Mary Cantell

Who do you please?

Some people are men pleasers–showing deference and kindness and expecting to be recognized for it. It’s the way the world is. Give and take. Nothing horrible about it but it’s kind of shallow to need praise from men. What is man that we should be inclined to derive our self-worth from him?

King David derived pleasures not from man but from God. Even his prayers were in deference to his Lord –not just asking for things, but making sure his heart was in the right place through praise and thanksgiving.

King David showed a keen humility in his Psalm 19:14 prayer by saying, “Let the words of my mouth…” along with his thoughts as he dwelled on the Lord, “and the meditations of my heart…” for which he anchored himself as a barnacle to a boat, “be acceptable in thy sight…”

When we understand our place in the world with respect to God, our thoughts, prayers, and reflections on the Lord will take on a different perspective. For he is our ultimate strength and our redeemer…worthy to be honored and not just a dispenser of goods.

Prayer is not always about asking for things as much as it is the opportunity to have our heart’s desires line up with God’s.

 

Highway to Heaven or Hell

Life is a highway, so goes an old song lyric. And it’s the longest one we’ll ever travel. Along life’s highway, we’ll encounter many side roads, and some of them will lead to the wrong destination. There will be battlefields along the way between good and evil. A wrong turn on life’s highway can not only get us lost, it may cause us danger.

Physical danger is nothing to scoff at. Being at the wrong place at the wrong time is scary stuff, but spiritual danger is by far worse. The impact of death, if we know the Lord, leads to a better place; the impact of not knowing the Lord, can lead to a tragic outcome.

While we travel through life, it’s a marvelous blessing to be able to walk and talk with Jesus, to seek the paths he would have for us. Just for the asking, we can know we’re traveling where we belong because our Lord wants what is best for us.

Should danger follow us? It could. Though, we ask ourselves this:  If God is for us, who can be against us? And why would we care if we have the Lord?

Jesus would never lead us down a dark unknown alley to purposefully cause harm. We lead ourselves there and often call for help. Our faithful Lord and master will surely comfort, protect, and never abandon our cry to save us. There is no pitfall along the roadway of life too deep for God to rescue us. He’s already encountered death and rose back to life. The victory is already ours—in Christ.

Life is a highway, so goes an old song lyric. And it’s the longest one we’ll ever travel. Along life’s highway, we’ll encounter many side roads, and some of them will lead to the wrong destination. There will be battlefields along the way between good and evil. A wrong turn on life’s highway can not only get us lost, it may cause us danger.

Physical danger is nothing to scoff at. Being at the wrong place at the wrong time is scary stuff, but spiritual danger is by far worse. The impact of death, if we know the Lord, leads to a better place; the impact of not knowing the Lord, can lead to a tragic outcome.

While we travel through life, it’s a marvelous blessing to be able to walk and talk with Jesus, to seek the paths he would have for us. Just for the asking, we can know we’re traveling where we belong because our Lord wants what is best for us.

Should danger follow us? It could. Though, we ask ourselves this:  If God is for us, who can be against us? And why would we care if we have the Lord?

Jesus would never lead us down a dark unknown alley to purposefully cause harm. We lead ourselves there and often call for help. Our faithful Lord and master will surely comfort, protect, and never abandon our cry to save us. There is no pitfall along the roadway of life too deep for God to rescue us. He’s already encountered death and rose back to life. The victory is already ours—in Christ.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A word of thanks…

With the Thanksgiving holiday upon us, we, as a nation, celebrate all that is important to us. While gathered around the table with family and friends to feast on food and fellowship, let’s take time to remember the ones who are suffering for their beliefs and pray God would abundantly bless them with his power and presence in their midst.

When we stop to think about all that we’ve been blessed with as believers, the list should begin and end with Christ. Having Jesus as our Lord and Savior is our fruitful bounty. Everything else is a side dish. For the Lord is our everything, and all that we have stems through his love and mercy—his grace to us.

With thanksgiving in their hearts, the early settlers gave praise and honor to the Lord for many things…most notably, a liberal harvest. William Bradford wrote:

“…And afterwards the Lord sent them such seasonable showers, with interchange of fair, warm weather as, through His blessing, caused a fruitful and liberal harvest, to their no small comfort and rejoicing. For which mercy, in time convenient, they also set apart a day of thanksgiving… By this time harvest was come, and instead of famine, now God gave them plenty … for which they blessed God.” 

Have a lovely Thanksgiving Holiday!

 

A story of greatness

In ancient days, the passing down of stories and teaching about God were ordinances to be practiced faithfully. The oral traditions of the early Hebrews were something to keep their past alive. Adding to the tradition, acts of worship and praise were adopted through songs that preserved the tradition of both God and family. Through them, each generation kept the past ever-so-present to remind their families of the Lord’s protection and how far he took them to overcome their days of slavery and suffering.

As with anything great or special, we tend to want to promote it. If there’s anything noble or worthy of bragging about, it would be the Lord, Jesus Christ himself—the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, who dethroned himself to become one with man for a time of 33 years and then died a gruesome death, so that man may have a bridge to the father once again.

That kind of love is worthy to be shouted from the mountains and rooftops. The honor that he deserves is beyond a mere nod of observance; it should be the first thing we think of upon arising and remain a steady, persistent thought all throughout the days of our lives.

May the spirit of the living God thrive in our hearts forever…until he comes again. Maranatha!

Veterans’ Day Thanks

This Veteran’s Day, we salute the courageous men and women who fought to preserve our nation and its sovereignty. America is fortunate to have a unique position in the world through the sacrifice of so many patriots who’ve bled and died defending America’s liberty. One nation, under God, indivisible…

There’s another who gave up his life sacrificially and shed his blood for our liberty. Jesus committed the highest act of sacrificial love for not just America but for the world. He came to earth from his heavenly home to bridge the gap between his father and sinful man. His battlefield was the cross, and he died there to pay the high cost of our sins in order that we may have freedom and liberty in Him forever.

The land of the free and home of the brave is the only one of its kind and was established first and foremost on the principle that only God holds the reins of power. This nation was established to be under God always.

Thank you, Vets, for your strength and bravery. Thank you, Lord, for your selflessness in battling the war we could never fight alone. To God be the glory.

Gratitude is the best attitude

Thanks. A simple one-syllable word. It comes in handy when someone does something pleasing and when credit is due. It’s not hard to say, and while only a word, it’s meaning encompasses so much. When we thank people, we’re expressing not only our appreciation but also our heart’s gratitude.

If there’s one entity in the world that deserves our utmost thanks, appreciation, and gratitude, it’s our blessed Creator. When things go swimmingly for us, of course, it’s easy to express thanksgiving. When God chastens or chastises us or allows something to occur that is not of our choice, the thanking may grow quiet.

Some would say they cannot thank God for the storms in their lives. However, if God allows “all things to work together for good to those who love him…”, then he is there in the midst of the storm and allowing it for a purpose. Out of love for us, God works in ways that are beyond our comprehension. We thank him for being in control of the storm and for sustaining us while in it.

There have been scientific studies, including one from Harvard, indicating that giving thanks and having gratitude lends positively to human lives. As Christians, we already know this. Giving thanks is rewarding not only to the recipient but also to the giver.

Lead me…

King David had it right when he sought the Lord at the hand of his enemies. The wicked wanted him killed, and by the grace of God, he was brought to safety. That’s the way it is for all of God’s people; we are the devil’s prey.

So many evil plans are tied up and convoluted. Like a spider’s web, the tangle becomes so twisted the deeper the lie, as in the old saying, “Oh, the tangled web we weave when at first we practice to deceive.” As for David, he asked the Lord to show him the straight path—the plain one. There’s only one true way to go and that is upon the straight and narrow road where the Lord is our guide.

The wicked will always seek to turn us away from the way we are to go. Like David, we may find ourselves asking the Lord for help and guidance, particularly if we’ve strayed from the path. There’s one way back, and God is sure to be there to take us by the hand and lead us, once more, to safety. With a repentant heart and a humility to understand that God’s ways are higher than ours, our paths will remain straight and will not turn toward evil as we yield to the Lord.

Laus Deo!

The direction and tone of the unique founding of our great nation was set from the beginning to be ‘One Nation, Under God.’ The following prayer was from founder and first president, George Washington.

“Almighty God; We make our earnest prayer that Thou wilt keep the United States in Thy holy protection; that Thou wilt incline the hearts of the citizens to cultivate a spirit of subordination and obedience to government; and entertain a brotherly affection and love for one another and for their fellow citizens of the United States at large.

And finally that Thou wilt most graciously be pleased to dispose us all to do justice, to love MERCY, and to demean ourselves with that charity, humility, and pacific temper of mind which were the characteristics of the Divine Author of our blessed religion, and without a humble imitation of whose example in these things we can never hope to be a happy nation.

Grant our supplication, we beseech Thee, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”

Laus Deo! Yes, to God be the Glory!

 

Waiting on God

Who likes to wait? In this stepped-up-pace of a world, it seems like everyone is rushed. With places to go and things to do, busy people often feel like they’re on auto pilot without an airplane. If you’re stuck in traffic or running late, it would be great to hitch a ride on the wings of an eagle and move ahead swiftly, wouldn’t it? But the Lord did not make man to fly…or did he?

It’s been said that an eagle soars upward toward the sun probably higher than any other bird. It often lives to an old age and, after shedding its feathers, grows new ones.

When we’re born again into a new life with Christ and the Holy Spirit now dwells within us, we are new creatures. Metaphorically, we’ve shed our old feathers and now bear new ones.

As we wait upon the Lord, it’s a precarious balance of trust and expectation. Though, by his word, we are assured that like the stately eagle, our strength will be renewed. We will rise toward His glory, and His grace and power will sustain us all the way to heaven.

In its season…

Even though we understand our time on earth is precious, as believers, we hunger and pray daily for the Lord’s second coming; there’s a yearning to be with Him. While we consider each day a gift, let’s consider the words of Ecclesiastes 3.

For everything there is a season and a time for every matter under heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;  a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away…

Life is not always lived at the top of the mountain. From that elevation, there is little experience of the valley to give the mountain its context and grandeur. A farmer’s field can only yield a harvest after the old growth is dead and cleared away. Even in the midst of a tumultuous forest fire where the rampant heat destroys acre upon acre, there are species of herbaceous trees, plants, and shrubs that thrive on the heat and from it produce new growth.

Everything in its time can be blessed by God and is what has been established according to his good and perfect will. Until the final day when the Lord brings us into a new heaven and a new earth, let’s do all to the glory of the Lord in word and deed in each of our allotted seasons.