April 29, 2015

Being Changed and Being Made Beautiful



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. 

I am encouraged to notice changes in me and know that God is slowly and steadily working on me. There have been times that it has been so slow that it seemed change would never come at all. I am thankful He is patient and loving, caring and tenderhearted. 

Through this process of changing me, molding me, shaping me, He did not push me and He did not force me to change, but somehow He made me want to be more like Him.

I am so glad He works on me, changes me, and does not leave me like I was five years ago, even ten and more years ago. I don’t know how He does it, but thankfully, I am not that person anymore. His love, His life in me re-invented me.

God keeps working out His plan as He works these changes in my life and in my heart. I am grateful that He loves me enough to change me. Because He has given me a glimpse of what I can become, I know I want to be all He made me to be.

God brings about change in our lives as we continue to surrender our lives and allow Him to lead us.  Ecclesiastes 3:11 declares that “He has made everything beautiful in its time.”  

Remember that a thing of beauty does not happen overnight.  

The beautiful flower that bloomed today went through a gradual process of change starting as a seed, then a small seedling that slowly matured into a beautiful flower.  

The growth and change God is gradually bringing about in our lives will also make us a beautiful masterpiece by the greatest makeover artist of all, our Heavenly Father. 

Philippians 2:13 
For it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.


April 28, 2015

Waiting God's Way



We made it through winter. We are no longer surrounded by bare tree branches and brown grass. We waited a long time for spring to emerge and fill up our world with vibrant color again.

But there is also a different kind of waiting.

There is the waiting we do for answers as we seek God’s direction in matters of prayer and decisions and choices that need to be made. 

Waiting… 

I’ve been thinking about waiting and how to do it better than I have impatiently waited in the past.  I am learning how to wait. Waiting has taught me how to wait.

Waiting - with trust added to it will give you endurance, peace, confidence in God’s ways, His plans, His timing. Waiting without this kind of trust can be acutely agonizing and will make us miserable. Waiting on God should be our place of rest, not worry and fretting, not wringing our hands. Waiting on Him from a position of rest comes when we have learned to trust Him with everything and with all of our heart.

When I am waiting on answers from God, I know He is asking me to trust and rest while I am waiting -and I want to do that, and say I will, but I must admit I often find it very hard.

That is okay, because I am learning to walk by faith, draw closer to Him, listen for His direction, and not get in a hurry. As He teaches me to wait on Him with all my trust placed confidently in what He is doing in my life, I will find I can wait patiently for what He knows is best.

When we find the place of rest that waiting God’s way will bring us, we will find a new strength we didn’t know before, because we have experienced our faith growing, and we know in our heart that what we are waiting for is a perfect answer from God.  That makes the waiting worth it all. 

Isaiah 40:31
But those who wait on the Lord
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint.

April 26, 2015

A Door for Hope


During my quiet time one morning, I reviewed the names and prayer requests in my prayer journal and found a name that made me stop to consider who else was praying for the needs of this person, and made a sad conclusion. I recalled recent conversations with relatives and friends and realized most of them had given up on this person. 

I often faced discouragement myself as the years have slipped by and there hasn’t been any change, any apparent softening of the heart towards the message of God’s love and gift of salvation through faith in His Son, Jesus Christ.

Many of us have been praying for a loved one on our prayer list for a long time. Maybe the name on your list is someone who has turned away from the Lord, and you have diligently prayed for this prodigal son or daughter to come home. 

Maybe the name on your list is a relative or friend who has never called upon the Lord for salvation, and you have prayed for this loved one for many years, and still have not seen this prayer answered. 

It is easy to think that because there has been no change after all this time, they will never change and that attitude can lead to giving up on consistently praying for them.

Sometimes we become discouraged when answers don’t appear. It is hard to understand when we pray for someone and don’t see anything happen year after year. Even when we are discouraged and weary, we must continue in diligent prayer and keep believing God is doing a work we cannot see, yet.

Ask God to give you more love and compassion for those on your prayer list, and as you keep praying for their return to the Lord or their salvation, may you see that your prayers always keep open…a door for hope.

Proverbs 13:12 
Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when the desire comes, it is a tree of life.

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

April 22, 2015

A Good Season of Life


I am an empty nester, and I love it. It wasn’t that I was anxious to get my two little birds out of the nest. It was just that when the time came - I discovered that this is also a good season of life. I love the young women our daughters are, and I also enjoy having my husband to myself.
    
But, I became an empty nester sooner than my plans would have allowed, far sooner than I would have expected when we first started our family.
    
We had hoped to have three to five children. I was thankful to be marrying a godly man who wanted to have several children. Randy and I knew it was ultimately in God’s hands what size our family would grow to, but as we discussed our plans in those early years, we both hoped to have at least three to five children.
    
We do have five children. We have two here, and three in heaven waiting for us. I had two miscarriages and one precious newborn baby girl who only lived on this earth for two very short days.
    
So, my cozy nest was never as full as I had hoped it would be. I thought there would be many more years of little ones underfoot, and to make our family fill up more chairs around the table, more little ones and growing ones to love and to cherish.
    
But God had other plans. I don’t know why, but I know Him. And I rest safe and secure and loved in knowing Him and knowing He is a sovereign God.
    
I also recognize and know that I am blessed beyond measure in all I have been given, and when my empty nest years came sooner than I thought they would - I found that my life is full, so very full. God fills me up! In whatever season of life I am in, He fills me up.
    
God gave us His strength and comfort to heal from our loss, and grace to accept that His plans for our lives and for our family were not the ones Randy and I discussed early in our marriage. We learned that in accepting His will for our lives we were also graced with peace and joy to embrace what we had been given.
    
Yes, the empty nest years came sooner than I anticipated, and the rhythm of life greatly changed upon the departure of both daughters as they went off to college, and built their own lives. They are thriving in the new season of their lives, and my husband and I are thriving in this new season of our lives.
    
Life is full of changing seasons. Yet, through life’s changing seasons, I have found there is one thing that will never change. I can and I will trust God with it all and through it all.

Psalm 23:6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

April 19, 2015

A Clean Slate for Each New Day



Lamentations 3:22-23
It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is thy faithfulness.


Yes, we are immeasurably blessed! God’s mercy is new every morning, and you will know it when you meet with Him each new day.

You will know the slate is clean, with no traces remaining of yesterday. A fresh clean slate holds the promise of a better day to come. The beginning of a brand new day offers a fresh start where you will know there are new beginnings with new opportunities and new horizons.

God's love is also new every morning. Mercy is often translated in the Bible as lovingkindness, and isn’t that the best kind of love? We have a God whose love is patient and kind and His mercy is new and easy to be found when you meet with Him every morning of each new day. His love is full of compassion and His mercy demonstrates His unending love to us.

There have been times when I had a miserable day when I couldn’t wait to just go on to bed knowing that when I woke up the next morning, a new day waited for me. I wanted a new day to do life better. 

The amazing truth is that our God’s mercy is available every moment. If I mess up in the morning or in the middle of an afternoon, I can start anew in that exact moment I say, Lord, I’m sorry, I need to hit the refresh button on this day and start again in a place of new mercy. 

I am deeply grateful for this mercy that is new every morning, every moment and every day.

April 16, 2015

Trading My Flaws for God's Grace

Lavender Grace Figurine by Willow Tree

I am flawed
Every day

I miss the mark
Every day

I lose patience and say things the wrong way which means I shouldn’t have said them at all.

I forget to pray for someone I assured I would remember their prayer request.

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.

I have negative and critical thoughts about someone and then I am filled with guilt.

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. And then the good news gets even better. There is someone who is perfect. Jesus is the perfect one. And He perfectly loves me every day. He loves me although I am flawed and when I miss the mark.

I don’t like myself when I mess up but I am reminded that 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 so 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.