A Prayer for Troubled Times

What do you pray lately in these times of trouble–bombs, gunshots, riots and terror?

A Prayer forTroubled Times - What do you pray during these times of trouble? Here's a prayer adapted from Psalms that can guide your prayers during difficult times.If the news leaves you speechless, try looking to the Psalms. You’ll find the ancient prayers of God’s people can be a helpful guide to your prayers today.

Oppression and affliction, suffering and wickedness—these are nothing new, unfortunately, in the story of mankind. It’s nothing new, either, for mankind to cry out to God in these times.

Thankfully, God listens. He hears the cries. He cares and has compassion.

We can join God’s people who have cried out to him throughout the ages when we pray the same words from the Psalms in our times of trouble.

Below you’ll find a prayer that I’ve adapted primarily from Psalms 9 and 10. The words are ancient, but they are still relevant truths of today. I hope it will be a helpful prayer resource during these times of trouble. May you find comfort and peace from our God who cares.

A PRAYER FOR TIMES OF TROUBLE

Why, O Lord, do you stand far off?

Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?

……………………………………

In his arrogance the wicked man hunts down the weak,

who are caught in the schemes he devises.

He lies in wait in hiding;

From ambush he murders the innocent,

Watching in secret for his victims.

……………………………………

The wicked man lies in wait like a lion in cover;

He lies in wait to catch the helpless;

He catches the helpless and drags them off in his net.

……………………………………

His victims are crushed. They collapse.

They fall under his strength.

The wicked man says to himself, “God has forgotten;

He covers his face and never sees.”

……………………………………

Arise, Lord! Lift up your hand, O God.

Do not forget the helpless.

Why does the wicked man revile God?

Why does he say to himself,

“He won’t call me to account?”

……………………………………

But you, O God, do see trouble and grief.

You consider it to take it in hand.

The victim commits himself to you;

you are the helper of the fatherless.

……………………………………

You, O Lord, are a refuge for the oppressed.

You are a stronghold in times of trouble.

Those who know your name will trust in you,

For you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.

……………………………………

Break the arm of the wicked and evil man;

Call him to account for his wickedness.

……………………………………

You, O Lord, are King for ever and ever.

You hear, O Lord, the desire of the afflicted;

you encourage them, and you listen to their cry.

You defend the fatherless, O Lord, and the oppressed,

in order that man, who is of the earth,

may terrify no more.

……………………………………

You, O Lord, keep my light burning.

You, O God, turn my darkness into light.

……………………………………

You are my rock, my fortress and my deliverer.

I find refuge in you alone, O God,

I will not be afraid.

I will trust in you, O Lord and King.

Amen

(Here are more chapters in Psalms about affliction and the oppressed if you’d like to look them up to read on your own – chapters 27, 31, 69, 74, 77, 79)A Prayer forTroubled Times - What do you pray during these times of trouble? Here's a prayer adapted from Psalms that can guide your prayers during difficult times.

When you want to parent differently than your own parents

25 years ago, Gary held our first newborn, Travis. He swaddled him in the baby soft blanket, tenderly kissed him on the forehead, and whispered, “I love you,” as he laid him down in the cradle to sleep.Want to be intentional about being a different kind of parent than your own parents? My husband broke a family pattern. So can you.

That may not seem like anything extraordinary for a father to do with his first newborn. But it was for Gary.

Saying I love you was something that Gary’s father didn’t do. Gary was a young adult before he heard those words from his father. Even then they felt forced and a bit unnatural. It’s no wonder that one of Gary’s fears about parenthood was that he’d be like his own father.

Gary wanted to parent differently. But he was aware of the natural tendency to repeat family patterns we grow up with. So since the day Travis arrived, Gary was intentional about being a different kind of father.

I laid on the couch across the room in our small apartment and watched Gary with Travis. I admired his tender love for our new baby, and I was confident he’d be a great father. I looked forward to sharing parenthood with him in the years to come.

Gary felt me watching him from across the room, and I guess he felt like he needed to explain.

“I figure that if I start saying ‘I love you,’ now, then it will always be natural for me to say those words to our kids. No matter how old they are, I want them to always hear me say, ‘I love you.’”

He didn’t have to explain anything. I could see his love flow naturally from his heart to our newborn. I knew then that our kids would grow up not only hearing him say those words, but they would feel him show his love in every possible way. I knew that Gary would be a different kind of Father because he let his Heavenly Father mold him.

Now it’s 25 years later.

Lots of changes have occurred in the Greenhouse–we added Jacob, Jessica and Lucas, we’ve moved a few times, and our kids aren’t kids anymore.

But some things haven’t changed.Want to be intentional about being a different kind of parent than your own parents? My husband broke a family pattern. So can you.

Gary still tells the kids, “I love you.” It’s as natural as it was in the beginning when he held Travis as a newborn. In fact, they were in high school when they told him that he didn’t need to tuck them in at night with a hug and an “I love you.” Now he speaks those words in other occasions.

And I still watch him with admiration. He’s a great father. And I’ve noticed he looks more and more like his Heavenly Father. So of course I look forward to sharing parenthood with him in the years to come.

Happy Father’s Day, Gary!

Happy Father’s Day to all Dads!

May the Heavenly Father guide you as you love your kids intentionally.

10 Habits for a healthy marriage

Ten habits for a healthy marriage - Here's a list of 10 habits that will strengthen your friendship and make a strong marriageI cut into a perfectly grilled steak at the moment the waitress tucked the pad in her pocket and paused at our table. She overheard that it was our anniversary. I was hoping she paused to offer a free dessert for our special occasion. Instead, she paused to receive some free advice.

“So, what’s your secret for staying together?” she asked.

I’m not quick enough to pull up an answer for one secret ingredient for a long lasting marriage. “Happily ever after” is more complicated than that.

But now that I’ve had a couple days to think about it, I’ll share this list of 10 habits that Gary and I practice in our marriage. Our marriage isn’t perfect (do those exist?), but I’m thankful that it is healthy.

These ten habits nurture the friendship that our marriage stands on…

  1. Home improvement starts with yourself, not with your spouse. When you live with someone, it’s easy to see their flaws. And of course we think we’re the best qualified to help them make improvements. We’ve both learned, a little slow at first, that the best way to improve our marriage is to look in the mirror at ourselves. It’s hard–sometimes I’d like to improve Gary quicker than his own improvement plan. But I trust him with his own growth. He trusts me. We both submit to Christ’s transforming power within us. And we trust God’s Spirit to work in the other.
  2. Go to bed together. Technology and media have ransacked the ritual of couples going to bed together. There’s always one more task on the computer, one more show toTen habits for a healthy marriage - Here's a list of 10 habits that will strengthen your friendship and make a strong marriage watch or another game to play. But going to bed together is a habit worth fighting for. When we were newlyweds—before Netflix and laptops–we ended the day by curling up in bed to read together. The first books we read out loud to each other were JRR Tolkein’s Trilogy of The Lord of the Rings. Tales of orcs and dwarfs, goblins and hobbits wove their way into my dreams. And an important habit for our marriage wove its way into our nightly ritual. Going to bed together helps us stay connected.
  3. Watch what we say. Remember the old saying, “Sticks and stones may hurt my bones, but words will never hurt me.” That’s a lie. Words hurt, so we’ve made it a habit to watch what we say to each other. Some habits are off limits in our household—insults, sarcasm (criticism cloaked in humor) and name-calling. We make it a habit to encourage our friendship with what we say rather than tear it down.
  4. Give thanks. Gratitude nurtures friendship and reminds us of the positive attributes of others.It’s also a great antidote to a critical heart. When my focus becomes negative, I remind myself to look for Gary’s qualities that make me grateful. Gratitude builds a cushion for those times when the flaws are blaring. Gary and I make it a habit to appreciate each other. And express it.
  5. Save energy for your spouse. The culture pushes us to be busy. Real busy. All the time. But that doesn’t help a marriage. We choose to say no to other activities so we can say yes to each other.
  6. Disconnect from media, so you can connect to one another. Technology can build a wall between couples even when they’re under the same roof. So we unplug. We disconnect from the world so we can connect to each other. In Gottman’s book, The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work, he sites research indicating that the “average amount of time couples actually engaged in conversation was thirty-five minutes. A week.” It takes discipline to disconnect. But it’s an important habit for the sake of the marriage. Read here for practical ways we practice this.
  7. Keep dating. Our dating didn’t end with “I do.” Through the years we’ve looked for ways to find special times together to keep up the romance.
  8. Have fun together. We married each other because we had fun together. So we’ve kept up that habit. Our “fun” has changed through the years— we rode bikes asTen habits for a healthy marriage - Here's a list of 10 habits that will strengthen your friendship and make a strong marriage newlyweds, boated with the kids in the middle years, now we dance the Texas two step in our empty nest season. Whatever stage we’re in, we can count on the habit to have fun together.
  9. Eat together. A meal together around the table does lots of good for a family, including the marriage. When it’s time to eat, the TV is off and the phones are out of reach. Gottman says that “less than a third of US families eat dinner together regularly, and more than half of those that do have the television on.” If you want to get ahead of the curve, make it a habit to eat together. It’s a great way to connect to one another at the beginning and end of the day.
  10. Forgive. There will always be offenses–like I said, we’re not perfect. But we’re in this for the long haul. So there’s no reason to drag along a heavy bag of grudges that keep us from seeing the good in each other. We’ve made it a habit to reconcile differences and forgive each other.

I don’t remember what answer I gave the waitress the other night. It must have been short, though, because I was distracted with my special date and scrumptious steak. You’re the lucky one who gets the long answer to her question.

And don’t worry, I still ordered dessert. It wasn’t complimentary, but my strawberry shortcake and Gray’s bread pudding were delivered with a candle on top. Thankfully no song came with it.

What about you? What are some habits in your marriage that make it work for you?

 

How to finish the day with a prayerful review

At the end of the day, you can usually find me sitting at the kitchen table eating supper with Gary, my husband. While we eat, we tell each other about the day. How to finish the day with prayerful review - Try this spiritual discipline of examen at the end of the day using Psalm 139Sometimes there’s not much to tell. Other times, supper is over but the conversation isn’t. So we walk the neighborhood and keep talking. It’s our way to reconnect.

For centuries, Christians have practiced a similar custom with God the Father. They prayerfully connect with Him at the end of the day. They review the day with the Father asking for his help to see his presence, and at the same time, to see oneself more clearly.

This practice is called a few things—the daily review, the examen, examen of consciousness, examen of conscience or the Ignatius Examen. And there are various ways and times to practice it, just like I connect with my husband in different ways from day to day. Some practice it daily—at night before going to bed, lunchtime, or on the commute home from work. Others do the review with God at the end of the week.

It’s a meaningful reflection with the Lord because it’s about more than the activities of the day. It’s about the movements of the heart. It’s listening. It’s paying attention. It’s vulnerable. And inevitably, in our openness with God, we encounter his love.

When we practice the daily review, Ruth Barton in Sacred Rhythms, says,

“it leads us into a greater sense of God’s constant loving presence in our life, it fosters a celebration of our created self, it offers us a safe place to see and name those places where we are not like Christ, and it opens us up to deeper levels of spiritual transformation. Self-examination is the Christian practice that opens us to the love we seek.”

Today I want to share with you a prayer that I adapted from Psalm 139 and 51 for the daily review. I hope you will use this Psalm to connect with the Lord at the end of the day. May it lead to transformation of the heart and an awareness of God’s loving presence.

…………………………………….

O Lord, you have searched me and you know me.

You know when I sit and when I rise;

You perceive my thoughts from afar.

You discern my going and coming.

You are familiar with all my ways.

…………………………………….

There is nowhere I can go away from your presence.

Your Spirit is always with me.

There is no distance too far from your reach.

There is no night too dark for your light.

…………………………………….

Let your Spirit guide me now.

Open my eyes to review this day

so I will know you and myself more fully.

…………………………………….

Open my eyes, O Lord, to see your goodness.

Thank you, Lord, because your works are wonderful.

Thank you, Lord, …

What can you give thanks for as you review the day—a meal, family, friends, a job, nature? Look for times in the day you want to thank God for being present.

…………………………………….

Open my eyes, O Lord, to see my heart.

You have searched me, O God, and you know me.

You’ve tested me and know my anxious thoughts.

Give me insight as I look back at the day.

Open my eyes so I will see you and see my heart.

Review the day using any of these questions to guide you…

Pay attention to your feelings throughout your activities. Did you feel excited, sad, anxious, angry, happy, fearful, embarrassed…? What do your feelings reveal about yourself or God?

How were you drawn to God today? How were you pulled away from him?

When did you exhibit the fruits of the Spirit the most? When do you wish you exhibited more of the fruits of the Spirit?

Is there an event that stands out from the day that you want to pray about?

Pay attention to the movement of your heart as you review the day with his guidance.

…………………………………….

Open my eyes, O Lord, to see my offensive ways.

You desire truth in the inner parts,

so give me wisdom in the inmost place.

(Confess your sins or shortcomings of the day.)

 …………………………………….

Have mercy on me, O God,

according to your unfailing love;

according to your great compassion.

Wash me and forgive me of my sins.

Create in me a pure heart, O God,

And renew a steadfast Spirit within me.

…………………………………….

Open my lips, O Lord, so I will praise you.

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

I praise you because your works are wonderful,

I know that full well.

…………………………………….

O Lord, you have searched me and you know me.

Thank you for guiding me through this reflection.

How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!

How vast is the sum of them!

…………………………………….

When I awake tomorrow,

I will begin the day with you.

If I rise on the wings of the dawn,

Your hand will guide me;

Your right hand will hold me fast.

…………………………………….

Lead me in the way everlasting.

Amen

How to start the day with prayerful expectation

How would you like to begin each morning with a heart of expectation for the Lord?How to start the day with prayerful expectation - Use this adaptation of Psalm 5 to begin the day in prayer and keep praying with expectation of the Lord.

We all know what it’s like to expect something—a visit from family, an important phone call, a delivered package or, even better, a delivered newborn.

These expectations change the way we act. We hold the phone closely when we’re expecting a call. We glance out the front window when we expect guests to arrive. We check the front door if we’re waiting for a package. And when a family is expecting a newborn, everyone is on high alert.

What if we began each day with this same heart of expectation for the Lord? How would it change your day?

In my own life, I can tell that when I expect God to show up, I notice it when he does. It transforms my prayer requests from a list of worries to a posture of expectation.

“In the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation.” Psalm 5:3

Instead of my morning prayer ending with my requests, it opens my heart to prayerful expectation. The prayer is just the beginning of paying attention to the Lord throughout the rest of the day.

I wait for him in expectation just like I wait for the expected guest to arrive. I’m more likely to notice his nudge during a conversation, a change of heart, or a burden that someone else is carrying. When I wait for him in expectation, I see more clearly the path he leads me on.

Lately I begin my mornings with a prayer adapted from Psalm 5. It was often used as a morning prayer in the Jewish tradition, so I’ve adapted it for my own morning prayers.

This Psalm helps me lift my requests to the Lord and invite him to be part of my day. Then I wait in expectation.

Try beginning your days with this prayer. And let’s wait in expectation together.

 

It’s morning, Lord,

so I pray to you.

Listen to my words.

Consider my sighs,

my King and my God,

For to you alone I pray.

(Take a moment to sit in silence, breath deep, and notice the sighs of your heart.)

………..

It’s morning, Lord,

hear my voice.

I lay my requests before you…

(list your requests for the Lord)

………..

It’s morning, O Lord.

My hope is in you today

I wait in expectation for you.

I wait in expectation

all day long.

………..

Help me pay attention to you…

(lift up to God the upcoming events of the day

when you will pay attention to his presence and guidance)

………..

It’s morning, Lord.

I wait for you in expectation.

I wait for you to lead me in your righteousness.

I will pay attention to the straight path you show me.

………..

It’s morning, Lord,

by your great mercy,

I come into your presence.

In reverence I bow down to you.

………..

Let me take refuge in you today,

and be glad.

Spread your protection over me,

and over all those who love you,

so we will rejoice in you today.

………..

Surround us today, O Lord,

with a shield of your favor.

………..

It’s morning, Lord.

I give you this day.

Amen.

 

 

Perseverance: continued effort to do or achieve something despite difficulties, failure, or opposition

Who do you think of when you hear the word perseverance? Have you watched someone doggedly determined to hang on amidst difficulty?Perseverance quote - Who do you know who perseveres? Share this with them and let them know how much they encourage you.

Last weekend our family watched our son, Jacob, graduate from college. Although his degree is in accounting, in my opinion, his diploma is more about perseverance than debits and credits. He has overcome obstacles since he was a young child. And he keeps overcoming.

I respect Jacob because he doesn’t quit. He tenaciously keeps trying.

When I think about it, there are lots of people surrounding me who I respect for their perseverance. It’s easy to get so caught up in our own race, that we don’t notice who is running beside us. But when I look around, I see that I’m surrounded by amazing long distance runners.

My friend Margaret is raising 4 teenage nephews. We just spent time with friends persevering as they study Spanish in Costa Rica. Terri raises her grandson after raising her kids. Evy and Ed face Alzheimer’s with courage. Our Venezuela friends stand in long lines for the basics. The Hanners go to the hospital yet again. The Harris’ serve faithfully even when there is little fruit. We know couples who keep loving each other through adversity, parents who hold on to hope for their kids, and kids who pick themselves up again even when no one notices when they are down.

I imagine you have your own list of long distance runners surrounding you. And many of you reading this are running your own long distance race with hurdles and obstacles to overcome.

Today, I just want to say thanks. Thanks, Jacob, for letting us run beside you and inspiring us with your perseverance. Thanks to all of you who are running long distances with perseverance.

Your life encourages those of us who run beside you.

If you’re finding it difficult to carry on in your own race,

  • lift up your eyes and notice the people who run beside you. You’ll most likely be encouraged.
  • encourage them by letting them know how their perseverance inspires you to do the same.

I’ll leave you with a few words I wrote for Jacob last week that describe his overcoming spirit of perseverance. Maybe you’d like to share them with someone you know who perseveres.Perseverance quote - Who do you know who perseveres? Share this with them and let them know how much they encourage you.

Share in the comments people you admire who are running the long distance race.

“…we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, ut we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.” Romans 5:2-5

 

 

10 Things Mom Gave – that I want to keep giving

Giving. That’s the word that describes my mom.This Mother's Day I've made a list of 10 things that Mom gave, that I want to keep giving. They'll encourage you to keep giving too.

With Mother’s Day coming up, I’ve been thinking about her a lot. It’s the fifth May that I’m remembering mom instead of celebrating with her. I’ve joined many of my friends in this tender place of reminiscing.

That’s how I got to the word, “giving”. When I think of Mom, I’m reminded of all the ways she gave. She was always giving to someone from a joyful heart of love.

So, my friend, I’ve made a list of 10 things that Mom gave often. I received these gifts, and I watched her give them to others too. I want to share the list with you for a couple of reasons.

  • First of all, it’s more fun to reminisce with others than alone. So thanks for letting me talk about Mom today. I’d love for you to share in the comments about your mom too.
  • And secondly, I realize that I can keep giving, just like Mom. Well, honestly, I doubt I’ll ever give with the intensity that she did. I’ll give differently, with my own style, but I’ll keep giving from a joyful heart. Hopefully this list will remind you of ways that you can keep giving in meaningful ways too.

Here’s the list of 10 things that Mom gave often…

  1. Mom gave lots of hugs. They were full, wrap around, squeeze hard, cheek pressed to cheek hugs delivered with the words, “I love you.” She was always generous with her hugs.
  2. Mom gave a listening ear. Mom listened often, whether it was in the kitchen while she prepared a meal, sitting on the swing with someone in the backyard, or nestled on the pew in the back of the church auditorium. She often gave a listening ear to others who needed to be understood.
  3. Mom gave a home that was an inviting place to be—for her family and for others who needed family. It was a safe place to recover from a long day, feel happy or sad, relax or tackle tasks.Here's a list of 10 things that Mom gave, that I want to keep giving. They'll encourage you to keep giving too.
  4. Mom gave great meals for gathering people together. Part of that inviting home was having mealtimes together. She believed that good food made good memories. Whether it was breakfast with the family, a Sunday lunch with friends or a banquet for 100 people, Mom made food that brought people together around a table.
  5. Mom gave second chances—or 3rd, or 4th or 5th. She was always quick to forgive and give people a chance for a new beginning.
  6. Mom gave a song to cheer the heart. Whether she was singing with a group, kneading the dough alone in the kitchen, or on a road trip to Arkansas, mom was ready to sing–from spirituals to silly. She liked to sing, so she often gave the gift of music.
  7. Mom gave her blessing. Mom affirmed us right where we were and expressed hope in our future. I remember when we were a young married couple that she gave us the book, The Blessing. But even better than giving us the book, she was great at giving us her blessing throughout our different stages in life.
  8. Mom gave a great party. She loved to celebrate others’ victories. If there was a reason to celebrate, she was ready to throw a party. She showed value to her family and to others by rejoicing in others’ good news.
  9. Mom gave her time to serve others. Mom was quick to go out of her way to help others, whoever they were—family, friends, or someone she just met. She served in little ways and she served in big ways. She often gave her time without expecting anything in return.
  10. Mom gave her love for God. Everything she gave was wrapped in the love of God. Mom loved God, she knew God loved her, and she gave that love to others. Mom lived in such a way that I wanted to love God and give his love to others too.

What about you? Whether you are celebrating with your mom this year, or remembering the way she was, what are ways you’ve seen your mom give? Or what are ways you enjoy giving to your family now?

Have a Happy Mother’s Day weekend!

 

Do you believe “Heaven is for Real”?

Do you believe heaven is for real? Is it hard for you to imagine? Here's an easy way to remember heaven that will help you on your journey home.Do you actually believe “heaven is for real”? Do you think about it often? Is it something you look forward to?

Those were questions some friends asked at our house last week. Our conversation left me pondering, “Why don’t we think about heaven more often?”

I know it’s hard to think about heaven when we barely have time to think about getting through the day. Looking ahead to next weekend, next month or maybe to next year is about as far ahead as we can see.

And besides, heaven is just so hard to imagine. Are there really streets of gold? How does eternity feel? Making all things new? Heaven is difficult to grasp.

Before leaving earth, though, Jesus talked about heaven to comfort his disciples and to give them courage. And he put “heaven” in simple enough words for me to understand too (John 14).

He said that…

  • Heaven is his Father’s home.
  • He was going home to heaven.
  • He will prepare a place for us there.
  • He will bring us home to be with him.

Home.

I can get that.

There’s a lot I don’t understand about heaven, but I can understand that heaven is my spiritual Father’s home. Heaven is the home we were made for. It’s God’s dwelling place, the “storehouse of his bounty.” Quote about heaven. Do you believe heaven is for real? Is it hard for you to imagine? Here's an easy way to remember heaven that will help you on your journey home.It’s his sanctuary where he sits enthroned.

God wants me to go home to be with him. Just like any parent wants a child to return home. He gave us the longing for home. He made us desire his presence.

No wonder the soul feels homesick for heaven.

“If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.” C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

Our time on earth is simply our journey home. We are on a journey to live in his presence. It’s a walk home that we can begin even now on earth.

But instead of walking home together, we merge into the fast lane leading to meaningless. Instead of fulfilling the desire for God’s presence, we distract ourselves. We suffocate our soul’s desires by satisfying other desires.

  • We focus on what we can actually see.
  • We dig our roots in and make ourselves at home on earth.
  • We numb the longing by staying busy.
  • We build bigger houses and store up more treasures.
  • We become nearsighted as we get through the day, the month, the year.

And we forget about heaven. We forget about the longing. We forget that we can get a taste of heaven even now. We forget we’re on our way home.

If we never feel homesick for heaven, it’s a sign that we’re too much at home on earth.Quote about heaven. Do you believe heaven is for real? Is it hard for you to imagine? Here's an easy way to remember heaven that will help you on your journey home.

I don’t know about you, but I really do believe that heaven is for real. There’s a lot I don’t understand about it, but I do know that I want to go home to my Heavenly Father. And I know it’s going to be better than I can imagine.

I also know that I get distracted.

So today, my friend, I’m writing to remind you–and myself included–that we’re on a journey home.

Let’s remember heaven.

Let’s remember heaven when we’re feeling suffocated by the worries of life. Let’s remember heaven when life hurts, when it’s moving too fast, or when it seems like it’s not going anywhere at all.

Let’s remember heaven when we feel a long way from home.

He’s preparing for our homecoming. He’s guiding us home.

That’s something to look forward to!

 

 

 

10 Verses about waiting on the Lord

God’s people wait.10 Verses about "Waiting on the Lord"

It’s a recurring theme in our history. Noah waited for God to send rain; he waited for God to stop it. Abraham and Sarah waited for a child. David waited for deliverance from a mad king. The Israelites waited for deliverance from slavery. They waited for God to fight for them. And they waited for Him to avenge them. Joshua and Caleb waited for the Lord to give them the promise land. Moses waited for the heavenly promise. The Jews waited for their Messiah. Jesus’ disciples wait for him to come back again.

We wait for the Lord.

We wait because we hope.

Without hope, we wouldn’t wait at all.

Hope.

It’s “the patient and trustful willingness to live without closure, without resolution, and still be content and even happy because our Satisfaction is now at another level, and our Source is beyond ourselves.” Richard Rohr

“Hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.” Romans 8:24-25

We do not despair. We don’t give up. We don’t lose heart.

We wait in eager anticipation.

Since Easter week focuses our attention on the hope we have when we wait for the Lord, I want to share the following verses with you today. They’re all about waiting for the Lord. They encourage my soul. I hope they’ll encourage you too.

“I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope. My soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning. O Israel, put your hope in the Lord, for with the Lord is unfailing love and with him is full redemption.” Psalm 130:5-7

“We wait in hope for the Lord; he is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name. May your unfailing love rest upon us, O Lord, even as we put our hope in you.” Psalm 33:20

“For through the Spirit, by faith, we ourselves eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness.” Galatians 5:5Are you a Christian who is learning to wait on the Lord? Do you want to strengthen your hope in Him? Here are10 verses that will encourage your faith and hope.

“Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, ‘the Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him. The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him, it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.” Lamentations 3:21-26

“I wait for your salvation, O Lord, and I follow your commands.” Psalm 119:166

“Keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.” Jude verse 21

“For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope-the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness…” Titus 2:11-14

“Therefore, you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed. He will keep you strong to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful.” I Corinthians 1:7-9

“Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him.” Isaiah 30:18

“Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” Psalm 27:14

Do you have another favorite verse that you would add to this list about waiting for the Lord? Share it in the comments; we’d love to hear from you.

May you wait on the Lord and renew your strength. May you soar on wings like eagles; run and not grow weary, walk and not be faint.  — Isaiah 40:31

3 Tips for the family in changing seasons

3 Tips for the family in changing seasons - Do you long for the next season? Or cling to the past? Read here to embrace the season you are in.It’s my turn in the backseat. We’re halfway home on an 18-hour road trip back to West Texas from the Tennessee Smoky Mountains. Our college sons are in the front now—one drives while the other plays the music.

I’m enjoying the scenery from the back. The pear trees spread their blooming white splendor across the mountains and the redbuds line the fields and highway–both signs that it’s a new season.

Spring is here. The fact that I’m sitting in the backseat is a sign that it’s a new season in our family too.

The last time I saw the Smoky Mountains in the rear view mirror was nearly 30 years ago when Gary and I honeymooned near Gatlinburg. We drove out of the mountains dreaming of the first season for our new family life.

Goodness, we’ve had plenty of season changes since then. We’ve added four kids to the family, changed careers and moved a few times across state and international lines. We’ve had seasons when we were barely holding on. And we experienced seasons when we thrived. We’ve passed through winters of darkness and enjoyed spring seasons of joy.

So today, while I sit in this backseat watching signs of spring pass by, I’m reminded of all the seasons that our family has passed through since the last time we drove out of these Smoky Mountains.

If I could talk to myself of 30 years ago, here are three things I’d share about seasons…

  1. Remember that the season you’re in is a season. It won’t last forever, for better or worst. Circumstances change. Kids age. Parents age. And yes, you age. At times this will be comforting–when you’re barely holding on and wonder if it will ever get better. Other times this thought will be distressing—you’ll love the season and don’t want it to change. But one thing you can count on—seasons come and go. Change happens in family life.3 Tips for the family in changing seasons - Do you long for the next season? Or cling to the past? Read here to embrace the season you are in.
  1. Embrace the season. If you’re not careful, you could miss the season you’re in. When we try to short cut a season, we miss what that season has to offer. Be careful not to constantly look ahead, longing for a new season. And don’t cling so tightly to the season behind you that you miss the present. There is time to embrace all seasons.
  1. Recognize new seasons and make adjustments. Sometimes seasons change, but we forget to adjust. Maybe we don’t adjust because we don’t recognize the change of seasons. Or maybe we don’t adjust because we like the way things were. We’re determined to stay the same. We’re that person who keeps wearing the flannel shirt when it’s 90 degrees outside. When your seasons change, recognize it and adjust. Adjust expectations of yourself. Adjust expectations of others.

As sure as a new season arrived in Tennessee with pear blossoms on the trees and daffodils sprinkled across the fields, families pass through seasons too.

Spring blossoms. Summertime lingers. Fall transitions. Winter settles in.

We celebrate growth. We grieve loss. We thrive. We’re stretched thin. We persevere. We mature. We settle. We uproot. We have conflict. We reconcile. We stay together. We spread out.

Change is a constant in family life.3 Tips for the family in changing seasons - Do you long for the next season? Or cling to the past? Read here to embrace the season you are in.

This road trip has reminded me of that. It’s reminded of the seasons we’ve passed through since nearly 30 years ago. And it’s reminded me to pay attention to the season I’m in.

Whatever season your family is in…

  • remember that it won’t last forever.
  • Embrace it.
  • And pay attention to seasonal change and make adjustments.

Speaking of adjustments, it’s time to make an adjustment on this road trip. We’re pulling off the interstate now to pick up a pizza we called in. And it’s my turn to move to the front seat.

Goodbye Smoky Mountains. Hello Texas.

Welcome, Spring!

A time for everything - Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8

What are some tips you’ve learned about passing through seasons in your family?