Dost Bow Your Head

Dost bow your head, as they would say
In olden times when they would pray

We come before God with humble heart
In quiet thought at a place apart

In worship of His mighty power
Secure with Him, we pause in this hour

With troubled thought we seek a guide
Or time of joy… We do not hide

God knows us well. He loves us all
We rest in Him, both big and small

Now be assured. Release your stress
He bids us come, and he will bless

Dost bow your head

Never


“Well, I never!”

Have you ever heard or expressed these same words? When taken by surprise, when the unexpected or unplanned hits us head-on, this simple phrase expresses it all! Fill in the blank.

Never, never, never… A word that can express relief, disappointment, anger, conviction, and so much more.

I never have to go there again!

– We never thought they would do such a thing.

I’m never going to talk to him again!

I’ll never give up.

Sometimes “never” is a positive word, a practical expression of the end of use for some item (That’ll never come clean or That can never be repaired). At other times “never” is a call of desperation. Think of the times when you’ve worked to complete, learn, or do something and you reach the point when out of frustration or exhaustion you just think, “I’ll never get this done!” When we reach such low points, “never” can loom its head and drive our thoughts downward. We struggle with self-doubt, need, or depression… echoes of The Raven’s “nevermore”!

How do we cope when our thoughts take a plunge?! When “never” seems like a dark storm approaching? Pausing for some quiet time and prayer sure helps. It would be so nice to have some support too, someone to help out or to be a sounding board and understanding presence.

That reminds me of when Jesus spoke of satisfying hunger and thirst, not just physical satisfaction but a deeper hunger and thirst for a full and significant life. He knows our need for forgiveness of wrongs, for peace and happiness, and for God. Jesus was saying that all who come to him will never go hungry or thirsty for what really matters in life. He will never turn anyone away who comes to him. Now those are some good “never-s”! *

As we encounter our “never”, surprised by the unexpected or unplanned, may we be drawn to God’s “ever” …ever with us and ever satisfying our greatest longings and needs.

*John 6:35-37
Charlotte-Anne Allen

Citrus Orange

Orange speaks of happiness
Relaxed and friendly, enjoying life

Joining neighbors red and yellow
Warm and comfortable, overcoming strife

It speaks of endurance and of strength
A glowing light in evenings sky

Fragrance wafting, juicy sweet
Tangy goodness sends the spirit high

Persevering ever forward
Creative bright and shining out

From One who knows our fears and joys
May our lives serve to brighten about

Lifting encouraging one another
Shining like that splash of orange

From “On Colors”
Charlotte-Anne Allen

God is My Hour

In prayer walking with you, oh God
Bowing before You; humbly I fall
Secure in Your presence
Whatever will come

God is my hour

Each minute and second
Our time is revealed
Across ocean’s vastness
Upon this earth

God is my hour

In strength or in weakness
God, you give all that I need
You hold me securely as I turn to You
… Life’s offer to One Who Knows

God is my hour

Morning rise, full of light
Evening come, darkness starshine
Through each day and blackest night
Whatever besets me…

God is my hour

For family, friends, and community
Needy world, where’er I’m found
Thanks be raised that God is here
Faith now offered; comfort bring

God is my hour

To my pastor, Mark Reece, Jr, as he steps out in service
and to all who seek God. Be encouraged.
– Charlotte-Anne Allen

What Prudence!

With what prudence, you now say,
Do we live our lives from day to day?!

Give thought give thought
Give thought to your ways
Using good judgment is common sense

…Listen, listen to sound instruction
Gaining wisdom and discernment

From the heart actions will arise
As prudence speaks, do right and justly

Consider knowledge and instruct with care
Refrain from haste before lips fly

And when we fall, for we all do,
We in our prudence welcome God

– From “My Words to Live By”
Charlotte-Anne Allen

Like Honey

Honey. I love honey, especially in a cup of hot tea or maybe spread on some toast or a biscuit.

Growing up in a small town, our neighbors behind us kept some beehives and the busy bees were regular visitors to our apple trees. We were also thankful recipients of some of the harvested honey and honeycomb. I still have fond memories of that honey!

A fun fact I’ve heard is that honey is the only natural food source that has all the nutrients that we need. Natural raw honey is rich in antioxidants. It’s also helpful in healing wounds and is a positive alternative to processed sugar. Isn’t that amazing?! The fact that it is good for us really makes one of my favorite verses even more meaningful.

Kind words are like honey, sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.
Proverbs 16:24

Like honey, words spoken in kindness are healthy and healing for both soul and body. When our spirits are low, an encouraging word can be powerful. We remember soft and comforting words offered during times of stress, don’t we? Even if I can’t remember the exact words later, I do remember that they were spoken and how much they meant at the time. Thoughtful words spoken during times of celebration or after hard work and accomplishments are important too.

“Kind words are like honey.” What we choose to do with our words has an impact every day. Do you ever think of the effect of your words, both words spoken, and words left unspoken? I was thinking about the fact that words we don’t say can have as much effect as words we do say. What if we don’t encourage or express our love and caring to someone who needs it? How will that affect their lives and what blessing do we also miss? Then too, what if we hold our tongue and don’t speak that hasty or critical remark? Aren’t we all more prone to snapping at others during times of anxiety or exhaustion? Stepping aside, avoiding words, or being especially mindful of what I say helps… Those are good times for some kind words from others!

Just as a smile is contagious, so are positive and kind words. “…Sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.” Maybe we can help each other out with that, and in so doing better reflect God who loves us.

Reflections on Pancakes

● The right combination of ingredients brings out our best
● The blending of our experiences shape who we are
● Consider the ways you can improve yourself and then follow through
● Using a fresh perspective opens our eyes and hearts
● Making needed adjustments keeps us out of the rut and enriches life
● Memories are thoughts that bubble up and burst upon us, often at unexpected times
● Be true to your faith and commitment wherever you are
● A calm and even temperament is much to be desired
● Adding some sweetness brings smiles and shares happiness
● Begin all things with a solid base as you look ahead
● Establish positive routines for development and accomplishment
● When we’re feeling the heat, God’s Spirit helps us to rise

Charlotte-Anne Allen

Love You!

“Love you!”

“Love you, too”

These words between friends, family members, or others are an expression of mutual affection and support. Have you ever considered how powerful they are?

For those on the receiving end, these simple phrases can bring a wealth of meaning, can’t they? I’m happy… We’re enjoying each other’s company… You’re special. They can also express empathy and compassion. I’m so sorry… I regret what happened… I still care.

What about when we speak those words? Sometimes it is so easy to say them, especially when we are happy and are spending enjoyable time in each other’s company. In parting, they are reminders for each other which we take with us, lifting each other up and bringing smiles to faces.

Have you ever struggled to say or to return them? Maybe there has been some strain in your relationship, some hurt or struggle… some unkind or ill-spoken thought. How difficult they can be to say in the face of great loss. Death, poor health prognosis, violence, or our own failures… In those times “love you” and “love you too” can be both painful and healing.

As I was reading in the book of Romans this morning, I came upon a word that expresses these very thoughts!

“Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.” *

I was curious about the word “honor”, so I looked up the meaning for its use in this passage [Yes, a bit nerdy maybe but doing this has really helped me to understand verses in the Bible better!]. It said: “a valuing by which the price is fixed (of the price itself, of the price paid or received for a person or thing bought or sold); honor which belongs or is shown to one (by reason of rank…, deference, reverence)“.

Honor is linked with price and value… and (in that passage) with love! 1Corinthians 6:20 uses the same word, translated as “price”. “For you are bought with a price therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” It struck me of the great price already paid for us through Jesus. Each of us are loved, valued, and honored. Do we love, value, and honor each other to this extent? How do we even wrap our minds around that?!

My prayer for us today, is that we will be more aware of the power of these simple words to and from God and with others. May we use them often, with greater appreciation and understanding. May we be transformed and filled as we both give and receive.

* Romans 12:10
Charlotte-Anne Allen

Surround Us

I wrote this poem several years ago. It is still so applicable to us each day
a call, a remembrance, a celebration, an affirmation of God’s Spirit and love for us.
May it bring us peace and hope.

Surround us, oh Lord
Guardian protector Father
Wrap us in Your holiness
Surround us, oh Lord
Strong sure eternal

Surround us, oh Lord
Refresh renew restore
Nourished by Your Spirit
Surround us, oh Lord
To grow in wisdom and stature

Surround us, oh Lord
Great One mighty and present
Strong and sure deliverer
Surround us, oh Lord
That we too may stand

Surround us, oh Lord
Wrapped in Your breath
Sustained and filled
Surround us, oh Lord
Satisfier of our souls

Surround us, oh Lord
Our firm foundation
Shield and defender
Surround us, oh Lord
With the cloud of Your being

Surround us, oh Lord
Your comforting presence
Banish our fear
Surround us, oh Lord
Abba Father and King

——————————————————————————————————-
Thanks to God, who surrounds us each day
May your unfailing love be with us, Lord, even as we put our hope in you.
Psalm 33:22

– Charlotte-Anne Allen