my heart pure towards her. The gift of covering in love. So simple, yet sometimes so rare. This is a gift of grace I would like to receive when I offend someone. It’s a gift I am indeed thankful to have received by gracious and wise friends. (Thank you, Lord, for those precious friends!)


“You have laid down precepts that are to be fully obeyed.” Psalm 119:4 When we fully obey His commands, such as not repeating a matter, He blesses our hearts and lives with palpable and unspeakable joy. Those secret treasures of obedience that are often just between us and Him are the most precious. Has someone offended you? Trust Him with the details. Simply allow Him to quiet your heart in His perfect love and pray.

Gracious Father, thank You that Your word is truth and life. Help me to cover other’s offenses in Your love and by Your grace, just as I want my offenses to be covered. Guard my heart and tongue such that I would not repeat a matter, causing separation and disunity. When I am offended, give my heart the desire to be a woman of prayer for the one who has offended me. You are gracious and faithful to let me taste the sweet joy that comes from obeying You fully. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.



"Hatred stirs up dissension, but love covers over all wrongs."

(Proverbs 10:12)



"Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins."


(1 Peter 4:8)



© 2009 by Sharon Sloan. All rights reserved.

Friday, February 12, 2010

A Valentine's Serendipity!

"How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to Your word. I seek You with all my heart; do not let me stray from Your commands. I have hidden Your word in my heart that I might not sin against You." Psalm 119:9-11


Click over to Titus 2 In Action for a Valentine's Serendipity!


"This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins." 1 John 4:10
Happy Valentine's Weekend!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Snowtographs!

"Have you entered the storehouses of the snow
or seen the storehouses of the hail?"
Job 38:22
God's storehouses of snow fell all over Bucks County yesterday!
And most of the Northeast part of the country!
Here are some of our SNOWTOGRAPHS!
(Kelly: I'd like to take credit for the word "Snowtographs", but I got it from our local news station 6ABC!)
Sledding this morning at 8:30!!!!



Our Mail Box
We were all out early this morning digging out!



Jim going around the cul-de-sac sidewalks.


Go Gabrielle!

Living Room With A View!

The Deck

Surprise "Blizzard Breakfast" for the cherubs this morning
after we were all dug out!!! Pumpkin Pancakes A LA MODE!



Yesterday morning - building Mr. Snowman



Walking home from the neighbors yesterday at dinner time.

Door out to the deck.

The "Cul-De-Sac Kids"

Sunday 2/7
Joshua & Wade; Gabrielle & Amanda
(The dads took them sledding!)
What fun we are having in the snow!
Praying for all those who have to work and travel in these conditions.
Be kind to your Postal Carrier! Serve him/her some hot chocolate today!
**************************************************************************

Congratulations to Joyful -- the winner of Serendipity Saturday's - Kari Jobe Worship CD!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

A Wholehearted Half-Birthday Celebration

"He who regards one day as special,
does so to the Lord."
(Romans 14:6)


Half Birthdays....wholehearted sprinkles of celebration for our cherubs' hearts. Simple. Meaningful. Fun. Half birthday cakes are served. We've even been known to serve half pizzas. Whatever makes it a little silly and very memorable for the cherubs.


On Sunday, January 31st, we celebrated Joshua's Half Birthday -- 9 and a half. I made him one of his favorites for dinner -- homemade chicken pot pie (tried serving that gooey thing in a half...didn't work too well!). For dessert, his favorite -- cheesecake. Half of a cheesecake, that is.


Share with us some fun things you do!!! Let's spur one another one!
We are snowed in today and tomorrow with "blizzard-like conditions". Will post some "Snowtographs" tomorrow!
Thanks for stopping by for a quick visit!
Happy 9-1/2 Birthday, Joshua!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Treasure Verse Tuesday - Proverbs 17:9

"He who covers over an offense promotes love, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends."
Proverbs 17:9

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Serendipity Saturday - Kari Jobe Worship

Ser-en-dip-i-ty [ser-uh n-dip-i-tee]
--noun
1. an unexpected desirable discovery
2. a pleasant surprise




In high school, I received Jesus into my heart. The youth group I attended called their retreats “A Serendipity”. "Serendipity" has since been one of my favorite words and it brings warm memories to my heart.



Today's serendipity is Kari Jobe's worship CD. Her music label is called "Throne Room Worship" and, boy, they are not kidding! Kari is a worship leader. Transparent, passionate, reverent and sincere, Kari leads you to worship the Lord in song right to His throne of grace.



For Serendiptiy Saturday, just leave a comment and share one of the following:
--a scripture you read recently that really ministered to your heart
--an unexpected surprise you experienced that the Lord used to really bless your heart
--how the Lord used you to be a serendipitous blessing to someone else


The recipient of today's serendipity of Kari Jobe's worship CD will be announced in a few days!

Here in Pennsylvania, we are snuggling up and hunkering down in the midst of a big snow storm that started last evening. At this moment, we have one foot of snow! We will be spending our day sledding, shoveling, making meatballs, baking cookies, drinking hot chocolate and just plain old chil-axing! I'll be staying in my pajamas all day (even when I go outside!) while we enjoy this wonderful wintry day! How are you spending your day today?

"As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
so is My word that goes out from My mouth: It will not return to Me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it." Isaiah 55:10-11



Hop on over to Kari Jobe's site and listen to some of her beautiful worship music!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Favorites Friday - A Daily Devotional


"Blessed are they who keep His statutes and seek Him with all their heart."
(Psalm 119:2)



Happy "Favorites Friday"! Sharing my favorite devotional with you today: "Experiencing God Day by Day Daily Devotional" by the Blackaby brothers. For 2010, this devotional is what I call "the icing to my quiet-time cake in God's Word." I so appreciate what the introduction of the devotional says: "Nothing can replace the life-changing experience of reading Scripture. This devotional is designed not to take the place of God's Word in your life; but to introduce verses for you to consider and meditate upon. The Holy Spirit is your Teacher, and He will impress things upon your heart as you read the devotional thoughts." Here is today's devotion. I pray it blesses you with His truth.


Friday, February 05, 2010
"Seeking Jesus"
"And Simon and those who were with Him searched for Him." (Mark 1:36)

Simon Peter is well known to us for his foolish, extemporaneous statements throughout the Gospels (Matt. 16:22; 17:4; 26:33). But Peter was always seeking after Jesus. Peter followed Jesus from afar during the night of Jesus’ crucifixion (Matt. 26:58). Peter ran to the tomb when he heard Jesus had risen (Luke 24:12). Peter swam in the sea in his haste to get to Jesus (John 21:7) and even walked on water in order to join Jesus (Matt. 14:29). Peter did not always say or do the right things, but he did constantly seek to be with Jesus. Because of this, he was continually encountering his Lord and growing to be a more faithful disciple.

Whenever we see Peter coming to Jesus he is always accompanied by others. Because Peter was seeking Jesus, others sought Him too. What are you known for by those who know you best? Do they see you searching for fame, power, success, or happiness? Are you known as a person who seeks after Jesus? God promises: “And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart” (Jer. 29:13).

Did you begin today intent on encountering Jesus? Is your search for Him halfhearted, or are you seeking Him with all your heart? Have others grown closer to Jesus because they followed your example and sought Jesus? If your heart is set on pursuing Jesus, you will always find Him. “And the Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!’ And let him who hears say, ‘Come!’ And let him who thirsts come” (Rev. 22:17).
You can order this devotional at www.blackaby.org

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Treasure Verse Tuesday - Hebrews 12:14


"Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord."
(Hebrews 12:14)
"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God."
(Matthew 5:8)
"But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere."
(James 3:17)
"...let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water." (Hebrews 10:22)
God has been speaking to my heart over the last several days through these scriptures. Share what He is impressing on your heart today through His Word.