Archive for the ‘Faith’ Category

Retreat

My oldest son is away on a weekend retreat and ski holiday with two dozen high-schoolers and a handful of adult leaders from church.  I’m sad that he missed out on the family trip to the car show, but I’m happy that he’s away with his peers for a time of retreat and getting closer to God.  I am thankful to all of the people who make these trips possible and make them the great successes that they always are.

Father,

Thank you for providing the opportunity for this current teen retreat and all of the other church-related activities in which my children are able to participate.  I feel blessed that they are able to learn about You not only while in church, but during fun getaways as well.  I pray that all of the teens and adults are drawn closer to You and to one another this weekend.  I pray for traveling mercies as they make the trip back home tomorrow.  Please be a shield of protection around each of the vehicles in which they’ll travel.  I pray these things in Jesus’ name, Amen!

CC

 

Heating Pads

Tonight, I am thankful for electric heating pads.  At times like these, they’re a girl’s best friend.  Somehow, I’ve managed to injure myself again, but no worries, I have a heating pad!  Thank you to whomever invented them.  Controversy exists about who should truly get the credit for this invention.  Who knew?

Father,

Thank you for gifting the inventor of this therapeutic appliance with the knowledge and skills to create it.  In Jesus’ name, Amen!

CC

Believers

I love when I encounter a believer while doing something mundane, because ordinary banter often turns to God’s role in our lives.  A
chance meeting at a car show this evening provided this very opportunity as a discussion about vehicle options turned into a story about how God protects us.

Here’s how that happened…  I stopped to admire a vehicle and the person already snuggled behind the wheel seemed nice enough to strike up a conversation with, so I did just that.  I told her that I purchased that model a year earlier and wouldn’t trade it for anything.  I talked about the three TV screens that could play two movies simultaneously, the stow-and-go seats, the 30GB hard drive, heated front- and mid-row seats, etc.  Car stuff!  After all, we were at a car show.

Then the conversation turned to my fellow believer’s 4’6″ grandmother.  In addition to being on the shorter side, she was of slight weight – so small that airbags posed a serious risk of injury if they deployed during an accident.  What does this have to do with God?  Well, her grandmother “wrapped her car around a telephone pole” and when the airbag deployed, it retracted almost immediately, to her surprise.  Grandma was unharmed and all the praise was given to Him for protecting her from serious injury.  There was no mention of the manufacturer’s safety record and product design.  Her family knew that He was the reason that grandma walked away unharmed.

I wear a cross every day, so it’s pretty obvious to anyone who sees me where my beliefs lie.  Most believers don’t wear outward symbols of their faith, so it’s hard to figure out just who I can engage in a conversation about Him.  I didn’t need to work hard to find a fellow believer tonight.  God put me in the direct path of the person that He wanted me to meet.

I am thankful for the ease in which conversations with other believers begin.  No fantastic icebreakers are needed – just a simple mention of heading to church, thanking the Lord, and praising Him need – no formalities.

Father,

Thank you for putting people into my life for specific purposes.  I praise You for the gift of engaging total strangers and being comfortable enough to share testimonies about how You have move in my life.  I pray for continued opportunities to share with and learn from others as we seek to grow in our faith.  I pray that I will be a light that draws believers closer to You and nonbelievers into your midst.  I pray all of these things in Jesus’ name, Amen!

CC

Hope and Faith

Hebrews 11:1  Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.  

I’ve been hoping and praying for a particular situation for quite some time now, and earlier this week, I received news about that prayer request.  While the outcome of the prayer has yet to be revealed, I feel that God is steering me in the direction to where concrete answers can be found.

I am thankful for hope and faith.  I am grateful that I dare to hope for something seemingly impossible and am humble enough to acknowledge that He holds the world in His hands, including my world and my prayer requests.  I have faith that He hears my prayers and will uncover the answer in His perfect timing.

Father,

I am thankful for the hope that You give me and for the growing faith that lies within me.  I pray that my faith will continue to increase and be a reflection of the trust that I have in You.  In Jesus’ name, Amen!

CC

 

Mid-Week Respite

I like new and fresh things.  New clothes, fresh food, new music, and fresh-smelling laundry.  In fact, new and fresh things give me a sense of new beginnings.

Monday represents new beginnings, but there is something about this weekday that I don’t find appealing.  I’ve tried to like Monday, truly I have, but clearly, a love connection will not be made between the two of us.

I am head over heels about Wednesday; the halfway mark to the weekend.  Sure, it’s nice when my workday ends, but I look forward to Wednesday evenings for many other reasons: 1) I’m not a big fan of cooking, so it’s a blessing to be able to eat dinner at church, 2) I feel renewed by the midweek message, 3) the peaceful prayer time allows me to spend time with God – without interruptions, 4) my children get to learn more about God in their age-specific group settings, and 5) I love singing songs of praise.

I am thankful for the mid-week respite of Wednesday evenings at church and the relationships that are fostered during such gatherings.

Father,

I am thankful that You slow me down on Wednesday evenings, so that my family and I can spend time getting closer to You.  I am thankful for the opportunity to go to the altar and pray for the needs of my fellow congregants.  It’s always a powerful way to show support for one another and to acknowledge that You are all that we need.  

I pray that attendance at Wednesday night service grows, so that others will be able to experience what life is like when we pause long enough to shut out our busy schedules to spend more time with You.  I pray for those who are unable to physically join us, but are there each week in spirit.

In Jesus’ name, Amen!

CC

 

 

Thankful for His Love

In case you haven’t heard, today is Valentine’s Day.  When I daydream about the tangible meaning of this special day, I conjure up mental pictures of the commercial traditions – candlelight, candy, flowers, greeting cards, and romantic dinners.  When I think about the holiday in the context of relationships, it’s all about love.

I love my husband.  I love my children.  I love my family.  I am thankful for the love that I have for all of them and for the love that I receive in return.  I am also thankful for God’s love.  I love Him!

His Word repeatedly tells us just how much He loves us.

John 3:16 (NIV)  For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

Romans 5:8 (NIV)  but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Galatians 2:20 (NIV)  I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me.

Father,

I can’t fully wrap my mind around just how much You love me.  Thank You for loving me despite who I am, what I’ve done, and where I’ve been.  I pray that You will help me to show and give love in a way that it brings glory to You.  In Jesus’ name, Amen!

CC

Lyrics

He is jealous for me,
Loves like a hurricane, I am a tree,
Bending beneath the weight of his wind and mercy.
When all of a sudden,
I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory,
And I realise just how beautiful You are,
And how great Your affections are for me.

And oh, how He loves us so,
Oh how He loves us,
How He loves us all

Yeah, He loves us,
Whoa! how He loves us,
Whoa! how He loves us,
Whoa! how He loves.
Yeah, He loves us,
Whoa! how He loves us,
Whoa! how He loves us,
Whoa! how He loves.

We are His portion and He is our prize,
Drawn to redemption by the grace in His eyes,
If grace is an ocean, we’re all sinking.
So Heaven meets earth like a unforseen kiss,
And my heart turns violently inside of my chest,
I don’t have time to maintain these regrets,
When I think about, the way…

He loves us,
Whoa! how He loves us,
Whoa! how He loves us,
Oh how He loves.
Yeah, He loves us,
Whoa! how He loves us,
Whoa! how He loves us,
Whoa! how He loves.

Whoa! how He loves us.
Whoa! how He loves us.
Whoa! how He loves.
Yeah, He loves us,
Whoa! how He loves us,
Whoa! how He loves us,
Whoa! how He loves.

Pictures

I love looking back at family pictures to see how the kids have changed over the years. They’ve grown tremendously, broadened their horizons, developed their own personalities, and taken risks.

A picture of the boys playing together when they were just one- and three-years-old takes me back to a time when all that they needed to have fun was a log tunnel through which they’d crawl and scoot in and out of both ends – peeking to make sure that I noticed their latest adventure.

Images of a dual-themed Arthur and Hello Kitty birthday party bring back fond memories of my then 4-year-old son and 1-year-old daughter excited to bite into their cakes and open presents.

Our once tiny tots have all blossomed into smart, funny, beautiful, and handsome people. The still images of days gone by are vivid reminders of how far they’ve come since the days of toddling around the house, clumsily clinging to a favorite toy as they ventured from one room to another.

Our home server is full of photos that bring to life not only actions from years ago, but memories of our recent past…

Pulling off the highway to pose for that perfect photo op with rolling hills as the backdrop,

Skating and bicycling at our favorite spot near the river,

Pitching in to help with various home improvement projects,

Hiking through a community park and literally stopping to smell the flowers,

Performing at dance recitals and music concerts,

Accepting awards for academic excellence,

Advancing to the next Boy Scout rank,

Exploring new places,

Living life.

I am thankful for pictures and the memories that they help to recall.

Father,

Thank You for blessing me with great kids and for helping them to blossom into beautiful young people.  I cherish every moment that I have with them.  As still photos help to flood memories from yesteryear, I pray that Your Word will serve as a picture that constantly reminds them of your promises, your faithfulness, and your love.  In Jesus’ name, Amen!

CC

 

 

 

Family Dinners

One of the most important and gratifying things that I do most days is sit at the dining room table to have dinner with my family.  As busy as life gets, it’s a blessing to spend quality time together.  We debate random topics, tell silly jokes, laugh at one another’s antics, and share stories about whatever is on our minds.  Phones go unanswered,  televisions are off, and video games and laptops sit idle.

I cherish each family meal that we enjoy together, because the children won’t live at home forever.  In our case, because 3 out of 4 of our children are teens, the clock is ticking and fast! 

Father,

Thank you for slowing us down enough each day to make family mealtime a major focus.  It’s easy to forget about what’s important when we’re slaves to the busyness of things that really shouldn’t be priorities.  I pray that the children will look back upon family dinnertime with fond memories and perhaps someday choose to continue the tradition in their own homes.  In Jesus’ name, Amen!

CC

Thankful for Heat

Brrr!!!  It’s a frigid 21 degrees in my neck of the woods today.  I ventured outdoors for my weekly Saturday breakfast date with my husband, ran an errand on the way home, and have been sitting comfortably in the warmth of my home since.

I am thankful for the warmth of my home.  It’s my refuge from the arctic chill that’s fallen upon us after a very mild winter.  Yet, another blessing for which I am grateful to Him for providing.

Heavenly Father, 

Thank you for providing my family with a warm place to escape the bitterly cold air that’s on the other side of these four walls that we call home.  I pray that those who are less fortunate are able to find shelter.  In Jesus’ name, Amen!

CC

It Covers Me

It’s snowing lightly outside my window.  It’s been an incredibly mild winter and the current snowfall isn’t expected to accumulate to much.  As I reminisce about heavy snowfalls of winters gone by, I can sense the beauty, the calm, and the peace that a fresh blanket of snow brings.  A covering over debris.

God’s grace is a blanket that covers me.  In Jeremiah 31:34, He promises that He “will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more”.  In Romans 6:18, He tells us, “You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness”.

I wear these scriptures, these promises, as a covering of sorts knowing full well that the sinful nature in me, that is hidden beneath the top layer, will be there, but that there is hope in knowing that His grace covers me as white as a blanket of fresh snow.

His grace covers me.

Father,

I praise You for the messages of grace that you planted in my heart several weeks ago when I was struggling to forgive someone whose life had debris scattered all around them.  I am thankful that You love me enough to cover me with Your grace – Your full grace, not just a hint of it.  

I am grateful for Your promises and the hope that lies within them.  As undeserving as I feel at times, I am in awe that You reached down and snuggled me into a blanket that covers me wherever I am.  I pray that the sinful nature in me diminishes and the righteousness will shine through as a beacon for those needing a hint of hope and grace.

In Jesus’ name, Amen!

CC

Lyrics

Amazing grace, how sweet the sound
Amazing love, now flowing down
From hands and feet that were nailed to the tree
As grace flows down and covers me
Amazing grace

Amazing grace, how sweet the sound
Amazing love, now flowing down
From hands and feet that were nailed to the tree
As grace flows down and covers me

It covers me
It covers me
It covers me
And covers me

Amazing grace, how sweet the sound
Amazing love, now flowing down
From hands and feet that were nailed to the tree
As grace flows down and covers me

And covers me
And covers me
And covers me
And covers me

And covers me
And covers me
And covers me
And covers me
And covers me

Grace flows down and covers me
All of my sin, all of my sin
It covers all my sin
Covers my heart, covers my heart
Thank You Jesus
Thank You Jesus
Sweet Jesus