Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Final Days

With graduation only days away, and family coming to visit - you guessed it! I'm unplugging for a while to focus on this special time! See you soon!

Psalm 57:7-11 My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed: I will sing and give praise. Awake up, my glory; awake, psaltery and harp: I myself will awake early. I will praise thee, O Lord, among the people: I will sing unto thee among the nations. For thy mercy is great unto the heavens, and thy truth unto the clouds. Be thou exalted, O God, above the heavens: let thy glory be above all the earth.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Perfect Provision

For days our pond was 'disturbed' by humans. Humans we had paid to fix a multitude of problems. Once finished, with the final boulder in place and the spring-fed creek raising the pond back to its normal water level, it didn't take long for 'them' to come back. Literally within hours, the wildlife we were accustomed to, had returned.

A family of four deer stepped gingerly down to the water's edge to get a drink. A red-shouldered hawk kept his gaze fixed on the pond, watching for even the slightest movement from something edible. A brown water snake glided effortlessly through the pond from one side to the other. Once again, our yard was teeming with God's creatures. I hadn't realized how much I had missed them. The pond acted as a source of life for these 'friends,' large and small alike.

Just like the pond provides for the wildlife in our yard, God's word provides for each one of us. Although the needs of the animals are different, the pond clearly meets each need. Our individual needs vary greatly, yet God's word provides for each and every one of them. From our greatest need for salvation to our daily need for wisdom and guidance. From our need to be loved, to our need for assurance of God's presence. The Bible holds life-giving words that provide nourishment for our souls.

Even as I am able to see my reflection in our pond, the law of God acts as a mirror, reflecting my sin and showing me my need for a Savior. I'm reminded of a certain Pharisee, Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. He was a deeply religious man, yet, unlike the other Pharisees, Nicodemus was convinced that Jesus was a teacher come from God. For fear of the Jews, Nicodemus approached Jesus at night. Jesus responded to him, "Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God" (John 3:3; KJV). Seeing Nicodemus' confusion, Jesus explained further, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16). Nicodemus believed these life-giving words of Christ and later we see the difference they made in his life. He and Joseph of Arimathaea boldly approached Pilate to ask permission to bury the body of Jesus, following His crucifixion. Honoring Christ was now more important to Nicodemus than honoring the Pharisees.

As I seek wisdom and guidance in my daily life, God's word reminds me of our spring-fed creek. Much like a spring, His word bubbles over with verse after verse related to these topics. The book of James encourages me to ask for wisdom, "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him" (James 1:5). If I'm to be wise, I'm to begin with reverencing God, "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth for ever" (Psalm 111:10). God promises to guide me, "I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye" (Psalm 32:8). He shares a characteristic of those whom He is able to guide, "The meek will he guide in judgment: and the meek will he teach his way" (Psalm 25:9).Valuable words of life.

On those days when I question God's love for me, His word is replete with precious truth. King Solomon writes, "I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me" (Proverbs 8:17). When I'm feeling all alone, scripture reminds me otherwise. "...for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee" (Hebrews 13:5b). Again in the book of Matthew, "...and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world" (Matthew 28:20).

Whether your need is similar to one mentioned here, or totally different, you can be assured that God's word is a treasure trove waiting to be mined. Take time to search the scriptures today, the life giving words you need can be found within the pages of God's holy word!

Heavenly Father, Your word is truth and light. Thank you that the answers to all of life's questions can be found within the pages of the Bible. In the words of the Psalmist, "As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God" (Psalm 42:1). Quench my thirst, O Lord. Amen.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Full Potential

The countdown has begun. Our daughter, Riley, has ten more days of high school before graduation. Exciting days. Bittersweet days. She pulled together some photos to include on her senior collage, and a flood of memories hit me. Adorable baby pictures, mixed in with those capturing her bubbly toddler personality. Pictures conveying the slightly awkward 'tween' stage that included braces, and pictures that assured us that those braces were very worthwhile. Beautiful memories.

What a privilege my husband, Steve, and I have been given by God - that of parenthood. A privilege and a big responsibility! As flawed humans, trying to raise a daughter in the nurture and admonition of the Lord is challenging, to say the least. Thankfully, we aren't left on our own. When God calls us to a specific task, He also equips us. As Moses questioned God's decision to send him to Egypt to free His people, God reminded Moses of this truth, "Now therefore go, and I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee what thou shalt say" (Exodus 4:12; KJV). God's wisdom and strength are ours for the asking. He promises us, " Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you" (Matthew 7:7).

As the years have sped by, and she's moved toward independence, we've had to realize that Riley isn't really ours. She was fearfully and wonderfully made by our Heavenly Father to bring Him honor and glory. We are entrusted with her, but in reality, she belongs to Him, "For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them" (Ephesians 2:10). He has a plan and purpose for her life. How exciting to know that she's in the best hands possible - those of the Master!

Our prayer for Riley can be summed up in the words Moses penned for the children of Israel, "love the Lord your God,...walk in all his ways, and...cleave unto him" (Deuteronomy 11:22). Love Him, obey Him and cling to Him. When God's word is alive and active in the life of a surrendered believer, there's no limit to what God can do! Can you see the potential? We're looking forward to all God has in store for you, Riley! Strive to reach your full potential for Him! Mom and Dad love you!

What has God called you to do? How has He equipped you? Are you ready to reach your full potential? Let me hear from you!

Thursday, May 6, 2010


He was the youngest of Jesse's sons. A shepherd by trade. Not your typical choice for a king. But God's plans don't follow man's logic. As the prophet, Samuel, stood before Jesse, one likely candidate after another passed before him. God made it clear to Samuel that He had not chosen any of these young men to be king. Samuel heard the doubt in Jesse's voice when he responded to Samuel's inquiry about other children, "There remaineth yet the youngest, and, behold, he keepeth the sheep" (1 Samuel 16:11; KJV). Jesse hadn't even thought to call his youngest son, David, to this special gathering, automatically ruling him out as a potential candidate for king.

When David arrived from the fields where he had been tending his father's sheep, the Lord's response to Samuel was immediate, "Arise, anoint him: for this is he" (1 Samuel 16:12). In obedience, Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed David, "and the Spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward" (1 Samuel 16:13). Chosen by God. The next king of Israel.

Put yourself in David's shoes, or sandals, if you will. One day you're tending your father's sheep, and the next thing you know, the renowned prophet of the Lord appears at your door, vial in hand, and as the lukewarm oil drips off your hair, the Spirit of the Lord grips you! Dozens of questions must have filled David's mind. He certainly didn't feel like a king. How soon would he be moving into the palace? Who would take care of his father's sheep? What would his responsibilities include?

The transition from field to palace spanned many years. Each trial David encountered shaped him for the throne. He proved himself to be devoted to God, and no-doubt developed a close relationship with his Heavenly Father as he spent hours in solitude caring for and protecting his father's sheep. He was a skilled marksman with a slingshot. Yet the same hands that were able to take life, were able to enrich life with beautiful music. David was a talented harpist. He was called upon to use his musical ability when King Saul was tormented with an evil spirit. The beautiful music was able to sooth his soul. What thoughts must have raced through David's mind as he played in Saul's presence, knowing that someday he would occupy the throne!

David's zeal for the Lord was again apparent when he faced the Philistine giant, Goliath. David was incensed that this pagan would dare curse the God of the Israelites. As they drew near one another in battle, David spoke confidently, "Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied. This day will the Lord deliver thee into mine hand...that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel" (1 Samuel 17:45-46). A great victory was won in Israel that day!

The people now credited David with the slaughter of the Philistines. Saul saw the people's response and jealousy was swift to follow. David became a 'wanted' man. Hunted by King Saul, and on the run for his life, David became a skilled warrior in the process. Each skill he was acquiring would be essential for his reign as king. At least fifteen years passed between David's initial anointing and when he took the throne. Each trial he encountered served to prepare him for the job God had for him.

The writer's journey to publication is no different. Seldom is a writer awarded a contract without a lot of hard work and effort. The journey is a long one, fraught with successes and failures along the way. Being willing to invest the time and discipline necessary to hone the craft are essential. Writing, editing, and re-writing are all part of the mix. Rejections mold character and perseverance. Attending conferences, making connections and learning my own strengths and weaknesses further prepares me for what God has laid before me. Although I have no idea how long it will take for my dream of publication to become a reality, I am confident, like David, that each hurdle I encounter along the way will serve to prepare me to be a better writer!

How about you? Can you see how God is orchestrating things in your life, to better prepare you for the job He's calling you to do? I'd love to hear about it!

Monday, May 3, 2010

A Season for Everything

The joys and sorrows of life. We all face them. How privileged we are to traverse life's path with those who willingly come alongside us. What a blessing to be an encouragement to another when the roles are reversed.

In the past couple of months, I've watched life's roller coaster deal mountain top experiences to some, while plunging others into devastating valleys. Rejoicing with those experiencing motherhood for the first time, and crying with others over catastrophic marital difficulties, and the death of loved ones. Because of sin, I know there will be difficulty and suffering. I have to admit, it can be a bit overwhelming when the tidal wave of adversity crashes in, threatening to engulf everyone in its path.

King Solomon penned the stark truth, "To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance" (Ecclesiastes 3:1-4; KJV). There IS a season for everything. In the New Testament, the Apostle Paul spells out one of the practical responsibilities of believers, "Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep" (Romans 12:15).

I think I've got the 'rejoicing' part down. It's fun to be a part of the joyous celebrations of life - graduations, weddings, births. The difficulty begins when we're called on to help the one facing marital struggles, be there for the heartbroken, or sit with a dying family member. My tendency is to shrink back from these 'uncomfortable' situations and let someone else handle them. But if I'm to put feet to my faith, I'll overcome my selfishness and be there in both the good times and the bad.

Although I may not always understand the 'whys' of life, I am confident that each circumstance presents an opportunity for faith to grow. James put it this way, "My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing" (James 1:2-4). The certainty is that trials and difficulties will come. The question becomes, will life's trials and difficulties make or break our faith?

While navigating the pathway of life, everything we encounter is designed to draw us into a closer relationship with the Lord. His plan is not to keep us from pain, but to mature and perfect us, to conform us to the image of His Son (Romans 8:29). He won't force us to be conformed. The choice is ours. Will we allow the hardships in our life and in the lives of others to solidify and grow our faith? Or will we become disillusioned in the process? The next time you encounter difficulty, or are called upon to be there for a friend, allow yourself to be rooted and grounded in Christ so the storms of life become useful tools to cultivate life-changing faith!