Saturday, March 31, 2012
"When the cool evening breezes were blowing, the man and his wife heard the Lord God walking about the garden."
Adam and Eve heard the Lord in the garden! Can you imagine, walking in the garden with God? When I walk through a forest with the sound of wind in the trees and bird song all around I catch a glimpse. When I look out over a broad green valley I catch a glimpse. When I gaze at an azure sky tufted with clouds I catch a glimpse. I can see Him and feel His presence. And yet, it isn't The Garden.
In the beginning there was no enmity between man and God. Adam and Eve conversed with the Lord. He was Father God. They loved one another and spent time together. They had a relationship. And then sin destroyed the perfection of that relationship.
Since that time, mankind has longed for what he lost. It is only because Jesus Christ permitted men to nail him to a cross and then accepted our sins as His own that it became possible for us to walk with The Father as Adam and Eve once did. Do you find yourself longing for that kind of relationship? To be so close to God that He isn't further away than your next breath?
I do. And I hunger for that kind of relationship with the people in my life. The Garden is the place we begin. The Father reaches down to us, we accept His embrace, His unconditional love and then we reach out to others. Human love is flawed and insufficient unless it is coupled with the love of God.
If we're to love one another as God commands us, we must begin with Him.
Grace and peace to you from God,
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
A few days ago, I chatted with a writing friend of mine. She's working on her first novel--a wonderful story! During our conversation she admitted to frustration. It was taking her a very long time to write her book. As she explained the problem it was clear that her mental editor was in control when her free spirit ought to be. My advice . . . Don't be afraid to write crap.
Did I say that?
I sure did. Write crap if that's what it takes to charge ahead and get your story from you brain to the page. There are a lot of us who have to wrestle our editor to the ground if we want to create. Don't get me wrong, there is a time and place for revising, tightening and polishing, but that time is not during the visionary and inspired stage of writing. If we want the inspired story to emerge our minds need to be free of editing constraints. If we maintain the controlled word crafting of the red pen it's as if we've harnessed a bird and then expected it to fly. Not possible.
Set yourself free and simply write. Take a few minutes to envision your scene, then place your fingers on the computer keys and leap into the story, typing as fast as your fingers can go. Put down whatever comes into your mind. Do not stop for any reason, not for misspelled words, stupid ideas, paragraphs that don't work--nothing, just keep going until the scene is complete. You can do this for each chapter, scene . . . or work through an entire book this way.
JUST GET IT DOWN!
Once that's done, bring your editor out. Use it and craft your story. Have fun. And don't forget to fly.
Grace and peace to you from God.
Monday, March 26, 2012
While preparing to leave for town today, my mind went wandering. It often does. I got to thinking about all I need to accomplish in the coming months. The list is long and I started to feel overwhelmed. I reminded myself that God is able. And yet, worry niggled though my mind. God is able . . . but am I?
My thoughts turned to scripture. Ephesians 3:20 says, "Now all glory to God, who is able, through His mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think." Clearly God is way ahead of me and my worries. So the question hangs in the air -- Why do I worry? What is at the core of my doubts?
I have to go to a familiar story. In the midst of a storm Jesus approached the disciples in their boat in a most unusual fashion. He walked on the water. He said, "Don't be afraid. Take courage. I am here." Peter responded by saying, "Tell me to come to you, walking on water." Jesus answer was simple and straight forward. "Yes. Come." Peter climbed out of the boat and stepped onto the water and walked toward Jesus. And then he made a fatal error. He saw the strong wind and the waves, became terrified and sank.
When Peter first stepped out of the boat the storm was all around him, it didn't suddenly appear after he decided to walk to Jesus, but he walked anyway. It wasn't until he looked at the storm instead of Jesus that he got into trouble. That is so like me. I believe. I'm filled with hope. I step out. And then I take my eyes off Christ, off the prize and I sink.
Jesus response to Peter is stunning. Though he reaches out and saves Peter, he says, "You have so little faith. Why did you doubt me?" He didn't give Peter any slack. He got straight to the heart of the problem--faith. Who or what was Peter placing his faith in?
Society tells us to rely upon ourselves, our gifts, our strengths or on those things that are offered to us by the world. However, David states the answer to our problems in Psalm 63:8 "I cling to you, your strong right hand holds me securely." Only God has a firm hold on us. There is no security in the world.
Sometimes Peter was impulsive. He jumped to conclusions. He even denied Christ. But with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit he became a man of great faith. He was bold. He took risks. And his eyes were on his Lord and on his calling.
I want to be a Peter. I long to be unafraid. To be bold. And to find tranquility in the presence of my Lord, who offers peace and power. What I must do is keep my eyes on Him and accept His offering.
Have you had a Peter moment, stepped out in faith and then faltered? If we took a survey my guess is we all have. And even when we "fail" Jesus reaches out and lifts us up. Don't let one falter, or a hundred of them, leave you weakened and afraid. Get up. Try again. Take a risk.
Grace and peace to you from God,,
Wednesday, March 21, 2012
Good morning. I'm thankful for another day on this planet . . . even if the rain won't stop. : -)
I'm thinking about making some changes to my blog. And I need your input. What would you like to hear about? What are your interests? And what do you see as my passions? I definitely know what some of them are, but I could use a more objective eye--YOURS.
I'm excited about what's to come. Change can be fun. And I think it's time to shake things up a bit.
Thanks so much for your help.
Grace and peace to you.
Saturday, March 17, 2012
This evening, my husband and I shared a meal with friends and then attended a Beyond Celtic concert. The food was delicious and dinner conversation was comfortable and pleasant. The concert was a stirring combination of Irish music and song with Irish step dancing. And there was a bit of humor thrown in to spice things up. It was great fun--just what we needed to lift us out of the daily grind.
Before leaving home, I wasn't enthusiastic about going. I was tired and knew that the five hour outing would create additional pain. But I didn't want to let my husband down and so off we went. I'm so glad my "rut" didn't keep me home. Forcing myself awake and the extra pain was well worth it. Time with good friends is to be cherished, and my spirits were uplifted while I snuggled close to my husband and enjoyed the show.
After the show, I people-watched while waiting for a valet to retrieve our car. People-watching is always fun.
One man was in Scottish dress, including the kilts. A woman wore an interesting outfit that looked like it had been splashed with a dozen different sample paints of different colored paint, and another woman stood in the cold, windy night air dressed in a moo-moo and sandals. She looked comfortable enough even though I huddled in my sweater, wishing I hadn't left my coat in the car. From what I could see they all appeared to be having a good time--chatting and laughing.
That's how it's supposed to be. Life is to be enjoyed.
It's late now and I'm in my jammies at home, but I feel more alive, more inspired and happier than I did before I left this evening. My world looks brighter. It took effort for me to climb out of the rut I was in, but I'm happy I did. I wish the same for each of you. Take time to consider if you're in need of some fun. Merriment is good for us.
Don't let the good stuff pass you by. Feed your soul. It will thank you.
Grace and peace to you from God.
Monday, March 12, 2012
Yesterday, my pastor painted a vivid picture of Jesus' time in the Garden of Gethsemane the night of his arrest. Though I'm well acquainted with this portion of scripture I saw it with new eyes. I love that about God's Word--there is always more to learn.
That night, Jesus knew what lay ahead--his arrest, brutal beatings, rejection, crucifixion, the weight of the world's sin laid upon him and the forsaking of The Father. He was the man/God and as a man he asked three of his disciples to wait with Him. He wanted his friends with him. He also wanted the disciples to witness his humanity and a humility which is greater than pride.
If the disciples had remained awake that night they would have seen the heart of their Lord. In Mark 14:33 & 34 it says, he was deeply distressed and in 34 Jesus tells the disciples, "My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death." And then He goes away and He prays that if it were possible that the hour might pass from Him. "Abba Father," he said, "Everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will."
What a perfect example for us. Jesus told those he loved that he was distressed and he wanted them with him. (His disciples let Him down.) Jesus went to His Father and prayed his heart. He was honest with God, but ultimately wanted God's will, not His own.
What a blessed reminder -- God's will, not mine.
In recent weeks I've said many prayers, beseeching God for mercy and help, wisdom and discernment. And He's answered. But when I look around me, all is not well. Life challenges my faith. There are no answers only a desire and need to trust. I pray my heart, but I pray for God's will above all else. I long for the faith to see beyond my present circumstances and for assurance that nothing touches me or the ones' I love except by God's permission.
When we place our lives into the hands of Almighty God and trust Him, He will show us the way. He will give us peace. When Jesus knelt in the Garden of Gethsemane that fateful night He did not demand His own way. He did not "name it and claim it", as it were. No, He placed himself under His Father's authority and he obeyed by laying down His life for all mankind. What if He had refused?
His prayer is a perfect prayer. His heart is a perfect heart. He is our perfect example.
Grace and peace to you from God,
Friday, March 02, 2012
In the midst of sorrow or hardship, our sight sometimes becomes so narrow we forget there is One who sees it all--the beginning and the end. While our eyes are on our troubles, we do not see the glory or the hope. Instead, we feel the weight of sorrow, fear, responsibility.
God waits for us to look to Him. He will carry our burdens. He will break through our sorrows. He will take our hand and squeeze tightly. He will draw us close and enfold us in His love. And He will heal broken hearts.
The glory of God is so bright it pushes back every shadow. When we are in the light only then can we see the truth.
There is nothing God does not know about our lives--the joys and the sorrows. The wonder of it all is that no matter how deep a valley we find ourselves in He will be there also. God gives us strength and direction. He will carry us out of the valley and set us upon the hilltops where we can see the beauty of a landscape shimmering in His light.
He has a plan . . . He always does. He wastes nothing. He will lead us into His presence and reveal His purposes. Praise Him!
Grace and peace to you from God.