Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Islands In The Stream

I love nature walks! I really do. I find that it's the one thing that will definitely slow me down and force me to stop and inhale all of the beautiful things that made my God very happy to make. They were, of course, made for His pleasure but I too take much pleasure in standing in the middle of it all. Today, while on the path with a friend I walked past a patch of honeysuckle in its glory and had to stop to allow my other senses to catch up to the distraction that my nose was in the middle of. No honeysuckle candle, air freshner or perfume can come close to capturing the real thing. While stuck in that moment I noticed that there was a small, fast running stream just over the bank. We walked a little further to get a closer look and there right smack dab in the middle of the stream was a large rock. Oddly, there was a bit of moss with a wildflower growing quite nicely on top of the rock. Now, I'm sure there wasn't much, if any, soil on top of that rock to support that plant but it was thriving there nonetheless. It made me wonder how something could be doing so well without what I had always believed was essential for plant growth. Silly me cause what do I know in the big scheme of things! How does a bumble bee fly? According to physics, it's weight and its wing size, it's impossible for it to fly but nobody told the bumblebee, so it just flies. And then there's the beautiful Monarch butterfly. All of them migrate south to one certain valley in Mexico for the winter. How do they all know how to get there and when to leave from their different locations all over North America? My simplistic answer would most probably be "God gave them all the best GPS systems out there"! But in reality, I just don't know. I don't know how that plant was thriving on a rock right in the middle of the stream but it was! There are many many things that we may never understand fully but the lesson of the day, at least for me, was to "trust". Trust in the one who made that rock and put that plant upon it to live. Trust him to take care of its life and survival and to allow it to get everything that it needs to thrive. It certainly had the water it needed and even when the rains took the water levels up and over its leaves, I'm certain its creator took care of it. Lots to be found in my little observation of a plant on a rock. Trust! He will take care of me. Should my troubles rise up all around and even when I feel that I just don't have enough to sustain my life, he will give me everything I need to carry on in my stream of life. And the moral of my nature walk story is . . . . Be planted on the "Rock, He's all you need"!

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

My Way

Have you ever encountered a stubborn, set in their ways, unbending, haughty and all knowing  negative grumbler? What a brick wall huh! If I could say there was one type of person that was the most difficult for me to communicate with it would be a stubborn grumbler. I'm very sure it was one of the most disdainful attitudes that even the Lord God had to deal with. Oh, and he dealt with them and it wasn't always pretty. When the children of Israel were grumbling and complaining in Numbers chapter 14, the Lord looked at their grumbling and complaining as contemptuous. They had forgotten all the wondrous miracles that the Lord had performed bringing them out of the land of Egypt such as the cloud in the daytime and the pillar of fire at night, the parting of the Red Sea, the raining of manna down from the sky and the striking of the rock that gave them water to drink. Still they grumbled and complained. Their sorry selves wanted to go back to Egypt where they said they 'Had it better'! So quickly we forget where we came from and what we are brought out of!   It's hard to imagine given so much again and again, in a very miraculous manner I might add, that they would still be so unhappy and ungrateful. You may think to yourself, " I would never complain if I saw the miraculous hand of God move like that on my behalf"! Really! Well. Let's just think about it for a minute, but just a minute because I don't want this to seem like a condemning rant to those of you reading this because it is not. You see, people are people the world around and we are all born with a sin nature and a perpensity to grumble and complain. But it's where the close walk with Our creator comes in and changes everything. You see when the Israelites grumbled and complained and the Lord was ready to strike them all dead, it was Moses who came to their defense. He pled for mercy for them and begged the Lord God to pardon them. They had an advocate, someone who stood up for them. I believe it was someone like Moses who had stood in the very presence of God and had himself been forgiven much, that showed his love and mercy towards the Israelites. Did they deserve to be pardoned? No! But God ended up pardoning them anyway ( Num 14:20)  but they still suffered the consequences of their stubborn grumbling actions. They were not allowed to enter the land of promise. Their children would after 40 years but none of the grumblers would get that beautiful promise. Here's an interesting side note for those who like a bit deeper thought process. In that particular chapter when it talks about "complaining" the Hebrew word for complaining means "lodging or to lodge". When they were grumbling and complaining they were in essence saying "I have reached my destination, I'm lodging here and I have no plans to go any further. This is as far as I wanna go"! Isn't that so true of the nature of grumblers and complainers. They sit down in their spots and take residence in their own opinions and self will and refuse to move from it. Hence the "stubborn" attitude. I have been met with people like that and I don't have to tell you that they can be unmovable in their own way. It does bring that song by 'ole blue eyes" himself, Frank Sinatra to mind, 'MY WAY'. A couple of verses go like this: " I planned each charted course, each careful step along the byway, and more, much more than this, I did it MY WAY. . . . . To think I did all that and may I say, not in a shy way, oh no, oh no not me, I did it MY WAY".  What a thing to proclaim! Our way is never gonna work nearly as wonderfully as Gods way. When we get in close fellowship with our creator, like Moses, and sit and spend time in his presence, it can change us, it can turn our hearts of stubborn stone into hearts of flesh that are filled with mercy and love beyond our comprehension. And, when our stubborn hard and unchanging hearts take over, well, we have an advocate, his name is Jesus. He stood up for us and pled, bled and died so that we could see the promise, the promise and the hope of something far better than OUR WAY! So if you find yourself sitting down hard on the ground or in your dirty little mud puddle and taking residence there saying, "this is as far as I'm going", you may want to remember the Israelites. They didn't get struck down but they certainly didn't get all that was good and promised to them either. Have it your way if you like but I'm thinking that there's a whole lot of "wonderful" to see if you pick yourself up and move on and forward into some other way besides your own. And if not, well, the words of Dr. Phil might apply here. . . . "So how's that workin for ya?"

Friday, October 13, 2017

Mist In The Morning

I made a trek today with my  friend to a trail in the Great Smokey Mountain National Park. The trail was approximately 2.5 miles one way up to a beautiful waterfall called Grotto Falls. Now, my friend is an avid walker but I was not nearly as prepared physically for what would end up as an almost 5 mile hike! As we began our walk, It began to rain, just slowly; a nice quiet rain. As we hiked, it was hard not to notice the beautiful things that God had created in nature. Lichen covered logs with wild  mushrooms peeking from underneath; trickling streams flowing over moss covered rocks; deer berries growing in quiet corners of boulders. All of this beauty then accented by the glistening of rain upon the surfaces. We arrived at the top of the trail, after much clicking of the camera I must add, to the Grotto Falls. Words can't express the beauty that was right there at that small waterfall. "Breathtaking" maybe would be an understatement! The path that we were on even allowed us to walk right up to the waterfall. As I stood there and allowed the mist to fall on my face it reminded me of those summer rains that I love so much, you know, the ones that come with a cool breeze in the midst of a stifling hot day. I usually love to stand on my front porch with my face in that refreshing breeze and just allow the coolness to sweep over me and soothe the heat filled day. The mist from the waterfall at that moment soothed all the stress filled, anxiety ridden moments of my recent days and washed them totally away. Just a minute of soaking in the beauty of the moment refreshed me as only Jesus refreshes. Needless to say, my hike back down the mountain was easier and I had hardly blinked when I realized that we were back at the car. Just a little time spent in the high places had been exactly the medicine that Dr. Jesus had scripted to me! I must go there every chance I get!

Insight Insert: Sometimes when we allow ourselves a little time to slip out into a simpler more quiet environment we can see and hear much more acutely. The noise, stress, confusion and clutter of our daily lives seems to drift away for a time and the medicine that the moment can bring can be very healing. We should go there every chance that we get! This week take the time to find a place where the noise and clutter can't reach and tarry there for at least an hour and allow the Lord to refresh you as only he can. If its in a park, along a stream, in the woods or even in the front seat of your car gazing at the stars, allow him to show you some of his wonders. There is no calming, relaxing drug known to man that can do what He can to quiet your spirit! Let him reach down from the heavens and give you a hand up to where he sits for just a while. You know He's got the best seat in the house.

Scripture: Matthew 11:28  Come to me all you who labor and are heavy laden and over-burdened, and I will cause you to rest. ( I will ease and relieve and refresh your  souls) AMP                                  Proverbs 11:25.   He who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Highlighted Life

Today I was coloring some cardboard signs for an upcoming yard sale. I used many different colored markers that i was sure were washable just in case I accidentally got some on my skin. One sad fact, however, that I had not realized was that the black marker that I had inadvertently picked up was quite the opposite of "washable" but quite permanent. When I went to wash my hands, the black marker remained on my wrists where I had been leaning on the sign. The edges of my hands were beautifully streaked a dark gray even after multiple scrubbings. I was quickly having to resign myself to the fact that I was probably going to have to answer a barrage of questions from well meaning people on the colorful state of my hands. Thankfully the day was saved when an angel named Martha Stewart recommended hand sanitizer or hair spray to clean up my act. Yay! Like magic my skin was back to normal. My life no longer "highlighted" by the error of my ways which, if you know me, caused me to once again 
go down the path in my mind that seemed very littered with road signs. Signs which read: "Realization Road ⬆️" "Exposure Expressway  ⤵️", "Highlighted Life Highway ➡️ " and "Apathy Way "🔄. What??? Then like a jet leaving a vapor trail in the sky the question  appeared; "What do the highlighted areas of your life reveal?" ( Long pause for extensive thought inserted here)

Hummmm, were the highlighted areas of my life, the things that others saw first about me, good or bad things? What did my life say about me? What parts of my heart stood out when others heard me speak? And, here's the big one. . . . . drum roll please. . . . "When I dropped a heavy object on one of my toes, what words come flying out of my mouth first?" Aha! Realization Road or perhaps Exposure Expressway!  There are always going to be moments in our lives when we just do not get it right. That's called being human but those moments can get to the point where they are VERY FEW and VERY FAR between. As we expose our lives and our hearts to the Word of God and strive to walk in it and in His ways, we begin to take on a "highlighted God-life". When others look at us they will see His reflection in our faces, they will also be able to say "he/she knows and follows after God", and the best one, "bless the Lord O my soul" easily flows from your lips when a heavy object falls on your toe. So, what highlights your life? Is your life colored with permanent black marks of ugliness and sin or is your life like the peaks of the mountains in autumn that first reveal that they've been touched by the "son" and are glorious to behold? Look up in your sky and see if you can also see that vapor trail question for your life. It can be as beautiful as that mountaintop I believe. 

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

The Folds Of His Robe

There are times in our lives when we all need to escape and get to a place of solace and peace, a place seemingly far away from the roar of daily life. Haven't you felt that way at times? I know it occurs to me a lot more frequently as I get older. You would think it might be quite the opposite but when I was a young mother it just may have occurred to me but it was a fleeting, silly thought that I believed then was not attainable! There were of course, babies to feed, dishes to wash, laundry to fold and meals to make. If I cried out for peace and quiet then, well, most often it didn't come unless it was by some strong twist of fate or my husband having a sympathetic moment on my behalf! Nothing against my husband but he was surrounded by his own "roar of daily life" so that was just the way it was. I find that now, as I am getting older and my children are all grown and gone, that I am ready to run and find that place of peace at every turn. I guess it's from all those years of weariness that I find myself trying to soak in all that I lost or all that I simply need right now! There is one thing that has genuinely helped me in the process and that is the ability to envision or see things in my spirit. On many occasions, predominately worship time, I see visions of The Lord or angelic hosts or a multitude of other things that The Lord would put in my mind. Last Sunday during our worship time at church I was overcome totally by one of the most awesome visions that I have had to date. As I was worshipping The Lord I saw in my spirit two very large and heavy looking gates. These gates were perhaps 30 stories high and very thick with a rough hewn wood surface and  huge iron strap hinges. The gates began to open slowly and a bright, almost blinding light came rushing out as they opened. I could see streams of thousands of people moving towards the gates and going inside as they opened. The people in comparison looked very much the size of ants. As I approached the opening gates I could see inside just barely past the blinding light that there was a huge cross. The cross itself was possibly  50 stories high and the light seemed to be coming from behind the cross. I immediately thought, "oh the people are headed to the foot of the cross to fall down before The Lord" but upon closer examination I could see that I was very wrong. As the people entered and came close to the cross they just made a wide arch around the cross going to what was behind it. I looked and then I could clearly see that standing behind the cross was a huge figure of a man in a long white robe. All that I could see was his figure up to the top of the cross but I knew he was much bigger because as far as I could see was to his waist area. I knew immediately in my mind that the figure was The Lord. The people continued to walk around the cross until they got to the Lords robes and they all began to just cling to it. There were thousands of people, maybe more, just clinging to the bottom of his robes. As He would move slightly some would seem to disappear inside the folds and still they clung to Him. I then heard the Spirit of The Lord say to me, " Daughter, won't you come and get lost in the folds of My robes too?". Wow! Yes, THAT was a "wow" moment. That's where He was calling me to. That's where my place of peace and rest was. That's where I wanted to get lost every time. I longed for the comfort and peace that was there in the very folds of His robes. As He moves, I become covered and protected inside of those folds. What an amazingly beautiful picture that was for me that day and now every day since. Remember when the woman with the issue of blood touched His garment for her healing and the bible said that The Lord felt the healing virtue leave him. Well, there's healing there in the folds of His robes. There is also rest, comfort, peace, and everything else that I had need of. So, shouldn't we all "get lost in the folds of His robes" and allow that same healing, restorative, comforting peace to flood over our hearts and minds? "Come, all you who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest". (Matt 11:28

Insight Insert: Do you find yourself in that place that it talks about in Matthew 11? Are you at a place of extreme stress or pressure from work or family? Are you sick of being in pain and feeling like you will never experience Gods healing touch? Are you just plain overwhelmed and need a place of peace and quiet? Then, my challenge to you this week is to "get lost in the folds of His robes"! Take a little time out, maybe when everyone is in bed at night or before everyone gets up in the morning. Whenever you can, purpose to take a piece of your day then turn on some worship music and close your eyes to shut out all distractions and " get lost in his robes". This may take some practice of some self-discipline but persist! Allow God to restore and comfort in those moments. He will!!!

Scripture:  Read Matthew 11:28-30 also John 16:33 which reads," I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But, take heart, I have overcome the world"!

Saturday, September 23, 2017

The Presence Of His Displeasure: Letter To A Lost Love

My dearest and most treasured child,
     I write this letter to you with a heaviness in my heart for my heart so longs after you. I haven't had the supreme pleasure of talking with you now for a very long time. I remember well how we would sit and talk for hours of your hopes and dreams and how you so wanted to see others become as happy as you were. You told me of your devotion to me and that you wanted to be close to my heart always. I 
loved how you spoke to me of your confidence in me and trusted me with everything in you to not just care for you but guide you in all of your hardest decisions. Oh, and how my heart leapt while I watched you into the wee hours of the morning pouring over my love letters to you. My dear child, you read them over and over, you studied them and got so excited when you would discover something in them that you hadn't seen before. I watched your tears fall on the pages as you read how much I sacrificed to show my love for you. I miss you. I miss seeing your face at my house when the family gathers together. I long to watch you as you join in the singing. You would close your eyes so you wouldn't be distracted by anything or anyone. The look of joy on your face as you sang with your eyes closed made my heart smile. I have been calling you. . . . . .I have hoped that you would not continue to ignore my voice for you know it well. I saw you at your workplace as you requested to work extra hours, even on Sunday, so that you could afford a newer car, better clothing and expensive trips to far away places with your friends and family. I heard you curse my name out loud when your co-workers angered you. Why? Why have you chosen to leave me. I have loved you with an everlasting  love and always will. Oh, I see you periodically in my house some Sunday's but you never stay long. You make an appearance and then leave when the music ends. Has someone else stolen your affections for me. Have you given yourself wholly to them? Child, my heart weeps for you to know the true love and acceptance that I alone can give you. I was your first love! I feel I have lost you. I feel there is a great chasm between you and I and it grieves me deeply. It angers me that the things of this world like money, goods, cars, drink and intimate relationships have stolen your love away from me. My child, I'm still here! I so desire that you hear the longing for my lost love in my words.  I want you to know that I will never abandon you. I will not go anywhere but I want you to know how much my Fathers heart aches because of where you've gone when I have given you all that you would ever need for pure joy and happiness. Come back! Come back to me, your first love. Come back and do again the things that turned your heart towards me. Do not stay here in the presence of my displeasure for another moment. It is not necessary. Come, because I see how weary of heart that you have become. Come back to me and find your place of rest. Turn away from this drawing towards the things that will never satisfy. Turn away so you can come and forever eat at my table and taste of the presence of my pleasure. My love will never fail you my dear one, Never! Please come back,
                                                  Your Loving 

                                           Heavenly Father

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Autumn Squirrels

Well. It's my favorite time of the year once more! Autumn! The air is cool and crisp, the apples are stacked in pyramids on the market tables and pumpkins and mums line the market aisles and neighborhood front porches. I love everything about this season; the smell of pumpkin or cinnamon and spice candles, the smell of the bale of hay that usually sits on my front porch, the apples cooking on applesauce making day and the best. . . . . here it comes. . . .. . .watching the squirrels steal everything that they can get their greedy little hands on to store up for the winter months. A lot of times that includes my flower bulbs in the ground or the corn on my corn shocks that decorate my porch or front door. I know, they are just doing what comes naturally but sometimes it's at my expense and that bugs me. I have to admit, I have a sort of a love / hate relationship with the squirrels. They are truly industrious little creatures and they have the right idea. They are also truly "forward" thinkers, although it really is nothing more for them but "instinct". They instinctively think about the months to come and prepare for what they need to get through. How many of us prepare in every  way for the future ahead of us? Yes, there are those who have money saved in various ways just in case of an emergency or food and water stockpiled in case of a disaster and some have even taken steps to get themselves in good physical shape so that they would be around for the future. Well, what about our mental state? Have we done our best to prepare our hearts and minds for what is to come? Do you even have peace of mind about where you will go when you die? Some of us may be able to answer that question with a resounding "yes" but even for those of you who may have answered "yes", the question still remains, " have you adequately equipped yourselves mentally and spiritually"? If there was a hard winter or a disaster in your life, would you get through it with a positive Godly worry free attitudes or would you probably be living with the repercussions of stress, anger or anxiety? Preparing our hearts and minds for whatever comes is probably far more important than preparing physically or monetarily! Good healthy thinking and attitudes can get us through the worst of times. That rascal, the squirrel, might just be the one to watch and relate to. In every way it's best to be prepared but what you think and how you react are the things that truly test your mettle. The  Bible says. . . . . ." as a man thinks in his heart, so is he". So, store up some good words and thought processes for the winters in your life. Like the squirrel, you'll be glad you were prepared!

Insight insert:  What if per chance someone were to ask you what your secret to happiness was? What would be your response? I know my answer hands down would be "my personal relationship with Jesus". Well, what if that same person when given my answer asked how to have a personal relationship with Jesus? Would you be able to lead them into that relationship? Are you prepared with the knowledge of the basic scriptures that you need to share with them? No? Then maybe it's your autumn and your cue to get prepared! If you are like that squirrel you would know how crucial it is to make those preparations. People's lives and their eternal destinies could be on the line. If you profess to know and serve God then you should be well acquainted with the handbook! Check out your scriptures in the book of Romans and store up some of them for that season of need when it comes around.

Scripture:  II Timothy 2:15. Study to show yourself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed rightly dividing the word of truth. KJV
I Peter 3:15. But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and (be) ready always to (give) an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear. KJV