Category Archives: Faith

Sunday Devotion: Where is our help?

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Sunday looks differently for me in these dark days of COVID-19…no attending church…no visiting with others…no laughing together…no…no…no… So today, I want to share my morning devotion with you.

I read Psalms 3 in the King James Version. It is a morning hymn; I think this is appropriate as the day is young and the sun shining as I read. As I read, I began to think about each part.

1 LORD, how are they increased that trouble me! many are they that rise up against me.

2 Many there be which say of my soul, There is no help for him in God. Selah.

Psalm 3:1-2

Yes, I think how there are so many troubles right now that are rising up on every side. I think of the invisible COVID-19 virus that seems to lurk and strike without warning. I think of the Fear that wraps me at times like a shroud; never have I had such a daily, constant, and unwelcome visitor as this. Then, there is the enemy of isolation. Yes, it is for my own good, I know, but I miss my family members, the flesh-and-blood interactions, the human arms that wrap around my neck in a hug! Neighbors and friends seem helpers of the virus and are to be avoided; stores seem cesspools of contagion.

There are many voices that seem to shout, “There is no help for [you] in God!”

“This disease is too big for God.”

“What if you need a respirator?” What if…? What if…? What if…?

“Where is your God?”

In the midst of these swirling voices, I read…

3 But thou, O LORD, art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head.

4 I cried unto the LORD with my voice, and he heard me out of his holy hill. Selah.

Psalms 3:3-4

Here, in my fear and isolation, I am reminded of the promises of God to his own children, “But thou, O LORD, art a shield for me…” God does not leave us alone; He can protect and watch. “…the lifter up of mine head” He is able to remind me to look up. How often I look down. Down to the problems, and the death, and the numbers of ill. Down to human help. God reminds us to look up. As I look to the skies, the stars, I am reminded of the greatness of God who created all these and watches over them, but I also hear a voice reminding me that He knows the number of hairs on my head! Yes, He can lift my head as I look to Him. When I cry out to Him in discouragement or fear or isolation, He hears!

My eyes focus on the next verses…

5 I laid me down and slept; I awaked; for the LORD sustained me.

6 I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people,that have set themselves against me round about.

7 Arise, O LORD; save me, O my God: for thou hast smitten all mine enemies upon the cheek bone; thous hast broken the teeth of the ungodly.

8 Salvation belongeth unto the LORD; thy blessing is upon thy people. Selah

Psalms 3: 5-8

Today, this morning, I did awake. God sustained my life and health another day. It is a miracle, really, that each day I awake. I see the sun; I see the breeze laughing in the trees; I see leaves frollicking on the wind. Yes, I see a new day with new hope. Yes, the LORD sustained me.

Even though there is COVID-19 round about me, I choose to lean on the work of God in Jesus Christ. He already has smitten the greatest enemy, Death! On the first Easter, when the grave was empty, when it could not hold Jesus in the tomb…the One who bore my sins on the tree… He proved that he had conquered it, once for all.

I remember the day I asked him to save me. Why He wanted to, I do not know! I, a sinner, whose sins held Jesus on the cross, believed. I believed in the name of Jesus and was made his child, an adopted daughter

But as many as received Him [Jesus], to them gave he power to become the sons [and daughters] of God, even to them that believe on his name.

John 1:12

Yes, salvation belongs unto the LORD Jesus. His blessing is upon all who are his people. Are you his child? One of His people? Jesus extends his offer to you! If you don’t know Him, won’t you believe in Jesus today?

I am praying for each of you, dear readers, today. God’s blessing be on you!

Easter: The Great Invitation

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…Why seek ye the living among the dead? He [Jesus] is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee, Saying “The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men , and be crucified, and the third day rise again.

Luke 24: 5b-7

I wondered what Easter would be like in the midst of the great pandemic of 2020. I wondered, “Where is the Church on the most holy day of Christians?” With stay-at-home orders and fear locking us in our homes, Christians in my country are forbidden to congregate to give thanks and praise to our Savior. An unexplainable gloom had settled around my heart this week, this week before Easter. I wondered over and over, “Where is the church in today’s crisis?” Should we be locked behind doors and only visible through online services? I’m not sure; but my heart cries out against it. Didn’t Jesus touch the leper, eat with the sinners, and talk with the Samaritan woman? Yes. Yes, he did.

Today, I woke up with a joy inexplicable….and I want to share this joy with you!

Today, I want to extend to you The Great Invitation that Jesus still offers to each of us-whether rich or poor, old or young, strong or weak, and to every person of every nation, tongue, heritage, or tribe.

Jesus had a ministry for only 3 years upon the Earth, and he walked among men and women...all men and women. He didn’t discriminate because of wealth or age or power. To all he offered salvation to those who believed in Him. But he mostly connected to those who were needy, whether physically or spiritually, and offered to them Himself. It wasn’t that Jesus doesn’t love the rich just as much as the poor, but the rich didn’t have a need for Him. Anyone who believed, received. Isn’t that wonderful?

Do you have a need today? Are you sitting in darkness or fear? Are you alone or sad? Are you worried about your life? Are you lost? Do you need hope?

To those in darkness, Jesus says, “…I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” John 8:12

To those who are fearful, He says, “Fear not little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” Luke 12:32

To those who need help, the Bible says, “Our help is in the name of the LORD [Jesus], who made heaven and earth.” Psalms 124:8

To those who are lonely, “…he [Jesus] hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” Hebrews 13:5b

To those who are mourn, Jesus says, “Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.” Matthew 5:4

To those who worry about their life, Jesus says, “Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God? But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows.” Luke 12:7-6

To those who feel lost, Jesus says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father but by me.” John 14:6

Do you have a need today?

Do you want rest for your sin-sick soul? He is standing at the door of your heart and knocking; He’s waiting for you to open the door and to hear you ask Him into your life.

Behold, I stand at the door and knock: if any man [or woman] hear my voice, and open the door , I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.

Revelation 3:20

Are you asking, “Does that mean me?” I am too bad. I’ve sinned too much. I have been too ungrateful and lived only for myself. I have turned my back on Jesus my whole life. Does he really love me? Can I come?”

Listen to this glorious invitation by the Holy Spirit and by the Bride of Christ, his Church:

And the Spirit and the Bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.

Revelation 20:17

Did you hear that? There is the invitation….”Come!”

Who is invited? “…whosoever will…”

What is the cost? To you, God says to “…take the water of life freely!” It cost you nothing! But to Jesus, to Jesus, what was the cost?

To Jesus, it cost everything. It cost His life as he took the place in judgement for our sins on the cross. God, the Father, turned his back on Him that day. Jesus, for the only time in eternity, was separated from the father because of my sin…and your sin. Jesus died. Then, the Bible and history tell us that he was buried. But…but…three days later, the day we celebrate today as Easter, he rose from the grave. Death could not hold him. He shattered for ever the power of Death. Ha! What victory! Today, Jesus is alive and is sitting at the right hand of God. He’s sitting in victory! He is calling me and women…to “whosoever will”…to come.

Today, hear the invitation of Jesus as he says,

Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me: for I am meek and lowly in heart : and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, ad my burden is light.”

Matthew 11:28-30

Yes, Easter is today, and Easter reminds us of God’s great invitation. Jesus is extending this invitation to you! Won’t you say, “Yes. I believe”?

Friend, please let me know if today you accepted the great invitation of Jesus. It would be my honor to pray for you.

For God so loved the world [you], that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him, should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16

When Fear Comes a Knockin’

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A visitor so unexpected
knocked upon my heart today.
Why, oh why, 
did he come to stay?

Where sunshine e'er beamed,
 lowly clouds are looming,
black and gray and
 darkness, deep glooming.

The stranger shrieking
shatters the joy;
 cackles with glee,
cheers to destroy.
 
Silently smirking
evil 'n devilish delight.
Where, oh where, 
shall my soul take its flight?

I, so weak,
so weary, so frail.
All my struggles can 
nothing avail.

"Fear, go away,
dreadful disease,"
I beg and I plead,
"Begone, won't you, please?"

The darkness oppressive,
the sadness so greedy.
Hope, is there any,
for me, poor and needy?

Turn from the darkness
Turn to the Light.
Turn to the freedom.
I do with delight.

Light for the darkness
Sun for the sadness.
Hope for the helpless. 
Joy for the blackness.

When Fear comes a knockin'
at the door o' my heart,
I'll turn to the Light, 
right there from the start.

Freedom is mine!
How will this be?
I know, I know.
Oh, can't you see?

What time I am afraid,
I will trust in thee?


©Barbara J. Donaldson, 2020. All rights reserved







What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee. 

Psalms 56:3

The Call

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“Hi, Mom, how are you doing?”

I love my mom. She is an amazing lady. I’m glad she’s my mom. Memories began flooding my mind. Memories of Mom trying to carry a small mattress up the stairs from the basement. Tommy, my 16 year old son, said, “Mema, I am carrying that. “

“No, that’s o.k. I can get it.”

“No. I’m taking it. I won’t have my 70 year old grandma carrying a mattress up the stairs!” After a little tussle, Mom reluctantly surrendered the mattress.

Then this memory from July 27, 2003, Mom’s 70th birthday. I squinted as I glanced back, checking to make sure all was set. “Tension!” boomed my dad, the driver, the only driver, of his ski boat. Vroom, the boat shot forward, quickly accelerating. My gaze was focused behind us, up popped Mom, dripping and smiling…slalom skiing!

“She’s up!” I called to let Dad know. He glance behind, and then turned his head forward and scanned the lake for other boats.

Weaving in and out of the wake, Mom laughing and waving to us. I lifted my hand and waved back. I smiled jealousy. It still is so easy for her. Wow! Yes, I could ski easily…on two skis…but I always struggled getting up on one. After a long trip around the lake, Dad pulled back gently on the throttle, and Mom gracefully slid down into the water.

More memories…Mom cooking full turkey dinners, every Thanksgiving and every Christmas-and she still does! Mom working in the garden and canning 72 quarts of tomatoes, freezing quarts of golden corn, canning 50 pints of salsa, and much more. I remember the time I asked Mom if I could can some of the “extra” green beans from her garden when I came in the next day. “Yes, we have a lot still on the bushes. You’re welcome to them.”

So, when I arrived at Mom and Dad’s at about 6:00 PM that next day, with all 6 kids in tow, she suggested, “Let’s go pick some green beans. Want to?”

“Sure!” I replied.

Carefully setting the second brown paper bag overflowing with green beans on the kitchen floor, I’m sure ready to sit down and rest, I thought. After all, I’ve traveled over 500 miles by myself today…with the kids!

I did sit down, but now without getting busy. Mom walked in, a smile lighting her face, with two bowls. Then, two bags, and the two bags of beans. We began popping off the ends of the beans and breaking them into even pieces, talking and laughing all the while.

Mom left me to finish on my own while she made the dinner. After finishing, we worked together to wash, dry, and put away the dishes. It’ll be great to just sit down and relax. No sooner had the thought flitted across my consciousness when I heard the cheery, “Why don’t we can those green beans?”

What?!? You want to can them now? I glanced at the clock. It was getting on to 10 o’clock. I suppressed a sigh. “Of course,” I answered without a hint of my inward reservation, “Of, course!” But inside, I was thinking, I can’t let Mom outdo me!

So, we processed and canned that night until about 2 A.M. That is my mom… energetic…loving life…cheerful….alive.

Mom’s feeble reply jolted me from my reverie.

“Oh, I’m hobbling around.”

Alarm bells clanged in my mind. Who was this woman who answered me? I don’t know this person.

Mom, now 86, always so full of fun and vigor; Mom who so loved life even though the years chugged along; Mom, the shorter version of herself who laughed at the future; ; Mom who proudly wears her silver “crown;” Mom, who to me, seems forever young, had answered. She had answered, “Oh, I’m hobbling around”??

Mom hobbling around? Mom feeble? “No,” a thousand times, “No!”

I blinked as if in a dark room and the lights beamed on. I shook my head, tring to understand the magnitude of this statement. Mom, my mom, who thrives on being with people…cooking dinners…driving friends to church events…opening her home to visitors…Mom was isolated, lonely, sad, disconnected.

“What do you mean, Mom?”

“Oh, you know. My back in hurting so I have to walk so slowly now,”

But no, it wasn’t her back that was hurting, it was her heart.

Lovingly, we conversed…my words drawing forth the mom I know and love; our words breathing life into her death of aloneness and isolation; our words reviving her.

Yes, you were right, dear hubby. Right, right, right! Thank you for saying, “Make the call!”


This conversation was a wake-up call for me. I’ve been calling my mother every day since this conversation. With social distancing, our parents and friends and neighbors, especially the elderly, are isolated and alone…and, probably, afraid. Won’t you call, or write, someone you love or know today?

“…encourage the fainthearted, help the weak…’ I Thessalonians 5:14b

Quietly

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Quietly,
Quietly,
she waits.
Alone.

No longer does laughter
fill the air;
No longer does door
on hinges swing.

Quietly,
Quietly,
she waits.
Alone.

No longer does she
move with ease;
No longer does laughter
ring so free.

Quietly,
Quietly,
she waits.
Alone.

No longer does the
doorbell ring;
No longer does the 
guest swing in.

Quietly,
Quietly,
she waits.
Alone.

Brrring! 
shatters quietness;
Brrring! 
fractures aloneness.

Quietly,
Quietly, 
she smiles.
Connected. 

Hello?
Oh, beloved voice;
How are you?
warms lonely heart.


Quietly,
Quietly she speaks; 
Quietly, quietly
loves, lives.


 

My sweet, sweet mother

This poem was inspired by a phone call I had this morning with my sweet, sweet mother, now 86, who lives 450 miles away. I asked, “How are you doing, Mom?” I heard a shocking reply. I didn’t realize how hard mandated seclusion is for the elderly, for my mom who never seemed elderly.

Please, please, please visit or call your parent or friend or neighbor today! Help “shatter the quietness and fragment the aloneness” for them.

“Pure religion and undefiled is this, To visit the fatherless and widow in their affliction…” James 1:27a

I plan on writing about the conversation tomorrow in my blog. See you then!

Wait…It’s Spring?

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Wait…It’s spring?  My thoughts feel jumbled and confused, like one would feel if one was a pebble tumbling in a creek, and how one would feel if all the while the creek is tinkling and babbling at the joke it is playing.  I blinked.  I blinked again.  My eyes flew open!   It is spring! How did I miss it?  I feel as if I’ve been standing 3 inches in front of a large oak tree…all I see is rough, dark bark…COVID-19.

Well, this is going to change.  Quickly, I sit up, my bare feet hitting the carpet.  I speed into the closet and grab my robe.  No time to get dressed.  I need spring.  How do I welcome spring?

I hurry around the house dusting winter away as best I can.

I know…I’ll change the wreath on my door.  So, I change this…

Winter Wreath          Forsythia Wreath

I’ll changed this…

Winter art         IMG-5322

That’s better.  But, why not this?

IMG-5316         IMG-5321

But this???

IMG-5319

Wait…It’s Spring?

 

“…He giveth snow like wool: he scattereth the hoarfrost like ashes.  He casteth forth his ice like morsels: who can stand before his cold.”    Psalms 147:16-17

 

Hope for Today

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The darkness enveloped and a chill met me as I rose from my cozy bed and walked to the bathroom.  A gloom settled around me as thoughts of the coronavirus crowded my mind.  With determination, I did my morning bathroom chores…brush teeth…get dressed…put on make-up…swish & swipe toilet, sink, mirror…shoes, socks.

The fragrance of coffee met me as I entered the kitchen.  How great to have a timer on the coffee machine!  I grabbed my cup, filled it.  Next, my morning routines…open blinds, empty dishwasher, start diffuser (Citrus Fresh…what a happy start to the day), turn on CD player (remember those?) with the “New Boys” album, He Reigns. 

Sun through trees Turning, I noticed sunshine beaming through the kitchen windows. The sun came up again today. Is that a beam of joy entering my heart?

“As we lift up our hands, will you meet us hear? …God of mercy and grace…only you the heavens declare…Holy, holy is our God Almighty…Holy, holy is his name alone…” Jesus.

Peace and joy trickle in my dark heart and mind.  I felt the darkness splintering, shattering by HOPE.  Jesus still is in control.  He still holds me in his hands.

Before ever the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to lasting, thou art God.  Psalms 90:2

My God is not surprised or overwhelmed by COVID-19.   It is not out of His control.  He is still God…He is on his throne, reigning in majesty and strength.  I am not out of his care. How did I forget that?

Today, I choose HOPE.  I choose the eternal HOPE…I choose  Jesus!

Today, what will you choose?  Choose hope!  Choose Jesus!

 

Simple Pleasures

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A lazy start to the day,

Snuggling in flannel sheets, cozy and warm.

 

Steaming coffee, rich and smooth,

Its inviting aroma hovering in the air.

A hurry-free breakfast,

Its colors feeding the beauty-thirsting soul.

 

A to-do list, the schedule for the day,

Full of washing,

And cleaning,

And planning

for the anxiously-awaited guests.

 

A conversation, written in words, sent as a text.

The video of a granddaughter

Smiling,

Toddling,

And saying, “Hi!”

 

A porch with pansies on its step,

Petals-golds, purples, violets, ambers-

Politely calling, “Spring, spring, spring!”

Robins, hopping in the lawn,

Cheerily chirping in reply.

 

Sunshine dancing on the ground,

Clouds floating in the sky.

A restful day,

A peaceful day,

A day to remember.

 

A day to remember 

the One

Who made this

Friday Good.

 

©B. Donaldson, 2018. All rights reserved

“God is in His Heaven…”

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Bang! The car door slammed behind me. Turning, my feet stepped from the back parking lot into  the alleyway beside church; I headed toward the front door. The sun shone brightly on my face, warming it.  A smile, the kind with little upturned ends, spread across my face. It feels so good. The breeze, an early-spring kind of warm, played with my wavy, brown hair and tickled my skin.  It feels so good.  

Chirp! Chirp!  Could that be a robin?  Where is it? I asked myself, looking up, down, left, and right.  Where is it?  My little feathered friend was shy and chose to remain out of sight.  

I need to hurry.  I”ll be late. I willed my feet to hurry along.  Then, music and joy and God’s people praising Him.  How great to be alive!  

I ran up the concrete stairs, reached out my hand, grasped the door knob, pulled it open, and entered.  “God is in his heaven, and all is right with the world,”  I quoted to myself.