January 17, 2018

Two Places


I asked myself these two questions when I recently examined what guides me as I navigate life: What goes on within me? What goes on around me? I decided to break it down and take a closer look.

What goes on within me? 
Faith  
God

What goes on around me?
The world
Circumstances

I asked myself again, What truly guides me in this world I live in? I decided there are two places I can stand in as I navigate through the world: I can stand by faith in a faithful God or I can stand in the world and be stuck in circumstances and controlled by them. Circumstances can have tremendous sway on us if we aren’t standing firmly with God.
           
The first place is where my heart lives. Faith resides there—it’s a place where I faithfully trust in God and trust that every single detail will come together as He has planned. Because of who He is and my relationship with Him, I have trusted that He will work it all out for my good and His glory, knowing that I have sought His wisdom and guidance and that my circumstances have been covered with prayer.
           
The second place is this world we live in, and it’s a world filled with circumstances that constantly swirl around us. There are often pressures and struggles associated with the things of this world; some are normal, everyday events, and others are unexpected challenges. We must navigate our way through it all, even though we are often uncertain about what to do and which choice to make.
           
It comes down to a choice: Will we stand firmly in the first place or go to the second? When we stand in the place of faith, God works to accomplish His will. He is in control. Prayer is answered. He is far superior to the circumstances of this life in which we are woefully entangled. Sometimes He untangles things, straightens them out, and shows us His power and strength. Other times, He carries us through the tangled web and changes us in the process to be more like Him. Either way, we are immensely blessed and He is glorified.
           
Seek Him first—this is how we stand firmly in the first place.

Matthew 6:33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.

Additional verses:
Psalm16:11, Psalm 25:4-5, Psalm 37:23, Proverbs 3:5-6, James 1:5, 1 John 5:4

January 14, 2018

The Bridge


I love to take pictures of this bridge on our neighborhood walking trail. Below is one I took in the fall as I approached the bridge. This recent picture above captures the barrenness of winter and yet it also captures the beauty of winter. I think that is what I enjoy about it so much.

I have peered over the sides during seasons of drought and flood and also witnessed the ordinary normal rhythm of the flowing creek below. I always stop and check on the creek when I pass this way on the walking trail.

I have left footprints in the snow on this bridge and I have watched sunlight stream through the lush summer leaves. I have rested in its canopy of shade when the summer heat makes even a morning walk hot.

It is not just the creek below that I enjoy on my stops on the bridge.

There is something more, something else special about this bridge.

I like the strength I feel beneath my feet as I securely stand supported by concrete and steel. I feel safe.

I feel safe because this bridge is firm and strong!

The strength of this bridge reminds me of the One who is my strength.

Psalm 18:1-2
I will love You, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; My God, my strength, in whom I will trust; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.


January 10, 2018

When We Blow It Again

After listening to someone share how they blew it by losing their patience over a very small matter when their sincere intention was to keep calm in a disagreeable situation, I was reminded how recently a similar thing had happened to me. 

Just when I think I am making progress in an area, I turn around and blow it again. I wasn’t looking to lose my control and say things I didn’t mean to say. And yet a simple conversation and small disagreement with my husband spiraled into heated words and I definitely blew it with my tongue. It was so trivial and stupid of me. I blew it again…

I was madder at myself than my husband was. For him it blew over very quickly but I continued to punish myself with the question, why did I do it? I didn’t want to do it! But I did it.

Why am I so prone to sin? Does that sound familiar? 

I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. Romans 7:15 (NIV) 

Why can’t I do a better job of reigning myself in? Why did I do something I didn’t even want to do?

Do you hear the condemnation ringing loud in this battle raging within me? There is an answer. There is now no condemnation.

There–is–now–no-condemnation. 

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. Romans 8:1-2 (NIV) 

When I blow it again, there is no condemnation because Jesus took care of that for me. I am so thankful for this truth. I need to accept this beautiful gift of no condemnation. It is part of my inheritance as a born again believer and child of God.

I don’t want to blow it again. But I probably will.