Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Changing Seasons

The weather has been getting colder every day. Recently, I finally had to use my winter coat and gloves. The leaves lost their vibrant green color of spring and are falling to the ground. This morning there were golden leaves on my windshield. Driving to work they were soaring every which way as the wind propelled them in different directions. There are less people out and the ones you see are rushing here and there, trying to stay warm, and escaping from their warm homes only to bustle along in their duties quickly. You can smell more fires burning and there is a chill in the air that only comes with fall. It's a good time of year, probably one of my favorite as you literally watch the passing from summer to autumn and from autumn to winter.

The 22nd was Erica’s 24th birthday. Even though 24 wasn't too long ago for me, it feels like a lifetime. At 24, I was heartbroken in a relationship that I knew was going nowhere, I had no idea who I was or where I was going. I didn't know what was up, or what was down. I was overweight, underappreciated (or so I thought), unloved, unsure of myself and overzealous to go the wrong way. Those who knew me then wouldn't recognize me now.

Erica is on the right path in her faith. She is energetic and full of life; she is tall, blonde, and beautiful. She has such energy for the Lord that she has inspired my faith in the short time we have worked together. She has a childlike love of God that makes me smile. She makes me want to run outside, into a field of wild flowers and frolic all day long, gazing at the wonders God has placed before us. It's a pretty cool way to be. The Bible says in Mark 10:13-16 "Then they brought little children to Him, that He might touch them; but the disciples rebuked those who brought them. But when Jesus saw it, He was greatly displeased and said to them, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God. Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.” And He took them up in His arms, laid His hands on them, and blessed them."

Though the seasons change, and the leaves and weather ebb and flow, it's wondrous to think our Lord never changes. Even we as humans can change our colors like leaves. We can go into different seasons of life being tossed to and fro, even falling to the ground at times, but our Lord is ever faithful calling us to Him. He is there through times when we seem to have a child like wonder at His awesome works to times when we are propelled out of control. I imagine the Lord patient, a picture of serenity as He lingers near us waiting for our attention to return to Him. There He waits for His children, with an open lap like a father ready for us to crawl up into his lap and just snuggle. We can crawl up into the lap of Jesus and nestle with Him and tell Him all of our problems and cares and He wants to listen and to bless us. He wants to talk to us and sit with us and love on us. It's a beautiful thing. Thanks Erica, for reminding me of that.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Bad Dream, Good Friend

On Tuesday a dear friend, who is one of the best things in my life, told me about a dream she had about the two of us. The dream was quite vivid and in telling me about it you could tell she was shaken. Goose bumps rose on her arms and a catch could be heard in her voice. In the dream, I was in danger, I was lost and confused and being stalked by a dark figure.

All my friend could think of was to get to me, get me found, get me safe and even do battle with the dark figure. As we pieced the dream together and made assumptions on what it could have been representative of (I am a little lost and confused at times, and the evil one seems to always lurk during those times) we realized there was a lot of symbolism in her dream.

More than anything I was blessed that even if it was a dream, my friend was fiercely protective of me. She would even risk her own well being to fight the dark creature that was trying to do me harm. It made me feel loved and also made me realize that I am not walking alone in this life. I have people that God has placed around me to strengthen me, encourage me, and even to battle for me and alongside me.

John 15:13 says "Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends." This is what my friend did for me in our dream, but it doesn't compare to what Christ did for us on the cross. He laid down His life so that we could be free and could have eternal life. I hugged my dear friend and thanked her for defending me in what wasn't even real life; but I loved her heart that she was so bold in her dream. Sadly, it reminded me that I don't often approach the cross and thank my Savior for the real thing that He did to save my soul.

As I sat there feeling loved by a dear friend, I felt the overwhelming love of my Savior wash over me and reassure me once again that while my friend might battle in dreams, Jesus battles for me daily.

Lord, thank You for sending us gentle reminders of the price You paid in our defense. It has been said repeatedly "He came to pay a debt He didn't owe, because I owed a debt I couldn't pay". Thank You for paying my debt and making me free.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

All In For God

I love alter calls because to me it is the real truth of watching God work in the heart of a sinner. To watch a broken person gain hope, with nothing more than belief and longing in their heart is beautiful.

Last week, our pastor gave a call and the first brave gal to go forward got on her knees at the bottom of the steps leading up to the stage. As the first one she set the example, everyone else who went up that night to accept Christ also got on their knees. It was a wonderful sight to behold; these broken and longing people humbly coming to the Cross in hopes to be made new again.

I couldn’t get the image out of my head, and then today while running, I heard a song and it all came together. The song is by Toby Mac and is called All In. The lyrics say “I’m letting go of everything I am/And I’m holding on to everything you are/I’m letting go of everything I once was/I’m all in, I’ve fallen into your arms again.”

That is what was so moving about those people on their knees and that is what is so awesome about an alter call. We go forward, approaching the Cross on our knees looking to be all in to the Lord, because we realize we are all out of answers. Whatever we had been doing in the past wasn’t working, so we are approaching scared and unsure but knowing that we have to let go of what we have in order to grasp what we know the Lord to be. That’s why it says Psalm 55:22, “Cast your burden on the Lord, And He shall sustain you.”

This is how we should approach God not only the first time but every time. We have to let go of this world, our lives, our hopes, our dreams, our expectations and be ready to hold on to Him and His world, His life, His hopes, His dreams for us and His expectations for our life lived for Him.

God help me to approach you always with hands open to all you have and all you are, holding on to nothing of what I was. Help me to always fall into Your arms because they are strong and will always catch me especially when I am all in for You.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Still Small Voice

When I was a "young" believer I remember asking a friend of mine how she knew she heard the voice of God. At the time I was hearing so many people say they heard God's voice and how He would guide them daily. The times I tried to listen, I was met with silence. I remember telling her sheepishly "I don't think God is talking to me because I am not hearing anything." Her response was "I don't know that I hear it really well but I know that as I spend time in His word, and with Him, with His people and in worship to Him, I hear it better."

It has been 5 years since that conversation and I am in a place where I understand what she was trying to tell me. At the time I was expecting the Lord to come in a booming, earth shaking voice, but as in Elijah, He wasn't in those things; He was in a still small voice. I can see now that "...the LORD was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice. " (1 Kings 19:11-12)

As I walk daily with Him spending time in fellowship and prayer, I find He doesn't send huge neon signs, He sends sweet melodious whispers. He comes not in earth shattering movements, but in small critters showing us His glory. He doesn't come in large tornadoes that tear things apart, but in a gentle breeze that sweeps your face just enough to make you notice. He won't slap you in the forehead with His presence, but when you seek Him you will recognize Him in the small things, like rays shining through clouds. If you seek Him in the small things, you will see that He is bigger than anything.

Father, thank You that you don't tear my world apart to let me know You are there. Thank You for Your gentleness and love that reaches across eternity just to take my hand and walk with me.

Monday, July 7, 2008

The Weather According to God

Yesterday, as Duncan and I were driving home from Ruidoso it was cloudy and overcast. As we slowly made our way down the mountain my parents live on I looked up and said “those are some dark and gloomy storm clouds.” A short time later we were driving and the clouds were still there but this time the sun was above them and there were bright rays shining through and illuminating the earth.

I realized that even through the dark clouds of life God’s glory still shines brightly. There is nothing so strong to keep it out. Sometimes it is a bright solid light shining on every part of our lives and sometimes it only illuminates parts of our life like the mountain in the picture. The left side is bathed in sun, but the right is darker and more mysterious. Times when we are going through something difficult it may seem like a mountain and even if God doesn’t shine on the entire thing to tell us which way to go, He is always shining on part of it. God’s glory will never be dimmed or overtaken by darkness because as Jesus said in John 8:12 “ I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”

As we got closer to home I looked over and saw the very small end of a rainbow. A few minutes later I looked back and it was gone completely. I realized that even when I can only see a small part or even nothing at all, God’s promises are still there, giving us light in a dark world.

Lord, thank You for the rain, the clouds, the storms and most of all for Your rainbow. I am continually blown away that Your grace and provision are always with me, even in the darkest of times.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Trees and Humans

Recently as Duncan and I were driving home from Arizona between Payson and Heber the scenery is nothing but forest that is lush and green. As I watched the large groups of trees passing, I noticed that there were many healthy, tall green trees reaching toward the sky but right in the mix of them were some trees that were brown, dry and dead. Some of them were even mixed; they had green parts but the trunk and root appeared to be dead.

It occurred to me that these trees were much like humans. Most of us are fresh and thriving and those who are believers in Christ are alive eternally; but mixed in among us are some people that are dying and even some that are dead inside. As I thought about this the Lord took it a step further and it began to rain. The rain fell on both kinds of trees, those that are alive and those that aren’t, just as it says in Matthew 5:45 “…for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and the unjust.”

Humans however, are unlike the trees in that the trees cannot reach out to save each other. We can reach out and share the love of Christ in the hope that lies within us that they might also be saved; which is where the verse in Matthew comes in again. Verse 44 of chapter 5 says “But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you and, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.” Just as Christ’s love falls on those who believe in Him, it also falls on those who don’t. The great commission calls those of us who believe to share Christ’s love on those who are dry and withered.

God, thank You for the reminder that Your love is unbiased and unwavering. Please put someone in my path today that doesn’t know You personally and give me the boldness to share the hope that lies within me.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

What is my purpose?

Many times I hear people ask what is my purpose in this life? What am I meant to do? Am I meant to find a cure for cancer? Am I meant to be a wife and mother? Why am I alive? What's the point of it all?

I am fortunate to know what my purpose is: to love the Lord with all my heart, all my soul, all my mind and all my strength (Luke 10:27) and to love my neighbors as myself. That is the reason I was created and though I don't live it every minute of every day, the desire of my heart is to live for this purpose. Thus, the beginning of this blog.

As I mentioned before, I used to make fun of blogs (and sometimes still do!) because I couldn't fathom who had the time to sit and create a blog, do all of the upkeep and posting, page design, etc. Also, through some bad experiences on myspace and other very worldly sites, I was really turned off to public sites because they seemed so full of evil and of the world.

One day when I was praying and God laid it on my heart all I could think was "but Lord, it is filled with such darkness and evil (the web) and His soft reply was simply, "that is why you must be light." Wow! What a calling, to be the light of God's love in this dark world. This is the second reason for this blog.

Today, while my niece was visiting from Texas we took her to the top of the Tram. We watched little forest critters such as squirrels and chipmunks scampering about the mountainside. On our way down I thought to myself, how many little critters were scurrying about that we couldn't even see and if no one could see them then what was their purpose? Softly the Lord spoke to me, "to testify of my glory." That is our purpose and that is the main reason for this blog.

Lord, thank You for showing me that all creatures big and small are part of Your plan. I praise You for allowing me to be a part of Your kingdom. Thank You for giving me a purpose; to glorify You.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

How did I get here?

Have you ever landed in a place and stopped to look around because you aren't really sure how you got where you are? Though I sort of feel this way, I know where I am and how I got here.

For many years of my life God has called me to be a writer and I have fought it almost every inch of the way. Within the past year God has been calling me to writing more and more and I have tried to run every way but the way I was supposed to. But as with Jonah, no matter where I run, I end up right where He wants me to be.

My journey has taken a turn recently when the Lord called me to something I really didn't want to do, mostly because I made fun of it--blogging. I used to laugh and ask who had the time to sit and blog all day long, so as God would have it, apparently I do.

So here goes...with a little time, a whole lot of faith in what God can do in the life of an obedient child, and my laptop, I set out on a journey to wherever He leads me.

Lord, thank You for leading us in the direction You know is best even if we don’t see the path. Your way is the only way I want to go; please continue to take me by the hand and guide me.