75 – The Lily of the Valley

This city girl loved the bumpy ride in the bed of an old truck down a winding dirt road. If I was in Tennessee on a Sunday morning, I would be singing in the country church choir with Uncle Boyd and my cousins. When the choir needed more voices, he would call our names Donna, Linda, Billy and Sheila to join the choir.

To relieve my anxiety, I watched Aunt Louise’s face as I sang. She had the smile of an angel staring back at me.

I can still see the congregation, windows open, funeral fans waving in their hands as they sang. Uncle Boyd’s voice was the trumpet that led us in singing, “He’s the Lily of the Valley, the bright and morning star. He’s the fairest of ten thousand to my soul.” Church, family, singing praises makes a soul happy.

Scripture: Praise the Lord! For it is good to sing praises to our God; for it is pleasant, and a song of praise is fitting. Psalm 147:1 ESV

Prayer: Loving Father of us all, thank you for giving us songs about Jesus. We keep them in our hearts and minds to feed our spirit and encourage us. May we share these hymns and sing them with others all the days of our lives. The testimony comes through sharing, and singing is a wonderful method that helps us and others. Keep giving us hymns of praise, Lord. Amen.

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74th – Children with disabilities

I was a hearing-impaired teaching assistant in public school. My knowledge of sign language gave me this opportunity to work with children who struggled with a variety of disabilities in an educational setting. Their primary disability was deafness. Some were completely deaf while others could hear garbled words like I did with hearing aids.

One of my tasks was to wait with them after school for the bus that took them to their homes all over our county. In getting to know their cheery bus driver, I told her I was praying for an interpreter for me at church. She said she was an interpreter and praying for a church. We put our hearts and heads together on the mission God revealed to us and co-taught a Sunday School class for deaf children. We each picked them up on Sunday morning and took them back home. This gospel outreach touched students from my public school as well as a few from the deaf school in the city.

Look what God can do with you! He can use you to reach others and add souls to his kingdom. Pray for opportunities to serve!

Scripture: Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. Colossians 3:16 ESV

Prayer: Gracious Father, thank you for building my skills and leading me to serve you. You planned each step of my path and had it cross with people at just the right time in my life. You are an all-knowing God, and I trust you with my future. I pray today for opportunities to teach others about your love and forgiveness. Amen.

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72nd – The Sweeper

At the grocery store, the sweeper passed me three times. It is one of the newer superstores with a lot of floor to clean. The first time I passed him was in the produce section, and I smiled and said, “You can do that sweeping at my house.” I didn’t understand what he replied. Then I passed him a second time down one of the aisles, and we just nodded a greeting.

Toward the end of my shopping trip, I was at the far end of the store in the pharmacy area. I told him he ought to wear a Fitbit because he was really getting a lot of walking on his job, and it’s good for us to walk. He said something about you can walk too much. Or maybe commented you can’t walk too much. His accent and my hearing impairment had a little difficulty. We chatted a moment, and I said that I don’t realize I’ve walked too much until I sit down for a few minutes and then try to stand back up. That’s when he said in his broken English, “I pray for you before you go.” He stopped sweeping and closed his eyes to pray silently for me and then said amen. We fist bumped, and I thanked the humble man who prayed for me in the grocery store that day.

Scripture: The first thing I want you to do is pray. Pray every way you know how, for everyone you know. 1 Timothy 2:1 (MSG, The Message Bible)

Prayer: Loving Father, Bless the sweepers of this world who listen to you with their hearts and take advantage of every opportunity you send their way. Opportunities to speak of your mercy and grace. Opportunities to pray intercessory prayers guided by your Holy Spirit for others in need. I want to be a sweeper in this life, an humble, praying sweeper. Let others see Jesus in me. Serving you gives my earthly existence more meaning than fortune or fame could ever do. Amen.

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71st – Picking the scab

As a typical kid, I screamed and cried at the sight of blood coming from my finger, toe, elbow, knee … you remember, too, right? I would watch it as the days went by and healing started. Healing was delayed by my thumb and index finger squeezing the wound to see more blood. Gradually the blood clotted causing the sore spot to close and grow a scab. It itched, and I tried to pick the scab off. Raise your hand if you’ve never done this. I thought so.

When we have a painful memory from being emotionally or physically wounded, our human nature reacts the same as when we were children. We dwell on our hurt and not the healing. Pray for calm to get past the crying and pulling the scab off over and over again. Give your wounds, bloody scabs and all that hurts you to your Heavenly Father, the Great Physician and healer of us all. It’s not easy to let go, but trusting the Lord to heal your wounds and comfort you will make you stronger. Then you can testify about where your strength came from in your time of need.

Scripture: Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10 (ESV)

Prayer: Heavenly Father and healer of my wounds, I pray for healing. My emotional and physical ones, I give them to you today. You alone have the power to remove them from my thoughts. I desire the strength to quit picking off the scabs. I am ready to be healed in your way, whatever that may be. My hope, my trust is in you because my life is in your mighty hands, and I know you care for me. Amen and praise be to God.

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70th – Eyes closed

There’s something different about praying with eyes closed and knees bent.

Instead of eating off a TV tray in the living room, I started eating every meal at the dining room table. Although I’m sitting at the table eating alone, memories of blessing the food with family and friends come out of my memory to remind me. Then I close my eyes, hands in lap (no fork and knife ready to eat), and I thank God for my blessings.

In the churches I’ve attended, the congregation never prays on their knees. So it is not a natural thought for me to do so. Yet, when I get down on my knees beside my bed, my prayers are so different than other times. It humbles my spirit and deepens my thoughts. My penitent heart fills my soul with gratitude, forgiveness, and most of all love for the One above who cares for me.

Scripture: Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass, and taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven and said a blessing. Then he broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. Matthew 14:19 (ESV)

Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker! Psalm 95:6 (ESV)

Prayer: Gracious heavenly father, we praise you and thank you for humbling our souls. Help us to remember to pray with our eyes closed and down on our knees because it draws us closer to you. Living daily closer to you is our heart’s desire. We pray earnestly in Jesus’ name. Amen.

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