Monday, October 31, 2011

The Want To~

His answer was simple enough. Or, was it?

A couple of weeks ago, as I was driving home from work, I hit the scan button on my radio. A few short seconds later I found myself listening to NPR (not my usual choice, by the way) and eavesdropping on a conversation between two gentlemen. I had landed on this station just in time to hear the host of this radio show ask the following question:

"So what kind of qualifications does one need in order to succeed in your line of work?"

The man being interviewed simply responded, "the want to".

I was hooked. I quickly reached for the scan button again. They had my complete attention.

The interview continued and so did my curiosity. As I listened, I speculated about what occupation they might be referring to. Imagine my surprise when I finally figured out what this man did for a living. Any guesses?

According to this gentleman, if you have the "want to", you, too, can become a.........drum roll, please........... professional rodeo clown!

I had to smile. Of all the occupations that had popped into my mind, I have to admit professional rodeo clown was not one of them. But then, it all started to come into focus. Having the "want to" made perfect sense.

I have a feeling if this radio host had been interviewing any one of the twelve disciples, they too, may have responded with the exact same answer.

Walking along the beach of Lake Galilee, Jesus saw two brothers: Simon (later called Peter) and Andrew. They were fishing, throwing their nets into the lake. It was their regular work. Jesus said to them, "Come with me. I'll make a new kind of fisherman out of you. I'll show you how to catch men and women instead of perch and bass." They didn't ask questions, but simply dropped their nets and followed. Matthew 4:18-20, The Message

Were any of these men qualified to be a disciple of the Most High God? What did they themselves even know about God? How could they possible lead others to God? And yet, Jesus called them into service and they took Him up on His invitation. They had the "want to" and that was all they needed.

What about you?

What about me?

Over my lifetime, I have passed up many God-given invitations simply because I felt I was unqualified? I have a feeling you have, too. Like me, you have probably heard the voice of Jesus calling you to follow Him into a new place, a new career, a new direction, a new life and yet, you opted to stay put, right where you were. You may still be in this same, seemingly "safe", spot today.

The disciples could easily have talked themselves out of this new calling. After all, they each already had an occupation. They were each already knee-deep in their livelihood. Peter and Andrew knew how to fish and they were good at it. Matthew not only knew how to collect taxes for the government, but for his own pocket, as well. These men weren't listening for the knock of opportunity. They weren't looking to "find themselves". They weren't looking for God. Yet, when the knock came and  the door to a new life in Christ was opened before them, they took the leap of faith and jumped in with both feet.

They were caught....hook, line and sinker.

Why? Because they were qualified? No. Simply because they had the want to.

The Jesus who gave these fishermen the invitation of a lifetime is the same Jesus who calls out to you today.
 He is still looking for people;

people who are willing to follow,


people who have the want to.

Determination
{Photo Credit}

When Jesus calls you, He is not looking at your qualifications. The one who created you knows better than you what you were created to do. The one who formed you in your mother's womb knows better than you that for which you were formed.  And He's calling you to follow.......

Will you?

All you need to have is the "want to".



Sunday, October 30, 2011

Living a Life of God-Given Holiness~

We can say with confidence and a clear conscience that we have lived with a God-given holiness and sincerity in all our dealings. We have depended on God’s grace, not on our own human wisdom. That is how we have conducted ourselves before the world, and especially toward you. 2 Corinthians 1:12

Living with a God-given holiness. Living with sincerity. What a wonderful, victorious way to live! What a testimony to the life-changing power of God at work in our life!

But how?

How can we, like Paul, profess this to be true in our own life? How can we, with a clear conscience, say this is true of you and me?

The answer is found in the rest of this verse.

We have depended on God’s grace, not on our own human wisdom.

Father and daughter
{Photo Credit}
Heavenly Father, How we long to declare with Paul that we have lived a life of God-given holiness, a life of sincerity. It is ONLY by depending of your Grace that this is possible. Help us to daily choose your wisdom over our own human wisdom. Help us to yield to your Spirit at work in us and through us. Help us to be a true reflection of you. In Jesus’ name, Amen~




Friday, October 28, 2011

In MY Life ~

I felt God's touch when...I was sitting out on our patio watching leaves gracefully making their way to the ground.  A storm was headed our way and announcing it's arrival, a brisk wind.  As the leaves floated and danced, I laughed.  OUT LOUD.  Just watching the way they fluttered down filled my heart with delight.  And then it happened.  One leaf, surfing on a current of air streaming in my direction, far removed from the swirling of leaves in our yard, gently landed on my leg. My delight now poured forth in tears...as it so usually does.  Thank you, Lord, for touching us when we least expect it in ways we never could have imagined.


I saw God's love when...the afternoon sun turned ordinary grass into a sight to behold.  On it's own, it seldom catches my eye, but this day, the rays of the sun transformed what was ordinary into something exquisitely extraordinary.  I marvel at the way God's love does the same thing in my life.  I'm nothing without HIM, and yet when He shines His love into my life, what a difference He makes.


I heard God's leading when...finding myself in the midst of an innocent conversation which was now taking a turn onto Gossip Avenue, I stood up and quickly excused myself from the room. I heard God telling me to "flee" and I did. I rejoice in my God who loves me enough to keep my ears (and my lips!) from lies and words that inflict so much damage.

I tasted God's goodness when...this past week my husband climbed up onto the roof to do some "winterizing".  He emptied water from our swamp cooler, then wrapped it up for the colder months ahead.  Next, he cleaned our chimney from the top down and back again.  While he was preparing our home for winter, God's hand of protection was over him, guarding his steps, maintaining his balance.  The goodness of a roof over my head, the goodness of a husband (safe and sound) and the goodness of God to have blessed me with both~

I experienced God's power when...early Thursday morning, my husband and I were awakened by a sudden clap of thunder.  As we snuggled together listening to the symphony of raindrops, punctuated with lightning and thunder, I sensed God's power in a new and mighty way.  How majestic is our God, how powerful and mighty is He.  That night, the heavens declared His glory and the earth resonated with His presence. 



Case Closed~

There's the time in first grade when wanting what wasn't mine led me straight to the desk of the little girl in front of me and her pretty pink mirror and I stole.

There's the time in middle school when wanting to be like everyone else led me straight to the center of who I wasn't and I lied.

There's the time in high school when wanting to be independent and "right" led me straight into battles with my mother and I dishonored.

There's the time in my marriage when wanting to be ALL to my husband led me straight into disappointment and bitterness and I resented.

Then there's all the times in between...before and after.....

Stacks and stacks of sins. Enough to reach Heaven.

But when they do, they don't mean a thing.

When God is handed all of this evidence against me,
He simply hands it all over to Jesus
who,
takes one look at it and declares it to be:

NOT RELEVANT

You see.....

There's the time when wanting to be forgiven of my sins, to be clean and righteous and made whole, led me straight to Jesus and

I confessed (my sins)

I received (His mercy and grace)

and

I was declared:

NOT GUILTY.


Giant Gavel
{Photo Credit}

Case closed~

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. ~ 1 John 1:9

Today I am linking up with The Gypsy Mama for Five Minute Fridays. To read more devotional thoughts on the word "Relevant" or to join in on the fun, visit her at:


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Be Still~

“Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.”

The LORD Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.
Selah ~ Psalm 46:10-11

Several years ago, the Lord spoke these very words to my heart.

I was in the midst of a battle. False rumors and lies were spreading like wildfire. People who once stood behind me and supported me, now hurled words of insult and malice. It was a hard place to be.

Well meaning people, who had only my best interest at heart, urged me to fight back. Don't just sit there and take that! Speak up! Stand up for yourself! Set the record straight!

Believe me. That is exactly what I wanted to do and almost did. But then, God spoke to my heart:

Be still, and know that I am God. 

At the Zoo
{Photo Credit}

I bit my tongue, zipped my lips and by God's grace, stayed still.

Did God come to my rescue? Yes, indeed.

Did he move in this situation and work it all for my good? Yes, indeed.

Not in the way I would have chosen then.

But, in a way I am thankful for now.

God moved on my behalf by moving me some place else; a far better place.

Pastures greener than any I have ever rested in.

Water sweeter than any I have been led beside.

A place that refreshes; a place that has restored my soul.

I hate to think how this story would have ended had I not been still.

If had a gotten in God's way.

If I had tried to vindicate myself.

The battle belongs to the Lord. When we move out of the way and let God move, God is exalted. When we are still, we come to know that God truly is God and that:

The LORD Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.

Heavenly Father, You ARE God. When the world turns against us, when we feel the rug being pulled out from underneath us, when all seems unfair, unsettled and unraveled, help us to be still and to know that you are God. Thank you for fighting our battles for us. Thank you for working ALL things for our good and for your glory. Thank you for loving us. Help us to be still so that you might be exalted in our life. In Jesus' name, Amen~




Beholding Glory

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

It Only Takes An Inch~

As sneaky as sneaky can be

it creeps in.

Unnoticed, it slithers through doorways

propped open with

pride

envy

insecurity.

Given an inch it gladly takes a mile, (or more!)

until the sliver that slithered in

vies for ownership.


Peace, disapates


Unity, deteriorates


Blessings, disappear



Cracks in the Sidewalk
{Photo Credit}
As brazen


     
               as brazen


                               can be



  it takes over.



Unbridled, it knocks down walls


weakened by


anger


gossip


mistrust.




What was vibrant, now lifeless



What was beautiful, now unrecognizable



What was family, now "me"



All because....


what was once


Christ-honoring,


infiltrated and infected by strife,


has now mutated into


that which is only


self-honoring.


Leave no [such] room or foothold for the devil [give no opportunity to him].
~ Ephesians 4:27, The Amplified Bible




Happy to be linking up with Emily at





and Tracy at



Shake It Off~

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Hebrews 12:1-3


A parable is told of a farmer who owned an old mule. The mule fell into the farmer's well. The farmer heard the mule 'braying' - or - whatever mules do when they fall into wells. After carefully assessing the situation, the farmer sympathized with the mule, but decided that neither the mule nor the well was worth the trouble of saving. Instead, he called his neighbors together and told them what had happened...and enlisted them to help haul dirt to bury the old mule in the well and put him out of his misery.

Initially, the old mule was hysterical! But as the farmer and his neighbors continued shoveling and the dirt hit his back...a thought struck him. It suddenly dawned on him that every time a shovel load of dirt landed on his back...HE SHOULD SHAKE IT OFF AND STEP UP! This he did, blow after blow.

"Shake it off and step up...shake it off and step up...shake it off and step up!" he repeated to encourage himself. No matter how painful the blows, or distressing the situation seemed the old mule fought "panic" and just kept right on SHAKING IT OFF AND STEPPING UP!

It wasn't long before the old mule, battered and exhausted, STEPPED TRIUMPHANTLY OVER THE WALL OF THAT WELL! What seemed like it would bury him, actually blessed him...all because of the manner in which he handled his adversity. Author Unknown




Monday, October 24, 2011

The Breath of Life~

Last night, as I was walking down to the group mailboxes located at the end of our cul de sac, I was stopped in my tracks. No, not by something I heard. And no, not by something I saw. Oddly enough, what caught my attention was something I smelled.

The day had been a long one, filled with demands, deadlines and defeat. As I made my way down the street, the events of the day played over and over in my mind like a broken record. My heart was heavy and my mind totally consumed with the stench this day had left behind. The soft, gentle breeze of the evening went unnoticed, as did the radiant beauty of the moon. Until...

As I reached my mailbox and inserted the key, my nose was met with the deliciously fragrant scent of honeysuckle. Mmmmmmmmmmmmm, it smelled SO good! I kept breathing it in, one deep breath after another. What a fragrance! What a whiff of fresh air!

As I inhaled and exhaled, I felt the beauty of this aroma invade my heart. With each breath, my heart and mind released the foulness of this day, and embraced the sweetness of this moment. And, I smiled. Possibly, for the first time that day.

As the aroma of the honeysuckle enveloped me, my whole being was awakened to the beauty surrounding me. I felt the soft breeze as it gently caressed my face. I saw the splendor and majestic beauty of the moon as it spilled its light on the nearby mountains. I experienced the love of God flooding over me. The demands, deadlines and defeats of the day all fell lifeless as I was once again reminded of the love my Savior has for me.

But thank God! He has made us his captives and continues to lead us along in Christ’s triumphal procession. Now he uses us to spread the knowledge of Christ everywhere, like a sweet perfume. Our lives are a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God. 2 Corinthians 2:14,15a NLT

Everyday, people are going through the motions of living, totally and completely void of His love and void of the beauty of life. They are merely existing, not truly living. Their hearts and minds are consumed with the cares, worries and struggles of this life. They are stumbling minute by minute, barely making it through each moment. How, they too, need the refreshing, life-giving, chain-loosening, victorious love of God! How they need to breathe in the beauty of Jesus!

You and I are called to shower the world with the love of Jesus! As we seek His face and learn of His ways, He begins to permeate our life with His beauty. As we die to self, and allow His spirit to have victory over our flesh, our lives become sweetened by the aroma of Christ. It is Christ's love that attracts us. It will be His love released through us that will capture the hearts of those around us. As we offer our lives up to Christ as a living sacrifice, we will fill the air with the breathtaking, heart-capturing love of Jesus.

Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children. Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us[a] and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God. Ephesians 5:1,2 NLT

Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn't love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that. Ephesians 5:1,2 The Message

As you go through your day, what will you bring into the life of those around you?

Are you content to simply be stale air?

I didn't think so, and neither am I. I want my life to be SO FILLED with the love of Christ, that everywhere I go, everything and everyone is stopped in their tracks by the love of God. I want to live my life so as to be a sweet-smelling aroma of God's love.

I want to be a breath of fresh air....

Windblown
{Photo Credit}

the kind that will breathe new life into "dead" souls and awaken them to new life in Christ.



Would you like Heartprints of God delivered to your email inbox each day?
 Simply enter your email address here:


Delivered by FeedBurner
(Re-posting from April 2009)

Happy to be linking up with Jen at:

Saturday, October 22, 2011

My Misplaced "I" ~

The other day I was busily typing away; my fingers flying across my keyboard in a meager attempt to keep up with my runaway thoughts. As new words and sentences appeared on my screen, I suddenly realized I had made a typo. A HUGE TYPO! A typo that would have gone unnoticed by spellcheck, but not by anyone reading the finished product! This typo changed everything! Isn't it amazing how one simple letter, when placed in the wrong position, can change the entire meaning of a word?

As I sat there looking at this new word I had typed by mistake, God began to speak to my heart. I soon discovered myself shaking my head and smiling. God is so amazing. I never cease to be amazed at the way He goes to any length to mold me and shape me and make me more like Him. I have a feeling He was smiling right along with me.

Untied.

This is the word I found myself looking at.

Untied: to loose or unfasten (anything tied); let or set loose by undoing a knot.

I certainly had not intended to type THIS word and to convey THIS meaning. Quite the opposite, in fact.

United.

This is the word I had meant to type.

United: to become joined together or combined so as to form a single whole

When I looked closely, I realized the meanings of these two words change dramatically depending on where one letter is positioned in the word.

 Upon further examination, I discovered the letter capable of loosening something that had previously been joined together was none other than the letter "i".

Capital Letter I (Washington, DC)
{Photo Credit}

Isn't that the way it always is?!?!


Because of the privilege and authority God has given me, I give each of you this warning: Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us. Romans 12:3 (NLT)

If I want my life to be united with Christ, I have to allow the Holy Spirit to keep me in my proper place, UNDER God's Kingship and surrendered to His authority in my life. Like John in John 3:30, He must increase, but I must decrease. Otherwise, everything is going to come unraveled and untied. When Christ is not at the center of my life, everything else is off balance and becomes topsy turvy.

Are you looking for stability in your life?

Are you wondering why life just seems to keep coming undone even though YOU are doing your best to keep in all together?

Look closely. Maybe like me, you have your "I" in the wrong place.




Linking up today with Michelle at:

Friday, October 21, 2011

In MY Life~

Where did I see Heartprints of God in my life this past week?

Glad you asked.

I saw God's love when...I was sitting in church last weekend.  Seated several rows in front of me were an elderly gentleman, his son-in-law and their unwanted, unwelcome companion, Alzheimer. Although, if you would have been the one in my place, taking this all in, you would never have noticed the disease sharing their pew and their lives.  With such patience and tenderness, they each, in their own precious way, personified God's love.  I watched as the son-in-law gently rubbed the back of this man trapped in a body that he himself probably no longer recognized.  I looked on as the father-in-law smiled tenderly as this "stranger" rubbing his back and then grasped this young hand, held it tight, and kissed it, an expression of the thanksgiving in his heart. I saw God's love right before my eyes, and it brought tears to my own.


I felt God's touch when...yesterday morning, a migraine, instead of my alarm clock, woke me from dreams and peaceful slumber.  As I sat in the quiet of our living room, I prayed for God to touch me, to ease the pain, to take away this headache.  Little by little, touch by touch, as the morning ticked by, my pain lessened and God enabled me to do what I needed to do and be who I needed to be.  Along with relief from the pain, I felt a peace flood by soul, and strength run strong through my veins.   Aaaahhh...the touch of God.

I heard God's leading when...I was driving to work Tuesday morning.  As I headed out on my normal route, I suddenly felt impressed to take a side-street that I usually by-pass, but (and I hate to admit it) as usual, I drove right on by the side-street.  As I did,  I felt so strongly impressed that I should take that street, I made a U-turn, and took the road less traveled. No, I didn't find out later that I was spared from danger on my normal route.  No, nothing significant happened as I ventured down the little side street.  And yet, I know God led me that way.  Maybe, one day in Heaven the reason will be revealed to me.  Or maybe, this was just God's way of fine tuning the ears of my heart to listen for, hear and obey His still small voice.


I tasted God's goodness when...last Saturday, my husband and I headed to the nearby mountains to take in all the glory and beauty of Fall.  Leaves, spent and near the end of their time, shone radiant in shades of amber, maroon, and orange.  Soon, they will fall to the ground, lost to winter, lost to the end of their season, and yet in the end, in this culmination, there is so much beauty, so much brilliance, so much life.  Only God, in his goodness, could celebrate a life (and a leaf) lived... in such glorious fashion. It reminded me of a quote I heard once: "You can't hide your true colours as you approach the autumn of your life." (Author Unknown)  May we live radiantly, our lives showcasing the beauty of God each and every day.  May He become the colours of who we are.


I experienced God's power when...a family in our church felt the sting of death, the bitter cold of winter that arrived too soon.  A husband, dad, brother, teacher.....gone in an instant, totally unexpected, totally unplanned, totally not what they ever could have dreamed Monday held in store for them, but their reality, nonetheless. Miraculously, through HIS power, these loved ones left behind to mourn and come to terms with this sudden separation, have been able to walk through this valley, finding comfort and strength to face the "new" that is now their life. In their faith I experienced God's power in a new, real, sustaining way.



Linking up today with


The Miracle of Beyond~

Beyond....

Have you ever stopped to think about all the things in your life that are totally beyond you.....

and yet 

they are there,

happening,

 being lived out in front of your very eyes?

How does beyond......become?

I've been thinking about beyond a lot lately, so I had to smile when I discovered "Beyond" was the prompt for this week's Five Minute Friday.

In my life, (not necessarily Roget's thesaurus) beyond is synonymous with miraculous.

You see, I know what I am capable of doing.

I know what my limitations are.

I know where I stop and where God starts and this always happens at the place of beyond.

When I can't, but He does!

When God steps in and does the seemingly impossible. 

When God graces my life with His power, His ability, His clout (if you will) and doors open, (or close...even closure can be a good thing when God is in it).

When dreams that are beyond all that is me (and sometimes even beyond my comprehension) become reality.

Beyond the void image
{Photo Credit}

When beyond happens, miracles abound.

Why would the creator of the universe be interested in my dreams? 

Why would the King of Kings, and the Lord or Lords step in and take an active part in my every day, ordinary, small corner of the world, life?

Why would the Lover of my soul purposely choose to love (and die!) for a sinful, no-good, filthy-rag wearing person like me?

This too, (especially this) is beyond me.......

and I think you will agree,

nothing short of miraculous~



Today I am linking up with The Gypsy Mama for Five Minute Fridays. To read more devotional thoughts on the word "Beyond" or to join in on the fun, visit her at:



Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Words of My Father~

Today, I am once again blessed to be the guest writer at INSPIRATIONS FOR MOMS, a wonderful blog full of inspiration, encouragement, recipes, home decorating ideas, and so much more. Laura, the mind, heart and creative spark behind INSPIRATIONS FOR MOMS just happens to be my sister. And today, I get the honor of writing on her blog about our precious Father....our earthly one as well as our precious Heavenly Father.

I would love to have you join me there......

Here's a little snippet:

My father passed away over six 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 still see him sitting out on the back porch. His legs are 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: ...


To hear more words of wisdom and be drawn closer to our Heavenly Father join me over at INSPIRATION FOR MOMS:

~ THE WORDS OF MY FATHER ~

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

How Did I Miss That?

When my father's health was declining, the Lord opened the door for me to move back home with my parents. Unfortunately, my husband wasn't able to make the move.

For five years, seven hours of driving each way, my husband and I commuted back and forth on long weekends and holidays. Did I mention we traveled this seven hour road back and forth, forth and back for five years?

When I had found myself behind the wheel, I had been on a mission: getting home to see my husband or getting back up to my parents. That was it. That was my only focus. Both hands on the steering wheel, eyes locked on the road in front of me, full steam ahead.

A couple of years ago, far removed from ths situation that had been our life for five years, I traveled this same route again. This time was different, though. I had no mission. I was leisurely traveling North to spend time with my mother. I was on a mini-vacation. Time was my friend, not my enemy. The trip was inviting, not to be endured. And, what a trip it was.

SEE!
{Photo Credit}

 I saw antelope,



bouquets of wild flowers,



 fluffy clouds,



a stately windmill,



the smile on an elderly lady as I drove down the main street of a little town.



Everywhere I looked, I saw beauty.
Each time I turned my head or a corner, I saw life.
The entire trip I saw everything  I had failed to see for five years!


How had I missed all of this before?


Sadly, each time I drove this road before I only saw what was right in front of me. The commitments. The obligations. The demands. The deadlines. The distance to be traveled.


The same was true of Elisha's servant.


When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. “Oh no, my lord! What shall we do?” the servant asked.



“Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”


And Elisha prayed, “Open his eyes, LORD, so that he may see.” Then the LORD opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. 2 Kings 6:15-17
When he awoke one morning, all Elisha's servant could see was an army surrounding him. That's it!  He only saw what was directly in front of him. But then, Elisha prayed the eyes of this "spiritually blind" man would be opened to see what was truly before him - the army of the Lord surrounding them.

It makes no difference if we are merely out for a joy ride or fighting the battle of our life, we cannot afford to lose our spiritual vision. We cannot settle for merely seeing what is before us. We must also see beyond that, to see God in every place of our life.


In the beauty of a desert landscape, He is there.


In the operating room of a hospital, He is there.


In the traveling of life's highway, He is there.


And yes, even (and especially!) in the deadlines, demands, disappointments and diseases of life, He is there.


Don't miss what you can't see
           by only concentrating on what you do see.


Faith looks beyond.

Faith sees what can't be seen (yet!).

When we allow God to open our eyes, our vision becomes clear. We see beauty where we have never noticed it before. We see the army of the Lord encamped around us ready to protect and defend.

We see God!

Heavenly Father, Without eyes of faith we are spiritually blind. In our blindness, we stumble through life, void of beauty and void of the realization and assurance of your presence. Today, Father God, I pray that like the eyes of Elisha's servants, our eyes, too, would be opened. We want to see, Lord. We want to see YOU. In Jesus' name, Amen~


Happy to be joining Joan today at:

Monday, October 17, 2011

In an Instant~

This morning started like any other morning.  My alarm jolted me out of my dreams and then out of my cozy bed as out into the world I stepped.

At work, this day started like any other morning, too.  Emails to answers, projects to complete and phones to answer. 

In fact, it was answering a phone call that turned this ordinary day, upside down.

"Stacy," the voice on the other end of the line sounded urgent," is the Pastor in?"

"Yes, just a moment please."

I put the phone on hold and walked the short distance down the hall to the front offices, then informed the pastor about the caller waiting on line 1.

I returned to my desk, opened a another email,  then looked up as the pastor entered my office.

"It was a massive heart attack.  I'm headed to the hospital."

Minutes later, another phone call.  This one from the Pastor.

"He didn't survive.  He's gone."

In a matter of moments, a member of our church was gone.  One moment, he was on the golf course, taking in this beautiful fall day and breathing in life.  The next,  fallen onto the grass to breathe of this life no more.




In an instant.

A moment.

Suddenly, nothing about my own life felt ordinary anymore. 

As I hung up the phone, I distinctly remembering feeling my lungs inhale and then exhale as I took my next breath.  I felt the pounding of my heart, as each beat pumped blood through my veins. I felt the blinking of my eyes as tears welled up and overflowed.  I felt my stomach, a sea of emotion. 

As I unconsciously pulled the collar of my shirt up close around my neck, I smelled the "scent of my husband" still lingering on my shirt, a precious reminder of  our morning embrace. 

Looking straight ahead at nothing in particular, I spotted a photo of my sister, her precious little boy and me.  Walking through a mall one day while we were both vacationing at my mother's home, we had spotted one of those fun little photo booths, looked at each other with that twinkle in our eyes and dove in.  The photo brought new tears.

As I sat in my office, my little cubicle of the world, I was suddenly aware of life,

 of being alive.



Emails, projects, to-dos, bills, the argument I had with my husband the day before, my dirty house...

none of it mattered anymore.

NONE. OF. IT.

I was alive.  I had been blessed with one more minute of life.  Possibly one more hour or one more day or one more week or one more year.

What a gift.

What a privilege.

And shamefully, regretfully, what a waste...all the days before when I was simply going through the motions, existing, and doing, and completing my list, but not really living.

As I sat in my office, I thought about my life.  I thought about how many minutes had been wasted on

piddly bickering,

 thankless complaining,

endless worrying,

mindless living. 



What if today was my last day?

What if that would have been me?

Not another opportunity to feel the warmth of the sun,

to hear the wind whistling through the trees,

 to taste the sweetness of honey,

 to laugh until it hurt,

to dance when no one was watching or maybe even if they were,

to experience life,

 ALL OF IT~

What if that phone call would have been about me?

Am I satisfied with how I have lived my life?

Am I ok with the way I have chosen to spend the minutes I have been so graciously given?

AND.............

Am I content to keep living this way?


NO.


I.


AM.


NOT.

I don't want this day to end like any other ordinary day.

I don't want my life to end like just another ordinary life.

When my end comes,
when I breathe my last breath,

 I want my life to have been lived to the full, 

abundant,
overflowing with LIFE~


Teach us how short our lives really are

so that we may be wise.
~ Psalm 90:12, NCV



Linking up with Jen at:





and Shanda at:



and Tracy at:



and Emily at:

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Sometimes, It Takes Some Manure~

Yep! You read that right…..manure.

Manure Pile Sign
{Photo Credit}

When you think of manure, what comes to your mind?


Yeah, mine, too.



Not a pretty picture is it?




While manure may not be pretty on the eyes or easy on the nose, it does serve a vital purpose. In fact, it is one of the most commonly used forms of fertilizer around.

World English Dictionary defines fertilizer as: any substance, such as manure or a mixture of nitrates, added to soil or water to increase its productivity.

Which brings us to Luke 13 and a particular fig tree.

The owner of this tree had been waiting three long years for this fig tree to live up to its name and produce some figs. Three long years! Now, I don’t know much about fig trees, but it is obvious from the owners reaction that this tree had grown to a level of maturity capable of producing fruit. But it wasn’t. And this owner was disappointed, to say the least.

So he said to the vinedresser, See here! For these three years I have come looking for fruit on this fig tree and I find none. Cut it down! Why should it continue also to use up the ground [to]deplete the soil, intercept the sun, and take up room]?

Not only was the owner upset with this tree, he no longer felt it was worth cultivating. He was ready to cut it down! But wait….the vinedresser, the one who was in charge of nurturing and growing this fig tree, wasn’t ready to call it quits. He knew this fig tree had the potential to bear fruit and he wasn’t ready to give up on it.

But he replied to him, Leave it alone, sir, [just] this one more year, till I dig around it and put manure [on the soil]. Then perhaps it will bear fruit after this; but if not, you can cut it down and out. Luke 13:6-9, The Amplified Bible

The vinedresser decided it was time for some manure.

I’ve got a question for you.

 How long have you been a Christian?

How long have you been rooted and grounded in the soil of God’s love?

And…………hmmm……….well, how much fruit have you produced?

As I look back on my own life, I have to admit, it was during the manure-caked times of my life that I produced the most spiritual fruit. I have a feeling you will discover the same is true in your own life.

Sure, we all like the good times. We don’t like life to get messy. We especially don’t like it when life dumps manure on us. Yet, could it be, that this manure is a gift from the vinedresser himself? Could it be that without it we will never live up to our spiritual potential?

I AM the True Vine, and My Father is the Vinedresser. Any branch in Me that does not bear fruit [that stops bearing] He cuts away (trims off, takes away); and He cleanses and repeatedly prunes every branch that continues to bear fruit, to make it bear more and richer and more excellent fruit. John 15:1,2, The Amplified Bible

What does it take for you to bear fruit?

Has your life been full of manure lately?

Maybe the vinedresser is simply applying some fertlizer. He sees your potential to bear spiritual fruit and he isn’t ready to give up on you.

You have been showered upon with Christ’s blessings,

you have felt the warmth of His love as it has illuminated your heart and life,

and you have grown deep into the soil of His word.

It is time to start producing fruit! It is time to start living up to your name as a disciple of Christ and to start making some disciples. It is time to do that for which you were created to do!

Manure. Not something we like, but oftentimes something we need, especially if we are ever going  to produce spiritual fruit.

 But how? 

How do the “manure times” of our life help us to produce fruit? How can our suffering bring others to Christ?

Simple.

All praise to the God and Father of our Master, Jesus the Messiah! Father of all mercy! God of all healing counsel! He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us. 2 Corinthians 1:3-5, The Message

As you grow through the hard times you can be sure these times have not come to you in vain. What Satan means for your harm, God will ALWAYS use for HIS good and HIS glory. Allow the manure to produce fruit in you and in those around you .Use these times of testing, trials and suffering to minister to those around you.

Are things a bit messy in your life right now?

Can you see and smell the manure?

Then give thanks.

The vinedresser is at work.

He is lovingly cultivating you and graciously giving you  what you need to be fruit-filled and fruitful.

Fall Grapes
{Photo Credit}
When you bear (produce) much fruit, My Father is honored and glorified, and you show and prove yourselves to be true followers of Mine. John 15:8, The Amplified Bible


(Re-posting from 9/10/10)

Linking up today with Michelle at:


and Jen at: