Praying Scripture

b419e4d6e3d1aa46c3c8cc010b8192e9Some of my most popular blog postings this year have been 25 Encouraging Bible Verses on Stress, Peace, Families, Rest and Relaxation etc.  Readers of my blog from around the world have taken the time to comment or send me emails that on some of their more challenging days, God led them to read those blog postings and be encouraged through scripture.

I will admit there are days that I need to “put my money where my mouth is” and stop trying to do things on my own and just lean on God’s Word for guidance, wisdom, strength and hope.  I need to read those particular postings just as much as my readers do!

Lately I have also felt dry in my prayer life.  I spend concerted amount of time praying for my children, grandchildren and family but there are times I come up thirsty.  It is in those dry times when I honestly don’t know what to pray that praying scripture helps direct my focus entirely on God.  Hebrews 4:12 says that God’s Word is alive and powerful, sharper than a two-edged sword. When praying the Scriptures, we are coming into agreement with God, and His power is released to answer our prayers.

There are some excellent books and online resources to help you practice praying scripture but a good place to start is in Psalms.  Read each Psalm aloud and allow God’s Word to impact your soul!

Psalm 23 – The Lord is My Shepherd

Psalm 30:6-12 – Help

Psalm 42 – Hunger for the Lord

Psalm 51: 1-12 –  Confession of Sin

Psalm 63 – Focus on the Lord

Psalm 86 – In Need of the Lord

Psalm 91 – God is My Refuge

Psalm 136 – Giving Thanks

Psalm 139 – Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

Psalm 145:1-16  – The Lord is Worthy of Praise

And I like to close with this: Psalm 138:2-3 “I will bow down toward Your holy temple And give thanks to Your name for Your lovingkindness and Your truth; For You have magnified Your word according to all Your name. On the day I called, You answered me; You made me bold with strength in my soul.”  Amen.

 

 

 

No God – No Fruit; Know God – Know Fruit

fruits-of-the-spirit-LOVE“Christians are no different than anyone else in this world!” she said and I felt the sting of her words like a slap to my face.

Unfortunately in her experience she had encountered more than her fair share of those “Christians” who talked a good talk, but never walked the good walk.  People who claimed to be Christian but their behaviour was no different than any other person and in some cases even worse than a non-believer in a similar circumstance.  People who claimed their “Christianity” based on their attendance at church, the fact they were baptized, and tried to involve themselves in church activity as much as possible thinking that “doing” good would earn them a place in heaven.

It was hard to argue with her.

A former Pastor of ours had a saying and I think it’s a good one.  “Hurt people, hurt people.”

This is true in life and in the church.  Our church pews are filled with “hurt people”.  Some of us hurt because of life circumstances.  Some of us hurt because of unmet expectations.  Some of us hurt because of bitterness, envy, malice, and unforgiveness and a host of other selfish attitudes that make us strike out at anyone just to vent our frustrations.

The sad truth is that being Christian does not guarantee that we will be free of strife or worries, in fact scripture tells us that being Christian is wrought with hardship.  “In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” (2 Timothy 3:12)  Our humanness hardens us and at times Christians are guilty of doing the most “ungodly” of things.

That said, we are called to resist the world and to act contrary to what may be expected when faced with trials and temptations.  We are to bear fruit in the midst of suffering.  It’s an impossible task without God.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”  (Galatians 5:22-23) 

Christians are known by their “fruit”.  If we do not display those qualities in our daily walk then it is true to say that we are not following God as closely as we should be: No God – No Fruit.  However, to try to harvest the fruit of the Spirit, we are entirely dependent on God: Know God – Know Fruit.  We must fully rely on God to help us love, find joy, be at peace, have forbearance, show kindness and goodness, remain faithful, display gentleness and be self-controlled.  We can do none of this on our own strength.  If we try, we will fail and the world will accuse us accordingly, but if we lean on God in all circumstances, the world will notice and be astounded.

 

 

 

 

 

A Senior Moment

Well, it’s official…I’ve had my first senior moment.  I was buying a few things at a local store and the lady asked me if I qualified for the “Senior’s Discount”.  I asked what that was, and I could tell she was choosing her words carefully just in case she made an assumption about my age that was incorrect.  “If you’re 55 years and over you get a 20% discount on your purchase today.”

Well, a 20% discount would save me a bit of money so even though it pained me to admit the truth, I said, “I’m a senior.”

I’ve been in denial for a couple of years, even though I happily admit to being a Grandma, I don’t think about that as being synonymous with being a senior.  I always thought a “senior” was someone WAY older than me now.  I’m just WAY too young to be a senior!  But as I looked at the receiptimages8W5B1TRN that read: “SOLD TO: Senior”, I could almost feel a few gray hairs sprout as I left the store.

Ironically the items I purchased today were make-up products and believe it or not, they were all advertised as having “anti-aging” ingredients.  It won’t reverse the signs of aging, just cover it up a bit…or so I thought.  Obviously it didn’t fool the lady at the counter because she had no trouble determining I was a “senior” regardless of any make-up I wore.

When I got home I thought about the encounter and took a good, long look in the mirror and had to smile.  I told someone the other day that I would NEVER want to go back in time and be a teenager or a young adult again.  I made a lot of mistakes during those years; I learned those lessons and I feel no need to repeat them.  If I am totally honest, I’m completely and wonderfully comfortable in this season of my life.

I’ve got a few wrinkles and yes, some gray hairs but I wear them like a badge of honour.  I’ve earned them!  I intend to earn a head full of them before I’m done.

“Gray hair is a crown of glory; it is gained in a righteous life.”  (Proverbs 16:31)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy 148th Birthday, Canada!

July 1st marks Canada’s 148th Birthday.  I thought as we remember Canada’s Birthday on this day with celebration and fireworks, we also remember its heritage and history.  Canada was (and hopefully will continue) to be a nation founded under God.

‘O Canada’ was proclaimed Canada’s national anthem on July 1, 1980, 100 years after it was first sung on June 24, 1880.  The music was composed by Calixa Lavallee, and French lyrics to accompany the music were written by Sir Adolphe-Basile Routhier.  Many English versions have appeared over the years in fact in 1901 a Toronto doctor, Dr. Thomas Bedford Richardson penned these lyrics:

“O Canada! Our fathers’ land of old Thy brow is crown’d with leaves of red and gold. Beneath the shade of the Holy Cross Thy children own their birth No stains thy glorious annals gloss Since valour shield thy hearth. Almighty God! On thee we call Defend our rights, forfend this nation’s thrall, Defend our rights, forfend this nation’s thrall.”

(Notice the prayer…)

In 1908 Mercy E Powell McCulloch won a competition with these lyrics to go with Lavallee’s music:

” O Canada! in praise of thee we sing; From echoing hills our anthems proudly ring. With fertile plains and mountains grand With lakes and rivers clear, Eternal beauty, thos dost stand Throughout the changing year. Lord God of Hosts! We now implore Bless our dear land this day and evermore, Bless our dear land this day and evermore.”

(Again, notice the prayer…)

However in 1908, the lyrics by Robert Stanley Weir, a lawyer in Montreal, after a few minor amendments, the first verse of Weir’s poem was finally proclaimed as the official English version of ‘O Canada’ in 1980:

“O Canada! Our home and native land! True patriot love in all thy sons command. With glowing hearts we see thee rise, The True North, strong and free! From far and wide, O Canada, We stand on guard for thee. God keep our land glorious and free ! O Canada, we stand on guard for thee. O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.”

I don’t know if many Canadians realize that there are several more verses to ‘O Canada’.  I particularly want to draw attention to the last verse.  It leaves no doubt that ‘O Canada’ is more than a national anthem, it is our nation’s heartfelt prayer to God every time we stand to sing it.  Here is the original poem of 1908 by Stanley Weir:

“O Canada! Our home and native land! True patriot love thou dost in us command. We see thee rising fair, dear land, The True North, strong and free; And stand on guard, O Canada, We stand on guard for thee.

Refrain O Canada! O Canada! O Canada! We stand on guard for thee. O Canada! We stand on guard for thee.

O Canada! Where pines and maples grow. Great prairies spread and lordly rivers flow. How dear to us thy broad domain, From East to Western Sea, Thou land of hope for all who toil! Thou True North, strong and free!

Refrain O Canada! O Canada! etc.

O Canada! Beneath thy shining skies May stalwart sons and gentle maidens rise, To keep thee steadfast through the years From East to Western Sea, Our own beloved native land! Our True North, strong and free!

Refrain O Canada! O Canada! etc.

Ruler supreme, who hearest humble prayer, Hold our dominion within thy loving care; Help us to find, O God, in thee A lasting, rich reward, As waiting for the Better Day, We ever stand on guard.

Refrain O Canada! O Canada! etc.”

Amen.

http://www.pch.gc.ca/pgm/ceem-cced/symbl/anthem-eng.cfm

Today I pray that God will indeed “keep our land strong and free”!  He is our Sovereign, even though many in this land choose to ignore that fact.

When Life Throws You a Curve Ball

650a351052176257dcaba343dc70357dI don’t watch a lot of baseball.  Living in Canada, hockey is my game of choice.  However, I do know a little something about curve balls.  The curve ball is a type of pitch in baseball thrown with a characteristic grip and hand movement that imparts forward spin to the ball, causing it to dive in a downward path as it approaches the plate.  It takes quite a good pitcher to throw one accurately and it takes an equally good batter to knock a curve ball out of the park for a home run.  The key to a curve ball is that it is generally unexpected.  The batter doesn’t realize it’s a curve ball until it makes that dive down crossing the plate, and then it’s too late to make the proper adjustment in stance etc. to make contact with the ball.  That’s when he remembers all the good coaching he has received when faced with a curve ball.  Sometimes life will throw you a curve ball.  It’s a common saying.  You expected life would go in one direction but then you got hit with a “curve” and you totally did not expect it!  The loss of a job, a marriage break-up, the death of a loved one.  Unmet expectations, disappointments, heartache, loss – the curve balls of life.  I’ve stared down a lot of curve balls in my life.  Many times God has thrown me a curve ball. He has allowed things to happen that I wasn’t expecting – a couple of miscarriages, job losses, cancer, heartache, and loss.  If I take this analogy to it’s logical conclusion, I must also believe that if He is THE great Pitcher, He knows exactly what course the “ball” is going to take.  He’s in control.

That said, I don’t like curve balls.  I’m being totally honest here.  I don’t think anyone likes them.  They mess me up!  I’ve thrown my bat down frustrated and discouraged because those curve balls are just too hard to deal with.  I’ve yelled at the Pitcher (God) and raged at the unfairness.  Times of trial bring out some very unsportsmanlike conduct in me and that’s when I remember that not only is God the “Pitcher”, He is also the great “Coach”.  What does my Coach want me to do when I’m faced with a curve ball?
I have two choices when life throws me a curve ball: drop my bat and give up, or pick it up and take my stance again.  It’s not always the easy way, but it’s the only way!  It’s the curve balls that determine my character and my stamina.  Am I in this for the long run, or do I only want to play the game if it goes my way?
My life verse gives me hope during those times of trial: “In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.”  Proverbs 16:9
“Batter UP!!!”

Finishing Well

Beginning and Ending a School YearFor teachers there is a sense of relief mingled with sadness at the end of a school year.  Relief that the year is done and sadness that the year is done!  At least that is how I feel.  I am MUCH relieved to be done the year because I have literally poured myself into the job and into the lives of my students.  I can feel my spiritual, emotional and physical “bucket” is nearly empty and in great need of being filled up with renewed energy and purpose.  I am exhausted.

That said, I am equally sad that the year is done because in many ways there was more I could have done.  I re-evaluate my lesson plans, wondering how I could have improved my method of delivery, or how I could have reached my more challenging or troubled students?  With every comment I write in their report cards, I wonder if they will retain anything from my classes.  Have they actually learned?  Did my students actually grow up in the knowledge and admonition of the Lord in my classroom?

I am saddened that I will not be with these students next year.  God has closed one door but opened another one, so I will be moving from my Junior High position to teaching a Grade Six class after Christmas.  I love teaching Junior High Schoolers but I go where I am most needed and in this case it’s teaching Grade Sixers.  It will be a new challenge.

I prayed everyday for my students and prayed that I would daily try to represent my Lord well in the classroom.  I tried to show fairness and grace when a student needed that.  I tried to be firm when the need arose for that as well.  I made a point of smiling in the face of adversity, modeling patience and perseverance and fighting back my natural prideful nature by practicing humility.  That was sometimes the hardest thing for me to do.

Some days were silver and some days gold…and some days…well…they lacked any colour, but luckily they were few and far between.  The last day of classes was a “GOLD” day as my students surprised me with a birthday party.  It wasn’t even my birthday!!  I had mentioned that I had never had my birthday celebrated at school, even as a child, because I was an August baby.  So they surprised me with what they called a “pre-lated” birthday party.  It was awesome!

So, the school year is coming to an end.  I am looking forward to recharging during the summer and seeking direction for the new school year.  I have “run the race” set before me this year.  I kept the pace and with God’s encouragement I crossed the finish line…exhausted but feeling that overall I finished well!

Friday Funnies – Dadisms

I don’t know who coined the word: “Dadisms” but it’s a great word!  I suppose “Momisms” will be next.  The word represents all those wonderful, silly, unusual, sometimes questionable phrases and words of wisdom that Dads have imparted to their children over the years.

My father had a zillion of them, here are some of my favorites:

“I may not always be right, but I’m never wrong!”

“Don’t do as I do, do as I tell you to.”

“How can I soar like an eagle when I am surrounded by turkeys?”

“On a dog sled team, like in life, if you’re not the lead dog then the scenery seldom changes.”

(Yeah, my Dad was quite the character.)

I thought for Friday Funnies in honour of Father’s Day I would let my readers send me their own “Dadisms”.

Happy Father’s Day!!