Safe Place with Ruth Graham

Safe Place with Ruth Graham

Night Time Prayer in Light of the Verdict

posted by Ruth Graham

We all grieve that a young man died and another’s has been forever alterted. There is no happy ending here. Two mothers grieve. Two families have lost.

And yet there are those who refuse to let them grieve in peace. The press predicted violence and has cameras and recorders at the ready for any hint of unrest. They thrive on it – manipulate it – because it sells and gets ratings. So many of us fall into their cess pool – and when we do we come out stinking like them. If we don’t pay attention, if we don’t react maybe they will quit stirring and inciting.

Where are the peacemakers?

We are not savages and I refuse to be turned into one. Violence will not bring Trayvon Martin back. Our lives have been altered, for sure, but why compound the pain? Why not honor his life instead of destruction? Buy Skittles and hand them out to the children in your neighbrhood. Start a scholarship for young men – black or white or hispanic. That raises a question: why is George Zimmerman not considered a person of color? Do not Hispanics riase the issue of discrimmination against them because of their color?

So… you have one race calling another race “racist”. While the third race eggs it on. It is crazy. It’s infamatory.  I am sorry, the word and accusation of “racism” is bandied about too quickly.  Stop it already!

If you think laws should change, go work towards that. Be constructive. We are a nation of laws. We have a justice system, flawed though it be. If you don’t like it get busy and help change it. We have the privilege of voting in this country.

This is from A New Zealand Prayer Book:

Lord, it is night.

The night is for stillness. Let us be still in the presence of God.  

It is night after a long day. What has been done has been done; what has not been done; let it be.  

The night is dark. Let our fears of the darkness of the world and of our own lives rest in you.

The night is quiet. Let the quietness of your peace enfold us, all dear to us, and all who have no peace.

The night heralds the dawn. Let us look expectantly to a new day, new joys, new possibilites.

In your name we pray. Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

In Defense of Marriage

posted by Ruth Graham

I am offended by the Supreme Court’s ruling this week.

The great King David of Israel said, “Forever, O Lord, Thy word is settled in Heaven…” (Psalms 119:89)

God’s word has told us that “He created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him male and female…”

God’s word declares, “for this cause a man shall leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.”  Not male and male; not female and female but, “male and female”.

What part of that is ambiguous? We were not created to be in same-sex marriage. Anatomically, emotionally, spiritually…there are those who will argue a case…but I have to stand on the eternal word of God.

The Supreme Court of the United States can make any ruling it wants to. They can declare that the moo is made of blue cheese…it doesn’t change the truth…God has said! It’s not open to interpretation. Just because they say it is OK does not mean God does. Good grief…what has our culture stooped to?

I know there are those who would argue differently…the Supreme Court of the United Sates has heard and declared. Compared to the High, Eternal, Holy Court of Heaven they are a puny court – self important.. They have no eternal weight. Only God’s word is eternal.

I have dear friends who are gay/lesbians…I know they rejoice over the decision today. But God does not. And it makes me sad. I love them and want to remain in relationship with them – I want to understand….but I do not agree…God does not agree.

God has set a standard.

Frederick Buechner is a writer who has inspired me. I love what he writes. He has struggled with his own issues of family secrets and sexuality. I admire him for the fact that while he struggled, he has NOT compromised God’s word and decree.  Oh that there would be others like him!

I fear for our nation that rules against God’s laws…we will reap what we have sown…floods, fires, disease…not that God causes them but God is removing His hand of protection. We have stepped onto a slippery slope. What is next?

 

 

How Do We Experience God?

posted by Ruth Graham

H0w do I know personally when God is present with me or that I am personally in the presence of God? Both objectively and subjectively.

I know God’s presence by faith. I don’t always FEEL it. Far from it – sometimes I FEEL as if He is absent and I get angry with Him. I know He is bigger than my anger and questions. I have only to look at Job’s life or Jeremiah’s. Even Jesus’ life. They had questions and anger towards God. But bottom line – they trusted. They are an example for us. I trust His word (the Bible) and His promises.

Sometimes I do not feel God’s presence in my life  but He can silent when I ask for direction. I have faith that answers will come in His time – not mine. And in His way – He will make them known to me. It is faith. He is there whether I feel it or not. God promises that He will never leave me or forsake me. It isn’t about feelings but the fact of His promises. I stand on those facts.

Not easy. I tend to be impatient but God has taught me a lot about just being still and letting Him be God. (In my life, I made horrible mistakes not waiting on God.)

Others may put it this way, “Things happen as they are supposed to.” I agree but I believe that the hand of God orchestrates it all – even to the last detail. It isn’t fate or karma. It is God’s design for his child who has placed his/her faith in Him. I know He loves me and has good things planned for me so I can quit trying to control things. And when I fail miserably, I know He has the power to take my mistakes and redeem them for His glory.

I have only to look at my own life to know the truth of that.

I think gratitude has a lot to do with sensing His presence.

I am also aware that God uses real people in my life to make me aware of His presence. Sometimes even animals! It may be a word that hits me at a particular moment, a sermon I feel is just for me, a cat that curls up behind my neck purring when I am about to “lose it”, many different moments and things…

Being in nature…for me it is the beach…you sense God majesty. Some may say that it’s “just beauty”. For a child of God it is more than that. It is a glimpse of God and an experience in His presence.

What to Do with Storms

posted by Ruth Graham

Oklahoma has been under siege with the terrible storms marching through that state. The storms seem to be taking the same path. Not only the tornadoes but the flooding. Repeated damage, repeated fear, loss of life, unending anxiety…

This morning I was reading Psalm 33:5. It says, “The earth is full of the loving-kindness of the Lord.” That seemed to mock me in light of all the horrible things happening: fires, floods, storms, earthquakes. How can the Psalmist state with such assurance that the earth is full of God’s loving-kindness? It would appear to be just the opposite. How do we reconcile that? Maybe we can’t.

The Psalmist reconciles it by  focusing on the bigger picture: God is the creator  of the heavens and all those in them. God is the one who controls all the waters of the deep. Then he writes, “Let all the earth fear the Lord”. Is that the missing ingredient? We no longer fear God. And by fear, I am not meaning fear, as to be afraid of, but fear as in awe and reverence. Do we revere God? No. We treat Him casually. We pull Him out when we need Him but most of the time we ignore Him and rarely do we look at our earth and stand in awe of the Creator.

Our God rides on those storms. He is mightier, more powerful than the storms. He is bigger. The Psalmist tells us that God looks from heaven and sees all of us and understands us. He knows what is going on. He is aware of what is happening. We are told that God is our help, our shield.

We look at devastation and see only despair. Let us lift our eyes to see God. He rides on those storms. We are told, “He makes the clouds His chariot; He walks upon the wings of the wind.” (Psalm 104:3) If we can turn our focus on to Him we are not going to have everything neat and tidy, questions answered…but we begin to see His greatness, His peace, His strength, His grace, love – even in the midst storms. How many interviews have we heard from folks that are so thankful for their protection and their family is still alive? They see God’s hand. And those that lost their lives….I grieve with them, I pray for them. I have no answers for them only an unshakable faith in the unchanging character of God who is watching, is aware, is loving. And still very much in control.

You, like me, may never have had a tornado slice through your home or town, you may not have had a Sandy wreck havoc with your community…but no doubt you have had, like me, your own personal tornado and storm that has left you stunned, bewildered, angry, hurt. Your life has been turned upside down, inside out. You are numb with grief and regret. You don’t know where to turn. We, too, can turn to God’s character and trust Him with all that doesn’t make sense. Trust Him with your anger, pain, doubt…He is big enought to handle it. He knows what has happened at your address. He cares. He loves. He will bring you through, stronger and with a far deeper relationsip with Him.

God is still on his throne. It has not been blown away. I am glad for that!

 

 

 

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