Walk in the Rain

Walk in the rain that turned to storm

Some avoided this morning’s norm

No one out; the metropolis quiet

because of pounding rain, but we desire it.
Why out in the rain and not at home?

Did we not get the memo, stay out of the storm?

We knew the report, but we wanted to worship

So off in the rain we went to the church house.
Why walk in the rain when you could drive?

We couldn’t drive in our situation at this time.

Maybe a taxi, but it didn’t come to mind, 

so off in the rain our hearts sublime.
The destination worth it, the puddles unavoidable

Around each one we tried but wet was our stride

The pastor made comment of the weather amid,

“…also, a wonderful, dry room to worship in.”
How grateful he was and so were we

If work had called, we’d on time be.

So why miss assembly and worship a tree

Yes, a storm is on us, but we are free.
With lungs to breathe air, and eyes to see,

ears to hear tapping of wet moisture on me

It seemed such joy to be able to worship

A little rain, or a lot was not to disturb us.
Never should keep us from gathering or deter

So go to church, and be on time as it were.

A privilege that not all in the world can embrace

Be a Jesus freak, run and stay in the race.
The worshiping assembly is a joy of the Kingdom.

Make it a habit but not an agenda.

Don’t be one of those with no good reason

Go to church, worship Jesus, and live life in season.

©Valerie Rumfelt

2022

24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. Hebrews 10:24-25

The Practice of Prayer

If you are a Christ follower, then you know that spending time with the Father through Bible reading and prayer is not a legalistic exercise, but you cherish this practice; it is life to you.

As carelessly as some followers approach reading His Word, there can often be little attention given to prayer unless in a crisis. A Christ-follower can engage with God through the power of His Holy Spirit in prayer. If you only go to God when something immediate is wrong in your life, then you are no better than the characters on a soap opera. I used to watch them, and characters prayed only in a crisis to a god they didn’t know. So, how do we keep from being or becoming people who only pray in crisis?

  1. Expect results. Prayer is a discipline. I know that sounds like “eat your vegetables,” but to get out of “crisis mode only” with prayer, you will need to practice. Now that is not to say you can’t pray at other times. You can pray all day long, anytime. But praying as a choice is necessary to learn how to pray effectively.
  2. Expect to hear from God. We all fear that God might speak to us in our prayer, and we aren’t sure we want to hear what He has to say. But once you pray intentionally, you become fearless. Your faith strengthens and you are willing to accept any instruction, comfort, or guidance He gives. Even if something is hard to hear, you can pray about it.
  3. Expect better relationships. Prayer keeps you honest before God. It stands to reason that if you are honest before God, your relationships will get more honest, and more peace will be produced in your life. Every relationship problem may not be solved, but you will have more peace.
  4. Expect to use the Bible in your prayer time. Use the scripture you read earlier in devotions. Or find a passage particular to your situation. Praying scripture is a submissive choice to agree with God that His Word is true and true for you.
  5. Expect answers to your prayers. God honors those who honor Him and He is waiting to hear from you. The more you pray, the more answers you will get. He will answer prayers that are for your good and His glory which is directly connected to His will for your life.

None of this means that you’ll be spared of sufferings. God is not a genie. But a fervent prayer life will sustain you in suffering. True followers of Christ will suffer in this life. That is theologically based right out of God’s Holy Word, but your prayer life will give you strength and wisdom for each trial.

Do you need to get on your knees?

I choose to get on my knees because something supernatural happens there. It’s a humble posture, and once I begin, I have no trouble thanking God for who He is. Praise comes out of my mouth easily. I confess my sins. Isn’t this what you’d expect to do in prayer? It goes from being a stiff “have to” step in my quiet time to a desire to know Him and enjoy His presence.

I hope these tips will encourage you to enter into God’s presence with expectation and gladness.

“True prayer is a way of life, not just for use in cases of emergency. Make it a habit, and when the need arises you will be in practice.”

Billy Graham

©Valerie Rumfelt

Lamp to My Feet ~ Light to My Path

Some people love adventure and roaming the earth to have an adventure is done with ease. Home is where my heart is. I love everything about home. I have a Pinterest board with that title.

My family moved a lot when I was a child. I have always had trouble leaving the familiar. I need a plan. Anxiety began to reside in me at a young age. Every move was another traumatic, lonely excursion. It never occurred to me that I could do something about it and over time, like a stubborn weed grips hard soil, it became part of me. I tried hard not to let it stop me, but I’m sure opportunities were missed.

In the late 90s, my husband and I took two mission trips to Ukraine and while those trips showed us spiritual lostness on a world scale, I battled anxiety. The first one we went as team members. Once we returned to our comfortable life, pride and amazement swelled in me. That trip was my first time flying too! Mission accomplished, good job. A big check for such a feat. Barely enjoying normal life again, to our surprise, we received a message requesting my husband be the team leader of another trip to Ukraine, to take place only six months later. I could not believe it. But I knew God was doing this. Me resting on my laurels was not in His plan.

Thankfully, the Lord used a completely different situation in the early 21st century to call me to pay attention to my issue with anxiety. I won’t explain that, but the result was I obeyed. Through the power of His Holy Spirit, God guided me to some practices that put me in scripture consistently, daily. These practices were in addition to a morning quiet time I’d had for decades. The result was His peace and a transformed mind. Anxiety starts in the mind. Much of what was begun then remains in my spiritual practices today. 

In 2019, my husband sensed we needed to call the IMB (International Mission Board) as our next assignment in ministry. I could not believe it. I knew this would mean we wouldn’t visit a foreign and unfamiliar country, but we would live in a foreign and unfamiliar country.

For years, whenever I’d read Psalm 139 my eyes would gaze on vs. 9 which says, “If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.” Thoughts would swirl as I wondered if Psalm 139:9 would ever be true for me. Today as I live in a foreign country writing this, I am aware I am very far from the familiar, it is on the far side of the sea, and I’m living in the verse to the praise of His Name.

Yes, anxiety visits still, but God’s Word has long-term effects and I benefit greatly from the years of investment. You can too.

“Let God’s promises shine on your problems.” Corrie Ten Boom

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

Hebrews 4:12

©Valerie Rumfelt

When God Has You in a Place

Do you remember a time when you thought you needed something and it didn’t come? Maybe it was a report from the doctor, a friend to show up, for a situation to end, for a situation to begin, or a hug. But it didn’t come. What did you do? Did you cry? Did you pray? Did you question God? Did you harden your heart? Did you praise God? Did you give thanks to God? Did you complain to others or to God? What did you do?

Sometimes God has you in a place. Sometimes that place has no door for exit and no window for hope. What do you do? What can you do?

There’s a sense of powerlessness. Whatever you desire is not in your control to fix or attain. You can’t push things along. You can’t escape.

God has you in a place and you are forced to do things His way. You are forced to beg him for His intervention. You are forced to seek His perspective. You are forced to praise Him. You are forced to give Him thanks. 

Not too long after you begin to be honest with God and you quit carrying the desire, burden, need, hope, or longing, then you realize there is a burden bearer. There is a caregiver for your soul. There is a tear wiper and a compassionate ear. Even though He may seem silent, He is not inattentive. He is present.

When was the last time you poured out your heart to God? When was the last time you gave up being strong? When was the last time you went to your knees in surrender?

For the follower of Christ, this is where Christianity is proved. These are the places where no human can fulfill. You may know that God doesn’t even want you to share this with another human. It’s just you talking to Him. You didn’t think He was enough. You thought you needed a friend. A human. He is teaching you that HE is enough. He is your best friend. He is the one who can fix, fulfill, and fan into flame whatever the plan is. No matter how long you have to wait. Even if you don’t see Him do anything. Even if what you thought you needed never happens.

I could tell you what the Bible says about how valuable giving thanks is, being content, how He gives perseverance, how He gives strength to the weary, and so on. If you are a follower of Christ, you are familiar with all these promises. It’s your choice to cling to them.

What you may not be familiar with is waiting the way He wants you to wait. We will do most anything other than wait well. It seems so counterintuitive. But that is where the presence of God is. It’s that still, silent place, sometimes full of peace, sometimes uncomfortable.

Let’s not rush the process and ruin His plans with our own plan. He is a God of love who longs to give His children good things. Wait.

Waiting silently is the hardest thing of all.

Elisabeth Elliot

Soul Survival Everyday

Psalm 25 is hidden in my heart, but recently when I revisited it, the first nine words grabbed my attention like a diamond in a well-lit jewelry case. My eyes and heart were fastened to it, and I could not move further into the verse or chapter. Here are the first nine words to this beloved Psalm:

To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul…

This is what saturated my mind as the Spirit of God had me slowed to a stop on these words.
God is the only One trustworthy to care for my soul.

To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul…

The Spirit undoubtedly directed David’s heart, and David knew that God was his absolute help for the eternal core of his being, whether in peace or crisis.

To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul…

Why wouldn’t I, too, lift up my soul to the only Soul Lifter?

Is there anyone more trustworthy than the Lord? 

To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul…

To experience what David knew in the very first line of this Psalm, then certainly we have to go to the Lord to lift our soul to Him. We can not remain unaffected by this great God we know.

We can not hide in our super busy life avoiding Him.

We can not be puffed with pride in our significant space.

We can not run by Him in ministry mode.

We can not excuse our presence with Him because of a caretaking call.

We can not rest in complacency in our relaxation room. 

No, we must choose to go to God.

To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.

Are you overwhelmed that you can even approach God? 

God is available to every follower of Jesus. He is our Father, and He is there for us anytime, any day, any season of our life. But we must choose to stop our life, and go get His life each and every day.

Why not every morning say to Him…

To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.

The soul actually demands as much attention as the body…the soul was made for God, and without God, it is restless and in secret torment.

Billy Graham

Mary of Bethany

Just a few days before Jesus would die on the cross for the sins of the world, there is an account of a woman who took an opportunity to worship Him. Her display was remarkable and loving and remembered throughout all time.

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John 12:1-8 is the passage. We find Lazarus hosting a dinner for Jesus. Martha is serving. Mary is near Jesus.

It is six days before the Passover Feast. Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus lived. Lazarus was the one Jesus had raised from the dead.

2 A dinner was given at Bethany to honor Jesus. Martha served the food. Lazarus was among the people at the table with Jesus. 3 Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard. It was an expensive perfume. She poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped them with her hair. The house was filled with the sweet smell of the perfume.
4 But Judas Iscariot didn’t like what Mary did. He was one of Jesus’ disciples. Later he was going to hand Jesus over to his enemies. Judas said, 5 “Why wasn’t this perfume sold? Why wasn’t the money given to poor people? It was worth a year’s pay.” 6 He didn’t say this because he cared about the poor. He said it because he was a thief. Judas was in charge of the money bag. He used to help himself to what was in it.
7 “Leave her alone,” Jesus replied. “The perfume was meant for the day I am buried. 8 You will always have the poor among you. But you won’t always have me.”

What splendid love Mary displays.

As onlookers to this beautiful story, we admire Mary because of her outward evidence of inward devotion toward Jesus. She gave all she had to worship Jesus and show her love to Him.

To Mary, Jesus was the only one in the room. She is compelled to worship Him in this precious and costly way.

Judas, the one who would later betray Jesus was in the room and opposed this act of love. Judas’s weakness was he cared only for himself. When he tried to deceitfully point out Mary’s love toward Jesus as being misguided, the selfishness and darkness in his character are exposed.

The difference between Judas and Mary is stark. Judas tried to garner favor for his position by pulling in the poor as his cover. He not only revealed his true colors but tried to deceive those around him into thinking he was concerned for the poor.

Jesus, of course, was the One present concerned about the poor most of all. The fact that Judas tried this tactic with Jesus present exposes even more about Judas’s unfavorable and repulsive character.

Mary, on the other hand, is generous in her expression of love. To be clear, it was a display. Unabashed, Mary seems oblivious to the dark character sitting near her in Judas and still displays a lavish love for Jesus using a lavish product. She is one to admire and esteem.

Jesus knew both hearts, of course, and welcomed Mary’s love and worship while penetrating the darkness of Judas with a direct command to leave Mary alone.

This story thrills me. Jesus, willing to fellowship with friends and foes alike, ready to defend the pure in heart, receives an extravagant love and appreciates the sacrifice. In only a few words, He exposes the motives and forces of evil sitting near Him in Judas.

The people in Jesus’ day didn’t understand they would soon lose Him to a brutal and sacrificial death on their behalf. Even in this passage, Jesus tells those present that He will not always be with them. They couldn’t grasp that He’d soon be gone. No matter how many times Jesus spoke of His coming death, they could not understand.

In a few days, each day leading to the Resurrection holds a different meaning. Let’s ponder Mary. This brave lady used her opportunity to worship Jesus in the face of evil.  In a few days, she would be at the foot of the cross with other women who loved Him. Let’s be like Mary, unashamed to worship the One who saved us and faithful enough to live for Him until the end of our days.

Perhaps the most striking lesson to be learned from Mary of Bethany is her unwavering devotion to Jesus. She not only followed Him; she worshipped Him. She hung on His every word. No matter what was happening around her, she never lost sight of Him. Jesus defended her pure love, and He ensures her story is told through the ages.

She had a sister named Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to what he said. Luke 10:39

 

The Night of the Earthquake

We were still watching orientation videos and reading articles about our new home. The survival video in case of a massive earthquake and other related disasters was a bit intense, but my eyes were wide open to the information alert. It was a lot to take in; nevertheless, we were making a list of all suggested items for a GO BAG, and we were on a trajectory to get all the necessary supplies. We’d had smatterings of conversations with veterans on the field about the 2011 earthquake (its tenth anniversary commemorated this past week). It had us thinking. We were trying to get prepared. Perhaps we’d already experienced a few tremors, unaware! This was way more earthquake talk than I wanted to hear, even though preparation was on our minds.And then it happened. Sitting on our couch one Saturday afternoon at about 2:10, the couch and the iPad on my lap moved from side to side like soft jello when it hits the plate. The shift lasted long enough for me to understand what was happening. I’d say eight to ten seconds. Once things were still, I said, “Well, Lord, I guess that was a tremor.” Clark did not feel it in the other room. After I documented it, I went on about my day. Since this happened during the day, you know this is not the occurrence that gives this blog its title.

I love scripture writing. I have several blogs devoted to this topic and recommend it to anyone who loves the Lord.

Psalm 4:8 In peace, I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety.

The verse above was the third one I’d scribbled down before heading into one of the deepest nights of sleep I can remember. I am no deep sleeper, nor do I write scripture every night. At 11:08 pm was when the movement began. I could not figure out what in the world the sensation was that seemed big, all over the room, and wouldn’t stop. The room shook from side to side. 20 – 30 seconds later, it stopped, and my husband and I marveled at the fact we’d experienced an earthquake. You notice I didn’t say our first earthquake. Let’s not go there. Later we heard our impact was only a four to five! The epicenter up north experienced a seven. Would you believe after we chatted, I again returned to sleep, peacefully all night. For all who find that unthinkable, I do too.

Unsplash.com Shefali Lincoln

God’s power evident in our lives that night brings comfort for the future. The preparation for this peace started before the event. His tender loving care of not only our lives and our new dwelling place, but over our minds and spirits is a blessed and wonderful promise realized.

Update: Another quake occured on Saturday evening March 20th, 2021, after dinner, a little after 6pm. This was a 3 on the scale but lasted more than 30 seconds.

We’ve had many more earthquakes. No catastrophic ones.

©Valerie Rumfelt

Trust and Hope

I’m thinking right about now, there may be some of you hanging on by a thread with all the world events and personal sacrifice and loss of the year 2020. And now moving into the next year, the troubles have not disappeared. Who thought all this was going away just because a page turned on the proverbial calendar? I did not. This is the world we live in, and yes, it is frightening at times, but amazingly, God is still bringing His peace and stability to all who want it.

Recently in a moment of faith, which is another word we could add to this title, I came up with these acrostics. Just creating the acrostics brought peace and I thought maybe you could use them too. Here they are, and then below, I will list some ways you can make the most of them.

TRUST

T – Taking all I have

R- Reminding myself

U – Understanding His past care

S – Submitting my rights

T – Telling Him thank you in advance

HOPE

H – Having the same mind

O – Open to His future plans

P – Practicing Thanksgiving

E – Expressing Praise

So, you could make a list under each one. For instance, T – Taking all I have. List all you have that you can give to Jesus. R – Reminding myself – We have to do this. We have to remind ourselves who we are in Christ and who He is to us.

Do you get the idea? Just take each idea and expand it. By the time you finish, some peace will be restored.

Another activity you could do is get out your Bible concordance and look up the words Trust and Hope and find all the verses. Write the verses. Say the verses. You could do this for a week at least, and have plenty to look forward to each day.

We are not in control anymore. Whatever ideas we had previously about being in control are not working right now. We do not know if we will see those days again. But we haven’t lost Jesus. So if you are one of His children, this is not a time for the faint of heart. It’s time to spend time with your Father. Turn off the tv or whatever you watch and go sit down somewhere and find your rest in Jesus. It may feel awkward to you at first, but God honors those who honor Him. He will meet you.

If you have ideas of what you are doing now to abide in Jesus, list them in the comments.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. ” John 15:5

5 Promises for Peace and Transformation

Covid19 is still here. It’s impacted our lives, and I don’t need to tell you how. It’s quite hard to believe all the changes. We are wondering will things go back to normal. Here are some questions to ponder. Am I still the same? Am I changed? Am I closer to Jesus now? Do I love His Word more? Do I hear God speaking to me? Is there sin in my life that I need to confess and take action to flee?

Of course, we can always choose to be alone with God. A pandemic doesn’t have to be the reason. Do you have gaps in your days because of Covid? These are opportunities. And Jesus is better than any lottery ticket. He is dependable.

When all around you changes, He is not and will not. Hebrews has a verse full of stability and promise, which says, “Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever.” A world to our expectations is not part of the deal. Actually, in John 16: Jesus says, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

The other morning as I was in my quiet time, I came across all of these gems. Maybe reading these will inspire you to fellowship with God through His Word. There are many more scriptures like these that give testimony to the benefits of reading God’s Word. Ponder these few.

  1. Who knew memorizing it could help you not to sin.

2. This verse clearly explains the usefulness of reading and applying Scripture.3. Wow, let’s pray we love reading God’s Word more than food. 4. Jeremiah expresses a desire to read the Scripture and expresses the benefit. If you don’t have this desire, then pray for it. That is a prayer God will answer.5. Scripture comes straight from the Lord. Living by it is wise—every word.

Today is the day to invest your time reading God’s wonderful word. I have several blogs on this website on writing scripture which guarantees to slow down the brain and bring peace. Here’s one. FREE PRINTABLES are at the top of this site for you to work and enjoy. Suppose you don’t have the desire to get more of God’s Word in your life, pray for it. If you live in sin, you can’t hear from God even if you are a believer. Confess that sin, get out of the sin, and start again living a life that brings glory to Him.

The Bible was not given for our information, but for our transformation. D. L. Moody