Patience is a Tough Nut to Crack!

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I feel badly that I haven’t been very reliable in writing lately. The past three weeks plus have been a challenge. I am still with my parents, away from my husband and church home.

Uncharacteristically, it has been raining – a lot while I’ve been here. So much for walking off pent up feelings and frustrations.

My mom has been in the hospital for a week, then two emergency visits in the span of these twenty-one days. So much for routine.

My Dad’s declining hearing has made for challenging exchanges. So much for flowing conversation.

Life is unfamiliar right now as all my routines and responsibilities changed in the matter of a few hours, as long as it took to make a reservation, get on a plane and fly to my childhood home.

I’ve heard the phrase that the baby-boomers are now called the sandwich generation. I’m not quite sure I get it. While we are quite involved with our son and his family, we do not have responsibility in his life, other than we are doing our very best to be good examples for children and grandchildren. I do, however, understand the vagaries of being available for elderly parents. Hmmm, I guess that’s the point; sandwiched between two very different generations, attempting to make connection and sometimes provision, with the folks we love most.

I’ve been here just shy of a month now. There have been mostly daily battles, rising and falling emotions, not unlike the tensions of the tides, rushing in, pausing to determine whether to push forward or to retreat, only to eventually fall back and allow myself to rest in the deeper pools of known waters.

I’ve learned some things about myself. I’m not by nature a caregiver sort of person. When God gave out the gift of hospitality, I must have been off playing somewhere and missed notice I was to be there in line! I did, however, receive the gift of administration. Ample dosages. Maybe a double portion! I can get things done and I’m a fixit person to the depths of my soul. I’ve come to the conclusion the Lord needed me to, once and for all, hear Him in the fact that just because I can orchestrate and line things up, not all things are to be fixed by me. Yes, it’s been an interesting month.

I’m here this morning in an uncharacteristic lull. Savoring. But it’s going to change in a few minutes as the troops are moving in the background and a grocery shop is on the agenda. Once the ship is in motion well, I might as well give in and go with it.

God is good…all the time! While this has been a challenge, I’m alive and well and forging on. My Lord has provided even when I’ve lost sight of my own abilities to cope with these fast-changing hurdles. I’ve failed, but fairly quickly I’ve realized He’s been here through it all. Humbling. That’s ok, I’ll survive.

The grocery store calls. Off we go once again into a day of unknowns. Remember awhile back when I confessed I didn’t like change? God had a good laugh over that one. And this particular morning I’m kind of snickering with Him. I’ve learned I can make adjustments, and quickly if I need to!

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Thanks Lord. The patience nut has been cracked!  Blessings on your day.

Be Careful Who (or What) You Worship

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It’s been one of those days.  I had a plan.  It was a pretty straight lineup of things.  Tonight as I look back over the day, the path, instead of a straight line, took on the look of a crazy squiggly line, up, down, around, and around, up and over and back again.

Once again I am with my elderly parents, 500 miles from home.  My Mom had a heart attack a week ago.  She’s home again thankfully after six days in the hospital.  God has been so faithful in healing her, in holding my Dad in His palm, and in lifting me up by the prayers of the saints back home in my church.  It’s been a difficult week but we’ve made it.

This morning we ended up back in the emergency room.  Mom wasn’t sure about sensations on her right side and we had to make sure we weren’t dealing with a clot.  After four hours, numerous blood tests and a EKG she was released home: all was fine.

Well, you know or can imagine, I’m sure, what this morning might have felt like for my Mom, Dad and me.  All my plans for the day went flying out the window as fear attempted to rush right into each of our minds.

Being in a different town, away from my husband, home, and my church family leaves me in a sometimes precarious place.  More than once this week I’ve had to face issues I’ve never dealt with before.  In spite of moments when everything in me wanted to either panic or cry uncontrollably, I got through.  Wait.  Correction.  In spite of those moments GOD strengthened and brought me through!

Tonight I decided to attend a prayer and worship time at a church we attend when we are in town at my parents’.  I attended last Sunday when they announced this special time but evidently I got the time wrong – I arrived an hour early!  Sigh.

I sat down to listen to the worship team practice and decided to take a look at my devotional today, the one I missed due to rushing off to the emergency room right after breakfast.  I was met with this verse:

“Oh, fear the Lord, you His saints!  There is no want for those who fear Him.” Psa. 34:9

Tonite I’m realizing that fear has been trying oh so hard to throw me off track.  Every day for the past eight days I’ve been confronted, in one way or another, by fear.  So many questions and doubts, all laid into my Lord’s lap because I don’t know where all this is going for my Mom.

No, I must wait for each day to unfold as it will.  And here is where I must choose.  Will I fall into fear’s waiting arms?  No, not this time satan!  I know where that path leads – more fear and torment.

Instead I’m choosing to fear God.  I know He’s not happy when I succumb to the enemy’s ploys.  Why?  Because He has provision for me, no matter what I face.  Tonight I’m choosing to fear my God, as one of His beloved children.  And what does the Word say about that?  Back to Psalm 34, where David tells us that there will be no want for those who fear the Lord.

That’s all I need tonite.  I’m not going to be tripped up by fear!  Instead, I’m here with fellow saints, getting ready to worship our God.  His provision is here tonite, just as it has been all week long!  Accept my offering Lord, of my love to you as I lift my voice in worship to You!

Oh, it’s so good to be in the house of the Lord!  And it is here I’m provided for in whatever comes my way.

 

This Mountain Stinks

“But I don’t want to go anymore!”  Ever feel that way?  You get up in the morning and you are faced with the same landscape, the same drab colors, the same feeling of, “here we go again.”

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So it’s December 24th,  The day before we celebrate the birth of our Lord, Jesus Christ.  You may feel like your year is ending on a not so spectacular note and you wish you didn’t have to face the same view.  Nope, not even for one – more – day!

I want to give you a Christmas present.  “The Lord our God spoke to us in Horeb, saying: ‘You have dwelt long enough at this mountain.” Deut. 1:6.

You’ve been here much too long, my friend.  You were brought to this place for a time, not the rest of your life.  Unfortunately, we can end up staying longer than we were meant to and the once beautiful surrounding becomes a too familiar desert.

No, it’s time for a change.  “How,” you might ask?

That reminds me of a saying  I heard a long time ago: How do you eat an elephant?  One bite at a time!

Leaving this familiar place may not be easy but it’s certainly possible.  “But Jesus looked at them and said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”” Matt. 19:26.  You see, you’re looking at this with your own eyes.  Go to Papa and ask Him to give you His eyes, His vision for your future.

As short-sighted humans, we often end up living far longer than God ever intended in places that were only meant as a stopover.  Then, enters the enemy who will jump at any opportunity to steal your vision for the future, by enticing you to agree with faulty thinking.  The result? You end up believing a lie meant to steal your vision of your own exciting future with God.

God has been thinking about you for eons, long before you were conceived.  If He loves you that much, that He would consider you and only you, do you really think His visions for your potential might be so benign, so lifeless?  I don’t think so.

No, Papa God has something wonderful and full of life waiting for each and every one of us.  It begins with a vision He is quite eager to share with you but you must do a little work to get hold of it.  Enter the elephant!  One…step…at…a…time.

How do you get there, how do you find the vision for your future?  Here’s a few ideas.

  1.  Pray.  Ask Papa.  Simple, but effective first step.
  2. Seek, and ask for, prophetic words.  Write them down once obtained and keep them in your vision (I keep mine on 3×5 cards and carry in my wallet.  How can a prophetic word become part of your soul unless you ponder it often?).  Go to your pastor, trusted friends and mentors, conference speakers.
  3. Begin declaring out loud that which you know to be true, statements that line up with God’s Word.
  4. Consider traits you know about yourself.  Most likely your giftings and talents have something to do with your future.  God gave those gifts to you for reasons; explore them more fully.

Change.  Not a user-friendly word.  It often brings up thoughts we don’t like to think about.  But, I promise you that if you’ll embrace change and begin – one step at a time – God will meet you there with His promises to give you a future and a hope.

Our God is a God of hope, of promises, of possibilities!  The only restriction, after you invite Him into your life, is you!  Go ahead, think BIG!  I dare you.  This mountain will never look the same again.

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Turns out, there’s a rainbow on that mountain.  God’s promises.  His promises are full of life – for living!  Off you go now.  Don’t look back.  The best is yet to come.  Merry Christmas!

 

Life Can Be…

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…busy.  Too much to do.  A plate so full there’s no wiggle room.  Clicking things off the list can become more pressing than time with people.  On and on it can go.  Let’s face it; life can become a blur.

We’re all guilty at times of this.  As Christians we can become so focused on serving and doing that we lose sight of “the most important thing,” as Jesus so pointedly stated to Martha.

This is a wonderful time of year to be reminded of this truth.  We’re on vacation with family for the Christmas holiday.  We are visiting a beautiful place we’ve never been to before and so there is a tendency to want to go, go, go and take in all there is to experience.  And yet, the reality is we are here together to not only enjoy this place but also to enjoy each other.  Truth number one.

There’s another truth to consider:

“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Matt. 11:28-30.

In my rush to get it done, especially at this time of year, I can so easily overlook my much needed time with my Savior.  Truth number two.

Jesus wants to replace my burdens with His love, peace, and provision.  In my race to win over the tyranny of my list, He waits patiently (perhaps sometimes not so patiently!) for me to remember Him.  I don’t know why it’s so easy to forget He wants to actually help me get through my day or even to help me realize that perhaps parts of my day are just not important!

As a Christian it is so easy to get caught up in “stuff”.  “Stuff” can be negative but it can also be positive.  I have a tendency to say yes to too many ministry opportunities.  They are all good, nothing wrong with any of them.  But, if they take me away from sitting with the One who loves me, then I’m too busy.

This Christmas holiday, I’m trying to wind down from the rapid pace of my life in order to do a couple of things that I believe my Savior wants me to do: take some time with Him, some writing and just “being” with my kids and grandkids.  It feels good!

Will you join me today in taking some time to be with the One who loves you?  He would love that.  I’m off…and then it’s time for a mean game of spoons with the family while it’s raining outside!

 

 

Life Can Be…

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…messy!  I don’t much like the days that are messy.  I received a phone call from a dear friend last night and her news was, well, messy.  Not the fact that she called but that she needed a friend to talk to about life that had suddenly turned messy.

This morning I read, “For this is God, Our God forever and ever; He will be our guide even to death.”  Psa 48:14

Sigh!  I am grateful for this particular scripture today.  When life gets messy…seek God.  He loves it when we come.  He will guide us, through the thick, the thin, the smooth and the messies.

However, the absolute best part is this:  this is our God, forever and ever!  He is here, with you, with me, always.  I suspect He is grieved by us at times but He promises to be our God, guiding us through the hard days and the sweet days.

I’m not sure what you’re facing today, but I pray God’s love and covering over you.  Remember you are not traversing this alone.  Change the way you think this day: while the trial may be difficult, you are not alone.

I’m reminded of a song I love from days past.  “Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.”

We are not alone.  Our God who loves us is here, right in the middle of our mess.  And if we keep our eyes upon Him, He will guide us through this one!

Turn your eyes upward today.  He’ll show you the way through…

I Want to See God’s Spiritual Realms in My World

imageI love this photograph.  An amazing creation surrounds created man.  I do not infer man as a gender but as the all encompassing creation of mankind, male and female alike, created in God’s image.

God said, Let Us [Father, Son, and Holy Spirit] make mankind in Our image, after Our likeness, and let them have complete authority over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, the [tame] beasts, and over all of the earth, and over everything that creeps upon the earth. So God created man in His own image, in the image and likeness of God He created him; male and female He created them.”  Gen 1:26-27 Amp.

The reason I love this photograph is because the vastness of the night sky, so beautiful to observe, helps put mankind in perspective to God’s realm.  When I look upward at night, I’m reminded just how small I am in the whole scope of life.

We often forget our true place in God’s creation.  Depending on what is happening in my life, I can erroneously become full of myself and attempt to rule not only my own circumstances but also those of others around me.  When tuned into God and His plans, the Holy Spirit quite capably brings me back, through corrections, to my proper place as represented by this photograph.

The interesting thing to ponder is that this night sky representation shows the vastness of God’s reach.  We catch glimpses of it on clear nights.  We can be set into absolute awe as we correctly realize our true place in God’s economy.  We will go to bed after such observations with a peace that God is in control and all is well in our world.  And then something happens when we wake in the morning.

A new day dawns, bright and clear, and off we go into our life.  If you’re anything like me, it may not be long before I enter into the circumstances of my life, forgetting that God has His ways — and I have mine.  I can easily fall prey to taking back control of my life as the onslaught of issues in this complicated world present themselves to me.

You see, the truth of life is that if I were to look up in the day hours, I wouldn’t see that beautiful heavenscape I witnessed the night before.  It seemingly vanishes from sight with the light of day.  Truth is though it is still there, just hidden from my seeing at the moment.

The same is true of the spiritual realms.  They are with us, always, however they are not easily seen.  God can anoint us to see into the spiritual realms and I believe He loves to open our eyes to this potential.  But, in order to see spiritual realms, we must first realize and acknowledge they are there!  Just because we can’t see them clearly, doesn’t mean they don’t exist.  God is a mystery, too glorious to comprehend.  But as He grows and matures us in our faith, more is revealed.  And if we are actively seeking Him (His heart’s desire), I believe He is overjoyed to reveal to us more and more of His economy.

“It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, But the glory of kings is to search out a matter.”  Pro 25:2 NKJV

I want to invite you today to join with me in asking Papa God to anoint our eyes to “see” His spiritual world. Perhaps for the first time or possibly in a renewed look, let’s turn our eyes heavenward and ask that He reveal more of His ways to us.  In this way, we open ourselves and give permission to Papa to allow us to take part in more of His mysterious ways.

Would you agree with me that catching a glimpse of His creative and blessed space in daytime would be a most welcome sight?  Who knows what He might choose to show you…perhaps He longs to give you an answer to the question you’ve been asking Him for a long time now.

Moses turned aside to observe the burning bush (Exo 3:3-4).  That singular act, separated Moses from the rest and God chose to show him (Moses) His glory.  Let’s turn aside today, shall we?

Lord, we long for more of You and we long to see Your spiritual realms.  I believe there is something You desire to show each one of us this day.  Help us Lord to see.

P.S. Take a look at the photograph again.  God just gave me a glimpse of His hands in that rock!  Holding us in His hands, protecting His creation in love.  Ahhh.  Thank you Lord.

Declaring the Red Sea to Part

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I am declaring today.  I am declaring with my mouth, “Lord split the Red Sea in my life!”  I believe the Bible is our blueprint for living.  I believe that what is shared in the Bible is the living, breath of God, there to show us the way through the circumstances of our life.  I believe “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.” Heb 13:8. I believe God answers the cry of our hearts.  I believe the Lord desires us to ask and then not to doubt.

I am asking today.  Lord, I’m standing on this side of the Red Sea of my life, facing the impossibilities.  I know you want what I’m asking because it lines up with Your Word.  So today I’m declaring the sea to part while I cannot yet see the miracle of Your love.  Come Lord Jesus!

Will you join me?