Daddy Will Carry It For Me!

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My daughter recently spent several weeks in Sierra Leone tutoring the child of a missionary family that was returning to the states for a year and wanted to make sure their daughter was prepared for school in the USA.  My six-year-old granddaughter accompanied her mother on this trip.

It was a great opportunity for my young granddaughter to experience another culture, to try new foods and see how life is so different in other countries.  Hopefully, it has given her a better appreciation for the blessing of being born in the USA.

When she returns to school this fall and the teacher asks everyone what they did this summer, I doubt anyone will be able to top her story.  “I spent weeks in Africa.”  While there she kept a journal and my husband and I have enjoyed listening to her as she showed us the pictures she drew and read to us the comments she made in the journal.  Some of her comments we can read and some have to be “interpreted” as her spelling and printing are still in a “learning” process.

While she did well during her stay in Africa, as she and her mother began the journey back home, her excitement at the thought of seeing her daddy grew with each passing hour on the flight.  Because they were limited in the amount of luggage they could take, my granddaughter had her backpack filled to the brim with necessary items such as sunscreen and insect repellant but also with those items we Americans count as necessary such as an iPad.   The backpack became heavy as she carried it through the airport at each of their layovers.  But my granddaughter knew relief was in sight.  When they left Africa and she put the backpack on she told her mother with great confidence:

When I get home, Daddy will carry it for me.

After I calmed down from the excitement of knowing my daughter and granddaughter were back home safe and sound, I looked at the picture of my granddaughter with her daddy riding down the escalator at the airport.  My son-in-love had her backpack on his back and she was walking free of any burden.  Just as she knew, her daddy was carrying the load for her.

I began thinking of the confidence she had in her daddy.  How did she know he would carry the backpack for her?  Clearly in her six years of life she has found her daddy to be a faithful father.  He has always been there to pick her up when she fell as she learned to walk.  He has always been there to pick her up and swing her over his head and then safely put her down.  He has always been there to sooth her tears when something upset her.  He has always been there taking her to the zoo, to the park, playing games with her.  He has proven to her that he loves her, that he will take care of her and she has confidence in his ability to do just that.

Then I thought of my heavenly father.  How many times has He carried my load for me when it became too much for me?  When my earthly father deserted me, He was there.  When my first husband was accidentally killed, He was there.  When I was told that my cancer was very advanced and very aggressive and “the odds were not in my favor” He was there.  And just in the day-to-day cares of this life, He has always been there.

So I have to ask myself why is it when stressful times come, that I sometimes forget that? How sad it would have been if my granddaughter thought when she saw her daddy that he would refuse to carry her backpack but leave her to continue carrying the burden although she was exhausted from jet lag.

I keep looking at this picture of the two of them as they ride down the escalator with my granddaughter free of the load just comfortably riding down as her daddy manages the suit cases and has the backpack on his back.  He is not ashamed to wear a “My Pony” backpack.  He is not worried about someone laughing at a grown man with a child’s backpack.  His only thought is to help his daughter and to relieve her of her burden.

So Jesus went to the cross for me.  He was not afraid to bear the shame of the crucifixion.  His only thought was to help me (and the whole world) and relieve me of the burden of my sin.

So when problems come in the future, I will go back to this picture and I will say:

My Daddy will carry it for me!

 

 

The God Who Sees Me – Part 1

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In the book of Genesis we are told of the story of Hagar, the maid of Sarah, Abraham’s wife.  When Sarah was not able to conceive, she gave her maid to Abraham in hopes that she would be able to bear a son who would then be considered Abraham and Sarah’s legal offspring.  This was often the custom in the ancient world – their version of our surrogate mother today.

After Hagar conceived it appears there was conflict between the two women.  No doubt Sarah felt jealous and perhaps afraid that Abraham would begin to love Hagar more for giving him a son.  The Bible indicates that Hagar may have also become a little arrogant because she had been able to do for her master while his wife had not been able to do.

In any event when Sarah began to treat Hagar harshly, Hagar fled into the desert. There, huddled by a stream of water, no doubt feeling all alone and wondering what would become of her and the child she carried, Hagar was visited by the Angel of the Lord.  From the promises the visitor made to Hagar and from her response, it is clear that this was none other than God Himself.

God instructed Hagar to return to Sarah and Abraham and submit to them.  He assured her that she was going to have a son and that this son’s descendants would be too numerous to count.  She was instructed by God to name her son Ishmael which means “God that hears.”  Hagar clearly realized who her visitor was and she called Him El-Roi, “the God who sees me.”

I have often read this story, even taught it in Sunday School, but recently as I read it, the name of God seemed to jump out to me off the pages of my Bible.

The God Who Sees Me

In the midst of her fear and suffering Hagar recognized that God saw her.  I began to think of times in my life when I experienced that same sense.  Times of my own fear or suffering when God ministered to me in a clear way that let me know He saw me.  He knew my distress and He gave me assurance that He was with me and would help me in this time of difficulty.

I sat down and began to make a list of those times when God let me know without any doubt that He saw me and He was there.

Does Jesus Care?

The first moment for me was when I was 14 years old.  My father had recently walked out on my mother and me, leaving to live with another woman.  My heart was broken as my father had been the one I looked up to and wanted to be like.  Unable to cope with her husband’s desertion, my mother became the child and I became the adult.  Instead of her trying to comfort me, I was called on to give her comfort.  Over and over she would repeat to me stories of the early days of their marriage long before I was born and would tell me terrible things about my father.  Things I did not want and should not have had to hear.

One day feeling so alone I sat down at the piano and began to play a song we sometimes sang at church.  As I played that song, it was a cry from my heart to God.  The words of the song spoke exactly what I felt.

Does Jesus care when my heart is pained
Too deeply for mirth or song,
As the burdens press,
And the cares distress,
And the way grows weary and long?

Does Jesus care when I’ve said “goodbye”
To the dearest on earth to me,
And my sad heart aches
Till it nearly breaks,
Is it ought to Him? Does He see?

After crying out to God through these words, I began to sing the chorus.  I was not sure if the words of that chorus were true,  Did God really see me?  A young girl living in a run-down small house in a tiny town.  What was I compared to the rest of the world?  Did He care?  As the tears ran down my face, I sang these words.

O yes, He cares, I know He cares,
His heart is touched with my grief;
When the days are weary,
The long night dreary,
I know my Savior cares.

What I am about to say I know some will not believe or will say it was just the fancy of a young girl.  But to me it was so real, I will never doubt it.  As I sang the words of that chorus I felt a strong presence beside me.  Such a sense of peace came over me and I knew that the God who saw Hagar had seen me.  Afraid to turn and look for fear I would really see Him standing there and feeling how unworthy I was, I never turned.  But to this day, I know this was a moment when the Creator of the universe showed up to tell a young girl that He cared.

I have had other times of distress and problems but I have never doubted that God cares about me and that He sees me.

Have you had moments in your life when God “showed up” and let you know He was there?  If so, I would love to hear about them.

 

Guidance and Direction for the Coming Year!

Looking Back at 2015!

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A new year!  As we look back at 2015, hopefully we all can say “It’s been a good year.”  Whether the year was a good one for you or not so good, we probably all can think of events that we would have handled differently if we could do it over.  Times when we wish we had remained silent – or maybe wish we had spoken up.  Times when we wish we had not attended that event – or maybe wish we had gone to an event.  Times when we wish we had loved more – times when we wish we had pulled back from a relationship.

Looking back we can always see areas in our lives where we could have done a better job of communicating, sharing, being brave, being restrained.  But the year is past.  What’s done is done.  Like Paul, the apostle, we need to say:

I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me.  No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead,  I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.

Now the New Year has arrived!

This is a time we often make new year resolutions.  We are going to work harder (or devote less time at work and more at relaxing), we are going to lose weight, we are going to be more faithful in our Bible reading, our exercising.  The list often goes on and on.

Top Ten New Year Resolutions

Here is one list of top ten New Year Resolutions

  1. Miss more time with family and friends
  2. Exercise – get in shape
  3. Lose weight
  4. Quit smoking
  5. Relax and enjoy time more
  6. Quit drinking
  7. Get out of debt
  8. Learn something new
  9. Help others
  10. Get organized

New Year Resolutions for the “Super Heroes”

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For many of us a New Year’s Resolution might look like this

My goal for 2016 is to accomplish the goals I had for 2015 which I should have done in 2014 because I promised myself I would do them in 2013 after much planning for them in 2012.

A worthy New Year’s Resolution

While it is always good to have goals for the coming year – may I suggest a goal that would really be of the greatest benefit in 2016 – a resolution to not just read, but really study the Word of God this year.

God’s Word is an excellent instruction manual for our lives.  Manual

 

 

There has been so much violence and discord in our country in 2015.  Who knows what the coming year will bring.  But, whether this year sees peace or war, prosperity or difficult financial times, excellent health or too many trips to the doctor, we can find strength in God’s Word.

Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do.   Joshua 1:8

How can a young person stay pure?
    By obeying your word.
 I have tried hard to find you—
    don’t let me wander from your commands.
 I have hidden your word in my heart,
    that I might not sin against you.  Psalm 119

There are so many aids and helps in learning more about God’s Word.  One of the greatest ways to get into God’s Word is an organized, consistent reading plan.

There are excellent plans out there.  Visit biblegateway.com for a listing of many that can be sent directly to your mail each day.

Each day includes a passage from both the Old Testament and New Testament.
Read the Bible in the chronological order in which its stories and events occurred.
Read the Bible from start to finish, from Genesis to Revelation.
Read the books of the Bible as they were written historically, according to the estimated date of their writing.
An intensive Bible reading plan that walks through the entire Bible in 90 days.
Read through the four Gospels–Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John–in 40 days.
Read the New Testament from start to finish, from Matthew to Revelation.
This reading plan is provided by Brian Hardin from Daily Audio Bible.
Daily Old and New Testament readings based on the Book of Common Prayer.
Short readings from throughout the Bible that focus on the meaning and events of Easter.
40 daily Scripture readings that illustrate the character of God and the nature of faith.
Scripture passages that focus on the meaning of Advent and Christmas.
A reading plan that walks through the entire New Testament in 24 weeks of daily readings.
A daily inspirational and encouraging Bible verse.
Daily Bible readings that follow the church liturgical year, with thematically matched Old and New Testament readings.
Daily Bible readings that follow the church liturgical year, with sequential stories told across multiple weeks.
The classic M’Cheyne plan–read the Old Testament, New Testament, and Psalms or Gospels every day.
Read through the book of Proverbs every month of the year.

Check them out!