My God is Mighty to Save

For Christians, Easter is a time to celebrate Jesus’s sacrificial death on the cross and His resurrection in victory over death and grave.  Jesus’s death paved the way for us to be forgiven of our sins, and His resurrection gives us the hope of eternal life with Him in Heaven.

When I accepted Jesus as my Savior, I received the promise of eternal life, but I also gained a richer, fuller, more wonderful life here on Earth.  Everyday Jesus walks with me through the joy, triumphs, trials, and challenges I face.  He hasn’t promised me a life without troubles, but He has promised to be with me through every step of my journey.

God’s peace fills my heart.  I am assured that God loves me more than I can even comprehend.  My God is mighty to save.  On this Easter Sunday, I am thankful that He has saved me.  I want to live today and every day to bring honor and glory to my risen Savior.

 

Mighty to Save
 
Everyone needs compassion
Love that never failing
Let mercy fall on me
Everyone needs forgiveness
The kindness of a Savior
The hope of nations

Savior
He can move the mountains
My God is mighty to save
He is mighty to save
Forever
Author of salvation
He rose and conquered the grave
Jesus conquered the grave

So take me as You find me
All my fears and failures
Fill my life again
I give my life to follow
Everything I believe in
Now I surrender

Shine Your light and let the whole world see
We’re singing
For the glory of the risen King
Jesus
shine your light and let the whole world see
were singing
for the glory of the risen king

Blessings Through Tears

Laura Story’s song Blessings is the song which I most identify with at this time.  Our family, like most families I know, has endured some very difficult situations in the past few years, but in the midst of the difficult times we have felt God’s presence every step of the way.   His strong arms have carried us through unemployment, bereavement, and uncertainty.  We have absolute assurity that our God is in control of our lives and our future.  Athough we would never pray for God to bring difficult circumstances our way, we recognize that He uses those circumstances to reveal to us our need for Him and to help us grow in our faith.  Life on Earth will be challenging some days–many days–but as the song says, “This is not our home.” 

 

Blessings

We pray for blessings
We pray for peace
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep
We pray for healing, for prosperity
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering
All the while, You hear each spoken need
Yet love us way too much to give us lesser things

‘Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

We pray for wisdom
Your voice to hear
And we cry in anger when we cannot feel You near
We doubt Your goodness, we doubt Your love
As if every promise from Your Word is not enough
All the while, You hear each desperate plea
And long that we’d have faith to believe

‘Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near
And what if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

When friends betray us
When darkness seems to win
We know that pain reminds this heart
That this is not, this is not our home
It’s not our home

‘Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
And what if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near
What if my greatest disappointments
Or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can’t satisfy
And what if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are Your mercies in disguise

 

 

My One Word for 2012: Intentional

I have been pondering my One Word for 2012 for two months now and have finally chosen ‘Intentional’ as my word for the year.  When I began considering what my focus for the year should be, I recalled a note a co-worker wrote me upon her retirement a few years ago.  She thanked me for reminding her “to keep the important things the important things.”  I wasn’t aware that I had ever done that, but I appreciated the compliment and have tried to live up to it. Of course, I fail more often than I succeed but I keep trying.

In trying to find a word which would encompass “focusing on the important things,” I considered thoughtful, purposeful, and balanced, before deciding on intentional.  The dictionary definition of intentional is “done with intent or purpose; deliberate.” I want to live my life with purpose and be deliberate in my actions.

My goal for 2012 is to be intentional in focusing my time and energy on what is truly important rather than simply responding to situations that present themselves.  This will require me to set priorities and take actions that will help me to accomplish my priorities.  

This year I want to be intentional (1) in getting deeper into God’s Word and growing closer to Him, (2) in seeking His will for every aspect of my life, (3) in putting relationships ahead of accomplishing a to-do list, and (4) in taking steps to maintain my health, which will include losing weight and exercising more.  I want to intentionally choose activities that will enhance my life and my relationships rather than those that simply fill my time.

Living intentionally this year will mean that I will spend less time mindlessly watching whatever show happens to be on television or surfing the Internet, less time playing Solitaire and Angry Birds, and less time stressing over situations that may or may not occur and that won’t matter to me a week later.  I’m sure I will fail often–it’s so easy to fall back into old habits–but my hope is that by making a deliberate decision to live intentionally, I will move closer to my goal of focusing my attention on the truly important things in life.  As I do that I will come closer to accomplish my life goal of bringing honor and glory to God in all that I do.

Follow Up Visit to the Burn Center

Three weeks ago, our oldest child awakened us with a 4 a.m. phone call to tell us he was in our local emergency room and was about to be transported to the burn center at Medical College of Virginia in Richmond.  That was a scary phone call and one no parent wants to receive.  Fortunately, his burn was relatively minor and he is healing just fine.

Last week he made his follow visit to the burn center.  As he and his father sat in the waiting room, they were surrounded by patients who had been severely burned.  My son later told me that he felt a bit foolish even being there when his burn was so minor. 

In the waiting room were two men who had been engulfed in flames after a wood chipper they were welding blew up.  The other two men with them were also severely burned and one of them did not survive the ordeal.  After extinguishing the flames, one of the men had to place a 911 call.  When help arrived, the men had to be transported 2 miles on foot to reach the helicopter that would take them to the burn center.  The accident occurred last May and the men are still in considerable pain.  They have had numerous surgeries and face more in the future.

Among the other patients was a child whose face had been burned.  As a parent, it is horrifying to think about a child being severely burned and perhaps disfigured for life.  This experience has made us very grateful that our son’s injury was so minor in comparison.  It also reminds us that horrific accidents happen everyday. We never know when we  or our loved ones will be involved in an accident that can alter their lives. 

Our prayers go out to those who deal daily with the after effects of a severe accident.  And we are grateful to God that He daily watches over and protects our loved ones.  If such a tragedy should befall us, we are confident that God will be faithful to walk through the difficult times with us.

4 a.m. Phone Call

My heart always skips a beat when the phone rings at 4 a.m.  No one calls at 4 a.m. with good news.  Fortunately, most such middle-of-the-night phone calls turn out to be wrong numbers.  Unfortunately, the call we received at 4 a.m. Wednesday morning was not a wrong number.  It was our oldest son.

He begins the conversation with “Don’t freak out, but I’m in the emergency room.”  Not a good start.  But it can’t be too bad, can it, since he is able to make the phone call himself?

“I burned my hand on hot grease.”  We breathe a sigh of relief.  A burnt hand isn’t that bad.

“They’re transferring me to the burn unit at MCV.”  Our hearts skip a beat.  There is no way to put a positive spin on being transferred to a burn unit 50 miles away.

We hang up the phone and try to process the information we have just received.  We begin imagining the worst possibilities.   We shed a few tears, hold each other, and pray for our son.

We’ve never been to the university hospital in Richmond, so we call our local emergency room for directions.  We are told that our son is still there and will be for another half hour, so we dress and rush over to see him.  He seems fine except for the large bandage covering his right hand.  “It’s not that bad,” he tells us; however, his nurse disagrees. “It’s pretty bad,” she whispers.

Soon after he arrives at MCV, the burn specialist declares that it really isn’t bad for a grease burn.  He had been prepared to perform skin grafts but realizes that grafts will not be necessary.  Praise God!  However, it is 6 hours before they release him and only after he agrees to having a home health care nurse come to the house to perform wound care for the next couple of days.

The end prognosis is that he should heal fine, if the wound does not become infected.  He is home-bound for the next 2 weeks to minimize the possibility of infection.  We have been assured he will retain full mobility of his hand. We are unsure  whether the hand will be scarred. 

We are grateful to the doctors and nurses who treated our son, and we are thankful that he had the good sense to seek medical attention.  Most of all, we thank God that He protected our son from permanent injury. 

This 4 a.m. was a reminder that we never know what each day (or night) will bring.  Even though our children are grown, they are still our children and we worry about them.  And that will never change.

Reflecting on the Blessings of 2011

As the year draws to a close, I want to take some time to reflect on the way our lives changes in 2011 and to thank God for the blessings He bestowed on my family during 2011.

1)     In November my husband was rehired by the employer who had laid him off 2 years and 10 months earlier.  We are grateful that Steve is once again employed and that God sustained us financially during the extended period of unemployment.

2)     In May all three of our sons received a college degree—one earned a Master’s degree, one completed his Bachelor’s degree, and the other received an Associate’s degree.  We are very proud of them for their hard work and perseverance in achieving their goals.

3)     My husband and I celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary with a two-week trip to Alaska.  I am thankful for my wonderful husband and the love we have shared for more than 3 decades.

4)     Our precious grandson turned 1 in July.  It is a joy to watch him grow and learn new skills every day.  He has a wonderful nature and is a delight.

5)     Mother’s Day brought the news that we would have another grandchild.  We were delighted to welcome a baby girl to our family yesterday. It was a special blessing as it has been 118 years since a girl was born into my husband’s family.

6)     All of my sons are employed in jobs.  As an added bonus, they all enjoy their jobs and are doing well at them.

7)     I love my job but I didn’t love the commute.  Althoug only 16 miles, it frequently took me an hour or more to get home.  Two weeks ago our office relocated into town and much closer to home.  The new location is more convenient to shopping and home, plus I have awesome views of our city.

8)     My second novel was published in the fall.  The first novel did not sell many copies, but my publisher believed in the second one enough to redesign the cover of the first novel.  So far, the second one is not selling at all.  However, I have faith that God will bless my writing and that my novels will touch and enrich lives.

9)     We moved my mother-in-law to live in our community.  She is in a nursing home where she gets the round-the-clock care she needs and where she can regularly be visited by her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

10) We were able to sell a piece of property that we had been trying to get rid of for the past two years.  We were then able to help our son and daughter-in-law to purchase their first home.

2011 was not all emotional highs and good times; there were some disappointments and sad times as well.  A much beloved aunt passed away with no notice, we endured many months of job searching and wondering if my husband would ever be employed again, and we dealt with my mother-in-law’s declining health.  But through it all, we could see God’s hand of blessing.  He has seen of through many challenging times and we know that He will be with us in whatever situations arise in our lives in 2012.

In what ways did God bless you and your family in 2011?  Please take a moment to reflect and share the ways God blessed you.

May your 2012 be filled with God’s blessings and the love of family and friends.

I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day

I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet the words repeat
Of peace on earth, good will to men.
 
I thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along the unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.
 
And in despair I bowed my head:
“There is no peace on earth,” I said,
“For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.”
 
Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead, nor doth he sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail,
With peace on earth, good will to men.”
 
Till, ringing singing, on its way,
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime, a chant sublime,
Of peace on earth, good will to men!

 

These words written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow during the Civil War are still true today. Hate is strong and peace is not found in the world. Yet, it is possible to be at peace and to find peace and forgiveness in your heart. True peace comes only from knowing Jesus Christ as your Savior.

Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ as a human baby. Jesus left his home in Heaven and willing came to Earth to live as among us and to sacrifice His life for us. Without Christmas, there would be no Easter—no death on the cross, no resurrection, no hope of salvation.

This is the good news the angels spoke about when they announced the birth of Jesus to the shepherds.  “I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people.  Today in the town of David a Savior is born to you:  he is Christ the Lord…Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”     (Luke 2: 10 –11, 14)

As you celebrate Christmas in a few days, I pray that the true meaning of Christmas will bring joy and peace to your heart.  If you don’t know Jesus Christ as your Savior, there is no better time to invite Him into your heart.