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Showing posts from August, 2019

No more excuses

"He is wise beyond his years" - when we say this, we are pointing to the fact the person is making choices "smarter" than they usually would be for their age or station in life. In common thinking, wisdom is something that comes with age. As an individual ages chronologically, the opportunity for multiple experiences have presented the added benefit of learning new things. We get exposed to more, so therefore it stands to reason we will get to learn new things as we grow up a little. I think we can challenge the belief that aging equates to the development of wisdom, though. I have known many an individual who has "aged" chronologically without really "learning" from their life experiences! They just keep repeating them over and over again, not really showing any signs of having learned anything along the way.

Oh, how I love all you've revealed; I reverently ponder it all the day long. Your commands give me an edge on my enemies; they never …

I'm all yours....

We can never forget the "keeping" power of God's Word. It is a stalwart in hard times. It stands the test and keeps on ticking! "If your teachings had not delighted me..." Here is the crux of the "keeping" power of God's Word - it is in the "delight" we take in it. How we treat God's Word determines how much it will impact our lives. Casually reflect upon it and it will likely only have a momentary impact. Dwell upon it, ruminate on it, and it will sink deep into the craters of your life until there is no empty space remaining.

If your revelation hadn't delighted me so, I would have given up when the hard times came. But I'll never forget the advice you gave me; you saved my life with those wise words. Save me! I'm all yours. I look high and low for your words of wisdom. The wicked lie in ambush to destroy me, but I'm only concerned with your plans for me. I see the limits to everything human, but the horizons can&#…

Let this serve your plan

As I have grown older, time seems to pass faster. The "ebbing" of a new day seems to be upon me before I even realize that the old one has passed me by! There is one truth that endures through the passage of time - God's Word is dependable! For some, this goes without saying because they have adopted the Word of God as a standard by which they live their lives. They have tested it and found it to be "a sure thing". There is another truth that I think we might miss if we are not careful, but it is equally as important - everything serves God's plans!

What you say goes, God, and stays, as permanent as the heavens. Your truth never goes out of fashion; it's as up-to-date as the earth when the sun comes up. Your Word and truth are dependable as ever; that's what you ordered—you set the earth going. (Psalm 119:89-91)

You have probably been told that change in inevitable, and that would be true. As much as we can count on the "permanence" of Go…

I've got your number

I will admit to being homesick on more than one occasion, but nothing hit me quite as hard as that first week of Basic Training when I went into the US Army. Those first seven days away from home were torture to my psyche! I had been to Girl Scout Camp for two weeks and been a little 'lonely' for mom and dad, but somehow it just did not affect me quite like being at Boot Camp! Maybe it was because I knew there was an end to Girl Scout camp, but there was no hope of going home from Boot Camp! Those feelings we have internally when we experience homesickness are almost hard to explain, but there is an intense longing to just be safe again. To be home includes that idea of safety (at least for me) and security - - there is just something about being surrounded by what is familiar that gives us that sense of peace, security, and even a little bit of sanity.

I'm homesick—longing for your salvation; I'm waiting for your word of hope. My eyes grow heavy watching for some sign…

Head held high

Okay, I would like us to get a little honest with ourselves and each other this morning. Just how many of us have wanted God to deal with those who stand against us in some form or fashion? It is not unusual to actually converse with God, telling him how much we need him to 'deal with it' as we open up in our frustration, fear, or even anger about how someone is treating us or others. At the same time, God hopes we will allow him to use us in the lives of others - even when they are kind of 'pickles' to deal with! Being perfectly honest here, I actually EXPECT God to help me live my life well - even when what I want isn't perfectly aligned, I EXPECT him to help me get right alignment before I go too far in the wrong direction. Why can I EXPECT this of God? He loves me! His grace has changed my course many times in the past, just because of his love!

Let the fast-talking tricksters be exposed as frauds; they tried to sell me a bill of goods, but I kept my mind fixed…

Scope this out...

It began one way, but ended another. Is that the story of your life? It goes without saying that "hindsight" is often much better than "foresight". If we could see how everything would turn out in the end, we might not take some of the steps we take along the way. If we had insight into the outcomes of some of our words and actions, we might speak up or volunteer more often as we'd want to have a positive impact in our world. The simple truth is that we don't know how things will end - - and this often keeps us from acting in the first place. Sometimes our action ends up being more like us acting in "blindness" - we just move ahead, groping at whatever we can to avoid stumbling, and hoping to make it to our destination in the end.

I can see now, God, that your decisions are right; your testing has taught me what's true and right. Oh, love me—and right now—hold me tight, just the way you promised. Now comfort me so I can live, really live; you…

Fraying at the Edges?

I don't always stand strong. Some may think I do, but there are days when all I want to do is curl up in a ball. forget about having to look difficulty in the face, and escape into a safe place. I am not alone in this - you probably have those days, as well. In those moments you just don't have the 'want to' - you don't 'wanna' anymore. Have you ever been told to "take heart" while in the midst of one of these times? The term "take heart" means to gain strength and courage in a difficult situation. While it might not seem like it, the example we exhibit in the times of waiting on God to act has the potential of causing others to take heart - - to gain strength and courage for their own difficult circumstances. In the midst of difficulty, what makes you stand strong, even when you don't 'wanna'?

With your very own hands you formed me; now breathe your wisdom over me so I can understand you. When they see me waiting, expecting …

Not another 'work around'

Have you ever been 'talked about' by others? If you are human and living on this earth, the answer to that question is probably a resounding "yes"! Human beings have a way of finding things in others they want to talk about - rationalize, complain, point fingers - we all do it. Even the best of us find ourselves talking about others from time to time - maybe in a nice way, but maybe not always in the best of ways. Knowing this, isn't it important that we continue to 'refine' the way we speak about each other, allowing God to guide our conversation?

The godless spread lies about me, but I focus my attention on what you are saying; they're bland as a bucket of lard, while I dance to the tune of your revelation. (Psalm 119:69-70)

I once wrote a post about a friend who reported she has had to learn to 'work around' what others have said about her. She found herself in the midst of gossip and as a result, she was 'working around' the mess t…

Good, Gooder, Goodest

Have you ever known someone with all the book learning in the world, but they simply lacked good common sense? Doesn't it amaze you sometimes how much we can amass in "knowledge" and still lack the "skill" to do some of the stuff we need to do? Simply put, common sense is the "sound" practical judgment that is independent of any of the specialized knowledge we might amass through training. In some fields of human psychology, they might say this is the "native" intelligence that someone possesses. My "native" intelligence differs from yours. You may excel in baking and cooking, creating all manner of new and delightful cuisine in your kitchen. I have a way of seeing things in a new light - using what we have to create new uses for that item. For example, if you buy a cup of coffee on a road trip and later decide to have some cherries as you travel along, that little hole in the top of the plastic lid of the cup is the perfect size t…

You know me so well

We could all probably make a list of our friends, right? We'd likely start out with those who have been there through thick and thin with us and end perhaps with those we see regularly, but don't really have any 'depth' of relationship with yet. It is good to have friends. If we do divide that list into those who we could say were more than just our acquaintances the list probably would probably get a little shorter on one side than the other, right? The further we refine this list to pick out those who we really know have our back and we see the list probably got downright tiny with that one! We can have lots of friends, but few will go the extra mile of walking with us through our mission in life - partnering with us in our walk with Christ. Few will accept us with our 'dents and dings', 'hurts and hang-ups', or 'haves and have not's'.

I'm a friend and companion of all who fear you, of those committed to living by your rules. Your love…

I cannot lift myself

Do you have one of those early childhood experiences of going to see the big man in the red suit around the Christmas holidays? We'd wait in the long line, lining up all our 'asks' in our minds, excited to tell him just exactly what we wanted under the tree on Christmas morn. We'd ask for way more than we needed and we'd hope for more than we'd receive! Sometimes I think we approach God telling him that we want ALL these blessings - each and every good thing that he has promised to us, but not really knowing what it is we have need of in our lives at that moment. Most of us do a good job with the "asking" part -- but when it comes to "receiving" we stink - either because we get upset when we don't receive all we thought we'd receive or because we don't really know how to use all we have received! We simply don't believe the provision is true, or we just don't reach out and make the blessing fully ours.

I beg you from the b…

Fixed, but not fixed

Some of us are fixed, but not 'fixed'. We get things all 'fixed up', only to find we never 'fixed ourselves in place' and the 'fix' never stays 'fixed' as a result! How many times have we made the promise to be obedient in some area of our daily Christian walk and then before the day was over, we somehow 'forgot' about the promise? If you are like me, probably too many to count! We often promise God that we won't follow some path of wrong choices - then almost instantaneously turn back to doing what we committed NOT to do. All because we are not 'fixed'.

You are my portion, O Lord; I have promised to keep Your words. (Psalm 119:57)

God knows perfectly well that our promises to be obedient will be spotted with occasional failures. I think that is why he says, "When you tell God you'll do something, do it—now. God takes no pleasure in foolish gabble. Vow it, then do it. Far better not to vow in the first place than to v…

Polish that mirror

What has become your way of "doing business" everyday? If you are me, your first stop is likely going to be somewhere in the kitchen to make your morning beverage of choice - coffee, tea, cocoa, or perhaps a smoothee. Then you may head to your favorite spot to enjoy it and read, contemplate, or commune with a family member for a while. Eventually, you might get around to a little time of prayer, reading, and listening to God. Hopefully you make him part of how you 'do business' everyday! Following his decrees is just going to make your 'business' be a whole lot better!

Your decrees have been the theme of my songs wherever I have lived. I reflect at night on who you are, O Lord; therefore, I obey your instructions. This is how I spend my life: obeying your commandments.(Psalm 119:54-56)

David had made following God's decrees (his Word) his way of "doing business". He had a lot of choices (as do we) in dealing with the stress of life, as do we. H…

But...it is justice I seek

Have you ever been looking so hard for something, only to find it was right there in front of you? I have struggled to find a particular tool when I most needed it, only to have my grandson walk in a couple weeks later and hold it up right from where it always was (the exact spot it was supposed to be in the first place). We even do this with God - knowing he was supposed to be right there, but unable to see that he is. I imagine all of us have stood at one time or another just wondering how some people could ignore that God is right there in their circumstances - but they are just too stubborn or blind to see it - us included. They know they should heed the warnings they have received, but they plunge full-force into whatever seems to be what will give them the "immediate" thrill of the moment, or with some 'scheme' that will 'make do' because they want an easier way of doing things. Then they (and we) complain when things don't work out! It is possible …

Not a path I'd like to travel again

Moments of hardship and trouble don't always seem like the things we will learn from, do they? As a matter of fact, we'd like to dis-enroll from the "school of hard knocks" and "difficult lessons", wouldn't we? We struggle, muddling through the bad stuff, until we can ultimately say that we "made it through". We don't get a diploma or certificate of completion to show we made it through, but we have learned a lesson or two that we probably were desperate to learn in our lives! The ride was tough, but the journey was well worth it.

My troubles turned out all for the best—they forced me to learn from your textbook. Truth from your mouth means more to me than striking it rich in a gold mine. (Psalm 119:71-72)

David reminds us frequently that the hard times forced him to learn from God's textbook - the Word - and they can do the same for us, as well. It almost goes without saying, but we find ourselves in the midst of a moment of indecision…

I need this soooooo bad!

Have you ever been deprived of something you depend on? We depend on water to renew our bodies, oxygen to keep our cells renewed, and a certain set of vitamins/minerals to help us stay strong. We depend on these things because they are essential to the health and well-being of our body. I remember wrestling with my brother as a kid and being 'deprived' of 'breath' a few times. He is actually eleven years older, so it was never really a "fair" wrestling match whenever we 'went at it', but I loved to be with him! He'd pin me down with his full body weight, tickling me until the tears came, and I would find myself laughing so hard that'd I almost felt like I'd lose my breath at any moment. I'd wriggle harder, trying to escape his clutch. He'd just tickle more! The end of those 'matches' left me so elated, but gasping for breath. I wasn't really being deprived of breath, but it was close!

Don't ever deprive me of truth, …

What shape are you in?

I wonder how many of us actually know what it is that has and is still shaping our lives....most of us would guess at a few things, but do we really know? I'd like us to take a moment to really give some thought to what things or people (input) we might find shaping our lives in the present moment. When we really give this a "hard" look, we might be surprised by just how much of a specific person's influence in our lives led to how we "formed" our opinions, beliefs, and actions. The individual may not even know how much they have "shaped" our lives - good or bad. There may also be some influences (input) such as books, events, or actions that really made an impact - good or bad. The simple truth - we are "shaped" by something or someone - it is all based on the "input" we allow to do the "shaping".

Let your love, God, shape my life with salvation, exactly as you promised; then I'll be able to stand up to mockery be…

Still there?

We can AFFIRM or REASSURE - both have a little different meaning. Affirm refers to remaining true to that which has been promised, such as confirming or ratifying an agreement. WE all want to know that we have the confirmation that God's promises will remain true for all time. Reassure carries the idea of being encouraged again by those promises. When one is reassured, there is a confidence that what has been promised will indeed come to pass. There is a difference between the promises God makes and the ones we make to God - most of the time it is in the fact we never 'ratify' the agreement! At best, our own promises are marginal - we seem to vary our commitment to them with the changing of circumstances in our lives. The tougher things are, the more we draw into God. The converse is true - the better things seem to be going, the less intent we may be at honoring those promises we made in the tougher times. Isn't it reassuring that we don't have a God that is "…

Dig deeper

Learning life lessons vs. learning lessons from life - the difference between the two is really reflective of a proactive vs. reactive way of learning. All of us are probably interested in working on being a proactive learner - learning directly from God how life should be lived vs. learning from our own disobedience how life should not be lived. I hope we are all on the path of becoming proactive learners, but if you are like me, you are still making the mistakes that lead to the 'disobedience lessons'!

Guide me down the road of your commandments; I love traveling this freeway! Give me a bent for your words of wisdom, and not for piling up loot. Divert my eyes from toys and trinkets, invigorate me on the pilgrim way. (Psalm 119: 35-37)

The idea of learning in a proactive manner is sometimes quite foreign to us. Sometimes we cannot really "grasp" a concept until we have experienced it. The idea of learning how to face circumstances, responding in obedience when we do…

Let me show you something....

Truth be told, many of us are more concerned with a list of lessons we have amassed during the time we refer to a "living" life. What we need to be doing is asking God directly for lessons that would help us "live" life. Sometimes I think we approach things the first way - making mental note of what we learned FROM the moments we just finished living rather than making heart notes of what lessons God wants for us IN those moments. We get focused on it from a 'historical' perspective more than we are focused on it in the 'present' perspective. We might just be missing out on some of what God has for us in the 'living'.

God, teach me lessons for living so I can stay the course. Give me insight so I can do what you tell me—my whole life one long, obedient response. (Psalm 119:33-34)

Most people know that I am a planner, so I value the "notes" and "plans" - the agendas, outlines, and even the doodled notes all help me to …

I am headed somewhere, but where?

We don't always get clear-cut warnings we are about to embark on a journey that will take us down pathways we don't want to explore. I remember exploring some forest roads with my BFF and we went down one only to realize we were going to 'high-center' on a portion because the ruts dug by 4-wheel vehicles had left a pretty gnarly path for us 2-wheel types. I found myself on this narrow road, with only one way out - backwards! I had to back up quite a ways in order to get myself turned around and headed back to a road more easily traveled. We can find ourselves about to 'high-center' in life, too - knowing full-well the only 'way out' is exactly the way we came in and that isn't very easily navigated either!

Barricade the road that goes Nowhere; grace me with your clear revelation. I choose the true road to Somewhere, I post your road signs at every curve and corner. I grasp and cling to whatever you tell me; God, don't let me down! I'll run …