Category Archives: Monday Morsels

Thursday Thoughts: Using David’s Words as Your Cry For Help

And me? I pray.
God, it’s time for a break!

God, answer in love!
Answer with your sure salvation!

14 Rescue me from the swamp,
Don’t let me go under for good,

Pull me out of the clutch of the enemy;
This whirlpool is sucking me down.

15 Don’t let the swamp be my grave, the Black Hole
Swallow me, its jaws clenched around me.

16 Now answer me, God, because you love me;
Let me see your great mercy full-face.

17 Don’t look the other way; your servant can’t take it.
I’m in trouble. Answer right now!

18 Come close, God; get me out of here.
Rescue me from this deathtrap. (Psalm 69:13-18)

Two years ago marked a season where I cried for rescue.

How much more Lord?

Truthfully, there were days when I feared going to sleep because I wondered what new crisis would emerge upon awakening.

Another death of a loved one?

More confusion regarding my son’s health condition?

My husband’s job in jeopardy again?

I resonated with the writer’s feelings of vulnerability here. “Don’t let me go down for good.”

When our energy dissipates and our earthly expectations wane, discouragement sets in. We feel as if we are being sucked down. Keeping your head above water involves crying out to God from the desperate place in our gut.

Help me! I can’t do this anymore! 

You can’t. But God can.

God longs to deliver us despite what’s whirling around us. God longs to deliver us from the spiral of discouragement, fatigue, bitterness, despair.

Make this Psalm your prayer. Let David’s words become your words.  His God is your God.

Your life preserver is on its way. Look for it.

 

 

 

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Thursday Thoughts: Do You Believe God is Good?

Gift, Jeans, Fashion, Pack, Give, Loop

“Don’t bargain with God. Be direct. Ask for what you need. This isn’t a cat-and-mouse, hide-and-seek game we’re in. If your child asks for bread, do you trick him with sawdust? If he asks for fish, do you scare him with a live snake on his plate? As bad as you are, you wouldn’t think of such a thing. You’re at least decent to your own children. So don’t you think the God who conceived you in love will be even better?  Matthew 7:7-11(The Message)

Do you believe God is good?

Because what you believe about God’s character informs how you pray.

What

Truthfully, we don’t always give our kids everything they desire. Their lack of life experience can prevent a full understanding of the impact of the gift.

For example, I once spotted my daughter in her walker happily chewing on a dog bone. When I took it away, she screamed. It seemed like a good idea to her but I knew better.

God may not always give us exactly what it is we seek.We may not even recognize the gift. Perhaps it comes in a wrapping that disguises it’s true value. Sometimes, we cry because we are convinced that what we asked for does not match what we received.

Yet, God is good. Even if we can’t fully grasp what that looks like from our limited human perspective.

But there is no need to bargain with God in order to receive what will truly please our hearts. There are no conditions when it comes to a parent listening to their child’s plea and longing to please them to the fullest extent. “So don’t you think the God who conceived you in love will be even better?”

What is it that you are asking for? Can you place your focus on the gift giver rather than the gift?

Loving God, we lay the desire of our hearts before you. We leave fear behind and boldly, like a child, ask for ___________________________________.  As we wait, remind us of your goodness. Open our eyes to the ways you are mindful of us in ways we are not aware or haven’t recognized. We thank you for being so good to us. Amen

Thursday Thoughts: How is God Speaking to You?

 

“The LORD said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by.”

Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. 12 After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. 13 When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.

Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” (1 Kings 19:11-13)

Waiting and looking. That’s what Elijah is doing in response to God’s command. Surely, he had heard of the great and mighty ways that God was revealed to the Israelites and other nations….the presence of a cloud by day and fire by night, the parting of the sea, the plagues. Surely, Elijah must have had some anticipation of a visually stunning revelation of God’ presence. Yet…the Lord did NOT communicate in the powerful wind. The Lord did NOT communicate in the earthquake. The Lord did NOT communicate in the fire. The Lord DID communicate in a whisper.

A whisper?

Aren’t we tempted to look for God’s answers in the big things too?

famous authors

expensive medical centers,

big churches

While God certainly can speak through any circumstance and venue, sometimes the voice of God is heard in the ordinary moments of life. Perhaps, God is whispering to you in the moments of folding laundry. Maybe it’s in your commute to work. Perhaps it’s in the wisdom of a child’s insight.

How can you better hear the whispering voice of God in the ordinary routine of your life?

Dear Lord,

I seek your ways, your wisdom, your presence in the challenges of my life. Please open my heart and clear my mind so that I may recognize your voice.

Thursday Thoughts: Grabbing Onto Those Never Ending Mercies

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases,[a]
    his mercies never come to an end;
     they are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness. (Lam. 3:22-23)

How do you respond to the unexpected interruptions in your routine? Perhaps it depends. A call from a friend who is from out of town may be a welcomed break. Quickly, you find a way to re-arrange your schedule in order to meet. The brief stress in altering plans is countered by the benefit of engaging with a friend.

However, when unpredictability becomes the norm, the interruption is no longer perceived as a respite. Illness, job loss, and divorce are situations that can create days in which you feel blindsided by the force of changing winds. Doctors appointments, tracking meds, caring for your family, managing your moods as well as helping your children process theirs., negotiating with bill collectors..…, It takes every ounce of energy to move forward with every detail of the day. There are seasons in our lives when these days, which beat to no rhythm in particular, seem to continue day after day. For some, it’s a matter of weeks. For others- months or even years.

During this season, how easy it can be to be vulnerable to our own sinful choices: snapping at another family member, impatience with medical staff, not giving your best to your spouse…Yet, in the midst of the challenges, we are offered the compassions of our merciful God. This was the hope clung to by the writer of Lamentations. He writes these words as he is in the midst of a life of despair, exhaustion and fear. At the beginning of each day, when the alarm goes off and the uncertainty of a new day greets you, the Lord has already bestowed you with the mercies to get through another day. Receive them…. and let them transform you.

What is the rhythm of your life like right now? Erratic? Steady?

How do you feel knowing that you are granted God’s mercies everyday?

Dear Lord,

We receive the promise given to us in your Word. We claim your mercies. The same mercies offered to those who have struggled before us. You know our struggles, our physical and emotional abilities and our temptations. We thank you for your unending mercies and grace which intersect the often unpredictable rhythm of our lives. .

Thursday Thoughts: Embracing God’s Promise for Navigating Detours

 

Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever go.  Joshua 1:9

How do you feel when you are driving along certain of your location and suddenly, without warning, you find yourself forced to take a detour?  Many times the detour takes you to your destination through a series of streets with which you are unfamiliar.  The confidence you felt in pursuing your destination has changed to anxiety.

“I don’t know where I’m going!”

The daily life for a family facing the realities of a chronic illness or debilitating situation can; at times, be filled with moments of unpredictability-a loved one makes an impulsive decision with life altering consequences, a sick child takes a sudden turn for the worse, a new medication is introduced. Any pursuit of stability in your life seems to be thrown off with a detour into the unknown. Our human desire for control seems to have slipped out of our hands. Traveling into the unknown brings a sense of fear.

The Israelites were no strangers to traveling into unknown territory.  The physical terrain was not always familiar.  Sure, they knew they were headed to the Promised Land but how exactly do you get there?  Along the journey, sinful beings made poor decisions and struggled with trusting in the promises God made to them in the beginning.

How does this promise encourage you as you face the unknown?

Sovereign God, you have shown us through your actions in your people before us that  we have nothing to fear.  You are greater than any challenges we face here on earth.  Please fill us with your peace as we claim your words through Joshua as our own.  Amen

Thursday Thoughts: How We Receive Strength For the Ride

 


 But those who trust in the Lord
    will receive new strength.
They will fly as high as eagles.
    They will run and not get tired.
    They will walk and not grow weak. (Isaiah 40:31)

From a purely human perspective, it was an unpleasant season of life.

My daughter’s medical expenses had drained our bank account. Leisure time was consumed by long hours of struggling through school work and our involvement in a new project with our church. Food choices were reduced to the bare bones-not much room for extras. Our daughter’s illness was in a chronic stage: no breakthrough. The emotional roller coaster she was on seemed to drag on day after day. It seemed as if anything that could possibly allow for a pleasant escape from this season was taken away. (To read more about that, read here: https://stephaniejthompson.com/2016/08/31/if-god-can-raise-a-man-from-the-dead-why-cant-he-keep-my-crockpot-from-falling-2/)

Yet, in the midst of it, I was reminded that hope ultimately cannot come from anything outside ourselves. Sure, God wants us to enjoy all that has been given to us. But, as we know, hope will only be found as we find refuge in our God-our Creator and Sustainer.

Not in full bank accounts. Not in a trouble free life. Not in good health. Not in people.

Did you know that the images here refer to the transformation that takes place as an eagle matures? God already knew what they needed. Their fluffy “baby” down becomes feathers as they develop. These stages of “strengthening” enable it to have the resources to thrive; to sustain the varied elements which may threaten it’s survival.

So it us with us. God continues to strengthen us by infusing us with his character so that we can sustain through varied elements which threaten to paralyze us.

I will continue to carry you even when you are old.
    I will take good care of you even when your hair is gray.
    I have made you, and I will carry you.
I will take care of you, and I will save you.
    I am the Lord(Isaiah 46:4)

Sovereign Lord,

We lay ourselves before you; exhausted. We long for answers and comfort. But remind us that our endurance during these trials comes only from what you offer us. Help us to turn from sources of comfort which only give us short term gratification. Make us aware of what you have given to us in order to fly forward. We ask for clarity, strength and peace. . Amen

Thursday Thoughts: Why Our Trials Aren’t “Just About Us”

 

About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. (Acts 16:25)

When we find ourselves in the midst of trials, it becomes easy to focus on ourselves. And for good reason.

Life, as we know it, has changed. The anxiety surrounding that moment builds as we feel a loss of control.

  • unexpected illness
  • death of a loved one
  • car repair
  • job loss
  • lack of improvement in chronic illness
  • broken/strained relationship
  • consequences of fighting for justice
  • financial stress

The rhythm was altered without our knowledge. The implications may involve physical/emotional hardship. 

The discomfort is unsettling. We seek restoration. But as we seek it, we may develop “tunnel vision.” We look for God’s redemption within the scope of our own lives. 

Yet, God’s movement in our trials speaks to those outside our scope as well.

Paul and Silas were no strangers to trials.  Because of their passion for bringing Jesus’ message to a secular society, persecution was a regular experience for them. But when God acted to deliver them, others took notice.

Others witnessed them calling out to God through song as they lay in pain from their beating. Their response was counter cultural. But “the other prisoners were listening to them.”

As if that wasn’t enough, God’s power came through with a mighty force and blew open the prison doors and loosened the chains! As a result of this experience, the jailer’s eyes were opened. He recognized God’s hand in Paul and Silas’ moment of trial and sought to be baptized.

Our trials aren’t just about us

Throughout scripture, God is about drawing others to Himself.  Whether it be directly (public manifestation) or indirectly (testimony).  Our trials are one venue through which that happens.

How are others seeing God’s hand at work in your trial?

Sovereign God,

No part of our lives is outside your view. We are reminded of your power to break through those situations which come our way and cause distress. Please hear our cries as you have heard the pleas of those who have come before us. We seek deliverance from the hardships we are experiencing (name them). As you restore us, may others see you at work.  Amen