He hurls the hail like stones,
Monday, December 26, 2011
Monday, December 19, 2011
Monday, December 12, 2011
Monday, December 5, 2011
A late winter storm arrived, coating everything in sparkling ice. Beautiful, but dangerous. The trees, especially, were affected. Long sweeping branches, usually lifted skyward, were bent low to the ground. Many trees had branches and limbs which had succumbed to the weight - breaking off, crashing to earth.
Usually after an ice storm, temperatures moderate, the ice melts and trees spring back. Not this year, not this storm.
As the bitterly cold weather remained day after day, I wondered if the trees' branches could survive the extensive pressure without breaking. I could do nothing to help - I couldn't stand there night and day, bearing the weight of the limbs until warmer weather appeared. I found myself praying for the trees.
Oh, if only the trees could bear that weight a few more days..until warmer temperatures would melt the ice and set the branches free to spring back up heavenward. Day after day the cold temperatures remained, the limbs bending to the ground. I prayed for the trees, that they could endure. Eventually, temperatures moderated, the ice began to melt ….and all was well.
I was reminded that often we know people, friends and family who are bent under the heavy cares of this life. Maybe there is an illness, marriage difficulties, problems with a child. Maybe we can't physically lift the burdens (like with the trees) but we can certainly lift them up to our heavenly Father in prayer and ask for His help for them. We CAN PRAY - for God's tender mercy to surround them, that God would empower them with strength to bear what has come their way, to lead them out to the other side. Thus, we pray, the most powerful of all things we can do for someone else, as we can watch with them, stand with them, love them and pray.
"Bear one another's burdens." Galatians 6:2
Heavenly Father, please open my eyes to see who needs to be lifted to You today. In Jesus' name. Amen
Monday, November 28, 2011
Monday, November 21, 2011
Monday, November 14, 2011
Monday, November 7, 2011
What are you saying about your life right now?
Are you saying….
Getting older is such a trial…I ache from head to toe, from morning to night.
My childhood made me the way I am, I can't help it.
The transmission went out on my car…again.
My co-workers cause me tremendous stress.
My refrigerator…furnace…stove... is dying
The neighborhood I live in leaves much to be desired.
My boss has such high expectations, I can never meet them.
My children are causing me tremendous heartache right now.
On and on it goes, day after day….
The above may be true to an extent but are you also saying with the psalmist:
PRAISE THE LORD I TELL MYSELF
AND NEVER FORGET THE GOOD THINGS HE DOES FOR ME.
HE FORGIVES ALL MY SINS AND HEALS ALL MY DISEASES.
HE RANSOMS ME FROM DEATH AND SURROUNDS ME WITH LOVE AND
HE FILLS MY LIFE WITH GOOD THINGS.
MY YOUTH IS RENEWED LIKE THE EAGLES.
Heavenly Father, although I live in this world, please help me to keep looking to YOU , seeing YOU and all YOU do for me minute by minute. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Monday, October 24, 2011
Monday, October 17, 2011
Monday, October 10, 2011
Monday, October 3, 2011
That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. II Corinthians 4:16
As we get older, we find that we may not be able do certain activities any longer. Gardening, which used to be a delight, now becomes painful. Being on the go from morning to night is no longer enjoyable. Playing sports which we used to enjoy is no longer possible. We have to admit it - our bodies are causing some losses in our lives….
This past month I have been talking with various people who are experiencing frustration and grief over their personal losses in regard to health:
Whether it is macular degeneration, severe angina (chest pain), fibromyalgia, severe hearing loss, being wheelchair bound… there are losses. Yet each person I spoke with who is a follower of Jesus has not given up. According to God's Word, their spirits are being renewed every day and, in the process, God is giving them what they CAN do - resulting in great gain in their lives.
One, in a wheelchair, knows the importance of praying for others and does so.
One who is legally blind has a ministry in an assisted living facility and is a blessing to those there.
Another who is also legally blind plays a violin and brings people before the throne of God in worship.
One who cannot go to a foreign land is helping fund a medical work being done there.
One who is homebound sends encouraging notes and cards to others.
One who has severe hearing loss visits the hospitalized, sharing the Word and prayer. To my amazement, he also sings in the choir.
Yes, there is much that each of us cannot do because of health or just plain living situations, yet God will give each of us that which we CAN do in obedience to Him as He renews our spirits every day.
That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. II Corinthians 4:16
Heavenly Father, please let me not be hindered by the losses in my life. Please help me turn my eyes to You and see what I CAN do by the power of Your Holy Spirit. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Monday, September 26, 2011
Monday, September 19, 2011
Monday, September 12, 2011
Monday, September 5, 2011
Every once in awhile it is good to review the basics such as God's ten commandments (not suggestions) to us. If we want to live a life pleasing to God and a life which He blesses, it is wise if we heed what He gives us to do and not to do. Read thoughtfully and prayerfully - how do you measure up to His expectations at this stage of your life?
1. I am the Lord your God…you shall have not other gods before me.
(That's very clear, isn't it? He expects to be first in our lives. God is God!!!))
2. You shall not make for yourself an idol, whether in the form of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on earth beneath.
(Cars, houses, people, children, clothes, time - God is to be first and whom we seek.)
3. You shall not make wrongful use of the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not acquit anyone who misuses His name.
(God is listening to our every word. We, of all people, should honor His name.)
4. Remember the sabbath day and keep it holy.
(Whether Sunday, Saturday or any day you choose, let God run the universe without your help for that day. He created it, He can run it. Even He rested on the seventh day. He wants us to rest, too, turning our attention to Him.)
5. Honor your father and your mother so that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.
(Sure our parents may not have been perfect, yet God expects us to honor them in speech and actions.)
6. You shall not murder.
(Jesus goes a step further and teaches us to let go of hatred, bitterness, anger - and to forgive our enemies. Yes, we all have enemies.)
7. You shall not commit adultery.
(Jesus' teachings are radical in this society today. We honor Him when we heed his command.)
8. You shall not steal.
(Paper clips from work, time better spent, your good health by poor choices….)
9. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
(Gossip, slander…lies - we are cautioned against these actions.)
10. You shall not covet your neighbor's house, wife…or anything he/she owns.
(Keeping up with the Jones family….their lawn, their clothes, their lifestyle - pulls us away from God whom we should seek with all of our heart, strength and soul.)
Take some time to review life as you know it today in terms of God's commands. He knows best how the world should work. If we obey His commands, He will bless us for the pleasure we are bringing Him.
Heavenly Father, please throughout this next month, bring to mind any area in which I am not following your commands to me. I want Your best and know that I must do my part to receive it. Yes, grace is freely given yet I know you also expect certain thoughts and behaviors from me. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Monday, August 29, 2011
Monday, August 22, 2011
Monday, August 8, 2011
Monday, August 1, 2011
We've all seen the classic photograph of a tree reaching toward the sky, growing out of a mountainous rock.
When I saw the sight of a tree springing up between two fences without any seeming source of light except from above, I was as amazed as if it had been growing out of a rock. It seemed impossible.
Our lives are like this sometimes, aren't they - filled with rocky, dark places? Yet God brings life against all odds to us. He brings us resurrection life even here on earth.
Listen to what scripture says about us:
Blessed is the man (or woman) who trusts in the Lord…. He (she) is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit. Jeremiah 17:8
Heavenly Father, please let this be a picture of my life no matter what my circumstances - that I may continue to bear fruit to your glory…day after day. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Monday, July 25, 2011
Monday, July 18, 2011
Monday, July 11, 2011
Monday, July 4, 2011
LIFE AS YOU ENVISIONED IT?
Is your life as you envisioned it?
Did you envision life full of bright and sunny days but now life is not quite as sunny?
- you are caring for elderly parents and it's not easy
- the economic downturn resulted in the loss of your job
- your children are causing you heartache
- your health and energy level are not as you'd like them to be
- your job is tough and filled with stress and uncertainty
- you are concerned for your grandchildren
- there isn't enough money to meet your expenses month after month
- your house needs repair as your appliances give out and your vehicle needs attention, too.
Think about Mary, Jesus' mother. Her life didn't exactly turn out as she expected, either. She envisioned marrying that nice young man and having a family, safe in her own village. Instead she was single and pregnant until that nice young man heard from God and agreed to marry her. She had to travel uncomfortably and give birth in a place which was not of her choosing Throughout her life situations occurred, including the death of her Son, which could have caused her to exclaim that her life was not as she had envisioned it.
How about you? Do you find yourself crying out to God, "This is NOT what I envisioned my life to be!"
Yet, if we have surrendered and given our lives to God and He is at work in us, as we look at our lives we, with Mary, can also exclaim:
"I am the Lord's servant, and I am willing to accept whatever He wants." Luke 1:38
If our lives are not as we envisioned them, yet if we have committed ourselves to God, surely we can trust His vision for our lives and we can say:
"May everything You have said come true." Luke 138
We can trust Him with our very lives!
'Reflections of God's Glory' copyright 2010 by Dawn Ulmer firstname.lastname@example.org
Monday, June 27, 2011
Monday, June 20, 2011
Monday, June 13, 2011
Monday, May 30, 2011
Monday, May 23, 2011
Monday, May 16, 2011
Monday, May 9, 2011
Monday, May 2, 2011
When we look at news clips of soldiers fighting in far-off lands, do we realize all the training that has gone on to get them that far, fully trained for the task ahead?
After soldiers are recruited or volunteer for the duty intended, then a rigorous boot camp and ongoing training are needed. Day by day they are toughened up and trained - trained to obey the least command.
In our lives, too, God calls us into His service. He never throws us into any task unprepared. He gives us the presence of His very own Spirit within to guide, teach and empower us. He spends days, months and years fitting us for the tasks ahead. He prepares us and equips us fully.
The next time you are faced with a seemingly impossible life task, you can have total confidence in God. He has made you ready.
Bless the Lord, who is my rock. He gives me strength for war and skill for battle. Psalm 144:1
Heavenly Father, thank You that life events and circumstances may change but You have prepared me for doing my part in it all as I walk with You. Thank You. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Monday, April 25, 2011
Monday, April 18, 2011
Monday, April 11, 2011
Monday, April 4, 2011
When people think of you, how would you be described?
Are you considered cheerful and usually in good humor or are you negative, sour and bitter?
Are you usually on time or are you known for your unreliability?
Are you dependable or do people wonder if you will follow through on your commitments, whether big or small?
Are you careful in the use of material resources or are you wasteful?
Do you walk through life with good energy or do you drag yourself through every waking hour, grumbling all the way?
Are you truthful or are you known to exaggerate or outright lie?
Do you always have to be right or can you humbly admit when you are wrong and make amends?
Are you a giver or a taker?
Do you treat others as you'd like to be treated or don't you care?
Are you consistently kind, patient and loving or are you filled with impatience toward others (and yourself)?
Are you at peace or is there anger raging within you, boiling over, hurting others?
Do you love with words and deeds or are your words of love empty and meaningless?
Do you act the same way in private with your loved ones as you do in the public's eye?
When upset, do you exhibit self control or to you erupt with angry words and actions?
Do people need to walk on eggshells around you or are you approachable and kind?
The probing questions could go on and on... but let's stop a minute and consider how others see us...but most important, how does GOD see us?
Yes, He sees us with loving eyes. Yes, He knows that we are but children, still imperfect - learning to become more like Jesus every day.
Let's not forget the truth about ourselves:
The way of the righteous will shine brighter and brighter until full day. Prov. 4:18
If we truly belong to God, we will be in the process of becoming more like Jesus daily - that is what following Jesus means - to follow Him closely - to become more like Him in the core of our being - in our spirits where His Holy Spirit has come to live.
His Spirit within reveals how we are to live and
His Spirit within empowers us to live as He directs.
So, since we belong to Him, we WILL shine brighter and brighter. Who we truly are before God and man will shine forth.
You are the light of the world.... Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven. Matt. 5 :14-16
Heavenly Father, please help me be Your light in the world. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Monday, March 28, 2011
Monday, March 21, 2011
Monday, March 14, 2011
Monday, March 7, 2011
Have you ever heard this question from a customer service representative:
Are you satisfied with the service I provided today?
I wonder what God would say if we asked Him that question about our serving Him lately?
Let's ask Him.
Are you satisfied with the service I provided today?
As you await His answer, ask yourself:
Can I be trusted with the area of serving He has given me?
Do I show up on time or do I drag my feet in the serving?
Do I do my work thoroughly and completely or is it slipshod work?
Do I work wholeheartedly or half heartedly?
Do I go the extra mile in serving or do I just do the bare necessities?
Do I serve with a smile on my face and in my heart or am I grumbling through it all?
Am I patient in my serving or do I rush through just to be done with it?
Do I rely on Him to give the strength and wisdom to serve?
These questions are worth considering, don't you think?
Let's await the Master's "Well done! You are a trustworthy servant. You have been faithful with the little I entrusted to you...." Luke 19:17
Heavenly Father, I long to hear "WELL DONE". Please show me how to serve You as You deserve. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Monday, February 28, 2011
Monday, February 21, 2011
Monday, February 14, 2011
Monday, February 7, 2011
Have you ever felt the earth quaking beneath your feet? Maybe the unsettled ground wasn't from one of those famous California earthquakes, maybe it was just your life.
Perhaps you have a new baby in your house (or triplets) and you have forgotten what sleep is. Or you are in search of a job and cannot find one, the earth feeling VERY unsteady beneath your feet. Or you are caring for aging parents so all of life seems disrupted by the constant running. Or a new job has begun and the learning curve seems like a huge mountain to scale. Or . . . you fill in the blanks for what is presently going on in YOUR life.
If the earth seems to be quaking beneath you, set your gaze upon God who breathes His life within you. As you walk (don't just stand still, but walk), He will steady you. We can rely on God who promises to be a very present help in time of need.
What does the rest of the verse say? Not only are we steadied as we walk along but: "He has given me a new song to sing." Psalm 40:3 I would love to hear the words He is giving you!
Heavenly Father, thank You that You know the path I am on right now. Please keep me moving steadily onward toward You. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Monday, January 31, 2011
Monday, January 24, 2011
Monday, January 17, 2011
Monday, January 10, 2011
Monday, January 3, 2011
You had it all planned - there would be sledding , ice skating on the pond, ice fishing, snowboarding and hikes in the woods. What a wonderful time it would be as family and friends would gather by the lake for some outdoor fun. The anticipation was contagious.
Then came the rising temperatures overnight, warming everything in sight - the snow melted, the ice on the pond became puddles of water, unsafe for all. There would be no ice fishing. Even hiking was out of the question as everything was slippery if it wasn't slushy. Thus, the dream would need to be revised.
That happens in our lives, too, doesn't it? We anticipate such good things: marriages that thrive, excellent health which provides good energy every day and all day, children who are always a joy to us, a promotion and raise at work...on and on goes the list of all we hope for and dream about in our own lives and in the lives of our loved ones.
Then come the difficulties (remember those rising temperatures?). Marriages are a struggle or fall apart entirely, our children are hurting, our health and energy levels aren't what we'd like them to be, work becomes filled with stress....
The dream must be revised. Perhaps that will include wisdom to interact with your children, parents, spouse or former spouse in a different way. Perhaps that will include wisdom to know how to use the energy you do have in more productive ways. Perhaps it will be a decision to change careers or to climb the career ladder a different way.
How does one go about revising dreams?
Go to God FIRST - "If you need wisdom - if you want to know what God wants you to do - ask Him. He will gladly tell you." James 1:5
Now stand back and watch God work to unfold His perfect dreams for you.
Heavenly Father, life is not as I had envisioned it. Please continue to fulfill Your purposes in my life. Please revise any dreams I may have had for my life and those I love. Please instill Your dream in my heart. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Saturday, January 1, 2011
From all outward appearances it should have been a dark time…and yet it wasn't. There were sparks of joy appearing out of nowhere.
It was a good idea to get my tires rotated as winter set in - as my vehicle was in the air, the mechanic informed me that my back window was shattering, he could hear and see it happening right before his eyes. He had never seen anything like it in his 40 years of being a mechanic. Sure enough, five minutes later as I prepared to try to make it home, the window had progressed from cracking to a gaping hole beginning to appear. Could I make it home so I could call the mobile window replacement service?
I gingerly headed home. Driving down the main country road, I found myself actually smiling as I could hear the cracking, crackling and shattering of the window as the hole became larger and larger, shards of glass falling into my back seat.
Yes, I actually caught myself smiling. Thinking that was a strange reaction, I wondered about what I was thinking to make me smile. Surprisingly, I was having thoughts of thankfulness to God - that this began to happen while I was under the watchful eye of a mechanic, that I was not on the highway, that I had a day off from work to deal with it before I needed to be on the road (safely) again and that it was the back window, not the front windshield so I could see to get home. Also, there was thankfulness to God for His faithfulness to me, His unfailing love and care for me. Thankfulness seemed to create sparks of joy.
May I encourage you to do an experiment this next year? Consciously and specifically thank God - and see the sparks of joy that will appear in your heart and mind. Those sparks may even bubble up into outright delighted laughter. Keep a tally of joy-filled moments this next year - just see what God is doing in you.
Jesus said: If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I (Jesus) have kept my Father's commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may be in you and that your joy may be full.
John 15:10 & 11
May our lives be filled with sparks of joy because we are consciously and specifically thanking God in obedience to the teachings of Jesus!
Heavenly Father, I'm beginning the New Year right - THANK YOU!
Reflections of God's Glory copyright 2011 by Dawn Ulmer, email@example.com