May 20, 2018

Open Heart


Someone recently commented to me, and it is the same comment I have heard from others, that what I write makes them want to have a deeper walk with God. What I write makes them realize it is possible.
 

They thought it was complicated but it isn’t. It is as simple as opening your heart to it…constantly and consistently. It is not a big secret for just a select few. It is for everyone who calls Him LORD.
  
An open heart is a heart that welcomes Him in.

 

An open heart is a heart that makes time for Him.
 

A lady once told me in one sentence that she doesn’t have time for a quiet time in her schedule and in the next sentence she admitted that she gets up at 5:00 multiple mornings a week to run and train for marathons.
 

What are we making time for in our schedule?
 

It is easy to look at our schedules and find them jam packed and then we wonder why we don’t feel close to God.
 

I am not saying we shouldn’t get up at 5:00 in the morning and run.
 

I am saying that if we make time for running, then use that same kind of effort and dedication to also make time for God in a close and intimate way.
 

One of my favorite hymns, which I sadly haven’t heard in church in many years, but remains a favorite of mine is the beautiful song In the Garden.
 

This writer gets it. His words tell me he had a wide open heart and God filled it up with joy.
 

The heart that opens to the Lord is a heart He delights to fill.
 


Chorus from In the Garden, C. Austin Miles 1912   

And He walks with me, 
And He talks with me,
And He tells me I am His own,
And the joy we share as we tarry there,
None other has ever known.

May 14, 2018

Trading Flaws for Grace


I am flawed. Every day I miss the mark. Every day I lose patience and say things the wrong way which means I should not have said them at all.
         
I keep messing up. Last week I forgot to pray for someone I assured I would remember their prayer request. I saw her at church and the stress of her situation was written across her face and I was reminded that I need to pray. I was also reminded of my negligence.
         
I stand in the line at the grocery store and chit chat with the cashier or another person in line with me and forget to share the Lord in some way when God opens the door and gives me a moment to open my mouth and be a light in a dark world. When I get in my car and pull out of the parking lot I shake my head disappointed in myself because I let that moment slip out of my hands.
         
I have negative and critical thoughts about someone and then I am filled with guilt. I should know better. I do know better, and yet…there were those negative and critical thoughts exploding in my mind.
         
The list is endless.
         
There is bad news and there is good news.
         
Bad news: I have flaws and I mess up—consistently. I am not perfect. Not even close. Sometimes I am just a big mess.
         
Good news: I am a sinner saved by grace. Then the good news gets even better. There is someone who is perfect. Jesus is the perfect one. He perfectly loves me every day. He loves me although I am flawed and when I miss the mark. I am desperate for this kind of love and He offers it to me freely every day.
         
I don’t like myself when I mess up but I am reminded God’s grace is there for me and I can do better with His help. I want to do better. God is patient with me and He continues to work in me to make me more like Him. This gives me hope. I am deeply thankful there is hope and grace for this flawed heart of mine.

Philippians 1:6 Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.

May 11, 2018

Are You Enjoying the Goodness of the Lord?


On my walk yesterday when I arrived at the bridge I did what I always do.

I slow down. I stop. I lean over and peer through the side of the bridge on one side and say hello beautiful creek, it’s good to see you and watch the water below. 

Then I cross over to the other side and say hey there creek, it’s good to see you this evening and watch it wind through the woods flowing the way a creek should.

I have this little talk with the creek because I remember the drought in 2011 when the creek was only a small trickle. I hope we never have a drought like that again.

Then I stood in the middle of the bridge and breathed in the beauty of the moment standing in the shade of the trees towering above. I whispered aloud oh this feels so good.

I had already seen four cottontails frolicking in an open field I love to call the meadow. I even encountered an armadillo which was a surprise. And then I enjoyed the moments on the bridge with a light breeze and sunlight streaming through the trees.

I continued my walk across the bridge. At the end of the bridge to the left in a small clearing in the woods are several benches. Two people were sitting on one of the benches. My first thought was, did they hear me talking to the creek? Did they see me stand in the middle of the bridge with my face toward heaven just breathing in the beauty of the day?

I shared this with my husband when I returned. Now he knows his wife of thirty four years talks to the creek. I told him, if that couple watched me and heard me then they know the lady who leans over the bridge and talks to the creek was enjoying life! Would they also know what she was really doing was enjoying the goodness of the Lord?

What about you? Are you enjoying the goodness of the Lord? 

Psalm 107:8-9 
Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness,
And for His wonderful works to the children of men!
For He satisfies the longing soul,
And fills the hungry soul with goodness.