Christmas Prayers from the past

December 19, 2011

We have just recently re-discovered these three little prayer books in a box of books in the attic.

The one on the left is missing the first few pages so we don’t have a copyright date, but it definitely appears to be the oldest.  It is obviously a book of prayers for children.  But I find it surprising that the language definitely isn’t changed much if at all to make it easier for children to read.  That makes me think that it really wasn’t meant to be read by children, but read to children so that they could memorize the prayers.

Its prayers are all short and include these two pages of Christmas prayers.

The red book was given to an unknown  couple on their 50th wedding anniversary in approximately 1951. (That’s our guess because that is the copyright year.)

It is my favorite.  It has prayers for every instance imaginable.

It includes this Christmas prayer that I think is lovely and we will probably use on Christmas day.

The blue book was a gift to Hubby from the Pastor when he was confirmed in 1959.  I know that Hubby and his family dearly loved Pastor L, but its prayers tend to be long and kind of dry.  I wonder if a simpler version might have had a better chance of actually being used by eighth graders!

We have started using prayers from the middle book during our bible studies.  The wording used is so elegant and conveys the thoughts in such beautiful ways. They are a pleasure to read, pray and think on.

I think “Anna B.” who signed her name and wrote her congratulations in that little red book of prayers to give to a couple celebrating a long marriage, would probably be happy to know that it is being used all these years later.

What a special little treasure of books we’ve found.  And especially in regard to the red book, we are using it regularly right now.  And even though Hubby and I weren’t the ones who received it originally, it has definitely turned into a gift for us.


Remember to Pass on “Thankful” … A Thanksgiving Prayer

November 24, 2011

This is the prayer we will pray today.  May each of you have a blessed, thanks-filled Thanksgiving.  You each bless my life in some way, if nothing else than coming here to read what I write.  I am thankful for you.

A Thanksgiving Prayer

Heavenly Father, Thank you for all the blessings we have to be thankful for today, especially our loved ones and for your Son who died for our sins.

And please help us to show that we are blessed and loved by being a blessing to others.

When a jerk cuts us off in traffic, may we remember that she may be a single mother who worked nine hours that day and is rushing home to cook dinner, help with homework, pay bills and spend a few precious moments with her children.

Help us to remember that the pierced, tattooed, seemingly disinterested young man who can’t make change correctly may be a worried 19-year-old college student, balancing his apprehension over final exams with his fear of not getting his student loans for next semester.

Remind us, Lord, that the scary looking bum, begging for money in the same spot every day, may be a slave to addictions that we can only imagine in our worst nightmares.

And when we get behind an old couple walking annoyingly slow through the store aisles, blocking our shopping progress, may we remember that they may be savoring this moment, knowing that, based on the biopsy report she got back last week, this will be the last year that they go shopping together.

Heavenly Father, may we remember each day that, of all the gifts you give us, the greatest gift is love. And, that it is not enough to share that love with just those we hold dear. Please open our hearts not to just those who are close to us, but to all people in our lives.

Help us to be slow to judge and quick to forgive, showing patience, empathy and love.

In Jesus name we pray, Amen

 


Bonnie

November 22, 2011

Hubby has lots of family in this area and Bonnie was the wife of one of his cousins.  They lived in a town about a half hour away so we didn’t run into them much, but we did always see them at family reunions and, of course, weddings and funerals.

I always liked Bonnie, but I really didn’t realize what a wonderful person she was until we went to her funeral last week.  We had just heard she had a brain tumor not too long ago, so were shocked when we heard she had died.  But this is an excellent reason to go to a funeral.  I now know Bonnie better than I ever did while she was alive, and she obviously inspired many in her life, and especially during her illness, but also many, like me, who heard about her courageous journey through her illness after the fact.

Bonnie kept a journal that the pastor read from during her funeral.  In one entry she talked about working at being thankful for today.  She said she wasn’t going to waste the things she could be thankful for today because she was concentrating instead of what might happen tomorrow.

One entry was about the technician who took the 31 staples out of the incision on her head.  She talked about how gentle and kind he was.

She talked about her husband and children and how blessed she was by them.  The pastor told a personal story of arriving in her room one Sunday afternoon shortly before she died and there was Bonnie and her family sitting around eating, watching football on TV and laughing!

One of the things I found out about Bonnie is that she loved singing in her church choir.  So, of course, they sung at the funeral.  If ever there was a reason we should all join the church choir now, it is that there is no more stirring music at a funeral than the heartfelt songs sung by a choir celebrating one of their own.

We had heard that the end was near for Bonnie and that she was in the hospital.  But the obituary said she died at home — so I had guessed that she had asked to go home to die.

The last entry in her journal was written in the margin of the last page as she was being taken home.  It said, “Almost home”.

Bonnie’s home now.  But I left her funeral knowing that even though she’s physically gone, she has left a wonderful example to all who knew her.

I look forward to getting to know her better when I see her again.

 


“Yes God, with all my heart.”

March 27, 2011

When I’m concerned, worried or apprehensive about something, if I am very still I sometimes hear a clear voice in my head (and heart) that says, “Do you trust me?”

Whenever I remember that God is in control and that He loves me and my loved ones even more than we can love each other, my anxiety seems to melt away and is replaced by peace.

Of course, He asks the question already knowing the answer.  But He asks as a reminder.

And my answer is always the same, “Yes God, with all my heart.”

May your Sunday be blessed by His “peace which surpasses all understanding”.

 

 


You might be surprised at what God is preparing you for!

February 27, 2011

Much of the twenty years Gunny served in the Marines, he was managing (and mentoring) young men in a shop that tested and repaired helicopter parts.  And during that time he got his degree in business and finance with the plan to use his degree to get a job after the Marines.  When he retired after 20 years, he took a job as a manager with a roofing manufacturer, and his favorite part of that job was that he did safety training for employee’s at the company’s plants all over the country.   He really enjoyed that job, but he worked long hours, traveled alot, and he spent almost three hours commuting every day.  So, last year he started looking around for what he could do closer to home.  And when he really thought about it, he realized that what he had enjoyed most in the Marines was working with and teaching young Marines.  And in his civilian job, what he had enjoyed most was training people.  So, he contacted Troops to Teachers and they directed him on the path to getting the training and licensing to become a math (a subject he loves) teacher.  He has just become a high school math teacher in Tulsa and is excited about teaching.  I can imagine that if you had said to that young Marine all those years ago that someday he would be a high school math teacher, he would have said, “No way!”  But apparently God had a plan for him to teach teenagers to not be afraid of math and maybe even come to love it as he does.  And God used his other jobs to prepare him for what I think is going to turn out to be his dream job.

DD was downsized from a very good position as VP of Human Resources with a furniture company last year.  And even though she has diligently sent out resumes and done interviews, she still hasn’t found a job.  But we are proud of how she has handled these trying times.  She is trusting in the Lord to show her what her next job will be.  In the meantime, she is coaching club volleyball, and enjoying it.  Who knows what job is in DD’s future.  But we too are trusting that at some point God will show her the perfect job for her, the one He has prepared her for with all the other jobs and experiences she has had up to now.


“Dispatch, the perp’s a short guy with a red wagon.”

December 26, 2010

It was the day after Christmas, and the pastor glanced out the window at the crèche in front of the church and noticed that the baby Jesus was missing from among the figures. When he went outside to investigate he saw a little boy pulling a red wagon up the street, and in the wagon was the missing baby Jesus.

So the pastor hurried to catch up and said, “Well where did you get your passenger, little guy?”

The little boy replied, “I got Him back there at the church. I was going to put him back.”

“But why did you take Him?”

Then the little boy explained, “I had to. I really wanted a red wagon for Christmas, so I prayed to the little Lord Jesus and asked Him to help me get one. And I promised Him that if I got one I would give Him a ride around the block in it.”

MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE.


A Day Like No Other Day

December 25, 2010

On no other day in the history of the world, have we been given a gift like this. Today we celebrate the day that Christ came into the world to save us from our sins.

Thank you, Jesus. And, Happy Birthday!


My Father, My Mountain Guide

October 3, 2010

It has been my experience that faith gets easier as I get older.

Since I am a visual person, I can picture traveling through life as traveling up a winding road on a densely wooded mountain.

When I was young and at the bottom looking up, I could only see a little of the curvy road ahead and I had lots of anxiety and concern because I couldn’t see what was coming and this was an unfamiliar road.  And, even though I would ask for God’s help, it was hard to recognize how His hand was in the outcome of events.

But now that I’m older and closer to the top, it’s as if there are look-out points where I can look back and see the twists and turns in the road I’ve traveled.  And from this perspective it is so apparent how God guided, corrected and saved me on that road again and again.  In fact, I believe that sometimes when He not only answered a prayer but answered it in a far better or different way than I would have even thought to pray for, He was clearly demonstrating to me that it was Him, not me, who made that decision or solved that problem.

I still can’t see what awaits me beyond the next curve, but I’ve come to realize that whatever it is, I don’t have to worry because He is already there, waiting for me, ready to help me deal with whatever comes next.

May you be able to recognize God working in your life and may your faith be strengthened when you see the pattern of His loving guidance.


It’s THAT Personal!

August 22, 2010

A pastor said something one time that makes my salvation feel very personal.  He said, “Christ would have died on the cross if you were the only one who was saved by His sacrifice.”

Because God’s mind is infinite, and can do anything, in any amount of time, Christ could have thought of each person who ever did or ever will live on Earth in the time He was on the cross, and maybe even said a prayer for each of us!  That’s kind of awesome to think about, isn’t it?  To think that He might have thought of you personally, by name, while He was making that sacrifice?

That is how personal I believe God wants our relationship to be with Him.


Death of a Witness

July 23, 2010

About four years ago I ran into a woman I knew but didn’t see very often. Her husband had been the chaplain at the jail for a few years.  They were such a neat couple, and great witnesses to their faith.  (He told the story many times about his conversion to Christianity beginning in a jail cell in California when he was a troubled young man, and he happened to find a Christian tract on the floor.)

Anyway, when I saw this wonderful woman in the grocery store, it was impossible to miss the fact that instead of her trademark long brown hair, she was bald.  She had always been a beautiful woman and she was still beautiful with her huge, expressive blue eyes all the more emphasized by her baldness.

She told me she had had cancer for five years and had just finished a round of chemo that appeared to be successful.

But as we stood there, she told me in words and through those huge, sincere eyes that she knew the chance the cancer would return, but  whatever tomorrow brought, she wasn’t afraid because she knew when the end came she would be in Heaven with Christ.  We parted ways with a hug and my thanks for such inspiring words.

Fast forward to a few days ago.  I heard that she is now at death’s door.  She has battled cancer for almost 10 years, but the end is finally near.  But, you know, this wonderful witness for Christ will never be totally gone because her witness to her faith will linger in the hearts and minds of many with whom she has had contact.

And when she arrives at Heaven’s door, I picture Christ opening the door Himself, smiling when He sees His faithful servant Marilyn, and then taking her hand in welcome and saying, “Well done, O good and faithful servant.”  Then I picture Him leading her by the hand into Eternity.

Well done, my friend.  I look forward to seeing you again in Eternity.