What is it?

Looking through my journals and email, I found out that I was wishing for a lot of good things to happen. I claimed to be “hoping,” but I did not/could not be confident the desired outcome would happen. That is not what hope is about. Hope is more than wishing. [Want to know more? Click here.]

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Revisited from November 24, 2011 Post

Today I read Psalm 147 for my Quiet Time (personal devotion). I’ve been going through the Psalms using The Message to gain new understanding of the familiar passages. Many of the Psalms recap the great things God has done for David and the other writers of the Psalms. Then those Psalms call for the people to celebrate with thanksgiving and praise. Psalm 147 does that. It talks about rebuilding the wall and protecting His people. This could have been Nehemiah’s prayer:


It’s a good thing to sing praise to our God;
Praise is beautiful, praise is fitting.
God’s the one who rebuilds Jerusalem,
Who regathers Israel’s scattered exiles.
He heals the heartbroken
And bandages their wounds.
He counts the start
And assigns each a name.
Our Lord is great, with limitless strength;
We’ll never comprehend what he knows and does.
God puts the fallen on their feet again
And pushes the wicked into the ditch.

Sing to God a thanksgiving hymn
Play music on your instruments to God.
Who fills the sky with clouds,
Preparing rain for the earth.
Then turning the mountains green with grass,
Feeding both cattle and crows.
He’s not impressed with horsepower;
The size of our muscles means little to him.
Those who fear God get God’s attention
They can depend on his strength.

Jerusalem, worship God!
Zion, praise your God!
He made your city secure,
He blessed your children among you.
He keeps the peace at your borders,
He puts the best bread on your tables.
He launches his promises earthward –
How swift and sure they come!
He spreads snow like a white fleece,
He scatters frost like ashes,
He broadcasts hail like birdseed –
Who can survive his winter?
Then he gives the command and it all melts;
He breaths on winter – suddenly it’s spring!

He speaks the same way to Jacob,
Speaks words that work to Israel.
He never did this to the other nations,
They never heard such commands.


Today, on Thanksgiving Day (and every day), I join this Psalmist, the other writers of the Psalms, Nehemiah, and all God’s people in thanking and praising God for the miracles He’s orchestrated in my life. What has He done in your life for which you need to give thanks? Take a few moments to do it today.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Serving God Wherever He Sends Me

I hate doing what I’m about to do. However, God tells us that we are to support those of the faith that have need. 2 Corinthians 8:1-9 is an accounting of Paul asking the Corinthian church members to be as giving as their counterparts in Macedonia (a much poorer community). I’m often challenged by this passage to give more to God’s work. Verses 6-7 in the New Living Translation says,
So we have urged Titus, who encouraged your giving in the first place, to return to you and encourage you to finish this ministry of giving.  Since you excel in so many ways—in your faith, your gifted speakers, your knowledge, your enthusiasm, and your love from us—I want you to excel also in this gracious act of giving.
I do not want to preach to you. I want to appeal to you in the power of God’s Word. I’m praying your hearts and your devotion to improving the world will prompt you to act.
Here’s the appeal: Help me go to Haiti, January 20-27, 2018 to help in mission work that partners with my local church. We are going with an organization called Loving Shepherd Ministries, which provides homes for orphaned children in Haiti. They not only house children, but LSM provides each child with long-term educational and vocational opportunities.
We will be involved in various roofing projects in the community around one of the homes that LSM operates. We will also be building relationships with the children as well as giving them something tangible that will point back to how much God loves them. This gives each child hope and allows them to reach God.
The total cost is $1,750 and needs to be raised by January 10th (I’m getting a late start at this because the Holy Spirit only recently convinced me to go; notice He was convincing and it took a while for the message to sink in). Part of these funds will purchase construction materials.
Contribution checks can be made out to “Fowlerville UB Church” and marked on the memo line: Haiti-Grimm. Then send it to:
Fowlerville United Brethren Church
9300 W. Grand River Ave.
Fowlerville, MI 48836
If you have any questions, please send me a note at thetootsierolllady@yahoo.com
I love serving Jesus and I’m excited by this opportunity. Join me in the adventure!

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Standing Up For the Most High

There are several themes in Daniel 5 and 6, but one stood out to me. Daniel – like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego earlier (chapter 3) – was willing to lay everything on the line to be faithful to their God. The examples these faithful Jewish individuals are ones I know I need to pay attention to more than I do.
In Daniel 5, the great-grandson of Nebuchadnezzar is ruling over Babylon. He had not paid heed to the changes in Nebuchadnezzar’s life or to the Most High God that Nebuchadnezzar had come to believe in as a result of events in his life. Belshazzar was as prideful of his accomplishments as Nebuchadnezzar had been, even to the point of defiling the treasures taken from the temple in Jerusalem many years before. He held a big party for his highest-ranking officials. Out of his pride he proclaimed his Babylonian gods were greater than the God of Israel. To prove that, he called for vessels and challises of the temple in Jerusalem to be brought from the storehouse and be used to toast the Babylonian gods.
God had had enough! He sent Belshazzar a message written out by a disembodied hand. But no one there could understand the message. Eventually Daniel was brought in. Daniel was promised a high position in the kingdom if he told the king what the message meant. Daniel said he didn’t want the rewards, but he’d interpret the writing anyway. Daniel knew the message was not a good message for Belshazzar, but remained bold, as he trusted God to protect him from whatever danger might come his way from interpreting the dream. He proclaimed God’s message at the risk of personal injury or death.
In Daniel 6, Daniel is now in a high position in the kingdom of the man who had overthrown Belshazzar. This king’s name is Darius, of the Mede-Persian Empire. Daniel is now about 85 years old and risen to a high rank in Darius’ kingdom. Darius was convinced by some other leaders who wanted to see Daniel dead (how can this Jewish person be ranked over us Babylonians?) to make an injunction “that anyone who makes a petition to any god or man besides [Darius] for thirty days shall be cast into the lions’ den. [Daniel 6:7]” These conspirators knew Daniel’s practice of daily prayer to the God of Israel and were pretty confident he would not stop the practice. Their plot was all set.
Daniel was a man of God and everyone knew it. He did not hide his worship or his obedience to the commands of the God of Israel. It was well known, because Daniel was faithful. So, he was brought before Darius and Darius was angry that he’d been tricked and that Daniel, whom he respected and maybe even loved, had to be thrown into the lions’ den. Daniel’s witness to the One High God is shown in Darius’ comments to Daniel when Daniel is thrown into the den: “Your God whom you constantly serve will Himself deliver you. [6:16]” We all know the story: Daniel is unharmed in the den and brought out the next day. Darius makes a new decree in verses 26 and 27 that starts like this: “I make a decree that in all the dominion of my kingdom men are to fear and tremble before the God of Daniel . . .” Daniel’s witness reached all the dominion.
So, these stories gave me pause to consider what people would say about my life. To have unbelievers see in me the same faithfulness the conspirators saw in Daniel could be frightening. Yet it is a compliment for those who truly desire to serve the One and Only Living God.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

I Don't Want To Be Like Nebuchadnezzar, Part 2

Pride. That’s the issue that kept coming up in Daniel 4. Nebuchadnezzar’s pride and where it got him. Nebuchadnezzar states three times in Daniel 4 that he has made himself great.  He proclaims that his kingdom is all of his doing. He has proclaimed that his majesty is above all others. God has something to say about that. Chapter 4 records the lesson God gave Nebuchadnezzar to prove that God is supreme over creation and mankind.
Daniel 4:17 is included in Nebuchadnezzar’s retelling of the dream he had: “This sentence is by the decree of the angelic watchers, And the decision is a command of the holy ones, In order that the living may know That the Most High is ruler over the realm of mankind, And bestows it on whom He wishes, And sets over it the lowliest of men.” This is what the “angelic watcher” was telling the king, in the dream. For some reason, Nebuchadnezzar did not lay aside his pride to acknowledge this truth.
Daniel 4:25 gives us Daniel’s recounting of the dream as he’s giving the interpretation: “that you be driven away from mankind, and your dwelling place be with the beasts of the field, and you be given grass to eat like cattle and be drenched with the dew of heaven; and seven periods of time will pass over you, until you recognize that the Most High is ruler over the realm of mankind, and bestows it on whomever He wishes.” [Emphasis added] So, thus far the angelic watcher has told Nebuchadnezzar the fault in his thinking and the danger his pride is going to bring him, and Daniel in his interpretation of the dream tells Nebuchadnezzar that he needs to recognize the Most High as the ultimate ruler. Then God gives the king a year, exactly twelve months (vs. 29), to repent and change his thinking and attitude. But the king does not do it. If anything, he gets more prideful (vs. 30).
Finally, at the end of his seven-year illness/insanity Nebuchadnezzar finally gets it. Daniel 4:34-35 contains the following statements by the king:
. . . I blessed the Most High and praised and honored Him who lives forever;
For His dominion is an everlasting dominion,
And His kingdom endures from generation to generation.
And all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing,
But He does according to His will in the host of heaven
And among the inhabitants of earth;
And no one can ward off His hand
Or say to Him, “What has Thou done?”
Nebuchadnezzar’s attitude and perspective has changed. He now praises and honors the all powerful and sovereign God. It was a hard, seven-year, lesson but he finally got the message and chose to worship the one true Most High God. His pride was overcome.
I decided to memorize Proverb 16:18 as a reminder to myself to keep my perspective focused on the Most High God and not on my own accomplishments:
Pride goes before destruction,
And a haughty spirit before stumbling.
Hopefully, this will remind me to worship the One and Only Truly Sovereign God.