I came across this hymn by William Cowper this morning and decided to post it. I thought someone else, besides me, may be feeling some insecurity about the future. I found this ‘Hymn 15′ from the Olney Hymnal (published in 1779) to be of great comfort. The word picture of the ‘fearful cloud’ breaking into ‘blessings on your head’ was especially meaningful. What ‘fearful clouds’ are hanging over you today? Be encouraged by these faith-filled words:

God moves in a mysterious way His wonders to perform;

He plants His footsteps in the sea, and rides upon the storm.

Deep in unfathomable mines of never failing skill

He treasures up His bright designs and works His sovereign will.

Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take;

The clouds ye so much dread

Are big with mercy and shall break in blessings on your head.

Judge not the Lord by feeble sense, but trust Him for His grace;

Behind a frowning providence He hides a smiling face.

His purposes will ripen fast, unfolding every hour.

The bud may have a bitter taste, but sweet will be the flower.

Blind unbelief is sure to err and scan His work in vain;

God is His own interpreter, and He will make it plain.

I’m not one to say all TV is evil. I’m an AI fan, felt sad as I bid farewell to Jack Bauer and enjoy the charm of The Mentalist. I did find this little video a creative challenge to TV viewing habits though. What do you think?
(Click on the link to take you to the embedded video.)

Television is a Drug

Spring arrived in Georgia in mid-April. I had the joy of seeing fresh blossoms again in Alaska in late April. It was such a surprise to view spring blooms yet again in Germany just last week. During my stay I took a couple of walks into the German village close to the conference hotel. Here are some of the sites of my third spring this year:

Every spring is the only spring--a perpetual astonishment. ~Ellis Peters

Spring unlocks the flowers to paint the laughing soil. ~Bishop Reginald Heber

Spring has returned. The earth is like a child that knows poems. ~Rainer Maria Rilke

No winter lasts forever, no spring skips its turn. ~Hal Borland

Expect to have hope rekindled. Expect your prayers to be answered in wondrous ways. The dry seasons in life do not last. The spring will come again. ~Sarah Ban Breathnach

A most special girl named Jolie has a birthday today. Jolie loves to read, swim, eat pasta with alfredo sauce, and she LOVES cats. I’m praying she has a wonderful birthday today and a wonderful year ahead! May she know how dearly she is loved by all of us in her family and how proud we are to call her OURS.  Happy Birthday Jolie!

Long flights mean (hopefully) a good flick to pass some time. My thoughts on a few recent viewings:

LAX to ATL-How does one person—one male person—have so much sensitivity, (I’m sorry, but sometimes translated schmaltz)?  Southern author Nicholas Sparks keeps cranking them out and as with any author, I like some of his offerings above others. All have a tug at your heart turning point with my all time fave continuing to be The Notebook. As sappy as it is, it should be a requirement for every married couple to view together. I digress…my airplane selection for a recent flight from LAX to ATL was Sparks’ Dear John. The connection with Dear John for me was of course the military story line. My heart went out to John with his dysfunctional family background. I rejoiced as he found purpose and  a place in the military. I rooted for him as he opened his heart and learned how to love. I understood, but was disappointed as a young woman weighed the cost of military life and decided to go another direction–not sure about the commitments it would require. I was surprised as, hmmm…there was more to her and this story than I thought! Okay film.

ATL to FRA-One of my favorite young actresses of the day is Amy Adams. Her character in Enchanted continues to make me smile.  Her portrayal of Julie in Julie and Julia was enjoyable as well. Leap Year was the perfect airplane movie for me since it comes under the ‘chick flick’ genre. Lighthearted, charming and fun even with its predictability.

FRA to ATL-The favored movie of this month’s air travel has to be Invictus with Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon. This is a LEADERSHIP movie!  The storyline centers on the South African rugby team and their quest for the World Cup. But, the story goes so much deeper  as it explores how some leaders are able to inspire people to go beyond what they think they are capable of being and doing. This is a movie about transformational leadership at its finest.  The genius of Mandela to use a struggling rugby team in the process of reconciliation of a country that could have gone the way of its violent neighbors leaves me shaking my head in wonder.  He is portrayed as a leader who built relationships as he learned about people (to include their names), and  listened and reflected before taking action.  This movie illustrates his  use of something all the people of his country loved (rugby) to build a common vision for a better future. Mandela and Francois Pienaar (rugby captain) are depicted, as men who led by example and were true to their values—something we desperately need today! Terrific film!
Were you aware that there was a day recently set aside to pray for Christians in Turkey? I missed it too. Several years ago I had an incredible experience in Turkey to include a powerful time of prayer and fellowship with some Turkish Christian women. To be a Christian in their country is not an easy thing. (We had to change the location of our meeting three times in order to not arouse suspicion.) I left that nation so full of love for those women and burdened for their plight I knew I would never forget to pray for them. But, I have forgotten. And I am saddened by this fact.
The Official Day of Prayer for Turkey
April 18 is the international day of prayer for the church in Turkey. On this day in 2007, three Turkish Christians were brutally murdered for no other reason than actively living out their lives as followers of Christ.
While I was in Turkey I had the opportunity to view the rich Christian heritage of that little nation. I visited the location of the seven churches in the Book of Revelation and was humbled and inspired by visiting the catacombs  in Cappadocia where early Christians worshipped to escape persecution. So much of our scriptures were written from this land and yet today Christians are believed to make up only 0.3 per cent of the population.

The catacombs of Cappadocia

Today is the day…tomorrow too
While I appreciate a day set aside to bring prayer needs to the forefront, I don’t want to have to have them to remember. It’s May 18, a month later than the ‘official’ prayer day, and I am praying for the Christians of Turkey today.  I’m asking the Lord to remind me to consistently and regularly pray on their behalf.  He has been doing just that as the faces of those dear women in our secret circle of prayer have been in my mind and heart of late. I pray they and others like them are strengthened by the power of the Holy Spirit to live their lives in a way that would bear much fruit.
A few photos from my trip with accompanying prayers

May they be an open door that no one can shut, keeping his Word and not denying His name. (Rev. 3:8)

Make them a pillar as they overcome. Write on them the name of God. (Rev 3:12)

May they shine as your light and be a city on a hill that cannot be hidden. (Matthew 5:14)

I’m headed home tomorrow. It’s been a wonderful trip and season of travel and ministry, but I am eager to be home. I’m eager to discover what life’s next leg of the journey brings. Lots of changes around the corner!

“There is nothing half so pleasant as coming home again.” ~Margaret Elizabeth Sangster

photo via Mighty2Save.com
I’m enjoying a few of my favorite German things to include:

Bienenstich Cake

Nothing like it…creamy, crunchy, delicious!

Schnitzel

Nothing like it…savory, crispy, wunderbar!

Spaetzle

Nothing like it…velvety, rich, tasty!

German Coffee

Nothing like it…full, aromatic, robust!

German Konditori

Nothing like it…quaint, relaxed, pleasant!

Kinder-eggs

Nothing like it…ingenious, creative, fun!

Ritter Sport Pfefferminz

Nothing like it…sweet, dark, scrumptious!

Euro pillows and comforters

Nothing like it…soft, comforting–Guten nacht!

The idea of ‘with all my heart’ keeps ruminating in my mind.

Some Scriptures I’m studying on the topic:

  • Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. ~Deuteronomy 6:5
  • And now, O Israel, what does the LORD your God ask of you but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, Deuteronomy 10:20
  • But be very careful to keep the commandment and the law that Moses the servant of the LORD gave you: to love the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, to obey his commands, to hold fast to him and to serve him with all your heart and all your soul.” Joshua 22:5
  • I will give thanks to the LORD with all my heart; I will tell of all Your wonders. ~Psalm 9:1
  • Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; Proverbs 3:5
  • You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:13
  • Sing, O Daughter of Zion; shout aloud, O Israel! Be glad and rejoice with all your heart, O Daughter of Jerusalem! Zephaniah 3:14
  • Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men…Colossians 3:23
A MOST excellent teaching I’ve read on the topic:
http://bible.org/seriespage/“i-will-thank-lord-all-my-heart”-ps-91-god’s-heart-and-our-praise

via WideOpenSpaces.com

Most of all this is where I want to go..with all my ?:

There is a place of quiet rest,

Near to the heart of God.

A place where sin cannot molest,

Near to the heart of God

O Jesus, blest redeemer,

Sent from the heart of God,

Hold us who wait before Thee

Near to the heart of God.

From the hymn, “Near to the Heart of God” by Cleland B. McAfee