Saturday, February 6, 2016

Unproductive Habits

Papa has me doing a reassessment...
Of myself.

I try to keep short accounts.
Most often the Spirit lets me know when I have done something that needs correcting.
I keep Him pretty busy!

Yet, there are subtle things that He handles differently.
Those subtle things can be attitudes or perspectives that shift slowly or that lie under the surface.
They aren't often evident.
At least not to me. 

So from time to time He gently reveals to me that a little extra work is in order.
This morning was one of those times.

Currently I am working my way through a small book by Graham Cooke entitled "Coming into Alignment".
At the end of each chapter there are questions to answer and exercises to do.
Finishing a chapter I got ready to work my way through that last section but the first question is as far as I could go.
"What are your unproductive habits?

Unproductive in light of my desire to follow Jesus closely and please our Father.

To be honest I couldn't think of too much.  Yes, Words with Friends can be too enticing at times....
But what else?
I asked the Spirit to reveal anything that I needed to see and then decided to sit on it for a while and see what came to light.
I would never have come up on my own with what was revealed.

I like order.
No, actually I love order!!
Order means that things are easy to find and there is no problem keeping track of the schedule.
In other words I like to be in control and have things go MY WAY!

There there is reality....

No time to put everything where it belongs...
Resulting in some frustrated hunting being required on occasion.
A schedule that gets squeezed for one reason or other....
The result leaving one exhausted.

Note two telling words...

Frustrated
 
Exhausted

Both because this lady loves order and finds it challenging to go with the flow.
Oh, I appear to be going with it, but often there is turmoil under the surface.
Papa has been working with me to "be in the moment" for some time now and let Him order things.

Today He showed me that I am being unproductive when I resist.
Frustration and exhaustion are not productive.
Frustration is me out of step with the changes that are occurring around me.
This results in exhaustion.
Neither are from Papa.

Instead of internally stomping my feet and digging in how about letting it go trusting that Papa has the plan and He is in control?

By His grace I can do this.

One of my favorite verses comes to mind...
"You will guard him and keep him in perfect and constant peace whose mind (both its inclination and its character) is stayed on You, because he commits himself to You, leans on You, and hopes confidently in You."  Isaiah 26:3 The Amplified Bible.
So as I keep my eyes and heart fixed on Him, relying and trusting Him, confident that He is loving and faithful I will constantly experience that perfect peace that only He offers!
Isn't that so much better than having to have everything one's own way??











Saturday, January 23, 2016

Serendipity

Serendipity.
I love the sound of this word!
It sounds like what it means....
A fortunate happenstance or pleasant surprise.

Who doesn't enjoy serendipitous happenings?
They are always lovely, so what's not to enjoy?

Such happenings come in an infinite number of ways.

Maybe you check your mail and find an unexpected note or letter sent simply because someone was thinking of you. Of course, a text or email can bring the same welcome message, but for me part of the blessing is in knowing someone took the extra time to choose the card or stationery, write their message, address the envelope and then get it into the mail.  The extra time taken says I am especially valued.

How about...Discovering the just right gift for someone or spotting an item that will perfectly fill that spot in that particular room that needed a little something...of course, what makes it serendipitous is that we weren't even looking for it and it's marked down too!

Then there is the free time that is suddenly opened to us! The time to breathe deeply and take in the beauty around us. Beauty that often goes unnoticed.....

The quiet moments when we can hear the whisper of God.

I believe there are many more of these pleasant surprises that we can enjoy if we but choose to be watching for them.
Our lives are full and many voices vie for our attention, yet, if we learn to still ourselves we will find treasures that are much more worth our time than many of the extraneous things of the world.
Slow down...be in the moment...don't miss those gifts!
Every single one of them is Papa telling us He is especially fond of us!

It is my desire to follow the Spirit's promptings throughout my every day. When I do I enjoy quite a few pleasant surprises....

Just the other day I needed to pick up something I ordered at a store. I do not enjoy shopping so I had ordered the item on line, but to save shipping, I opted to pick it up. It was not my intention to do
anything but that, however, I felt prompted to go the circuitous route through the store.
I like daily calendars and missed having one with Bible verses on it. You see I save the pages once they are torn off and use them to collect prayer requests from my dear friends at the rehab where I volunteer.  It is not unusual for a particular verse to fall into the hands of someone who needs just those words.
The serendipity was in finding just such a calendar on the clearance rack! It was a gift from Papa! He loves those dear broken people and knows who will need to receive what and when!

That's not all! Upon getting home I began to remove the calendar pages that were past date with no plan to sit and read each verse...I read plenty of Scripture and like to read when I can reflect upon what I'm reading.
Well....I found myself reading verse after verse until I came to January 10th, which was my birthday.
As I read what I found on that page I knew it was from my beloved Lord, who is so tender in His
love.
"Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and
you will find rest for your souls." Matthew 11:29

What was it about that verse that captured my attention so fully?  Simply that those were the words that captured my heart so many years ago. Finding them on that page, on that special date I sensed the loving Presence of the One I had fallen in love with so deeply. His reminder to me of how He treasures me and my love for Him.

Now that is one beautiful serendipity!


Saturday, January 2, 2016

Hope and Expectation

What do you know?  It has been exactly one year since I last sat in this place with my hands moving over the keyboard in an attempt to share my thoughts on this blog.  That is not to say that I haven't desired to do so before now, but somehow the urge passes before the opportunity presents itself!

I don't do resolutions these days, but if I were to it would be to find the time to visit here on a regular basis.  Writing is one of my joys and writing to share what Papa has shown me is my most favorite type of writing.  Really it is the only writing I give any serious attention.

So what hinders my writing?  Well, I do write every week, but it is an update focused on the precious people Papa has given me the privilege of ministering to with Him.  We are on a grand adventure, we two!
That writing takes a couple of hours of my time to put together, which means I have less time to do other writing, but it  has also allowed me an outlet for my desire to write. However, the desire to visit here has been building and I am seizing this moment to do something about it!

Whenever I write I imagine that we are in conversation.  I guess that is my style of writing...the conversational style!

Though I don't think the beginning of a new year is really that monumental, as it does not offer any more opportunity for change than any new day or hour or minute does, I have made it my habit to use it as an opportunity to do some self-evaluation with Papa.  I also look to Him for what He would have me focus on in praying for myself, my family and so many others.  He gives me Scripture to guide my prayer focus.

About a month ago my gracious God gave me one verse for this coming year and it is meant to encompass every detail of every life.

My children are all adults and live on their own.   We have regular contact and Papa always shows me what He would have me be praying for each one.
One never stops being a parent, but as our children mature our role change and our responsibilities grow to be much less.  The balance shifts.  Yet, our concern for their well being never wanes and there are always things we'd love to see change.  And that is just regarding family...Then there are many others, including those precious ones who Papa and I love, who so need to realize their infinite worth!

The verse I received is Psalm 39:7 Amplified
"And now, Lord, what do I wait for and expect?  My hope and expectation are in You."
What Papa spoke to me regarding this verse was:
If I were to make a list of all the things I wait for, things I long to see happen, things I desire to change, it would be pretty long!  Most of which, if not all, I have no control over!
Instead of focusing on and worrying over any of those things I can turn them over to Him and wait for Him to work in His perfect time.
What freedom!!

The fact is that He never answers the way I expect.  No!  It is always so much better!!  Ephesians 3:20 Amplified says it beautifully!
"Now to Him Who, by (in consequence of) the (action of His) power that is at work within us, is able to (carry out His purpose and) do superabundantly, far over and above all that we (dare) ask or think-infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, hopes or dreams,"
What joyful promise!!

Now this was not something totally new to me.  Papa has been so very gracious in my life and the lives of those around me.  But don't we all need fresh reminders along the way?
So consider this your reminder...A reminder of His faithfulness....His mercy and grace.....His power...And especially His great love!

A reminder to give all your hopes and expectations over to Him and wait...wait and watch the Sovereign Lord's way of making new everything!  After all He is the Redeemer of all things!







Friday, January 2, 2015

The Favor of God

As the calendar marks one year ending and another beginning, it is my custom to give that passing year some reflection.  Quite often my thoughts travel back beyond that one year to gain a broader view.
This was what took up one of my mornings recently.

What did I see?
Much blessing!

With the wide view of many years I thought back to where I as well as my immediate family began and where we now find ourselves.
I am amazed.

Recently I saw a video demonstration of an interesting technique used to tell one's story.
You take one particular fabric that is to symbolize the core of your life, who you are and what the common thread has been.  You cut this into one long strip.
Then you gather numerous other fabric pieces that you feel would represent different parts of your journey, which you tie at intervals along the core strip of cloth.

It really caught my interest and I intend to try this soon.  When I do I know that the first section will be marked with something that represents chaos.  Another section will continue that theme in darker shades.
BUT then some color representing light will be found threaded through what follows leading to a great infusion of bright, glorious color!

The rest of the adventure to date will be represented with colors and patterns that reflect more and more order, peace and joy.  Of course, there will be many dark designs and shades woven throughout, as that is how life truly is experienced.  However, it will be clear that the Light subdues all the darkness!

Sitting in my little sanctuary reflecting over how my broken little life and my family's has been transformed stirred a humbling realization.  I and my family walk in the favor of God!

The dictionary defines favor as an attitude of approval or liking; an act of kindness beyond what is due or usual; to show approval or preference for.

WOW!

For many months Papa has been impressing me with the fact that He is the Redeemer of ALL things.  Looking at our lives there is no denying this fact!

Brokenness, sin, addiction, anger, fear, anxiety...to name a few..all are being redeemed.

Papa brought my attention to Psalm 5:12
"Surely LORD, You bless the righteous; You surround them with Your favor as with a shield." 
Who is righteous?
Those who are made right with God through the Blood of Jesus Christ!
That is us!

I shared these thoughts with our two sons, who walk with our Lord.
It was my desire to encourage them to not miss seeing His Hand of blessing, nor take the favor of God lightly.

We are a family blessed a thousand times over.  Yes, in the midst of messy stuff; struggles and concerns, but always blessed!  The blessings are there; it is up to us to recognize them.
That is the favor of the Lord.  The true blessing is His Presence in our lives.  That the Almighty, Most High God seeks relationship with us; intimate relationship is beyond amazing!

It is a sobering thing to walk in His favor.  I asked our sons what we are meant to do in the midst of such blessing?
The answer? 
Be reconcilers!
"All this is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation."
 The most amazing thing is that the more one walks in His favor and shares it, the greater the favor!

May this new year find each one of us growing as our Savior did, when He walked this earth as a man.
"And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man."  Luke 2:52





 

Thursday, August 21, 2014

The Good Master

Walking through a parking lot I saw a woman headed in my direction. 
She did not look like someone that you would want to tangle...
Her face wore a scowl that gave the impression of being permanent.
Her steps were planted, one-by-one, with such force that I would not have been surprised if they were accompanied by sound effects! 

 Boom!  Boom!  Boom!

It struck me that the words to go with the steps, which might have been running through her subconscious were these:   
"Take that world!!"

(Yes, the words would definitely be on the large size.)

As this person passed by me I got a glimpse of the words on the back of her t-shirt:
NO RULES!!
NO MASTERS!!
I would have liked to ask her how that was working for her, but really it was obvious.
The only reason to ask such a question would be if it would have made her stop and think.
However, that would take a lowering of her defenses and, if I were to make a guess, she had been fortifying them for a good long time!

My heart went out to her.
I did want to speak with her. 
Actually, I wanted to give her a twenty-second hug!
Those hugs last just long enough for you to feel something relax in the recipient...
I wonder when this broken woman last relaxed?

Even though I do not know this person personally I feel pretty certain what the core issue is that has her so angry.....
She does not know she is loved.

Disappointment
Betrayal
Loneliness
Fear
They all lead to us putting up walls for self-protection.
All the energy that it takes to erect those walls feeds the anger that builds inside of us.

So after I gave that hurting one the hug I would have told her:
"Hey, there I have some really GOOD NEWS to share with you!!!"
"YOU ARE LOVED!!" 
I would explain to her that there is One who is THE MASTER and He is good.
Each one of us has a master whether we recognize it or not.
If it isn't the Living God, it isn't a good master....

He is the Master that makes us willing to follow His rules.

We'd also discuss the importance of rules.....
No one would like to be in an airplane whose pilot decided he didn't want to land on the tarmac, would they?
Neither would we want to be on roads where no one followed any rules...

(Wait!!  That sounds like Cambodia!
(All I can say about that is that I knew Papa had His girl covered.  It was the only explanation for my survival!)

During my readings today I found myself in 1 Samuel 16. 
There I read the familiar story of Samuel seeking out the one the LORD would have him anoint king of Israel.
Samuel was impressed with the very first son, Eliab, Jesse presented to him.  The Lord rejected this son and reminded Samuel that He did not judge by appearances, but He looked upon the heart.
May we see through His eyes and look beyond the walls that so many have erected!

Our Lord calls to each one...
"Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.  Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For My yoke is easy and My burden is light."
I like how The Message puts this passage from Matthew 11:
"Are you tired?  Worn out?  Burned out on religion?  Come to Me.  Get away with Me and you'll discover your life.  I'll show you how to take a real rest.  Walk with Me and work with Me-watch how I do it.  Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.  I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you.  Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly."
Now isn't that just what that dear woman needs?  Isn't He what we all need?










Thursday, July 10, 2014

Reminders in the Rain

This morning, as I sat on the porch of our vacation rental watching the rain fall and feeling a bit glum, I asked Papa to help me climb out of the hole I had allowed myself to sink.
It wasn't the rain that was causing the blue mood. A number of things were weighing heavily on my heart. Nothing on the list was within my control to do anything to affect change. The only change possible was within me.

Papa knew what I needed and how to help me receive it.

My son, Matt, joined me on the porch. He, too, enjoys an intimate relationship with Papa, which enriches the relationship we enjoy with one another.
While we sat quietly, side by side enjoying the morning our thoughts I were focused on our beautiful God.
Here and there we would share what was filling our hearts and minds.
This is very natural for us.
I am always grateful for this gift.

The thought came to make a gratitude list.
So I picked up my pen and journal and began to write.

The life I have in Jesus always tops my list.
Then, of course came the gift of sitting on a porch with my beloved son enjoying Papa and what had become a rousing thunderstorm.  We both love a good storm!

The falling rain reminded me of the refreshment that I receive from my gracious Savior.
The thunder and lightening reminding me of His Power!

The falling rain spoke to me of His cleansing blood. Such grace!

Of course, His Sovereignty came to mind.
He rains on the righteous and the unrighteousness.  His blessing falls on us all, no matter our position or condition.

Another son, Tim, joined us at this point. He, too, is in an amazing relationship with Jesus.  Another reminder for my gratitude list!
A reminder that my God is the miracle-working God!!

In front of the porch is a holly bush whose leaves were all open and reaching up to drink in the life-giving rain.
Water an essential ingredient for life.

The water He gives is Living Water.
It never runs out.
For those who choose to drink of it.

Not only does this water satisfy, but it becomes a river flowing through those who drink.
As this river flows out, it begins to get others wet too!

First a little splash, here and there, and then before they know it they are wiggling their toes in it!From there it is just a matter of time until they find themselves ankle deep, then knee deep and then over their heads!

I know this to be true, so very true.
That river is flowing through those of us who sit on this porch, and we are confident that it will continue to reach further and further into many more lives!!

Yes, a gratitude list was a very good idea!
Thank You, Papa, for the rain and all it's reminders!




Friday, June 13, 2014

Tears for a Father

Tears quickly filled my eyes as I listened to the commentator's remarks. 
As usual, I was listening to "The World and Everything in it", which is produced by World News Group.

 Monday through Friday, as I settle myself in my little Subby, Pearly and prepare to drive my honey to the "Y", I click on their latest podcast.
Today's had a segment on Fathers' Day.

The speaker spoke of his father and how the man always had time for his kids, even though he held down two jobs.  His dad would play games with them and give his undivided attention.  At this father's grave site a few years ago his daughter summed his life up with this comment:  "He was a good man."
What a wonderful thing to be able to say, in all sincerity, about one's father!

As I mark more years on this planet I tend to be moved to tears more easily.  A simple headline can do it at times.  Yet, I have been especially sensitive regarding the topic of fathers for years prior this increasing sensitivity.

I recall watching a MacDonalds'' commercial years ago that opened the flood gates.  It was a little girl with her daddy on a father/daughter date at said fast food place.  I was mesmerized, but what truly moved me was when she climbed up into her daddy's welcoming lap.
How I wept for what I would never experience. 

I never knew my father.  To be truthful I am not 100 percent certain who he is/was.
The first father image in my life, thankfully, was my maternal grandfather.  I had him full time for the first three or so years of my life.  He loved me.
Then my mother married and we moved away.
By the time I was five my grandfather had passed away.

My step-father was a very conflicted man over many things, but one of the major issues concerned women.  This terribly damaged man was ill-equipped to father anyone, especially daughters.  (He and my mother went on to have three more girls.)

Many of the issues that I have struggled over in the past stem from the longing for not only a father, but a daddy.  Truly that was my heart's cry.

I remember seeing a plaque at my cousin's home that read something like this, "Anyone can be a father, but it takes a real man to be a daddy."

Today many are fathering children and then moving on without so much as a backward glance.
I meet many such abandoned grown children regularly.
We often connect because of this shared loss.

After I encountered Jesus and fell in love with Him the way was opened up to me to get to know my Heavenly Father.
In time I came to learn that His love was unconditional and that I had His undivided attention.

Never will I forget the day He told me that, not only had He adopted me, but I could call Him "Abba", which means daddy or papa.
As anyone who has read my musings in the past can attest I have settled very comfortably on the Name Papa!
The Words that spoke to my heart are found in Romans eight, verse fifteen.  They read,as follows, in the Amplified Version:
"For the Spirit which you have now received is not a spirit of slavery to put you once more in bondage to fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption (the Spirit producing sonship) in the bliss of which we cry, Abba ! Father!"
Fear is what I wore as a cloak.
Now I am covered by His wings instead!

So why am I still moved to tears in longing for an earthly father?
Simply because this life is a journey where we experience more and more healing as we learn to lean on Papa more fully.
We do not arrive on this side of glory, but a day is coming when...
"He shall wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away."
Meanwhile, I can climb up into Papa's lap anytime I need to, as His arms are always open in welcome!