FOURTH WEEK OF LENT MARCH 11
WEEK OF PRAYER
SHARE YOUR LOVE AND THE LOVE OF GOD WITH YOUR FRIENDS, FAMILY, AND NEIGHBORS BY PRAYING FOR THEM.
God Always Has Something for You
Scripture: Philippians 4
Tonight is New Year’s Eve, 2017. The ground is covered in snow. I always feel melancholy when Christmas ends and January arrives because I know another February will soon be upon us. I’m not sure when my dislike for the month February began, but each year I dread its arrival. It was a snowy February day when my son was in the hospital. He was very sick and the doctors suspected leukemia. Praise the Lord he did not have leukemia, but the memory of that cold February day remains. Numerous trips to the hospital followed and it wasn’t until four years later that we would leave the hospital for the last time.
Perhaps my dislike for February began when my mother fell on ice in a hospital parking lot on a bitterly cold February night. My dad was recovering from surgery and she was on her way home after spending the day with him. She laid on the ground for a long time with a broken shoulder and broken hip before someone found her. She suffered terribly. When both my mother and father were well enough to leave the hospital I stayed with them for a while, often wondering if they would ever again live normal lives. They did recover, but just two years later my younger brother was diagnosed with cancer in early February and passed away just six days later. My heart hurt more than I ever imagined possible. It finally occurred to me that every heartache I had experienced in life happened in February.
The following year I was dreading the arrival of February. That’s when the unthinkable happened. Gordon’s beloved son, our precious Eddie, collapsed on the floor after playing racquetball at the gym and once again, on a rainy February morning, we found ourselves standing by a graveside saying goodbye. Once again, I found myself pleading with the Lord for His comfort, for the children who had lost their father and for my husband who had lost his son.
I sit here tonight wondering what the Lord has planned for my family in 2018. I am reflecting on the significance of the Lenten season that will soon arrive in February. The very month that I dread each year is the month that ushers in the season of hope and joy as we look forward to Resurrection Sunday. Lent is a time of self-examination and spiritual growth in the life of every believer; a time when we search our hearts and strive for a closer daily walk with the Lord who promises us eternal life through the death and resurrection of His Son. I’ve learned through the years that when life hurts, our hearts are broken, and we have no strength within ourselves to face another day because He lives we can live also. It was during my son’s illness that the fourth chapter of Philippians sustained me. I read it repeatedly. The promise of God’s peace, His peace that surpasses our understanding, has given me the strength to let Him be God. Each year, soon after the month of February ends, a new beginning takes place. The crocuses begin blooming, the days become longer, and spring awaits. In much the same way I’ve found that following times of sorrow, joy comes in the morning. We find this promise in Psalm 30. We awaken to a new dawn and He once again brings sunshine into our lives. I wish I could say that I’ve learned this lesson well, but after all these years there are still times of discouragement when I need to be reminded that we serve a living and forgiving God, a God of second chances. He understands our weaknesses. He is always there waiting for us to turn to Him and completely surrender our will to His will. And it’s all because of Calvary.
Prayer: Lord, help me to stand strong with your promise that you will be with me through the difficult time as well as the good times. Amen
God Is With Me
SCRIPTURE: Romans 8:28
During the process of discernment of God’s call to ordained ministry, I was assigned to write my spiritual journey. As I looked back on my entire life and started to remember times when my spiritual life was impacted or changed, more and more memories flooded in. Events and people I haven’t thought about in many years quickly made my list of highlights. I recalled conversations I had with my pastor as a teenager and I identified how experiences as a young adult really did lead to where I am today. Connecting the dots gave me a new and revived understanding that God has been working in my life forever. As I chose certain experiences and people to highlight in my written spiritual journey, I realized that sometimes the most difficult times and situations had the most lasting impact and changed the my relationship with God, my commitment to my faith and my life choices. Those times where I encountered people who were angry, unfair, lied and used their power to control and manipulate, caused me great pain.
As I reflected on these times, I realized I learned two very important things during times of turmoil in my life. The first is that the Holy Spirit erases memories you don’t need anymore. During these times, I could have told you the minute details of every conversation and every encounter. I have experienced the rainbow at the end of the storm and now I look for it when things get tough. The second thing these experiences taught me was the establishment and definition of my values. I was forced to examine what I believed was right and wrong, what behaviors and attitudes God was asking me to endorse and to define how I was to let others influence me.
Now when times are tough or people are not nice, I remember that God has always been faithful to me and I can count on it again. I expect that some amount of personal and spiritual growth will result. I don’t like those dark times, I don’t want to have to move through them, but as I choose to rely on God, I can begin to understand His promise to “work for good for all those who love Him”.
PRAYER: Keep me, our Father, ever focused on you and your support in my life. Amen
When God Winks at You
Often over my lifetime I have experienced some incidents which I used to think were coincidences. Sometimes I’d get an idea “out of the blue” to take on a task, take a different path, and do something out of the ordinary. Some instances seemed to be a message/reminder from a loved one who had died when I hadn’t even been thinking of that person at the time. I silently questioned where these thoughts came from and was reluctant to believe they were heaven-sent. However I followed through on the ideas and they were always to my benefit. I have only been conscious of these events in the past twenty or so years. Often I wondered why I hadn’t noticed these “things” happening in my younger years. Or if they did, I assumed they were just coincidences.
I came across a book entitled When God Winks at You by Squire Rushnell. The subtitle is “How God Speaks Directly to You through the Power of Coincidence.” It was an AHA moment. Rushnell put a name to messages that would pop into my head or unexpected things happening to me that were beneficial.
I quote from the book, “We need to pay attention to these spirit connections in life.”
And another, “God winks are tangible signposts from God, making His presence known in our lives every single day.
Prayer: God, help me to look for your winks and adjust my life to your message. Amen