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A New Day

This was my devotional this morning by Joyce Meyer:

“For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. (Romans 8:5 NKJV)”

As Vital as Your Heartbeat

As believers, right thinking is something that is so important we simply can’t live without it. Just like our heartbeat, it’s vital because many of the problems we deal with in our lives are rooted in wrong thinking patterns, which are not based on the truth.

Right thinking is a result of regular, personal fellowship with God through prayer and the Word. It is important for us to come to grips with the fact that our lives will not get straightened out until our thinking gets straightened out. Thoughts bear fruit. When you and I think good thoughts, our lives produce good fruit. When we think bad thoughts, our lives produce bad fruit.

The longer I serve God and study His Word, the more I realize how important it is for me to be aware of what’s going on in my mind. Where the mind goes, the man follows. Continually watching over our thoughts is the only way we will ever be able to keep them in line with God’s Word and win our battle against the enemy.

Prayer Starter: Holy Spirit, You have shown me that right thinking is absolutely vital. I will seek You regularly so that I can think the right thoughts. Joyce Meyer
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After a day of overcast skies and snow and rain, the heavens cleared last night. When I went out with my dog at 11 pm, I looked up and the heavens were breathtaking! I recommend you watch the video “How Great is our God” by Louie Giglio. You can watch it on YouTube at http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=iCrvibgo1LM. It is an amazing DVD to help get our perspective in order. Last night the heavens were brilliant, the night sky awesome.

Sometimes, when our thinking gets cloudy, we succumb to live there. It is so easy to forget the promises of God during such times. We get caught up in our doom and gloom and soon find ourselves deep in “stinkin’ thinkin'”! I hate that this is an easy place to dwell and I am guilty of this phenomenon.

The heavens last night caught my attention. This morning, I am struck by the brilliance of the new day. It is a morning dawned bright and blue, with a wispy wash of white clouds, as if the God of my life had dipped His Hand into white paint and then pressed it to the canvas of a new day and swiped it lightly from west to east. The trees stand tall, not a breath of wind. There is a robin sitting on a high branch of one tree outside my window.

I hear the calling of my Lord. “See this new day I’ve brought forth! It is my gift to you. Do not waste it by allowing the enemy of your soul to have access to your thoughts any longer. Take a deep breath of my new day! Clear your mind. Breath. Do you see? The cloudiness was necessary in order for you to witness the contrast of my hope.”

The contrast of His hope. “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:8-9 (NKJV)”

This new day I will think on the things of God. Yesterday was not a good representation of obedience in me; I fell to the thoughts of my own making. Today I will follow Paul and his very clear, very specific instruction. This new day I choose to take my mind off of my own flesh and it’s skewed way of thinking and I will think on the things from above. It’s a new day…thank God!

Happy New Year

It’s a fresh year.  New beginnings.  Standing slightly past the crossroad of a new time, a scripture comes to mind.  “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.”  Jeremiah 6:16

This scripture offers a key for us, given to us by the ancients.  Stand at the crossroads and look.  Oh I look all right, but all too often I leap before I’ve taken proper bearings on where I’m going this day.  I’m often in too big a hurry to get on with things and I fail to notice the subtleties of my surroundings.  Yet if I would but look, I might see the person who needs attention, the dog who would love to go for a walk, encouraging me to take in my surroundings and breathe, the situation that needs attention and if I would just do it, I wouldn’t have to look at it any longer.  Look…

Ask for the ancient paths.  We are reminded over and over in the Bible to “ask”.  How often do I ask for help, for directions?  Certainly not often enough.  It is so easy to get lost these days.  The pace sweeps over us, leaving too busy and technological vapor trails swirling around our heads.  When the cloud settles, it can become a chore to get your bearings for the day and to know which way you are to turn.

Ask where the good way is.  Sometimes we might ask for the way, but I believe that the Lord wants us to ask specifically for things.  Am I asking for the good way?  There are a thousand ways out there, most of which will delightfully take you down paths that either lead nowhere, to destruction, or lead you far astray from where you intended to go.  There are prices to pay to travel on enticing roads ; it seems the Lord generally leads us down the roads less traveled.  Ask…

Walk in it.  Walk in it is a directive, a command.  One foot in front of the other, over and over again will take you down the road less traveled.  I need to keep moving.  The movement keeps my momentum up.  The definition of momentum is the strength or force that allows something to grow stronger as time passes.  Growing stronger, walking in it.  This is good.  Walk in it…

Find rest for your soul.  When I listen and look carefully, ask for directions along the way, and walk it out, there’s a promise connected to it.  I’ll find rest for my soul.  How restful am I feeling these days?  Taking the pulse of my days, I am feeling rested.  Oh this is so good Lord.   Find rest for your soul…

I believe Jesus followed ancient paths, laid out for Him in the long ago.  He established a life rhythm, fixing it as our model for spiritual health.  His principals are always relevant, irreplaceable and void of improvement.  He knew what Jeremiah had to say in this section of scripture and I think He added one more important ingredient:  spending time with His Father.

Jesus was a very busy man once His ministry started.  Think about a modern day idol, star, or sports figure.  They have a hard time getting away from the crowds.  Jesus was much the same.  He knew He had to get away somewhere to regroup, get rested, and receive new marching orders from His Father.  While different than us in that He knew the exact path He would be following, nonetheless Jesus found it absolutely necessary to check in with His Father…often.  And so off He would go, to some quiet place, away from everyone, to get rested, filled, and back on course.

I believe we would do well to follow this key, presented to us very specifically in the Word of God.  Look carefully, ask for the ancient paths, the good way to go and take bearings often.  Ask Father God for His directions and make sure your map is updated (check in with your Father) often.  Then walk in it.  The rest and peace of His plans will become a welcome friend.  Hello 2014…it’s time to get my bearings.

Just Do It!

A couple of weeks ago, for the first time, I acted on a thought in the presence of a stranger. It sounded like my thoughts do. Just, you know, a thought. At first I hardly gave it another thought (no pun intended!) but it persisted. Suddenly a new thought crossed my mind: “what if The Lord means for me to speak this out to this person?” I want you to understand something here; this was not any special thought for this person. It was simply information about her: she is a single mom with a little girl. That was it. Nothing profound, nothing special.

For a moment, I brushed it off, but it would not stop in my head. “Well Lord, is this You? Do you want me to do something with this? Is there something you want me to get across here to her Lord?” And just like that a new thought came: “there is something going on between her and her mother.”

I’ve spent enough time with women to know that this thought could mean there’s trouble in this camp. It can indicate bitterness or forgiveness issues, two things that will wreak havoc in a person’s life.

So the important thing for you to understand here is that this particular thing has not happened to me before, this getting information about a person from whom I believed was The Lord. I took about five minutes to chew on this one and then knew there was only one way to know for sure if it was indeed The Lord; I would have to test this one out. Finally, I threw it out there.

“I don’t mean to get personal, but are you a single mom?” I asked.
“Yes,” she replied.
“And do you have a little girl around 6?”
“Actually she’s 8.” Hmmm, ok, I missed the age but I was very encouraged that the child was female.
“Is there something going on between you and your mom?”
She looked at me and hesitated before answering, “I was taken from my mom when I was a little girl.”
“I’m sorry to hear that. Are you in relationship with her now?” I probed.
“Well I see her about once a year, usually around Christmas.”
Now the hard part. “I hope you won’t take offense at this, but I believe The Lord wants you to work on this situation.”

And as easily as it began, we were done. I thought I saw her eyes welling up with tears just as she said, “Thank you,” and then left the room (she had just given me a massage and I had waited until the end to bring this up).

Now I panicked. “Was that You, Lord? I didn’t do that very well, did I? I didn’t get a chance to say anything else to her, to help her know what to do!” Inwardly I was feeling very awkward about this, like I had bumbled it terribly. Just as quickly, I felt a calm reassurance inside about what the next step might be.

After dressing quickly, I walked out of the room we had been in and quickly asked the receptionist if my young mom was still there (it was the end of the day). She told me that the woman had left for the day. OK, so now I knew what to do. I asked for a piece of paper and an envelope and quickly wrote a note to my young masseuse. I told her I hoped I hadn’t upset her but that The Lord wanted their relationship healed. I can’t quite recall how this all came out, but I told her that if there was bitterness and/or unforgiveness involved between them, The Lord had a plan for it all to be healed, that all she needed to do was to confess it to Him and ask His forgiveness and He would show her how to proceed with getting her and her mom’s relationship to a very different place than it was. I gave her my phone number if she wanted to talk briefly about this. I sealed the note inside the envelope and left.

I haven’t heard from my young masseuse but I am at total peace with this situation. As I’ve pondered it, I believe The Lord gave me a Word of Knowledge in order to plant some seeds or to confirm in this young woman’s life that truly God does exist and He has a plan.

I don’t need to know the outcome.  Sometimes we get to sow, sometimes we get to reap.  But always, I believe, we need to be listening for the still, small Voice.  In this instance, I thought it was me until that no longer made sense.  Once heard, we always have a choice, to act on the word or not.  I’m so glad I acted on this one in spite of the fact that this was new for me.  His Voice becomes more and more familiar through each encounter and it so comforting.  Our Father in Heaven wants us to listen carefully and act.  I haven’t always done that, but I’m learning to just do it!

Haven’t had a cell phone for 6 days now. It’s interesting. I am missing a few people, but I don’t miss the intrusion that being connected brings. At this moment, I’m sitting in a screened porch and the only sound I can hear is that of the wind blowing through the trees. Ahhhh. Longed for silence.

I’m taken to Psalm 62:1-2 (NKJV):
“Truly my soul silently waits for God; From Him comes my salvation. He only is my rock and my salvation; He is my defense; I shall not be greatly moved.”

I like the Amplified version: Psalm 62:1-2 FOR GOD alone my soul waits in silence; from Him comes my salvation. He only is my Rock and my Salvation, my Defense and my Fortress, I shall not be greatly moved.

I go to my concordance and look up the various words; this becomes my interpretation: Truly I myself wait in silence for God, because from Him alone comes my salvation (saving grace, aid, deliverance, victory, health). He only is my Rock and Victory; He is my high place, refuge, secure height; I will not greatly slip, shake, or fall.

Note the last sentence; I will not greatly slip, shake, or fall. God’s Word is truth and so from these root words I learn that “I” will not greatly slip, shake, or fall. His truth tells me that I as a human will slip, shake, or fall…just not greatly. The root word for “greatly” is rab which means abounding in, exceedingly, much. While it isn’t necessarily comforting to know that I will indeed slip, shake, or fall, it does speak truth to me because I know me, and I do mess up. But the comfort comes from the Hebrew root that assures me I will not abound in this messing up!

Sometimes reading the Word is, well, just reading the Word. But when I take the time to dig a little into what the original language meant, out jumps a truer or deeper meaning, one that comforts and gives me hope. This is His hope and desire, that His Word will bring truth, comfort, hope, and transformation into our lives as we abide (live) in His Word.

I urge you to get with God. Sit there and be quiet for a time. We don’t have much silence in this day and age, but God knows we need it. As we sit with Him for a little, His truths come. I don’t know what you are facing today, but my hope is that this particular truth will speak to you today as it did to me. He is waiting for us all to come into His throne room, to lay our burdens at His feet, and allow Him to bring provision into the situation. After all, He’s God…and He has a lot of provision!

Freedom vs Busy-ness

I met a very special woman the other day as the result of a divine appointment, arranged by God for the day. She is married to The Lord now, her husband of many years having passed away and gone home to be with Him a few years ago. I asked her what she might be doing next. She wasn’t sure, but she said she would know when The Lord gave her her next marching orders.

Something in our conversation really stuck with me. As we talked and were getting to know one another, I asked if she participated on Facebook; I was trying to figure out how we were going to keep in touch. “No, I don’t have a computer right now nor a TV.” She kind of laughed about it but her next words really made an impression on me.

“I haven’t had a TV or internet for awhile, something that my late husband got us into. I’ve had both before and I’ll tell you something about them. When you don’t have them, you have a lot more time to spend in the Word and with The Lord. You begin to hear Him better. It’s really quite lovely!”

As I’ve pondered this and why it made an impact on me, I realized something. A lot of my busy-ness is tied to my computer and TV! I’m not a compulsive computer person but it does play a role in my life. I check my email and check out what’s up on Facebook at least once a day. I enjoy spending time writing and inviting Holy Spirit to give me words of encouragement for some of the people my life touches. At the end of the day, after dinner, there are a few programs that we like to sit down and watch most evenings. TV doesn’t control us like it used to, but we do watch television.

John 8:32 says, “…and you will know the Truth and the Truth will set you free.” Simple words meaning that as you spend time in the Word, with The Lord, and pursue His way of life, you will live in more and more freedom. Jesus came to set the captives free and His way of helping us gain that freedom is time spent with Him and in His Word.

Are you feeling the effects of gaining freedom through your relationship with Christ? If not, you might want to take a closer look at what you are giving your time to each day. This simple conversation the other day has caused me to ponder this exact thing. I am feeling more and more freedom in my life however, I know more is available. I’m asking myself whether I need to cut back on TV (hmmm, perhaps even eliminate it for awhile?) and/or whether I might need to disconnect from Facebook. I just might be able to gain some precious time to do something I feel the need for more of…spending more quality time with my Lord!

Life changed for me in 2004, the year we moved from our home of 28 years to a new place, a new beginning, as a result of my husband’s retirement. We had no idea what this really was going to mean for us. I can’t speak for my husband, but had I known what lay ahead, I probably wouldn’t have made the move.

My entire Christian life happened during those 28 years “in the old place.” Saved at 27, I walked out of the darkness and into the Light. I thought I changed a lot during those years. I thought God moved dramatically in many ways during that span of time. There were great times and low times. When Christ walked into my life, I knew only one thing; I would never go back to my old life without Him.

Then we moved, and God began a work so monumental in our lives I actually thought for a time that I might not live through it. When I tell anyone about the early days right after we moved, I usually tell it as, “God literally threw us on the mats of our life and told us, ‘NOW I will remake you both!’.” I never knew God to be so…so…forceful before. I thought I had been through hard things in the past; this re-making was brutal. I lived through it. Gloriously, wonderfully, I survived His skillful pruning. Funny how hindsight changes your perspective.

He took us to places we’ve not only never been before, but places we didn’t even know existed! He stretched us, prodded, poked, burned, chastised, and never let up. Placed alongside Him in the yokes of His calling, we jerked and pulled. We weren’t used to this kind of leading. We didn’t much like it most of the time but we kept going. We didn’t really know where we were going, where He was taking us, but when you’re walking with the Most High God, you keep going.

Curious things began to happen. In 2005, we received our first prophetic word, spoken by a delightful man of God who has now gone home to be with Jesus. As he spoke over us, we listened in amazement as he told us of our past life together. I didn’t much like most of what he had to say; he insinuated that I was a hard-to-live-with woman! My pride got in the way for a moment, a trait I would have to deal with many times in the coming years. He turned to leave us but then stopped and came back, delivering an afterthought, the final word. This was the one that really got me, the one that told my spirit he was indeed prophetic because his words confirmed what I already knew to be true and I would do well to consider his words from Almighty God.

God began to speak to us prophetically from that day forward. We would be excited at words spoken over us as a couple, or individually, but I must say we never jumped out enthusiastically into the River of His prophecies for us. Honestly, we never really knew what to do! We might make some minor adjustments. We might try a new thing periodically. We might begin to pray in a different way. But overall, we continued to walk in the “little bit” of His calling.

All this began nine years ago. Nine years of remolding, remaking, tearing down, only to begin the work of new walls being formed in our lives. I sensed deep within something happening, but I never could put my finger on it exactly. I began to be filled with impressions and ideas. Honestly, one doesn’t hold tightly to impressions and ideas when it comes to the spirit life. They are just too illusive, too prone and tied to my own thoughts, dreams, and habits. This is what I thought at least.

Some of the prophetic words spoken over us, over me personally, seemed just too far out and I didn’t trust them. I wanted them, I wanted to believe the Lord, but when you compare the words against the fabric of your life, the weaving didn’t match up. Or so I was led to believe by the enemy of my soul. You see, the spirit of this world would have us believe anything in order to keep us from getting from point A to point B, the prophetic word of God in our lives. I knew this but I couldn’t get beyond the “little bit” of my potential. And then we went through the valley of the shadow of death at the end of 2012 (see December 2012 posting).

Today I read a prophetic word given by Matt Sorger on The Elijah List, called, “13 Prophetic Insights and Decrees for 2013.” I’m not familiar with Pastor Sorger but his words cut to the core of my being. As I read, my spirit soared and a new Word came to me from God himself. I thought I had been formulating new thoughts and ideas in the past two months as we continued through the valley. I thought I was coming up with these new ideas. As I read today Pastor Sorger’s words of prophecy, I was astounded to find things lining up. What Pastor Sorger was stating lined up exactly to what I’ve been learning over the past two or three months! Astounding! Not every single thing, but many, many of the items were given confirmation through his words. God has been filling me up with directions, impressions, and instructions for the future.

My message today fills my heart with joy. 2 Cor 3:17 states, “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” I declare this Word over you today and I decree that it come to pass in your life, just as it is coming to pass in mine. The Lord is freedom. He will bring you to it and you will walk in it. It may take nine years, or ninety, but He will bring it pass. Your freedom is here. Won’t you take it up? The days of a “little bit” are passing away and He is speaking to all generations. I believe the Lord is saying to you and to me, “Believe on Me! I am turning your “little bit” into abundance, beyond anything you can even dream of.”

As I ponder the words spoken over me during the past eight years, I realize that I walked in them just a “little bit”. He is bringing you and I into the full expression of His prophetic words of Life and Light. We were never meant to have just a “little bit”. We were meant to have it all! Can you believe that?

I am grateful for all the ways He shows His love for me. Today’s lesson of love is exhilarating! I walk in freedom with Christ. He died so this be true. I’ve only walked a “little bit” in the provision of His love. I see that now. One of His words spoken over me, six years ago, was that I would walk in a new freedom. In early 2012, this same word was spoken over me by someone else, on the other side of the country. It took that for me to realize how BIG my God is! He wants me to walk in new freedom. He’s breaking the “little bit” and turning it into abundance. I just have to walk in it. Grab my hand please…let’s go together!

Releasing His Presence

A pastor friend, Garris Elkins, posted this on his FB page today.  “Teaching to release facts is a skill. Teaching to release the Presence is an anointing.”  When I read this, something inside of me leaped.  There’s a difference.  What is it?

Jesus spoke to my heart in the next moment.

Sharing out of our love for Jesus, and sharing our testimony with the passion of Him who created us, releases His Presence to others.  Every time.  I love that the Word says, “the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophesy” Rev. 19:10.  To me, that means every time that I share Jesus’ impact on my life, His very presence in & through MY testimony, His Glory is released to those that hear…and wham! nothing is ever the same again!  It makes me excited EVERY time and then He makes my excitement contagious.  Thus, His Presence is released and transformation happens.  We serve a truly amazing God!

A New Year is Waiting…

My husband and I walked through the valley of the shadow of death with my mother-in-law late this year.  We were actually walking through the valley during most of 2012 but, thankfully, we didn’t realize that fact.  We prayed for her healing.  We laid hands on her.  We contended.  We believed He would deliver her from her nemesis, cancer.  He did, just not in the way we prayed.  He is seeing to it that this trial is not wasted as He ushered her into His presence late in the year 2012.  Hallelujah, she is at peace now and she is free.

In the midst of it all, He is instructing me.  We are still grieving yet He is revealing, ever so gently, these recent events so I might see Him and His plan more fully.  I needed correction and through this strange valley of darkness, mountains so high on either side that there is no escaping, He administered His lessons.  I am broken and hurting at His tenderness in showing me the unkind place I have become too cozy in.  Too familiar with the spirits of this world, I hid in their midst.  The tentacles of unhealthy attitudes twisted their way into my world, causing me to become completely at home in sin.  And in the darkness of the unearthly valley, He showed me the error of my way.  I look up.  It is the only way out.  There will be no meandering out of this place.

Sin.  I never saw it coming until it slid down the slopes of the valley and we collided on the passageway leading out.  The wreckage was not so surprisingly covered up.  God was faithful however, in tenderly coming alongside and lifting corners of the veil so I could see what was underneath.  He was persistent, this Lord of mine, in continuing to urge me to take a closer look, that I might understand.

The defining moment came in a confrontation with my brother-in-law.  I thought I was going to bring the Light into his life due to the profound ways in which my Lord brought about the encounter, me wanting to share some of the weighty and remarkable things concerning his mother’s last days.  Yet it was in a confrontation that God chose to reveal myself to me.  This moment causing me to come face to face with the darkness of my own world, revealed by a clash with the one person I would most not want my humanity exposed to.  And yet, there it was…words coming out of my mouth that betrayed my own pride, intolerance, and judgment.

Heartbreaking, mournful, gut-wrenching are the only words that describe the moment when you fully understand the depth of your own sin and how utterly disgusting you are to the God who loves you most.  “I’ve failed you Lord,” I cry out.  He answers, “You are my child and I love you.”  At another time, I would have melted with His words, but in this moment I am heartbroken with the realization of my sin.  How could I have been so blind?

The days following have been difficult to traverse as I place one foot in front of the other, coming up from the depths of the valley.  The grieving for a loved one is one thing, the grieving for my own soul is another.  But I will keep coming up, however long it takes because I know just one thing to be true.  My Lord loves me like no other and He will use this trial to full advantage.  I can already see His hand in the midst of the darkness and torment that the enemy of my soul meant for destruction.  My God will have His way…because all my hope is in Him.

I hear Him, in a very soft impression.  “Keep coming up, keep looking up.  Continue on as I place your feet on the path.   A new year is waiting,” He tells me.  “Splendor and majesty are before Him, strength and joy in His dwelling place.”  I Chron. 16:27.  I can see the peaks above the valley floor, the place where He lives, and I will continue coming up…there’s nowhere else but up!

“Christ in you brings hope of all the great things to come.”  Col. 1:27.  I hear His words of old and also the new, “A new year is waiting.”  I am comforted – and encouraged – by Jesus, lover of my soul.

Waiting…

December, as a Christian, is a time of waiting for the coming of Christ. His birth date is quickly approaching. We go to church and hear sermons preached around the arrival of our coming King. Children have a hard time waiting for the wonderful day to arrive, perhaps more interested in the gifts under the tree than the impending celebration of Jesus’ birth. We try to teach them, to help them understand that Christ died for each one of us, so we might enjoy the gift of “life” to the fullest on this earth. Rather like those children looking more toward the gifts than the “Gift,” I quite frankly don’t think we humans are very good at waiting.

Interesting days, these are. I find myself waiting too. Waiting for more understanding. For more filling up. For an end to uncomfortable portions of my life that seem to linger longer than I’d like. I’m tired of waiting for things God promised in His Word which haven’t come through for me yet. Really Lord? I have to wait some more? Really?

I’m becoming aware of the many places in my life where I long to experience Christ’s presence more fully, for my Savior’s promise and deliverance of too many things in my life. What can I do to hurry them up? Nothing. Oh drat, there is nothing at all I can do that will hurry them along, bring them any sooner, help me get there! And so I wait.

Wait. The word “wait” defined, as a noun, means a state or attitude of watchfulness and expectancy. As a verb, it means to remain stationary in readiness or expectation; to be ready and available; to remain temporarily neglected or unrealized. Oh, now some life springs up. I hadn’t thought about the word wait as a verb, an action word. Waiting isn’t static or passive, it is a state of readiness, being alert and watchful, full of anticipation and yet, willing to be patient. Patient? That might need a little work.

How about you? Are you waiting with expectancy, things temporarily neglected or unrealized? All these words imply something is going to happen. How are you doing with this aspect of our faith? I don’t do so well quite often and yet, as I’ve contemplated this today, I realize that my faith is willing to be temporarily neglected, unrealized, that I do have expectancy of Him and all His fullness of life. How? Why? Because I’ve experienced Him over and over doing the impossible in my life. He is able…to save me, to keep me from falling, to fulfill each and every promise He’s ever made concerning me.

Psalm 27:14 (NKJV)
14 Wait on the LORD; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the LORD!

Let’s wait together, shall we? Look for Him, expect Him, allow Him to do His best for you not only this Christmas season, but always.

Renewing Time

Obviously I’ve been away for awhile.  Our road trip venture this summer pushed me into a space of wonder.  “I wonder what it is I’m supposed to be doing right now.  I wonder where you are calling me Lord.  I wonder what will become of me now Lord.”  Swirling thoughts of doubt, questioning and dullness.  Oh, the trip was absolutely wonderful and God showed His hand in our lives but once home, I realized I didn’t know what I wanted to do nor what I thought God was asking me to do.

I had lunch recently with an dear friend whom I haven’t had the pleasure of visiting with in quite some time.  As we talked it felt as if God had taken me, plopped me into a popcorn popper along with a bunch of seeds and turned the machine on.  Ideas were flying as I poured out my heart to her and she matter-of-factly challenged me.  I walked away from that two hour discussion energized, hopeful, and more centered than I had felt in a long time.

Just before having this lunch time explosion, I’d been reading a number of books about creativity and writing.  I’ve always loved writing, always thought I’d write something, articles mostly.  It was the starting that presented problems.  And then it’s funny how, when you believe in God, He will bring a thing in front of your face over and over so you’ll eventually bump into it.  The book, “The Artist’s Way” was one of those.  I bumped into it about three times, all from completely different sources.  The third bump hit me; “I think I need to take a look at this book!”  I picked up a used copy and dived in.

I love what Julia Cameron has to say.  It seems our creative self is a bit like a child, hiding from us, lowering her head to ignore our cries that we desperately want her to come out to play.  One of her big reasons for not coming out to play is our own internal critic’s moves to keep her at bay.  She may come out for a time, helping to write a blog for instance, and then the critic booms, “who do you think you are writing that thing?  You don’t have anything to say that anyone would be interested in.  Shut the silly thing down, close up shop, it’s useless.”  Oh yes, the internal critic is rather ruthless at times.  Well, Ms. Cameron goes on to say you have to practice, practice, practice in order to coax the child artist out and quell the critic.  Trust me, she does a splendid job of explaining this process and if you find yourself in such a spot of wanting to throw your artistic side out the window (whether it be writing, singing, dancing, painting or whatever), get hold of this book and read it…now!

I’m sitting in a retreat-ish place for me at the moment amongst huge Ponderosa Pines and a lazy river drifting by.  It’s sunny but the warmth of the sun is a bit thin here, betraying the arrival of fall in its crisp glory.  The leaves are just beginning to fall and the squirrels are quite busy, running to and fro with their mouths full of tidbits that will help sustain them through the coming winter.  I can hear God here.  “Come sit with Me Linda and let’s just be still for a time.  I want to fill you up.  We won’t worry about the impending winter just now.  Enjoy this time with Me for we’ve had so little of this kind of filling this summer.  I’ve been with you through it all, but you’ve been looking beyond Me.  Let Me give you rest my daughter.”

Oh Lord, I am so grateful for what you bring into my life.  Good books, good friends, inspirations, and yes, even down times.  They all have their purposes in molding, transforming, and the renewing Your Holy Spirit loves to bring about.  I’m breathing easy right now.  Sustain me Lord Jesus!

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