Archives for June 2012

Mercy for Desperate Need

“May your mercy come quickly to meet us, for we are in desperate need.” Psalm 79:8b

Have you been there before? That place of desperate need? I sure have.

I’ve been there when the need is my own, and I’ve been there when the need is a loved one’s. And if you’re like me, you feel a loved one’s desperate need almost as intensely as if it were your own.

The Psalmist—Asaph in the verse above—knew that place of desperate need, along with all Israel according to the context of the passage. And whom did Asaph turn to on behalf of Israel in their time of desperation? He turned to God. To the only One who could sustain and rescue them.

Do we do the same when life goes spinning out of control or when all seems hopeless? Do we call on God first, or do we expect family or friends to have the answers? Do we attempt to dull the pain with drink or pills? Do we latch on to junk food and try to eat our way to peace or maybe get the credit card out and go to town—in more ways than one?

None of these measures can truly sustain or rescue us, can they? None can supply the mercy—the rescue—we need in our place of desperation. Only God can do that. God is our answer.

God may use our friends or members of our families or people we don’t even know to help us in our times of trouble, but any goodness or wisdom in these servants of his comes from him. He is the Creator, the Sustainer, the Provider of all we’ll ever need.

Next time we find ourselves in that place of desperate need, let’s remember to turn to him first. As we do, he will come to us as well—for his is a mercy that meets us. He has the mercy we need.

“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.” Luke 15:20

*Did you miss our big news? Read “Please Pray – Our Kids Are Pursing Adoption!”

*Flickr photo by kelsey_lovefusionphoto

The Giver of Bounty

“You crown the year with your bounty, and your carts overflow with abundance.” Psalm 65:11

Thriving backyard gardens. Colorful farmer’s markets. Seasonal fresh fruit offered in restaurants. Just a few signs of summer’s bounty in full swing.

Other than our strawberry patch, Don and I don’t garden, but we’ve enjoyed watching our daughter Kristin and son-in-law Shawn start one. We also love to poke around my Dad’s garden when we get the chance. Dad has always had a garden so I guess Kristin has inherited that desire to work in the dirt from him. Sadly, the green thumb gene skipped a generation with me.

As we all enjoy the beauty and the nourishing benefits of growing and thriving gardens this summer, let’s think of the above verse from Psalms and remember the One who makes the bounty possible. He is not only crowning our year with good garden produce, but he’s blessing our lives with abundance in other areas as well.

For example, I’m rejoicing this month in a wonderful blessing God has orchestrated for Kristin and Shawn—an upcoming trip to New York City this summer! When good things happen to my kids, it’s almost like they happen to me. Bet you feel the same way.

We’ve seen great blessing in the lives of my extended family as well this month. God brought my new little great-nephew through an unexpected health crisis recently, and we are all praising God for his watchcare over baby Luke.

God has also brought bounty into my writing life over the past few weeks with the good news that a couple of my articles have been accepted for publication. Believe me, when a writer goes for a period of months without good news, a couple of acceptances is indeed a bounty worth celebrating. Writer friends, am I right?

These are just a few current examples from my life. If I listed the bounty of an entire year, I’d have to do it in installments! Now that I think about it, my gratitude journal is one way of doing this.

What about you? How has God crowned your year with bounty? What abundance has he blessed you with lately? Join me, won’t you, in giving him glory for the good things he’s doing in our lives. I’m all ears!

“They will come and shout for joy . . . they will rejoice in the bounty of the Lord . . .” Jeremiah 31:12

*Did you miss our big news? Read “Please Pray – Our Kids Are Pursing Adoption!”

*Flickr photo by juicyverve

Feeding the Young

Remember last week when I fessed up to having gone slightly bird crazy this year? Well not only have I been noticing their different songs, but I’ve spotted a few hard at work feeding their young as well.

When we visited my parents over Memorial Weekend, I got to observe a particular bird’s parenting skills over and over. Mom and Dad have a couple of birdhouses on their property, and bluebirds have built a nest in one. I had hoped to share a picture of the daddy bird’s parenting prowess (he was easiest to spot because of his bright blue color), but darn it all, the shot is too blurry to post here on the blog.

This daddy blue bird took his responsibility very seriously. He worked tirelessly to feed his little namesakes. Time and again he’d come flying in from a distance to land atop the bird house and rest a moment before scooting through the little hole to where his young ones waited. Within seconds, he was out again, taking only a minute’s reprieve before he was off scouting more food. He was a dedicated parent.

Have you spotted anyone feeding the young lately? You may be in the midst of feeding the young at your very own house—and I’m not just talking physical sustenance. As parents, we need to feed our children spiritually, too. Even when our kids are grown and gone, we still have opportunities to pour truth into their lives.

Have we in the past or are we currently filling our kids hearts and minds with the Word of God as we “sit at home and when [we] walk along the road” (Deuteronomy 6:6)? Have we exposed them to the spiritual teaching available in our churches?

We can also help nurture and feed other young ones besides those in our own families. Think of all the children in your circle of influence. Consider also the spiritually young, those who have only recently come to faith. They need us who are more mature in the faith to take our responsibility seriously. They need us to work tirelessly to help them grow and become strong in the Lord.

Let’s demonstrate some parenting prowess. Let’s be faithful to feed the young.

“Come, my children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the LORD.” Psalm 34:11

*How are you feeding the young in your circle of influence?

*Flickr photo by Sister72

*Did you miss our big news? Read my previous post – “Please Pray – Our Kids Are Pursing Adoption!”

Pray, Please — Our Kids Are Pursuing Adoption!

Big things are afoot in our family. I’m coming closer to being a grandma! That’s right—Kristin and Shawn have decided to adopt! Can you tell I’m a little excited? :)

In fact, we’re all excited. And if truth be told, we’re a little nervous, too. We know the next few months might hold some unexpected twists and turns, and the unknown can be a little scary. This is definitely an opportunity for all of us to keep our eyes on the Lord and trust him each step of the way.

Would you please pray for Kristin and Shawn—and us!—as we wait for the Lord’s plan to unfold? We know he has good things in store, but the ride could be a little bumpy getting there. We need your prayers, please!

Thanks so much for lifting this need to our Father over the next few months. Can’t wait to share the exciting news of our grandchild!! :)

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” James 1:17

*Note: I changed the title of my blog to more accurately reflect my tagline and brand. If you have my link listed on your blogroll, would you please change it to read simply “Cheryl Barker”? Thanks!

When God Changes Our Plans

We started planning it last summer, my sisters and I. A mother-daughter trip to be held this June for just Mom and us four girls. Our first ever. And if truth be told, probably the only one that will ever happen, given Mom’s age and the difficulty of coordinating everyone’s schedules.

When my sister Debbie from Phoenix was back home last July, the ideas started flying. All sorts of exciting locations were mentioned as possibilities, but the first thing to be decided was the time of year that would work best for everyone. After Debbie returned home, the discussion continued via email. The final consensus was June.

Next came selecting a location. After praying for God’s direction, we considered a number of factors, everything from the weather to distance to expense. I wanted to go big, to possibly go somewhere I’d never been before, but after taking everything into consideration, we decided on a location just a few hours away from the majority of us. Debbie would have to fly, of course.

With a location decided, finding accommodations then took center stage. We wanted a place where we could stay together and also have a living area to relax in. We checked the VRBO site (Vacation Rental By Owner—a wonderful way to find condos/homes for vacation) but ended up going with a hotel that had suites.

We also talked about activities, sights to see, and a few restaurants and had a pretty good idea of what we wanted to do during our time together. We even made plans to have our own little Sunday morning share session like our “Church in a Condo” time that Don and I enjoyed with our kids on vacation last summer. We were all set.

But you know what? God changed our plans. He allowed a crisis to come up. Last week we had to cancel our trip at the last minute.

Were we disappointed? Of course. We had been planning it for a year—and we haven’t seen Debbie since last summer. But in the midst of the disappointment, we are at peace. God loves us and we can trust him. He has us all exactly where we need to be right now. And after all, resting in him—resting in his will—is the best place we can be.

“Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” Proverbs 19:21

*When has God changed your plans?

*Flickr photo by the Italian voice

*Note: I changed the title of my blog to more accurately reflect my tagline and brand. If you have my link listed on your blogroll, would you please change it to read simply “Cheryl Barker”? Thanks!