Tag Archives: God

Friday “Walks”–Praising God, Anyway

Photo Credit: P. Booher

The past couple weeks brought unwelcome news into my little world. I took my car into the garage and told the mechanic how it was acting; he checked it out, and told me all indications are the car needs a rebuilt transmission. My heart sank; even though I was thinking the transmission might be the problem, I hoped I was wrong. We do not have public transportation in this area, so having a reliable way to get from Point A to Point B is a definite need. I asked friends and a prayer group to pray for my transportation needs.

Things are rather bleak on the job front, too. Despite sending applications out and going on some interviews, I don’t have a job—yet.

While thinking about all this, I heard the Lord say, “Praise Me in the bitter and the sweet.” 

When I practice this, my circumstances don’t overwhelm my life. They are still there, but praising God means I’m giving attention to Him, lifting Him up and downplaying my circumstances, whether bad or good. I’m not sunk by despair nor puffed up by pride. Praising God—putting my eyes on Him—allows me to live on a more even keel.

“Praise Me in the bitter and the sweet.”

Some Scriptures: Acts 16:22-27; I Thessalonians 5:18

Update: I had the car towed to a transmission shop; it does not need a rebuilt transmission. Instead, diagnostic equipment showed a cylinder misfiring badly. The shop suggested a nearby auto repair service; that place found the car needs the valve cover gasket and spark plugs replaced. What a relief! What could have been a $2,000+repair melted into a $295 repair! Thank God!

Lessons learned:

  1. God can squash mountains into molehills.
  2. Things are not always what they first seem!

Scripture: Ephesians 3:20

©P. Booher

 

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Friday “Walks”–Bringing Order, Part II

Photo Credit: P. Booher

Several years ago I attended a local community college. One of the subjects I took was Accounting I. It was the basic bookkeeping/accounting class, and you learned about debits and credits, the accounting formula, balance sheets, income statements, etc. Because I’d taken bookkeeping in high school, I was somewhat familiar with those items. 

One thing I didn’t know continues to stick out to me today: the history of double-entry bookkeeping. Our professor explained that before double-entry bookkeeping was widely accepted, single-entry was used. It was easy to manipulate, however, and a business had a difficult time of keeping track of whether it was making money, and exactly how its money was spent.

A monk, Fra Luca Pacioli, wrote a book which popularized double-entry bookkeeping. Double-entry bookkeeping means for each accounting transaction, there are two equal and corresponding entries: the debit on one side, the credit on the other. For example, if debits total $50,000, the credits must total $50,000. The accounting entries are then “in balance”. Double-entry bookkeeping is the standard procedure, regardless of whether the bookkeeping is done manually or electronically by computer software.

Our professor said that at the top of each journal page, Fra Pacioli wrote the words, “To the Glory of God”. The monk recognized that God is the God of order, and he brought that into the accounting profession. Besides establishing order, double-entry bookkeeping makes it easier to find errors because of the requirement for balance, and a business can quickly see the details as well as the whole picture of the financial aspect.

Until that class I regarded accounting as a cold profession, untouched by the force of faith. When I saw God’s imprint on it, my opinion changed. God, working through someone by faith, can influence anything!

Some Scriptures: Genesis, chapters 1 and 2; John 1:3; Colossians 1:16, 17; Colossians 2:5; Colossians 3:22,23,24

For further info., check out: trendingaccounting.com/2022/04/history-of-double-entry-accounting-html.

©P. Booher

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Friday “Walks”–God’s Gift of Creativity

Photo Credit: P. Booher

This week I found out I didn’t get the job I really wanted. I had the type of experience required, and of all the jobs I applied for recently, that was the best fit for me. But I didn’t get it, for whatever reason. Am I disappointed? Oh, yeah.

Last evening I spent some time on my new hobby—sketching. I took a notebook and a picture of my cat Babe, sat down on the front porch, and drew to my heart’s content. I found with practice I can do a decent cat’s head. (I’m still working on the body). By “decent” I mean someone else could look at it and recognize it as the head of a cat, instead of asking, “What’s that?”

While out on the porch I sketched Babe, a tree, clouds, a rock, and chimney swifts. I discovered with patience and the boldness to shut down my perfectionism, I can produce drawings which actually look like what they’re supposed to look like.

Last evening I realized something else, too: doing creative activity helped blunt my disappointment about the job. Working on creative projects is forward motion, whereas dwelling on an unwanted outcome is at best static; at worst, it’s heading downward fast.

God unleashed His creative energy at the beginning of time. Since we are made in His image, each of us has the gift of creativity inside us. I’m thankful for the way that gift helps me cope with sharp emotions which come with the bumps, bruises, and jolts of life.

If you are dealing with negative emotions, why not give yourself a break and exercise that creative spark God placed within you? Chances are, you’ll feel better for it.

Some Scriptures: Genesis chapters 1 and 2; Exodus 35:25, 26, 32-35; Exodus 36:1, 2; I Kings 7:13, 14; Psalm 104:24; I Corinthians 4:12, Colossians 1:15, 16; Revelation 4:11

©P. Booher

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Friday “Walks”–Bringing Order

Photo Credit: P. Booher

I had looked at the unkempt grass under the peony bush and around the flower beds long enough, so I grabbed a pair of grass shears, brought the garden cart, rake, and pitchfork out to the yard, and went to work.

As I trimmed the grass and weeds, the thought occurred to me that I was bringing order back to those spaces. On a much, much smaller scale I was reflecting what God did when He created the world and set it in order. 

When I pray for people, organizations, countries, or whatever the situation, in a sense I am asking God to bring order to those situations. His order may involve providing needs, resolving problems, bringing healing to fractured relationships, or peace to upheaval. Jesus brought order as He calmed storms, healed people, and illustrated God’s Kingdom in these and many other ways.

I am thankful God still works today to bring order, and I can participate in His work, albeit in a small way!

Some Scriptures: Genesis 1:1-31, Matthew 8:23-27, Matthew 15:29-31, Matthew 15:32-38, Luke 8:26-39

©P. Booher

 

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Friday “Walks”–Cutting Anxiety–The Power of Praising God

Photo Credit: P. Booher

For awhile now I’ve been experiencing bouts of anxiety. This evening I felt an urge to praise God. As I did so, I could almost feel the anxiety melt away, and peace flow in.

“Praise the LORD. Praise, O servants of the LORD, praise the name of the LORD. (Psalm 113:1, NIV)

“From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, the name of the LORD is to be praised.” (Psalm 113:3, NIV)

“Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the LORD our Maker; for he is our God and we are the people of His pasture, the flock under His care.” (Psalm 95:6,7, NIV)

“For great is the LORD and most worthy of praise…” (Psalm 96: 4a, NIV)

“Not to us, O LORD, not to us but to Your name be the glory, because of Your love and faithfulness.” (Psalm 115:1, NIV)

“Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD God Almighty, Who was, and is, and is to come.” (Revelation 4:8, NIV)

“O LORD God Almighty, who is like You? You are mighty, O LORD, and Your faithfulness surrounds You.” (Psalm 89:8, NIV)

“Let everything that has breath praise the LORD. Praise the LORD.” (Psalm 150:6, NIV)

“You are worthy, our LORD and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for You created all things, and by Your will they were created and have their being.” (Revelation 4:11, NIV)

Note: This is just a few of the verses in the Bible which praise God. The Book of Psalms, particularly Psalms 107–150, is full of praises to God. For me, praising God breaks through dark moods and anxious moments, and I want to praise Him more often.

P. Booher

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Friday “Walks”–“Let Me Take Care Of It”

Photo credit: P. Booher

One day my mother was fussing as she struggled to fasten her seat belt. Hearing her sigh of frustration as I sat in the driver’s seat, I said, “Let me take care of it”. I slipped the latch for the belt into its place and she relaxed.

Afterwards I thought of how often God must want to say to us as we fuss and fret over a situation, “Let Me take care of it”. While we figuratively bang our heads against the wall, trying this way or that to solve the problem, God waits for us to ask Him for help. He wants to say, “Let Me take care of it”.

Scriptures to Consider: Ps. 103:13, Luke 11:9, 10, I Peter 5:7, Philippians 4:6,7

©P. Booher

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What Didn’t Happen–A Different Kind of Blessing

I usually think of blessings as the kind I can see—the kind that happened. Recently I experienced the kind of blessings which are in the “what could have happened, but didn’t” category. This was during a stretch of time in which my mother went to the emergency room twice in a week, and my car went to the garage.

One day while driving up a long hill, the car started to jerk underneath. I thought, Is that the transmission or the gas feed? The only way it didn’t jerk was if I really gave it the gas or if it shifted. I didn’t drive it often until I could get the vehicle looked at, but one time I did drive it was to take my mother to the ER—then drive it home at night when the hospital kept my mother for observation, a round trip of about thirty miles, which included many hills. After taking it to a mechanic, I found out the car needed the transmission flushed.

The blessings contained in my “car drama” include:

  1. the car didn’t break down on the road (very important, especially when taking my mother of advanced age to the hospital, and when driving at night)
  2. no prolonged damage to the transmission
  3. no damage to the engine (what affects the transmission can easily affect the engine)
  4. people—a neighbor and then a relative—who when needed, were willing to help me out by taking me to the hospital to pick my mother up and by taking me to the service shop to pick up the car
  5. at first, the service shop couldn’t get the transmission lines to hold the fluid. Believe it or not, I emailed friends and requested prayer for that specific situation. Later on, believe it or not, the shop called and said the pressure was holding; the car was ready for pick up. I choose to believe prayer made the difference—why else would the situation change??

Other blessings were that my mother did not have any strokes. Instead, she had what is called “vasovagal episodes”, which were scary enough to me, but were not strokes. Another blessing is the caring and thoughtfulness shown by the nurses and staff at the hospital to both my mother and me. A visiting nurse came the other day and gave me tips on how to help my mother. She told me that if my mother has another episode like that, I can call any time and a visiting nurse will come, check my mother, do blood work, take it to the lab, and contact my mother’s doctor. We wouldn’t have to go to the ER. Finally, while sitting at home waiting for the call to pick up my car, I started counting the number of family and friends who would be willing to help me out with a ride. The number was higher than I thought; I have more support than first realized.  When I told that to my pastor’s wife, she remarked that was evidence God was standing by me in my troubles. “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5, Deuteronomy 31:6 (NIV)

While I didn’t want these troubles to happen, I found out when they do, blessings show up right there in the midst of them. It isn’t all bad news. That’s important for me to remember.

©P. Booher

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Friday “Walks”–Walking a Different Way

Photo Credit: P. Booher

It occurred to me that any time I act in a way I’m supposed to in order to please God (choosing humility over envy, for instance) and I don’t act in a way I am used to acting, I am taking a step forward in faith. To me it’s in faith because it’s choosing a different attitude than I’ve done before. I’m “walking on different ground”, so to speak. For me, it takes a bit of courage because attitudes and thought patterns can become so engrained in your heart and mind that it seems those old patterns are what you are to do. But those old patterns don’t lead to happiness, joy, and peace. The new patterns do, and that’s refreshing and calming.

Scriptures to consider: Romans 12:1,2,9-21, Romans 15:13, 1 Thessalonians 5:15-18, James 1:19, 20, Psalm 1:1-3, Psalm 34:4, Psalm 37:1,2,7

©P. Booher

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God, Chronic Pain, and Me

“Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5 (NIV) (This verse restates the Old Testament book of Deuteronomy 31:6)

Several years ago a physical therapist, following an examination, told me I could have spinal stenosis. About three years ago my left knee complained loudly, and after a couple doctor’s visits I was diagnosed with poly-arthritis in multiple sites. Depression jumped on the bandwagon, as I wrote about here.

When I first read the above Scripture, it sounded like marriage vows. The difference is that although a husband or wife may leave the spouse, God says He will never leave. While I’ve never been married, the above verse gives me comfort in my struggles with chronic pain. I am limited in what pain-killers I can use. When my back starts hurting, or my knee or my wrist start complaining, it’s not long before I get grumpy, irritable, anxious, and depressed. When you throw in that some days my pain is all I can think of, and other days I hardly notice it, and I can’t predict when days will be good or not good—well, that would put stress on any marriage. But God stands by me, nevertheless. I may not be as sensitive to His Presence as I should be, but all I have to do is read the above verse to realize He isn’t going anywhere. He is not going to leave me, even if I am so grumpy I could bite my own head off, let alone anyone else’s! 🙂

It may be that part of God’s faithfulness is realizing blessings hidden in chronic pain. “Blessings???” you say. “How can there be blessings in something so painful, so unpredictable?” Consider these:

  1. Chronic pain forces me to look at Christ’s sacrifice on the cross for me as the source of my feelings of self-worth. I sure can’t get it from the amount of work I get done, because there are days when I can’t do much!
  2. I am gaining empathy for other people, who are in pain, depressed, or anxious. I know what it’s like, and it’s hard.
  3. It forces me to be glad for the small amount I can get done—if my right wrist is bothering me (I’m right-handed), instead of a complete letter to a friend, maybe I get three paragraphs written. Instead of an hour or two on the computer, maybe I can get fifteen or twenty minutes in.
  4. This goes along with #1 and #3: it’s an effective way of wearing down perfectionism: I’m hurting too much physically to beat myself up emotionally or mentally.

So, yes, there are blessings even in something so unwanted as chronic pain. I think the greatest blessing of all is simply knowing God’s faithfulness in the middle of it all.

Another Scripture to consider is: “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution…No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  Romans 8:35, 37, 38

©P. Booher

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Friday “Walks”–Life Is Lived One Day At a Time

Photo Credit: P. Booher

For some time I’ve had fearful thoughts running around in my head. You know, the kind which start out, “What if…? What if this happens? What are you going to do when…?” Since I don’t know the answers to those questions, the thoughts provoked a lot of anxiety.

Recently I’ve been spending more time reading the Bible. The verses which seem to jump out at me are those which speak of God’s sovereignty, and His character—His goodness. I’ve also spent time reflecting on the fact that life is lived one day at a time. I can’t “hurry” tomorrow along so I can see what I have to deal with. God has hidden tomorrow from me. I believe this is a type of discipline, so I’ll walk by faith in Him.

Tomorrow will bring challenges, but by God’s grace it will also bring provision for those challenges. I don’t see the provision for tomorrow because I’m not there yet. I don’t need tomorrow’s provision for today. God does not waste His provision. God’s help will be there when I need it. 

These reflections bring me peace. They are the answers to the questions which put my mind in turmoil. 

Some Scripture verses to think about: Matthew 6:34; Exodus 16:17-21; Philippians 4:6,7,19; Psalm 27:13,14; Psalm 145:3-10.

©P. Booher

 

 

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