What a Sparrow Taught Me

Hello, Thursday Morning readers. Thanks for stopping by. I hope you’ll join me in a cup of coffee (or whatever you prefer). I am feeling thankful today.

A couple of weeks ago, several members of my family came down with “the virus.” I have to tell you, I was afraid. Mostly because of all I’d heard.

I prayed for them, but it was difficult not to worry, especially when I couldn’t be there. I’m really good at wringing my hands and pacing the floor. Does God hear?

I’m often like the father of a child who answered Jesus, “I believe; help my unbelief,” (Mark 9:24). I used to think that was funny. Now I know it’s honest. I do believe, but sometimes I doubt. Help me, Jesus, when I doubt.

I trust Him, but I’ve been through losses, too. Fear is our greatest enemy and the media is feeding the fear.

I was in the midst of this when on a Tuesday morning before I went to work, I heard a bird hit the French doors. It happens all the time. I hated to look out there, afraid I’d see it dead.

It was a sparrow. There it was, sitting on the patio, its little head lolled to the side. Poor little thing had most likely broken its neck. I knew it would probably die.

And then, I remembered…

Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. – Luke 12:6 ESV

God knows when every sparrow falls, so I reached my hand out and prayed, “Father, I know you saw that. Please heal this little bird, or set it free so it will not suffer.”

I checked on it several times and it was still sitting there. I had my back to the door when I heard a tiny noise and turned around to look. That bird was sitting on the wood base of the door, pecking at the glass!

I went over and knelt down on the floor, shaking my head. “Hi precious,” I spoke from my side of the window. It perched there, looking at me for a few more seconds and then flew away.

Tears stung my eyes. I really believe God healed the sparrow, and that little bird wanted to let me know it was all right.

True story.

This was an important and relevant message for me at a time when fear gripped my heart. I wondered if God heard my prayers.

He does hear when we pray and He let me know that day, through a tiny sparrow.

Click to Tweet: I’m often like the father of a child who answered Jesus, “I believe; help my unbelief,” (Mark 9:24). I used to think that was funny. Now I know it’s honest. I do believe, but sometimes I doubt. Help me, Jesus, when I doubt.

“His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me…”

Life Renewed

Hello, Thursday Morning! I know it’s still cold out there for some of you, but here in Kentucky, it’s warm. Spring arrived early this year. The trees are all abloom, the tulips are full-blown, my roses are budding (not just leaves, but blossoms!).

We’re already seeing butterflies!

While we’re safely home, staying busy so we don’t worry, it’s nice to look out and see the sun shining.

This weekend, we will celebrate Easter. For those of us who celebrate it as the resurrection of Jesus Christ, it is our most holy season. This year will be unlike any other we’ve celebrated. But different doesn’t mean bad. I encourage you to put your imagination to work.

Decorate if you normally would and if you don’t usually, try it. Make a nice dinner. If you don’t have anything to decorate your table with, boil and color some eggs. Put them in a nice bowl in the center of the table. (Don’t leave them out too long, and you can make deviled eggs or egg salad sandwiches, garnish a green salad or potato salad. Or just eat ’em.)

Put on your Easter outfits to watch your online service. Make it fun and special.

If you couldn’t get out to buy something for the kid’s baskets (if you do that), use your imagination. Check out Pinterest if you need help. Dress up a basket, or a bowl or box, fill it with homemade goodies. Hide treats or small toys around the house. You can even hide the Easter baskets!

This will be a year like no other, but that doesn’t mean it has to be bad or disappointing. I hope I’ve given you a few good ways to stir up your imagination.

Also, I know some of you are alone and the thought of spending Easter on your own can be overwhelming. I encourage you to join in wherever you can. Find a service to watch, play worship music, call friends and family. Open the Bible to your favorite gospel and read the story of Jesus’ death and resurrection. Try reading it aloud.

Note: If someone in your family is alone on Easter, take a few minutes to check on them. Make it a video call if possible so they can see your face. Don’t forget to smile! 🙂 You can also send a pre-recorded video greeting via text messaging.

On Easter, my cousin Rick used to answer the phone, “Happy Easter Egg!” in a joyous tone of voice. It may seem silly, but he made us all laugh. He’s celebrating with Jesus this year, but the memory of that greeting remains. We’ll never forget it.

The point is, you have the power to make this holiday special for yourself and others. Let’s not allow our circumstances to keep us “in the grave.” Hope renews life and builds faith. These will all work together when you allow the great “I am” to have His way in your life.

Click to Tweet: You have the power to make this holiday special for yourself and others. Let’s not allow our circumstances to keep us “in the grave.”

I Love You Because

Hello, and welcome to another Thursday morning! It’s officially Autumn. The leaves of our dogwood tree are starting to turn from green to red, triggering a poignant memory…

“Why do the leaves turn color, Mama?”

I looked at my four-year-old son, then back at the dogwood tree in the middle of our yard. The small tree was always the first to display red and orange leaves. Did I know the answer to his question? “The sun shines less this time of year, so the leaves don’t make as much chlorophyll.” I almost ended with a question mark, because I wasn’t quite sure my answer was right. I’d pretty much bombed out in biology.

My little boy frowned and shook his head. “No, Mama, God paints ‘em.”

“Okay. Why did you ask if you already knew the answer?”

He shrugged before bouncing away to join his brothers playing in the court.
My son was certain of his answer, whether scientifically correct, or based on his four-year-old trust mentality.

It made me wonder, why do we ask questions when we already know the answer? Are we hoping the answer will change?

My son had an inquisitive mind. He asked me questions throughout the day for days on end. Sometimes I grew tired of coming up with answers. I may have gotten snippy a time or two.

We taught our children to believe the impossible, that God created the universe by speaking it into existence. His words started a chain of events that centuries later, resulted in the natural beauty around us—the red, orange, and golden leaves in fall. So, maybe He had painted the leaves in the beginning…but why?

Lost in thought, I didn’t hear my son’s approach until he draped his arms around my neck and hugged me.

“I love you, Mama.”

My heart overflowed. “Why do you love me?”

He rested his head against my shoulder. “Just because.”

Grandmotherly Advice

coffee, cup, laptop, memeHello, it’s Thursday morning! What an eventful week it’s been since last I wrote to you. We’ve endured a wintry onslaught, and lots more rain. It’s still raining, but at least the weather has warmed to a more spring-like temperature.

The approach of Easter has me thinking deeply about the grace of God.

I’m studying the book of 1 Samuel in the Bible, and as I read the final verses of chapter 12, I was reminded of one of my grandmothers.

“And neither will I walk off and leave you. That would be a sin against God! I’m staying right here at my post praying for you and teaching you the good and right way to live.”

My granny, Belle Thomason, prayed over her family. Kind of like counting sheep, she repeated the names of her children and grandchildren, as many as she could remember. Every night, she prayed over all of us, because she considered it a sin not to pray.

Granny’s in the middle!

She felt a call of God on her life to pray for those God had given her. The ones she’d given birth to, those who married into the family, and the ones birthed by her children, then her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She lived to the age of 96. That’s a lot of days, and so many prayers going up.

Did they work? Did God answer? I can remember a lot of tragedies, illnesses, losses. Does that mean God didn’t hear her prayers?

Well, I also remember a lot of good and wonderful things. Years later, generations gone by, if you lined us all up, you’d find a great number of Granny’s children who serve the Lord, and not only serve, but love the Lord with all their hearts.

Don’t give up. Though it seems your prayers are fruitless, and God doesn’t listen. Keep on. Never stop. Begin and end each day with a prayer, and see if it doesn’t make a difference in the long run. You see, Granny was a marathon runner, rather than a sprinter. She’d giggle at that analogy, but it’s true, all the same.

She never gave up on any of her babies, even when they seemed to be headed in the wrong direction.

Dad said Granny was “holiness.” Where they were from, deep in the Bible belt, that meant she went to the Church of God. Full gospel believers. Holy rollers. All I knew, is she wore long-sleeved dresses, mid-calf in length, and never cut her hair. She never wore makeup, either. But she had a deep joy inside that wasn’t troubled by what she saw happening around her.

She pieced and quilted until she couldn’t see anymore, and even then, she still made stitches, though they might not line up perfectly. Many of the family slept under quilts she’d sewn and each one knew, Granny had prayed all the while she worked. Those were prayer quilts.

She wasn’t super spiritual or dour, though. Granny could laugh and tell the occasional joke. She’d lived a life threaded with troubles, but stayed the course.

Her husband was an alcoholic, and he’d been known to sleep around. I’m not sure of the story, because it was never talked about, but they divorced. One of her sons died at an early age when his appendix burst. Another of her sons (my grandfather) died at the hand of his brother-in-law. My grandfather had followed in his daddy’s footsteps. He was an alcoholic. My uncle shot him to stop him from trying to kill my grandma. But that’s another story for another time.

So, you see, Granny’s life was often fraught with troubles. But the prayers never stopped. She didn’t give up. She lived to see most of her family living good lives. The alcoholism that ran deep in their veins lost its hold in my dad’s generation. All four of the children in dad’s family fought a battle with the drink and won. All four died knowing salvation, forgiveness, and reconciliation.

What I’ve learned from all this and hope to pass on to you—my grandmotherly advice—is to never give up. Even when the outlook is bleak. Even when it seems there’s no way out. A prayer whispered into the darkness all those years ago, tugs at my heartstrings now.

Granny loved Jesus, and she passed that love forward to several generations. It’s time for me to take it up and carry it forward. Maybe it’s time for you, too.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. [Ephesians 2:8-9 NIV]

Daniel in the Den of Kings

coffee, cup, laptop, memeI’m a little sad. I’ve just finished the last chapter of Daniel. It’s seemed so short. Every time I read this book, I learn.

So, who is Daniel, really? Is he more than the man who defied the king’s edict and faced the lions’ den?

So much is revealed about the prophet Daniel in this book. If you do a bit of digging, you may be surprised by what you find.

He was a little like Joseph. Both men lived through dire circumstances, yet their obedience and great faith in God allowed them to prosper in the midst of difficult times.

Daniel rose to a position of authority that lasted through several sieges, from Nebuchadnezzar to Darius the Mede. Though Daniel served in the courts of kings, he was not ruled by them. Ultimately, he answered to God, as he proved over and over. And, no surprise, he suffered persecution for his faith.

Thus the den of lions.

This next statement of Daniel’s grabbed my attention and opened a window in my heart and mind:

And in the first year of Darius the Mede, I took my stand to support and protect him. Daniel 11:1 [NIV]

Daniel took his stand to support and protect Darius the Mede? I’m reminded of the scripture, “Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.” (Jeremiah 29:7 NIV)

Bring this home to your current situation. Do you “seek the peace and prosperity” of the company (occupation, job) in which God has placed you? Or do you constantly revile them, and curse them with your complaints and unkind words? (Gee, this could also apply to marriage.)

I have to tell you, I’ve done it in the past. Many of us pray for a job, a good position, and when we get it, we’re praising God. But time passes and the shiny newness wears off. The honeymoon is over. We become unhappy. We murmur and complain about the gift of God to us.

Daniel’s position was one of honor, and I imagine he had the ability to live pretty well, though he didn’t take everything given. He refused to eat the rich food of the kings. Anything that stood in the way of his worship of Almighty God, he tended to reject. But he prayed for the king who sat on the throne. He didn’t try to escape, because he knew God’s word. He knew God had a plan and he was in it.

It seems to me, if God truly has opened doors and placed me in a position, He might be a little displeased with my complaining. If I’m unhappy with a situation, maybe I should try praying, which is what Daniel did. And his obedience and faith brought this next statement from the angel, Gabriel:

He said, “Daniel, you who are highly esteemed, consider carefully the words I am about to speak to you, and stand up, for I have now been sent to you.” And when he said this to me, I stood up trembling.

Then he continued, “Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them.” {Daniel 10:11-12 NIV}

To hear words like these, in answer to your prayer! What a thrill!


 What would our life look like if we truly sought God’s presence in our situation? If we gave Him glory in the midst, and prayed for the prosperity of the place we’d been sent? Even if we feel it’s the wrong place…pray. Remain obedient until the time of God’s deliverance. It will come.

Save

Save

Save

Save