marymcleary

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


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Worship Will Open a Child’s Heart to The Father

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Attending worship service Sunday pointed the New Year in the right direction. The seasoned pastor with fifty plus years at the pulpit and nineteen or so grandkids spoke with authority about blessing future generations through worship.

We watch in amazement as our teenaged grandkids race to adulthood while we mosey toward our Twilight Years. Our parenting now consists of prayers for our daughters and their spouses who are in the thick of parenting in a complicated world.

As I watch them maneuver this slippery slope, I’m filled with gratitude because they do such a good job, but since I am “aged up” I know that sometimes well-raised kids from faith filled families still wind up like the prodigal in the Bible. They are deceived and become dissatisfied with what they have. This starts their journey towards the pig sty.

Praise the Lord, many quickly realize their folly and run back home where they are received by thankful families, but others spend a life time wallowing in slop. What about them and what about their parents who prayed over them, showed these guys the love of the Jesus and watched sons and daughters baptized as children only to walk away.

Sunday, while listening to the first sermon of the New Year I received a “heart whisper”. Proverbs 22:6 says, “Bring up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it.”

In John 10:29 Jesus tells us, “My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.”

What my heart heard was, “When parents show their children My love through worship the hearts of those children are opened to Me. I dwell in them and they receive the promise of eternal life. They may be deceived for a life time, but they will come Home to Me for eternity.”

Mother wrote in her journal, “The pressure of everyday life may persuade us to focus on the here and now and forget God. That is why worship is so important. It takes our eyes off our current worries, gives us a glimpse of God’s holiness and allows us to look toward His future kingdom.”

If you are parents of young children, take and keep your children not just in church, but in WORSHIP so their hearts will be opened to the Savior and their eternity will be secured. The world will try to deceive them and sadly it may succeed, but they will eventually run home to the Father.

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Gifts of the Spirit

 

 

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Christmas plans changed for our family this year. We are a flexible lot and everyone was willing to monitor and adjust to gather a week early. It was no problem for me to have the house decorated since I started as soon as the Thanksgiving dishes were put away, and I ordered gifts online and wrapped them as soon as they were delivered.

Last Sunday everybody enjoyed the meal and the company while periodically stealing glances at those gifts that lay nestled underneath the tree. The most beautiful tree in the world would not be complete without the gifts.

When I was eight or nine years old, I asked Jesus into my heart, and since then His Holy Spirit lives there. Christians, like presents, hold something special inside. We call them the Gifts of the Spirit: Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Though we may decorate at a certain time of year we can give and receive these gifts anytime.

Several Sundays ago my small group leader reinforced this when she said, “We take Him wherever we go”, and I remembered an incident a few weeks earlier.

Our favorite football team had a playoff game in a nearby city. As we entered the stadium, members of the ROTC Color Guard walked in behind us and for a little while I stood next to one of the guys. Standing straight as an arrow, it was apparent he took his appearance and his duty seriously. In fact, he looked a little intimidating, but before I thought about it I leaned over to him and said, “I have to tell you. You look very handsome.”

His brown eyes stared at me suspiciously for a moment before turning his head slightly and smiling the most glorious smile I believe I’ve ever seen. It was an “Aw shucks!” moment as he thanked me and turned to go carry our flag.

It isn’t my habit to tell young men I don’t know they look handsome. I think the Holy Spirit prompted me to acknowledge his effort. His reaction was priceless and I was thankful to witness it.

Mother wrote in her journal, “The order of the Divine mind is beautiful. What should we do but try to produce it in our daily lives.”

The colors, the lights, the music and the gifts all make Christmas wonderful, but it’s The Baby that makes it a wonder, and if you’re sad this season because of loss of health, wealth or loved ones I pray you’ll receive kindness, gentleness, love and patience until you feel like sharing again. It can be anytime of the year.

 

 

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Restored – Furniture, People and St. Peter

buffet

RESTORATION: TO BE RESTORED. THE ACT OR PROCESS OF RETURNING SOMETHING TO ITS ORIGINAL CONDITION BY REPAIRING IT, CLEANING IT OR PAINTING IT. AN IMPROVED STATE.

One of my favorite words is restoration. I love old stuff and when I scan my house I see many old pieces of restored furniture.

The steamer trunk my Aunt Gina retrieved, repainted and gave to me is a treasure. My grandmother’s buffet from the 1940’s was once painted an off- white then years later touched up to stand proudly on a kitchen wall.

While having lunch with friends I was reminded that detours can be restored to direct destinations. A boy on crutches took a fall in the middle of the restaurant. He looked embarrassed, but unhurt. Before anyone moved to help, two strong hands reached down and lifted the child to his feet and in a second handed him back his crutches.

“You okay?” his dad asked.

Looking restored the boy said, “Okay!” and followed his father to their original destination.

St. Peter speaks of restoration in 1Peter 10:11, “And the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.”

Simon Peter, the big, strong fisherman, decided to accept Jesus’ invitation to, “Follow me”.  Peter witnessed the life of the Savior first hand. He heard Him teach, pray and saw the miracles performed. Peter laughed with Jesus, ate with Him and helped Him feed a multitude.

Peter, a respected man of character with strong ties to his community, became a follower and a student of Christ. As Peter learned his role in the kingdom, he also came to know his Master. But Jesus, being God, knew not only who Peter was but who he would become. Jesus knew too that Peter would break and need restoring.

When Peter denied Jesus three times, Jesus wasn’t surprised, but Peter was devastated! Our messes devastate us – not Jesus. Though our failures may set us back, they don’t disqualify us from a relationship with Him.

If Jesus is our Savior, restoration is always possible and often necessary. It usually takes place after a hard lesson and before a shinning moment.

Mother wrote in her journal, “When truly wise people turn to Jesus they can depend on Him for guidance.”

We can always be restored and not just back to the original but to something even better than before. God has something special when we’re ready.

 


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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