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Showing posts from August, 2019

Finding your way back

Have you ever taken a detour, or found yourself lost on some road? I have and it gets a little bit 'intimidating' to be lost! You feel like the world as you know it is just not right! Some of us have been 'lost' for a little while, just wandering around in some form of 'life muddle' and it is likely we want to just find our way out! Have you ever just felt like it was past time for God to intervene in your life to help you out on this mess you are in - the wait has been so long, you have endured so much, and all you want is some kind of deliverance from the pressure you have been under. I imagine we all face this kind of 'loss' or 'frustration' from time to time, wondering IF God even hears us when we pray, thinking he may have his attention focused on something or someone else. The important thing in the midst of our 'muddled mess' is the object of our focus WITHIN the mess! The object of focus needs to be God himself - his Word will bo…

Let me introduce you to love

I really didn't deserve that! There is nothing more "secure" than allowing God to deal with us according to his LOVE instead of what it is we honestly DESERVE! You and I may have found we have "tapped into" God's intense love so many times that it is hard to count all the times! I find it greatly comforting to realize God's dealings with us are according to his love - love is the basis of grace; grace is the basis of forgiveness; forgiveness is the basis of restoration; restoration is the basis of all relationship. It all begins with love! Love, pure and simple, yet we try to complicate it so much by our rules, regulations, and reasoning.

Let your love dictate how you deal with me; teach me from your textbook on life. I'm your servant—help me understand what that means, the inner meaning of your instructions. (Psalm 119:124-125)

The word "dictate" almost escapes us in this passage, but it carries an important meaning that lends to the rich…

Just standing....

Comic book heroes of the '50's and '60's were all a kid could think about. Superman zooming through the open skies, swooping down just in time to save the injustice from being done. Some 'super-villain' would have to be dealt with and the super-hero would step in to 'save the day' in just the nick of time. Captain Comet, Flash, Batman, Batwoman....the list goes on. Everyone wanted (and needed) a hero! What did these heroes all have in common? They took a stand for justice of some kind. Taking a stand for something in life is probably one of the most telling things about an individual. The things or people that an individual takes a stand for reveal the priorities of the individual, the values developed in life learning, and the importance one places on that thing or person in their life. There are really two things worth taking a stand for: Justice and the Right.

I stood up for justice and the right; don't leave me to the mercy of my oppressors. Ta…

Dream BIG

Do you remember "taking sides" in some game you played as kids? You'd all stand on the sideline, two people would pair off as the "captains" of the teams, and then one-by-one each person on the sideline would be "picked" to be on one of those teams. I remember being disappointed at times because I may not have been the best at some particular sport...so I was picked toward the end, almost as a "have-to" instead of "on purpose". At other times, I was one of the first picks, simply because I did well in that game. There are times we do well and stand out; at others, we aren't so proficient in our actions, leading to rather poor outcomes, but we still 'stand out' - just not in a right way!

Get out of my life, evildoers, so I can keep my God's commands. Take my side as you promised; I'll live then for sure. Don't disappoint all my grand hopes. Stick with me and I'll be all right; I'll give total allegi…

Overdue?

If it has been a long while since you have been able to get away on vacation or to a quiet spot on a beach, high in the mountains, or just alone by a pool somewhere, then you know there is nothing more renewing than a little retreat. I used to think of times of retreat as something along the line of a "forced withdrawal". I really just did not enjoy time away from what I was doing everyday. Some would have called me a little too retentive to let things go and let others take the reins for a while so I could enjoy time away. I have come to recognize that "retreat" is sometimes the most strategic thing you can do!

You're my place of quiet retreat; I wait for your Word to renew me. (Psalm 119:114)

The very act of withdrawing into a place of quiet and safety is often the best move we make - even when we know there are a whole lot of other 'movements' that need to be made. That very movement into a place of what appears to be a lack of movement is actually …

You wanna be free?

Have you seen someone so 'plastic' that you wonder what is still real about them? They have such an obsession with their appearance that they enhance that, reduce something else, go through that lift or tuck, pulling tighter and tighter, until what once was recognizable as that person is something quite different from the original! You might say they are a little 'two-faced'. Two-faced is just another way of saying someone is "fake". What you see isn't the real-deal. The tendency of these individuals is to act one way when they are with certain people and then a totally different way when with others. Their set of values can fluctuate based on the circumstance or opportunity. They lack consistency and are always changing depending on the whim of the moment. In time, they are harder and harder to 'recognize' because they are so inconsistent!

I hate the two-faced, but I love your clear-cut revelation. (Psalm 119:113)

I know a great many of us have the…

Not another sock day

We have all probably heard the saying, "If you cannot laugh at yourself, then who can you laugh at." Well, some days I just do a lot more laughing than others! We should laugh - if not that good belly laugh that releases all those happy feelings - then at least a little chuckle now and again to remind us we are all human and all do some kinda dumb stuff! I don't laugh 'at' people, but because we ALL are people, suffering from similar inconsistencies in our lives, and we just do 'funny stuff' from time to time. You know what . . . life gets pretty doggone hard at times and if we could not laugh or celebrate from time to time, it would be pretty hard to get through!

I inherited your book on living; it's mine forever—what a gift! And how happy it makes me! I concentrate on doing exactly what you say—I always have and always will. (Psalm 119:111-112)

I always loved watching my children and now my grandchildren opening their gifts on Christmas morning. I o…

I see what you are doing now!

We all have had weeks we'd like to put behind us. Some days are just better than others! In the passage of time, there are moments we'd like to "erase" from our memory, while there are also those others we hope to hold onto forever and ever. When things are just not going well for us, how do we handle it? What is our response to the chaos, disappointment, frustration, or fear? When you have one of those "EVERYTHING's falling apart on me!" kind of days or weeks, how do you get up to do another? To be totally transparent here, we all have those days when we are just good and ready for this chapter of our life to be closed and a new one to be written!

Everything's falling apart on me, God; put me together again with your Word. Festoon me with your finest sayings, God; teach me your holy rules. My life is as close as my own hands, but I don't forget what you have revealed. The wicked do their best to throw me off track, but I don't swerve an inc…

Carry a Torch

I have taken to watching a few shows on the BBC channel and am always amused when I hear them call the hood of the car the 'bonnet', or the parking lot the 'car park'. We all have differing ways of describing things, but I really connected with how they describe a flashlight. They call it a torch. In my mind, a torch is that long piece of wood with some form of material wrapped around the end, like cloth, soaked in some sort of oil and then lit with a flame. Torches have one function - to illuminate what is otherwise not seen. They are very 'portable' - so they can go with you wherever you go. In much the same way, God's Word is a torch by which the unseen becomes known and it is always with us no matter where we go.

By your words I can see where I'm going; they throw a beam of light on my dark path. I've committed myself and I'll never turn back from living by your righteous order. (Psalm 119:105-106)

I have a Bible app on my smartphone that a…

Planning ahead helps

Whenever anyone receives the advice to "watch their step" it is usually because there is a very good chance that they will step in something not so pleasant! I may not have been raised on a farm, but it took only one visit to a farm to remind me of the importance of looking down - - taking each step with care and caution! Taking great care to avoid any path that leads to evil is kind of riddled with a lot of warnings to 'watch your step' along the way. It requires a whole lot of avoiding the "ditches and ruts" that evil present in our lives. It takes attentiveness to avoid the things that will leave a 'stench' in your life!

I watch my step, avoiding the ditches and ruts of evil so I can spend all my time keeping your Word. I never make detours from the route you laid out; you gave me such good directions. Your words are so choice, so tasty; I prefer them to the best home cooking. With your instruction, I understand life; that's why I hate fa…

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…