Personal Parables

What Keeps Me Singing

Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. Colossians 3:16

Every year I seek out new ways to study God’s Word. In 2015, I reveled in the words of Oswald Chambers through My Utmost for His Highest. Streams in the Desert was another constant companion. Mid-year, I found a copy of Daily Strength for Daily Needs. I was blessed daily by the consistent message these three devotionals provided. I also became introduced to Lysa TerKeurst through Facebook posts and her devotional Unglued Devotional: 60 Days of Imperfect Progress.

This year I embark on a new year with six new resources. Susie Larson’s Blessings for Morning and Blessings for Evening will no doubt encourage me as much as her daily morning and evening Facebook posts. I was so excited my sister mentioned the morning blessing book, and that she mentioned another I was considering. As a result, I have added Paul David Tripp’s New Morning Mercies: A Daily Gospel Devotional. I am hoping for more peace this year with the assistance of 365 Devotions for Peace by Cheri Cowell. I always plan to read the Bible through every year and maybe The Daily Message by Eugene Peterson will help me accomplish the goal this year.

I am most excited to read Timothy Keller’s The Songs of Jesus. A whole year studying the Psalms! Now that makes a poet’s heart sing!

But, this is what keeps me singing. The more resources I collect, the more I discover God’s resourcefulness. He never ceases to connect the thoughts of men and women across generations. As a writer, that ignites my own inspiration to share my insight because only God knows who might read it someday. As a reader, I thrill at the idea that my story is a continuation of someone before me and mine could become part of another in the future. All because One Source tells the greatest story if only the whole world would stop to listen.

Songs like this one also encouraged me to keep singing. May it inspire all of us to continue singing through 2016.

How Can I Keep From Singing by Ginny Owens

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. Colossians 3:17

One Good Thing Every Day 2014

One Good Thing Every Day: June 3, 2014

Psalm 91

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
Will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress,
My God, in whom I trust!”
For it is He who delivers you from the snare of the trapper
And from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with His pinions,
And under His wings you may seek refuge;
His faithfulness is a shield and bulwark.

For He will give His angels charge concerning you,
To guard you in all your ways.
They will bear you up in their hands,
That you do not strike your foot against a stone.
You will tread upon the lion and cobra,
The young lion and the serpent you will trample down.

“Because he has loved Me, therefore I will deliver him;
I will set him securely on high, because he has known My name.
“He will call upon Me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble;
I will rescue him and honor him.
“With a long life I will satisfy him
And let him see My salvation.”

My grandmother once told me Psalm 91 was her father’s favorite. Because my grandfather died the day after I was born–a story for another time–it is one of my favorites, too. But, for some reason, I wrote “3/2/1989 (bad lesson)” in my baptism Bible next to this passage.

I think it had something to do about this boy I liked. We were friends, but he hadn’t been talking to me as much lately. He seemed more interested in talking to this other girl. I thought I could be interested in someone else, but, no, I decidedly liked him “more than a friend.” Apparently, when I read this scripture, it struck me hard. I knew the kind of boy I wanted to date, the kind of man I hoped to marry. I didn’t know if this boy fit those parameters. I knew I hoped he did.

I think that “bad lesson” had something to do with hoping for the wrong thing. I believe now, as I probably did then, that God wanted me to place my hope in Him and to hope God’s best for this boy regardless of my puerile feelings. “Bad lesson” was my resigned acknowledgement I got the message.

Reading this passage today, I smile. That boy and I are still friends. I see how God has fulfilled these words in his life. Even as he has endured some of life’s trouble, God has shielded and strengthened him. He has become a man of integrity, loyalty, and compassion. He is still the kind of boy I want to date. In fact, I did. We started dating March 7, 1989, five days after I wrote “bad lesson” next to Psalm 91. He is still the man I hoped to marry. I did, twenty years ago. He is still the man I want to grow old with. Today I rejoice how God’s Psalm 91 lesson and blessing made a young girl’s wish come true.

DPChallenge, One Good Thing Every Day 2013

One Good Thing Every Day: April 11, 2013

Nine to twelve inches of snow are predicted for my area. Yet, I laughed when I read this passage. Snow in April is ridiculous. But, God’s sense of humor is poignant and giggle-worthy at the same time.

Psalm 55:6,8

I said, “Oh, that I had the wings of a dove!
    I would fly away and be at rest.

I would hurry to my place of shelter,
    far from the tempest and storm.”

Yesterday, I watched a Mourning Dove eat birdseed off the ground. This morning, the seeds are covered with snowflakes. One lone bird is finding shelter and food in my feeder, and the dove is no where to be seen. Still, here are the next words God planned for me to read today.

“Begin the day with open hands of faith, ready to receive all that I am pouring into this brief portion of your life. Be careful not to complain about anything, even the weather, since I am the Author of your circumstances.” from Sarah Young’s Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His Presence

Psalm 118:24 NKJV

This is the day the Lord has made;
We will rejoice and be glad in it.

Today I choose to cup my hands under these fleeting, snowy blessings. If I do stick my tongue out, it is only to take a cue from Psalm 34:8.

Psalm 34:8 NIV

Taste and see that the Lord is good;
    blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.

On Thankfulness

I am thankful for…

…needing more than a few days before Thanksgiving to share all the reasons I am thankful. My daily cornucopia overflows with love from my husband, our three sons, our family, and our friends. I desire to have an attitude of gratitude in both the expected and unexpected. I thank God for the blessings–seen and unseen–He brings every day.