70 Days til Disneyland – Storybook Land Canal Boats!

Image ©Disney Parks

Image ©Disney Parks

Sometimes a photo can just capture a ride, and make you want to jump right in and try it out — and for me, Storybook Land Canal Boats did just that!  Looking at the picture I saw on the Disney site, it looks like the boats go right into the whales mouth.  Is that true?  If so, then it might feel a bit like Jonah and the whale from the Bible.  I’m interested to see.  This attraction is our choice for day 70 in our Countdown til Disneyland series — as of today, we’ve got 10 weeks to go until our trip!

This attraction might be too tame for some people, but for us, having never been there before, we are on the path of discovery here.  Trying out new things, looking at new experiences, and experiencing things we’ve never imagined before — that’s what this trip to Disneyland is for us.

What is your impression of the Storybook Land Canal Boats ride? Like it or leave it? Must do or stay away?  Please let me know in the comments, and thanks for stopping by!

Prayers for the Week, March 17, 2013

mdod-prayers of the week

This week has been a trying one for those of us in the faith, my friends.  We have been blessed beyond compare, but in addition to all of those blessings, some of God’s people are truly hurting.  When I am in a situation where someone or something hurts me, my first instinct now is to turn to my favorite passages in the Bible.  The first one is John 16:33, where Jesus tells us:

“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.

Another Bible verse that I truly love to read is from the book of Jeremiah, chapter 29, verse 11:

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

It astonishes me, the older I get, how right the Bible is.  When I was younger, I never thought that the Bible had all that much to offer to me.  But now, when I am troubled, I do turn to the Bible, and it literally falls right to where I need to be reading, and there is always something to help me.

My friends, as I said, there are a lot of prayer requests for this week.  As a result, this post will be quite lengthy.  Please make sure you read all of the requests, and pray for all of the ones you see here.  Also, please add your prayer requests in the comments below throughout the week, and we’ll add them onto next week’s post.  As always, here is last week’s list of prayer requests that you can click over and read.

Prayer Requests:

  • Please pray for Rosemary, who is going through some medical issues right now.  Pray that she will have healing, peace from the worries that perhaps are affecting her, and strength in the event that her healing takes time and isn’t accomplished immediately.
  • My wife’s cousin is battling some serious health issues.  Please pray boldly for a miracle, that he may show Glory to God with a miraculous recovery, but in addition, please pray for his comfort, God’s Peace to descend upon him and his family, and God’s Strength to help them all out in the days and weeks to come.  He is being re-baptized soon, but I believe he is already a Christian, so his place with Jesus is assured! Of course, what will happen is all according to God’s Will, and we know that His Will will be done.
  • I have a good friend that is battling fibromalygia.  This unseen disease affects many things within her body, and the pain and debilitation can be quite severe.  She asks that we pray for relief and joy, that she would be able to maintain joy in her life despite her malady.
  • Another friend we have is suffering with a condition that causes her to have severe pain, and forces her to walk with a walker, despite the fact that she is a young person.  Please pray for comfort and healing for her, and strength to continue to battle this degenerative condition.
  • Rebecca asks for our prayers as her Uncle passed away from intestinal cancer on March 12th.  Please lift up his soul to the Lord, but also pray for God’s Peace and Strength to settle upon Rebecca and her family, that they might be able to express their grief together, while knowing that their loved one is with Jesus at this time.  God, please give them the strength to endure the weeks to come as the reality of their loss is felt even more.
  • Becky asked for prayers related to a shooting in central New York state.  The man, at the time, had not been caught, and he had shot 6 people, killing 4 of them, with the other two in critical condition.  After a standoff of several hours, police went in, and with a K9 officer shot in the altercation, the shooter was shot and killed.  It was a sad ending to a tragic mystery — why a person would succumb so much to darkness that they would take innocent people’s lives.  In cases like this, the only happy thing is Satan, who was doing a victory dance.  So now, friends, I ask that you pray for the families that are grieving, as well as for the towns affected, that they would have God’s Peace upon them, and the fear that they were facing would fade away to the distant past.
  • My friend Rebecca asks for prayers for her Poppa, who suffered a heart attack last week.  She has reported that the prayers are working, and he is getting the treatment and help that he needs, but please keep them up for her so that he can fully recover!
  • Carrie asks for prayers for her husband, who is suffering from Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, and is undergoing treatment.  Please pray for him for healing, but also pray for their 7 year old son, that he can adapt to his Daddy being sick, and give his dad what he needs to get over this illness.  Also please pray for Carrie, that she can be strong and help her husband in the ways he needs help, and that she can be strong for the whole family.
  • My good friend has asked me to pray for our country and for those that defend our Constitution and our freedoms. This includes not just our military, of course, but any official of the United States that is in a position to have to defend our rights. My biggest prayer on this matter is that anyone in that position would put politics to the side and step outside of themselves and think about what is best for the country, not for their party or constituants.
  • I would like to lift up my friends in prayer.  I have so many close friends, and the unfortunate circumstance in their lives is that they have not asked Jesus into their life.  They know who they are, and my prayers — for many months now — would be that Jesus would speak to my heart the words that I should say to them that would open up their hearts just a little so that Jesus could work his Will on them.  Please give them the courage to let down those defenses just a little bit, that they would be able to rely on Him instead of trying to rely on just themselves.
  • Lastly, Michelle asks for prayers for her family.  She and her husband are having marital difficulties, and he has filed for divorce.  At stake beyond their marriage is the fact that they have children, and they are all trying to come to terms what it might mean not having their husband/father at home with them.  Michelle does not want a divorce, and has been praying for reconciliation so that their marriage can be saved, but things are very serious right now.  Their divorce hearing is in April.  Please pray for this family, that they can be brought back together, that the divorce does not go through, and that the husband can see what his leaving the family would mean to all of them.

Praises:

  • Noreen had a prayer request that turned into a praise!  She was worried about sounding petty, but she had lost her great-grandmother’s ring.  While she explained that it wasn’t very valuable, it had extreme sentimental value for her, and she was sick over losing it because she wishes to pass it down to her daughter.  She posted on our blog, though, and within 10 minutes she found the ring!  I explained to her that her request was not petty, that it is the memories of our loved ones, which sometimes translate into objects that they used to have, lead us to remember our loved ones all the more.  So, what started as a prayer request turned into a huge praise!
  • I also have a huge praise for Dustin!  His illness was a rare form of cancer, one that chemotherapy normally does not treat very well.  However, in his case, chemo did a great job, and he is in remission from his cancer!  The prayers should continue, though, to make sure he doesn’t have a relapse that would lead to further illness!
  • My final praise is for the Jubilate Worship Dance Conference, which was held March 15th and 16th in Apex, North Carolina.  My daughter was a participant, and they brought glory to Jesus and tears to us with their beautiful, Spirit-filled dancing.  We celebrated Holy Communion as well, and as I told Sophie before she went to bed, Jesus is very proud that she stood up for Him this weekend.  Special praises go out to Miss Jackie and Miss Brook, two Angelic Saints at Edenton Street UMC, who lead the dance teams and show them daily what it is like walking with the Lord.

My friends, while I know that the troubles in our lives are many, I hope you are all able to focus on at least one thing in your life that is a blessing to you, whether it be your children, or your health, or the fact you have a job and a roof over your head, or whatever you come upon.  It is very easy to be caught up in what is wrong with our lives — believe me, I know this, because I have been there — but I firmly believe that if I give my concerns to the Lord, He will take care of them, and allow me to focus on all the beauty that exists in my life.

As always, please add your prayer requests to our comments so that we might pray over them in the coming week!  God Bless You all!

When the World Grieves

A Tearful Mickey Mouse – hand drawn by 11 year old Sophie.

On Friday, December 14th, 2012, the small town of Newtown, Connecticut, was struck with a grief so intense, it has shaken a nation — even a world — to it’s core.  On that morning, as you all likely know by now, a gunman came into Sandy Hook Elementary School and ended the lives of innocent lives.

As a parent of an eleven year old, that news hit home.  Part of me was thinking “How could this happen?” while another part of me was thinking “This was a movie scene, right?  It didn’t really happen, did it?”  Well, you all know that it did happen, and it is in the aftermath of such a tragedy that we struggle mightily to deal with the grief, and to try to explain to our children when they hear about it why such a thing could happen.  When the world grieves, what, as a parent, can you do?

I thought long and hard this weekend about whether or not to write a post — so much so that I haven’t posted anything since Friday to the site.  In the end, though, I decided that, perhaps, if I did write about it, someone, somewhere that is grieving right now might take comfort in knowing that this little blogger and his family are thinking of them.

When tragedy strikes such as this, more then anything it brings me back to my Bible, and it is a reaffirmation of what Jesus tells us in John 16:33:

“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.”

No one right now is going through as much hurt as those families who have lost loved ones.  But they have one thing going for them, as sad as it is for them to comprehend right now — their loved ones are in the arms of Jesus right now, and while they are left behind, Jesus has not forgotten them, and He is giving them the strength they need right now to get through this, as well as bringing his Peace upon them.

it is far too easy to ask why in cases like this. It is really easy to be angry with God for allowing this to happen, and that is probably happening right now.  I don’t pretend to have the answers about why this has happened, and I don’t think that we will ever really know why this happened.  What I do know, though, is that our God is a loving God, that Jesus has won, even though it may not seem like it is so right now.  It is really easy to let our grief lead us down a road that takes us into sin through anger, and if this is happening to you right now, please, PLEASE, get down on your knees right now, clasp your hands together, and pray to God to give you the Peace you need — the Peace that only Jesus can provide — so that you won’t give in to your anger and do something that could cause more grief.  If you have sinned as a result of your anger, do the same thing — but first ask God to forgive you for your sin.  He will forgive you.  He always forgives those who ask forgiveness with a humble heart.

The grief won’t go away anytime soon, I’m afraid.  I know that it may seem like you want it to go away, that you want to just forget what has happened, but that isn’t what you should be doing, I believe.  Forgetting the grief, blocking it away, will not allow you to heal, and that wouldn’t help.  It is tough, but love always is, and saying goodbye, especially to your children, spouses, or other loved ones is never easy.  Life will go on, though, although I won’t claim that it will be any better for a while, if ever.  Your loved one is still gone, after all.

I doubt that this has been helpful to any of you, but maybe I’m wrong.  If this has helped you deal with your grief, then my objective was met.  At the very least, please know that the entire nation, but especially Newtown, Connecticut, is in my prayers, and in the prayers of my family.  God Bless Us, and God Bless the USA.