Seasonal Worship

Light peeked through the fake wood blinds. Breakfast finished, Mom cleaned up. The dishes miraculously made it into the dishwasher. Time to worship.

I scooted the lift chair toward Mom’s hospital bed. Two speakers were stuffed under the bedside table which held my computer.

“Okay, Mom, are you ready?” I looked into her 94-year-old eyes. Once clear and bright, now red and watery. She nodded.

I clicked the button to connect via the Internet with http://www.lakesidechapel.com The congregation I attended in Florida for over 25 years. The worship leader began with To God Be The Glory. One of my favorites by Fanny Crosby. Next was And Can It Be. I belted them out with my out-of-practice-alto-pretending-to-be-soprano voice. Mom piped in occasionally with her once-strong-soprano-turned-salty-bass voice. Together, we sounded heavenly–at least to God.

Why? Because the Lord knew our hearts. We worshiped. From Mom in her bed to me tucked into her lift chair, our spirits soared with songs of praise to God Almighty. The Lord knows Mom can’t go to service anymore. So we stay home. And He’s okay with that.

Since we moved to the foothills of North Carolina, I’ve been able to experience the seasons again. I hadn’t realized how much I missed them while in Florida until I moved to our farm.

The changing seasons remind me of my life. There was the Bratty Kid Season (Tom would argue that I still visit that season). Then I had the Try Not To Get Kicked Out Of Asbury College Season, followed by the Marriage and Can’t Wait For The Kids To Grow Up Season. Then the dreaded Teenager Season intermingled with the Caregiving Season.

I’m still in the caregiving season. Dad’s caregiving season ended about seven years ago. And although I knew the end was near, his passage to heaven surprised me. Same with my childhood and college days and parenting days. One day they were there, the next day they were gone.

The truth about seasons is you can’t make them stay. One moves on to the next since the timing is from God. Same with our lives. This season with my mother seems so long sometimes. Hard. For me and for her.

I don’t want to rush through this time. I’m older and I pray a bit wiser, so I want to take this one slow. I don’t want to have regrets of complaining or impatience of moving to another time without enjoying the time I have now.

We listened to my Florida pastor. I even jotted a few notes. We prayed when he prayed.

“Your pastor did a good job,” mom said after I clicked out of the site.

Tom arrived home and we cradled our lunches on our laps as we prepared to say the blessing.

“How was your day of worship, Tom?”

“Good. How about yours.”

“Great!”

Mom smiled and so did I.

I’d like to share another song we sang during the worship time taken from the book of Job. Because you can worship right now. No matter where you are or what season it is.

VERSE 1
Who has held the oceans in His hands?

Who has numbered every grain of sand?
Kings and nations tremble at His voice
All creation rises to rejoice

CHORUS
Behold our God seated on His throne

Come let us adore Him
Behold our King nothing can compare
Come let us adore Him!

VERSE 2
Who has given counsel to the Lord?

Who can question any of His Words?
Who can teach the One who knows all things?
Who can fathom all His wondrous deeds?

VERSE 3
Who has felt the nails upon His hands

Bearing all the guilt of sinful man?
God eternal humbled to the grave
Jesus, Savior risen now to reign!

TAG
Men: You will reign forever!

Women: Let Your glory fill the earth

 

 

Where is Waldo? Michael’s Replaced Him

Is it just me, or is Michael Strahan–like Waldo–on every channel at all times of the day or night?

I don’t watch a lot of TV. My mom owns our only one. It’s mounted in her 10 by 13 square foot room. So to watch the TV, Tom and I have to sit on her wheelchair, or wall hugger, or hospital bed.

Sports are our favorite and when I mention sports, I mean American football and American baseball. Rarely do we watch an entire game since we’re usually busy farming. So we satisfy ourselves with snippets of this and replays of that.

We commit to NCIS and reruns of it. Gibbs is timeless and Dinozzo is a hoot.

But since Mom has been weaker and needs more care and company, I’ve tuned in to Kelly and Michael. I have to admit, I love them. If I were on their show and took the quiz of identifying other actors and actresses for $50 a shot, I’d have to declare bankruptcy since I’m clueless.

But I can identify them. Especially Michael.

I enter Mom’s room while her other caregiver is there. Who do I see but Michael, happy to have a good tasting laxative bar. Or he’s chowing down on a footlong. On Sundays, he’s commentating on the game–giving his opinion about this player and that team. And he’s good.

In the evening, I peek in on Mom and there’s the spot about St. Jude’s hospital. Michael’s smiling with the signature space between his teeth. He makes me smile.

Smiling is important.

So is laughing. Kelly and Michael make me laugh. And laughing is essential. Especially if you’re caregiving. Or at a difficult job. Or in a hard marriage. You may be coming to the end of your life, like my 94-year-old mama and need a good chuckle. Kelly and Michael will give it to you if you still have your hearing.

Today is New Year’s. Since it’s below 30, farming has come to a screeching halt except for feeding the chickens, pigs, and dogs. So TV is on my to-do list.

I’ll begin with the Rose Bowl Parade, then I’ll flip to college football. Michael might show up on the screen. And then there’s NCIS reruns all day. So I might catch a few episodes of those. I wouldn’t be surprised if Michael becomes the fourth member of Gibb’s team.

The man is everywhere! Michael, do you sleep?

Kelly and Michael, keep it clean, and thanks for making America smile.

We need it.

Are You Really Celebrating Christmas?

 

Today’s post isn’t for sissies. It’s not Christmasy. In fact, in may be offensive to you.

But some words need to be said or written.

In a post I received through my email, I learned of a man who is in prison for his faith in a place–well let’s just say, it’s not an American prison with weight-lifting or college classes. The man’s face is deformed from beatings.

What’s his offense?

Owning a Bible. That’s it.

What keeps him going? According to the ones who know him, only one thought keeps him going–seeing Jesus.

You see, people in this country know that once they believe in Jesus they make a choice between life and death.

Many in this country celebrate the baby in Bethlehem, but are they worshipping the King in heaven? Are you? Maybe I’m way off base, (to use a baseball term) but I suppose that many who buy gifts, attend church, and say prayers at Christmas, don’t really believe.

Because you see, believing in the baby isn’t enough. Understanding why He came and why you need Him is a must.

The Bible states in Romans 3:23, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Falling short means missing the mark. And friends, you need Jesus.

If there were a shooting contest with a target and we all had rifles, I’d miss the whole target, much less the very center. (In fact, if I ever do that, you should vacate the premises.) You may be an expert marksman and hit it dead center, so let me give you another analogy.

Let’s say we stood on the beach in Clearwater, Florida. The Gulf of Mexico spread out before us. We both decided to swim to Texas. You  may get farther than I could, but face it, neither of us would make it. Imagine sin on your back. Sin isn’t just not doing certain things, basically it’s living your life apart from God. Not worshiping or obeying, or caring. We all sin everyday. So that sin weight is weighing us down and we CANNOT achieve a relationship with God with a trace of sin in our lives.

We’re all disqualified.

That is where the baby in Bethlehem comes in. He came from heaven to be born to live a perfect life in our place. He died, and His blood paid the penalty of our sin.

But He didn’t stay dead. God raised Jesus from the dead to show His death was enough. Enough to take our sin. He shot the perfect shot, He swam all the way. His risen life proved it.

Because He is risen, I know I will rise.

My friend, hear this passage from I Corinthians 15: 54-57, “But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable and this mortal will have put on immortality then will come about the saying that is written, ‘Death is swallowed up in victory, O death where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?’ The sting of death is sin, and the power of of sin is the law; but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.’”

So what now? You have a choice; believe on Him to be your Savior, or reject Him and face God’s wrath–and there is judgment coming, make no mistake.

It’s that simple.

So I have a question for you; Will you celebrate Christmas and Worship the King.

Your eternal destiny depends on it. Email me if you have questions. I’d love to chat.

Here’s a verse from one of Fanny Crosby’s most famous hymns:

“O perfect redemption, the purchase of blood, to every believer the promise of God. The vilest offender who truly believes, that moment from Jesus a pardon receives.”

Here’s the chorus:

“Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, let the earth hear His voice, Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, let the people rejoice. O come to the Father through Jesus the Son, and give Him the Glory great things He hath done.

Give Him glory this Christmas beloved. And just like the saint in prison with the deformed face, you’ll see Jesus one day.

And it will be worth it.

 

 

A Romantic Gift Idea for Christmas

Hello All! Christmas is approaching but I haven’t put up a tree or decorations. I’m gonna get busy, but for now, you can plan your own private holiday celebration with your spouse. NowU Online Magazine has a short gift idea I wrote. It’s about a special night Tom planned for me.

Check it out at:

http://www.nowu.com/article/connect/gifts-of-a-lifetime-romance-at-home/20322181/

So What If I’m Still in My PJ’S

It’s noon and I’m still in my nightshirt, slippers, and frumpy robe.

It’s not like I haven’t done anything. Up at 7, I read my Psalms for the day. Reading Psalm 63:6-7 made me think I needed to share with you, friend:

“When I remember You on my bed, I meditate on You in the night watches, for you have been my help, and in the shadow of Your wings I sing for joy. My soul clings to You; Your right hand upholds me.”

The way I see it, David encourages us by example to do four things.

First, he remembers. It’s almost Christmas, and I need to remember. Not just Christmas’ past because I cannot hardly remember a gift I’ve received. I remember people I’ve been with and places I’ve been, but it’s all getting kind of middle-aged-hazy, if you know what I mean.

At Christmas, I’ll remember Christ. Sure, I think about Him as the baby in the manger. But when I think of Jesus, what passes through my memory is how He healed the sick, and touched the untouchables, and spoke the truth. I remember His perfect life and His horrific death. All because of love.

I remember His resurrection and His words which include His promises and His judgments. These are  eternal things–not passing gifts or Hallmark circumstances. (Don’t get me wrong, a Hallmark movie is playing in the background.)

David also encourages us to meditate. He’s doing it on His bed. The difference between remembering and meditating? I guess that’s personal, but the way I see it, meditating is deeper. The dictionary describes it as contemplating or pondering. Taking it to heart. Not that Jesus lived and died for humanity, but that Jesus lived and died for me.

For you.

Next, David sings. I did too. A chorus in the same Psalm, verses 3-4. The song goes like this:

Your lovingkindness, is better than life.

Your lovingkindness, is better than life.

My lips will praise You, Thus will I bless You,

I will lift up my hands unto Your name.

The last verb David uses is cling.

I’m clinging to Him. Lately, I’ve been aware of my utter dependence on God. Not that I’m not always dependent on Him, I’ve just realized it more. Instead of fighting dependency, I’m jumping right in. No such thing as “co-dependency” with the Almighty.

So around noon, still in my PJ’s, I prayed. I admitted my complete dependency on Him. I remembered and meditated and sang and I’m clinging.

I got nowhere else to go.

Plus, I’m still in my jammies.