Friday, June 26, 2020

Kathy McKinsey: Sweet Memories, Something Delightful to Think About

Kathy McKinsey: Sweet Memories, Something Delightful to Think About: May 5, 1997: We were singing about throwing the kids “out the window, the window, the second story window," and this made Sarah upset...

Sweet Memories, Something Delightful to Think About

May 5, 1997: We were singing about throwing the kids “out the window, the window, the second story window," and this made Sarah upset. She said to Murray, "You love us so much, you don't want to hurt us bad boy! You know!"

May 8, 1997: The other day Sarah showed me how the cats sneeze, and did a very good job of imitating a cat, making a little snuffing snorting sound with her nose. Then she came to me and pressed my shoulder, and said, "I push the button on them right here, and they sneeze."

Murray was pulling the van into a parking space, and he had to make 3 or 4 back and forth adjustments to center the van in the space. Rebecca didn't like all this, and said, "Daddy, you're frustrating me."

May 11, 1997: Today Sarah told us that she wants to be baptized next Sunday. We said that she loves Jesus, and she said, "I love Him with all my heart. I'll love Him more when I have a bigger heart."

May 16, 1997: Yesterday Kathy was reading to Sarah about how farmers were needing rain. She read that every morning the farmer looked anxiously for signs of rain, and Sarah asked, "Who put up the signs?"

May 18, 1997: The kids stayed with friends from Friday evening until Sunday morning. This morning, Kathy asked Sarah, "Did you miss me?" Sarah replied, "I didn't think about missing you because it was so fun there.”

May 21, 1997: Sarah was reading to me this morning from the zoo book. At one point she stopped and said, "I stopped because a bubble came through my mouth; a mouth bubble, and it tasted good."

After Sarah came out of the water from being baptized last week, she said, "God's in my heart now too."

On the kids' trip to Colorado with Murray, Sarah had a story to tell. She was talking quickly, breathlessly, and Murray tried to help her, saying, "You mean you..." Sarah said, "Please be quiet," and continued her story.

May 27, 1997: After coming home from their weekend trip, Caleb told Kathy, "I wish you could see. Then, when we go to Colorado, you could get the lawn mower out and cut the grass."

June 1, 1997: The other day, Sarah was helping clear the table, and said, "I'm being a servant." Kathy told her, "You learned that from Jesus." Sarah replied, "I learned it from watching you."

June 3, 1997: Today was the last day of school. At suppertime Ping-Hwei said, "I'm so happy! Tomorrow, home."

At supper we were talking about how God can do or change anything He wants. Rebecca said, "He can delete anything He wants. He can cancel anything He wants. Those words are on the computer."

Yesterday while I was vacuuming, Sarah kept interrupting me to ask many things. Finally I told her not to interrupt me anymore unless the phone rang or she had an emergency. Then I went on vacuuming, and she went on coloring. A few minutes later I heard her calling to me. I turned off the vacuum to see what the problem was. "I can't find a color," Sarah told me, "Isn't that a little emergency?"

June 4, 1997: We must have told the kids sometime about people getting skin cancer if they get sunburned too much. Today Sarah asked me about it while I was putting suntan lotion on the girls. They seemed a little nervous about it, so I said people had to get sunburned a lot to get cancer, but the best thing was just to use suntan lotion, to be safe. Rebecca said, "The best thing is to not tell us about it so we don't get scared."

June 5, 1997: The kids fight a lot. This afternoon, however, Caleb came to me and said proudly, "We're all being really nice to each other."

June 9, 1997: Yesterday we were driving to Tulsa to get Benjamin. (This is when Benjamin, not quite six months old, first came home to live with us.) We were driving on a bridge over a river, and it made Sarah a little nervous, and she said, "Something has to save us."

When we drove into the airport at Tulsa, Rebecca asked, "Is this where we are?"

Sometimes when Ping-Hwei asks if he can open his window, he asks if he can "Open door, window." I always thought he was just looking for the right word. Last night he asked, "Why Benjamin no open door eyes?" So I guess open door just means open.

June 11, 1997: Sarah had her kindergarten physical exam today, and has been worried for the last several weeks that she might have to take her clothes off for the doctor. Rebecca has fanned the flames by telling her that she WOULD have to take them off. We didn't want to tell her that she absolutely wouldn't, in case she did, but we told her that she didn't have to take her clothes off unless Daddy was there. She practiced, saying, "I want to wait until my Daddy is here." She even practiced on the way to the doctor's. In the office, Murray was on the phone when Marlene, the nurse, came. She picked up Benjamin's carrier, took Sarah's hand, and walked off. When Murray caught up with them, Marlene said that Sarah had greeted her with, "Hi, Marlene. I don't have to take off my clothes until my Daddy gets here."

Friday, June 19, 2020

How Prayer Quiets and Calms Our Anxious Hearts

My guest this week is author Jennifer Slattery.

If God is sovereign, why pray? If He already knows precisely how everything in all the world, my life included, will play out, what’s the purpose in laying my requests before Him? Why not simply bow my head, say, “Thy will be done,” and move on to more productive matters like serving in soup kitchens, orphanages, and nurseries?

I suspect we’ve all wrestled with these questions. I have. I’ve even brought them to God in prayer, as ironic as that may sound. And as I sat in His presence, He met me and showered me with His love and grace. My requests became conversations, my fears and anxieties pathways to certainty, and my unmet earthly desires avenues to becoming filled with something more sustaining and satisfying than anything I might acquire apart from Him.

Through prayer, God redirects, instructs, and fills my heart while purging it of everything that gets in His way. He reveals hidden motives, undetected sins, and bits of deception that, if not dealt with, hinder my faith, my journey, and my relationship with Him. Often, I begin with a frustration or concern, but as His love reigns over me, it overpowers every angst filled thought with truth.

When I fear financial difficulties, He reminds me He’s my provider and that all the world, a thousand banks included, sit under His command.

When illness steals the health of those I love, He assures me He holds all of eternity, their life included, in His grasp.

When I’m watching someone I care deeply for flounder and fight their way to maturity, He gently directs me to Philippians 1:6, which tells me He is working, at this moment, to grow them in Him. He won’t let go, leave them as orphans, nor will He let up until His will, in their life and mine, has come to pass.

There’s such peace in knowing that. In recognizing that God has a good, loving, and hope-filled plan for each of His children and is fully capable of bringing it to pass. When I pause to reflect on that truth, promised numerous times throughout Scripture, my soul quiets itself like a weaned child resting in the arms of its mother.

You may be familiar with that reference of a content and satiated toddler, and of the story behind the man who wrote it. It’s found in Psalm 131, written by David, Israel’s second king. Anointed as a youth, he endured years of persecution and betrayal before seeing God’s plans unfold. In the waiting, he fled his homeland in fear for his life, hid in the wilderness, caves, and acted like a madman. But though sorrow and fears assaulted him, they never remained. God never allowed them to take root. Instead, as David sat in the presence of the Almighty, loved from the hairs on his head to the tips of his toes, God led him on a gentle but empowering journey to faith.

Psalm 59 is one of my favorite examples, written after David, afraid for his life, flees a murderous king by climbing out his window. His prayer begins with desperate pleas but ends with courage, confidence and peace.

“Rescue me from my enemies, O God. Protect me from those who have come to destroy me. Rescue me from these criminals; save me from these murderers. … I have done nothing wrong, yet they prepare to attack me. Wake up! See what is happening and help me!” (Ps. 59:1-2, 4b).

Can you sense his desperation? It’s as if he’s saying, “Don’t You see? Why have You allowed this?”

But then, in the middle of his turmoil, God draws him deeper into His embrace, and David’s heart overflows with praise. “You are my strength,” he says “O Lord our shield” (vs. 9a, 11b).  “My enemies come out at night, snarling like vicious dogs as they prowl the streets” (v. 14). In other words, they’re real and terrifying, but David knew God was greater. “As for me, I will sing about Your power. Each morning I will sing with joy about Your unfailing love. For You” not castle strongholds, weapons of warfare, or armed soldiers “have been my refuge, a place of safety when I am in distress” (v. 16).

I love that last line and the promise it provides. God is our refuge and safety, and we can always rest in His love. As we come to Him with our heartfelt concerns, He quiets the angst within and replaces it with unshakable confidence and peace.

Though He may indeed answer our prayers as we hope, He anchors us in something infinitely deeper, more solid, and more enduring—Himself and His unfailing love.

I don’t know your requests or how God will answer. But I can promise this:

He sees you. (Psalm 34:15)
He hears you. (Psalm 34:6)
He loves you unfailingly. (Psalm 57:3)
He will fulfill His purposes for you. (Psalm 57:2)
He surrounds and defends you. (Psalm 34:7)
When your heart breaks, He holds you close. (Psalm 34:18)

He is faithful, strong, attentive and true. (Deut. 7:9, Ps. 28:7, John 3:33)

Let’s talk about this! Do you have any favorite Psalms, most specifically, those written by ancient Israel’s King David? If so, which ones and why do you treasure that passage? Have you ever used one of David’s prayers as a guide or springboard for your own? Share your thoughts, stories, examples, and questions with us in the comments below, because we can all encourage, challenge, and inspire one another!

Friday, June 12, 2020

Psalm 119:121-128 Ayin

ΧΆ Ayin
I have done what is righteous and just;
    do not leave me to my oppressors.
Ensure your servant’s well-being;
    do not let the arrogant oppress me.
My eyes fail, looking for your salvation,
    looking for your righteous promise.
Deal with your servant according to your love
    and teach me your decrees.
I am your servant; give me discernment
    that I may understand your statutes.
It is time for you to act, Lord;
    your law is being broken.
Because I love your commands
    more than gold, more than pure gold,
and because I consider all your precepts right,
 I hate every wrong path.

Father God, you know all that is in me, all the good and all the bad. Thank you, God, that still, you allow me to come and pour out all that is on my heart. Teach me your mind, your will, your ways of living in the world. Protect me and keep me safe. Because you love us, rescue all who are being treated against your will.

Friday, June 5, 2020

Grace and Truth, John 8:12-58

This is a long passage of Jesus confronting the Jews at the temple. I don’t understand everything here, but the first verse catches my attention and gives me hope.

Verse 12: When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

What a promise! If I will stay close to Jesus, he will shine light on my questions and fears and uncertainties.

Jesus was bold in stating his status and the consequences for not believing in him.

Verse 24: “I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am he, you will indeed die in your sins.”

Another promise.

Verse 31-32: To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

He explains what we will be freed from.

Verse 34 Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin.”

I am so grateful Jesus has given me this freedom.

Jesus confronted the devil and those who listened to him.

Verse 44: “You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”

And although Jesus knew they would condemn him, he claimed for himself the name which had always only been used for God.

Verse 58 “Very truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!”

Lord, thank you for the promises you gave us, and for the truth you did not hesitate to speak.