Joyful Words Blog
Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light for my path.
– Psalm 119:105
– Psalm 119:105
And when I wake up, you are still with me. Psalm 139:18
Wow…is this the little wink we all needed to hear this morning. There is so much on our hearts this morning…fires in the NW, flooding in the south and Irma scooting and thrashing up through Florida and Georgia. It’s hard not to be overwhelmed as we think about all those who are suffering so much, but then along comes Psalm 139:18 and we exhale a little. He’s still here. He’s still inspiring people to give and help and support. He's comforting the lost and the lonely and the frightened. He’s working his mightiness through the sadness and the chaos.
Dave and I made a quick drive home this weekend to attend to not one, but two family emergencies and there was verse 139:18. His fingers are in the middle of everything I”m trying to bear on my own shoulders. His embrace is around all those who are hurting and in need. His love, mercy and protection is new each morning…just in time for renewed hope and a new beginning.
He will never NOT be with us; we just go through moments when we forget to notice he’s right there. Let’s remember he’s right here with us today and remember to ask him to make his presence felt in the midst of the chaos.
A Seed To Plant: Tragedy doesn't strike EVERYWHERE all at once. If you aren’t in the midst of tragedy or chaos, your job is to pray for those who are, so let's join together today and do just that.
Blessings on your day!
The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer. Psalm 18:3
The first few weeks of a new school year are always an adjustment for everyone! Sometimes I feel a little sorry for the first graders because they have so much to get used to and remember those first days. The first all school mass is always memorable. The second grade teacher whose class sits behind mine at mass always has his eyes open ready to catch a stunt or two that makes him giggle. I’ve had dancers, acrobats and sleepers over the years, but nothing tops the boys with the flyin’ elbows!
When I assign the kids to their church seating order, I always remind them to "leave room between ya for Jesus. That is of course code for…if you’re not right beside each other, it’s harder to chat and touch! On one particular Friday, Jesus had obviously achieved enormous success on Weight Watchers because the two boys in the front pew had to leave practically NO room for Him at all! As they sat there quite close, one “accidentally” had his elbow land in the other little boy’s rib cage. So, the favor was promptly returned playfully…a few elbows later, they burst into an uncontrollable case of the giggles. I slipped out of my seat and made my way toward the ruckus. As the little boy on the right heard my footsteps approaching; he slid into his proper spot and sat silently with his arms tightly crossed in an attempt to control his elbow. I took a seat between these two handsome giggling boys and it soon became very clear to me that the little boy on my left had NO idea I had taken the spot beside him. My suspicion was confirmed when he threw the next elbow and it landed in MY rib cage…his loud gasp indicated that he indeed realized his elbow had landed in squishy new territory. It took ALL I had not to burst into giggles myself! I’m sure this little guy felt like his elbow had landed smack dab into a wall (a padded wall perhaps)! The shock of it was obvious in his gasp, his posture and his tightly closed eyes and bowed head.
I know that feeling! I’ve never gotten it from banging into a teachers rib cage, but I have had the feeling.
How about you? Have you ever been crusin’ through life, thinking everything is goin’ fine and then THUD…right into a wall or a dead end? I HATE it when that happens! If you’re anything like me, it usually happens just about the time I think I have everything all figured out and I try to do some of God’s work for Him. That wall is usually a signal that I’ve strayed which is because I haven’t prayed with a sincere, still heart! Being the strong, independent CHRISTIAN WOMAN I am…I usually charge right at that wall again…same result…and usually accompanied by a LARGE dent in my humility, several scratches to my pride and of course a bruised spirit!
Why would I charge into walls when I have been reminded a dozen times a week that my ONLY strength comes from God? The sin of pride I guess…but this simple verse from Psalm 18 holds such an important truth…God is my fortress…God is my deliverer…God is my rock! I don’t have to whack into walls and try to plow through situations that are not mine to experience.
When I came upon this verse, my mind pictured God as a mighty warrior with armor and a shield as bright as the blazing sun and He was poised to crash through a mighty wall just for me. I was in the image too…I was about as big as a mouse standing behind Him no taller than the heel of His boot. He was willing to take down that wall for me no matter how meek and tiny I was… just because He could! How many times do we get a quiet invitation from God to do something but we don’t answer the call because we think the task is too big? Not for God! He is after all a fortress…He can help us plow through anything if He’s invited us to! The challenge I guess is for us to keep our elbows to ourselves and listen for God to tell us which walls He’ll be crashing through with us today!
A seed to plant: Jot down something you’ve been trying again and again to accomplish without success. Fold up that piece of paper and lay it aside. This week the “wall” on that piece of paper is what you should pray constantly for, asking God to show you how to maneuver that wall!
Blessings on your day!
Hear my cry for help, my king, my God! Psalm 5:3
The second Monday evening of the month is a great time slot! That’s a spot in the month when Satan gets really, really ticked off! This past Monday began the third year of the Daughters of God Faith Series in our area and like the previous two years, more than 100 women gathered to learn, pray and grow closer to God. I am humbled and honored to be in the company of so many faith-filled women who carve out that time from their busy lives. I walk in each month with the class carefully prepared and power points created and try to look like I know what I’m doing. I giggle though because the Holy Spirit doesn’t really care what’s on my laptop or in my notebook. I just open my mouth and ask Him to take over; and take over He does! This past Monday night He began our class with something unplanned and amazing.
Each month there is a basket in the front of the room on the prayer table. In front of the basket there are white slips of paper and red slips of paper. The white slips are for prayer intentions and requests. The red ones are put in the basket if a prayer or petition has been granted or blessed. The red slips give a great visual for the work God is doing in the lives of his praying faithful. We pray together over those intentions in the basket during our opening and closing prayer time and women in the audience are asked to remember those intentions throughout the month during their private prayer time.
Monday night before class, one of the ladies told me a special guest would be joining the class that night. After the opening prayer, I introduced a beautiful woman who made her way to the front of the class and tenderly placed a red slip in the prayer basket then took the microphone and explained that she had been a white slip in our prayer basket and she wanted to change the slip to red herself. Turns out, we had been praying for this lovely lady for months as she battled breast cancer. She had been given a clean bill of health and she wanted to briefly share her story. She assured us that it was the power of prayer from many people that led to her healing and she wanted to personally thank the women there for their prayerful support. Amid the tears and cheers we were all touched by the power of the moment. I remember crawling in bed Monday night thinking…wow...thank you Holy Spirit for her brave and touching words…it was a powerful beginning to kick off the new series! I love it when we allow God to be in charge of something and He shows off in an amazing way just because He can!
I have no doubt that God has big plans ahead for this beautiful woman of faith and courage. I was inspired and motivated by her and I was touched by the power and extreme love of our Father in heaven. Her strength came from the prayers of others, many she had never met. It wasn’t hard for us to do, it didn’t take a degree or certification and it certainly didn’t take much time, but the result was monumental! How much time do we spend praying for others by name? It’s an important way to spend some minutes every day. If you don’t do it…start. If you already do it…do more! Cry out the names of those who need God’s blessing.
A seed to plant: Get a little notebook and make a list of all the people you know of who need prayer. Carry the book with you and when someone asks you for prayer, jot down their name. Read through your list and ask God to bless those folks each day. Take note of any of those who have received an answer or a blessing and watch the magnificent ways God is showing Himself in answer to our prayers.
Blessings on your day!
Be still and know that I am God. Psalm 46:11
Still...yeah, right...It's clear the author of this Psalm knew nothing about baseball, car pools, laundry, dinner, staff meetings and the dozen other things we have to cram into a day! I have yet to see "Be Still" appear on my daily calendar right above hair cut, dentist appointment or ballgame...how about you? But I'm beginning to think maybe we should!
A few years ago, one of my little first grade lovelies told the class her grandma taught her that if you're really still and quiet sometimes you can hear God's voice and it's like a soft whisper in your ear! There was simply nothing more for me to say during that lesson...I felt like I owed her my paycheck for the day because her lesson was far more powerful than anything I could come up with!
This weekend we went on a family camping trip and I plopped down in a lawn chair all by myself and something completely cool happened! As I landed in my lawn chair, I tossed up a quick prayer of thanks for getting us there safely and asked Him to bless the family who was gathered for the weekend and also to bless those who couldn't make it. I was completely struck by the almost deafening silence that followed that quick prayer...and then it happened...out of nowhere...I heard one of my absolute favorite sounds...the laughter of little children...ya know the kind...where they giggle so hard they almost fall over! It was a great gift! I'm convinced it was "a quiet whispering" of sorts. I don't think God always whispers, actually when I think about it, He can be really loud and sometimes very funny. The trick to hearing His voice begins with our stillness. It's in that stillness we give Him the chance to send us the gift of an awareness of His presence. Seems pretty simple doesn't it...all we need to do to receive the gift is to be still and connect with the Father who wants more than ANYTHING to connect with us!
A seed to plant: Right now...look at your schedule for the week and purposefully plan some moments EVERY day where you will do nothing but BE STILL and ask God "to come on in to your life." Be sure to let us know what you heard!
Blessings on your day!
Sheri's writing can also be found at Faith Catholic Publications and on CatholicMom.com