Saturday, January 29, 2022



Like reading God's Word, prayer is so essential to managing life's difficulties.  Persistence in daily prayer is the secret to a satisfying and fulfilling life.  This is because prayer connects us to the very Source of life, the Lord Jesus Christ.  Prayer also reminds us of God's will, keeps us on His path for life, and helps us value our Lord.  Prayer teaches us to wait on the Lord for His timing and for His best for our lives.  Finally, prayer involves more than just asking for things.  It involves communing with our Lord and praising and worshipping Him.  

In fact, the Bible tells us to pray without ceasing.  What does that mean?  It is important to have special times of prayer every day, but praying without ceasing means living in a spirit of prayer all day long while engaging in our daily activities.  It means we are aware of the Lord's presence throughout the day, and it is an undercurrent which is influencing all our thoughts and actions.  Prayer is sensing and breathing the Holy Spirit's presence and breathing His life in all that we do.  

Below is a link to an article online about prayer.  I posted this same link about a year ago as well.  I thought is was appropriate to post this link again after the blog post last week about the Psalms and reading God's Word  The article dives into the subject of praying without ceasing.  Although a bit long the article is well worth reading.

Here is a quote from that article to wet your appetite for reading it:  "If prayer is merely an activity to do, then 'pray without ceasing' will sound oppressive.  But if prayer is communion with God-communion with this Father, Son, and Spirit-then we will hear the command differently; 'Enjoy God without ceasing.  Gain strength from God without ceasing.  And find that He is ever near, always faithful'"

Saturday, January 22, 2022

Beauty of the Psalms in the Bible


We are already nearing the end of January in the year 2022.  If you have not yet made reading the book of Psalms part of your devotions for year 2022, I would suggest you do that very thing.  I have read the book of Psalms several times the last years-usually following a schedule of taking a whole year to read through them.

The book of Psalms begins with a exhortation to meditate on and love God's Word.  It tells us that happy and blessed is the person who does this.  The last few Psalms and many of the Psalms in between are filled with praise for the Lord.  In between Psalm one and the last Psalm, Psalm 150, is every imaginable circumstance and situation we might experience in our walk through life.  These could include trials, difficult losses, sickness, betrayals, and confusion, but also hope, joys, purpose, peace, and God's precious promises.  The Psalms depict a whole spectrum of life experiences both difficult and joyful.  They also depict God's faithfulness through every step we take in this world.

The Psalms are meant to be prayed, recited, and even sung.  Although it is an Old Testament book of the Bible, no other book of the Bible can compare to it as a basis for daily prayer.  The New Testament explains and expands on the knowledge we have of our wonderful redemption in Jesus.  Yet the book of Psalms has a unique way of processing every possible situation we may face by the truth of God.  Having said this, some of the situations the Psalmists talk about, lament, or pray about have a historical setting.  Hence, it may be best to have a study Bible explaining the historical context, or use a good devotional on the Psalms alongside your personal reading of the Psalms.  

When we walk by faith, depend on God through difficult and joyful experiences, and use His Word as our guide; we end up praising Him.  Psalm 150:6 says, "Let everything that has breath praise the Lord."  This is because we see how God has blessed us in good times and has helped us grow in our character and in becoming the people He wants us to be in difficult times.  So in good times or difficult times, God deserves to be praised.  He knows what He is doing in allowing the things He allows,  and He is always faithful in what He does.

The Psalms and all of God's Word helps us to see this.  It reminds us of God's love, faithfulness, and wisdom.  Meditating on God's Word is our Anchor in time of need, and is the secret to a sweet relationship with Him.  It is like spiritual living water that nourishes and never dries up.

Saturday, January 15, 2022

Fill My Cup Lord

I recently finished reading a book by Gary Smalley that is entitled Joy That Lasts.  The very first sentence of the books says, "EVERY CRISIS, no matter the magnitude, is a step toward an enriched life."  This is something that I have experienced as a family caregiver for my first husband and as a widow for over eight years.  I have also experienced that since that time as well in trials I have faced.  God can use our trials in amazing ways often to help other people and to grow our love for the Lord.   Yet it is sometimes a difficult concept to hang on to when facing yet another crisis in life.  The reality is, however, that we will all face trials in this life sometimes over and over.  

In the process of facing trials, we may feel cheated and discouraged.  These challenges can often be devastating and heartbreaking, but they according to Smalley can bring us "a step closer to the richest life possible."  The reason for that is because they draw us closer to the Lord when we run to Him for comfort and strength.  Smalley says, "Trials can be our greatest experience, for they can lead to the the source of greatest joy."  They lead us to the only One who can fill our lives with joy.

Having it all will not fill our longings.  Neither will people, places, possessions, or position.  They are all temporary at best in satisfying longings.  Though we may know this in our heads, I think our problems and disillusionment with people at times are partly because we are selfishly thinking that we can control their actions and/or that they will meet all our expectations and satisfy all our longings.  If they are insensitive at times or unfairly demand things from us; we may feel disillusioned, sad, and yes, angry and drained.  Yet, people, things, or perfect circumstances can not fill our expectations and longings.   

We need to fill our life's cup from "the well that never runs dry."  This is the Lord Jesus Himself.  We can't find joy and freedom from negative feelings in people, or in places, possessions, or position.  We can find it only in the Lord.  Only God will never fail us. 

Fill my cup, Lord.  I lift it up, Lord.  Come and fill this quench this thirsting of my soul.

Monday, January 3, 2022

Things You Should Never Say to a Caregiver


Sometimes people can say some rather insensitive things to family caregivers.  They may be trying to be helpful to the caregiver.  Because they have never experienced the heartache of caring for a loved one who is deteriorating in health, however, these comments may not only be not helpful but also hurtful to the caregiver.  

A couple years ago I ran across an article which talks about some things one should never say to a family caregiver.  This article also detailed ways that caregivers can respond to insensitive comments of others.  So this article is helpful to both current family caregivers and the other people who love them and are concerned about them.  Click on the link below to read the article.

Saturday, January 1, 2022

The New Year and Eternity

Another new year has dawned upon us.  In the new year we think of hope and new things, and it is good to think this way.  God has new blessings for us this year.  Yet in this new year we will also face at least a certain amount of trials and sadness.  That is a given living in this world here on earth.  Yet for the Christian there can be joy even then, because we know the Lord walks beside us.

Eleven years ago on January 2, 2011 it was a Sunday morning.  I had arisen early to take a shower, so I would be ready for church.  I had quietly gone about my activities that morning, because I did not want to awaken my husband whom I thought was asleep.  I also was aware that I needed to keep on task, because my son would soon come and help me get my disabled husband out of bed and ready for the day.  A few minutes later my son and I discovered that my husband had passed into Eternity during the night.  Wayne had been slowly becoming more and more disabled due to his neurological disease, and I had been his caregiver for four and a half years.  Before his disease and even during his disease he was a humble loving servant of God and a wonderful husband, dad, and grandpa.  

Then four years ago and a little later in January my present husband, Bob, experienced the death of his first sweet wife, Gloria.  She too had slipped into Eternity.  Bob also had been a caregiver for her for a few years.  

And yes, elements of grief from this kind of loss always remains, although it greatly softens over time.  This is true even in the midst of welcoming new relationships.  Even a week ago when I was talking with my husband, Bob, about some of the things that I experienced caring for Wayne and when I was talking about some of the things I remembered about the last night Wayne was on the earth, I became weepy.  It is an experience one never forgets.  The secret of doing the grief experience well is to grow through those experiences and not to let them make one bitter. 

Through it all in these heartaches and in the trials which have come since that time, I have grown in my love for my Lord.  I have experienced the Lord's faithfulness in huge measures, and I have seen Him do amazing things in my life.  I have discovered that He is "able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us."  (Ephesians 3:20)

Yet I have also discovered that life moves so quickly. We have seen two very tragic deaths of comparatively young people in our community in the recent past.  This reminds us that life on this earth is fleeting.  I also know someone from my church who just turned 103 years old!  Yet even for her life is fleeting compared to Eternity.  

Let's remember with sweet fondness those who have gone before us.  Let's find joy in the work and relationships God has given us here on earth.  Yet let us live our lives in light of Eternity!  Our life as Christians on earth takes on significance and purpose, because we are part of something much bigger than the present.  We are part of a glorious future in Eternity where we will experience total victory.  Let's begin to walk that life of joy now on earth, as we are already prince and princesses in God's kingdom!