Archive for the ‘Sustaining’ Category

It was what church should be: lively discussion about the truths of God’s Word, challenging preaching that conveys God’s truth, hugs and handshakes, words of encouragement, a little extra effort to reach out to the hurting among us, words to get one thinking and rethinking, offers and procedure for help, appointments to get together later in the week to further the effect. God used my brothers and sisters to bless my wife and me both in terms of ministry offered to us and ministry offered for us to do. Was it perfect? Certainly not. Was it Spirit-led? More than I’ve seen in quite a while. Was it encouraging? Very. Was it an indication of things to come? Hopefully and in the longer term, absolutely. Was it a fluke? Not if we continue praying as I know for a fact was happening this past week. It reminds me of a quote we heard in VBS this past week: “Our good is for God’s glory; God’s glory is for our good.” I give Him the glory for all that He is doing at His church in this locale and know that it will in turn be for our best. May it draw others in to hear and taste the Gospel.

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The New Year started with quite a jolt
Not yet awakened to the day were we
When lesser mind from greater did molt
And confusion reigned as up went our plea
Fears and regrets won much of the day
Consequences realized and unforeseen
Extend forward in what we must pay
In tears and stress and oft puzzling scene
Week by week understanding more words
Paying bills on a month to month basis
Each day try words that curdle like curds
Prayer moments that connection retraces
God ordained all from start to finish
For His glory and our good He has planned
His provision and presence relish
From hard changes peaceful righteousness gained

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Partakers of grace by God’s decree
Participators in grace freely
Profoundly touched by His sovereign grace
Provides, motivates to run the race
Manifold grace for every challenge
Manifest grace on Spirit’s works hinge
Modeling character of God’s grace
Molded by His image we embrace
God’s grace worked out through His providence
Good gifts and guidance in evidence
Gone is condemnation and sin’s rule
Goal Christ’s likeness as with flesh we duel
On God’ grace through each day we will rest
Onslaught in the battle of each test
Ongoing refinement of this jewel
One day glory when Christ comes to rule
Philippians 1:3-14 seems to me to be saying that partakers of grace are participators in grace.
The God who decrees and predestines us to receive grace also enables and guides us in the living out of grace.

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Here are some random funny and profound moments in public education from Tuesday two weeks ago now:

1) As I arrived from my first school at my second school today I could here the chemistry teacher waxing eloquent about highly energetic chemical reactions. So, I went up to the door and said, ” Mr. V, like it not, you’re going to get a reaction out of me.” He replied, “That was spontaneous!” “Yes, totally spontaneous”, I reiterated.  His students sat dumbfounded, not knowing whether to laugh or question my sanity. Several minutes passed while I opened my room and settled in. All the while Mr. V was talking about the energy of spontaneous reactions.  I went back to the door, pointed to my brain case and said, “Mr. V, I just wanted your students to know that I am more stable after that spontaneous reaction.” The students just stared, and one or two began to giggle. Mr. V said later that the whole class broke out laughing after I left. They all thought I am crazy. It may be true, but I’m stable.

2) While I was teaching later in the day my teacher’s assistant (TA) was grading bellwork questions. These are review questions that the students complete at the beginning of class and hand in all together at the end of the week. One girl had written on a bellwork early in the week, “you look nice today.”  The next day she wrote, “you look sharp today, Mr. F”. By now I was embarrassed, but my TA showed me the third comment: “I don’t understand what you are asking in this question”, to which my TA had written in red pen, “What’s wrong, is my beauty distracting you?” It will be interesting to see what kind of reaction I get out of that one!

3) On a bit more serious note, I have this student in my 1st period class that is frighteningly perceptive as to how I am faring emotionally. She almost daily asks me how I am doing by predicting how I feel: “Are you angry today, Mr. F?” Are you having a good day, Mr. F?” Are you frustrated about something?” What are you so happy about? What are you worried about? Did you get some good news or something? Now I am the first to admit that I am the type of personality whose emotions are easy to read- wear them on my sleeve, as the saying goes- but some days I try to hide my emotions because I have a job to do, or because I don’t want to talk about it, or because I want to be encouraging, but she will have nothing of it. Her questions persist. It caused me to realize just how the stresses in my life are straining me, causing me to effectively deny my faith to this perceptive girl who knows when life is getting to me. I claim to be connected to the One Who is the source of all peace, joy, and comfort, and yet I am frequently stressed out. As I thought about this on the way to school the next morning I began praying that God would cause me to experience more of the peace He had made available to me. In the next two weeks up until now I have been making a habit of singing a hymn on the way to school and praying for my students, my family, and whatever fruit of the Spirit seems most lacking in me. The stresses have not gone away but I have a genuine confidence that God is helping me. The next day after I had the realization of what this girl’s questions said about me, I began calling her ‘Thelma’, which is my mash-up of Thermometer Lady. I didn’t explain the meaning of the nickname to her but I meant by it that she was taking the temperature of what the teacher was feeling so that she knew how to react. More than likely she learned this is some situation where it saves her considerable difficulty to know what the temperature is. I decided for my part to let her be the thermometer and I would be the thermostat, regulating the temperature of the room by calling out to my God to be the source of power and heat sink (“cast your cares on Him, for He cares for you” I Peter 5:7) I need before I enter class. I am amazed at what I know to be true can become so clouded by the immediacy of difficulty. ‘Thelma’ gave me a little perspective that I needed.

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Spring has significantly sprung in our neck of the woods. We may yet have another wintery storm but the bluster is mostly out of that season. Flowers seem particularly profuse this season: carpets of red trillium, bluets, grape hyacinth, and violets. The hardier varieties of Daffodils have already shown their glory. Leaves are sprouting rapidly on the trees.

Neighbor's Redbud

Neighbor’s Redbud

Violets and Grape Hyacinth

Violets and Grape Hyacinth

Violets and Ground Ivy

Violets and Ground Ivy

Variety of Heal All?

Variety of Heal All?


As the transformation has occurred, when not out in the yard or woods,  I have been watching from the dining room window as I eat. One sight in the last two weeks has arrested my attention, however, and it is of my own doing. I’ve long wanted fruit trees that produce. I lived for six years across a dirt road from a pear tree that no one cared for or seemed aware of. It would produce a few pears each year that were the old style: hard and sweet- moon glow pears I think. One year just before we moved the spring and summer conspired together with a perfect combination for this old pear tree. It produced so many large pears that it bent over with some of the pears touching the ground. Even more fascinating was the almost total lack of worms or other insects. I ate pears for lunch every day and most usually with yogurt after super. I ate them with my cereal for breakfast. We froze some and I ate them relentlessly. My wife ate her share as well. The tree produced for 3 1/2 months until heavy frost. It was simply amazing. The next year the pear tree produced a few worm eaten pears just like it had in all of my previous notice of it. Soon afterward we moved to our present house. One of the things that drew us to the house we bought was the trees: oak, redbud, catalpa, pitch pine, white ash, chinese chestnut, and two apple trees. I was too busy with house repair and job to prune them the first several years, but I read up on pruning and pruned them later on. I believe that it was the season a year and a half after that they produced some decent sized and number of apples. A fair number were without worm. They are probably what is referred to as cooking apples because they lack much firmness, and much sweetness or tartness desirable in an eating apple. Since then frost has gotten the flowers and worms have rotted the fruit. I sprayed them one year with soap just after the blooms fell off, to no avail. I’m not a pesticide kind of guy and I haven’t figured out the natural ways of preventing apple worms. I have pruned them somewhat since then but finally let them go. My son pruned them heavily last year but they are so tall that you can’t reach half of the apples and those that fall are severely damaged. There is a point to all of this story. I went out to try again this spring and found that the larger tree had several rotten places in the trunk. If there was any possibility of producing apples, it seemed to me, this problem must be dealt with. I cut most of the rot out. Now I sit and look at the sad results of my decisive action.


 I was immediately reminded of two Scripture passages: John 15:1-11 and Luke 13:1-9 Hear a little of each passage:

I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit… he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned.”      John 15:1-2, 5-6                   And He began telling this parable: ‘A man had a fig tree which had been planted in his vineyard; and he came looking for fruit on it and did not find any. And he said to the vineyard-keeper, ‘Behold, for three years I have come looking for fruit on this fig tree without finding any. Cut it down! Why does it even use up the ground?’ And he answered and said to him, ‘Let it alone, sir, for this year too, until I dig around it and put in fertilizer; and if it bears fruit next year, fine, but if not, cut it down.’” Luke 13:6-9

Perhaps it is a parable for my life just now. No, by God’s grace, I do not believe I will be burned up because I belong to Him, but does cut down mean eternally separated or ‘fallen asleep’ as those who were disobedient (I Corinthians 11:30)? I have been severely pruned or cut; difficulties with career, health, loved ones. Has my life been unfruitful and full of rot so that it needed a major pruning? Am I too apt to be content, complacent when I have orders to fulfill? There are other ways to look at the reasons for these trials but I don’t want to be oblivious to the obvious. I certainly feel like this tree looks. And I don’t see it or mean it as complaining. I just want to learn the lessons that are here and serve my Lord better rather than have to recycle remediation. The flowers bloom all around; the sun shines brightly; the soil is warming and wet; the grass is greening. Am I connected and abiding in the vine (trunk and root) so that I may bloom, leaf, and bear fruit. I want to be a fruit tree that produces. I want to be pruned, not cut down.

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Stress and strain are engineering terms. Stress is any force, pressure, torque, electrostatic potential, or thermal gradient that tries to distort an object, its surface or its components. (didn’t even look that up) Strain is the deformation of that object resulting from the stress. Motion is apt to result in both stress and strain. In elastic collisions stress does not result in permanent strain to the objects involved because the colliding objects temporarily distort and return to their original form when the deforming energy is converted to other forms, most notably heat. In other words, the strain is passed out of the system, leaving no impression on the objects. The most common example is billiard balls colliding on a pool table. Non-elastic collisions, on the other hand, permanently deform the objects involved. Tossing wet mud onto a wall where it sticks is an obvious example.

So, am I merely in the mood to convey physics concepts which are all too obvious to many who read this page? No, stress and strain have very straightforward analogy to life in the body and mind and spirit. Frequently when people say that they have so much stress in their life, they really mean both. That is, they are saying that all of the pushes and pulls that are stress are getting them down and making it hard to function, strain. I am experiencing both- changed schedule, pressures to succeed, accusations of neglect and slack-handedness, bills, desire to enjoy and play when it’s time to work and serve, and very notably, sadness at seeing someone I love degraded in her ability to serve her family as she likes to do.  You may take this for whining if you like, but it is really just the way that I have learned to deal with the stress. Somehow it’s supposed to be more noble to not talk about your troubles. Of course, there is nothing noble about self-focus and there is way too much of that in this society. Perhaps then I should keep quiet. Aaaccchh! Tangents!

So (love that word) here’s another one. My wife took about 6 hours to fix my son and me supper one day this past week. She can’t much read recipes just now, and her work is very slow and deliberate, but she so wanted to take care of her family that she worked diligently most of the day cutting up salad, baking sweet potatoes, sauteing cabbage and carrots with venison sausage, and baking cornbread so that we could eat a good meal. I about couldn’t eat for the tears. Then this morning she fixed oatmeal pancakes, a recipe that she had never done before. She laughed that it was a good thing that all of the ingredients were 1 (cup, teaspoon, etc) because she could not have made it otherwise. She still can’t say most names or understand much of what is said to her, but she can fix meals and wash dishes and she is happy to be able to do it again. I guess we’ll go grocery shopping together this afternoon.

Anyway, I have concluded that strainless stress is probably not very beneficial to this object. Afterall, if I am not changed by what pushes on me I’m apt to have to repeat that lesson until there is change. The idea of standing up to stress with dauntless courage and stone-faced lack of strain is neither where I live nor useful to my progress forward in the faith. I want to learn now so that I don’t have to repeat the lesson. Of course, the strain I am after is one that conforms me to the image of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, not a wet mud pie stuck to a wall like so much yak dung on the side of the house drying to be used for fuel to cook and heat. Though it is not particularly what I want in the sense of what is enjoyable, change for the sake of conformity to His image is good, and God is good in patiently working strain into my life through the stresses He ordains. The more pliable, that is non-resistant to strain, I am, the easier that strain will conform me without destroying the very fabric of who I am. It reminds me of Philippians 4:6-8: “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.” I so want that peace of and with God that so surpasses comprehension that onlookers upon spying it cannot help but attribute it to a work of God. But that will involve far more stress and considerably more strain that I’m not all too sure I’m up to. I have discovered that is not for me to determine. As per Colossians 3 I need to focus above so that I may succeed below:

God’s grace is my comfort and rest


My strong tower in the midst of test


While I trust Him I shall prevail


Raised from the dead without fail


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I sure am thankful that it is God who judges me, because He is so merciful and gracious.I lost all perspective during the recent events involving my wife’s stroke. All I could see were the seemingly insurmountable frustration she had with speech, the hesitations I experienced, the pressure from well-meaning people, and the mounting bills. None of those difficulties have been overcome but I am beginning to look up rather than around me as I seek ways to move on. I wish others could give their perspective on these events since they are severely skewed by my own fears and failures, but alas, not here. So here is my last of three poems on my feelings about the events of New Years Day, 2014, and following:

Fretting has no value at all

It only leads to early demise

And turmoil with those you love

And everything that you despise


In quietness and trust is your rest

The peace you seek is with God

And love from those who are close to you

Whatever the nature of the test


It is God Who is at work in you

To work and to will His good pleasure

The path He ordains is beyond view

So stroll forward in faith at leisure


Your struggle and strain is of no worth

Only serves to frustrate all designs

To have peace, joy, value and mirth

Written on your life’s last lines


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The context of the following poem is a story that I have frequently told my students over the years about how my fifth-born child came into the world. It is a story that is as close to a miracle as I personally have ever experienced. Now I encountered a new difficulty, my wife’s stroke, and drug my feet because I both feared and did not understand; I hesitated, but in God’s goodness I do not think it made any difference, though I will always be accused of neglect.

It doesn’t always work the same

This walk of faith we’re called to tread

No miracle this time did He

No sure answer to my prayer came


Provision came another way

To human interventions trust

Wisdom and prudence are the must

In all of this I had no sway


Now I am counted as the fool

I could not see just how He led

In fear from the solution fled

For my faith was a training tool


What are others to learn from this?

Do they trust God or their own schemes?

Surely for others there are themes

Their faith lessons they will not miss

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I break the present silence with trepidation because as always I feel compelled to be honest and that is hard when you have also been foolish in the eyes of others. So, I will start off slowly and get around to several points in a circuitous way.

At 4 AM on New Years Day, my precious wife awoke with what I now know to be “having a stroke”. She rubbed her head both front and back, complaining of it hurting and could not recognize me speaking to her. There is so much I am not saying because it is too hard to say, and there have  been many doubts and tears. We finally arrived at the hospital for a 3 night stay. Thankfully the stroke did not effect her motor skills other than a general, temporary weakness. She walked into the ER, spoke in a limited way without slurred speech, grasp numerous nurses and doctors hands and pushed against their resistance. Instead, her language center was arrested. She could not say names, mine, her own, and to her, most notably, her children. She could not understand many instructions which led one doctor to conclude she had motor skill deficiencies because she could not follow his instructions to apply pressure against his push.

I am going to post several poems that came 2 weeks after the events described above that reveal some of my reactions to all that I saw and experienced during this time as a result of seeing my wife’s debilitation and having family push me this way and that. The reflections are obviously focused around my thoughts and struggles concerning the stroke my wife had and are therefore skewed away from the events to my feelings about the events. No one is truly objective afterall though that does not mean untruthful. My first poem is a short one that deals with the immediate “why” question, to which there is no answer other than “He is good”:

I know in my heart that God is good
His Word declares it so
From His works to show
How His providence and care
The abundance He does share
Reveal that He is kind
And powerful and involved and good

If you have not yet concluded by faith that He is good you will probably ask endlessly “Why”, or perhaps, accuse Him, when it is sin in the world that is the cause of so much pain and suffering. Oh, so its sin and not Him. Why didn’t you say so? It is because all good and ill is filtered through His providential hands, otherwise He is not truly God: “I am God, and there is no one like Me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things which have not been done, saying, ‘My purpose will be established, and I will accomplish all My good pleasure’; calling a bird of prey from the east, the man of My purpose from a far country. Truly I have spoken; truly I will bring it to pass. I have planned it, surely I will do it.” (Isaiah 46:9-11) Here it is, pay careful attention, those of you who want to soften God down, “who are stagnant in spirit, who say in their hearts, ‘The Lord will not do good or evil'” (Zephaniah 1:12): “I am the Lord, and there is no other, The One forming light and creating darkness, causing well-being and creating calamity; I am the Lord who does all these.” (Isaiah45:6-7) Wow what a tangent! But it is not a false one because His goodness is based on His sovereignty- He is not fickle; He has purpose, much of which He has made known and yet is inscrutable by man. He is good and there is purpose in difficulty and harm we experience.

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I should never be too busy to observe beauty and reduce stress. I fully realize that the very nature of stress is that it causes you to not be able to see the end of the tunnel for all that you have to do. Therefore, you must decide that some things are more important than constantly being stressed. I can’t do that you may be thinking. I don’t have the money. I don’t have the time. Who will go with me? Where do I begin? I’m not interested. It’s not important. It’s too hard. That’s not my cup of tea. I don’t know why you think it’s such a big deal. I’ll get around to it.

Actually, no you won’t. Perhaps you don’t have mountains or beach or whatever around you. But most of us have something of beauty and solitude somewhere close at hand. Is there a single tree? Go sit under it. Mark out time to lower stress by considering all the good God has done and looking at the beauty in nature that He has provided. Do you have transportation? How much does it cost and how long will it take to walk in a park, or drive a short distance to a scenic area to enjoy. Life is short, so yes, hug your wife and kids, work hard, be honest, but also find a few moments in each week to get away from the blue light and the flat screen and the earbuds and just absorb natural beauty. 

While I’m on my mild little rant, pass this mode of de-stressing onto the next generation. They are being sucked in by brain-numbing music and images that are literally robbing them of the ability to think (check the research, particularly for children under 6). Teach them to sweat on a walk a little; lie and gaze at the clouds; identify a mushroom or the difference in bark on various trees or concentrate and focus on a distant object from a high vantage point. It will greatly widen their perspective and lower their whine factor.

Go with friends. Talk about things of substance. Take your time.

OK, I’m done, but yesterday was an example. I enjoyed the time with friends with both substantive adult and child talk, saw a great view, and participated in some mild exercise. Check it out.

Friends taking a break at the top

Friends taking a break at the top

Linville Gorge from Hawksbill

Linville Gorge from Hawksbill

De-stressed me

De-stressed me

My little friend

My little friend

Hazy late summer day

Hazy late summer day

The Galax strongly disseminated its astringent odor

The Galax strongly disseminated its astringent odor


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It has been a good week for poetry. I end on an encouraging note. I owe all that I am, have, and will be to the gracious Lord Who enables me to serve Him. His Benefits are far more than I can tell. I want others to bask in His goodness by submitting to His Son. The benefits are eternal.

Father near, sovereign will
Chosen in Christ, what a thrill

Rest from work, all is done
‘It is finished’ by the Son

Peace with God, free from guilt
All because Christ’s blood was spilt

Strength to live, sin abate
His Spirit does motivate

Stress and strife, like a knife
Spirit purifies my life

Help in trials, answers prayers
God is gracious and He cares

Hardship here, glory there
Joy, comfort beyond compare

Tell good news, with you share
Eternal life here and there

Purpose now, glory then
Live for Him, soon free from sin

All that’s good, all that’s fair
Is found in Christ, jewel so rare

Come again, at the end
In His glory, sky will rend


Forever with Him then
Perfect in Him without sin



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Not from difficulty or frustration or pressure was my day in danger of preventing joy, but from excessively mundane and unwanted pursuit. One need not be bored nor down when the scope of all eternity, the God of the universe, dwells in the heart by grace through faith. So I asked and He provided:

Lord, please give me joy today
The knowledge of Your presence with me
Awareness of  all that may
Be fulfilled by Your Spirit in me
Joy in Your salvation free
Hilarity giving to the poor
The Gospel that they may see
Blessing now, in eternity more
Joy come in, joy reaching out
All God has and will do and nourish
He is great I want to shout
May His work in our time now flourish
God’s peace in my heart to stay
No regrets to repent or to act
Clinging to Him, always pray
Accepting His Word as ruling fact
Joy in who I am in Him
Happiness in the path He does give
Contentment when hard trials ever trim
Joy-robbing sin so I live
Now may I sing a new song
Of the blessing of knowing my Lord
On Him and His works be long
Raise voice as I praise afford

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Wisdom Tree3Godly wisdom is rooted in the fear of God and bears foliage and fruit of godly living, contentment, and witness. Following are supporting Scriptures for the tree at the right:
0. James 1:5
1. Proverbs 1:7, Job 28:28, Matthew 10:28
2. Micah 6:9, Psalm 2:10-11
3. Job 12:12, Proverbs 3:1-2, 16:22
4. Song of Solomon 6:3, Proverbs 5:18
5. Job1:20-21, Proverbs 3:5-6
6. Ecclesiastes 12:13-14, Psalm 73:17
7. I Corinthians 1:24,30, Ephesians 1:15-19
The following table contrasts the way of worldly foolishness
and the way of godly wisdom. Our lives as Christians should
exhibit God’s goodness by our wisdom gained from Him:

Contrast of

Worldly Foolishness

Godly Wisdom


Selfish, destructive

Skill for living successfully


Going your own way

Obey and seek God


Be true to yourself

Renounce sin and self


Passion to please yourself

Passion for God and others


Unrestrained passion

Directed, exclusive passion


Blind optimism or pessimism

Sin is real; God is in control


Survival, self-gratification

Fear God; obey His commands


Can’t find it Eccl. 3:11

Trust in Christ->hope   &evangelism

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Moving forward is such a hard thing
When the battle within is so strong
Steal your purpose, rob the song you sing
Tedious moments, days that are long
Being consistent is harder still
Failing once makes a lie of it all
Cannot be done by an act of will
Unavoidable that you will fall
God is faithful and He is your song
He is your reason for living well
The One Who supplies and makes you strong
That you may of His faithfulness tell

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“It is not amazing that God answers prayer; it is amazing we pray so little.”

‘How can you say it’s not amazing that God answers prayer?’ Don’t misunderstand the statement because I do believe it is amazing how He answers prayer. For in pulling off an answer to prayer God must at least redirect the course of God ordained natural forces or the intentions of wills predisposed to wrong. At most He must suspend the rules He has laid down for nature so that they begin running immediately in a new course or give tangible manifestation to spiritual reality. In any circumstance you can name where prayer is answered the supernatural impinges on the natural to bring about God’s purpose with full consideration and at least partial affirmation and completion of the request. All together how prayer is answered demonstrates God’s great power and unending knowledge. How that happens is amazing and wonderful. But that He would answer prayer is not. Answered prayer matches well His character of kindness, mercy, grace, personal involvement in His creation, and goodness. 

But why do we pray so little? Our skeptical, mocking society has largely silenced our praise to God for answered prayer. For one thing they nay say any testimony that challenges their naturalistic presuppositions. ‘That can’t happen; you can’t prove the supernatural.’ Of course you can’t if the only evidence you allow is natural or has a natural explanation. So we Christians back off from saying the truth under the pressure of skeptical mockery. Merely natural explanations, however,  fall short on too many accounts at explaining all that we observe. But our praise to God for answered prayer is silenced for a far more serious reason. Despite the abundant Scriptural evidence to God’s willingness, ability, and examples of answered prayer; the abundant historical evidence (George Mueller very notably); God’s good sustaining grace in our own lives, we pray far too little. We must not believe He will answer. He has many times for me in witnessing opportunities,  financial needs, serious health issues, relational difficulties, bewilderment and discouragement, weather, direction, help for missionaries and witnessing friends. Why do I pray so little? “You do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive because you ask with wrong motives so that you may spend it on your pleasures…” (James 4:2-3) Perhaps a better question is… What is preventing me now? A big and glorious God answers big and God-glorifying prayers! Lord, work in my life so that I pray more and more intensely!

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Blessing of ERB

May God’s blessing be on this child, my first grandchild.

May He save her and sustain her throughout her days.

Miss ERB

E R, please come and stay
Be strong and healthy, ready for the fray
That life brings in this world each day
Oh, dear E, time sequester
Fasting and praying, let nothing fester
Sanctified as alabaster
May your heart be bold and be strong
Ready for battle no matter how long
Looking up, a heart filled with song
Miss B, show beauty from above
All tender and nurturing those you love
Pure, chaste, and faithful as a dove
Precious one, God be your tower
Guide your thoughts and words in the trying hour
Help God’s people by His power
E dear, may your life be clean
Trust Jesus to save, in your life faith be seen
Heaven expecting though unseen

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We don’t know how, when, or why
The timing of our demise
Whether slow and painful, cry
Sudden horrible surprise
Or to loved ones good-bye say
See a vision from above
Then in peace just drift away
To glory fly as a dove
 But, oh, our pain is so slight
Compared to burning below
That will give the hardened fright
Pray for souls that they not go
 To avoid death’s awful sting
Look to Jesus’ sacrifice
Daily to His promise cling
Thankful for the purchase price
By His sacrifice we win
Heaven for which praise we give
Away from trials and pain and sin
In His presence there to live

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I’m so enamored with the short-term benefits and successes while God sees
eternity along with my utter good and His ultimate glory. Help me, Lord, to
seek what is lasting, to make real breakthroughs through the muck and mire
of life.
Lord, I long for something new
Something with a tremendous view
Perhaps a perch overlooking the heights
So my soul might take its fanciful flights
Life is not lived on that plane
We must first teach the heart and train
That you fully see the view above
Fully know all My holiness and love
I don’t want hardship and pain
I want victory without rain
Love, security, adventure, too
Fun, satisfaction, oh, and something true
You have those more than you know
Through rain and storm there’s more to show
Know Me, you must cease to worship you
Submit to Me and know all that is true
Then you will fly in My strength
Know joy and completeness at length
Thankful for trials and what they have done
Building you up, bringing praise to the Son

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It is probably a mistake to try to explain a poem but having read the second verse of this one I think my perspective while writing it might help to show why these thoughts follow from one another. The sister on one side of me prayed for our awareness of His glorious grace which Jesus shone upon us. The brother on the other side of me had just read a verse about our need to diligently pursue righteousness. The immediate thought in my heart was that I could do neither without the guidance and empowering of His Spirit and the need to “be diligent to enter that rest, so that no one will fall, through following the same example of disobedience.” (Hebrews 4:11) Faith rest is simply saying and clinging to God because ‘on You I depend’.

Father of Light on You I depend
Show me Your way my life to defend
When I am restless and given to fear
Give me Your peace and by me be near
On me Your Son shone glorious grace
Eternally comforting embrace
Pursue righteousness fervently You’ve said
Careful to enter Your rest, be led
Given at times to much confusion
Resisting the world’s fond delusion
You give me truth and direction instead
That I might know You, be Spirit-led

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What do you do on a less than profitable day?

You search for the hidden, more lasting and substantial, intended profit for the day.

When all goes awry
And my spirit wants to fly
His calling on my life
I must recall amidst the strife
When there is stress
And my spirit feels duress
His goodness every day
I want to graciously display
When hard things come
And my spirit would succomb
His strength is my stay
I need each step of the way
When joy comes to me
And my spirit knows it’s free
His all sufficient grace
I am keeping before my face

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Overflows from the Heart

"But the things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart…" Matthew 15:18


Pointing to the One who made, saved, and sustains