Archives for February 2011

Celebration Anyone?

6913508663_46a750aeba_zAnyone due for a time of celebration? Has it been awhile since you’ve jumped for joy? Well, I give you permission, my friend. Go ahead and kick up your heels. You don’t have to wait for some major event to happen. Celebrate what you’re happy about right now!

Our daughter Kelli and her husband Jake did that very thing this past week. They celebrated the completion of a huge mid-term paper Jake had been working on for quite some time. In spite of a snow storm, they went out to eat to celebrate and finally spend a little time together. Yes, they were due for some kicking-up-their-heels time, and they took the time to do it.

Celebrating does our hearts good, doesn’t it? Let’s not wait until we have a birthday, an anniversary, a new job, or a graduation to do it. Let’s approach life with an attitude of celebration and jump for joy over some of the smaller things that happen around us each day as well.

Just think of all the possibilities. Like Kelli and Jake, we can celebrate the completion of a project or the attaining of a goal. We can kick up our heels over making it through another work week or getting to spend some time with loved ones. We can celebrate a good report from the doctor or a refund on our taxes. (Well, that last one may be wishful thinking… :) )

In our spirits we can celebrate a host of daily blessings from God. The beauty of a sunset, the companionship of a friend, the comfort of His Word, or just the privilege of being His child. All of these things — and many more like them — call for celebration.

So tell me, what have you been celebrating lately? Anything going on in your life that makes you want to jump for joy? If not, take a minute to count your blessings. You’ll be kicking up your heels in no time!

“He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy.” Job 8:21

*Flickr photo by Ant1_G, Creative Commons License

My Song

“The Lord, the Lord, is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation.” Isaiah 12:2b

Are you hurting? Can’t feel a song within your heart? During a recent time of sadness and hurt feelings, God brought the verse above to my attention and reminded me that He is all I need. My joy, my reason to sing, does not depend on others. He is my song.

If you’re hurting today, I pray that you will turn to Him and let Him be your strength. I pray that you will let Him be your song.

“Lift up your heads, O you gates; be lifted up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in.” Psalm 24:7

*Flickr photo by Dennis Wong, Creative Commons License

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Call to Worship

Chime! Chime! Chime! During the weekdays, not more than a dozen blocks from our house, children arrive and begin their day at the local Catholic church and school. And when I’m lucky, I happen to open my door or step out on my back steps and hear the church bells ringing in a new school day, signaling the time to begin.

I don’t know their schedule, but I like to think they are starting with moments of worship and prayer. I like to think that as they hear the chiming of the bells, they are gathering to acknowledge the Creator of the world around them, gathering to say prayers to their heavenly Father.

I know for me, when the rich ring of the beginning bell wafts through the air and meets my listening ear, I hear a call to worship. I hear my Father saying, “Think of me! Think of me!”

And I do. I think of Him. I think of the glory of the morning and of the world around me. I think of how worthy He is to be praised. I think of how blessed I am to have such a loving and faithful heavenly Father. I think of Him, I think of Him…

On days that I’m caught up in something else and miss hearing the ringing of the bells, I still feel the call to worship my Lord as I look at the beauty of His creation or as I think of blessings He has poured into my life. Each work of beauty, each sound of nature, each blessing He has granted is like a church bell chiming, “Think of me! Think of me!”

How about you? What calls you to worship? What calls you to think of Him? Whatever it is, take time to answer His call. Take time to think of Him.

“When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? …O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!” Psalm 8:3-4, 9

*Flickr photo by vxla, Creative Commons License

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Prayer Changes Me

You’ve heard it said that prayer changes things. Well, sometimes.

Sometimes we see God answer our prayers through changed circumstances or hearts, but other times things don’t change. The house goes into foreclosure. The divorce is finalized. The cancer rages on and finally wins the battle. For whatever reason, God, in His infinite — and loving — wisdom has not seen fit to change the thing we’ve brought to Him in prayer time and again.

But one thing I’ve found to be true about prayer is that even when God doesn’t grant the change I desire — when He says “no” or “wait” — prayer still brings about change. It changes me.

As I bring my burdens to Him in prayer, changes take place in my heart. Sometimes they’re dramatic and instantaneous, but more often than not, they blossom a step at a time as God does the work in my life that will draw me closer to Him, that will conform me into His image.

Anxiety and worry melt into peace and calm assurance in my heavenly Father. Anger and unforgiveness grow into grace, like the grace given so freely to me. Bitterness that may have crept in gets uprooted while negative feelings about someone are replaced by compassion and love. My wisdom and need to control give way to the blessed relief of trusting utterly in Him.

So even when it seems that prayer is not changing circumstances the way I’d like, I’m grateful to know that coming to God in prayer indeed does a transforming work. I’m grateful to know that prayer changes me. How about you?

“And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” 2 Corinthians 3:18

*Flickr photo by kabils, Creative Commons License

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Godiva Winner Plus Sweetness for the Soul

A happy Valentine’s Day week to all! And a yummy Godiva week to the winner of the “I Love Chocolate” Giveaway! That would be you, Liz! Congrats! I’ll get the gift card to you right away so you can enjoy your sweet treat in the days ahead. Think of me while you savor a dark chocolate truffle — or something equally as good :)

I have a sweet treat for the rest of you as well. Some sweetness for the soul straight from the Word of God. I pray that one of these verses or passages will provide a touch from the Lover of your souls this Valentine’s week. A sweet touch that you can savor in the days and weeks ahead. Be blessed, dear friends!

“Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The LORD, the LORD, is my strength and my song…” Isaiah 12:2

“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18

“When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, ‘Don’t cry.'” Luke 7:13

“I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the LORD.” Psalm 40:1-3

“One thing God has spoken, two things I have heard: that you, O God, are strong, and that you, O Lord, are loving.” Psalm 62:11-12a

And so, dear valentines, what sweet thing has the Lover of your souls done for you lately??

*Flickr photo by kimberlykv

*It’s not too late to receive the current issue of Life Notes (my quarterly inspirational newsletter). Sign up is free and to the right!