Monday, January 30, 2012

Being prayed for

Somebody prayed for me,had me on their mind,
they took the time and prayed for me.
I'm so glad they prayed,
I'm so glad they prayed,
I'm so glad they prayed for me.

                                                   ~Donnie McClurkin

It's an awesome thing to be prayed for.

Just knowing that someone somewhere is praying can be a big boost (and prayer helps even if you don't know it is happening -- it is after all a conversation with the living God)

 There is something extra, though, about being prayed for by someone who has a real connection to God, when you are present with them.

Last August, a friend prayed for me at CYC and I was moved almost to tears. It was clear that he knew the God he was talking to and also that he cared for me.

Yesterday, I was prayed for twice at two different churches, both times the prayer was spoken by someone  I had just met. Both times it was powerful. Actually, they were  praying for CYC and my ministry there. Again, they seemed to know the One they were talking to.

At the second church service, we sang this song, written by Donnie McClurkin. I had never heard it, but it expressed my feelings perfectly.

Video of "Somebody Prayed for Me"

Have a blessed day!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

A Role

I got a call. Someone dropped out of playing the role of Ann Hasseltine in the Commemoration of the 200th Anniversary of the Sailing of the First U.S. Missionaries and I got asked to take her place!!

I am beyond excited. I also feel this as a big responsibility.

First, a little background. My favorite community, the Christian Youth Conference at Ocean Park, has always held up Adoniram Judson and Ann Hasseltine (Judson), pioneer missionaries to Burma as vocational models of Christianity.  The women's camp is named after Hasseltine, the men's after Judson. Every year, the stories of these two extraordinary people are told so that the campers learn them well. Each camp chooses a graduating third year to honor as the one who best represents the qualities of their respective missionary. The story, especially that of Ann, has become very dear to my heart.

These two really were amazing. They lived lives surrendered to God, dedicating themselves to His work overseas at a time when that was very dangerous. Adoniram translated the Bible and prepared a Burmese dictionary/grammar that is still in use. Ann cared for young Burmese orphan girls. He preached, she taught. Together they worked seven years before making a single convert. They faced sickness and the loss of children. Adoniram was accused of being a British spy during a time of war and sentenced to death. Ann ministered to him in the death prison. Eventually he was released and they were briefly reunited but then Ann died, at age 37,  while Adoniram was visiting the Burmese Potentate.

They both did visit the US again, but when they left from the Salem Wharf in February of 1812 they believed they were seeing their home for the last time. It is a sense of excitement combined with sadness that I will need to convey that afternoon. It will be unscripted, more like a roleplay, but I will prepare. I am immersing myself once again in the story of the sending and a costume is being sought. I'll be ready.

I pray I can represent this awesome woman well.

Have a blessed day.

New Year's Resolution Update

Do one thing every day that scares you.

                                            ~Eleanor Roosevelt

I made a new year's resolution to learn to make candy, but it is something that I have always been afraid to try. It's not that it scared me exactly, more like it intimidated me. "Soft ball" stage? "Hard crack" stage? A whole new set of words to learn.

But I resolved to try it, and now I have. Guess what? It was easy.

Granted, I chose toffee, which has exactly two ingredients and the Fannie Farmer cookbook provided excellent directions. Still, it was a lot less difficult than I was anticipating.

Maybe it is often like that with things we are afraid of. Maybe we just have to make a decision to go for it and we'll find it's OK. Or sometimes, maybe we will fail. I guess we have to know the poential consequences of failure and decide if it's worth it.

Overcoming a "fear" can be very empowering. I encourage you to go for it.

What fear do you have to stand up to?

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Another Kitchen Experiment

I made too much oatmeal yesterday, a problem I have from time to time. Reheated oatmeal is pretty yucky so I decided to try something else. After some thought and a little trial and error I came up with this breakfast cake:

2 C cooked oatmeal (mine was prepared with brown sugar, cinnamon and raisins with a little Malt-O-Meal thrown in)

4 T all purpose flour
2 T whole wheat flower
1 t baking powder
1/4 t salt
1 egg
1 T butter

Mix ingredients together, spread in a 9 x9 pan and bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. Cake will be very moist.

Results: Acceptable. The cake might be better with some type of  hard vanilla or cinnamon icing.

Do you have any good recipes for leftovers?

Have a blessed day!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Stuck in My Head

"Take away the love of sinning,
Alpha and Omega be.
End of life, as its beginning,
Set our hearts at liberty."

              -- Charles Wesley
               In the public domain

Love Divine, All Loves Excelling is one of my favorite hymns. We sang it this morning and this phrase from it is on a continual loop in my head. Sometimes I think we don't want to give up the love of sinning because we feel we would lose to much. But it's a good prayer.

Another thing that stuck with me from today's church service is a quote the pastor started his sermon with. "If absence makes the heart grow fonder, then some people must really be fond of the church." It got a laugh, as it was meant to, but it makes a good point and is rather sad at the same time. Such quips won't solve anything, of course. They just make us think.

I suppose it will be when we recognize Christ as the love divine, all loves excelling and living as if that were so that we will begin attracting people more readily.

I pray that may be the case soon.

Have a blessed day!!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Praying for the Persecuted

Today the young adult group at my church organized a prayer vigil for the persecuted church.

I went for a few hours and will return in a little while. I have been learning so much! There have been a lot of facts about the state of religious freedom and the plight of the Christians in various repressive nations. (It's set up so that each hour focuses on a different country. A facilitator gives information on that country during the first few minutes and then we pray.)

One thing I learned was that portions of the persecuted church, especially in parts of the Middle East, feel forgotten by the global church. I know there are individuals and organizations that focus on this, but I think many western Christians remain largely ignorant of this issue. Personally, it has been years since I paid significant attention. Now I want to get back into regular prayer regarding this and perhaps practical ministry.

A topic of discussion today has been our American tendency to take our freedom for granted. It is such a blessing and we are barely aware of it. It forms a backdrop, but we don't acknowledge it -- in fact we are likely to become outraged at minor infringements -- small bits of discrimination. I suppose there is a need for vigilance, but those tiny bits of discrimination, even combined with social difficulties because of real faith are absolutely nothing compared to what our brothers and sisters face in some places.

How do we let these people in opressed and isolated regimes know that we symbolically stand with them and pray for them? One of the things we talked about today was the use of social networking sites. The Voice of the Martyrs has a Facebook page. There may be other pages by other organizations on a variety of networks. I'd love to hear about more.

So what can we do? Where do we go from here?

Friday, January 20, 2012

A prayer of an afflicted person who has grown weak and pours out a lament before the LORD.

This was part of my daily reading today and I just thought I'd share it. Perhaps it will encourage someone.

Psalm 102

    A prayer of an afflicted person who has grown weak and pours out a lament before the LORD.

 1 Hear my prayer, LORD;
   let my cry for help come to you.
2 Do not hide your face from me
   when I am in distress.
Turn your ear to me;
   when I call, answer me quickly.
 3 For my days vanish like smoke;
   my bones burn like glowing embers.
4 My heart is blighted and withered like grass;
   I forget to eat my food.
5 In my distress I groan aloud
   and am reduced to skin and bones.
6 I am like a desert owl,
   like an owl among the ruins.
7 I lie awake; I have become
   like a bird alone on a roof.
8 All day long my enemies taunt me;
   those who rail against me use my name as a curse.
9 For I eat ashes as my food
   and mingle my drink with tears
10 because of your great wrath,
   for you have taken me up and thrown me aside.
11 My days are like the evening shadow;
   I wither away like grass.
 12 But you, LORD, sit enthroned forever;
   your renown endures through all generations.
13 You will arise and have compassion on Zion,
   for it is time to show favor to her;
   the appointed time has come.
14 For her stones are dear to your servants;
   her very dust moves them to pity.
15 The nations will fear the name of the LORD,
   all the kings of the earth will revere your glory.
16 For the LORD will rebuild Zion
   and appear in his glory.
17 He will respond to the prayer of the destitute;
   he will not despise their plea.
 18 Let this be written for a future generation,
   that a people not yet created may praise the LORD:
19 “The LORD looked down from his sanctuary on high,
   from heaven he viewed the earth,
20 to hear the groans of the prisoners
   and release those condemned to death.”
21 So the name of the LORD will be declared in Zion
   and his praise in Jerusalem
22 when the peoples and the kingdoms
   assemble to worship the LORD.
 23 In the course of my life[b] he broke my strength;
   he cut short my days.
24 So I said:
“Do not take me away, my God, in the midst of my days;
   your years go on through all generations.
25 In the beginning you laid the foundations of the earth,
   and the heavens are the work of your hands.
26 They will perish, but you remain;
   they will all wear out like a garment.
Like clothing you will change them
   and they will be discarded.
27 But you remain the same,
   and your years will never end.
28 The children of your servants will live in your presence;
   their descendants will be established before you.”

Have a blessed day and may you know the presence of God in any affliction.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Sometimes I get little reminders...

Today I was thinking over breakfast and remembered an accolade that was given to a friend of mine once, a great tribute really.  "Whenever you are talking to him, you always have his full attention."

I didn't think much of remembering that at first.

Then, I started reading my Bible chapters for today. And at the same time making tea, wiping the counter, thinking about a recipe.

Whoa! Suddenly that memory didn't seem so random. Maybe God brought it to mind, so that I would see that I need to give Him my full attention during my devotions. For this morning, I did manage to focus in and finish my reading without doing anything else. I'll endeavor to continue to do that.

Has God ever given you a gentle reminder?

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Friends Like That

Me: "I need a place to sleep south of Boston tonight."
Friend: "That's doable. Come on down."
So I packed a change of clothes, appropriate for my early AM meeting and drove down. No notice, nothing.

I arrived in the middle of a video and got invited to join in by the young boy, who snuggled me. (I miss MY little boy, off on a Florida adventure, so this was a blessing.) I got a bed, I got cookies, I got conversation, I borrowed a travel mug.

I don't deserve friends like that. I really don't. But everyone should have friends like that, deserved or not. And I suppose that means everyone should be a friend like that. There is the old adage that says "to have a friend you must first be one." Benjamin Franklin said, "Do good to your friends to keep them, to your enemies to win them" and Proverbs 27:10 begins: "Do not forsake your friend or a friend of your family."

So I am going to be thinking about how to be a better friend. How about you?

Monday, January 16, 2012


It seems to me that commemorations are being forgotten, overall. This is just my sense, not an observation that I can back up with  scientific data.

Take today for example. We are meant to be remembering a great man and a major movement in U.S. history, but I have barely seen a nod to it. Just a couple of facebook statuses honoring Rev. King.

Sure the banks, schools and government offices are closed, but not much else.  I believe there were probably some services or ceremonies here and there, but not near my town. It is possible that some of the local schools held assemblies last week.  Sometimes I actually wonder if the holiday would be more celebrated if schools were open on it. Or maybe the Vets had the right idea. They resisted having Veteran's Day moved to the nearest Monday and asked that it remain on Nov. 11 every year. In part because of the significance of the "11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month", yes, but also to stop it becoming just another three day weekend holiday.

Usually on this holiday I read some excerpts from King's speeches with my son. He's off in Florida this year though, and I admit that all I did to commemorate the day was... post a Facebook status. *sigh* It really isn't enough. what King did was too important.

I will have to think on this and come up with a proper celebration next year. Any suggestions?

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Spirit of God, Descend Upon My Heart

We sang "Spirit of God" this morning at worship and it really resonated
with me. Here are the words:
1.Spirit of God, descend upon my heart;
 wean it from earth; through all its pulses move;
 stoop to my weakness, mighty as thou art,
 and make me love thee as I ought to love.

2. I ask no dream, no prophet ecstasies,
 no sudden rending of the veil of clay,
 no angel visitant, no opening skies;
 but take the dimness of my soul away.

3. Has thou not bid me love thee, God and King?
 All, all thine own, soul, heart and strength and mind.
 I see thy cross; there teach my heart to cling.
 O let me seek thee, and O let me find.

4. Teach me to feel that thou art always nigh;
 teach me the struggles of the soul to bear.
 To check the rising doubt, the rebel sigh,
 teach me the patience of unanswered prayer.

5. Teach me to love thee as thine angels love,
 one holy passion filling all my frame;
 the kindling of the heaven-descended Dove,
 my heart an altar, and thy love the flame.
Words by George Croly, public domain.
The phrases that "spoke" to me most were:
"wean it from earth"
"to check the rising doubt, the rebel sigh"
"my heart an altar, and thy love the flame"
I'll have to meditate on these this week and see what God is trying to say.
Anything sticking with you today?

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Jordan Off Adventuring

As I write this, the plane my son is on is landing in Orlando, Florida. He's off to DisneyWorld for a week.

Jordan is in the care of my siblings, his aunt and uncle, and accompanied by the twelve year old daughter of my sister's friend. He's in safe hands and he'll have a great time.

But it's always a challenge having him away. He's fairly practiced at it. He goes to camp for a week every year and he stayed with trusted friends for two weeks once while I was out of the country. Still this is another milestone. He has never flown without us and he's never been this far away from both of us. It's bittersweet. The fact that he wasn't nervous about the separation shows that he is growing up ... and toward that time when he will strike out on his own.

This is a practice session, in a way. I think it is good for him. This is one reason I am an advocate of camp for kids. It helps move them toward independence. Small steps lead to bigger steps and when it is time for them to leave the family circle, they are ready. Hopefully, so are we.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Unforgivable?

Yesterday was Human Trafficking Awareness Day.
Millions of men, women and children are sold into slavery around the world every year. Many of them in the U.S.

A huge percentage of these people end up being sexually exploited.

There are many ministries and other organizations dedicated to helping those who have been trafficked. Some try to prevent trafficking, some raise awareness, some aid the victims in practical ways.

A speaker I heard recently visited a minsitry that helps women who have been rescued from slavery and forced prostitution. He said that the director of that ministry said that the organizations like hers which help the victims are doing good work, but that they are making little headway in ending the practice. She told him that

this horrible practice will go on until someone brings the love of Jesus Christ to those who do the trafficking

Wow. What would that look like? How would it work? I believe God can do this. Is anyone called to go to these people? How would you find them? Will anyone follow God there?

I don't have the answers, but I think this woman is right.

The question is: What is the next step?

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Who's Going to See This?

This morning my teabag tag read "Never write a wrong."

It put me in mind of a historical incident my son and I read about. In John Adams David McCullough describes a private letter written by Mr. Adams during the second continental congress. In it he described John Dickinson, the respected leader of those opposed to separation from England, in an uncomplimentary light and referred to him as a "piddling genius." The letter was intercepted by Tories and widely published, causing great harm to Adams' reputation and social life.

Even if such things do stay private, it would probably be best never to have written them, to be more charitable. (Of course, speaking out intentionally in public about a systemic injustice such as slavery or a dangerous activity like texting while driving is something else.) But it adds a whole new level when we are "caught."

It has become almost cliche to say that what you post will be around forever and might be seen by anyone, but a lot of people still ignore this fact, despite embarassing accidents. I have seen a lot of things, in a number of formats, online and otherwise that make me wonder if the person might end up regretting saying such a thing. Maybe I have been more careless than I should have been at times, too.

Beyond embarrasment, there are bosses, volunteer leaders and others who check Facebook, MySpace and Google before making staffing decisions. What we post can affect our lives in more ways than one.

And I think these verses apply to what we write as well as to what we say:

James 3:3-11
3 When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. 4 Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go.5 Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. 6 The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.

 7 All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, 8 but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.
 9 With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. 10 Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. 11 Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? 12 My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.

What are your thoughts?

Monday, January 9, 2012

National Play God Day

I saw a billboard today that announced that January 9 is "National Play God Day." I'd never heard of it, so I looked it up on the internet. It's not an officially declared holiday but you can get egreetings for it and there are websites that share info about it. (

Apparently, it is a day on which we are supposed to solve each other's problems and make each other's lives easier. That sounds good I suppose. And there are ways we can all do that.

Honestly, though, I don't want to play God. Too much responsibility. And, anyway, I would make a mess of that whole justice thing.

Sometimes, it's fun to muse. As in "If I were God, I'd get rid of mosquitos."*

How about you?

*But then what would bats eat? See, leave  it to Him. :)

Sunday, January 8, 2012

New Year's Resolutions, etc

I made three New Year's resolutions, this year.

The first was to learn to use the breadmaker I bought three years ago so that it ceases to be worthless clutter and becomes a useful addition to my kitchen. Success!! There was no instruction booklet and all the recipes included with it called for exotic ingredients.  I called a friend for a simpler recipe though and my 12 year old son figured out how the buttons worked, so we made our first loaf on Friday and my second today!! I'm happy.

The second was to learn to make candy. This is something that has always intimidated me, so I decided to conquer it. I have picked out a recipe -- toffee-- and have my tools. Next time I shop, I will buy the ingredients and go for it.

So far so good, right?

My third resolution is a bit more complicated. I developed a game a few years ago. Friends have tested it and evaluated it. I have tweaked it and the rules have been finalized for a couple of years. My resolution is to get it published this year. I had that as a resolution last year, too, and failed at it. The sticking point is the artwork. I need to find someone who can draw dragons -- good dragons. This could be difficult, but I am determined.

Well, that's the current state of my New Year's resolutions and I think I am doing pretty well in that area. But, of course, these aren't earthshattering or important things.

Our church held it's New Year's Prayer Meeting today. In a song we prayed that this would be "another year of training for holier work above." I would like it to be so. I want God to work in me to improve my heart, mind and soul and teach me to serve Him better. That's the important stuff. May God grant this prayer.

Have a blessed day!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Rock of Ages

My thoughts keep turning to the old hymn, Rock of Ages. I am not sure why; we haven't sung it in church recently or anything. But, there it is, in my head.

The words remind us that we can't be perfect on our own and we shouldn't expect to be. It is God who cleanses us and makes us whole.

Here is the text: 

Rock of Ages, Cleft for Me

 Augustus M. Toplady, 1740-1778 

 Rock of Ages, cleft for me, 
 let me hide myself in thee; 
 let the water and the blood, 
 from thy wounded side which flowed, 
 be of sin the double cure; 
 save from wrath and make me pure. 

 Not the labors of my hands 
 can fulfill thy law's commands; 
 could my zeal no respite know, 
 could my tears forever flow, 
 all for sin could not atone; 
 thou must save, and thou alone. 

 Nothing in my hand I bring, 
 simply to the cross I cling; 
 naked, come to thee for dress; 
 helpless, look to thee for grace; 
 foul, I to the fountain fly; 
 wash me, Savior, or I die. 

 While I draw this fleeting breath, 
 when mine eyes shall close in death, 
 when I soar to worlds unknown, 
 see thee on thy judgment throne, 
 Rock of Ages, cleft for me, 
 let me hide myself in thee. 

Have a blessed day!