Tuesday, June 30, 2015

It Does. It Really Does.~

"I heard you, but I didn't think it really mattered."

I couldn't believe my ears. Minutes earlier, I had driven thru through the drive thru and placed my order.

"I would like a breakfast sandwich with egg and cheese only. No meat, please. Simply egg and cheese." A vegetarian, I have placed this specific order more times than I can count. And, being a vegetarian, I have also received more "incorrect" orders than I can count. So, as my habit has now become, once I received my order, I pulled over to a vacant spot and checked out my purchase. To my chagrin, I was now the proud owner of a egg, cheese and bacon sandwich.

Now, here I was, back at the drive thru window again for a "do over".

"Excuse me, but this order is incorrect. I asked for a breakfast sandwich with egg and cheese only - no meat. This has bacon on it. Maybe you didn't hear the "no meat" part."

To which the young girl replied:

"I heard you, but I didn't think it really mattered."

Thankfully, my mouth stayed closed while my mind went into a tailspin of disbelief. "What?! Didn't think it mattered? Are you kidding me?"

I just smiled and said, "Well, it does. It really does. Can you please make me a new one? Without meat?"

As I sat at the window, waiting for my meatless breakfast sandwich, I felt God's Spirit gently nudging my heart. I began to think of areas of my life, where no doubt I had heard God's voice and yet, by my action, acted as though it didn't really matter.

"Excuse me, Stacy. But, this behavior is incorrect. I asked you to engage in Christ-like conversation. To speak kindly to and about others, with no gossip added in. Maybe you didn't hear the "no gossip" part.

To which my behavior must reply:

"I heard you, God, but I didn't think it really mattered."

"Excuse me, Stacy. But this behavior is incorrect. I asked you to be honest, at all times, with no little white lies mixed in. Maybe you didn't hear the "no lies" part."

"I heard you, God, but I didn't think it really mattered."

"Excuse me, Stacy. But this behavior is incorrect. I asked you to put Me first place in your life, to honor Me in all you say and do, without compromise. Maybe you didn't hear the "no compromise" part."

"I heard you, God, but I didn't think it really mattered."

One after another, flashback after flashback, God spoke - and this time, He had my full attention.

Bacon on my sandwich is no big deal. In the scheme of life it doesn't make me or break me. And yet, I couldn't fathom how this young girl could possibly think it didn't matter - that I had just thrown the "no meat" part in to my order like a "beautiful day, isn't it?" or "that'll do it" side remark .

Now, covered head to toe in Holy Spirit conviction, I couldn't begin to imagine how many times my actions must have sent God's heart into a tailspin of disbelief. "What?! Didn't think it mattered? Are you kidding me?"

If it mattered to me, it should have mattered to the young lady at the window.



Most importantly,
if it matters to God, 

IT. SHOULD. MATTER. TO. ME.

PERIOD. 

END OF STORY.

"Here you go, ma'am. Here's your sandwich, And, I assure you, there is no meat this time. 
Just egg and cheese. Just like you asked."

As I drove away,

I lifted my heart to heaven and prayed:
  

"Here's you go, Lord. 
 Here's my heart and life. 
Through the power of Your Holy Spirit and my daily surrender to Your still small voice,
 may I live my life in a way that is just like You asked."~♥






 
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Friday, June 26, 2015

His Mission~

 As I sat in a small room, waiting to be seen by a doctor, I could see the elderly gentleman sitting in a small room, waiting to be seen by a doctor, across the hall from me. His eyes, dim. His head, hung low. His spirit, weak. His eyes met mine, and when they did, I smiled. In his weakened conditioned, he smiled back, but only with his eyes.

As I turned my gaze to the bare white walls, I heard the voice of another patient, sitting in a small room, being seen by the doctor, down the hall from me. The conversation not mine to hear, drifted into my heart anyway. His progress, slow. His diagnosis, dismal.

I looked up at the ceiling, and soon found myself listening in to a one-sided phone conversation. A lady, sitting in a small room, waiting to be seen by a doctor, next door to me, was checking in on her child. Left home alone, this mother's heart was there with her child as she sat on the other side of the wall from me.

And right then and there,            

Photo Credit
God showed me why I was here, 
in this small room, 
waiting to be seen by a doctor.

I was here for him, 
and him, 
and her. 

I was here for every single person who, 
today, tomorrow, or all the days after, 
will find his or herself sitting in one of these small rooms. 

I was here to intercede on their behalf. 

I was sitting in this room, 
so that while I was waiting to be seen by a doctor, 
I could lift these precious people up to the Great Physician
who is always and forever sitting on the right hand of God 
waiting to hear and answer our petitions.

This wasn't about me.
It was about them.
This wasn't simply a routine doctor appointment.
This was a heavenly invitation, a divine appointment. 


One, of God only knows how many,
given to you and I each and every single day of our life.

May our eyes, see.
May our ears, hear.
May our hearts, respond.
May our spirit, intercede.

Each and every time God places

a heavenly invitation,
a divine appointment, 

in our midst,
may we never fail to accomplish His mission.~♥


 (Re-posting from Dec. 2014 and giving God ALL the glory for the healing He has brought into my life. Praying the same and more for these who suffer even now.)
 






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Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Fully Satisfied~

 As I was paying the cashier for the gas I had just pumped into my car, I was approached by a young man in his early twenties.

"Excuse me, Ma'am. Is that your little green Honda?" he asked.

Not sure who he was or why he was interested in my little green Honda, I apprehensively answered, "Yes."

"Did you just fill up at that pump?" he asked next.

"Yes, I used that pump, although I didn't fill up. I only purchased about eight gallons. Why do you ask?"

Running on Empty.
{Photo Credit}
"Well, I used that very same pump right before you and I DID fill up. It cost me over $50.00! But, when I drove away, nothing registered on my gas gauge. It doesn't show that I purchased any gas at all. I think something is wrong with that pump. While I talk to the cashier, would you mind checking your gas gauge to see if you got the gas you just paid for?"

It seemed like an odd request, but I nodded my head "yes" and headed outside to my car. I put the key in the ignition and anxiously watched my gas gauge. Slowly but surely, the needle moved away from the "E" as it made it's way closer and closer to the "F". Unlike the gauge in this young man's truck, my gauge showed I had gotten exactly what I had paid for, about half a tank of gas.

Looking up from the gauge, I saw the young man walking toward my car.

"So, did your gauge move or is it still sitting at the same spot as when you drove in?"

"The pump seems to be working fine," I answered. "My gauge is showing I have about half a tank, and that's the amount I put in. Maybe something is wrong with the gas gauge in your truck."

"Maybe." He replied. "Although, I don't see how the problem could be on my end. I just bought this truck! It's practically brand new. I'm pretty sure the problem is with this pump." And with that, disgruntled and upset, he turned and walked away.

Satisfied with my purchase, I pulled out of the station and went on my way.

Later that evening, as I was reflecting upon the events of the day, I thought about the incident at the gas station. Both the young man and I had went to the station for the same reason. We had parked in the same place, used the same equipment, talked to the same attendant. Yet, only one of us left there satisfied.

Spiritually, the same is often true of us.

Trucking through the day to day journey of life, we look at our "heart gauge" and suddenly realize our hearts are on "E". Knowing we are in desperate need of a fill up, we head to church, or read our Bible, or spend time in prayer. Some walk away from this "fill up with God" full and satisfied, others are left feeling empty. Why?

Like the young man at the station, we often fall victim to a faulty gauge. Stop and think about it for a minute. What do you use to gauge Christ's presence in your own life? Is it your emotions? As humans who are emotionally wired, this is often the instrument we rely on. Yet, probably nothing is more unreliable or fickle than our feelings!

When I entered the gas station that day, I had no reason to believe I would leave there still on "E". Why then, when I enter into the presence of the living God, the Creator of the Universe and the Lover of my Soul, should I believe I will walk away with anything less than what my heart needs and desires the most?

God promises those who hunger and thirst for righteousness WILL be filled. Regardless of what my emotions may be telling me, I must believe God has filled me to overflowing with His love, forgiveness, wisdom and grace. I must believe I have been strengthened in my inner man to once again run the race set before me. I must believe God is at work in me and through me. I must believe I have what I came for!

God is more than able and more than willing to dispense His goodness and His blessings into our empty hearts. We simply need to approach His throne of grace, open our heart before Him, and allow Him to fill us up.

Are you In need of a fill up?

Why not head straight to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords?

Believe God will be faithful to meet your needs,


then head back onto the highway of life, happy and fully satisfied in Him!








 
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Sunday, June 21, 2015

The Voice of My Father~

My father passed away over ten years ago,
and yet, at times,
it seems as though time has stood still since I saw him last.


In my mind's eye, I can see him still -
sitting out on the back porch, 
legs crossed, 
one leg resting atop one knee.


And of course,
punctuating those long legs of his, cowboy boots.


One arm is resting on the arm rest,
while the other one,
bent at the elbow,
is providing his head
with a bit of rest, too.


While I vividly recall his mannerisms and gentle ways,
it is the words he spoke to me that I remember most.
I think this is because he was a man of few words.
Even now, I hear his voice of instruction, guidance, humor and spunk.

In winter: Don't forget to pack a sleeping bag in the trunk of your car.

In summer: If you get a flat tire, make sure when you pull over you aren't parking on tall, dry grass. You wouldn't want to start a fire. Oh....and watch for snakes.

In fall: Isn't that the prettiest harvest moon you have ever seen?

In spring: Watch for snakes. (Snakes seemed to be on his mind a lot). The weather is getting warm and they'll be coming out.

In conversation in our home: Talk nice.

When traveling: Don't drive too fast.

After dinner: How about warming us a piece of that peach cobbler and putting a little shot of ice cream on it?

When shopping: Let's just pop in here for a minute and see what they have.

When someone in our family was angry: Why are you mad at me? I didn't throw any rocks at your dog.

When referring to me: How's Daddy's Darlin'?

It is these phrases, these words, that now give me comfort, keep me packing a sleeping bag in my trunk during the cold months of winter,keep me watching out for snakes, and smiling.

It is no different with my Heavenly Father.
Every day, in my heart, I hear his voice speaking to me, too.

In relationships: Love another as I have loved you.

In trials: Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.

In decision-making: Acknowledge me and I will direct your paths.

In my mistakes: Confess your sins to me and I will forgive you.

In my fears: I didn't give you a spirit of fear. I gave you love, power and a sound mind.

In my day-to-day life: I am with you always.

I am so thankful for my earthly father. His wisdom and love guide me still.

Yet, I am most thankful for my Heavenly Father,
The Giver of all good gifts,
the One who gave me the precious gift of my earthly father,
the One who knows me better than I know myself.

It is HIS voice that leads me into the paths of righteousness.
It is HIS voice that leads me to my eternal home.
It is HIS voice I want guiding me each and every day.~

(Reposting in honor of Father's Day and my Daddy's birthday tomorrow, June 22.)








 
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Friday, June 19, 2015

An Always God~

Her question didn't catch me by surprise.

Not at all.

Not one bit.

After all, by question standards, this one begged to be asked. And, answered.

"Ms. Stacy," she said, with a look that left no one wondering if this four year old was completely perplexed, "I just don't get it. How can God never have been born? I just haaaaaaaaaaaaaaave to know!"

I told you. This one is definitely in the top ten list of questions.

Imagine yourself in my shoes,
seated in front of an entire room of curious children who,
now,
all had to know.

Little did they know,
I was one of them.

And, I'm guessing you would have blended in with us that morning, as well.

Question mark
{Photo Credit}
Haven't you
        always wondered the same thing,
                                                          too?

Our small finite minds cannot begin to wrap around a God who
WAS,
and IS,
and ALWAYS WILL BE.

And, I'm glad.

I love that there are questions upon questions upon questions for which I have absolutely no answers. The not knowing keeps me human. The incomprehensibility of God, keeps God, God.

But, precious, little, inquiring minds want to know.
Thus began my feeble attempt.

"It's hard for us to understand, but God was never born like we were. He has just always been. He doesn't have a start or a finish. He is God all the time...forever and ever."

Their wrinkled foreheads and titled necks let me know this answer hadn't come anywhere close to satisfying their need to know.

"But, how can that be?"

"It just is."

"But, how do you know?"

"The Bible tells me so."

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 
 The earth was formless and empty, and darkness covered the deep waters. 
And the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters.~
 Genesis 1:1, NLT

In the beginning the Word already existed.
The Word was with God,
and the Word was God.
He existed in the beginning with God.
God created everything through him,
and nothing was created except through him. 
~ John 1:1-3, NLT

God, the Holy Spirit and Jesus,
the Trinity,
already in existence, before the world came into being.

Before one word was spoken into the void, The Word was.

We read from God's Word and we try to grasp a God like this.  A God who amazes and leaves us speechless. A God who extends beyond even time itself and yet, has all the time in the world to be in our midst as we ponder and wonder and shake our head at the sheer enormity of it all.

"So," this inquisitive little heart finally sums up, "What you are telling me is that God is just always, ALWAYS, right?"

"Yes, sweetheart.  That is exactly what I'm telling you." 

We look at each other and smile. 

An always "always" God. 

The answer fits, so we tuck it into the corner of our mind that just haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaad to know.

And, we are more than satisfied.








Linking up at The High Calling. 


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Thursday, June 18, 2015

The Faith to Go~

Only one time.
Just one.
That's it.

Like Gideon, when I set out my fleece asking God for confirmation, He answered.
  
And, like Gideon, wanting to know for sure what God had already revealed to me with my first fleece, I set out another one.  Only this time, God remained silent.

He answered only one time, the first time.

Why was God gracious (and patient!) enough to humor Gideon's need to know a second time,
a second time?
And, not mine?

As I sat staring at the San Jose flower blooming smack dab in the middle of our backyard (a seed from a flower in the front yard had obviously made it to our backyard, completely hidden out of sight, until a few weeks ago), I found my heart wrestling with the God who had been so gracious to answer me in the first place, the first time.

But, God.  I really, really, REALLY, need to know.  This is an important issue I'm grappling with.  This could (and most likely would) change everything.  This is HUGE, Lord.  Can't you please give me a  sign?

And, all I kept hearing over and over again in my spirit,
a first time,
a second time,
a third time,
a fourth time,
a fifth time,
a time for every time I questioned God,
was this:
I already did.

Followed by this question:
Do you trust me?

It was obvious my knowing the answer wasn't where the possible break down in my "doing or not doing" would happen.  It was in the area of my trusting and obeying.

I had heard God just fine.
But, was I listening?

If I wasn't listening with one fleece, what made me think I would listen with two, or three, or four BILLION?

God had spoken.
Now - would I move?

Yes, discovering God's will is important.  It really, really, REALLY matters because it can (and most likely will) change everything.

But, here's the thing:
Knowing God's will is not the same thing as doing God's will.
And, as much as God wants us to know His will, He only reveals it to us so we. can. do. it.

So many times, when we ask God for answers, we already know what God is whispering to our heart.
More times than not, when we try and determine God's will for our life,
we already have a good idea what His will might be.





I can't speak for you, but I can say this about me.




It's not the knowing (or lack of knowing)
that keeps me standing still,
it's the trusting and obeying.




Which takes me back to Gideon.



Remember when God first approached Gideon?  He was hiding in the winepress.  And yet, how did God address this cowardly man?  He referred to him as a mighty man of valor.  Like the San Jose in my backyard, God planted a seed of direction into the soil of Gideon's heart, only Gideon didn't even know it was there. If Gideon's faith had watered this seed and it had taken root and blossomed immediately, Gideon never would have set out the fleece. He wouldn't have needed to. By the very name God called Gideon, God was calling Gideon into battle. This unlikely mighty man of valor wasn't needing more direction, he was needing more faith to trust and obey.  God knew this and graciously gave Gideon what he needed.  Two fleece-confirming moments later, faith sprung up, blossomed, and Gideon moved in the direction God was leading him.



Have you asked God for a sign?



Has He been faithful to show you?



And, like me,
do you find yourself waiting for
a second one,
or third one,
 or ...?



Maybe,
just maybe,
instead of asking God for a sign,
we need to be asking God
for another measure of faith.

Maybe,
just maybe,
instead of asking God to show us the way to go,
we need to ask God to give us courage to step out in the direction He is already leading us in.

Maybe,
just maybe,
instead of asking God to help us hear His voice,
we need to ask God to help us listen and obey.

Maybe,
just maybe,
what's holding you and I back is not the need to know,
but the faith to go.









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Monday, June 8, 2015

Comfortable in God~

I could give Jonah a run for his money.
I really could. 
Just like Jonah, when I hear God calling me to a place that seems to have 
the tiniest inkling of fear, uncertainty, or possibility for a bad ending, 
I turn tail and run. 

Because you see, just like Jonah, 
I often turn my gaze from The One calling me, to the place I'm being asked to go. 
I take my eyes off The Caller and place them on me, the callee. 
Once God points me in a direction, I suddenly no longer see HIM, 
but all the preconceived roadblocks, challenges, battles seemingly looming up ahead. 
I no longer see the great I AM, I see me - incapable, under qualified, sure to mess it up, me.
No wonder I turn and run. 
Having to go in MY own strength and ability would make anyone turn and run.

And yet, 

in this new thing God is doing in me,
in this new season of my life where I have committed in my heart to answer "yes, Lord", 
I am finding myself running in a new direction. 

Now, when God calls, I head straight to Him. 
I fall at His feet and say, "Lord, You must have the wrong girl. 
But, if this is Your will, 
if this is where You are leading,
if it is me You are sending,
then You go in my place."

I hand the mission back over to God and then pray for courage to give Him complete reign in my life.

I listen for His instructions and pray for wisdom to go, to be, to do His bidding. 
I empty myself of my strength and the notion that I could ever begin to accomplish His task, 
and step into the truth that with Christ working in me and through me, nothing is impossible. 
I get me and everything else out of the way so that all I can see is God. 

And, when I do, 
when I run straight to Almighty God, 
running away is no longer an option.

Where is God calling you? 

What is God asking of you? 
Where does God want to use you 
to build His kingdom, 
to reach broken hearts, 
to bring healing and restoration? 

Is it a place that seems to have the tiniest inkling of fear, uncertainty, or possibility for a bad ending? 

Are you heading to Tarsus when you should have booked a one-way ticket to Nineveh?

Look to God. 


Take your eyes off your destination. 
Take your eyes off the mission. 
Take your eyes off of you. 

Look to The One calling you.

In Him, you will find everything you need to say "yes, Lord." 
In Him, you will find more than enough to go, to be, to do His bidding. 

Instead of running away, run to God. 
Dare to believe He will work in you and through you, in spite of you.~♥








 
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Sunday, May 24, 2015

A Love Like Yours~











 
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