Wednesday, April 24, 2019

All. Over. Again.~

What started out as
"a little something for the birds"
has now morphed into
a whole lot of something for me.

"I think I'll pick up a little something for the birds,"
my husband had said one day.
"With the winter months here,
let's be God's way of feeding them."
With a wink and a smile,
he was out the door.

His little something turned out to be bird seed.

And while his choice of seed
must have been delicious,
we all know,
besides being a tasty menu item for birds,
seeds are also amazing encapsulations
of potential new life.

Spring has proven this to be true,
as now,
smack dab in the center of our yard,
a not-my-kind-of-grass
has started to make its presence known.

Here, there, and even over there,
this unwanted, unwelcome grass is sprouting up.

Not wanting this grass
to take over the entire yard,
I found myself
wrestling back and forth with myself
about what to do.

"Just look at it.
It's everywhere!
What good is pulling it out going to do?"

"Yes, that's true.
But, are you content
to live with this grass,
day in and day out?
Is this what you want
in your backyard?"

"But, Self -
take a good hard look!
Do you know how hard
it's going to be
to pull out each clump
of this new grass?
C'mon! It's going to be
nearly impossible.
And besides,
for each one you pull,
who knows how many new shoots
are just waiting
for the opportunity
to pop up!"

"I know. I know.
It's not going to be easy.
But, honestly, I
don't think living with it
is an option.
I don't want this grass in my yard."

Finally, (and thankfully)
the strong-willed side of me
outweighed the lazy side of me,
and the decision was made
to remove this grass immediately.

My plan of action -
soak this area of the yard,
and then the following morning,
one clump at a time,
pull these babies up by their roots.

Today was the following morning.

As I sat on the patio,
drinking my morning coffee,
e-x-t-r-e-m-e-l-y comfortable and content,
I gazed out at the unsightly grass awaiting me.

And, I realized again
what we often fail to remember
and what we often tend to forget:
Sometimes a decision will need to be made
over and over and over again,
if we are to reap the desired results.

In order to get myself
up out of my chair
and out into the yard,
I had to decide
to tackle this project
all. over. again.

And, because I only made a small dent
in this ever-increasing grass population,
I will need to make this same decision
again
tomorrow morning,
and the morning after that,
and many, many mornings after that,
all summer long.

It is this need to re-decide
and re-commit each day
that has me pondering anew
these words of Jesus:

But don't begin until you count the cost. For who would begin construction of a building without first calculating the cost to see if there is enough money to finish it? Otherwise, you might complete only the foundation before running out of money, and then everyone would laugh at you. They would say,  "There's the person who started that building and couldn't afford to finish it!"

Or what king would go to war against another king without first sitting down with his counselors to discuss whether his army of 10,000 could defeat the 20,000 soldiers marching against him?"
~Luke 14:28-31

Before we start,
we have to count the cost.
Before we start
we have to decide if we are willing
to start again tomorrow,
and the day after that,
and the day after that.

Do we have what it takes to finish?

Starting is only profitable 
if we follow through to finishing.

And, starting isn't just
a one time deal.
The kind of starting
that leads to the finish line
is a kind of starting
that starts again each day.

It's the kind of starting
needed not only for
ridding my yard of unwanted grass,
but also for
completing a degree,
paying off a loan,
losing the extra weight,
breaking free from the addiction,
reaching retirement,
raising a child,
making it to "til death do us part".

It's also the kind of starting needed
to be a disciple of Christ.

And if you do not carry your own cross and follow me, 
you cannot be my disciple. 
But don't begin until you count the cost.
~Luke 14:26-28

Every moment,
of every day,
we have to decide
all. over. again.
to follow our Savior.

It's the kind of starting needed
(with the precious, ever-present help of His Spirit)
to walk away from temptation,
to overcome evil with good,
to do unto others as we would have them do unto us,
to be salt and light,
to face persecution,
to take up our cross and follow Him,
to run the race before us, finish, and finish well.

Relying on God has to begin 
all over again every day 
as if nothing had yet been done.
~C. S. Lewis

It's not enough to decide to start.
We have to keep deciding
all. over. again.
until we finish.


(This same grass showing up in my yard again this Spring 😩
has me remembering this post from April 2017.
I hope you don't mind me sharing it again.)

~Stacy


Monday, April 22, 2019

Take Them to The Throne Room~

We all have someone -
or quite possibly,
a heart overflowing
with someones,
who seem completely
out of our reach,
out of our control,
out of our ability
to do anything for.

We see them
bouncing through life
like a tiny ball
held prisoner
in a pinball machine.

And, try as we may,
and, try as we might,
we feel helpless
to reach through the glass
and rescue them.

Maybe ears all too
familiar with our voice
have turned away, -
turned deaf to
our counsel,
our advice,
our heartfelt
words of love.

Maybe ears
that need to hear
aren't quite close enough
to hear, -
they are
just outside our sphere of influence,
just beyond our boundaries.
Close,
but not quite
close enough.

Whatever the situation,
whatever the circumstance,
take heart, my friend.

They may be out
of your reach,
but they are never
out of God's reach.

When thoughts of them
consume your heart,
overtake your mind,
flow through your every
day in and day out,
lift your head upward
and let the cry
of your heart
flow straight
to the throne room
of Heaven.

He sees.
He knows.

Better than you or me,
He knows.

Fight for these precious souls
with the most
powerful weapon you have -
prayer.

Our God is mighty to save,
and it's up to
you and me
to place those in need
before our God.

Right here.
Right now.
Go to His throne.

Lift up these hearts
and place them
in His hands,
in His care,
in His presence.

Let us therefore come boldly
unto the throne of grace,
that we may obtain mercy
and find grace to help
in time of need.
~Hebrews 4:16

The effective,
fervent prayer
of a righteous man
avails much.
~James 5:16



~Stacy



Thursday, April 18, 2019

And Then, What?

And then, what?

Sitting in a room,
surrounded by ladies,
young and old,
all yearning to draw closer
to our God,
I found myself
face to face with this question,
and totally and completely
alone with my thoughts.

We were seated around tables
watching the screen.
As Beth Moore opened
the Word of God,
God opened my mind
to a brand new way of thinking.

What is your worst fear?

The question came from Beth
and was followed up
with this invitation.  

I want you to think 
of the worst possible thing 
you could envision 
happening in your life.

Really?

The absolute worse scenario?

The most frightening thing I can think of?

The nightmare of all nightmares that could possibly happen in my life?

The thing I fear most?

Cancer?

Becoming a widow?

Homelessness?

Violence?

Ok.

Beth was ready to move on.
My mind was still reeling
with all the images
that had flashed wildly
before my eyes. 

So, let's say the thing 
you most fear, 
happened.  

Then, what?

As Beth took our hearts
and led us through this exercise,
we soon discovered,
as children of God,
all roads lead to Him.

If the worst possible thing happened,
then what?

Then, God.

All around the room,
no matter what
the scenario envisioned might be,
the answer to the question -
then, what? -
could be answered with
Then, God.

No matter what,
God would be there.

The worst possible thing
we can conjure up
in our fearful mind
is no match for our God.

Not even death.

Nothing we face in this life,
no matter how tragic
or how horrific it may be,
can keep us from God.

We may be
without our health,
without our spouse,
without our home,
without our very life,
but,
we. are. never. without. our. God.

And, ultimately -
isn't this the worst thing
you can possibly envision?

Being without God?

For the Christian,
the battle is already won,
the victory already sure,
the mansion already built,
the doors of Heaven already swung wide open.

And then, what?

Then, God!

No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.
And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love.
Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,
neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—
not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.
No power in the sky above or in the earth below—
indeed, nothing in all creation
will ever be able to separate us from the love of God 
that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.
~Romans 8:37-39, NLT


***********************************************

I wrote the above post
on December 1, 2012.

On February 4, 2016
one of the worst possible things
I could envision
happening in my life,
happened.

In less time
than it takes to say
"Don't worry, Handsome, I'm here",
my man was gone.

In less time
than it takes to take
your very next breath,
I became a widow.

And, you know what?

Beth was right.

In that moment,
and in every moment that followed,
then, God.

Through every tear,
through every decision,
through every fear,
through every sleepless night,
then, God.

Through every blessing,
through every provision,
through every listening ear,
through every understanding heart,
then, God.

God has been here,
and more than that,
He has been more than enough.

I no longer have my husband,
but praise God,
I have never. for. a. second.
been without my God.

And, I've come to realize now -
more than my heart
could ever have truly understood
the day I wrote these words
for the very first time:

We may be
without our health,
without our spouse,
without our home,
without our very life,
but,
we. are. never. without. our. God.

And, ultimately -
isn't this the worst thing 
you can possibly envision?  

Being without God?


Yes.

But, praise God.

Then, God!



~Stacy



Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Someday You Will~

It's a funny thing about words.

Sometimes,
we don't truly grasp
the meaning of all they imply
or are intended to convey
until a time further down the road.

Often,
at a time when we least expect it,
but need a revelation the most,
words spoken long before,
speak to our heart.

This was the case for the disciples.

They had followed Christ,
only to desert Him
in His time of greatest need.

They had witnessed the suffering
He had endured,
and they had beheld
His lifeless body
on the cross of Calvary.

They had also been given
the awesome privilege
of being eyewitnesses
to His resurrected body.

It was His resurrection
that took them back in memory
to another time and another place
when Jesus' words had been spoken,
but not truly understood.

Not until this very moment,
that is.

The scene of remembrance was the temple.

Merchants,
with only dollar signs in mind,
were selling their goods.
Instead of a house of worship,
the temple was now
a place of
theft, corruption, and human greed.

Jesus raised His voice
and His hands
and put a stop
to this mockery.

As tables were turned over,
and the business in the temple
was turned up side down,
tempers flared.

The Jewish leaders demanded, 
“What are you doing? 
If God gave you authority to do this, 
show us a miraculous sign to prove it.”

“All right,” Jesus replied. 
“Destroy this temple, 
and in three days 
I will raise it up.”

“What!” they exclaimed. 
“It has taken forty-six years 
to build this Temple, 
and you can rebuild it 
in three days?” 

But when Jesus said “this temple,” 
he meant his own body.

After he was raised from the dead, 
his disciples remembered 
he had said this, 
and they believed 
both the Scriptures 
and what Jesus had said. 
~ John 2:18-22 (NLT)

Sometimes,
it takes a
journey,
desertion,
persecution,
suffering,
death,
or in this case,
a resurrection,
to open our eyes 
to the truth 
God has already placed 
in our heart 
days, months, or even years before.

As we daily walk with God
and dig deep
into the riches of His Word,
we uncover spiritual truth
and heavenly treasures.

Some are realized
the moment we discover them.

Some, however,
are not completely unwrapped
or truly appreciated and understood
until a future moment in time.

Some scriptures are just
words on a page
that have yet
to illuminate our heart and mind.

But, rest assured.

There will come a time
when the very Words of Life
we have heard before
will come back
to fill our heart with hope
and deepen our faith in our Lord.

In a moment when
we least expect it,
but when we need
HIS revelation the most,
words spoken long before,
scriptures we have read,
verses we have memorized,
holy words resting on the page
of God's Holy Word,
will speak
deep,
wonderful,
encouraging truth
to our heart.




~Stacy



Saturday, April 13, 2019

More Precious Than Gold (Or a Debit Card)

An unprecedented number of children
attending an 8:30 am Children's Church Worship Service
found me racing through a store on Easter Sunday.

What a glorious morning!

As I maneuvered my way through the aisles,
I almost couldn't contain
the joy I felt inside.
Now, with the 11:00 am worship service
only an hour away,
I hurried to the garden section.

I had ordered what I thought
would be more than enough flower pots
for the children who would attend our Easter services. 

We were celebrating Jesus bringing new life
and planting seeds seemed like the perfect way
for these children to carry this truth
home in their heart.

Surprisingly, though,
when the first service began
and the children kept filing in,
I knew I wouldn't have enough
for the children at the 11:00 am service.

So, here I stood,
in my Easter best,
waiting in line at the check-out counter.

Finally, it was my turn.

"That will be $15.64," the clerk announced.

I opened my wallet and reached in
to pull out my debit card
only to discover my debit card
wasn't there. 

I peeked behind my driver's license. 
I searched through the few measly dollar bills
stuffed in the back. 
No debit card. 

Frantic as to where it might be,
and more than aware
of the long line forming behind me,
I silently prayed, "Help me, Jesus."

"Ma'am.  Is there a problem?  $15.64, please."

I don't carry my checkbook with me,
so I reached for the few dollar bills
I had tucked in the back. 
One ten. One five. One one.
$16.00.
Amazing.

I finished my transaction,
gathered my flower pots,
and headed to the car.
As I unlocked the car door
and climbed inside,
I thanked God for answering my prayer.

As I drove back to church, though,
all I could think about
was my missing debit card.

"Lord, why today?  On Resurrection Day?  On the day I have been looking forward to this entire year? Lord, as I worshipped You at the Sunrise Service, just a few hours ago, my heart was filled to overflowing with tears of joy.  As the children decorated their flower pots during the 8:30 am service, their laughter and comments brought one smile after another. My heart was so full of joy, Lord. Why did this have to happen now?  Today?"

And, then it hit me.

Nothing is too big or too hard for my God.
He is ruler over all things and above all things.
Not even death could hold him back.

"Lord, I'm so sorry.  Please forgive me for allowing something as insignificant as money to steal my joy and diminish my faith.  Lord, I place this in Your hands and I praise You.  You are more than awesome, more than amazing, more than enough.  Thank you for the precious gift of the cross.  Thank you for taking the sting out of death.  Thank you for the oh, so very blessed hope we have in and through You. Thank you for the joy of the resurrection.  Thank you for the joy of knowing You.  I love you, Lord, and I can't wait to worship with the children at the next service."

Arriving back at church,
I shared my story of the missing card,
the $16.00 miracle,
the worry that almost hijacked my joy, 
and the God who is worthy
of our praise in all things.

Once home,
I looked through my wallet again. 
There, safely tucked inside
the zipper coin compartment,
was my bank card. 

It had been there all along. 

Evidently,
the only thing
that had been in jeopardy
of being stolen
on this day of unsurpassed joy
was my joy.

Thank God, even this,
my more-precious-than-silver-or-gold joy,
was safe and secure
when I kept the eyes of my heart
placed firmly on my God.



~Stacy

(Re-posting from April, 2013)