So Be Holy

 

 

 

A faith life.

A secular life.

Can the two be separated?

Can the two be joined?

Do I meet God on Sundays and fail to include Him in my life the rest of the week?

Suppose this was the case with my marriage.

Would I wear a wedding band only at home and remove it when I was out?

Suppose this was the case with a sports team I was a member of.

Would I show up at the games, having little or no preparation and training from the previous days?

Knowing that God has forgiven me and promised that I will live eternally with Him in Heaven one day, I must be different.

My all-the-time life is surrounded by the knowledge of His great love for me.

His guidance is available twenty four hours a day.

No longer living in ignorance of how He would have me live, each decision should be aligned with His approval.

Kedusha is the Hebrew word for holiness. The meaning is to be separate or set apart.

A faith life.

A secular life.

Only one can be maintained.

Which do you choose?

 

Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: "Be holy, because I am holy." ~I Peter 1:13-16

 

 

So That No One

 

 

 

I will be attending a funeral today.

A dear relative in another state passed away this week.

As I related my travel plans to a co-worker, she had one question for me.

It wasn’t, "What was his name?"

It wasn’t, "What was his career?"

It wasn’t even, "Was he sick? In an accident?"

No.

Being a believer herself, she simply wanted to know if he knew Jesus Christ as his Savior.

With peace in my heart and voice, I related to her that he did indeed know Jesus.

That truly is the most important thing.

Do you know Him today?

 

 

Just Enough

 

 

 

If you find honey eat just enough….

So many things in my life could fit this advice perfectly.

Although I don’t eat much honey, there are other foods that I am tempted  to eat too much of.

If you find chocolate, eat just enough.
If you find cookies, eat just enough.
If you find ice cream, eat just enough.

For me, it goes beyond the dessert menu, however.

If you find pizza, eat just enough.
If you find fresh, baked bread, eat just enough.
If you find chicken lasagna, eat just enough.

Taking this exhortation outside of the box for a moment, I feel that this applies to other areas of life, as well.

If you find a job, work just enough.
If you find a hobby, play just enough.

Why just enough?

If you find honey, eat just enough— too much of it, and you will vomit.–Proverbs 25:16

 

Let Them Ever Sing

 

 

 

But let all who take refuge in you be glad;
       let them ever sing for joy.
       Spread your protection over them,
       that those who love your name may rejoice in you.

 For surely, O LORD, you bless the righteous;
       you surround them with your favor as with a shield.

Psalm 5:11-12

 

 

 

The Gift of God

 

 

When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness.

What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of?

Those things result in death!

But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God,

the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life.

For the wages of sin is death,

but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 6:20-23

 

 

 

Obeyed

 

 

What do you do when you’re REALLY angry?

Angry because you are embarrassed?

Angry about your job?

Angry about your career as a whole?

Angry at the stubbornness of others?

Angry that you are not receiving what is rightfully yours?

How do you act?

Right in the middle of the anger, when emotions are at their highest, do you respond impulsively and do whatever comes to mind?

What would happen if you felt that God suddenly told you to just ….. stop?

If He told you to just put away your plans born of anger and just go home?

Would you do it?

Just in case this type of situation should ever happen to you, there is a story in the Bible that might help.

It’s found in the book of I Kings.

King Solomon had died. His son, Rehoboam was to be king of Israel. Because of Rehoboam’s attitude, there was a split in the kingdom. Another man, Jeroboam, was to be the ruler of the people who broke off from Rehoboam’s rule. Only one tribe remained faithful to Rehoboam.

What happens next is so very significant.

King Rehoboam gathered thousands of fighting men to go to war against those who had broken away.

Here is an account:

 

When Rehoboam arrived in Jerusalem, he mustered the whole house of Judah and the tribe of Benjamin—a hundred and eighty thousand fighting men—to make war against the house of Israel and to regain the kingdom for Rehoboam son of Solomon.

  But this word of God came to Shemaiah the man of God:  "Say to Rehoboam son of Solomon king of Judah, to the whole house of Judah and Benjamin, and to the rest of the people,  ‘This is what the LORD says: Do not go up to fight against your brothers, the Israelites. Go home, every one of you, for this is my doing.’ " So they obeyed the word of the LORD and went home again, as the LORD had ordered.

–I Kings 12:21-24

Rehoboam’s decision to obey the LORD, even when he surely must have been consumed with anger, is significant.

He did not carry out his plan.

He listened to God.

He just stopped—-and went home, as did those who were with him.

Lives were spared.

The future took a different turn.

His decision to obey mattered.

The next time you or I find ourselves really angry about something, shouldn’t we just stop—and listen for what God is telling us?

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Good Things of Your House

 

 

Every building has its history.

A beginning.

A story that has unfolded.

An architect.

A builder.

Those who have occupied its space.

Those who have maintained it.

A home.

A hospital.

A bank.

A church.

Approximately ten miles from my home, there is a quaint little town that was settled in 1874. Near its center stands a church built in 1941. Still housing a growing community of believers, its walls have known the passage of time and the passage of lives changed, matured and nurtured, as well.

Such is the case with many church buildings.

Testaments to the unseen faith of those who have gone on before, they remind us of God’s presence among the people.

I recently photographed the outer walkway of an adjoining structure there. The sun was streaming through the curved archways, forming bright blades of light on the pavement.

 

Many have walked its passage through the years; there are those that walk in it, still.

Since ancient times, God’s people have met together to worship Him.

No matter what country, what city, or little town, those within them are truly blessed to gather together as Christians to praise the Name of the LORD our God.

Psalm 65:1-4 reads,

"Praise awaits you, O God, in Zion;
       to you our vows will be fulfilled.

  O you who hear prayer,
       to you all men will come.

  When we were overwhelmed by sins,
       you forgave our transgressions.

  Blessed are those you choose
       and bring near to live in your courts!
       We are filled with the good things of your house,
       of your holy temple."

 

 

 

 

Instruct

 

Today I heard a very captivating speaker.
Sharing his thoughts on prudence and wise counsel, he made several noteworthy points.
From whom do we seek advice?
I found myself considering his words and mentally applying them to my own life as he spoke.

The Bible contains many verses on wisdom–it is mentioned two hundred and fifteen times in the New International Version.

Even though God has placed many mature Christians in my path throughout the years, I have, at times, neglected to seek their counsel on very important matters.

Was it because of pride?

Was it because of fear?

What might they suggest?

Standing apart from the encouragement that could have been mine had I only sought it from others, I have made some crucial errors that could have been avoided.

The past may be gone, but  the future is open to the decisions that I will make and the consequences that will follow.

Will I be wise enough to reach out to others? To consult those who God has made available to me?

Instruct a wise man and he will be wiser still;
       teach a righteous man and he will add to his learning.

  "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom,
       and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.

Proverbs 9:9-10

 

 

 

 

 

Carry Each Other’s Burdens

 

 

This morning, we found out that a friend had a need. My husband and I helped our friend as best we could.

This evening, we realized that we ourselves needed assistance in an entirely different matter.

I picked up the phone, made one call and the problem was solved.

Another friend was going to go out of his way to help us with our dilemma.

As Christians, if we all stood ready to do whatever we could for each other, whenever we could, wouldn’t the rest of the world take notice?

Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. –Galatians 6:2

 

 

 

 

Soar

 

 

Part of my duties at work involve being outdoors each afternoon.

I try very hard to remember to have my sunglasses with me. The glaring brightness is just too much for my eyes.

There are several benefits to wearing them.

Besides protecting my eyes from harmful uv rays, I can see the sky and clouds very clearly.

Lately, I have looked up to see a lone bird—or, on occasion, two or three together—soaring high in the air.

Extremely high.

Tiny sillhouettes of black against a clear blue sky.

I watch for a moment or two as they glide on an invisible track.

Graceful.

Effortless.

Free.

When a bird "soars" it can remain in flight without flapping its wings in a rising air current known as a thermal. Many birds have a special tendon that is used to lock their wings in place while soaring, using the thermal as their source for lift as they move to great heights.

Do we ever soar with God?

When flapping our wings in a furry

(battling the struggles of life)

is just too much for us, we can lock our wings in place

(our faith, hope and trust)

with our special tendon

(the strength and comfort of God to us from the Holy Spirit)

and allow God to lift us high on the rising air of the thermal

(His peace, His comfort, His enlightenment)

as we reach great heights that we have not previously experienced,

letting God continually hold us up.

Graceful.

Effortless.

Free.

I want to fly high, don’t you?

Do you not know?
       Have you not heard?
       The LORD is the everlasting God,
       the Creator of the ends of the earth.
       He will not grow tired or weary,
       and his understanding no one can fathom.

  He gives strength to the weary
       and increases the power of the weak.

  Even youths grow tired and weary,
       and young men stumble and fall;

  but those who hope in the LORD
       will renew their strength.
       They will soar on wings like eagles;
       they will run and not grow weary,
       they will walk and not be faint.

Isaiah 40:28-31

 

 

 

 

Instead, Pray

 

 

When we purchased our home several years ago, the seller mentioned the field grass that grew on the property behind us.

He spoke of the colors that appeared as the plants grew to a mature height.

He thought it looked nice—so do I.

Now that it is the autumn of the year, the vivid scene of the delicate seeds wrapped in feathery plumes is highlighted by the setting sun.

I have walked in the field before. Each year the tall stems emerge, heralding their growth for all to see.

God continues to provide for their existance.

He waters the plants with rain; the soil gives sustaining nourishment.

God continues to provide for His children, as well.

We are not to worry about anything.

Philippians 4:6 says,

"Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.  Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus."

Pray.

Tell.

Thank.

Those are assuring words to hear as we trust Him to provide for us, in this season and the next…

 

 

 

 

 

The Thirsty

 

 

 

I have fond memories of bringing drinks of water to one of our sons when he was a toddler.

Often, he would ask for a drink while sitting in the little bed that his Daddy had handcrafted especially for him.

He was thirsty.

I was willing and able to give him what he needed.

But what if I had chosen not to?

You might be thinking, "What kind of parent would refuse to give water to their thirsty child?"

Picture this scenario in your own life:

In the past, you have always come to the bedside of your two year old with a cup of water when they called you.

Being only two years old, your little sweetheart does not yet have a large vocabulary.

Thirsty, however, is one word they DO know how to say.

Tonight, things are different. You know what is planned for tomorrow.

Your bright eyed child is scheduled for a minor surgery the next day.

Since he is to be highly sedated, the doctor has given you orders NOT to let him have anything to drink–not one sip–after midnight.

You understand why—while under the effects of the sedation, he may begin to spit up any fluids in the stomach and aspirate them into his lungs, creating a very dangerous situation.

Although you understand, the mind of a two year old cannot comprehend such knowledge.

Shortly after midnight, a familiar voice is heard coming from the nursery…

"Mamma! Daddy!  I’m thirsty!"

They cannot understand why their need is not attended to.

You cannot explain why, at least not until they are more mature.

Giving in to their earnest pleas would be place your child in possible danger.

They’ll just have to wait and trust that you love them and  know what is best.

As adults, what do we want when we pray?

To have our needs met?

To ask God to do something for us?

To grow closer to Him?

When we ask God for something, He may provide almost immediately.

When we are "thirsty" He brings water upon hearing our call.

But what if He doesn’t?

Could it be that He knows what is planned for tomorrow?

Does He delay the answer to your prayer, knowing that it is far beyond your comprehension at the moment?

You might not need what you’ve been asking for–at least, not now.

With great love and compassion, He listens for your small voice to call.

We must trust Him to answer us in His time, not ours.

 

 

 

 

My People Do Not Know

 

 

 

I have listened attentively,
       but they do not say what is right.
       No one repents of his wickedness,
       saying, "What have I done?"
       Each pursues his own course
       like a horse charging into battle.

  Even the stork in the sky
       knows her appointed seasons,
       and the dove, the swift and the thrush
       observe the time of their migration.
       But my people do not know
       the requirements of the LORD.

—Jeremiah 8:6-7

 

 

More Pleasing

 

I was thinking about gifts this afternoon.

What types of gifts do you like?

Through the passing of years and seasons in my life, I have come to cherish certain types of gifts.

A diamond necklace?

A new car?

Expensive clothes?

A computer equipped with the latest technology?

Dinner at a posh restaurant?

While any of these would be extremely nice, they would pale in comparison to what’s at the top of my list.

Could it be a six week cruise around the world?

A state-of-the-art digital camera?

What could be treasured so highly?

Are you ready for the answer?

Something that expresses the gift of love.

 If any of the items mentioned were placed side to side with, say, a letter expressing love and appreciation from one of my children, which would be more important to me?

The letter, of course.

Words and phrases crafted in their own handwriting, each a symbol of devotion reaching from their heart into mine.

Priceless pages, money and all it can buy cannot supercede the real gift offered within them—the true gift of love that prompted each sentence.

Since we are God’s children, how does He view our gifts?

What is most important to Him?

A large sum of money placed in an offering plate?

Spending long hours volunteering for humanitarian causes?

Attending every church service possible?

Though these efforts sound good at first, if they are void of love for God framed in devotion and gratefulness, what would He think?

The prophet Samuel had this to say–

 “What is more pleasing to the Lord:
      your burnt offerings and sacrifices
      or your obedience to his voice?
   Listen! Obedience is better than sacrifice,
      and submission is better than offering the fat of rams."

—from I Samuel 15:22

 

Are love and obedience born from the same commitment?

Jesus said,  "If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching." 

(from John 14:23)

I was thinking about gifts this afternoon.

What kinds of gifts do you think God likes?








Caught With The Hand

 

 

This afternoon, I decided to do something relaxing.

Take a nap?

Go for a drive?

Walk in the park?

No. I decided to photograph a lizard.

For me, looking at the stunning rows of perfectly fitted scales on an anole is intriguing.

Trying to get good shots of these little creatures is both exciting and relaxing.

As is usual, a lizard was on the wall of my front porch.

I caught him!

I placed my new friend in a jar.

I picked some flowers and greenery for him to walk on.

After trying a few in-jar portraits, I decided to let him out.

That’s when it happened.

I have often thought that God allows me to photograh wild creatures by directing them to cooperate.

This little guy let me hold him on a small flower branch and click away with my camera.

Two or three times, he crawled ONTO the camera, calmly, as if to check things out himself.

For quite a long time, he moved about on the leaves, happily allowing me to observe just how beautiful and intricate God had made him.

Even as it was happening, I realized this was far from normal.

God granted me the privilege of viewing His creation up close.

In Proverbs, chapter 30, a man named Agur wrote these words:

Four things on earth are small,
       yet they are extremely wise:

  Ants are creatures of little strength,
       yet they store up their food in the summer;

  coneys are creatures of little power,
       yet they make their home in the crags;

  locusts have no king,
       yet they advance together in ranks;

  a lizard can be caught with the hand,
       yet it is found in kings’ palaces.

—verses 24-28

Today, I was treated with a few special moments photographing one of God’s extremely wise creations.

Agur had taken the time to consider these small reptiles.

I wonder if he and I will talk about them in Heaven someday?

That thought makes me smile.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Except Through Me

 

 

 

This morning, I went to a local event to help raise funds for feeding needy people.

While there, I met some very nice people.

Some people who have views very different from my own.

Views about God.

Views about eternity.

It would seem that they do not belive that Satan exists; there is no eternal punishment–

There is no need to trust in Jesus for salvation.

What would bring a person to feel this way?

These thoughts have been returning to my mind.

I have a yearning for them to know the truth.

John 16:6 says:

Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

 

 

Under the Fig Tree

 

 

 

If you could meet Jesus face to face here on Earth, how would you suppose He would describe you?

Would you think that He would consider you honest?

Since Jesus would know eveything about you, He would surely be aware of your heart’s condition.

When Jesus was on the Earth, He met many people.

At the time that He was calling His disciples to follow Him, He made an interesting statement as one man approached Him–

Jesus saw Nathanael coming to Him, and said of him, "Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!"

No deceit.

Nothing false.

I wonder what Nathanael thought in the years to come when He remembered the words of Jesus concerning him.

If I were to meet Jesus here on Earth today, how would He describe me? How would I want Him to?

That is a uncomfortable question for me, yet one well worth considering.

 

Jesus saw Nathanael coming to Him, and said of him, "Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!"

 Nathanael said to Him, "How do You know me?" Jesus answered and said to him, "Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you."

 Nathanael answered Him, "Rabbi, You are the Son of God; You are the King of Israel."

 Jesus answered and said to him, "Because I said to you that I saw you under the fig tree, do you believe? You will see greater things than these."

—John 1:47-50

 

 

 

Be Jubilant

 

 

 

Just about two weeks ago, I signed up for a physical fitness program.

In keeping with my commitment, I have been trying to take a walk every day. Many times, the walking occurs not in the daytime, but at night.

I live in a largely populated community of homes, but my house is actually located on the "edge" bordering a cattle farm, orange tree grove and a ….golf course. Well, I guess you’d just have to see it to believe it.

Until two weeks ago, I hadn’t been spending much time outside at night. I have to say, I have come to appreciate its benefits.

Let me explain…

As I exited my front door last night with our hound dog on the leash, she began furiously barking. Peering into our front yard, bathed in the gleam of the street light, I saw a wild rabbit go bounding (this was no gentle hop) from out yard, crossing the street, headed for the great beyond near the golf course.

I was pleased–I like rabbits.

This event took place on the heels of another run in I had with nature just a few nights ago. Walking along our street, I suddenly caught my breath, shocked at what I had almost stepped on.

An armadillo.

Waddling across the street, inches from my approaching foot. I followed him as he made his way on the pavement to the grass on the other side.

I was pleased--I like armadillos.

This experience was eclipsed, however, by what happened just a few nights before that.

While walking down the road and approaching a street light a few blocks from my home, I looked ahead  a few yards just in time to see what appeared to be a red fox, crossing in front of me! Straight tail out behind him, he made his way toward the cattle farm.

I was pleased–I like foxes.

As you can tell, nature interests me to no end. I marvel at God’s creatures and I take joy in seeing them.

Up to this point, I have never had a rabbit, an armadillo or a fox come to my door, wishing to be invited in.

No.

If I am to see them, I will have to join them where they are.

I like to think that the animals of the world are aware of God in a special way all of their own. Just as humans rejoice in Him, I feel that they can, too!

I Chronicles 16:31-32 reads:

Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad;
       let them say among the nations, "The LORD reigns!"

  Let the sea resound, and all that is in it;
       let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them!

As for the creatures of the fields around my house, I hope that they are jubilant in their awareness of God.

And not only that, when I am blessed with seeing them, I become jubilant, as well!

The LORD reigns!

 

 

 

 

 

To the Brim

 

 

 

The first miracle that Jesus performed was turning water into wine at a wedding in Cana.

On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, "They have no more wine."

 "Dear woman, why do you involve me?" Jesus replied, "My time has not yet come."

 His mother said to the servants, "Do whatever he tells you."

 Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons.

Jesus said to the servants, "Fill the jars with water"; so they filled them to the brim. –John 2:1-7

Have you ever thought about the obedience of the servants?

When Jesus told them to fill the water jars with water, they could have filled them half way.

They could have filled them three-fourths of the way. After all, maybe there needed to be room to safeguard against spills.

Although they could have carried out their task in a different way, they chose not to.

Instead, they filled them "to the brim."

If God tells us to do something, should we respond with part obedience and part caution?

If He tells us to purchase a field, do we buy a small lot instead?

If He gives us a direction to follow, do we run toward it, or walk halfway?

 

 

 


 

 

Anyone Who Calls

 

 

 

Pour out.

Prophesy.

See.

Dream.

In the last days, God will "pour out His Spirit on all kinds of people."

The second chapter of Acts, verses 17-21, recount a passage from the prophet Joel.

The last twelve words are indescribable in their significance to all mankind:

"…anyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."

 

 

 

Your Children

 

 

Presence.

Passion.

Persistance.

What is parenting all about, anyway?

What is the most important aspect of this serious assignment in life?

Having had four children, I’ve had some time to think it over.

As a Christian, my view of parenting has come to take shape with one core belief in mind–

Eternity.

Of course, I have, and hopefully will continue to, care for my children’s needs as I can.

They have been looked after, educated academically, cleaned, fed, and advised.

But number one?

Where will they spend eternity?

Teaching my children about God and hoping to foster an eagerness toward a relationship with Him has been a large priority.

Bible reading, prayer.  Talking about our faith.

I’ve put forth effort—but is it enough?

I know that God wants me to teach my children about Him. It is He who will give me the strength and guidance to do so.

Three words that I feel could be a guiding force in my mission are presence, passion and persistance.

If their young hearts are to be encouraged spiritually and emotionally by me, I must be present.

At the ballgame.

At the church youth rally.

At the conference.

At the dinner table.

I must be passionate.

The dictionary describes this word as "compelled by intense emotion or strong feeling."

Just how much do I want my children to know the Lord?

How much of myself am I willing to offer to invest in their lives? How will they know they are cared for?

I must be persistant.

Throughout all the many stages of maturing–from toddler to teenager–I cannot relinquish my role as an intercessor in prayer, an encourager in faith and a cheering fan in the bleachers of the game of life lived for Christ. I must encourage instead of frustrate or abandon.

I simply cannot quit.

God gives fathers and mothers an important mission.

What does He think parenting is all about, anyway?

 

 

 

 

 

A Mighty Downpour

 

 

 

In a Bible class I am attending on Sunday mornings we are discussing the need for a "downpour" from God.

The topic is not about a geographical drought; it is centered on considering our own spiritual condition and reflecting on our relationship with Him.

What kind of downpour do we really need from God?

This passage in the Book of Job is very interesting to me:

God’s voice thunders in marvelous ways;
       he does great things beyond our understanding.

  He says to the snow, ‘Fall on the earth,’
       and to the rain shower, ‘Be a mighty downpour.’

 So that all men he has made may know his work,
       he stops every man from his labor. (verses 5-7)

While I might have considered previously that God certainly causes the snow and the rain to fall and that His power is beyond my understanding, I had never pondered the next verse and it’s meaning before–

So that all men he has made may know his work,
       he stops every man from his labor.

When there is a heavy snow, airports cease their flights. Traffic may come to a halt. Every outdoor activity is altered in some way.

When there is a downpour of rain, it is much the same. When we can no longer see through the windshield, we must pull over to the side of the road. It is beyound our control.

When every man "stops" he must acknowledge His work.

But what about a spiritual downpour from God?

A downpour of His presence?

A downpour of His power?

A downpour of His love?

Would experiencing such a downpour cause us to stop our labor and know His work in us?

 

 

 

 

 

 

From the Mountainside

 

 

 

 

When he came down

from the mountainside,

large crowds followed him.

A man with leprosy came

and knelt before him and said,

"Lord, if you are willing,

you can make me clean."

  Jesus reached out his hand

and touched the man.

"I am willing," he said.

"Be clean!"

Immediately he was cured

of his leprosy. 

~Matthew 8:1-3

 

 

Only One Thing is Needed

 

 

Fashion trends seem to go in cycles.

The big shoe. The slender shoe.

Permed hair. Straight hair.

Jeans with flared legs. Straight "skinny" jeans.

I am often slow to sport the latest in anything, but sometime last year I did fit in with the latest style in…purses.

A walk in any mall store would testify to the current wave of BIG purses. Purses you could carry a hat in—well, almost.

My big purse was black with outside pockets; room to store even more.

Because I had the room for every necessity, I filled it with such.

Who knows? I might need a …

Better take this along…..

This fits just right in this section….

The problem was, it was just too much.

Too much weight.

Too much to look through when I needed one item among the many.

Too much bulk.

Too much.

In a chance moment of sanity, I decided to separate myself from fashion and opt for practicality, simplicity and ease.

With a quick visit to my closet, I found a small bag that I had used years ago to store a 35mm camera and batteries.

With three zippered areas, it was organized in a sensible, no nonsence way.

After taking a good look at what I really needed to carry everywhere, everyday, I chose what I could to fill the modestly sized black bag.

I am pleased to say it has served me well. No longer hindered by fashion’s call, life is a bit easier and less stressful.

This reminded me of something—-

In the book of Luke, chapter ten, Jesus visited the home of Martha and Mary:

As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, "Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!"

 "Martha, Martha," the Lord answered, "you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed.  Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her." (verses 38-42)

Like my choice of a big, bulky purse filled with non-essentials, I am tempted to become distracted by filling my life with the same.

Who knows? I might need to say yes to every volunteer position I am asked to fill.

I’d better take this class and learn how to…..

Joining this group would fit nicely on my only free night….

The problem is, it’s just too much.

Too much emptiness without purpose.

Too much cluttered time when I am trying to find what I am really searching for.

Too much.

What do I really need?

Time for my family.

Time to consider what is important.

Time to think.

Time to pray.

Time to listen for God’s voice.

Am I filling my life with many things that cause me to be worried and upset?

Only one thing is needed….

 

 

 

 

There is Freedom

 

 

 

The air was cool and dusk had just set in.

Walking along with my camera strapped around my neck, a large bird suddenly emerged in front of me and flew overhead.

With a very quick shot, the gracefulness and poise of this streamlined creature was captured.

The background was the infinite space of the atmosphere, still slightly illumined by the gray hues of evening.

The flash on my camera highlighted the bird, giving it a unique visage against the velvety sky.

He was free.

Free to fly, free to land. Free to go fishing or splash at the waters’ edge.

Are you free today?

Free to fly, free to land?

Free to go fishing or splash at the waters’ edge?

Freely forgiven?

Freely experiencing the guidance of the Holy Spirit in your life?

 

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.    ~ II Corinthians 3:17-18

 

 

Look, Here is Water

 

 

How far would God go to reach you?

To what lengths would He go to beckon you toward a relationship with Him?

Would He send someone right to you—as you were just traveling from one place to the next?

Would He create a chain of events in order to reveal His love for you?

Would He instruct other people to come alongside you to further point you toward His truth?

Would He allow you to witness a miracle as a testimony to His power?

In the Book of Acts, chapter eight, we find an account of Philip and his encounter with a man from Ethiopia.

God told Philip to travel on a certain road. When he saw the Ethiopian, God gave further instructions for him to stay near the chariot in which the man was traveling. Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man reading from the book of Isaiah.

The Ethiopian invited Philip to sit with him. After some discussion, he began to tell him about Jesus.

As they came near to water, the man asked Philip,"Look, here is water. Why shouldn’t I be baptized?"

So Philip and the Ethiopian went down to the water and he baptized him.

When they came up out of the water, God caused Philip to disappear from the Ethiopian’s presence.

Think for a moment—-how has God revealed Himself to you?

Who has He called to travel your way?

Who has He instructed to come alongside you to explain the free gift of forgiveness through the sacrifice of Jesus?

What marvelous deeds of God have you witnessed in your life?

Just how far would God go to reach you?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Seek the LORD

 

 

 

Seek the LORD while he may be found;
       call on him while he is near.

  Let the wicked forsake his way
       and the evil man his thoughts.
       Let him turn to the LORD, and he will have mercy on him,
       and to our God, for he will freely pardon.

Isaiah 55:6-7

What if this passage of scripture was a letter from you to someone you really care about that does not know the Lord?

How would you phrase these thoughts?

Suppose it was your aging mother or father?

Your sister?

Your brother?

Your husband?

Your wife?

Your teenaged son or daughter?

Might it be somewhat like this?

Please, please turn your heart toward God. Before it’s too late, reach out to Him! While He is tugging at your heart right now, don’t turn away. He’s so close and you need Him so much.

You may think that you’re stuck in the way you’ve come to live, but you’re not. You can turn around and leave all that behind.

Leave those old habits behind! Even your thoughts that make you feel guilty all the time.

If you’ll just turn to God, He will have mercy on you—no matter what you’ve done.

He’ll forgive you for everything. I promise!

Please don’t wait. Don’t wait another minute…. I love you.

 

 

 

As We Have Opportunity

 

 

 

It’s a simple concept, really.

As part of a program I signed up for recently, I have a daily devotional to read that encourages me to consider four goals.

Every day, I am to fill in my answers for each goal in a large, rectangular box.

One of those four goal boxes is titled, "Who I Can Bless Today."

This basic heading has caused me to think and act in a newly positive way when thinking about the people in my life.

If only for a few, short moments I can do something that will bless another, isn’t it worth doing?

I have the joy of actually writing down those who I’m "blessing."  If I do the devotional late in the day or at night, I write down what I have already accomplished in that area.

This has been a freeing thing for me.

Instead of being overwhelmed with considering too much, I have found myself sending a short, encouraging text from my phone.

I have taken the time to email a friend.

I’ve called a family member who lives far away.

I’ve sent some online messages intended to comfort or encourage.

I’ve thought of ways to show gratitude to those who minister to me.

It’s a simple concept, really.

Who CAN I bless today?

 

Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.

Galatians 6:10

 

He Satisfies the Thirsty

 

 

It was fun to watch the squirrel.

He was so cautious about everything.

A small sound might have made him run.

Sitting on the edge of the bird bath at my friend’s house, he found what he was looking for.

Water.

But why was he looking?

He was thirsty.

He knew he would get what he needed if he found the water.

It satisfied his yearning.

God knows we are spiritually thirsty. And hungry.

He’s waiting there for us to come to Him.

Prayer.

Reading the Bible.

Contemplating our faith.

We may be afraid at first, overly cautious, perhaps.

That’s okay.

He understands.

He is waiting to satisfy our yearning.

Psalm 107:9 says,

… for he satisfies the thirsty
       and fills the hungry with good things.

 

 

 

 

Acknowledge Him

 

 

 

I heard a commercial the other day.

The catch phrase of the offer was "Rethink Possible."

Although the advertisement was about  telephones, the slogan stood out for me in a totally different way.

The word possible could be thought of as what could likely be, based on the knowledge available.

Rain is possible today.

I could possibly make it to the office on time.

It is possible to lose weight and keep it off…..

Before Jesus came, many would have thought it impossible to feed 5,000 people with only one basket of food.

They would have thought it impossible for a blind man to suddenly see, a crippled man to walk again, or a dead man wrapped in grave clothes to emerge from a tomb and greet his sisters.

Certainly, it would have been impossible for a demon to flee from a crazed captive, leaving him in his right mind.

Equally impossible might have been an uneducated fisherman speaking with great confidence and understanding.

But what about after Jesus came?

Well, those who saw Him had to do it—-

they had to Rethink Possible in a huge way.

They had to acknowledge Him and His power.

Physical healing—possible.

Forgiveness of sins—possible.

Spiritual restoration—possible.

Wisdom to make right choices—possible.

Changed lives—possible.

So what have you been thinking of as impossible in your own life?

 

Maybe it’s time to ……..rethink.