January 29, 2018

The Adirondack Chairs


I must need that getaway I wrote about in my previous post more than I realized because yesterday God put one right in front of me and it was my great delight.

Walking along the paved trail near our neighborhood, I peered into the woods, winter bare, sun streaming down casting evening shadows - when something caught my eye. 

Two Adirondack chairs, one red and the other blue, were in the middle of the woods.  A kindred spirit must have done such a thing placing them there. Another heart that beats for quiet moments of serenity when all the world must be tuned out for a little while. 

As I sank comfortably into the blue chair, I thought about how this scene will look in the spring, and I cannot wait. Every breath I take in winter awaits the coming spring. 

But for the barrenness of winter, I would not have spotted them from the trail. 

These were my happiest moments in recent days as I received this treasured gift from the Lord.

Isaiah 30:15 “In quietness and confidence shall be your strength.”

January 27, 2018

By a Pristine Lake


We had a missionary at our church last Sunday and he shared with us that when he was finishing college he wanted to get away with God to ask him what to do with his life. Use the degree he’d just earned or heed God’s call to mission work.

He did get away. He went backpacking in another country.

Later, as I recalled his account of wanting a getaway with God, my mind started dreaming of such a place.

My thoughts raced to a mountain hideaway, a cabin by a pristine lake, wildflowers, and a breeze so fresh you can’t breathe it all in. Oh how I could use a getaway.

I want to know more clearly what to do and I want inspiration so the words will flow like a mountain waterfall in the spring after a snowy winter.

We know we don’t have to get away to a mountain hideaway to hear from God.

But there are times when solitude is the best prescription for what ails the heart that longs to hear in more detail how God desires to lead in a certain area, whether we are facing a crossroads or in a situation where nothing is happening.

I have been craving my own retreat but it hasn’t happened.

The next best thing is quiet moments alone with Him, by a window, on a garden bench, on a leisurely walk when no one is around.

I am not going away on a special trip or retreat to find what God has for me next, but I am perpetually asking God to show me what He has for me and I cling to verses that tell me He directs my path…and day by day I am taking the steps He has prepared for me.

And while I sit on that garden bench, or gaze out the window, I will let my thoughts drift away to the glittering sun on the pristine lake and imagine God and I together there.

Proverbs 16:9
A man’s heart plans his way,
But the LORD directs his steps.

January 24, 2018

Safe and Secure


Psalm 139:9-10 If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there Your hand shall lead me, and Your right hand shall hold me.

He leads me and He holds me. He leads you and He holds you.

Now, let those words sink in. Read those verses again that tell us God’s hand will lead us and also hold us. This has comforted me more than once through a time of silence, waiting, wondering, and uncertainty. While I cannot see clearly what is going on, I can still know God is leading me all the way and He is caring for me through this journey and He holds me in His hand.

Here is how my heart is letting these verses sink in:

He leads me - He is in control.
This is His to do - I follow as He leads.
I trust Him each step of the way - each silent and difficult waiting step of the way.
He holds me - this is His protection.
His tender care – this is a security I can know.
This is definitely comforting when faced with uncertainty and fear.

I am glad He holds me – safe and secure.
I am glad He leads me - I won’t be far behind.
This is how I stay in close relationship with the Lord.
This is my walk with the Lord.
He leads me - I follow close behind Him.
He holds me all the way.
He will hold you all the way…

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. 

January 7, 2018

A Prayer to Endure


Endure is a word I have thought about lately. I have been thinking about it since before the new year even started. It is the word that describes a life of faith and puts the focus on our choice to persevere one day at a time and year after year. To endure is where our faith comes fully alive.
 
Yes, I pray that  our faith will endure and that our walk will endure. I pray that we will run this race well and that we will diligently persevere and stay the course.

Stumbling and getting back up, falling but standing strong again.

Endure through loss,
Endure through disappointment.

Endure through uncertainty,
Tried and tested but proven.

Endure in our Bible reading and in our prayer life.

Endure in having a more giving heart and being intentional with our time.

Endure in our relationships with people and being attentive to all around us.

I pray with utmost sincerity that we will endure in trusting the Lord with all our heart. This will make all the difference between coasting and living out a faith that is fully alive.

Hebrews 12:1-2 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

January 1, 2018

What Matters Most for the New Year


Moving into a new year isn’t as simple as merely turning the page on a calendar. Sometimes, instead of an organized list of plans and goals the new year looks like a list of question marks. 

The things of life don’t always fall neatly into place with everything sorted and resolved according to our best laid plans. When we turn a calendar page and a brand new year stares back, it reminds us how little we know about what tomorrow holds and how little control we have over events that unfold. 
 
I have never found it realistic to believe we exert any legitimate control in this world and yet I hear people repeatedly declare how they love to be, and must be in control. When I look around, what I see is a world constantly spinning out of control.

As I enter a new year I will acknowledge that it isn’t about how much I know and how well I have planned for what lies ahead. Approaching this new year is about who I know and that is Jesus Christ. This relationship with Jesus sets the course for another new year and is the firm foundation on which my life stands.

Navigating this journey of life as a new year begins is also a process of holding tight to faith – a faith that endures the calendars of days to come.

Since the dawn of mankind in the Garden of Eden with Adam and Eve - to the dawn of a new year, God has been pursuing a relationship with us-built on faith and obedience in our walk with Him. 

This relationship will grow and deepen when we consistently choose to seek the Lord and faithfully follow Him all the days and all the years of our lives.

As one year ends and the dawn of a new year begins, this is what matters most.


Jeremiah 29:13 
And you will seek Me and find Me, 
When you search for Me with all your heart.