Friday, November 29, 2019

Thank You, Lord, For Being My Father

There is a phrase which has become important to me: “I need holding.”

Maybe it’s something one of my kids said when they were small; I don’t know. But I often find myself saying it to God.

God says he cares for us as a father cares for his children.

And yes, he holds us, but he doesn’t stop there as a father. He challenges us to do our best, promising he will help us. He saves us when we’re in trouble. How I thank him

Psalm 103:13: As a father has compassion on his children,
    so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;

1 Peter 5:7: Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

Matthew 11:28-30: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Psalm 86:5: O Lord, you are so good, so ready to forgive, so full of unfailing love for all who ask for your help.

Joshua 1:9: This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged.
For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

Isaiah 41:13: “For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you,
‘Do not fear, I will help you.’”

Lamentations 3:57-58: “You came near when I called you, and you said, ‘Do not fear.’
You, Lord, took up my case; you redeemed my life.”

So this is the gift I want to give to my Father:

Psalm 95:1-2: Come, let us sing to the Lord! Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come to him with thanksgiving. Let us sing psalms of praise to him.

Friday, November 22, 2019

Sweet Memories; Sometimes I'm embarrassed to Remember My Part But...

January 2, 1997: This afternoon Rebecca asked me, "Mommy, were you born in 1927?" I said no, and she asked, "Before that?"

Sarah got some more birthday money today, and excitedly she said that it could be for Ping-Hwei.

January 4, 1997: Yesterday Rebecca told me, "Today is a yesterday and a tomorrow and today."

January 5, 1997: Caleb came in to my room to comb his hair tonight, and he said, "Feel my furry feathers."

The kids wanted to try to brush their teeth with baking soda tonight. Rebecca hated it, and Sarah wouldn't even try. She said, "I don't like it." Murray asked her, "Have you ever tried it?" To which Sarah said, "Well, I just believe I won't like it." Caleb liked it; he said, "It tastes like fried rice."

January 7, 1997: Sarah was playing very nicely with her doll house yesterday, making up little stories about the people. I pointed it out to Murray and he asked her if she was having fun playing by herself. She said, "I'm playing by myself, but I'm not lonely."

I gave Sarah a chocolate cinnamon roll for lunch, and as soon as she knew what it was, she said, "I don't want all this other food on my plate."

A little later Sarah said, "Mommy, I love you." "Because I gave you cinnamon rolls?" I asked. "Well, I can't just love you because you gave me cinnamon rolls," she said, and thought a minute. Then she said, "I love you all the time, and because you gave me cinnamon rolls."

January 12, 1997: We have a little musical button we give the kids to play with on their birthdays that plays the tune to happy birthday. Both Caleb and Sarah asked this time when they had it and listened to it, "How does the button know my name?"

January 14, 1997: When we told Caleb tonight that Daddy really had broken his right foot last night (after he broke his left ankle last August), he said, "He broke two feet! That's kind of silly."

January 15, 1997: This morning Sarah told me, "Once in awhile, I wonder how God made us, so I look at my body to see."

Yesterday Sarah went with Murray to the doctor. One of the young ladies who helped with his foot told them she had a three-year-old and a baby ten weeks old. Sarah asked if she had a husband. The lady said no, and Sarah asked why not. The lady said she hadn't found anyone she wanted to spend her life with yet. Sarah asked Murray if he'd ask the lady a question, and he said not a chance, worried she was going to say something more about the husband situation. So Sarah asked the lady herself, "Do you love Jesus?" The lady said sure she did; didn't everybody? Sarah shook her head negatively and said, "No. Some people don't."

January 17, 1997: Someone called yesterday while I was vacuuming, and Sarah answered the phone, then accidentally hung it up. She said she didn't know who it was and didn't understand everything he said. I asked, "Did you hear anything he said?" She said, "I heard it all; I just didn't understand everything."

Last night we found bumps on Caleb and thought he might have chicken pox. Murray was talking with Rebecca about it in the car later, just the two of them. Rebecca said he shouldn't talk to Caleb about it, because it made him nervous. Then she said, "And you're still talking about it!" Murray said that Caleb wasn't there, so he couldn't hear. She said, "I could tell him."

January 20, 1997: Last night Rebecca was getting ready for bed, and I said something to her, maybe grumpily, and she did the same thing, then said, "I'm going to be just like you when I grow up." I said, "You probably will." She went on, "Grouchy all day long."

January 22, 1997: A week or so ago, Murray and the kids were listening to a tape of music Ping-Hwei got at the library. A song played for only four or five seconds when Caleb said, "That's from the Nut Cracker." Murray took the tape out and read it, and it was from the Nut Cracker. Caleb went with his class from school to see the Nut Cracker before Christmas.

This morning, the girls were wanting to do something quickly, and kept saying, "Hurry! Hurry!" Caleb told them that if they kept being so excited, he'd have to use an exclamation point.

The other night we were struggling with Sarah at supper, trying to get her to eat some beans. Finally she got a spoonful into her mouth. In a second she said, "Daddy, I can't swallow this."

A few weeks ago the kids were in the car with Murray, and he said something about some kind of ceremony. Delightedly Rebecca said, "He said Sarah-moanee!" They have decided that a "moanee" was a person's tummy, and they often talk about their "Caleb-moanee" or "Rebecca-moanee." The other night a friend with a baby was over. Sarah said happily, "I see her moanee."

Friday, November 15, 2019

May Today Be Your Isaiah 43

Have you sat in a church service and said about the sermon, “This message was specifically meant for me today?” That’s what happened to me this week.

Our church closed in August, and we’ve been looking for a new church home. We’ve been meeting with a launch team for a church which plans to start in February.

In the meantime, we’ve been visiting different churches around the area. My husband Murray is having fun, getting to visit churches we might otherwise never go to. I’ll be happy to get settled again.

This was an excellent week. We visited a church in Cleveland which has some great history. The current building is from the 1870s. In the 1850s, James Garfield, later President of the United States, sometimes preached there.

This week they studied from Isaiah chapters 42 and 43, and it’s what I needed to hear.

Recently, I’ve been allowing the devil to bring me down by reminding me of my past. I believe I’ve been forgiven, but…

Isaiah 42: 9: See, the former things have taken place, and new things I declare; before they spring into being I announce them to you.”

Chapter 42 tells of times of Israel’s sin and their consequences. The former things have taken place. We cannot deny that.

But then comes chapter 43.

Isaiah 43:1-2: But now, this is what the Lord says—he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.”

God says we are his. For those of us who have asked God to be our Savior, He promises to be with us. We may pass through sweeping rivers and flaming fires of trouble, but we are not alone.

Verses 18-19: “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”

No, I cannot deny the former things of my past. But God says not to dwell on it. He will make a new thing for my life, like a path through the wilderness, streams in a wasteland. What an amazing promise from a loving God.

Verse 25: “I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more.”

Because of who God is, he forgives us.

At the end of the service, the minister said, “May today be your Isaiah 43.” I pray that for you as well.

Friday, November 8, 2019

Millie's Christmas was a Gift to Me

My children’s Christmas storybook, Millie’s Christmas, was released on October 22.

This story was a surprise gift to me several years ago.

I wanted a project to force myself to write every day. It was December, so I decided to write a Christmas story.

I normally write women’s fiction for adults. But years ago, I’d written a story about a family of dogs, and my daughter Rebecca liked it. I decided to write a story told from the point of view of a kitten.

When I started, I had no plan of how the story would go. Each day, I just wrote what popped into my head. Soon, God gave me this sweet family story which has become one of my favorites of my own writing.

Ruthie says Millie will love Christmas. Ruthie is Millie’s best friend, so she’s sure Ruthie’s right, but why does Millie keep finding Ruthie and her brother Jake crying?

Millie, an orange kitten, shares about her first Christmas. Her best friend Ruthie, six years old, teaches Millie about Christmas—food, decorations, music, presents, and Jesus!
Millie’s friend Bruce, the family dog, also helps her celebrate Christmas, and sometimes gets her in trouble.
When Ruthie’s big brother Jake breaks his ankle, Millie learns about sad things, like divorce, when Jake can’t visit his mommy for Christmas. Millie watches Ruthie’s family love each other through the sadness, and find joy in Christmas.

I believe people of any age can enjoy this story. Children and adults can laugh at the funny dog and cat hijinks. The family is easy to love.

Millie’s Christmas might be read to children who are facing sadness at the holidays, to remind them that Jesus is always close to us.

I hope you will enjoy my story. Remember that Christmas is all about Jesus and the love he provides us with each day.

Friday, November 1, 2019

Psalm 119:97-104 Mem

מ Mem
Oh, how I love your law!
    I meditate on it all day long.
Your commands are always with me
    and make me wiser than my enemies.
I have more insight than all my teachers,
    for I meditate on your statutes.
I have more understanding than the elders,
    for I obey your precepts.
I have kept my feet from every evil path
    so that I might obey your word.
I have not departed from your laws,
    for you yourself have taught me.
How sweet are your words to my taste,
    sweeter than honey to my mouth!
I gain understanding from your precepts;
    therefore I hate every wrong path.

Father God, I ask you to help me grow to be able to claim this prayer. Remind me to keep your word close to me, so I can stand against my enemy the devil. Thank you that your teachings show me the wrong paths and how to avoid them. Thank you for your words which do become sweeter to me each day.