Archives for February 2012

Psalm 31:7

Tara Alemany, Author and Speaker

7 I will be glad and rejoice in your love, for you saw my affliction and knew the anguish of my soul.

There have been many times since I assumed the role of Chaplain to this group where I have felt completely inadequate to the task. When I first accepted the responsibility, I thought it was something that would come easily and naturally to me.

I’ve been a Bible study teacher, a book discussion leader, a prayer warrior, and a reasonably mature Christian for over a decade now. I’ve walked in the valleys and among the heights. I’ve known the joy of feeling God’s presence, and the despair of wondering where He is.

Yet, the experiences of the past four months in my life have just been overwhelming. And each month, when I sit down to write this devotional, I wonder what, if anything, I have to offer.

As I flipped through the Bible, looking at verses about Love, since it is the month for Valentines, I kept praying for inspiration. Then, this verse jumped out at me. “I will be glad and rejoice in your love, for you saw my affliction and knew the anguish of my soul.”

I can attest to the truth of these words, even though it’s still hard for me to rejoice. Yet, God knows the sorrows and the struggles I’ve faced in recent months, and he sent me to you, and you to me.

I have seen His love through the actions of people in this group, and through others in our church.
As I dearly missed my Frank this week, Barbara sent me words of encouragement. Carol checked up on me, sometimes multiple times a day. One woman from church brought me a dozen, white-stemmed roses. Another stopped by with a box of chocolates and a card for me, telling me that Frank spoke to her in prayer that morning, instructing her to “take care of my girl today.”

It’s because you’ve chosen to minister to me that I’m able in any small way to minister to you. I will rejoice and be glad in His love, because you have listened to His prompting, soothing the anguish of my soul with your kindness and caring.

As we write and share our stories, may they ever point to His power in our lives, and His desire to use His people to bring peace and purpose to many.

Thank you for ministering to the one who is supposed to minister to you. I pray that as I use my life’s experience to reflect on His greatness, you are touched by His great mercy and love as well.

Acts 5:17-21

Tara Alemany, Author and Speaker

17 Then the high priest and all his associates, who were members of the party of the Sadducees, were filled with jealousy. 18 They arrested the apostles and put them in the public jail. 19 But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the doors of the jail and brought them out. 20 “Go, stand in the temple courts,” he said, “and tell the people the full message of this new life.”

21 At daybreak they entered the temple courts, as they had been told, and began to teach the people.

I’ve been thinking a lot about life and death recently what with spring being right around the corner, and being in the midst of Lent looking forward to Easter and all that it promises.

And remembrances of life and death so closely intertwined by days on the calendar in this coming week for me. Frank’s Dad will be observing the 4th anniversary of his wife’s death on the 20th. So he has been at the forefront of my thoughts and prayers. The very next day, I’ll be celebrating my son’s 12th birthday.

It’s nothing new. Every day, someone dies and someone else is born. And those that love them are changed forever by their presence in their lives.

It’s been this way since Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden of Eden. We’re born. We live. We learn. We love. We die.

When a child is born, we celebrate the joy of new life in our midst. When someone dies, we grieve the passing of their presence in our lives, not realizing right away that their presence lives on within us.

When the apostles were jailed, then freed by the angel, they were told to tell the full message of this new life to the people they found in the temple courts.

This wasn’t a life received once. It was a life returned to them. While physically mature, there was as much reason for them to celebrate as there is when we rejoice over the birth of a baby. New life had been received.

As Christians, we have each received this gift of new life. Do we stop and remember to celebrate it as the undeserved gift that it is? We have been granted a precious gift. Every day that we wake up is another opportunity to rejoice over that gift, regardless of our circumstances or how we might wish they were different.

As writers, God has granted each of us the unique ability to share the full message of this new life in the words that we write and the stories that we create.

In Deuteronomy, we are told that the commandments we’ve been given are to be upon our hearts, impressed upon our children, talked about at every turn, and tied as symbols on our hands and foreheads.

It is only when the message of salvation permeates every aspect of our lives, including our writing, that we are truly obedient to the angel’s command to tell the people the full message of this new life.