For Those You Have Given Me, Lord~

I am thinking this morning about the many people God has put in my life. Much if not most of the time, we are very caught up in what is going on in our own lives. Self-focused are we! But we were made for relationship, so most of us count those we know as an important part of the fabric of our lives. Facebook, which is often a bit intrusive, is still important to me because it gives me a window into the heart, mind and lives of some of the people I care about. It enables me to (hopefully, prayerfully) make comments to encourage rather than inflame. But Facebook certainly is not the best platform to reach those we care about.

This morning I feel the weight of concern for family and friends who are struggling. I’ve often been torn almost literally to pieces by the emotional baggage of someone else’s burdens. Can anyone relate? I’ve had to learn to ‘let go and let God’ take care of what is not mine to handle. Over time, I’ve realized that I cannot edit someone else’s life story. I cannot fix ‘their broken.’ But there are things I can do when someone I care about is hurting. I can reach out with words spoken or written. I can reach out without words by a hug or a gesture – even just an “I see you – I understand” look. I can think out of the box and ask the Lord to help me know how I might encourage them or brighten their day by doing something spontaneous or unexpected.

But I believe the best thing I can do is to pray. The very best! No, not the least or the only thing I can do. Praying is the best thing! In supernatural ways we cannot even begin to fathom, God drew us into relationship with Him and one of the outcomes of His great love impacts our relationships with one another. How AMAZING that my pitiful words to God can somehow have an impact in someone’s life! How can that be? It is certainly beyond my understanding. Some verses from the Bible which tell of the power of prayer:

“Confess your sins to one another and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The fervent prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”  James 5:16   

“God is my refuge and strength. He is an ever present help in trouble.” Psalm 46:1

“The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.” Psalm 145:18

“Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Hebrews 4:16

There are too many promises to share more here, but my prayer today is that someone reading these words will trust the Lord today to handle something burdening their spirit and grieving their heart. I pray that someone who feels unequal to the task of lightening someone else’s load – let alone carrying their own – would pray and ask God to speak encouragement and direction. I pray those who are struggling, anxious, or fearful, would hear the voice of the Lord possibly because someone else prayed over them.

Lord, we cannot fix, nor can we heal. But we know who can and who does. I pray we might lay those burdens weighing on our hearts today at Your feet. I ask You, who knows and sees all, to take care of those who desperately need a touch from You! And I ask You to lift the weight of these burdens from our collective shoulders and lay them where they belong – in Your grace-filled, loving, and powerful arms. Because there is power in Your name, we pray

in Jesus’ name. AMEN✨

A Waylon Jennings/ God Story

I think The Lord has a sense of humor and sometimes just wants to get our attention in a way that brings a big astonished smile to our face. That happened this past weekend when driving back from our 4th of July trip. We stopped for lunch in a small town at a truckstop restaurant that had quotes from famous people all over the walls and in back of the booths. There weren’t many people there so we just aimlessly walked to the back and sat in a booth. We looked over the menu, ordered, then waited to be served.

I opened my iPad to look at “Facebook news,” catching up on the posts of friends and families I had missed over the last few days. I came across the post with the picture you see me pointing to. My friend had found this long-ago photo taken back in the 70’s with Waylon Jennings, a country music star who first became well known back then. My husband loves anything “guitar” so I showed him this photo.

I closed my iPad then suddenly my husband opened his eyes really wide and said, “Did you say that was Waylon Jennings?” He looked absolutely astonished as he pointed at the quote behind my head which I hadn’t seen. I turned around and right behind me in the booth I was sitting, was a quote from the man in this picture, Waylon Jennings!

What are the odds of that happening? I can’t even begin to fathom that! I had such a sense that the Heavenly Host were getting a huge smile out of this! My immediate thought was that God is watching over us all the time. Nothing escapes His notice. He is always ready to intervene, to bless us, to rescue us – or even astonish us! As we were driving away from the restaurant, my husband was pulled over by a highway patrolman for “speeding” at 67 mph. We hadn’t seen the sign that changed the speed limit from 65 to 55 mph. The officer was very nice and kindly just gave us a warning… We looked at each other when that was over and I said, “THAT was a Waylon Jennings moment!” God showed us again He IS watching over and protecting us. Always.

You have searched me, Lord,
    and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
    you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
    you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
    you, Lord, know it completely.
You hem me in behind and before,
    and you lay your hand upon me. Psalm 139: 1-5

The 139th chapter of Psalms is one of my very favorite Psalms. I sang it back in the day as a solo called, “You Are There,” by Dan Burgess. (This is a recording sung by Cynthia Clawson and the message and music will bless you. God’s Word is not only beautiful poetry but profound truth. I pray the knowledge that He IS intimately concerned and aware of you and all you are doing and enduring speaks to Your heart. Maybe it encourages you or maybe it alarms you. But He is the Creator and mighty God; omniscient and omnipresent. Wanting to have you reach your hand up to His and hold fast. The only way you can escape Him is to once and for all turn your back on Him.

Cheryl