Father, May I

As a child I played a game called ‘Mother, may I?’ with my friends. One person portrays the ‘mother’ and stands at the victory line, the rest of the children line up in a row facing ‘mother.’ Then ‘mother’ called each child by name and told them to take some steps and how big and what type of steps. For example, ‘mother’ might say, “Kimberly, I want you to take three giant steps.” Then Kimberly would have to say “Mother, may I?” If Kimberly took the steps and didn’t say, “Mother, may I?” she would be sent back to the starting line. Think how different the rules would be if it were our Heavenly Father who was standing at the victory line. God might say, “Kimberly, take two baby steps.” Kimberly would not be sent back to the starting line if she took those steps, because God, our Father is more benevolent. God would then give her something else to do and as long as she continues to obey Him, the closer and closer she will get to the victory line or God. If she is not obedient to God, she won’t get more instructions from God until she continues in obedience.

Our Father wants us at the victory line with Him. He has given us the tools to get there through the sacrifice and redemption of his own son and through the Word. He wants to give us instructions. We must be willing to listen, by reading the Word, and by doing what He tells us.  2 Timothy 3:16-17 “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.” In Proverbs 8:33-35 “Listen to my instruction and be wise. Don’t ignore it. Joyful are those who listen to me, watching for me daily at my gates, waiting for me outside my home! For whoever finds me finds life and receives favor from the Lord.” Instruction and wisdom go hand in hand. We get wisdom and instruction through asking God and by reading the Bible. God will make his words come alive for you if you ask.

Once in a church I was attending, God told me to get on my knees during praise and worship. I was hesitant at first, then I felt the Holy Spirit urge me again by saying “If you won’t obey me in the small things, I can’t give you bigger things.” I knew I must be obedient to God, I knelt that Sunday night. A couple of weeks later, on a Sunday morning, sitting towards the front of church, I received the same message to worship on my knees. I was more hesitant, reasoning in my mind that I was sitting at the front and didn’t want to make a spectacle, the lights were brighter, not dim as that one evening before. At the urging of the Holy Spirit I finally said in my mind, “Okay Father, I know.” I knelt again and I felt an indescribable peace. God blesses us when we are obedient.

When we are obedient, God can use us. No wonder the Bible refers to us being molded like clay. An obedient heart is pliable like a potter’s clay but a disobedient heart is hard like a brick. The brick can be broken or crushed and used again, where it is refashioned into another purpose but how much better to be fashioned into God’s purpose from the beginning! We do not need to see with our physical eyes the works of God. If he tells us to do something and we’re obedient he will get the glory. If we obey his instructions, great things take place. God is not a God of failure. He tells us in Joshua 1:5 “There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.” He won’t tell us to do something without backing us up. He is just looking for an obedient person to carry out his work.

In ‘Mother, may I’ the children are ready to get to the victory line. Sometimes they take even bigger steps than instructed. God wants to see us get to our victory line, the line where we hear his exact instructions and do them willingly. We just have to open our hearts. If we haven’t heard from God lately and want to, all we have to do is ask and be obedient. Psalm 32:8 “The Lord says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you.” We need to want to take giant steps but be willing to take baby steps if that is what our Father instructs. If we are in tune with what our Father wants, then we have his vision. How wonderful to see through God’s eyes and walk in his will, helping others to know that he is God, our Father who loves us so much! “So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know him now!” 2 Corinthians 5:16 Oh, to see through the eyes of God!

Prayer for each day: ‘Father, May I – have help to see through your eyes and know your will for my life. I willingly accept what you have for my life and walk in your instruction. Please guide me in every hour of each day. Amen.’

The Lord is My Shepherd, I have All that I Need!

Early in the morning, a shepherd would lead the flock to a spot to graze. He watched them the entire day, making sure not one of them got away. If any did wander off, he would find them and bring them back with the rest. In these lands the sheep required water and he would have to guide them to a running stream or wells where he would fill up troughs for them to drink. At night he brought the flock home, counting each one as they passed through the gate to make sure none were missing. His day didn’t end when they were corralled at sunset. Many times he had to guard them in the night through the darkest hours from attacks of wild beasts or attempts from thieves. Ever vigilant, ever protective, and always loving is the shepherd’s heart towards his sheep; seeing to their every need.

“The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need. He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams. He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name. Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me. You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. You honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings. Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever.” Psalm 23 (NLT)

Father, today we commit our brother into your shepherding hands to watch over him as he goes on this long journey away from his family. We know that you will be his shepherd both day and night, his guide, because he follows after you Lord. We thank you for protection for him wherever he is while he is on this journey and we thank you that he will be a beacon shining for you. We also commit his wife and boys to you to watch over her and lead her in her daily life while he is gone. We know that you provide All that we need and we thank you for your provision and your comfort. We love you Father and we thank you for your wisdom and guidance. We thank you for your goodness and your unfailing love in this difficult time and we know that your plan is better than ours. We submit to your will Father and we thank you again for loving us and providing for us. In Jesus name, Amen!

Sharing Love

This morning I was thinking about our local outreach ministry. This is a ministry that distributes food to people once a month through government and state agencies. Food is also donated through one of the local grocery stores several times a week for dispersion. They have a thrift store which sells clothing, furniture, appliances, toys, and other items. Another service they offer is to help people with their utility bills when they can’t afford them due to hardship through an application procedure. When there is a tragedy such as a fire or personal family traumas, they furnish essential belongings such as food, clothing and furniture. The first time I toured it, I had tears in my eyes hearing about all of the wonderful things they are doing. It really touches my heart! I’ve only been able to help distribute the food one time and volunteer a few times in other ways. The people who come to collect their food once a month really grab my heart. I cannot imagine what some of them have gone through. I’m crying as I write this because  I’m sure it is difficult for them to show up and have to take handouts each month. There may be a few who are ‘using the system’ but they need Jesus too! Those who work there may be the one person that is able to connect with them and show them love. I don’t know how they ended up where they are in their life today and it isn’t any of our business. We should just share God’s love. If Jesus met them he would love them. What a transforming power love is!

“If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing. Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.” 1 Corinthians 13:3-7

I was reminiscing of when I used a pressure washing brush to scrub the sidewalk around the ministry. As I washed, I prayed for the people who come in there that they might be touched. I prayed that every person who walked across the sidewalk might be touched by the power of God and that none of them would leave without a seed planted in their hearts. I also prayed for the people who work there that their hearts might have the right attitude to share Jesus’ love and to see others with God’s eyes not human eyes.

As I was washing, I saw how the soap and water washed away the dirt. In the areas that were exposed to light the dirt wasn’t as thick. Isn’t this how our own lives are? People who are exposed to the light (Jesus and the Word) are freer from sin but those who live in darkness have more sin in their lives. It was in the dark recesses that the dirt was harder to clean. Think about places where sin is more rampant, they are places which are busier at night and are dimly lit. I also noticed how some blemishes on the sidewalk came up right away while others could not be removed. I thought about how many of the people who come through those doors will have scars. Some of the scars will be visible and some will not. It’s easy to remember or have empathy for the ones who have visible scars but we have to remember those with invisible scars need love and empathy as well; scars from emotional turmoil or illnesses that aren’t evident. I prayed for all of these people and I cried and sang praise songs as I cleaned. I thought if Jesus were here he would reach out and touch these people. Jesus isn’t here, but I am and I hope that everywhere I go, I allow the Christ in me to be sensitive to reach out and touch others.

“So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.” 2 Corinthians 3:18

I truly hope that I reflect the image of Christ and his love.

“Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:13