Sunday, January 17, 2010

Our Hearts are in Haiti

We sponsor these dear children through Compassion International. (See earlier post (Christmas Child). They live in Haiti, the poorest country in the Americas, so our lives our quite different from theirs. But it didn't take long to form a bond. They send us the most heart-warming letters and drawings.

I had just written to each of our kids again on Monday night, then heard of the terrible 7.0 magnitude earthquake on Tuesday. Thankfully, they should all be safe, as they are in projects in the north, near Cap Haitien, and in the south central -- a safe distance from the great tragedy near Port au Prince.

But more than 6,000 Compassion children were at the center of that chaos. Our hearts are in Haiti, with those who have lost so much, when they have so little to begin with. I have cried every day with new news of their plight. My heart breaks watching every grieving parent, every frightened child, and all that they are now enduring.

Yet, I am inspired and encouraged to see video of the Haitien people singing hymns together to stay strong. This is so like the people we have come to know through our correspondence. They have a solid faith that rises out of darkness. And I am encouraged to see so many Americans now wanting to help the people of Haiti.

As sponsors, we received a video update on Haiti from Compassion's CEO Wess Stafford. He began his ministry in Haiti 40 years ago and married his wife there. Compassion International is a truly worthy organization for anyone looking for a way they can help.

Oh, Lord Jesus, please give the comfort that only You can give!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Needless Extra Miles

How did I do that?? I missed my exit because I was thinking about something else, then I needed to go a few miles out of my way to get back on track. What a waste!

I seem to be prone to doing that. Too many things on my mind some days and I often find myself taking the "long way" around. I wondered how many extra miles I have detoured throughout my life because I wasn't paying close enough attention to where I was headed.

Then I pictured God looking down from the heavens at the map of my life, seeing all the weaving and wandering I have done over the years. All those times I thought I knew the right way instead of trusting in His way. All those needless "extra miles" and "arriving late" was because I lost the real Focus.

Father God, my focus needs to be on You at all times. I don't want to be distracted. I yield every area of my life to you. Don't let me take any more detours than I have to!

"In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight." (Prov. 3:6 NIV)

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Do Not Be Anxious

There is a lot of anxiety at work now. Everyone knows there's an elephant in the room, and as we wait for more information on upcoming job cuts, it's impacting each of us a little differently.

I work with fun and intelligent people who inspire me. We love our jobs and it's evident as our best ideas blend and we achieve great results together. It is a melancholy feeling, as I know it soon won't be the same. At least one of us will be missing from that circle.

But I broke out my treasure chest this morning and a storehouse of riches poured out. Though it's certainly not the first time I've read it, Philippians 4 (NIV) was filled with "new" treasures to encourage me:

"Don't be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God..." (v. 6)

I'm in Good Hands. He knows my needs. We've talked a lot about this lately.

"And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding...

It's more than we can wrap our heads around!

will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." (v. 7)

What a precious picture it is that the peace is "guarding" my heart... protecting it. Sometimes it's hard to get the same message in my head and my heart, but this peace is complete and encompasses all.

"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is admirable -- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy -- think about such things," verse 8 continues.

I am not to be anxious, worried, focusing on the negative or the "what-ifs." I am to remember that God is a fortress around me and He is in control of all.
I can focus on the work I enjoy and the wonderful people I work with. I remain creative and productive and eager and inspired to give my best fruits.

"I can do everything through Him who gives me strength." (v.13) That's what I need to focus on!

So, that's my story. What's yours? Is there something threatening your peace lately? Let's make a pact to focus on the positives.

"And my God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus." (v. 19)

Heavenly Father, I thank you for the vast wealth of encouragement that is found in Your Word. Holy Spirit, You hold the key to unlocking these treasures for all who make the request. I pray today for all to know this great hope. Keep us focused on You and all You have planned for us.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Full Armor of God

When the alarm sounds, I greet the new day with a joyful heart. I'm fortunate to be a morning person, but even my husband (who is not a morning person), enjoys our routine. After some light stretching to help us wake up, we are off to the sunroom to read the Word together. We talk about highlights of what we've read and then join in a quick prayer to sink our roots deeper.

As soon as my dog Nikki hears "Amen," she is hopping with anticipation for her favorite part of the day -- our walk. My faithful friend Beth and her dog Toby come out to meet us whether in light drizzle or deep snow, because we so enjoy encouraging one another with our faith stories.

Then, I'm listening to Christian radio on the 10-minute drive to work. When I log on my computer, I have an e-devotional waiting to greet me. My passwords themselves are reminders of spiritual inspirations. I'm blessed to have great people and interesting work, but if by chance I get derailed by lunchtime, I have another close friend who is eager to take a walk and share praises of what God is doing...

It occurred to me this morning as Ted and I read Ephesians 6, that all these treasured parts of my routine are like putting on the full armor of God. They help me stand firm, ready my feet to walk in truth and take up the shield of faith to extinguish any flaming arrows of the day.

What are you wearing today? Do you have your helmet and sword? Have a few minutes to add another layer of protection for the day? It's worth it!

Lord, thank you so much for blessing me with other believers in my daily routine. Thank you for the freedom to read your Word and to share our faith. Your armor will protect me if I take the time to put it on.