Temporary Absence

Hello my friends. I wanted to let you know that I’m feeling a bit poorly just now. It started last Thursday and we think I could have gastroenteritis. It seems to be getting worse instead of better, but maybe that’s the way of it. I’ll try to look in and read your posts, but that’s about as much as I can manage for now. I hope to be back properly before too long. Best wishes to you all.

For the Brokenhearted

O Lord my God, I come to You bereft in spirit with a heart that is breaking. My mind is in turmoil and I just do not understand all the anguish that seems to be hitting me from all sides. You know Lord exactly the pain that is in my heart and the sadness and grief that I am going through and I come to You, my God, seeking Your blessed peace in my heart.

Heal my hurting heart and bind up the lacerations that have penetrated so deeply into my soul, for You alone are my hope, You alone are my strength and stay. I have nothing and no one left but You Lord.

Bind up my fragmented heart I pray, as You have promised. It says in Your Word that You came to heal the broken hearted and to free those that were entrapped in the emotional suffering of their lives. Lord, that is my position now and I trust in You alone.

I give You my fragmented heart and pray for Your blessed peace, Your gracious peace, Your perfect peace that passes all human comprehension. Take me as I am Lord and fill me anew with your love and grace, for only through You can I be renewed in spirit, only in You can I rest in safety.

Thank You O Lord my God,

In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Dear Heavenly Father, You are the Creator of all things and You sustain all of life. I come to you, acknowledging that your will is best and that your plan is far greater than any I could ever ask for or imagine. Lord, I come to you with troubles that are weighing on my heart and the hearts of many believers. God, I know that you carry all burdens, and I ask that you share your yoke with us now during this difficult time. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

God, I want to be a person who stands firm and trusts You wholeheartedly. I want to be unshakable and resilient, but that can only happen by depending on You and trusting You. Develop that deeper trust in me, God I desperately need it and want to trust you more. In Jesus’ name, Amen. 

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.

Psalm 40:1-2 NIV

You will go out in joy

and be led forth in peace;

the mountains and hills

will burst into song before you,

and all the trees of the field

will clap their hands.

Isaiah 55:12 NIV

The Prayer Box

Summary from Amazon

“When Iola Anne Poole, an old-timer on Hatteras Island, passes away in her bed at ninety-one, the struggling young mother in her rental cottage, Tandi Jo Reese, finds herself charged with the task of cleaning out Iola’s rambling Victorian house.

Running from a messy, dangerous past, Tandi never expects to find more than a temporary hiding place within Iola’s walls, but everything changes with the discovery of eighty-one carefully decorated prayer boxes, one for each year, spanning from Iola’s youth to her last days. Hidden in the boxes is the story of a lifetime, written on random bits of paper–the hopes and wishes, fears and thoughts of an unassuming but complex woman passing through the seasons of an extraordinary, unsung life filled with journeys of faith, observations on love, and one final lesson that could change everything for Tandi.”

I wasn’t far into the story when I wondered if I had downloaded the correct book. Was this really Christian fiction? The following extract, to me, has all the delicious eeriness of a Stephen King novel.

“. . . as I stood on Iola Anne Poole’s porch. It was my first indication of a knowing, an undeniable sense that something inside the house had gone very wrong.

I pushed the door inward cautiously, admitting a slice of early sun and a whiff of breeze off Pamlico Sound. The entryway was old, tall the walls white with heavy gold-leafed trim around rectangular panels. A fresh breeze skirted the shadows on mouse feet, too slight to displace the stale, musty smell of the house. The scent of a forgotten place. Instinct told me what I would find inside. You don’t forget the feeling of stepping through a door and understanding in some unexplainable way that death has walked in before you.

I hesitated on the threshold . . .”

After I finished reading the book, the story has stayed in my thoughts – the mark of a book well-written. The characters are realistic, struggling with believable problems. With her troubled background, could Tandi ever become a ‘good’ mother? Could she ever have the confidence in herself to even try? Would she ever trust other people? Could she trust God?

Extract

“I’d wanted to earn my own way, to do this myself, to form a new life on my own, but instead, this had been given to me. This life. This place. These letters.

This revelation. Prayers are answered in ways we don’t choose. The river of grace bubbles up in unexpected places.

I closed my eyes, and tears pressed hard, seeped through, traced hot and sweet over my cheeks. I tasted their salt, like the tip of an ocean.

“Thank you,” I whispered. “Thank you for this.” Zoey and J.T. could be sitting in a foster shelter right now, in a home with strangers. I could be in jail, caught up in Trammel’s mess, or dead beside a bottle of pills, gone just like my mama, while my kids still needed me. I could be living in Trammel’s house, existing in a fog, in the prison of believing everything he told me about myself.

Instead, I was here.

Thank you. I wanted to write it on paper and fold it up in a box to remind myself, the next time I couldn’t see anything but mountains ahead, that where there’s a mountain, there’s always a river flowing nearby.

Ultimately the river is the more powerful of the two.”

LISA WINGATE

Lisa Wingate is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of over thirty novels, including the instant NYT bestseller The Book of Lost Friends and Before We Were Yours, which remained on the NYT list for over two years and has sold over three million copies. She is a Goodreads Choice award winner for historical fiction and a Southern Book Prize winner. She lives with her husband in Texas.

www.lisawingate.com

Miracles

FIREFLY BY JEAN VADAL SMITH

The following is an excerpt from the book MY FATHER MY KING by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin

Hear your Father your King, the Creator and Sustainer of the entire universe saying to you:

The world in which you live is full of miracles so that you will have constant reminders of My presence.

There are miracles of history. There are miracles of biology and botany. There are miracles of chemistry and physics and of anatomy and astronomy. There are miracles of events that are mathematically improbable. There are major miracles and there are minor miracles miracles that are easily recognizable and miracles subtle and hidden.

What you refer to as “nature” is the manifestation of My will in the world. All of nature is ultimately a miracle. Don’t allow familiarity to blind you to the magnitude of the miracles that appear commonplace.

Every heartbeat is a miracle. Every cough and sneeze is a miracle. Every step you take is a miracle.

Keep your eyes open for the myriad miracles in your life. Seeing those miracles will add a spiritual dimension wherever you are and wherever you go, and your entire life will be filled with joy and gratitude.

Trust in Christ Jesus

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything; tell God your needs, and don’t forget to thank him for his answers. If you do this, you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will keep your thoughts and your hearts quiet and at rest as you trust in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:6-7 (Living Bible Translation)

Looking For Good

The following poem is by Eddie Askew, former General Secretary of The Leprosy Mission.

Lord, it’s easy to be discouraged

by all the pain and evil I see in the world.

Easy to grow hard and cynical. Paranoid.

Scanning each friendly word for hidden criticism.

Taking the outstretched hand and wondering

what the other hand holds.

Throwing away the message of love

while I look in the envelope for its letter bomb.

So easy, Lord.

But in the quiet with you

the thought comes.

If evil is so strong

and wrong so powerful,

why is there yet such goodness in the world?

There is one world, not two.

And the world that spins into darkness

is only half a turn from the light.

And in the dark itself there are lights.

Flickering candles of hesitant flame,

persistent rhythmic neons of colour,

bright floodlights of electric intensity.

A white shining of hope.

And somehow the darkness has no power to put it out.

The light shines on in the dark,

and the darkness has never quenched it.

Lord, thank you for that.

For every glimmer of light and goodness

that falls across my path.

For every rumour of righteousness,

each breath of kindness,

each incandescent glow of particular love in my world.

Thank you.

And as they coalesce,

spilling over into the dark chasms of life,

pools and lakes of shimmering light,

I can see the outline of your love.

Quiet. Persistent. Patient. Indomitable.

Evil may deny your presence, Lord,

but the light still shows me you are here.

Disguises of Love

Written by Eddie Askew (1927-2007) – former general secretary of The Leprosy Mission.

Lord, there are times

when silence seems best.

And yet, when I’m faced with your love,

even with the little I know, I have to speak.

If nothing else, to say thank you.

I don’t deserve it.

Now there’s an understatement.

Sometimes all I am and do

seems designed to test your love to the limit.

And you go on loving.

Lord, it’s breathtaking. Immense.

I hear your voice, carrying crystal clear over the vast plain,

re-affirming life and presence.

A small point of focus in infinity. Infinity of love.

Great enough for all. Small enough for me.

A love that comes to identify, to tell me I belong.

That comes to strengthen to tell me it’s mine.

That comes to comfort with the knowledge that you care.

A love that comes to challenge and discipline at the point of stress.

That stretches me nearly to breaking point and makes me grow.

That faces me, in searching, insistent strength,

with the pain of truth I’d rather not see.

That strips my illusions and leaves me trembling, naked,

in the cold wind of honesty.

The love that fights me as I struggle to preserve the lies I love

from the buffeting storm of your Spirit.

And through it all,

a love that holds me, firm and close.

Making me aware, in the eye of the cyclone, of your peace.

And in the wind-drop of understanding,

my ears still ringing, eyes still smarting, from the gale,

I recognise our love.

In the glacier wind as in the valley breeze.

Seeing, as in the crackling flash of brief lightning,

brilliant and clear,

some of the disguises of your love.

Lord, I know there’s more,

but I’m not ready for it yet.

Every Day is a Fresh Beginning

New Every Morning, Susan Coolidge

Every day is a fresh beginning,
Listen my soul to the glad refrain.
And, in spite of old sorrows
And older sinning,
Troubles forecasted
And possible pain,
Take heart with the day and begin again.

A Time to Believe, B.J. Morbitzer

To believe is to know that
every day is a new beginning.
Is to trust that miracles happen,
and dreams really do come true.
To believe is to see angels
dancing among the clouds,
To know the wonder of a stardust sky
and the wisdom of the man in the moon.
To believe is to know the value of a nurturing heart,
The innocence of a child’s eyes
and the beauty of an aging hand,
for it is through their teachings we learn to love.
To believe is to find the strength
and courage that lies within us
When it’s time to pick up
the pieces and begin again.
To believe is to know
we are not alone,
That life is a gift
and this is our time to cherish it.
To believe is to know
that wonderful surprises are just
waiting to happen,
And all our hopes and dreams are within reach.
If only we believe.