December 1, 2022:
WHAT CAN I SAY? THE MONTH SINCE OUR NOVEMBER 2022 ELECTIONS HAVE BEEN A TIME OF REFLECTION FOR ME. THE RESULTS APTLY FIT INTO THE CATEGORY OF “ACCEPTABLE,” ACCOMPLISHING A SMALL STEP OF PROGRESS TOWARDS STEPPING OUT OF THIS DEPLORABLE NATIONAL SITUATION WE ALL SHARE. IT IS DISAPPOINTING AND DISHEARTENING TO SEE WELL-KNOWN AND POWERFUL GOP MEMBERS FLEXING THEIR MUSCLE AND DECEIT TO UNDERMINE THIS ESSENTIAL MAGA TRANSFORMATION. MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN: IT HAS BECOME A DAILY PRAYER PROCLAMATION FOR ME, PRECEDED BY SPIRITUAL REVIVAL AND ACCOMPANIED BY MULTIPLE DEATH BLOWS TO THE ENEMY’S EVER-REACHING PLANS FOR THIS NATION’S DESTRUCTION. WE AS A POPULATION SHOULD NEVER HAVE ALLOWED THE GREAT LADY’S FALL INTO DISGRACE. WE AS MORAL BEINGS SHOULD NEVER HAVE ALLOWED GOD TO BE MINIMIZED OR REMOVED FROM OUR PUBLIC INSTITUTIONS AND DISCOURSE.
AS I SURVEY THE POLITICAL LANDSCAPE, IT IS TREMENDOUSLY DISHEARTENING TO SEE MANY OF THE NEARLY-IDENTICAL HEADLINES OF ELECTION FRAUD PUBLICIZED IN SEVERAL STATES….AND, AGAIN, NO LAWFUL INTERVENTION OR JUSTICE OCCURRING. THE FRAUD IS ALLOWED TO STAND, JUST AS IN THE 2020 ELECTION. I THOUGHT THAT WE, AS A NATION, WOULD BE IN A “BETTER PLACE” BY NOW. THERE IS LITTLE TO DO BUT KEEP FIGHTING FOR ELECTION INTEGRITY, KEEP PRAYING, AND WALK WITH OUR GOD AS HE BRINGS ABOUT RECLAMATION IN THE NATION HE HAS PROMISED TO SAVE.
January 31, 2021.
Eleven days after the presidential inauguration of a man who did not legally win the presidency by verifiably receiving the majority of legal votes cast via the Electoral College states representation.
Eleven days of a ruling regime whose head has authorized forty-plus executive orders to eliminate jobs, remove border safeguards, destabilize healthcare options, remove tax decreases, cancel the implementation of accurate American history being taught in the schools, and end limitations on a abortion. Even THAT is not enough, as the spirit of death moves gleefully about, re-instituting financial assistance to foreign countries who wish to allow the killing of THEIR future generations, as well. And as the massacre of the unborn expands, primary and secondary schools throughout the nation remain mostly closed to in-class learning.
States whose economies are still restricted or shut down, but whose governors are aligned with the illegally-installed regime, are now talking of “opening their state” in February. The WHO has reconfigured the formula by which COVID cases are figured and – lo-and-behold — until the new regime was installed, it has come to light that numerous “false positives” were being generated and subsequently reported as positive COVID statistics to enable continued restrictions. Now, to everyone’s “astonishment,” the number of actual cases was and is currently much lower than reported over the last year.
The betrayal of a nation and its people.
How many hands are necessarily involved in the creation of a toxic stew so potent that it seeks to poison every river and tributary of thought throughout the land? Too many to count. The enemy has worked continuously and mercilessly to cement an alignment of institutions and networks to crush the country’s citizens rather than serve them, as is their moral and upright duty before God Almighty. It is an unconscionable situation.
But for the mercy and the greatness of God, the despair of this nation’s citizens would be inconsolable.
Psalm 27:13 states, “I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” (NIV)
We seek His goodness; we seek His visitation in this difficult stretch of time. We have sought His Face and Guidance through repentance and worship and affirmation of His goodness. As with Nineveh, He will not hand America over to destruction or to its enemies.
“Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, For His faithfulness is everlasting.
Give thanks to the God of gods, for His faithfulness is everlasting.
Give thanks to the Lord of lords, for His faithfulness is everlasting.
To Him alone who does great wonders, for His faithfulness is everlasting…
Who remembered us in our lowliness, for His faithfulness is everlasting,
And has rescued us from our enemies, for His faithfulness is everlasting.” (Psa. 136: 1-4, 23-25)
Be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. His faithfulness is everlasting.
“There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to Him: Haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that run rapidly to evil, a false witness who declares lies, and one who spreads strife among brothers.” (Prov. 6:16-19)
These “things” form the skeleton around which the bodies of institutional evil are currently maneuvering, planning, conniving, cheating, manipulating, deceiving, intimidating, misleading, concealing and denying the truthful state of affairs. But His prophets have continued to speak…and there are words of a chaotic February followed by a “victory-March” and a redemptive move of God to follow.
We wait in faith, and we actively proclaim His victory through our prayers and encouragements to others. I do not believe there is any scenario in which the Lord will allow this travesty of a “free election” to remain. There are millions of His followers currently suffering hardship and dire loss in this nation as a result of the fraud, corruption, political coup.
I believe we will be seeing a Romans 8:28 flower bud come to full bloom: “We know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who are called according to His purpose.” (NASB)
For now, the “flower bud” remains closed. And I do not doubt that the bud will mature into a beautiful bloom. What the enemy is sowing in darkness will be brought into His Light, and with that unveiling, the beauty of the behind-the-scenes strategy that God is implementing will begin to bloom and be fully visible as it displays His glory.
(Below: an encouragement to see God’s hand at work through difficult cultural circumstances and deceptions)
November 15, 2020: He is accomplishing His work in these days
44 degrees. It’s a little cold to be sitting outside but there are delightful little birds flitting from feeder to feeder, chirping together in rapid conversation. I will miss them in few days, as they will surely be flying out before the much-colder weather hits this weekend.
I am also marveling at the unexpected-and-incredible transformation God is engaged in, right now, throughout the world. I have felt for many months that we are in a Habakkuk 1:5b moment, in which the Lord states, “For I am accomplishing a work in your days – you would not believe it even if you were told!”
While I am not suggesting that God is trying to strike us with horror or to be “frightened speechless,” (v. 5:1a), I remain steadfast in believing He is deliberately and purposefully stripping away layers of deception that affect and involve multiple nations and cultures, governments and peoples.
I am firmly believing we are in the midst of an amazing moment, in fact. With increasing evidence pointing towards an internationally-connected election tampering conspiracy regarding our American 2020 Presidential election, it is overwhelming and – yes, possibly frightening – to consider the scope of the events being uncovered….deeds and corruption so nefarious and intertwined in unseen ways that a fiction-writer would dare not portray them as genuine.
And yet, here we are. My heartfelt response is, Thank You, Jesus, Great I Am, You Who are from Everlasting to Everlasting. Your “business of redemption” in this world is on full and glorious display.
Unjust scales are being re-calibrated. Deeds and schemes of darkness are being peeled back layer after layer. With Your piercing Light of Revelation spotlighting and highlighting multiple dark corners, I expect that the hosts of hell are looking up in horror as your inroads progress. They may even be starting to slowly retreat.
That retreat does not feel like surrender, however – rather, the intensification of battle. Rather like an action movie in which the stand-alone warrior faces dragon fire or overwhelming odds towards his defeat, we who represent His Kingdom are fighting on our prayer knees as well as standing up as in Ephesians 6:13, taking up “the full armor of God, so you will be able to resist on the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.” The heavenlies are revealed in detail through Ephesians 6:10-18, and we are clearly shown that “our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.”
The foundation of our American self-governance was given by God. Let us advance the torch of liberty by burning brightly for Him, together, as we reinforce His spiritual victory against this assault of the enemy.
(Below: Misrepresented reality; fighting deception and its firm hold on our lives, our country, our nation; deception has sown seeds of evil we are now reaping)
October 28, 2020: Misrepresented reality.
I had a happy afternoon doing some shopping, yesterday.
As I browsed through racks and shelves of clothes, a new marketing slogan for Lauren Conrad jeans caught my eye: STYLES HAVE NEW SIZING, proclaimed the freestanding sign. Out of curiosity, I wandered over to get the full story; the smaller print read, “Already own a pair? Buy one size down.”
I thought about the slogan for a minute and as the content of the statement really gelled in my mind, I started to chuckle: apparently the targeted customers for this line of jeans is those women who “want to be a size smaller” but have not yet achieved the goal. Or perhaps they can’t stop “middle-aged spread.” Or maybe they are still thinking about setting a weight-loss goal and have not yet started the process.
Whatever the motivation, I found the slogan initially humorous – but possessing a dark side, for the “sizzle” to the “steak” being sold was misrepresented reality.
Misrepresented reality. Our culture is currently fraught with it.
No matter what size is stated on the tag, that size 12 or 10 or 8 derrieres putting on the pant has not “instantly shrunk” simply because the sizing cut of the pants has been modified. Call it what you will, that is the reality. No “instant fix,” no evaporation of 10 pounds simply by slipping them on.
As I moved on in my shopping, the Holy Spirit impressed me with how accepted and prevalent misrepresented reality has become. We as a nation and culture and American family are in a season that is reaping an outrageous and destructive harvest from deadly seeds which the enemy has generously sown and watered for many years. Even decades.
Those tender shoots of evil have been dismissed or ignored by vast numbers of people under the assumption that they would be trampled underfoot or otherwise perish from lack of tending or sustenance. But that has not been the case. Long-stated (and even newly-stated) misrepresentations of reality about the most basic of truths (gender, conception, documented history, morality, God’s existence and nature) have clouded the beam of the Son’s bright light and enabled them to thrive.
This thriving crop of evil brings a personal destruction of heart, soul, and purpose to countless millions.
And we are living in an appointed time. God is afoot doing great things, bringing great alignments. It is an era for each of us to newly manifest our spiritual sickles and shovels of prayer, confronting this harvest of chaos and misrepresented reality.
Another year is about to be set before us. We who walk alongside our God, embracing His Presence and purpose within us: I believe we have a new task. Yet, as Jesus explained in giving the commandment to “love one another,” it is actually an old task (Matt. 22: 39-40) – to embrace those “good works which God prepared beforehand, so that we would walk in them” (Eph. 2:10) and “uproot what is planted” (Ecc. 3:2) by the enemy. Not to simply give mental ascent to the situation…but to prayerfully and actively engage it.
The Spirit of the Lord is always preparing the hearts of people to accept His good seeds. But it seems to me that He is giving us fresh and empowered opportunities to plant a harvest of righteous understanding, peace and reconciliation in every venue we encounter.
“In reality, the truth of God is known instinctively, for God has embedded this knowledge inside every human heart…because from the creation of the world, the invisible qualities of God’s nature have been made visible, such as His eternal power and transcendence. He has made His wonderful attributes easily perceived, for seeing the visible makes us understand the invisible. So then, this leaves everyone without excuse. Throughout human history, the fingerprints of God were upon them, yet they refused to honor Him as God or even be thankful for His kindness. Instead, they entertained corrupt and foolish thoughts about what God was like. This left them with nothing but misguided hearts, steeped in moral darkness. Although claiming to be super-intelligent, they were in fact shallow fools.” (Romans 1:19-22, The Passion Translation)
We can all participate in uprooting those things which should not be, and the replanting of His plan and desire.
(Below, last entry from Fall-Winter 2019-2020, God’s care for every season of our lives)
February 20, 2020: Oh yes, sunshine! A hearty good morning to each and every temperature degree — all 10 of them!
The treescape outside has the trappings of icy Narnia. Intricately woven ice designs cling to pine needles while bare aspen branches are adorned in long sheaths of sparkly, jagged crystals.
It is truly beautiful and I am feeling quite thankful. Thankful for the beauty, thankful that God surely takes delight and care in each and every season He has created to roll across the earth.
As I continue to look at the dazzling vista, I am reminded that His delight and care is also watching over every season of our lives, as well. The cold, icy seasons of withdrawing from others, abandoning dreams that have become increasingly distant; the warm and vibrant seasons of bursting forth with renewed energy, faith, ideas and encouragement.
He gives care and delight in them all, His finger edging across the boundaries that define each, His finger gently resting in ours as we walk through them together. “For He Himself has said, ‘I will never desert you nor will I ever forsake you.'” (Heb. 13:5)
January 25, 2020: A Peach Soliloquy in January
I’m sitting in the sun while sipping tea and eating peaches in the middle of our Colorado January.
Even though I’m wearing long jeans and long sleeves, our unseasonably warm mid-December through January weather has presented several unexpected opportunities to enjoy some “outside time.” And I love it, even though I know the snow will inevitably return in just a day or two.
While I sit here and enjoy the not-too-chilly fresh air, I’m thinking about the quality and taste of these peaches. I didn’t synchronize my life well enough last summer to take advantage of those great peach sales so that I actually put together a winter’s supply of fresh fruit…unfortunately, it’s a commercially processed product for me until this summer, discouraging as it tastes.
Then I felt like the Lord interrupted my peach soliloquy by reminding me that sometimes you just don’t always get to do everything you plan or want to do.
That seems like a self-evident and easily understandable truth…but I really struggle with it. And I suspect a lot of other people wrestle with walking that out, as well. I argue with — and misjudge — the constraints of time on tasks and projects on a fairly regular basis. I often feel as if I am constantly busy…yet never as productive as I would like to be, on things that are important to me.
I am touched by the way The Passion Translation quotes James 4:14: “But you don’t have a clue what tomorrow will bring. For your fleeting life is but a warm breath of air that is visible in the cold for only a moment, then vanishes! Instead you should say, ‘Our tomorrows are in the Lord’s hands and if He is willing we will live life to the fullest and do this or that.’…But if you know of an opportunity to do the right thing today, yet you refrain from doing it, you’re guilty of sin.” (James 4:14-15, 17, TPT)
My “tomorrow” is, in fact, in the Lord’s hands. And the tomorrow after that, assuming I have one.
The plans I make are my general structure of an upcoming time span…but the opportunities to do “right things” are ever-present and not always well-coordinated to that structure.
That’s an important reality to recognize.
Our lives are often filled with “greater callings” that are unexpected and spontaneous. It’s beneficial and reassuring to walk in trust and faith that the Lord, Himself, will nourish and bring to fruition all those “peaches” in our lives, in an appropriate order and with the blessing of His hand.
January 14, 2020: Taking down the Christmas lights.
As I laboriously wind and unwind the connecting strands wrapped around the deck handrail, I start to chuckle: why did this wind-and-rewind seem like such a quick process a month BEFORE Christmas…but had now become such a boring and taxing task three weeks after?
The answer, of course, boils down to a matter of simple anticipation.
And as I thought about it, I realized how powerfully motivated people are when they have a firmly pictured (or clearly imagined) end result in mind. My mental image of the house deckrail gleaming with colorful mini-lights as the darkness descended during these short days brought me immense pleasure. In fact, the more I imagined it, the more I enthusiastically expanded the light display to new areas.
Now that I am carrying out the reverse action, the opposite emotion is also true. The resulting absence of light as the holiday decor is removed brings me a deep, inward sigh of regret as I anticipate and picture the now unbroken-darkness.
As a result, the task now seemed long and unrewarding, like an unwanted destination coming into sight even as you continue moving towards it. And that sense of drudgery reminded me of the many passages in Scripture that encourage us to build an anticipation of an expanded perspective of our lives, both through consideration of revealed Truth and focusing on eternal realities.
Hebrews 12:2 encourages us to be “fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith,” as we journey through the ups and downs of our lives. We are to anticipate hearing His voice, experiencing His Presence and guidance, as we “fix our eyes” upon Him. In other words, picture the outcome of walking in close fellowship with Jesus, and draw on that to give you strength and vision.
Paul stated to the Romans that he did not consider his life “as dear to myself, so that I may finish my course and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus.” (Acts 20:24) We are to anticipate a destiny to be fulfilled, a calling answered, a flow of His life through ours to impact others. Mentally picture yourself engaged in His wonderful works and redemption throughout the neighborhood and out into the world.
That’s exactly what I’m going to do in the weeks ahead. Focusing on the act of searching for Him, reaching out through me, to touch and comfort and bring peace — a beautiful representation of His Light shining in the darkness.
September, 2019: This year’s Fall is finally upon us. The leaves morphed into their glorious colors late this year due to our abundant rain throughout the summer. I am so hoping that in starting late, they will remain bright and beautiful for a longer stretch of time.
I always want to start a “Fall display” around the house early…and this year is no exception. It is not easy to avoid the overtones of Halloween when shopping for outside decor, particularly…so I put on my creativity cap and started looking around at what I might do.
Scarecrows and mini lights wrapping around an aspen trunk are this year’s perfect solution. I enjoy the humor and goofiness of decorative scarecrows almost as much as I love the interesting pumpkins that show up in the stores as October moves in.
But it’s really the focus on “the harvest” that makes me pause, stop and ponder. No matter what the world looks like around us, we have God’s promise that Jesus’ Kingdom is advancing.
One of Jesus’ most famous quotes is, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.” (Matt. 9:37) Worldwide, previously small pockets of Christian persecution have expanded, even against the backdrop of testimonies regarding God’s Spirit touching large groups of people. Matthew 9:38 leads us to Jesus’ next thought — “Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.”
“His harvest” is everywhere, and this is the perfect season to intentionally focus on energized prayer. His harvest is not only in far-flung foreign lands–with eyes to see, we also find it at the grocery store, in school board meetings, in our neighborhoods, at retirement groups and hospitals, in national politics and in the place each of us works. We are now the Word made flesh, bearing-and-sharing His image and Presence through every interaction. If we cannot make a personal appearance and impact, His Spirit collects and addresses the prayers we share over people, situations, events. He honors each prayer seed planted.
Every autumnal season carries carries an overarching, spiritual “John the Baptist mantle,” a time of reflection and preparation to anticipate God doing something amazing and unexpected. At least superficially, our American culture is drawn into considering and contemplating the concept of “harvest,” which is an open invitation to each of us to seize those moments and pick up our sickles.
February 27, 2019: It is a beautiful morning, and I have received a wonderful and unexpected gift: this warm, sun-filled morning with many different species of birds passing through, singing and wing-flapping and chirping on their way. Returning snow is predicted for the upcoming weekend, but on this morning there is a warm, soothing freshness in the air like a fresh spring day.
Psalm 84:1-3 reads, “How lovely are Your dwelling places, O Lord of hosts! My soul longed and even yearned for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh sing for joy to the living God. The bird also has found a house, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young. Even Your altars, O Lord of hosts, My King and my God.” (NASB)
The Message translates this same portion of Scripture, “What a beautiful home, God-of-the-Angel-Armies! I’ve always longed to live in a place like this, always dreamed of a room in Your house, where I could sing for joy to God-alive! Birds find nooks and crannies in your house, sparrows and swallows make nests there. They lay their eggs and raise their young, singing their songs in the house where we worship! God-of-the-Angel-Armies! King! God! How blessed they are to live and sing there!”
So, today – this day of beautiful, bright sunshine and singing birds nearby – I am in His temple, singing for joy to God-alive, as “Your body is a Temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you…” (I Cor. 6:19, NASB)
I am so thankful for the sparrows that find “nooks and crannies” at our house, as well as in His. As I sit here and worship, they are singing their songs, and we worship together to the God-of-the-Angel-armies.
January 2, 2019: The sun has risen and is currently creating beautiful contrasts between the glittering folds and shadows of the day-old snow as it fills the mounds and dips of the dried-grass landscape.
But last night was dark. Very dark.
The moon was shrouded by clouds. Only a single neighboring household joined me in turning on its Christmas lights, despite the fact that New Year’s Day night is typically included in that stretch of time we call “the Christmas season” when the colorful lights continue to burn for a few more days before saying their final farewell for another year.
Welcoming 2019 with an outpouring of darkness, rather than light, struck me as a sad greeting indeed.
As I peered down the dark, unfriendly-looking street, the Genesis phrase of “formless and void” slipped into my mind. Then came the entire verse: “The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters.” (Gen. 1:2-3)
I thought about that action: moving over the surface of the waters, brooding, hovering, preparing.
“Then God said, let there be light; and there was light. God saw that the light was good.” (Gen. 1:3-4a)
I instantly saw the parallel: Just as the Spirit was moving over that surface, reverberating with gloom and obscurity, so indeed He moves, hovers, makes preparations over the darkest waters on the surface of our lives, our souls, in our circumstances.
And, for exactly the same purpose: to bring Light.
To focus Light down the sometimes-narrow, deep burrow of our our pain and tears.
To inspire with Light as we converse with Him, sharing our petitions and outcries, our perspective and focus.
To shine Light in those times when the adversary has successfully surrounded us with swirling, misdirecting mists of indecision, doubt, distrust.
To bring Light to our estimation and esteeming of others, our fellowship with those in the Body, co-heirs with us in His grace, forgiving and honoring as we have been forgiven and honored by Him.
To manifest His Light in us, touching those who do not yet know Jesus with that Light, kindness, resolution, revelation. To demonstrate a greater Kingdom than the one we see in our daily activities, a more enduring alliance on which to anchor our souls in uncertain times.
As Father, Son and Spirit shook Hands and approved as One that the Light was good, we are starting a new year of opportunity to “walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light.”(I John 1:7)
December 17, 2018: Politically-Correct Christmas-phobes tout survey that states “Santa needs an update.” The only encouraging thing about this survey is that a VERY SLIM number of respondents were cited — a mere 800 for both the United States and Britain. Not sure what demographic the marketing company chose, but the suggestions are pretty startling — including a gender-neutral Santa….hmmm…..is the demographic really that hard to figure out?
December 12, 2018: God must be continuing to talk to me about rest…and perhaps He is wanting me to share one of His thoughts on this topic with others.
Uncharacteristically, I took a nap today.
I didn’t think I was tired enough to sleep mid-day (especially since I had just finished a full cup of coffee at lunch) but I was feeling chilled from head to toe. So, laying down after lunch in front of a heater, I fell right asleep. When I woke up, I felt a strong sense of self-frustration similar to when I have lacked self-control when shopping, or procrastinated on an important project even while watching the clock and counting down the time while the deadline continues to draw nigh. How could I have taken the time, with so many things to do?
Determined to accomplish some noteworthy task before the dinner hour, I began reading email headlines, and one instantly caught my attention: a daily devotional partly titled “Exchanging the guilt of rest for the gift of rest.”
And I will admit it — I started to laugh. OK, Lord, let’s see what it says.
One of the author’s summation points is, “As we realize that grace abounds in the area of rest as well, we see possibilities and not limitations — the joy and not the duty of it.”
Possibilities, joy. I actually meditated on that line, really pondering the fact I had exchanged an hour-plus of “doing” for the benefits of an hour-plus of physical and emotional restoration. Grace abounding in the area of rest.
That is a concept that is actually rather foreign to me…that phrase runs contrary to the verses that so often flip through my mind when I think about sitting and doing nothing for a bit: “Laziness casts into a deep sleep, and an idle man will suffer hunger” (Prov. 19:15); “He who sleeps in harvest is a son who acts shamefully” (Prov. 10:5); “Do not love sleep, or you will become poor” (Prov. 20:13)
And while these are significant life-habit verses of which to be mindful… I continue to learn that their wisdom needs to be balanced with our loving Father’s call to “Cease striving and know that I am God.” (Psa. 46:10, NASB)
That is the part I often forget or overlook. The universe – or even my small part of my overall sphere of life – will continue in its workings if I step out of it for a short break, whether it is for rest, contemplation, or simply emotional decompression. The Message translation states, “Step out of the traffic! Take a long, loving look at Me, your High God, above politics, above everything.” (Psa 46:10)
Now, I am not equating a couple hours’ nap with the conscious act of carving out specific time to take a long, loving look at Him. However, I do have an increased sense of thankfulness and gratitude for His loving care when I think about Jesus tenderly encouraging His disciples, “Come away by yourselves to a secluded place and rest a while.” (Mark 6:31)
“Awhile” can be a tough amount of time to secure until after January 1…and with a hectic, demanding lifestyle full of children or responsibilities at work and elsewhere, that time can be difficult to secure any month of the year.
But that phrase, grace abounding in the area of rest, has captured my attention. Moreover, it opens my perspective to view time for rest, refreshment, and rejuvenation as a loving provision smilingly offered by the One who knows us best, rather than assessing it as personally falling short of ideal time management.
December 6, 2018: How do the heavens proclaim the glory of God?
I was deleting excessive emails when I opened an online publication whose name I did not recognize. Quickly scanning down the page, I read this paragraph: “Turn your eyes towards nature and you will find nothing idle. The heavens, by their perpetual motion, unceasingly proclaim the glory of their Creator. The sun, moon, and stars, with all the brilliant planets which people almost infinite space, daily follow their courses for the benefit of man. The growth of plants and trees is continual until they have attained their appointed strength and proportions…”
I immediately thought of the contrast between the outworking of ever-busy nature and the fact that the Holy Spirit so often calls us to do the opposite — to rest. In Matthew 11:28-29, Jesus calls out to the people, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.” In Mark 6:31, He entreats His disciples, “Come away by yourselves to a secluded place and rest a while.” Paul sought “refreshing rest” in the company of the Roman believers (Romans 15:32) and Hebrews 4:9-11 promises, “So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God. For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His. Therefore, let us be diligent to enter that rest…”
Resting from works. That baby in the manger, precious Son revealing the Father and dwelling among His earthly family members who are often too busy to notice Him…let us adore and glorify Him as we take deliberate, conscious time to spend time in His Presence during this special season and beyond.
December 3, 2018: Politically Correct Christmas-phobes have begun their bellyaching. As reported by theblaze.com, “The beloved Christmas movie, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, has been called out as ‘seriously problematic’ for its displays of bullying, racism, and homophobia — not to mention verbal abuse, sexism, bigotry, lack of acceptance, and even exploitation of workers.”
December 1, 2018: A wonderful surprise.
A friend who moved out of the area left me two Christmas cactus. Although I received her steadfast assurance that “they bloom every year” I didn’t actually expect to see any December blooms on the ends of their thick, succulent leaves.
And yet here they were, one on each of two plants — and in two different, equally lovely colors.
Expectation. I had been heartily assured that the flowers would come, but I had no expectation of seeing them.
James 1:5 states, “But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” And it will be given to him.
They bloom every year, spoken directly and from experience — a pretty simple statement to take at face value and accept with anticipation. The apostle James continues, “But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.” (James 1:6-8)
I’m so thankful that these plants were faithful to their nature, their natural cycle as God had created it, and not dependent on my faith in their ability to produce. By that standard, I would have had no blooms whatsoever.
May I treat and accept His holy wisdom with a different mindset, a certain expectation that He is faithful, that he will generously and abundantly share His wisdom with me through His Spirit and His guidance, faithful to His own nature and not mine.
November 14, 2018: I am thinking about the ever-ongoing need for godly wisdom as we traverse complex cultural waves, our comings-and-goings, and the difficult situations we all face from time to time.
I read an online devotional this morning and the author, Boyd Bailey, was focusing on the benefits of God’s wisdom, even stating that wisdom “is a gift, it does not come naturally.” He wrote, “Wisdom is a cherished commodity…wisdom represents a word from the Lord, so its value is enormous…it is a gift that protects you from decisions that could haunt you for a lifetime and gives you the confidence to carry on or stop.”
Immediately Proverbs 14:12 comes to my mind: “There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.”
I have always pretty much equated this with a person’s choice to walk in deliberate disobedience to the Word or, perhaps, continue in activities clearly defined as sinful. But as I ponder the proverb, I am impressed by how significantly it contrasts “natural thinking” with godly wisdom.
So important is this concept of my-understanding-versus-His-understanding, it is repeated a second time in Proverbs, word for word. Proverbs 16:25 states, “There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.” The Common English Bible (CEB) translates the scripture this way: “There is a path that may seem straight to someone, but in the end it is a path to death.” (Prov. 14:12)
A partial second scripture came to my mind and I researched the concept, “sow to the wind, reap the whirlwind.” When I found the entire phrase, it emphasized the significance that walking a course of wisdom should have in our life.
The prophet Hosea stated, “For they sow the wind and they reap the whirlwind. The standing grain has no heads, it yields no grain. Should it yield, strangers would swallow it up.” (Hos. 8:7) The Living Bible elaborates that description through its translation, “Their cornstalks stand there, barren, withered, sickly, with no grain.”
And I propose, such is a description of a life riddled with folly.
Our Heavenly Abba’s promise to each of us: “He stores up sound wisdom for the upright; He is a shield to those who walk in integrity.” (Prov. 2:7) We have only to stop in our way, ask, seek, and pursue His direction.
October 1, 2018: Fall is already one week old.
It is truly my favorite season, next to whatever the most high-flowering month of summer would be. And within a week I will be bringing out one of my very few hand-pieced, quilted creations, which happens to be a pumpkin.
In 2008, I made three of them — one for each daughter, and one my husband insisted I make for ourselves. One pumpkin label reads, Don’t like McCain, Don’t like Obama, vote The Pumpkin for President, to commemorate the 2008 election year.
My favorite pumpkin so far this year is the gnarly greenish-blue one my mom bought at the grocery store. What a beauty! No artificial face carved into those magnificent features, God made it perfect just the way it is, and it brings me delight every time I look at it.
I’m not sure why I enjoy looking at pumpkins. Perhaps it’s their diversity, though each is not as unique as an individual flower. Still, every pumpkin has an individual appearance. Deep grooves, shallow grooves, tall and thin, short and squatty, gourd-shaped, round, bumpy or smooth. Whether I carve a pumpkin or keep it in a natural state, I enjoy just the sight of it.
I have carved pumpkins to proclaim the name of Jesus and the goodness of God, close to the top of my “favorite things” list. Even without a specific “purpose,” however, I thank God simply for His creativity in creating pumpkins and rolling them out every Fall.
I Timothy 6:17 states, “Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy.” I added those italics, by the way, to focus on that specific part of the verse. God supplies us with all things to enjoy — and it’s my opinion He does so with a smile, because His kids enjoy such things.
The Message translation of Psalm 111:1-3 states, in part, “God’s works are so great, worth a lifetime of study–endless enjoyment! Splendor and beauty mark His craft; His generosity never gives out.”
I do think of Fall as a generous season. I know that is a description usually reserved for December, the month of Christmas. And, of course, God’s generosity is clearly display then, as well, through tradition and culture and prophetic proclamation. But Fall bears a different sort of generosity, for a different purpose. For Fall brings with it the season of harvest. Paul teaches in 2 Cor 9:10, “Now He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness.”
How many seeds are in a pumpkin? Well — lots! And every one of those beautiful, irregular, discolored-miscolored-orange colored pumpkins serves as a reminder that He is the supplier of whatever seed we need to grow the harvest of our destiny. Seeds for inspiration…for provision…for faith…for love…for change…for perseverance…His generosity never gives out!