New Beginnings?

Took a break in the action because, well, things were just getting too dicey there for a few days.  Resting up, settling into a rhythm of sorts and planning on getting back into “God in the Yard” in the next couple of days.

I had a dream the other night, one that really shocked my senses!  I dreamed I was in the process of giving birth to triplets!  Wow, talk about something that almost makes you sit bolt upright in bed!  I remember that two were already born and the third one was taking it’s time.  There were a lot of people in the room, details are already beginning to fade, but it was so real.  I’m not a dream analyzer, so it left me puzzled a bit.  Then I remember that I had recently borrowed a couple of books from a friend on dreams and tore into them.  It seems that dreams about babies can mean new beginnings and dreams about birth can mean the Word of God coming forth, pain and/or suffering (don’t like that one much), new seasons of purpose and destiny coming forth.  This dream has actually turned into something I find intriguing and encouraging.  My life is at a crossroads.  Change is coming even though I don’t know much beyond that.  But I find the dream an encouragement that God is working in my life and I’m ready.

I recently read Hosea 10:12…”Sow for yourselves righteousness; reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground, for it is time to seek the Lord, till He comes and rains righteousness on you.” NKJV  The context that I read had to do with breaking up your fallow ground.  We used to live on a small farm and our acreage was in very bad shape.  We found someone who was willing to sharecrop with us.  He tilled the soil many times because it had become hardened from misuse, lack of crops and fertilizer, and rains that had compacted it into very hard soil…it had become useless soil.  The ground had to be broken up into very fine soil, fertilized, planted, and watered in order for it to become productive soil again, bearing fruit.

This passage of Scripture really spoke to me about a part of my life that had become dry, hard ground.  No fruit was coming forth, or perhaps it was waning.  This year has turned into a year of breaking up my soil, my routine, my sometimes poor ways of looking at life, my habits.  It’s been a year of challenge, yes.  But, I’m able to look back now and realize that while hard to face and continue going forward at times, I’m so glad I didn’t bolt.  Am I learning to trust Him more in the ways that He’s bringing about transformation in my life?  I hope so…it’s been a long time coming!

So, my birth dream encourages me.  After a long, hard year, I’m ready for new things, beginnings, perhaps a new season of purpose and destiny.  Pain and suffering?  Well, there has been some of that this year, so I’m taking my analysis into my own hands and stating that God has brought me through the pain and suffering of the year and now He’s going to deliver me unto the new beginning.  I’m looking for you Jesus…I’m ready for what you have for me.

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God in the Yard – Week 2

I’m seriously doubting my sanity at my decision to start this three weeks before Christmas.  What was I thinking?  I thought I’d have all this free time this season so I wouldn’t have to work quite so hard at getting everything done for the holiday.  Well, that was a foolish thought.  No matter how well I plan, seems I always come to the “slam” at Christmas-time.

I guess the lesson here is I need to spend even more time with God than usual because of all this activity and goal achieving stuff.  It’s snowed and the weather has slightly dampened some of my plans.  The temperatures have dipped and it’s really cold to be sitting outside.  But reality is, God is always waiting for us to come to Him and I don’t want to leave Him disappointed by my busy-ness.

I’ve struggled this week to spend quality time with Him, but I realize He’s been giving me assignments this past week.  I have to admit they haven’t been the easiest of things to consider, in fact, one thing has been painful to take on.  Yet, I sense His presence even in this hard place and I’ve had to weigh in on whether I would indeed go for it or would I take the easy way out and just ignore Him.  Ignoring just doesn’t seem to fit right now, so I consented.  The hard part will come in a few days but I sense His hand in it all and I’m just depending on Him to make sure it comes out the way He desires.  I may not feel relieved when it’s all said and done, but my comfort isn’t really the issue…my obedience is what He’s looking for.

L.L. Barkat, in week 2 of her book, God in the Yard, talks about the disciplines of searching for God.  Such things as solitude, silence, study, and so on.  I’ve been intrigued by these same disciplines for quite a few years now.  They haunt me.  I’ve probably read more books about the disciplines than on any other subject because I want to know God more.  And yet, it all comes down to spending time with Him.  Pulling aside and waiting on Him.  Giving Him a chance to speak into my life.  The bigger question is then, what will I do about it?  What happens when I hear Him?  Sense His presence?  Believe He’s directing some part of my life?  What happens?  For me, one word wraps it all up…obedience.  What am I willing to give up, offer to Him?  Am I willing to do even the hard things He asks?

That’s where I find myself this week.  Surprisingly, I wouldn’t have thought He’d be asking me to do something hard at this stage of the game!  But why not?  God has some things He needs accomplished and He’s looking for a willing heart.  I so quickly volunteer to help with the things that I love…He’s caught me off guard in asking me to volunteer to do something hard.  He makes me think – dang it!  I can’t say no this week.

Busy week.  Hard week.  A week of submitting my will to His.  I will Lord!  Help me please…

God in the Yard – Week 1 Recap

One week of sitting quietly.  Asking questions.  Pondering.  Savoring quiet.  Journaling.  Hearing God.  Seeing God in surprising places.  Sweet!

I’ve asked the Lord to show me His face this week.  I’ve asked Him to open my eyes, ears, heart, mind, and spirit this week.  He’s spoken to me through His word, nature, snow, and contemplation this week.  I realize that perhaps I’ve been too hard on myself somewhat, that I really do hear Him…sometimes.  When I take the time, I hear.  Hmmm, me thinks there is something important in that statement!

Sweet, sweet Spirit of God help me.  Help me to learn your ways better.  Help me to not be so hard on myself, at least on the perfectionism side of me.  I want it to be right, every single time.  Not very realistic, huh God?  I’m not perfect, so how can I even expect myself to be such?  The flip side of that is help me Lord to search more for you.  Go with the flow.  Hear you, perceive the directions you are whispering in my ear.  Help me trust that what I’m hearing is correct and the way.  Open up my senses, the discerning of spirits that you have for me.  I’m fully capable of discerning what is you and what is not, I just need your help in developing that gift more.  I want it.

This is my week just passed.  As you’ve attempted to find God in the Yard, what have you heard?

God in the Yard – Transitions

Sat in my front yard this morning.  My goal is to “sit” quietly each day for at least, well, we’ll see how that goes.    I forgot my Bible this morning, so I just sat.  Five inches of snow muffled the sounds .  Oh so quiet in the neighborhood this morning.  I could hear a bird chitter off west of me.  A cottontail bunny hopped cautiously across the canal bank in front of me.  A glorious wintry morning.

I came in and journaled for about a half hour.  The Lord led me through a time of thinking about transitions.  Funny thing about transitions…they often end up in us thinking way too much about ourselves.  I’m in a transition right now and as I read from some notes I’d taken recently at a conference, I spotted myself right off.  Yep, thinking too much about myself in this transition time.

Transition means to shift, a passage from one state, stage, subject, or place to another; change.  I can get so muddled up in where I’ve been and where should I be going that hours and days can pass and I still don’t know where I am or where I’m going.  Sound familiar?  Well, this morning, God met me in this place called transition.  He said, “it’s not about you, Linda!”  Ouch!  “Well Lord, if it’s not about me, then what is it about?”  And almost instantaneously I recalled the passage in John 21 when Jesus asks Peter, “do you love me?” three times.  Peter kept answering that of course he loved Jesus.  You know our Lord’s response…”if you love me, tend to and feed my lambs”.  I’ve got to get my focus off of myself!  I heard this morning that I’m to love God and love others.  That’s it.  Pretty easy, huh?  I fail miserably at this so much of the time.  But, I can get back on this horse and start afresh.

Today the Lord encouraged me.  Love Him and love others.  I can do this.  The transition will take care of itself!  Thanks Lord…

Hearing His Voice

Hebrews 3:7-11 (NKJV)
7 Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says: “Today, if you will hear His voice,
8 Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, In the day of trial in the wilderness,
9
Where your fathers tested Me, tried Me, And saw My works forty years.
10 Therefore I was angry with that generation, And said, ‘They always go astray in their heart, And they have not known My ways.’
11 So I swore in My wrath, ‘They shall not enter My rest.’ ”

Then, the Word goes on to say,

Hebrews 3:16-19 (NKJV)
16 For who, having heard, rebelled? Indeed, was it not all who came out of Egypt, led by Moses?
17 Now with whom was He angry forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose corpses fell in the wilderness?
18 And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who did not obey?
19 So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.

I was just reading this for a Bible study I’m involved with and saw something new in this Word.  Hearing His voice is a recommendation from the Lord.  If you hear, you have an opportunity set before you.  In this scripture, we are told that if we will hear His voice, and not rebel, then we will enter into His rest.  We are reminded what the result of rebellion was in Moses’ time, a story we are all familiar with.  The children of Israel rebelled against the Word of the Lord and they suffered the consequences of their decision.

Think about it.  Here’s Moses, leading this huge group of people because he heard God’s voice tell him to do so.  There were some, I would think, that wanted to believe in the words that Moses shared with them.  But they were surrounded by a huge crowd (some say one million strong) and the murmuring was rampant.  Think about the childhood game of “Telephone” we all played.  It starts with a statement and by the time it gets to the end of the line, the statement usually doesn’t even resemble the original words.  It’s funny as a game, but deadly as a way of life.

This chapter held for me insights into hearing God’s voice.  You and I have an opportunity that the children of Israel didn’t have; we can hear God’s voice all by ourselves, without having to depend on someone else!  That’s a hallelujah we can thank Jesus for.  God recommends that I attempt to hear His voice so I will be able to enter into His rest.  There’s something very peaceful and alluring to that statement.  I want His rest, therefore I want to hear His voice!  It is the cry of my heart these days and what we’ve been talking about recently.  Hearing His voice is key, so I’d better get to this assignment!

My prayer today is that all of us will be able to hear Him as we practice finding “God in the Yard”.  What a joy it will be to hear the voice of our God, talking to ME!  I know enough about God to know that His voice will tell me truth, it simply can be no other way.  I dare you to ask God to help you hear Him.  It’s what I’m praying today and I think God is tickled pink with a dare of this sort from His children.  Go ahead…I double-dare you!  May the God of the ages come down and hear our petition, that we might hear His voice!

Blessings on your day…

Surrender, More, and Freedom

I think it’s time to get going on “God in the Yard” by L.L. Barkat.  For info about what I’m referring to, please see my blog of 11/10.  I’m not entirely sure how this might look, but let me share some thoughts.  I’m going to grab my copy of the book and begin afresh on chapter one.  I already answered her first set of questions here on my blog (see “An Assignment from God” posted 11/8).  Those were pretty easy.  I suspect things will get a bit more personal and edgy as we go here; I could be wrong though because I actually did what I promised and haven’t read beyond chapter one!  I’m so proud of myself for keeping that promise but I have to admit it’s been almost tortuous to not want to peek at the pages beyond.  I’m realizing that this confounded blog is making me ACCOUNTABLE!  🙂

So how about we get a conversation going here about what we’re reading and experiencing?  If you happen to be a reader of this blog and are not reading the book with us, please stay with us.  You may have experiences of your own to share with us on how you hear God, how you spend time with Him, and someone reading this blog (me perhaps!) might gain greatly from your sharing and insights on the matter.

My goal is to spend about a week on a chapter.  Since today is Thursday, “about a week” will remain a random matter.  Call me a rebel, but I just can’t seem to get myself into anything that resembles law here…I’ll move along at the pace that God will set or, if any one of you suggest that I might be lagging, I’ll take the kick in the seat and move into the next chapter.  Sound good?

Last thoughts for today.  From my reading in chapter one, “God in the Yard” appears to be a contemplative and experiential exercise.  Something in me is crying out to God for more.  The more covers a lot of territory.  More alone time with God.  More understanding of the spot I’m standing in right now.  More consistent hearing of His voice.  More direction.  I just want more.  I seem to be coming to a place of realization that there’s a flip side to this more and that would be surrender.

As I think about all Jesus gave up – position, authority, power – so that I might live as a Kingdom Kid, I’m impressed to give up too.  Not give up in the sense of there’s no use going on, but in the sense that Jesus said over and over that He did and said only what the Father instructed.  He surrendered…and He gained more, for our Father, for Himself, and for us.  There was freedom in His surrendering.  Oh this is heady stuff and I pray I’m making myself clear.  For me, that means surrendering myself; my will, wishes, and plans.  I want to hear my Father’s instructions too – that will only happen as I’m able to surrender to Him.  And yeah, the good news, as I surrender, I will gain more too.  That’s the example of Jesus Christ.  Surrender so He might give us more.  And more equals freedom in Christ.

Surrender.  More.  Freedom.  Three words.  How do I accomplish these?  Lord, I pray that my friends and I will find You in our yards in the coming days and weeks.  I pray for crystal clear communication with You as well as a desire to want more time with You and a willingness to lay ourselves down.  In You, we can surrender.  In You, there is more.  In You, there is freedom.  Help us Lord, to find this place of surrender, more, and freedom.

Romans 6:16-18 (MSG)
16 You know well enough from your own experience that there are some acts of so-called freedom that destroy freedom. Offer yourselves to sin, for instance, and it’s your last free act. But offer yourselves to the ways of God and the freedom never quits. All your lives you’ve let sin tell you what to do. But thank God you’ve started listening to a new master, one whose commands set you free to live openly in his freedom!