Then He ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass, and taking the five loaves and the two fish, He looked up to heaven and said a blessing.  Then He broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them the crowds.  And they all ate and were satisfied.  And they took up twelve baskets full of the broken pieces left over.               Matthew 14: 19-20

May 29, 2018

I’ve been reading in Matthew 14.  Right after Jesus fed 5000 people with 2 sardines and 5 dinner rolls.  He went up on a mountainside to pray and sent His disciples off in a boat to go to the next assignment.

They didn’t make much progress because the wind was crazy strong and they were rowing against it.  After fighting against the wind all night, Jesus came walking out on the water to them in the wee hours of the morning and scared the disciples out of their skin.

Once they recognized Him, Peter got all bold and asked to go out on the water and walk with Jesus. Who does that?   It was all fun and games until Peter realized the reality of the situation.  Umm. . . people can’t walk on water – never mind rough water.

Thankfully, Jesus was there to grab him by the hand and then commanded the wind to calm down.  Then 8 little words were said that hit the bulls eye of Peter’s heart.  “You of little faith – why did you doubt?”.  Ouch.

Those words hit my heart too.  Peter had just witnessed Jesus perform a miracle that was pretty big.  Multiplying little bits of food into a huge picnic (with leftovers) — otherwise known as the feeding of the 5,000.    But now, just a day later, the power of Jesus seems to pale in comparison to the white caps and the rough wind.

Maybe it was because it was happening to Peter himself.  Like Peter, I love to see God do miracles for other people.   But when it comes to myself, I teeter back and forth between bold faith and panicked doubt.  I’m ready to jump out of the boat and follow Jesus but then I second guess the whole “I forgot to wear my life-preserver” thing.  “You of little faith – why did you doubt?”

Lord, you’ve got me.  Help me to keep my eyes on you and not on the rough waves around me.  Help me to remember your faithfulness to me and my family.  You have performed many miracles in our family – even recent,  giant ones.  I want big faith.  Water-walking-while-looking-into-your-eyes faith.

 

“The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble.  He cares for those who trust in Him.” Nahum 1:7

 

May 31, 2018

This past winter was rough on my garden.  Living in southeast Virginia near The Great Dismal Swamp, we usually don’t have below 0 degree temps for day (or weeks) in a row.

Our poor garden plants just couldn’t handle it.  We lost camellias, figs, blackberries, gardenias and small trees. We drastically cut back each plant in early spring and hoped for the best.  Some didn’t make it, but some are slowly but surely sending out new leaves.

Last night, while returning from our anniversary dinner, my husband spotted it – a spot of beauty in the midst of brown, pruned back branches.  One of our gardenias had bloomed.

Down low, near the base of the severely pruned bush was a cluster of glossy green leaves and small delicate blooms.

As I took a closer look, I could smell the beautiful fragrance that only comes from a gardenia.

In that moment, I didn’t miss the beautiful, fully leafed out and blooming bush that we usually have this time of year.  I was simply grateful for the sign of survival.  There was hope after all.  The gardenia was going to make it.

“I want to be just like that gardenia”,  I said to my husband.  Cancer might be rough on my body and will need to be cut back.  I might struggle to leaf back out like a normal person.  But I’m praying that I will bloom again and have a sweet aroma of God’s work in my life.

Lord, how wonderful of you to create plants that we can enjoy.  Thank you for the lesson of beauty that you showed me in my little gardenia.  In your strength,Lord, help me to bloom again.  I know there is going to be pruning first, but teach me in that process so that the bloom will be even sweeter to you.

 

June 1, 2018

As I was reading in my Bible this morning, the Lord brought Psalm 40 to life right before me eyes.  Here is Psalm 40 through me eyes today . . .

1  I waited patiently for the Lord; He turned towards me and heard my prayers.

2 He lifted me out of my pity party, out of the “why me” and “why now” attitude.  He set me securely on the foundation of His promises and faithfulness.

3 He put a song of joy in my heart, a hymn of praise in my mind.  He will use my testimony to allow others to put their trust in Him.

4 Blessed (happy) is the woman who makes the Lord her trust, who does not look to other people or things for her strength.

5 Many, O Lord my God, are the miracles you have done.  The things you have done for us are too many to count.

6 You find no pleasure in my desire to stay busy.  You open my ears so I can hear the next steps you want me to take.

7 Then I will say, “Here I am, Lord.”  I’m one of your children.

8 I want to do your will, O my God.  My heart and mind want to wrap around the plans you have for me.

9 I will tell everyone I know about you.  You already know I can’t keep my mouth shut!

10 I will not keep your righteousness to myself.  I will testify of your greatness and faithfulness.  I will not prevent your constant love and truth from being talked about.

11 Lord, please don’t keep your compassion from me.  Your constant love and truth will always guard me.

12 This rare disease has surrounded me.  It is threatening to overtake me and my courage wants to leave.

13 Be pleased, O Lord to save me.  Come quickly to help me.

14 Confuse these cancer cells that try to harm me and drive them away.

15 Let this cancer that says “aha-gotcha” get what it deserves.

16 Let everyone who looks for you be joyful and glad because of you.  May those who love you continually say “The Lord is Great”.

17 I am sick and needy, Lord.  I am always on your mind because you are my helper and deliverer.  My God, do not delay in my rescue.

Amen

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