God hates me?

“Marie* wants to see you in the cafeteria after the message” they told me last week. As I went in to sit with her she began to cry and took hold of my hands saying, “God hates me!”  Marie suffers from Parkinson’s and that afternoon she was depressed,…so depressed she wouldn’t come in for our song and prayer time at the home. She is isolated from the world outside of the home. No old friends come to visit. No family stops by on her birthday or Christmas. But you and I still have the good news to share that God gave us. As we enter into 2018 with a new year ahead will we remember to go and take Marie’s hands, look into her eyes and tell her that God really does care. He has not forgotten. He has not left her alone. We may not be the greatest or most talented people but we each have the gift of God’s love to share. Will you go? Will you keep sharing? All the Maries and Bettys and Florences and Bobs and Joes are out there waiting to hear. As the lines from the song Jesus is Waiting asks “What is your answer to Him?”

Joyful Thankful Prayer!

     Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God

Philippians 4:6

Sometimes I treat prayer like taking a ticket at the deli line. I take a number, then patiently wait for my turn to be called. When my name is called I feel sure that then I will get God’s full attention. Then after I am served I say something like, “Hey thanks – have a great day!”

But my reality seems to end up more like the man that Jesus met at the pool of Bethesda. He had been waiting in line not for minutes, hours, or weeks, but for thirty-eight long years. He told Jesus, “… but while I am coming, another steps down before me.”  Do you sometimes feel like that guy? Does it seem that others get the financial provision, the amazing career opportunities or the special thanks in front of the church. Do you feel that God has forgotten you and left  you holding the ticket that never gets called?

When the Apostle Paul talks about prayer to the Philippian church he gives quite a different outlook. His prayers were not made while he anxiously waited his turn. Paul did not have the idea that God was probably busy with the person in front of him in line. In fact Paul was so confident of His heavenly Father that he actually began his request by saying thank you. He knew that because of Jesus Christ his prayers were making their way immediately to the front of the line. He joyfully gave thanks even though he didn’t always get things just the way he wished (like when he was ship-wrecked, beaten, thrown in prison or treated as the least important apostle by his own church.

In fact, while Paul sat in his prison cell chained next to his friend Silas, he was so thankful that he broke out into song, Silas joined in and God sent an earthquake that unlocked the prison door. Wow, now that is an answer to prayer!

No matter what the circumstance, no matter how long we have waited, no matter what everyone else thinks, God loves not just a joyful giver, but a joyful thankful prayer as well. When God sees our faces he sees us as His children. God loves to hear from His children when we come to him with a joyful thankful prayer!Nepal and India 016

Arms of Love – Kutless

Even to your old age, I am He, And even to gray hairs I will carry you!                          I have made, and I will bear; Even I will carry, and will deliver you      Isaiah 46:4

“Though most of my visiting ministry has been to nursing homes, I have also had the privilege to visit some people who just don’t get out a lot. One of my dearest friends was William and his wife Quina who I affectionately called “Mom and Dad”. Over a period of two years William who slowly lost the use of his arms, then his legs and became confined to his recliner One of the things William loved the most was to whistle to his little parakeet friends. Near the end of William’s life his family filmed a brief video of two of his buddies singing on his chest singing while William whistled. For all the sadness around him, no matter what the situation, William made time for fun!”    Peter Caligiuri  from “Would You Do It For One”

Little friends

William is now with Jesus held there tightly in eternal arms. I have often thought of those visits and treasure those times. Today William is now with Jesus held there tightly in eternal arms and I am so glad that together with his family and even his little birds I was one part of being God’s arms of love to carry William.