marymcleary

Covering my angst with the soothing wisdom from my mother's prayer journals


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Life, The Journey to Our Promised Land

Deuteronomy 4:14

And the Lord commanded me at that time to teach you statutes and judgments that you might observe them in the land you cross over to possess (The Promised Land).

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Each of us has a journey to The Promised Land. It’s called Life and God intends for us to boldly claim our futures. He gives us judgments and statutes (rules and regulations) that prepare us for success, but without Him we won’t attain the lives He planned.

A comment from a friend has been running around in my head for a month. In essence she said, “You cannot do everything it says in the Bible to do.”

We were with a group who loves a lively discussion on politics and religion. We are diverse in our thoughts and opinions, but we agree to disagree and still love each other. So when my friend made this comment, I considered her point of view.

She’s right. The Bible doesn’t provide my daily itinerary, but as I read it each morning, I see it as a map (or GPS) guiding me to my Promised Land. I need it because I can easily lose my way.

Yesterday I shared an article on a timely topic which drew a reply from a Face Book friend whose ideas I respect. He disagreed with the author of the article and very kindly questioned its wisdom. I pondered his point of view.

Because I believe God puts people and situations in my life for a reason, I embrace these folks, along with many, many others as vessels He uses to broaden my horizons and check me now and again.

Having traveled this far on my journey, I want to make the trip easier for my kids and grandkids. I don’t have the luxury of assuming the next generation will automatically follow my faith path.

Mother wrote in her journal, “When you leave God out of your life, you may be shocked at what you are capable of doing. We will lose the battle if we gather the spoils of earthly treasure rather than seeking the treasure of heaven.”

This shrunken world has brought a multitude of options and opinions that bombard and perplex. All I can do is offer my map, the Bible and my Guide, Jesus.

Dear Lord, Help us effectively apply your map to our lives  so we reach the Promised Land you have planned for us. Be our Guide. Amen

 

 


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Ask For a Word Not a Sign

 

 

066Last month we opted out of winter in Tennessee and headed for the Gulf Coast where we visited with friends, walked the beach and read several good books.

Morning meditations were accompanied by coastal colors and sounds that added awesome reminders of the Creator.

We attended a nearby church where there were no visitors, just “friends we haven’t met yet.” The choir loft filled up with snowbirds who offered surprisingly good (unrehearsed) special music each Sunday. To paraphrase the Psalmist, “Where ever we go, there He is.”

My journal is full of heart whispers and reminders of His presence. One of those reminders came in a text from a friend who had an exciting opportunity and she wanted prayer.

I’m just going to list the events as they happened. They aren’t earth shattering, but they are reaffirming so I want to share.

I asked the Lord for a scripture to pray over this situation before “randomly” opening my Bible.

The scripture was Psalms 22 which is basically asking God for protection from all the enemies of the Psalmist. It was not what I thought we needed, but then I remembered that when this particular friend had righted a serious wrong, she made several people angry. Those people might be in a position to undermine her efforts in this situation.

I kept reading on into Psalms 23 until I came to this verse, “Thou preparest a table before me in the presences of my enemies.”

So, I thought, even though we might be surrounded on all sides by enemies, our God will still prepare a feast for us right in the middle of them!

I claimed that scripture and prayed it until I felt a peace about the situation.

Later in the morning I looked on Facebook where my cousin in Chattanooga posted a picture of a beautifully set table ready for a banquet, and under the picture was the scripture I claimed, “Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of my enemies.”

After FB, I checked my emails. Another friend sent a devotional entitled Why Keep Praying? The writer notes that though God’s character is perfect and unchanging, He listens to our prayers and, as with Moses and Jonah, He hears and will heed our pleas for others.

I felt encouraged to keep praying.

Back at our home church last Sunday, the lesson was on signs and the bottom line was, “Ask for a word from God, not a sign. Asking for a sign shows lack of faith.”

Mother wrote in her journal, “Putting out the fleece is a poor decision-making method. Those who do this put limitations on God. Don’t let a “fleece” become a substitute for God’s wisdom that comes through Bible study and prayer.”

When I asked for a word, God gave it. Now I’d like to say the prayer was answered, but we won’t know for a few more weeks what the answer is. My point is, ask for a word and He’ll give it.

 

 

 

 


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Against the Odds

 

Joshua 23:10

One man of you shall chase a thousand, for the Lord your God is He who fights for you, as He has promised you.

When an underdog in a sporting event fights hard and gives his/her opponent a scare, it is called a moral victory. He/she fought the good fight and came out a winner of sorts.

If a person takes an unpopular stand against overwhelming odds and doesn’t get demolished in the process, that is also a moral victory.

A teenager who lives her faith may lose popularity, but her witness through the years could impact thousands.

In her journal Mother wrote, “Victory depends not on strength or numbers but on obedience and commitment to Him.”

Heavenly Father, I thank you for strength when the odds are against us. Help us to have the courage to do whatever You ask us to do. Amen


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Bette Stevens Interviews Mary McLeary About Heart Whispers from the Old Testament

 

Bette Stevens

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today I would like to thank Bette Stevens for inviting me to her blog, 4writersandreaders.com

Bette and I have many things in common and after meeting her on Twitter, @BetteAStevens, I knew I had found a kindred spirit.

A retired teacher, Bette lives on a 37 acre farm in Central Maine. She is an award-winning author who also enjoys reading, nature and advocating for children and adult literacy.

Her books include Tangram Zoo and Word Puzzles Too, a children’s activity book. The Amazing Matilda won a Purple Dragonfly Book Award. She has authored articles for various magazines and periodicals along with a YA short story, Pure Trash.

Find out more about Bette on her Amazon Author page http://www.Amazon.com/author/betteastevens, but first join us at Bette’s blog where we discuss Heart Whispers from the Old Testament.

You’ll find us here: on her blog http://4writersandreaders.com/2015/07/30/meet-the-author-mary-mcleary/

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C. S. Lewis, Questions about Christianity, Heart Whispers from the Old Testament

 

As a junior education major, I took a children’s literature course and read C.S Lewis’ classic, The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. The author provided a reading experience that took me along with its characters into the magical land of Narnia and introduced me to the magnificent lion, Aslan.

I remember exactly where I was when I realized who Aslan represented, and at that moment I became a lifelong fan of C.S. Lewis, the atheist academic turned Christian.

Recently, Maston (a grandson) visited for a week and one lazy summer morning after chocolate chip pancakes, we looked for a movie to watch and found The Chronicles of Narnia which is based on the book.

We watched the children become entwined in the evil witch’s attempt to rule Narnia and Aslan’s plan that thwarted her. When the climax came Maston said, “I can’t believe he did that.”

I remember I felt the same way when I read the book, and realized Aslan’s actions reflected what we as Christians believe Christ did for us on the cross.

Lewis’ thoughts are often quoted by Christians because he was an unbeliever until late in his life and approaches his faith as one who recalls being strongly opposed to Christians and Christianity.

There have always been people opposed to Christianity. The Bible is full of stories about them and it is easy to read scriptures and think, “Good grief! These folks are a mess!” Yet for every instance of outrageous wickedness, there is someone to whom God speaks.

Last January I intended to read through the Bible. I started in Genesis and never got past the Old Testament. With each chapter God seemed to show me how He was, is and always will be in control no matter who makes the choice to believe or how wicked the rest of the world becomes.

As I read and wrote down scriptures, I added my thoughts along with entries from the prayer journals Mother gave me. The process became a book, Heart Whispers from the Old Testament and it comforted me because I was feeling pretty sad for our modern world.  My time in the Old Testament showed me that we are no better than those guys, but, thankfully, we have a Savior.

A letter to the editor in today’s paper reflected the world’s disbelief and doubt in our faith and cited several stories in the Old Testament which caused the writer confusion and doubt. She is not unique or special in her feelings. She merely stated how she and, (according to research from the Pew Research Center) many others feel about religion.

She is right in saying, “Many others are asking some hard questions about the Christian faith.”

This isn’t new or unique either. Christians are always expected to prove our faith, and that can best be done through our actions as Lewis states so well,

“When we Christians behave badly, or fail to behave well, we are making Christianity unbelievable to the outside world. The war-time posters told us that Careless Talk costs Lives. It is equally true that Careless Lives cost Talk. Our careless lives set the outer world talking; and we give them grounds for talking in a way that throws doubt on the truth of Christianity itself.”

As Mother writes in her journal, “We must develop skills in right living because our behavior attracts attention to God.”

After years of doubting and ridiculing Christianity, God spoke to C. S. Lewis and his subsequent writings attracted attention to God. That’s just how it works.

 

 


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Heart Whispers from the Old Testament – My New Writing Project

 

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Everybody needs a hobby and writing is mine. When Mother gifted me her prayer journals the Christmas before she passed away, I realized her wisdom needed to be shared so I started a blog of family faith stories each ending with an entry from Mother’s journals.

I had no confidence in my abilities as a writer and was reluctant to put my name into the blogosphere so I wrote under the name of my imaginary childhood friend, Ann Cocktale.

For two years I blogged every day and eventually the blog posts became my first book, In My Mother’s Words. With the help of my best buddy, Don McLeary and life-long friend, Polly Spencer, we uploaded the book to Kindle. A few months later, In My Mother’s Words became available in paperback, and the lovely Leah Ashby held a book signing at The Potter’s Garden ( I miss her!)

Self-publishing made me an Indy Writer (independent) which meant I could “piddle” around on various internet author pages. It also gave me the opportunity to have a Twitter interview which was not only nerve-wracking but disconcerting as well. The # and @ along with short answers did me in. Before ending the interview and suggesting I stick to Facebook Q &A’s, the interviewer asked if I had other projects in the works.

Before her question, I hadn’t thought about another book, but on the spot I decided I did have a project in mind and replied, “Yes, I’m going to write a devotional book and use more of Mother’s journal entries”

I just finished that devotional book, Heart Whispers from the Old Testament. I intended to write an entry for each day of the year using scriptures through the whole Bible and match each one with an entry from Mother’s journal, but I never got out of the Old Testament.

Like us, those folks were a hot mess. As in our society, God spoke to those who took time to listen. While I read the ancient scriptures, I heard whispers of hope I wanted to share. Heart Whispers from the Old Testament was written with my grandchildren in mind.

Mother wrote in her journal, “Life always has more questions than we have answers, and we must constantly go to His Word for fresh insights in to life’s dilemmas.”

I pray that God’s people will hold to the confidence in Him and go to the Bible for wisdom and fresh insight. He always speaks when we listen.

If you would like a copy of Heart Whispers from the Old Testament, click on the link below.

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B009UX7X12

Thank you and I pray you continue hearing His whispers.

Mary McLeary