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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God Is Answering Your Prayers

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While writing Heart Whispers from the Old Testament, I heard God say, “I have a Promised Land for each of my children.” Claiming it requires a faith that comes from knowing the Truth of God revealed in His Word.

As I scanned my social media pages, it was easy to see how many friends and family members were struggling to reach their destiny when this line popped out, God is working in your life, right now, in ways you cannot imagine. Which to me translated, He is answering your prayers, and I Immediately thought of people I regularly pray for:

  1. The granddaughter starting her college career in a far away city.
  2. The grandson who started a new job.
  3. The daughter with a new class of fourth graders and an active family.
  4. The daughter finishing a chemistry degree while working full-time.
  5. The son-in-law working toward a winning season for his football team.
  6. The son-in-law finishing a difficult job away from his home and family.
  7. The friend fighting cancer.

Throughout the Old Testament, God provided ways for His people to overcome and be victorious, but they had to be bold and courageous in order to claim their blessings. That courage came from knowing the mighty God and obeying His instructions.

Those instructions still apply today, and I hope those I pray for will obey them.

Be careful what you look at, read or listen to. It is easy to let something attractive lure you away from your destiny. It can happen in a heartbeat so be watchful.

Watch and learn from others. The Bible says, “By their fruits you shall know them.” Watch how people act and what outcomes those actions produce. Learn from them.

Anybody striving for the best will run into people who hurt and disappoint them. Learn from the situation, be smart enough to avoid repeating the problem, but most importantly forgive those who harm you. Holding a grudge only takes your joy.

Even when we experience difficulties, God can use them to teach us that He alone is God, and that is a valuable lesson!

Mother wrote in her journal, “Faith is the communication link between heaven and earth. It is on this link of faith that God’s messages of love travel so quickly that even before we ask, He answers.”

Every day is full of important decisions that determine whether or not we achieve all that God has planned for us. When I pray for the people I love, I need to also have faith that God really is working in their lives, right now, in ways they cannot understand.

 

 

 


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A Thought for Today

Ecclesiastes 5:2-3

Do not be quick with your mouth.  Do not be hasty in your heart to utter anything before God for God is in heaven, and you are on earth. Therefore let your words be few. As a dream comes when there are many cares, so the speech of a fool when there are many words.

I read in the newspaper today that a fifteen year old shot another teen over an argument they had earlier in the day. Apparently rash words were spoken and caused disaster.

The scripture tells us to turn the other cheek, and with guns being accessible to so many, it is healthier to take a punch on both cheeks than risk being shot.

Maybe if young people realized God hears every word uttered, they would be more careful in their conversations.

In her journal Mother wrote, “Let us learn from the examples in God’s word not to make rash vows.”

Dear Lord, Protect those you have given me to love.  Make them cautious with their words and strong enough to turn the other cheek rather than speak hasty words they will regret. Amen


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Talking Ball With Our Nine Year Old Grandson

Football has the capacity to consume. That is certainly the case with the members of our family who register important dates (weddings and births) as before, during or after The Season. Our kids recall their grades in school by which team their dad was coaching, and remember crisp fall Saturdays spent traveling to college games.

Now we focus on Friday night lights as our lovely granddaughter cheers for the high school team coached by her dad, and on Saturdays when three grandsons play on middle school and youth league teams.

At one point the oldest was the quarterback for his team; his brother was a receiver for his, and their cousin played center causing their proud Papa to say, “Only the best players get to actually touch the ball.”

The youngest two (The Rocket and The Jayhawker) visited last week during fall break, and I took the opportunity to interview the nine-year old Jayhawker about his views on his favorite sport. (The eight year old Rocket was interviewed last summer).

While both are football fans, the Jayhawker once clarified their difference, “I watch ESPN every morning instead of cartoons. I’m not a Curious George kind of guy.”

His interest gives him insight into who is doing what and how well when it comes to football.
Here are some of his answers to the questions I posed.

“The best quarterback in college football is Teddy Bridgewater because he blows out teams from Temple to Florida.”127

I had no idea who Teddy Bridgewater was so I Googled him, and apparently his poise dignity and accuracy make him a possible number one NFL draft choice after his college days as a Louisville Cardinal.

“The best quarterback in the NFL is Peyton Manning because he can make any pass on target whether it’s five yards or fifty yards.”

I know this quarterback legend and agreed wholeheartedly with my grandson’s assessment.

“The best college team is Alabama because they usually cannot be beaten. (But they might get beaten sometime.)”

Coach Butch Jones is building a Tennessee team that will give the Tide a run for next year, but as of this season the grandkid is probably right.

“The best NFL team is the Broncos because Peyton Manning can carry his team to victory anytime.”

Any team-anytime! Not only football teams, but he’s now taken Papa John’s Pizza to victory.

“On offense, the most important player is the center because without a center they wouldn’t get a play off to get yardage.”

At this point the Rocket commented, “Now that’s music to my ears”.

“Defense makes a good team because without a good defense the other team would be scoring all day long. The most important player on defense is the safety because without a safety the quarterback might throw it long and the wide receiver might shake off the cornerback and the linebacker might not catch him and the wide receiver would make a touchdown.”

The teacher in me rejoiced in his ability to think at a higher level and to see the big picture.

“My favorite running back is Jamal Charles because he plays for the Chiefs, and he can run fast and shake off tackles.”

It’s that kind of Texas running back that caused me to be ungracious to Texas A & M when they entered the SEC.

“My most favorite quarterback is Tim Tebow because on and off the field his heart is glad.”

A glad heart speaks much louder than words.

“My favorite wide receiver is Calvin Johnson, Jr. He is very athletic and tough. He can catch and run with the ball.”

Those qualities are reflected in his salary.

“In college, my first favorite team is the Florida Gators because of Tim Tebow and my dad’s parents went there. My second favorite is the Kansas Jayhawks because I was born in Lawrence, Kansas. My third favorite team is the Tennessee Vols because my papa went there and was a very good running back.”

Our efforts to move the Vols into first place in his heart have obviously failed, but we will not give up!

“My first favorite NFL team is the Chiefs because I was born in Kansas. My second favorite is the Tennessee Titans because now I live in Tennessee. My third favorite team in the NFL is the Redskins because I am a fan of RGIII.”

Their Papa’s offer of ice cream brought the interview to an abrupt halt as both boys headed for the kitchen.

In her journal Mother wrote, “Trust God to deliver in His own unique way. He begins with the impossible and goes on from there.”

Football is really a life lesson full of opportunities to learn how to behave as well as how not to, but for our grandsons it provides an opportunity to learn how to be part of a team while dreaming of being the next Peyton Manning or Jamal Charles playing in front of thousands of cheering fans.
Who knows, that maybe exactly the plan He has for them.


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A Praying Family and a Wooing Spirit

003Every week after church, our oldest daughter and her family come for dinner. Last Sunday we were joined by one of my cousins, her husband and their middle daughter from across the state. The pot roast and vegetables were twice as tasty when served with good conversation and laughter.

The high school soccer player is interested in attending a local university so when the campus visit was arranged we were glad to have them stay with us for a few days.

My cousin comes from a family of strong believers. Her husband came to their family from a very different perspective, and when he talks about his faith walk, I am always amazed at how the Holy Spirit wooed the son of an Italian mother and a Jewish father.

But He did lead step by step from the Old Testament (“as a good Jewish boy”) through the four gospels (“while sitting at my wife’s bedside during each of four medical procedures”) to the eventual conviction that Christ died for everyone.

That realization eventually caused him to turn to his wife and say, “He died for me too?”

With a smile that matched her sweet spirit, she nodded.

The new Christian began a journey that took him to another job in a city that happened to have a synagogue for Messianic Jews which provided the prefect transition.

Eventually, God opened doors that led away from the synagogue and into a congregation in another city. Today this man provides an extra dimension to members of the Sunday school class he teaches as well as in the example he sets for his wife, daughters and others who know him.

This is only part of the story. Prayer is the other part – especially the prayers of his father-in-law, sisters and brothers-in law, nieces and nephews. They were faithful in praying for his salvation and constant in showing him God’s love.

Mother wrote in her journal, “God is never in a hurry. He spends years preparing those He plans to greatly use. Like a true goldsmith, God stops the fire the moment He sees His image in the glowing metal.”

Well, we had a great time, and the students, faculty and supporters they met during the visit affirmed the parent’s prayers. When they left for home, the high school senior sported a Bulldog t-shirt.


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Thank God for the Constants

024Our son is now in his mid- forties, and if I picked one word to describe him I would pick consistent. His likes and dislikes don’t change. His behavior doesn’t vary so we know what to expect from him. In that respect he contradicts one of my favorite sayings, “Nothing is permanent but change.”

Because Matt doesn’t vary, it is easier to see the changes all around him.
Since he was five and his grandmother gave him his first radio, radios have been an important part of Matt’s daily schedule. His limited vision makes listening to the stations, as he turns the knobs and pushes the buttons, a help with keeping him occupied. Until recently the ones he likes were easy to come by so I took them for granted.

Last year I realized they were becoming scarce so when I came upon twelve of them at one store, I bought them all. The person who checked me out raised an eyebrow as I swiped my card and carted them to the car.

Arriving home I took them to the closet in Matt’s room and put them into four stacks of three. There was a peace in my soul knowing they were there.

Somehow, we are now down to two. Last week his dad and I visited several stores that had carried them and found one radio which we purchased. Yesterday after Sunday dinner, we drove to two nearby towns and found another radio which we now have. Though not yet panicked, we are alert to the changing market.

Matt has the same type of loyalty to his shoes. They have to be just the right type of white athletic shoe. When he gets a new pair he taps his feet around like a happy dance only he’s sitting down. He got a new pair Saturday and I’m praying they will continue to be manufactured. We should probably stock up on those just in case there is a change.

Before his visits we stock the refrigerator with Matt’s favorites: hot dogs, sausage, chips, oranges, donuts. We keep the sweet tea pitcher full. We take it for granted that those items will be available, but in life nothing is constant, except God’s love and Matt’s expectations.

In her journal Mother wrote, “True joy transcends the rolling waves of circumstances. Joy comes from a consistent relationship with Jesus Christ. (John 15:11) The joy of living with Jesus will keep us level-headed no matter how low or how high our circumstances.”

One of Matt’s favorite songs is The Joy of the Lord is My Strength and when we sing it I’m reminded that our joy depends on knowing that the source of our faith, Jesus Christ, has always been and will always be here for us. Sometimes I take that for granted.


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Advice for Kids from The Rocket, Our Grandson

071Today’s blog post will be written by The Rocket, our eight year old grandson who is visiting for the week. He wondered if little kids needed advice, and decided to contribute his point of view on various topics.
Advice #1 – If you have a big brother, don’t be bullied. Say, “I’m tired of you bullying me. Let’s make up and be friends.”
Advice #2 – If you are having trouble with your dog, that’s a different story. All you have to do is give him treats every twenty-four hours. He will be nice. He will sit for the treat and you can toss the treat into the air and he will catch it.
Advice #3 – If you are having trouble at school with math or science, you need to ask for help. Don’t be afraid because mostly they are nice people.
Advice #4 – If you are having trouble with parents, and you are being disrespectful I don’t have advice for that because you need to obey your parents.
Advice #5 – If your parents tell you to clean your room, just pick up five toys per hour. They will be like, “What the hay, hay?” Watch TV until they come in to check then hop up and pick up five more toys.
Advice #6 –Most grandparents let kids do what they want, but mine are better than that. I’m nice to them and they are nice to me. Be sure to say, “I love you.”
Advice #7 – If you want to exercise and can’t go to a gym, make your own gym in your room. Make your own push up place. Have a place for pull ups and make your own running machine. I don’t know how, but hopefully smart kids will know.
Advice #8 – If you need advice for bike riding, just get on the bike and go downhill. Put your feet on the peddles and keep going. Do not wear flip flops because your toes will scrape and get messed up.
Advice #9 – If you need advice for skateboarding just put one foot on the board and push off with your other foot. Quickly put the foot you pushed off with on the board and, boom! You are skateboarding.
Advice #10 – It is important to learn how to read. When you come to a word you don’t know, just sound it out.
The Rocket felt kids needed advice on how to get candy, but his counsel included getting up at midnight to sneak in the kitchen and take it. I said, “We can’t use that advice, can we?” He replied, “No, I guess not, but that’s usually the only way I get any.”
The Rocket’s great grandmother wrote in her journal, “God gives us our time on earth to build and strengthen our character for heaven.”
From the advice he offered, I believe The Rocket has the foundation to become a man of great character. We’ll work on the candy part.