Monday, August 20, 2018

Go Deeper!

When we go to the beach, my husband always ventures out a good way into the surf to pick up sea shells. As a result, he finds many more unique shells than I do since I only pick up those that have washed ashore. When we rinse our shells and spread them out to dry, anyone who views his collection and mine notices the difference in the variety and condition of the shells. Most of mine are common and often look weathered. But his....oh, my! They are richly colored, unusual, unmarred...

His collection should be better than mine. After all, he waded out into waist-deep water and struggled to maintain his balance while being bombarded by the swelling tides, something many shell seekers are unwilling or physically unable to do. All I did was saunter along on the beach and use a scooper to pick up the shells I wanted to take back to the condo.

I thought about that the day I began reading Deron Spoo’s book entitled The Good Book, 40 Chapters That Reveal the Bible’s Biggest Ideas. He encourages everyone, even experienced Bible readers, to reject the tendency to be satisfied with their current level of understanding of the Bible. He says, “Don’t just settle for wading in the surf. Dive deeper! Untold riches await your discovery...each time we read the Scriptures, our understanding is expanded and our love for God is deepened” (Location 273). He’s absolutely right! 

Even though I am physically unable to venture into the surf due to vertigo issues that prevent me from keeping my balance when the sand shifts beneath my feet or when the water surges against my ankles, I'm not restricted from going deeper into God's Word. Whenever I open my Bible, I don't have to be content to play, like a child, at the water's edge. I can--and I will--go deeper, deeper, deeper into the scriptures where incredible insights are waiting to be discovered.

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Mind the Lord

A minister repeatedly said, "Mind the Lord." I hadn't heard that phrase in many years, but ever since I heard him use it, it has been ringing in my mind and heart.

For example, many times each day, I feel the Holy Spirit prompting me to write about a certain topic (like "mind the Lord") or to call someone or to send a card or to pray for a specific individual.

Each prompt provides me with an opportunity to "mind the Lord"--that is, to obey Him. I wish I could truthfully say I do everything He instructs me to do, but, sadly, I don't.

Sometimes I say, "I don't have time right now, but I'll do it later." However, later is sometimes weeks or months away.

Sometimes I say, "I'm willing, but I'm not sure what to say or how to do that, Lord."

Each time I delay, I disobey the Lord, and I withhold a blessing God wants to give to that person. Perhaps they need a word of encouragement to "keep on keeping on" with the good work they are doing. Perhaps they need to know that someone loves them enough to check on them. Perhaps they need financial assistance or help of another kind. Perhaps they're lonely and would enjoy talking with someone for a little while. Perhaps they're struggling with some issue and need a listening ear or a shoulder to cry on.

For all those reasons and many more, you and I need to mind the Lord. We need to do what He says to do and do it when He says to do it--without delay.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Do Your Thing

The vines of the Moon Flower plant that’s flourishing in a large pot in our yard have climbed to the top of a trellis that is taller than I am. Each day around dusk, a half dozen or so white buds open, each about 6 inches across. Their fragrance is sweet. 

The next morning, the blooms begin to fold up, hiding their loveliness and fragrance. The blooms “do their thing” even if their time is short, even if no one pays attention to them, even if no one brags on them, even if.... They just do what they’ve been divinely created to do and then pass away at the appointed time.

May you and I learn a lesson from them and from the words below.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Trusting Him

I’m overwhelmed by sadness when I hear of the terrible things others are going through. I yearn to be able to “make it all better” for them, to ease their pain or—better yet—to make it all go away. But I can’t. However, I can pray for them, and I do.

As I prayed this morning, the Spirit of God reminded me of the words to an old song. He prompted me to share them online and to copy them and mail them to two persons I know personally who are struggling to survive the terrible things that have come upon them. I pray the words will remind them (and you and me!) of the way to experience peace every day, whether life is relatively pleasant or unbelievably difficult.

Read the words slowly, carefully, and thoughtfully. (I've included them below.) Sing them as you listen here: and/or Then do what the words say! Trust Jesus—every day and in every way for He loves us and will walk with us every step of the way through the difficulties.

Trusting Jesus (Edgar Page Stites, 1876)
Simply trusting every day,
Trusting thro’ a stormy way;
Even when my faith is small,
Trusting Jesus, that is all.

Trusting as the moments fly,
Trusting as the days go by;
Trusting him whate’er befall,
Trusting Jesus, that is all.

Brightly doth his Spirit shine
Into this poor heart of mine;
While he leads I cannot fall;
Trusting Jesus that is all.

Singing if my way is clear,
Praying if the path be drear;
If in danger, for him call;
Trusting Jesus, that is all.

Trusting him while life shall last,
Trusting him till earth be past,
Till within the jasper wall,
Trusting Jesus, that is all.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Looking and Finding

A photographer (Mark Hemmings) I follow on Instagram suggests finding faces in nature. I’m having so much fun doing that. And I’m finding them all around. The “eyes” in the photo included in this post are side drains that run underneath a neighbor’s driveway. I’ve seen faces in clouds and in thumbnail-size blooms and in rusty spots and in several other places.

As I’ve looked for faces in unexpected places, I’ve been reminded that we can usually find whatever we’re looking for. This has made me even more committed to looking for—and expecting to find— the good, rather than the bad, in people and in situations. Both good and bad exist, but I’m determined to look hard to find the good and to be thrilled whenever and wherever I discover it! 

Would you like to do that, too?

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Like Produces Like

We’ve been enjoying the produce my husband brings in from his small garden. He can count on his tomato plants to produce tomatoes, never peppers. His cucumber vines produce cucumbers, never tomatoes or herbs or green beans. Whatever kind of plant he plants, it bears exactly what it’s supposed to. No surprises. Ever. 

This principle applies to all living things. Lions give birth to lion cubs, not llamas. 

The Bible says that like produces like--not only in the natural world but also in the spiritual world. For example, the Spirit of God who indwells believers produces this kind of spiritual fruit: love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). People who do not have the Spirit manifest very different attitudes and actions. 

Does the Spirit of God live in you? To find out, take a look at your “fruit.”

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Lord, I Am Willing

Lord, I am willing
To receive what You give;
To lack what You withhold;
To relinquish what You take;
To suffer what You inflict;
To be what You require.

I found that powerful prayer (poem) in a book a friend gave me for my birthday. Its words remind me of this insightful statement (attributed to Amy Carmichael) that Elisabeth Elliot often shared on her Gateway to Joy radio program: In acceptance lieth peace.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Friday the 13th...

Friday the 13th—a day considered by many as a “bad luck day.” I prefer to think, as the psalmist did in Psalm 118:24, that this day, like all other days, is “a day that the LORD has made.” Therefore, I choose to rejoice and be glad in it even though I know not what will happen in the hours that remain in it. 

Although I can’t control much of what happens, I do get to choose my responses, as do you.

I choose, in advance, to thank God for the gift of this day.

I choose to thank Him for the gift of His presence with me—and He is with me (and with you!) at ALL times (Joshua 1:9), including Friday the 13th. 

I choose to thank Him for causing all things to work out for His glory and the good of His children (Romans 8:28). 

Is that what you choose, too?

A Time IS Coming...

"...for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice, and come out--those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned."
(John 5:28-29, NIV)