Friday, May 25, 2012

Counting My Blessings

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings
in heavenly places in Christ:" Ephesians 1: 3

From time to time, we receive blessing from God. He chooses to grant us special favors to make our lives richer. We spend a certain season on of the year counting the ways God has blessed us.

This spring I started a journal listing of blessings God showered on me. There are some repetitive thoughts—sunshine, a good night’s sleep, a special phone call.

We recently had some work done on our roof-a new layer of shingles and the repair of a roof joist. When the contractor suggested a certain type of shingle- one that was sturdier- I liked the pattern I saw. When the crew finished the contractor called us out to look at it. After I scanned the work, I glanced to the house across our side yard. For a second, my heart pounded; that house- recently refurbished- had the same pattern in another color.

A friend of mine and I looked at the other house. We both liked the variegated pattern of that roof. I never thought about getting something that looked so fine.

My husband grew up in the southern part of our state. He maintains a close friendship with a family from his youth.

He and his friend had talked about taking the friend’s grandson fishing in the friend’s pond. The fishing event happened recently. Hubby left in the late morning. By evening, he returned home. After telling me about the time spent with the friend and his grandson, Hubby goes out to the car and brings in a surprise. The friend’s sister and her husband sent us a 16 X 20 framed photograph of a landmark from that area. The frame adds two and a half inches all the way around the picture. One of my friend’s at church knows the area-she has family in the same county. I told her about receiving this gift. My friend’s words summed up my thoughts, “You’ll treasure that.”

Wednesday, May 23, 2012


For I will pour water upon him that is thirsty,
and floods upon the dry ground: I will pour
my spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon
thine offspring: Isa 44:3(KJV)

In March, I started a Blessings List in my journal. I had hoped to log one thousand by the first of November. I believe I will make my goal before then. I am already one third of the way to my goal.

Most days I feel blessed when we have sunshine. When I have a good night’s sleep I know I am going to have a good day.

Recently, I felt down about some things. I had almost decided to unplug from the Internet and get some other areas of my life under control. The next morning I awoke before the alarm sounded. I did my usual devotions and decided to start reading God, Am I Nobody? I was so impressed with that book that I bought some for gifts and one for myself. After a while I began to feel drowsy. I took a nap for at least a couple of hours. (Naps at my age are a blessing.)

We went out for lunch at a cafeteria on the southeast side of town. We go there often. As we were walking in, one of the young women who works the floor calls out, “There’s some of my people.” Hubby spoke back. Shortly after we arrived at our table, here comes that server. “I’m only going to be here a couple of more weeks. My husband and I are moving.” We asked where to. This young couple will move to the northeast part of our state. He has gotten a better job. As we finished our meal, she passed by. I called her over to our table. I explained that our son had to move out of state to find a decent job. She told of a situation that exists where someone doesn't want to understand their moving. She also told us she’d miss special people like us. As we walked out of the mall, I thought, what makes us special? Hubby said, “Have we ever been someone’s people before?” I voiced what I had on my mind and we chuckled.

 Later that day, our neighbor, a young man, (We’ve known hi since he was born.) worked on our ceiling and a couple of side walls, taking out the old drywall and replacing it with new.

            Both these incidents helped me with an ongoing struggle I have.

Monday, May 21, 2012

The Ten Commandments

God presented Moses with a guideline for the people of Israel. This list is referred to as the Ten Commandments.

At present there is a group in a Virginia court bringing forth a lawsuit against the display of those Commandments.

The judge hearing the case has posed a “solution” to the group’s objection of these commands. His suggestion is that the list of ten be shortened by omitting the first four.
Let’s see, the first four are:
            “You shall have no other God’s before me.” (Exodus 20:3, NIV)

            “You shall not make for yourselves an idol.” (Exodus 20:4, NIV)

            “You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God.” (Exodus 20:7, NIV)

            “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.” (Exodus 20:8, NIV)

A part of me became sad as I read of this proposal. After reading over the commands in question, I wonder. Have we been guilty of ignoring them and now do we have to reap what we have sown?           

In my Christian training, I was taught that the first four of God’s commands dealt with our relationship with Him. Does this judge mean to erase God from the landscape? He called his idea a compromise. Is it or is it something else?

These commands are from God. If this judge’s proposal catches on what have we done? Will God uphold us as we go through this life?

Will people feel as if they should apologize to God for not standing up for Him and His ways? Or will people care?

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Thoughts on Silence RJD #8

“Be still and know I am God” Psalm 46:10

Journal Entry from 2/19/1997

For the next seven days, meditation time will be on silence. Disciplines for the Inner Life has several excerpts from writers on silence.

Dietrich Bonheoffer, in Life Together, speaks of silence as a friend. “We practice silence before we hear the Word because we are directed to the Word (in preparation)*. We are silent after hearing the Word because the word is still speaking to us (in reflection)*.”

Bonhoeffer is in the same view when he speaks of our days. “We are silent at the beginning of each day because God should have the first word. . .” (This is hard to practice but it needs to be done,)*  . . . we are silent at the end of the day before going to sleep because the lat word belongs to God. (I believe this applies to a lot more than each day.)

My thoughts on this are just recently muddled; I have to interrupt my meditation on silence, (the written part)* but I can be silent while I prepare myself to go out with my husband and file taxes.

“Silence is the very presence of God—always there. But activity hides it. We need to leave activity long enough to discover the presence—then we can return to activity with it.” (M. Basil Pennington)

The longer I live for God, the more I appreciate the silence. God can speak only when we intently listen. I can identify with the above quote. Lord, please continue to allow me to enjoy the silence and thereby to be able to experience your presence in my daily life. My life has been topsy-turvy this week but You have been there for me and I appreciate knowing You were with me.

I had to tell a relative something that could have seemed mean but I had to tell her these things out of love. My friend Shirley calls it “speaking the truth in love.” My relative seemed to listen; I do know that we didn’t go into a shouting match.


“Unfortunately, in seeing ourselves as we truly are, not all we see is beautiful and attractive. This is undoubtedly part of the reason we flee silence. We do not want to be confronted with our hypocrisy and phoniness. We see how false and fragile the false self we project is. We have to go through this painful experience to come to our true self.” M. Basil Pennington

God is the only one who knows the real me. He made me, knit me together in that secret place (Psalm 139:13-15) He knows the REAL me. I have had to come to grips with who I am, with what I like and what I wish to do.

When we try to project ‘an image’ of who we think we are, we—in a sense—betray God’s working in His creation and ultimately we betray God Himself. God doesn’t like false things because He is Truth.

We, as His children need to learn to communicate this truth to those we encounter in our lives.


Silence—in order to listen better we need to practice silence. In order to reflect on events we are to implement silence. In order to maintain contact with or hear God we are to practice the art of silence.

Last summer, our church went through a very hard time; a couple’s marital problems spilled over into the church. All we heard was one-sided—from one of the two parties, the other party chose to maintain control of emotions and practiced silence. My heart still thinks of the silence practicing one as the stronger one.

Monks take vows of poverty, chastity, and sometimes even silence. I always understood the former two vows. It was not exactly clear to me why they took a vow of silence until today. They were silent because they deeply desired to hear God and his leading for their daily lives.
Update: I still try to practice the discipline of silence. I didn’t realize it but I try to observe silence when I rise and just before I retire for the evening.

* the thoughts in parentheses are my thoughts.

Linked to: 

Fear, Courage: God Is With Us  Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD ...