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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Thine is the Kingdom!

Dad and Mom taught me to pray, beginning with the prayer at mealtime, For all we eat, for all we wear, for all we have everywhere, we thank you, Father. Amen. We were taught to bow our heads and fold our hands. What is it about prayer that is so important from a child's viewpoint? To see my Dad and Mother bow their heads and fold their hands at different times of the day told me it was important. Hearing prayers from the their hearts, crying out to God, made me know it was important.

Then as I grew older, I strayed away from prayer, I know that the silence between God and me was deafening. In the scripture, I learned that the disciples asked the Lord how to pray. Why? Luke 11:1-4 - I read the prayer, said the prayer. Later I began to sing Malotte's Lord's Prayer.

In college, I was asked to sing the Lord's Prayer in a cafeteria -- accapella. I played the beginning note, walked to the cafeteria humming that note - I hoped it was the same note. Then I learned we would eat first. Humming the tone between bites was daunting. Finally, I could sing.....through the years I continued to sing that song until age caused the high notes to disappear.

One morning last week, while in that half-awake period, I began singing the Lord's Prayer as if in a dream. Over and over, I sang until I was wide awake. It began as a dream and continued as I walked, repeating in my mind....Our Father. The message of the words zinged into my heart. Never before had I 'heard' the words so clearly. Never again will I see the Lord's Prayer as something to say, but petitions and praise to pray from my heart.

  • Our Father, who art in Heaven - Our (inclusive) Father (daddy, Abba, Yaweh), who art in heaven (the abode of God and angels) - Isaiah 64:8a Still, God, you are our Father. We're the clay and you're our potter. Psalm 7:17 -
I'm thanking God, who makes things right. I'm singing the fame of heaven-high God

Yours and my Abba - in Heaven so far away...Yet His Presence is all around us each day.

  • Hallowed be thy Name - Hallowed (holy, sacred) be thy Name (appellation, designation) Luke 11:2 - He said to them, "When you pray, say: " 'Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come

A name above all others, Omniscient, Omnipresent...Mighty and glorious, A sweet aroma He sent.

  • Thy kingdom come - Thy (your) kingdom (spiritual realm) I Corinthians - 15:24

    Then the end will come, when he

    hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has

    destroyed all dominion, authority and power.

A kingdom so vast that the universe....can not contain it or men can disburse it.

  • Thy will be done on earth - Thy will (your way, not mine) be done (completed) Luke 22:42 -

    "Father, if you are willing,

    take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours

    be done."

A kingdom without end, We will one day see....A righteous abode where no evil will be.

  • As it is in Heaven - As it is (continues to be with no cessation) in Heaven Psalm 52:9 -

    
I will praise you forever for what you have done; in your name I will hope, for your name is good. I will praise you in the presence of your saints.

  • Give us this day our daily bread - Give (to present) us this day our daily (occurs each day) bread (staff of life) Job 23:12b -

    I have treasured the

    words of his mouth

    more

    than my daily bread

We ask for our needs, For we know You'll provide... Even as You feed the sparrow, In You, we abide.

  • And forgive us our debts - And forgive (grant remission, pardon) us our debts (offense, sin, trespass) - 2 Corinthians 2:10a - If you forgive anyone, I also forgive him.

Only in your grace, can we forgive others....Jesus' blood creates family, and we forgive our brothers.

  • As we forgive our debtors - As (ongoing) we forgive our debtors (owing obligation) Colossians 3:13 - Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
  • And lead us not into temptation - And lead (guide, show the way) us not into temptation (enticement, allurement) Matthew 26:41 "Watch and pray so that you will ot fall into temptation The spirit is willing but the body is weak.

Help us, Lord, to know Your will, And listen to your voice so still....Let it guide me to your side, In You let me hide.

  • But deliver us from evil - But deliver (save, release) us from evil (wicked, immoral, harmful)

All about us is sin, Alluring enticement....Through Jesus' blood is forgiveness, Heaven-sent.

  • For thine is the kingdom - For thine (that which belongs) is the kingdom Psalm 45:6 - Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever; a scepter of justice shall be the scepter of your kingdom.

Above all powers - your kingdom reigns.....the joy of certainty of evil slain.

  • And the power and the glory forever - And the power (strength, might, authority) and the glory (honor, praise) forever(without end, eternal) -- Psalm 66:3 - Say to God, "How awesome are your deeds! So great is your power that your enemies cringe before you.
Psalm 9:7 - The Lord reigns forever; he has established his throne for judgment.

Forever more and all eternity, Is His strength and authority, We voices we raise, We give you praise.

  • Amen - (So it is, truly) -- Psalm 89:52 - Praise be to the LORD forever! Amen and Amen

The angels sing and shout as they gather about....Truly we worship again and again, shouting Amen and Amen

Comments? eacombs@eacombs@cox.net

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Running on Empty


Running on Empty

Last week my Granddaughter Rebekah sent me a text containing a poignant picture that appears here. Nothing is so threatening as when the gas gauge reads empty. Transportation is the ticket to many things in our lives – job, education, shopping, independence and freedom. Did I mention independence? A full tank stirs my desire to travel to the ends of the earth. When the tank is empty – there is no where to go. Life as we know it evaporates into thin air.

We expressed amazement as one elderly lady, who could hardly walk, made it to church. She grinned, “If I can make it to the car, I can go anywhere!”

In a flash of concern for Rebekah, I sent a query – “Is this your gas tank or your life?” Just as quickly she texts back the answer. I love technology and I love texts from our grandchildren. Even when that text appears to be cryptic. Thank you, Rebekah!

I never thought about it before, but life begins with a full tank. When I was young, I am so filled with my own strength and dreams that I sped through life without realizing that my strength is not enough. There is more.

I don’t have to check the gas gauge of my life, for I expect it to be filled with experiences, learning, health and my goal is the elusive American Dream. The dream that is held up as the ultimate – glitzy ads picture fleeting happiness with ownership of things that rust, break or can be stolen.

Then one day, I glance at the gas gauge – and it is just half full. When did that happen? Then I realize that aches and pains are more obvious. I went through school, I had a job and I wonder…how much longer can I continue working? I look around at others who have a bigger slice of the American Dream than I do….and wonder, is this all?

It is then I know I must refill our tank, before it slides down to empty and I lose. Can I make more money? Not in this age, in my ability or in this economy. Can I be young again and healthy? No. Can I learn something new? Perhaps, but aging brain cells makes learning more and more difficult.

Then where is my security? Where is my enjoyment? What makes life worth living? The physical strength will pass away soon – and I realize that the spiritual will be forever.

It is then I go to the Ultimate Travel Guide, God’s Word. I find the word ‘fill’ 225 times. That is what I want – to fill my life’s gas tank. But this time not for independence, but dependence, for I know I can’t do this on my own. I must have God's help.

I want my life to make a difference, not for me, but for others. I want to learn about faith, trust and wisdom. These are the qualities that fill my life. To be a child of God, and let Him do the driving.

Here are some of the guidelines that I found in God’s Travel Guide:

Knowledge

Ephesians 3:17-19
so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Colossians 1:9
For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding.

Joy

1 Peter 1:8-9
Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls

Psalm 16:11
You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

Security

Philippians 1:9-11
And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.

Ephesians 4:10 - 13
He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.) It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

This I can depend on. And the spiritual energy God gives me will carry me through this life to eternity. While researching, I learned that often gas tanks can register empty when full or full when empty. Man has devised a machine that promises independence, yet has flaws. Perhaps it is time to trust God to fill us with his love and hold us steadfast. Dependence is the assurance of His faithfulness, and trusting Him each step in life.

Proverbs 3:4-6

Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man. Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.


Comments? eacombs@eacombs@cox.net

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

My Soul Stands on Tiptoe!


Foreward: Recently I discovered a journal with empty pages, given to my Mom in 1994 by her secret sister. The beginning of the book began with January 1, 1995, and told of her fight with pulmonary fibrosis, she called this disease her 'exit lane'. As I fanned the pages, I saw there were written prayers – in April 1995. As I read them, I could see Mom’s steady faith and her feet planted on the earth God created. I could see through her words, her longing to go to

Heaven, and her determination to be faithful to the end. Each prayer touched me in her child-like faith and her “Be-Withes”.

The “Be-With’s” included children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren by name, friends, church family and those who cared for her during her illness. She wrote these prayers after she collapsed in June 1994. She was then diagnosed and came to spend her last 4 years with us, until her release when she was 91 years old. What did think about? What filled her days...and nights? Through these snippets of prayer, I grew to know Mom and her faith. I wondered how many more older people have experienced the same thoughts and prayers without writing the words that convey their last journey.

April 3, 1995

Thank you for a good night…I always wonder…will I sleep but somehow I always do. One of these days you will keep me in your realm forever. I appreciate the verses – I love the Lord, for he heard my voice, he heard my cry. for mercy. Because he turned His ear to me. I will call on him as long as I live. Psalm 116:1-2.

I thank you for the great I AM! The God who makes everything possible – you forgive my sins – day by day as you did that day when you died on the cross.

And those who hurt, who are chained by ills, sorrow and selfishness . You know what they need. Be with your servants who serve you around the world. And rule my world and polish me so that I can go home. I love you and want to serve you.

April 4, 1995

The Alpha and Omega - Beginning and End

The One which is and was - And is to come

In love you gave your Son - As a Lamb, We praise your name

I AM that I AM.

One more day to polish me up for eternity. Teach me to be a teachable soul so I can go home soon. I thank you for forgiveness of sins and wiping them clean over and over. Let me recognize my wilful sins and lean on you not to repeat them.

Bless them who labor for you – not where they want to work but where they are, led by your hand like an obedient child – not singing a solo, but sweeping the floor or not arranging a bouquet, but scrubbing a toilet. Let me stand in line first to do a dirty job and praise God while doing it.

Abba, Father, May I lay my weary head on your breast like the worn-out tent I am, with so little strength left. And yet, you have given me so much. There is so much joy in your Word. It comforts and warms and blesses me. It pours over me like perfume to give me a foretaste of heaven.

April 6, 1995

My Heavenly Father,

Thank you, thank you, never let me forget my thanks, regardless of the aches and inconveniences. You give me so many good things. I am loved, fed and cared for. I can still walk to the bathroom and to the breakfast table. I can still read. I can still read your Word and please let it me not think it is meant for my neighbor.

April 7, 1995

Lord, you have been our dwelling place throughout all our generations

Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the earth and the world from everlasting to everlasting. You are God! You gave me strength for nearly 88 years of life on earth. You have given me more joy than pain. Pain seems to last longer – but we might not appreciate joy if we had no pain.

Today, I thank you for a warm bath, a good night and love here in my room and above all my hope of eternal life through God’s eternal love. Bend your ear to hear my prayer – release me soon. Give me work so I can be polished for home shortly, and keep my mind as long as I am here on this beautiful world you created.

Thank you for April flowers and colors and birds that sing

Help our church leaders – give them wisdom and desire to know your Word and how to teach. Help every leader to know that followers read actions more than words. Help them to be an example.

Let me pray for our minister and not criticize. Let the leaders never keep their wills out of God’s will. It’s difficult to understand God sometimes – the Spirit speaks clearly to those who are stable enough to listen. Be with the elders – help us all read the rules that God sets. God, you worked so hard with Peter. He was not stable. So, dear Father, when I face disappointment at church, you are merely polishing them, and my own soul.

“Thank you for holding me day by day – and to know you will never leave me. But I also know I am responsible for my every action. Help to keep me aware of my every action. Thank you for being You and always with Jesus’ love!"

Let me walk in your love as long as you keep me on this earth.

Have my soul stand on tiptoe so I will be ready when angels come to take me home.

I long for that day. Teach me to thank you with each breath I take. In Jesus’ Name

Anna Daisy Siemens - 1907 - 1998Comments? eacombs@eacombs@cox.net

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Letters...


I place another email in the basket...and think of all the letters and emails I have saved through the years. Birthday cards, Mother's Day Cards, letters from Mom and a rare letter from Dad are all tucked away in boxes of memories. Sometimes I re-read these letters and emails and consider the emotions and thoughts this pile of words has created in the person writing and in the reader.

Deaths, births, weddings, requests for prayer, moving, new jobs or loss of jobs, everyday descriptions of lives.

Celebration comes when we have heard from our four children in one day. Most of the time the communiques are spread out from family - depending on work schedules and family commitments. We have decided that "Once a parent, always a parent!"

As children, young and younger all the time, learn to write messages on chatting devices. After teaching and deciphering second graders' writing, the texting of today is easy to read. Most of the time. Grandchildren are so helpful in patiently explaining brb, lol, rofl, and other short cuts familiar to the youth of today. Now Facebook provides family connections. Through Facebook I keep up with four children, twelve grandchildren and six great - grandchildren. As well as cousins and second cousins. Chatting is an easy way to keep up - it crosses the boundaries of miles and countries and provides that personal touch of communication that we all need!

While teaching the 6th grade, we began a 'Dear Mrs. Combs' journals....every Friday my sixth graders wrote messages to me, and I answered. The entries contained a variety of topics and were written with a sense of humor to the deepest pathos from their hearts. I answered each one. The journals contained a window into their hearts and reached deep into mine.

On a national holiday, Labor Day, my Dad decided to combat the possible infestation of termites under our house with a liberal coat of creosote. This was before the advent of Terminix and other companies. My brothers helped Dad, and that left me wondering....wondering what the boxes under the house contained. Imagine my surprise when I found letters. Many letters, some wrapped in blue ribbon. Being only eleven years old, I read some of these letters in wonderment. Dad wrote Mom poetry? Each letter held the endearment, "Sweetheart". What a shock to learn that my mother was a "Sweetheart". These letters opened a new understanding of the love my Mom and Dad had for each other. The letters were a record of that love.

Letters, personal letters contain so much wisdom, memories, love, a historical record of life. Perhaps that is why we save our personal correspondence. The notebooks of journals of Mom are in my possession. I sometimes read them. She began with her 'Dear Poppa Journal' after the death of my Dad. It contained the journey from 50 years of happy marriage to living as a widow who trusted God for sustenance. She expressed heartache after heartache of loneliness. I have a copy of a portion of Grandma Suderman's journal. Is it any wonder that I write? I just read Mom's descent into her final illness that she wrote. Why do I keep these writings? I treasure the slips of paper that hold our children's writing - "I love you, Mommy!"

I treasure another book. More and more I find inspiration, food for thought and guidance along the way in the books written by the inspiration of God - the Bible. Most of the books in the New Testament are letters, epistles, written to churches who struggled in their world and in their faith. The letters are filled with admonishment, hope, wisdom, love and direction. I can imagine these writers, with the technology of paper and a pen and ink, laboriously writing what God has decreed. These letters have withstood a turning away of the people, war, flood, fire, famine, disease and all manner of events that should have destroyed the Word. Yet, God's Word remains steadfast, a beacon of light to those who love Him, God-breathed words. It cannot be destroyed. It is the Journal of Life.

Colossians 3:15-17 - Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Comments? eacombs@eacombs@cox.net