Sunday, June 29, 2014

God's Place~







 
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Friday, June 27, 2014

When Your Ride Doesn't Fit~

Sitting at a red light on my drive to work, two very different vehicles passed in front of me with two very unexpected drivers inside. The first one that passed was a teeny, tiny, itty, bitty, compact car. Inside, behind the wheel - a super tall, broad shouldered young man about 20. Directly behind him, a rough and tough, big and sturdy, manly looking jeep. Inside, behind the wheel - a teeny, tiny, itty, bitty, old lady about 80. I had to smile. And, as He is faithful to do, God spoke to my heart.

Sometimes, we find our self cruising through life in situations and circumstances that don't seem to fit who we are. The lady who dreamed of being a mom is childless. The college aged athlete who dreamed of playing professional sports is battling a crippling disease. The husband who longs to fight for his family is fighting a drug addiction. The young mother of five who dreamed of growing old with the love of her life is a widow.

As we maneuver through life, we feel cramped and uncomfortable. We feel tiny and overwhelmed. We feel out of sorts, out of place, and sometimes, out of God's care. And yet, as I watched these cars pass before my eyes, the one truth that remained was this: they were each moving forward. Maybe their means of transportation isn't what they would have chosen. Maybe they, too, felt a little conspicuous and a little out of their comfort zone, but they were moving forward. They were making progress.

And, maybe it's the same with us. We don't always get to choose what our life 'looks like". We don't always get to be the one calling the shots, determining the outcome, picking out the life we want. And yet, if we keep our eyes on Jesus, if we keep on keeping on, if we don't stop, if we don't give up, if we don't pull over on the side of the road, we, too, will make forward progress.

Sometimes, it's not about what we're traveling through life in

but where we're traveling through life to. 

This world is not our home. We are just passing through. Keep moving forward, my friend. Keep on keeping your eyes on Jesus. Keep on stepping out in faith. If you do, your God will lead you safely home.~♥





 
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Monday, June 23, 2014

Forgiven and Forgotten~









 
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Sunday, June 22, 2014

He Alone Knows~









 
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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

"Unskewing" Our Skewed View~

 We humans are excellent at jumping to conclusions. 

Our only problem is - the conclusions we often land on aren't always accurate. 

We analyze and determine based on our perception, 
our feelings, 
our own "take on things" and come to a conclusion. . . 
and then, sadly, live as though our conclusion is truth.

"They didn't wave at me as I drove passed them this morning. They must be upset with me." 

(Maybe they didn't see you.)

"He didn't answer me. He must be giving me the silent treatment. 

(Maybe he didn't hear you or he's trying to keep the peace.)

"Little Johnny won't eat his breakfast. He's just being stubborn and onery." 

(Maybe Little Johnny isn't feeling well.)

On and on ....

all day long ... 
we see life through the narrow view of "self" and sadly 
attach a label here, 
make a judgment call there, 
build anger and resentment over this, 
fume and fuss over that . . . 
without ever stopping to truly see, completely realize, or take the time to delve deeper.


Lord, 
may we this day, 
not allow our humanness, 
 our own feelings, 
our own "take on things" 
to take our thoughts in a wrong direction. 

May we not try to second guess, 
pre-determine, 
or pre-judge those around us. 

May we simply live our life as instruments of your love - 
giving grace, 
taking no offense, 
judging no one. 

May we be 
peace makers,
 love lavishers, 
grace givers 
everywhere we go, to everyone we meet. 
In Jesus' precious name we pray, Amen~♥






 
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Monday, June 16, 2014

Another Lesson From a Drive Thru~

God is all-loving, all-knowing - a beautiful combination,
and yet, so many times, we forget this.

Today, as I was sitting at a drive thru

(yes - I know . . .  those of you who have been reading here for any amount of time at all know I find myself sitting at a drive thru quite often - but, that is not the point. It's definitely something for me to ponder and re-evaluate  - but, not now - now it's time to get back to our story) ....

as I was sitting at a drive thru, I looked up from my wallet just in time to notice a huge whirlwind, complete with tumbleweeds, loose pieces of paper, trash of all kind, etc., headed straight for the drive thru line, straight for my car, straight for me.

As the young lady working the window reached out to take my money, I yelled at her to close her window as I quickly rolled up mine.  She looked at me with a quizzical look on her face, and once again, tried to reach out to take my money. I shook my head "no" while motioning for her to close her window.  Unsure of what was going on, she finally, albeit reluctantly, closed her window.

And, then ... the whirlwind hit and with it, flying debris and dust galore!

It was gone as quick as it had come.
I rolled my window down as the lady at the window once again opened her window.

"Oh, WOW! Now I know why you told me to close my window!"

"Yep! I saw it coming."

"I sure didn't and I couldn't understand why you were yelling at me to close my window or why you would close your window on me.  Now, I do."

And, as so often happens when I'm at a drive thru
(see - maybe drive thrus aren't all that bad, after all),
God spoke to me.

So many times we are totally unaware of what is coming.

Standing at the window of life, we try to reach out with a "business as usual" kind of mindset,
when God, all of a sudden, without explanation,
closes a window on us.

With a quizical look on our face, and without so much as a reason why from God,
we hear Him telling us to close our window,
to walk away,
to be done,
to move on,
to shut out or shut off something or someone,
and we hesitate.

And then . . . the whirlwind hits. 

"Oh, WOW, God.  Now I know why you told me to close that!"

"Yep! I saw it coming."

Yes, our God is all-loving, all-knowing - a beautiful combination,
wise (and happy!) is the one who remembers this.









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Sunday, June 15, 2014

The Voice of My Father~

My father passed away over nine 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 this Sunday, June 15, and my Daddy's birthday, June 22)







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Thursday, June 12, 2014

A Most Unlikely Place~

Sometimes, the message of Christmas shows up in the most unlikely place.

A young virgin.

A stable.

A Facebook news-feed.

One night last December, I decided to hop on my computer and check Facebook one more time before heading to bed, before sweet dreams took over.

My younger sister was spending the weekend in New York City, taking in all the city and Christmas there had to offer. Me, I was "seeing the sights" through each post, (plus, keeping tabs on her in the big city - it's what big sisters do, right?! - no matter the fact that my sister is 38!)

It was hoping to discover where she was now that had me booting up and logging on.

Sure enough, she had left another post and another photo. Oddly enough (or maybe not odd at all) it was smack dab in the middle of these other three posts.

Anita:
Tears of sadness tonight. Breast cancer has taken the life of a dear friend. I sure do look forward to that day when all suffering ends. To those of you who knew Sheryl, she passed away at 6:30 tonight.

Shelly: 
"God's strength is fully revealed when our strength is fully depleted." ~LizCurtisHiggs

Laura:
Such a lovely sight! I love NYC! 


Danette:
My aunt Carmen lost her battle with cancer today. Prayers for the family are welcome. Rest peacefully Carmen. I love you.

Yes, sometimes, the message of Christmas is torn from the manager, hand-delivered, unwrapped and placed right in the lap of your heart when you least expect it, but need it the most.

As I read through each post, I thought of the baby born on that blessed night. Jesus, bundled in swaddling clothes, innocent, pure, all-God, yet all baby, oddly enough (or maybe not odd at all) hand delivered by Almighty God, through a young virgin, and placed smack dab in the middle of our world.

In the middle of our suffering.

In the middle of our sin.

In the middle of our weakness.

As my eyes stared at my computer screen, my heart found itself gazing upon the very heart of God.

This is why the herald angels sang.
This is why "we three kings" traveled afar.
This is why the little town of Bethlehem is still visited today.
This is why the night of this baby's birth, unlike any other night, was silent and holy.

Immanuel.

God is with us.

Not in some far away Heaven.
Not hidden from view, out of ear shot, untouched or unbothered.
Not there, but here.

Jesus came straight from Heaven,
into our sin-marred, heart-breaking, pain-inflicting world
so that through
His immaculate conception,
His lowly birth,
His spotless life,
His sacrificial death,
you and I,
in the midst of all this earthliness,
can taste and know the sweetness of Heaven,
that is found in only in God
and only when God is with us.

Hope.
Peace.
Strength.
Joy.
Love.
Salvation.
Everlasting life.

This is the message of Christmas to be lived out in our hearts all year long.

God with us when the diagnosis is cancer.
God with us when our tears fall beside the freshly dug grave of a loved one.
God with us when our strength is gone.
God with us when the world turns against us.
God with us when we stand and gaze at the lights of Christmas.

God with us here, now, forever.

As I re-read the posts left behind by those I love,
I pictured Anita and Danette
     wiping away tears,
                      longing for Heaven,
                                 comforted by the blessed hope we have in Christ.

I pictured Shelly
             sitting up a little taller,
                                 her courage and faith a little stronger,
                                                        strengthened by the power we have in Christ.

I pictured Laura
                smiling with delight,
                              her eyes seeing the sparkle of Christmas shining radiant and bright
                                            against the darkness of night,
                                                          overwhelmed by the joy-filled light we have in Christ.

I pictured God,
               wiping a tear,
                               sitting up a little taller,
                                         smiling with delight,
                                                   looking down on His own son lying in a manger,
                                                             defined by ALL we have in Christ.


This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. 
And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; 
by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. 
God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger,
 telling the world how bad it was. 
He came to help, to put the world right again.
 ~John 3:16-17 (MSG)


Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. 
If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, 
because you will have the light that leads to life.”
~John 8:12 (NLT)



Yes, sometimes, the perfectly perfect message of Christmas shows up in the most unlikely place -
the human heart.

And when it does,
a life is reborn -
a life that is not bound by time and space,
a life that is not limited to here and now,
a life that is not without help, not without spiritual healing, not without hope.

When the Christ of Christmas is hand-delivered,
unwrapped,
and given residency in the heart of a human,
God. is. with. us.

Now.

Forever.

Always.

In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 
The light shines in the darkness, 
and the darkness has not overcome it.
~John 1:4-5 (NIV)








 
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Monday, June 9, 2014

To Be Like You~

Gracious Heavenly Father,
How beautiful You are.
From one sunrise to the next,
You are faithful.
Unchanging God.

May my heart become like Yours.
Steadfast.
Loyal.
Rock Solid.

May my love for You
be as constant as
each sunrise,
each sunset.

May my pursuit of You
match Your pursuit of me -
unrelenting,
unending,
unequaled.
In Jesus' precious name, Amen~♥







 
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Monday, June 2, 2014

The Thing is This . . . ~








 
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