Wednesday, July 8, 2020

The Song Of Love


In the movies, it is common to see a scene where a mother will be singing over her child A Song Of Love to calm or to sing the child to sleep.

When I was a new mom, there were no classes available on godly childrearing.  There were some worldly books, but nothing other than the Bible for training up a child with Christian values.

I learned from what I could remember from my parents’ example and from watching other new moms at church who were months or years ahead of me in the process.  

There definitely wasn’t a class called Baby Singing 101, but in March of 1978 my motherly instinct kicked in, and I began to sing over my first-born son.  Sometimes I sang spiritual songs and other times lullabies.

I sang songs of love.  

whispered words of love in my baby’s ear, “You are special to me.” 

“You are a gift from God.”

“There is no one else like you.”

“My heart is happy and full because of you.”

"I love you.” 

The sound of my voice singing and speaking over my troubled child would bring comfort.  It would bring peace and sleep would follow.

I think that’s why I love Zephaniah 3:17 (NLT) so much.  I get to picture myself cradled in the arms of my Heavenly Father and Him lovingly singing over me.

  For the Lord, your God is living among you.

    He is a mighty savior.

He will take delight in you with gladness.

    With his love, he will calm all your fears. 
    He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.”


At 63, my memory is still reasonably good, but one thing I can't remember is my mother holding me as a new baby in the night and singing over me—but without a doubt, I know she did.  It would have been her inborn nature to do something like that because she loved me.  She delighted in me.  She was proud beyond words of her child.  She would have protected me at all costs.

I, however, do have a vivid memory of the amazing experience of singing over each of my three children.  I remember taking delight in them.  I remember my back getting up when I thought they were in any way being treated unkindly.  Many times, in my life, the Mamma Bear spirit has risen up in the protection of my children.  

Just think how much more our Heavenly Father is doing all this for us.  
  • He delights in His children.
  • He protects His children.
  • He hates injustice.
  • He calms the fears of His children.
  • He's the giver of peace.
  • He sings joyful songs over us; the songs of love.

Maybe that’s why David the Psalmist said, In His presence, is fullness of joy.

Today, if you are very still in His presence, maybe you will hear a song of love being sung over you.






Wednesday, July 1, 2020

ULTIMATE TRUST!


My husband loves my name.  


Yes, I’m well aware that Beverly is an amazing name, and what’s not to love. 
Beverly was also my dear mother-in-law’s name.  I remember the first time my husband told me his mother’s name was Beverly, I thought, does he think this is a slick pick-up line…and of course, I didn’t believe him.  We were 15 and 16 years old.
But true enough, we had the same name and even the same middle initial.  
The reason I know my husband loves my name is that he ‘calls it out’ about 100 times a day.  
“Beverly, come here.”
“Beverly, I can’t find _______.”
“Beverly, do you know where my _________ is?

"Beverly, come help me."
“Beverly, where are you?”
…and when we are not in the same place, he’s calling me on the phone while I'm in the check-out line, at the doctor’s office, in the car, doing the laundry and other places I don't care to mention.
I think you get the picture.  It’s probably the same at your house too, if you insert your name for Beverly.
I'll be honest.  There have been times I didn’t answer him.  I heard his calls, but I ignored him.  (Insert mental picture of me with my chin touching my chest in shame.)
Over the years, (almost 45 years of marriage to be exact) I have gotten weary of him needing my help, tired of him not looking hard enough for something before he calls me, tired of being pulled from what I’m doing to look for a sock under the bed.  
So much for that whole “help-mate” thing.  (Again…insert mental picture of me with my head hanging in shame.)
Our nation has and is going through terrible things.  We have witnessed a pandemic, other sicknesses that just keep coming, injustice, death, and Christians being martyred all around the world.  
These are most defiantly extreme times we live in.  But we are NOT the first generation to experience these things.   
In the book of Habakkuk, devastating things were happening, and in verse 1:1-4 Habakkuk lists a few of these traumatic things.  These were times of violence, inequality, destruction of property, dissension, and fighting.  (Sound familiar?)
In Habakkuk 1:2, he even cries out to God, “How long, Lord, must I call for help, but you do not listen? Or cry out to you, ‘Violence!’ but you do not save?”
Yes, Habakkuk questioned God, but the wonderful thing about this story (unlike my behavior), God did not criticize or find fault with Habakkuk’s cries.
Instead, God gives him hope in verse 1:5.  
“Look among the nations and watch—
Be utterly astounded!
For I will work a work in your days
Which you would not believe, though it were told you.

In the midst of wars, oppression, and death...God has a plan that is so amazing, if we heard it, we wouldn’t even be able to believe it.

I’ve questioned God before when I felt hopeless and helpless.  The good news is, he didn’t ignore me.  He didn’t say, “Oh, it’s her again.  Can’t she even do one small task on her own?  Can't she handle it without calling me?” 
Not my God!  
He would never!  
He cares.
He has a plan.  
He is working things out.  
Another passage in Habakkuk that thrills my soul to the core, and I pray, when difficult times arise in my life, these verses will be my ‘go-to’ place.  
Even though the fig trees have no blossoms,    
and there are no grapes on the vines;
even though the olive crop fails,
    
and the fields lie empty and barren;
even though the flocks die in the fields,
    
and the cattle barns are empty, 
yet I will rejoice in the Lord!
    I will be joyful in the God of my salvation
!
The Sovereign Lord is my strength!    
He makes me as surefooted as a deer,    
able to tread upon the heights.
Habakkuk 3:17-19. (NLT)

My job:  ULTIMATE TRUST!

Gotta go, I hear my husband calling me.  



Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Choose Wisely


My three children did not get to weigh in on me as their mother.   It was the luck of the gene pool draw that each one became my child.  

I tried my best to be the kind of parent that brought loving correction and spiritual training to their young lives, but I was far from perfect.  

Now that my child-rearing years are far behind me, I can look back and contemplate with objectivity my parenting skills.  

As a young mom, I was not always longsuffering or patient with my sweet children when it came to bad behavior.  I was in my early twenties when my two sons were born, and I ran a tight ship when it came to obedience. 

Then at 29, surprise, my daughter was born.  

My sons may disagree with me, but I do believe all three of my children were held to the same high standard of behavior.   However, I can admit, the types of punishment for the girl was less corporal in style and more instructional.  
The theme of the book of Nahum, one of the twelve minor prophets in the Bible, is that the guilty will be punished, and those who place their trust in God will be rewarded with protection.

In the book of Nahum 1:3 (NET Bible), this is a familiar verse.  

The Lord is slow to anger but great in power; 
the Lord will certainly not allow the wicked to go unpunished.

God may be slow to anger but he is far from an uninterested or indifferent parent.   

Our Heavenly Father does not ignore the guilty.  They will receive punishment if they do not repent of their evil ways.  We see this truth played out over and over again in God's Word. 

God does not ignore evil.  Something we hear far too little these days is that punishment is coming for those who choose to embrace evil ways, principles, and practices.  

The good news for every child of the King is that our Heavenly Father will protect those who place their trust in Him.

My children didn't get to pick me as a parent, but each of us have the priliviage of choosing our spiritual parent; God the Father or Satan.  

Choose wisely, where you place your trust. 







Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Don't change the rules!




When my 2nd son's family come to visit, they love to play games around the table in the evening.  I enjoy joining in the games with them because I want to be with them. 

The game my son wanted to play was new to me and require an explanation for this newbie.  

When I play a new game, I like to have all the information at the beginning of the game.  I don't like it when the rules change, or new rules are added as we go along. 

The last game I played with my son's family was over a month ago.  As he was explaining the game to me, he needed to freshen up on the rules himself.  He pulled the rules from the box and to my surprise the rules were in Chinese characters.  

I made a humm sound then added, "I guess, I'll have to take your word for it."

When it comes to rules, the same is true in my Christian life.  I wouldn't like it if I worked hard to learn what is expected of me from the Lord and then ten years goes by and God throws down some new rules.  

Nope, thank goodness that's not how He works.  

God has given us His Word--rule book--in the Old and New Testaments.  Nothing has been added or taken away for all those who chose to follow The Bible.  

In Micah 6:8 (NIV), I love that God tells us exactly what He requires of us.  

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.    
And what does the Lord require of you? 
To act justly and to love mercy 
and to walk humbly with your God.

This verse breaks it down so simply.  Just three things to remember.
  • Act justly
  • Love Mercy
  • Walk Humbly with God
    I think I can remember these three-game rules just fine.
    Because HE doesn't change the rules!





    Wednesday, June 10, 2020

    Fair Play



    I'm a firm believer in justice for all, but sometimes I forget the mercy part.  I'm thrilled when mercy is extended to me and those in my circle, but when another person, who I may not agree with behaves badly--well--maybe they just deserve everything they get.  

    Mercy be gone!

    Actually, I really do like it when the same rules apply to everyone.  I don't like it when one person gets special favor, while another person is excluded.   I think the term fair play comes to mind.

    In the book of Jonah, the main man himself was struggling a bit with fair play.  

    Jonah was told by God to go to Ninevah.  He disobeyed God and went the opposite way.  After some amazing things happened to Jonah, he repented and obeyed God by going to Ninevah and telling the people to repent of their ways.  

    The great part of this story, even bigger than the fish, was that the people of Ninevah listened to Jonah and repented.  

    In Jonah 3:10 (NKJV) it says this, Then God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God relented from the disaster that He had said He would bring upon them, and He did not do it.

    You'd think this would be the end of the story with a big, fat happy ever after.  

    Who wouldn't be happy that a whole town changed their evil ways and followed after God?  

    Who wouldn't be thrilled that people heading for distraction were rescued from the hand of judgment and given a second chance?  

    Who wouldn't be elated that God used them as an instrument to share His love with others?

    Jonah wasn't!  

    In chapter 4 of the book that carries his name, Jonah was angry that the people repented.  Why would he have rather seen Nineveh destroyed than repent?

    Here are a few reasons why.
    • ·      The people of Nineveh were enemies of Israel.
    • ·      Their destruction would have been a victory for Israel.
    • ·      Possibly Jonah wanted to see them destroyed because he believed them guilty.  They deserved what they got.
    • ·      Jonah had predicted the city would be destroyed and now his words appeared untrue when God withheld His judgment.

    We may be quick to judge Jonah and wonder why he acted the way he did.  But don’t be too quick to judge our leading man, learn from him.  

    Do you struggle with your own version of fair play?  

    Do you have one standard for yourself like Jonah did and another standard for those you disagree with?  

    Be careful when you tell God what fair play is because you may not want to be judged by the same standard you’ve set for others. 

    God has forgiven you…now what will you do?   








    Wednesday, June 3, 2020

    Bullies Aren't So Big

    I really dislike bullies.  As a child, if you've ever experienced the pain of being bullied, as an adult, you want to make sure you positively influence every child in your care to be loving and kind.  

    I was bullied in the 6th grade.  I remember it well.  A girl in my class disliked me and tried often to do mean things to me.  As much as possible, I tried to fly under her radar.  Most of that year, I endeavored to have minimal interaction with her.  But, all the while, I was well aware that she meant me harm.

    The book of Obadiah is known for being the shortest book in the Bible.  This Old Testament book has one chapter compiled of 21 verses.  This brief prophecy tells of the Edomites' who were bullies that mistreated the Israelites (God’s people).  

    These bullies found out by the end of the 21 verses what would be their fate.  They discovered that the kingdom shall be the Lord’s and while we all know that suffering does exist in the world, God takes care of His people and His Kingdom will advance. Spoiler alert:  WE WIN.

    This book is an encouraging word to a suffering people.  The prophetic word that Obadiah gave, basically told God's people;  “Don’t worry about those who turn a blind eye to your physical needs, those who rejoice when you are weighed down with problems, those who couldn't care less about your pain, those who join hands with others to plot against you."  God says,  "I see.  I know.  I will take care of them and you."

    In Obadiah 1:17 & 21 God gives the Israelites these encouraging words.

    17 “But Jerusalem will become a refuge for those who escape; it will be a holy place.  And the people of Israel will come back to reclaim their inheritance.

    21 "Those who have been rescued will go up to Mount Zion in Jerusalem to rule over the mountains of Edom. And the Lord himself will be king!”

    After the 6th grade, my bully moved away and so did I.  I never saw her again until I was 16.  When we were reacquainted in a driver's training class, I saw that her life was already spiraling out of control, and mine was blessed by the Lord.  

    She was still a bully and tried to once again bully me, but this time I shared the love of the Lord with her.  She refused the Lord and walked away from me.  Following that class, I never saw her again.   
    Whatever difficult situation you may be going through,  remember, you are a child of God, blessed of the Lord.  He will provide for you a refuge, a holy place, and you will reclaim what the Lord has promised you.  You have been rescued, and given a place of authority where the Lord himself is King!

    Bullies aren't so big!







    Wednesday, April 15, 2020

    Random Acts of Kindness

    This week’s devotional will be my last devotional until June 3, 2020.  I will be taking a break for 6-weeks (or possibly longer). 

    At this time, much is available on Facebook, Twitter, and the internet from our local churches to encourage people that I thought I would step back for these few weeks.  

    Thanks for following my devotionals...and remember, I'll be back.  

    I trust you will be blessed and encouraged by all that your local church is offering you online.  

    See you in June. (or maybe later) 


    It often takes a crisis to bring out the best in people.  When there is a crisis, this can be the Christian's opportunity to show the love of the Lord by ministering outside the box.  

    Recently, I heard a few stories of people who choose to minister outside the box even amidst the social distancing. 

    One person told me of a child in line at the grocery store who was looking at a small toy near the checkout line.  The three-year-old was looking at this toy with great interest.  This person in line in front of the child turned and asked the mother if it would be okay for them to buy the toy for her child.  

    The mom was shocked at the kind request and agreed to the act of kindness by the stranger.  As this person paid for the toy then handed it to the mother, the cashier became moved with emotion and said that was the kindest thing she had seen in the grocery store that week.

    Another story I heard was from a person who watched the man in front of him in line at the store realize as his grocery order was totaled that he didn't have enough money to buy his baby diapers.  The man said to put the diapers back.  That's when the person behind him stepped up and asked if he could buy the diapers.  

    Another person told me of a wrong number she dialed and the young mom of four who answered the phone identified that the caller had definitely dialed the wrong number.  But the person felt prompted to ask the young mom if she needed prayer and the young mom said that she did.  The caller was able to pray with her and told the young mom to call if she had a need since she now had the caller's phone number.
      
    Was that call a mistake?  Was it a mistake to buy the child a toy?  Was it a mistake to buy the diapers for the father who didn't have money or were each of these a moment surrendered to the Lord? 

    When the world is going a little bit crazy,  it's the Christian's chance to remember we can’t turn a blind eye to the suffering nor the injustice of others.  Whatever small acts of kindness we can find to do, let us do them as unto the Lords.

    We are called to be in relationship with Jesus, but we are also called to be in relationships with others.  The book of Amos helps us to focus on both the physical and the spiritual needs of people. 

    Amos 5:24 says, But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream.

    In the weeks to come, I challenge you to be God’s arms extended to others as we roll on like a river and a never-failing stream in our acts of kindness to those around us.



    The Song Of Love

    In the movies, it is common to see a scene where a mother will be singing over her child A Song Of Love to calm or to sing the child ...