We Need to Sing

Prayer and Bible study are ways to be observant of our faith. Singing hymns is another way.

On Christmas Eve we could not attend an indoor church service. Our family—our children and grandchildren—met in a church parking lot with others. We were standing outside, and it was freezing cold. We held candles and sang Christmas carols. 

The children will remember Christmas Eve in 2020.

This past Sunday we attended our church. We sang the hymn, To God Be the Glory. The hymn brought back memories of a Bible study group that I attended while in college at the home of an older couple. The song leader was very enthusiastic in expressing his faith. He sang this hymn with great joy. The memory has stayed with me.

Hymns are a part of my family heritage, and I am grateful. I remember the hymns that my Dad sang at home. I remember the words to hymns that we sang in church on Sunday mornings  The words that are sung help to instill faith and joy. We need to sing. The children need to hear us and to sing with us.

This post is linked with the Five Minute Friday writing community. Today’s prompt is: OBSERVANT

Any Truth in Fairy Tales?

Many fairy tales begin with once upon a time. It is interesting that these children’s stories can include suffering and waiting. 

Cinderella was treated harshly by her stepmother and stepsisters. When the fairy godmother makes a way for her to go to the Prince’s ball, she has to leave at midnight. And days, perhaps weeks, go by until the prince finds her.

Snow White flees from her stepmother and goes to live with the seven dwarfs, keeping house for them. When the witch gives her the poisoned apple she falls into a long sleep. The dwarves are convinced that she has died. Eventually the prince finds her and awakens her.

These stories tap into a truth about life in our broken world. 

Currently I am reading through the book of Genesis, taking in the account of Joseph and his brothers once more. Joseph went from favorite son, to slave, to wrongly accused. He spent two or more years in jail before he was brought before Pharaoh.

Suffering is part of the human condition. 

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.  . . . Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. Romans 5: 1. 3-5

We will meet difficult times in our life. I can testify that God hears our prayers. He has helped me. Sometimes we wait for the answer, and sometimes the answer is different than what we expected. God hears the prayers of his people.

This post is linked with the Five Minute Friday writing community. Kate’s prompt for today is: ONCE I am also sharing this post with Heart Encouragement and Hearth and Soul.

Sunrise and Refreshed Faith

The first chapter of Luke provides the only details about Elizabeth and Zechariah, the parents of John the Baptist. They are described as righteous and blameless. Elizabeth is barren.

The angel Gabriel appears to Zechariah in the temple and astonishes him with the announcement that he will have a son. Because he is an old man, Zechariah doubts that this is possible. In response Gabriel tells Zechariah that he won’t be able to speak until the baby is born. Is this punishment? Or discipline?

In the quiet months of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, Zechariah had the opportunity to search the scriptures and gain an understanding of God’s plan. I like to think that God gave Zechariah an intermission to prepare for the birth and parenting of John.

Zechariah’s song demonstrates his new understanding and his faith.

“And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High;
for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways,

to give knowledge of salvation to his people
in the forgiveness of their sins,

because of the tender mercy of our God,
whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high

to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the way of peace.” Luke 1: 76-79

Sometimes we may benefit from an intermission. When the world around us is confusing, we need time reading and meditating on God’s word. It is good to pause and be still, knowing that Jesus is our sunrise. 

Sharing this post with the Five Minute Friday writing community and Heart Encouragement.

A Divided Country: How Do We Fix it?

We can’t fix ourselves. We know that. The Bible explains our situation and our nature.

My husband and I are following a plan to read through the Bible in a year. We are reading about the faith and failures of people. The problem of sin.

God promises to send a Savior. The New Testament records the arrival of Jesus, the Son of God incarnate. Jesus explains God’s plan for our redemption. He offers himself as a sacrifice for sin. 

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9

Our nation cannot fix itself. George Washington once said, “It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible.”

King Solomon prayed for his people and God replied. If My people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14

The book of Hebrews teaches that we must hear God’s words, believe Him and act according to his precepts. 

It is time to hear and obey. Pray for our country.

This post is shared with the Five Minute Friday writing community. Today’s prompt is: FIX

Also linking up with Heart Encouragement.

Faith and Hope for 2021

On New Year’s Eve I wrote the following words. As 2020 slips into sunset, I look forward with hope that the new year will bring a revival of faith, renewed health and joy.

And yet, just a few days in, the pandemic continues and the political tension is increasing. I wake up in the morning with a heavy feeling. What should I do?

I must begin the day with time in God’s word and continue to pray. And then these thoughts come to me: Encourage my family. Participate with the church—in person or on zoom as circumstances allow. Ask the Lord for opportunities to reach out to others.

God can use this time to increase my faith.

But you, O LORD, are a shield about me,
my glory, and the lifter of my head.

I cried aloud to the LORD,
and he answered me from his holy hill. Selah
Psalm 3: 3-4

In the sermon on the mount Jesus calls us to be a salt and light in the world. He will help us. 

This post is linked with the Five Minute Friday writing community. Today’s prompt is: TIME . Also sharing with Heart Encouragement.

Mom at Rest: December 14, 2020

For the past few years Mom was a resident in Porter Hills nursing home. Her memory and physical mobility were declining. And then the pandemic came and visits were restricted. Mom was alone more and placed on hospice care. We were grateful when in person visits were allowed once more.

Last week the nursing home had a covid-19 outbreak, and within a few days Mom passed away. We grieve her passing but rejoice that she is at rest with the Lord. She believed in Jesus and confessed him as Savior.

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

Reflecting on Mom’s life and looking through photos, I came across a letter I wrote a few years ago. 

Today is Mother’s Day and I am thinking about all the ways you have been a blessing. I have many wonderful memories.

Do you remember the house on Prevost, in Detroit? One day when I was little you let us eat lunch in our backyard. We were pretending that we were in a restaurant. We had a menu and you served our food through the milk box. 

You planned many birthday parties—making a birthday cake and inviting friends over for a party.

On Easter Sunday I always had a pretty new dress and shiny shoes. Sometimes you sewed the dresses for Joyce and me.

You let me bake and cook, giving some guidance, but also letting me try recipes on my own.  My confidence in the kitchen grew.

You always had books in the house for us and took us to the library. This was a great start for succeeding in school. 

You raised five children and we all went to college.

You shared your love of berries with us. When my children were little you and Dad picked strawberries and blueberries. You gave them to us. You made applesauce for us and your grandchildren still remember. 

I am thankful for Mom and glad that she is at rest in the presence of our Savior.

Beyond the Sunset

Beyond the Sunset is a hymn that I remember from childhood. My Dad had a good voice and sang this with joy. Here are the words to the first verse:

Beyond the sunset, O blissful morning,

When with our Savior heaven is begun,

Earth’s toiling ended, O glorious dawning;

Beyond the sunset, when day is done.

Blanche Kerr Brock, Virgil P. Brock, Albert K. Rowswell

As Christians we have a balance to keep. We hold God’s promises dear and look forward to the return of Jesus. At the same time we have a job to do. We are called to be servants of our Lord.

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10

During this challenging time with the pandemic and political unrest, we may wonder what our role is. Is a global reset coming? We can pray for our country, for our family and for the church worldwide. After we have prayed we can stay alert, paying attention to the Holy Spirit for our words and action.

Kate’s prompt for the Five Minute Friday writers is: BEYOND Join the fun and visit the link-up here.

Also sharing this post with Crystal’s Heart Encouragement.

Present in Advent

Last Sunday was the first Sunday in Advent. With joy we turn our attention to God’s gift of love. Jesus came as an infant to fully participate in our human experience, and then provide a sacrifice for our sins. Jesus as newborn baby and Son of God was presented at the temple in Jerusalem.

And when the time came for their purification according to the Law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord. Luke 2:22

In a letter to Timothy, Paul gives instruction to present ourselves before the Lord

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15

Our children attended Awana clubs. The purpose of Awana is to teach Bible verses to children, encouraging them to memorize. The letters in Awana stand for: Approved Workmen Are Not Ashamed. The Bible verses that they committed to memory have been a blessing in their lives.

Our son, Steven, memorized 2 Timothy 2:15 and commented on it in the little journal that he kept. In the last days of his life the truth of the Bible guided his thoughts and comments.

As we approach Christmas let us recognize God’s gift with awe and seek to come to Him, continuing to learn and grow in our faith. 

Every Friday Kate gives a one word writing prompt. Today’s prompt is: PRESENT Visit the writing community here.

Linking this post with Heart Encouragement .

Giving Thanks in 2020

Thanksgiving was different this year. We exchanged dishes with my daughter’s family but enjoyed the meal in our separate homes. My granddaughter made a delicious bundt cake and dinner rolls. Another granddaughter made the cranberry sauce. I made my traditional cornbread stuffing. We all had a wonderful meal. In the evening we zoomed with our children and grandchildren in New Mexico, Kansas and Illinois.

I’m thankful for family and the ability to connect over zoom. We celebrated six birthdays this month—daughter, spouses and grandchildren. God has blessed us.

In the United States we have so much that we can access. I am grateful that all the ingredients for the cornbread dressing are easily available—butter, herbs, chestnuts and more. And turkeys are abundant in the grocery stores.

Cornbread dressing

The apples, berries and currants were made into pies. We are blessed to have these available.

A hymn written by Martin Rinkart (1586 – 1649) expresses thanksgiving joy.

Now thank we all our God with heart and hands and voices,

Who wondrous things has done, in whom His world rejoices;

Who from our mother’s arms, hath blessed us on our way

With countless gifts of love, and still is ours today.

What if we began and ended each day pausing to give thanks for something? I know it would lift my spirits in this unusual year.

Linking this post with Inspire Me Monday and the Five Minute Friday writing community. The writing prompt given by Kate is: GRATEFUL

Global Reset or Global Prayer

Last night I didn’t sleep well. I have grief over the state of our country. We are experiencing limited social interaction, censorship, financial pressures and school closures. I am most concerned when I hear world leaders talking about a Global Reset or a New World Order.

Del Bigtree had a lengthy interview with James Corbett about the relationship between the pandemic and a Global Reset, reviewing the comments of numerous world leaders. The episode on The HighWire is HERE.

It is a confusing and chaotic time, but I firmly believe that we must not be overtaken by fear. I spent time praying this morning and asking the Holy Spirit to intercede where I lacked words.

If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14

I am praying for the children and the future of our country. I am praying that families will be strengthened. I am praying for revival in the church. And I am praying for election integrity, for fraud to be exposed.

I have been encouraged by a global prayer meeting that has been taking place a couple times each week. It has blessed me to hear Christians in Israel, Africa and South America praying for the United States.

This coming Sunday, 11/22, there will be another prayer meeting at 7:00 pm CST. It is accessible on Facebook. Eric Metaxas has been posting invitations to the prayer on twitter. Click here for a link to the page.

Every Friday Kate gives a one word prompt to the Five Minute Friday writing community. Today’s prompt is: GRIEF