Category Archives: Faith Matters

why I believe faith in a personal God matters

A Prayer for the Day

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Dear God,

Help me do my work today with an awareness that You Are, 

that You care,

and because You care, I can bring problems and concerns

to You and cry out for help.

Those problems and concerns may not go away, but 

they are no longer overwhelming because I have gone to You 

and given them to You for You to solve as You wish.

Let me not compare myself to anyone else in anything, 

because You do not compare me to anyone else here on earth.

Since You do not compare me to anyone else, why should I?

©P. Booher

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“Gems” of Blessing Amidst the Ordinary

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Today I asked the Lord to let me see “gems” of blessings sprinkled among the hours and tasks of my day. He did.

First, I prayed something unusual for me: since I planned to wash clothes, I asked that the washer and dryer would work. I don’t think I’ve ever prayed for that before. Just as the washer finished the second load of clothes, I noticed a narrow trickle of water coming from underneath the washer and heading for the kitchen. Then I saw the floor under the laundry tub was wet. At first, I thought, Wait a minute, I prayed that the washer would work, and it’s leaking! Then the “gem” of a blessing came to me: at least the water didn’t gush out; it was trickling out; it wasn’t a major disaster. Also: I had only one more load to do. Obviously, I wouldn’t be doing it today, but most of the clothes were done.

Secondly, we have a neighbor who has a trucking business. His tractor-trailer truck is LOUD. He lives a little farther up the road, probably about a quarter-of-a-mile away, and when he starts his diesel up, particularly at 3:30 am, I can hear the vibrations from the engine through our floor. I don’t sleep well anyway, and his truck doesn’t help matters. I admit to having not-nice thoughts about our neighbor. Today, while I was outside, my neighbor drove up the hill in his truck. I said, “Oh, that truck is SO loud! SO loud!” Then the thought (and the second gem) occurred to me: pray that God blesses him with a new truck that’s not so noisy!! Of course, that’s what I can do!

The third gem is good news from my mother’s doctor regarding the echocardiogram she had last week: her heart is working normally for her age. After the health issues she’s had in the past few months, and the anxiety I felt concerning the way she acted, this is very good news. It’s certainly in the blessing category.

I expect to be asking God more often to show me “gems” of blessing amidst my tasks and responsibilities for my days. 

©P. Booher

 

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Thoughts on Spiritual Disciplines

In Christianity, tithing, praying, reading, memorizing, and meditating on Scripture are known as spiritual disciplines. They are means to an end; the end is a closer relationship with the Lord. However, an ever-present danger is that without the end always being kept in view, and without a generous amount of humility, pride comes in. Pride which says, (for example) “I tithed X amount of dollars last year; I’m more spiritual than you.” This is the pride of the Pharisees whom Jesus criticized in blunt language.

As I considered this, I thought, What about these spiritual disciplines:

Forgiveness, as in, “Oh, I forgave so-and-so for what he did to me 40 years ago”. Or, “I had to go to the Lord seventeen times to forgive so-and-so.” Can you imagine somebody taking pride in these things and posting them on Facebook? Nope, I can’t either.

Mourning for sin, either mine or someone else’s

Praying for someone who is absolutely, positively, my enemy–and genuinely wanting God’s best for that person

Praying for someone who is not an enemy but who rubs me the wrong way

Exercising patience when I want to do anything but

Speaking gently when I’d rather scream 

 

There are more, but I’m sure you get the picture. For me, the activities usually considered spiritual disciplines are easier to do than the ones I just listed. The ones listed are hard, really hard to do in life. They are so hard I cannot do them on my own; I need God’s help. Oh, and one more thing—I can’t take pride in them because I do need God’s help.

©P. Booher

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A New Faith-Based Resource for those with Chronic Illness

Since arthritis grabbed my attention a few years ago, I’ve been searching for materials which bring faith in God into the equation. I bought one booklet, but kept looking. 

Recently I came across Chronic Illness—Walking By Faith. After reading an online excerpt, I realized this 31-day devotional by Esther Smith is more what I had in mind, so I ordered it. Esther Smith was diagnosed with lupus and hypermobility syndrome; she knows what it’s like to live with chronic illness. She knows how one day you can be fine, and the next day you can barely function, or are somewhere in between. She knows how people say you look fine, but you know you’re not. She knows how symptoms can vary from one day to the next, or even from one hour to the next hour.

Esther writes with compassion and empathy, tempered with a dose of reality. While you won’t find quick answers or guarantees of healing, you will find much encouragement.

Each two-page devotional begins with a Scripture verse, followed by a reading relating to the verse. The devotionals end with questions for reflection and an action prompt, whether to pray for renewed faith, or another suggestion.

I am a week into this devotional, and am glad I found it. I recommend it to anyone fighting a battle with chronic illness who wonders where God is, if He knows, or if He even cares.

©P. Booher

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Thoughts on Chronic Pain

Back in July, our area had a bout of rainy, humid weather. The weather aggravated my arthritis to the point that I spent some days on my back, with ice packs on various aching joints.

Since then, wanting to get a handle on chronic pain, I’ve come to some conclusions which I believe will help me deal with the self-pity which comes calling along with the pain. I offer them here for any one of the millions of people who live with chronic pain:

Chronic pain can’t keep God from loving me. It cannot and does not keep God from seeing me as a person of inestimable value.

Chronic pain cannot keep me from returning God’s love. It cannot keep me from finding ways to express that love. It may change the ways I do it; it cannot keep me from doing it.

Chronic pain cannot keep me from serving others; it may change the ways I do it; it cannot keep me from doing it.

 

Scripture passages to consider: Romans 5:1-8; Romans 8:35-39; Hebrews 13:5 (which quotes Deuteronomy 31:6)

©P. Booher

 

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Wonderful Moments of Respite

This spring and summer have been the most challenging and stressful I have ever experienced. But in the middle of it all, God gave me times of refreshment.

  1. In July, I signed up for a seven-week Bible study held at a couple’s house a few miles away from my home. Our small group sat on their patio, prayed for requests, read God’s Word, and discussed the topics. I particularly remember one evening. Before going, I prayed for the Lord’s Presence to be manifested in a special way. It was hot and humid that evening, which had a way of adding to the stress I felt over household responsibilities. When I sat down on the patio, to my surprise and delight a pleasant breeze met me and wafted its way through our small group. It remained so the whole hour. It was refreshing and that time soothed and uplifted my spirit. God did come—in the form of a cooling breeze, and in the fellowship with the group.
  2. One Sunday morning I walked into church. The week had been hard, and I felt much anxiety over the way things were going. As I sat down, I noticed a sweet Spirit of Love—that’s the only way I know to describe the sense—in the church. That sweet, sweet Spirit remained through the whole service. I left feeling calmed and renewed. God knew I needed that time of comfort and the sense of His love. The next day I made the hard decision to have our cat Abby put to sleep. Four days later a close relative was admitted to the hospital for a bleeding ulcer.

“The times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.”    Acts 3:19 (KJV)

©P. Booher

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God Notices the Work We Do

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For awhile I was feeling taken for granted as I did household chores. I do various tasks because they need done, and sometimes my mother doesn’t seem to notice or care. I know—once a person gets to be an adult, you shouldn’t require affirmation. Nevertheless, it bothered me. 

One morning as I took the garbage and recycling containers out for the weekly pick-up, God spoke in my mind. He said that even when my mother doesn’t notice, He does. He notices when I do the little, mundane, unpleasant tasks needed to keep the house—ultimately, His house—looking better and smelling cleaner.

Knowing God sees what I do and appreciates it gives me a bigger perspective and peace. Now, it doesn’t matter if my mother says anything or not; God notices, and that’s all that matters.

Many people work in menial, low-paying jobs. They may feel taken for granted by their employers, and by other people. But they need to know—they are not taken for granted by God. As long as their work is honest, God notices their labors, and He appreciates it.

“Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.”  (Colossians 3:23, NLT)

©P. Booher

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Diving Into A Sea of Books–Coffee with Jesus

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As an avid reader, I get excited about the great number of books out there to read, either for entertainment, education, inspiration or with some books, all three. The quantity available in print, audio, and e-books reminds me of the vast amount of life in the oceans, so I call these book reviews “Diving Into A Sea of Books”. As with diving into an ocean looking for interesting objects, diving into books means you come across mixed results: over her, a book you don’t bother to finish, over there, a “treasure”—one that you like so much you can’t wait to reread it, and over there, a book you read and think, “Meh”.

Coffee with Jesus by David Wilkie tells about the conversations various characters have with Jesus as they meet for coffee. The characters include Kevin, Carl, Carl’s wife Lisa, Ann, Pastor Joe, and the accuser of the brethren, Satan, who as always, tries to stir up trouble.

Coffee with Jesus is done in comic-strip format, which allows you to read one strip or several, and still leave with a message to think about and get a chuckle out of as well. The characters bring up such issues as politics, taxes, work, child-raising, differences in churches, getting along with co-workers, Jesus’ early years, Christmas, and other topics. Jesus engages with them in an easy conversational style—sometimes gently teasing them, other times speaking in a matter-of-fact style, and other times answering with His divine authority. Sometimes Jesus reminds them that He is in control, and that whatever they are questioning, it’s not for them to be concerned about, because He’s got it, and when the time comes, He’ll deal with it. 

I like to pick up Coffee with Jesus when I’m looking for that deft blend of thought and humor.

Coffee with Jesus book, published by InterVarsity Press, is a creative project of David Wilkie and Radio Free Babylon.

©P. Booher

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Friday Photos, and a Hymn

I thought I’d try something a little different for Friday Photos.

Photo Credit: P. Booher
Photo Credit: P. Booher
Photo Credit: Author’s Collection.
Photo Credit: S. Craig
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This Is My Father’s World

by Maltbie D. Babcock

This is my Father’s world,

And to my list’ning ears,

All nature sings, and round me rings

The music of the spheres.

This is my Father’s world,

I rest me in the thought

Of rocks and trees, of skies and seas–His hand the wonders wrought.

This is my Father’s world,

The birds their carols raise,

The morning light, the lily white,

Declare their Maker’s praise.

This is my Father’s world,

He shines in all that’s fair;

In the rustling grass I hear Him pass, He speaks to me ev’rywhere,

This is my Father’s world,

O let me never forget

That though the wrong seems oft so strong,

God is the Ruler yet.

This is my Father’s world,

The battle is not done,

Jesus who died shall be satisfied,

And earth and heav’n be one.

Copyright 1901

This Is My Father’s World is one of my favorite hymns. I read a comment somewhere that some people think it’s a “soft hymn” because it speaks of nature. Consider the last verse, though: it speaks of “the battle is not done”, so since there is yet fighting to do, this hymn is not “soft”!

P. Booher

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It Takes Faith–A Word About An Empty Tomb

“…the women…found the stone rolled away  from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.”  (Luke 24:1-3) (NIV)

Although I didn’t go to church often when I was growing up, I knew Easter Sunday was the day Christ rose from the grave. I didn’t connect that fact to anything else in my life–it was just a “religious fact”.  Christ came; He died; He rose. The tomb is empty. That’s good–but what’s that mean?

Years later, that empty tomb–that knowledge I have by faith–gives me hope. The empty tomb gives me hope because Christ was (and is) too big to be held by it. If He is too big for that, He is certainly big enough to handle any and all of the problems I have now or ever will have. He is not at all bothered by any of my problems. He is not fretting about what to do. He has it under control!

The empty tomb gives me hope because it means Christ is living. If He is living, I can reach Him through prayer. I have access to all His comfort, all His kindness, all His understanding of me. He can give guidance, ease my fears, cancel my worries.

That is what the empty tomb means to me now. It takes faith.

©P. Booher

 

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