Friday, May 21, 2010

Quiet Moments With God -- Out of the Wreck I Rise!

This title comes from one of the daily devotions in the book, "My Utmost For His Highest". It is powerful. As I read the devotional on that day, I was led to Psalm 91:1-2, 4, 14-16. God's Word swept over me in a mighty way. As I read the verses I sobbed.

In the past weeks and months I've had moments, sometimes days, when I felt hopeless. I felt despair. I was angry. Trapped. I've been fighting a battle that presents itself in physical disability and pain, but the real battle is in my spirit.

I have feared there is no way back to good health. And maybe there isn't. Maybe I will have to wait for heaven. But I know this, that as I read God's Word and stand in His presence I grow stronger. I find hope. And I know that no matter what my physical condition I have all I need. God is with me. He stands with me. I am never alone. He fights this battle with me. And in the midst of it, He will carry my burden.

Here is the Word of God. Psalm 91:1-2 says, "He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, 'He is my refuge and my fortress; my God, in Him I will trust." Verse 4 -- "He shall cover you with His feathers; And under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler." Verses 14 - 16 "Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him on high, because he has known my name. He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him. And show him My salvation."

The power of God's Word is mighty!

My hope is in God! He is my refuge and my fortress. When I am afraid, afflicted, hopeless, He lifts me--out of the pit of despair, fear, and suffering.

In God alone will I trust!

Beneath His wings I will abide and there I am safe and given ease. I am not alone, but lifted up. He will lead me and show me the way. He gives me wisdom to do what is BEST, not only what is good.

Time with Him, seeking Him, loving Him and resting in Him is my comfort. And He is your comfort too.

Grace and peace to you from God.


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Tips For Triumphant Living -- Bloom Where You're Planted

There was a book published years ago, called, "Bloom Where You're Planted." I always loved the idea and have tried to live my life that way. It's not easy, but God gave me a beautiful example through my sister, Leslie.

During much of her life, she was a wreck of a person. That doesn't sound like a nice thing to say about someone, especially not a sister, but it's a true statement.

Leslie, had a great beginning. She had loving parents. They loved each other and her. She was the youngest of five children, was intelligent, beautiful and a superb athlete. And she had a special love for animals of all kinds, including things like iguanas.

In spite of all that she was unhappy. As a child she was the victim of abuse, something our family didn't know about until she revealed it to us as an adult. I think her self loathing began during the years of abuse. An additional heartache was the death of our father when she was a young teen. The hurts sent her down a path of alcoholism and drug addiction. And her fight with lupus and bi-polar condition began when she was just a teen.

Her life resembled a battle field, but she fought back and overcame the addictions to alcohol and drugs. Lupus forced her into a nursing home at an early age. It was devastating to her and her family. But God had a plan for my sister, and the nursing home was part of it.

Psalm 1:3 says, "He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season."

For many years, God called to my sister, but she resisted Him. His love never wavered, especially when her path led her into the nursing home. He planted her where she could bloom, a most unlikely place.

The early weeks and months in her new home my sister was miserable. It seemed her life had no meaning. Gradually she found her niche. The senior residents needed her sharp mind and she came alongside many of them, helping them manage medical issues, legal matters with the state and with their families. She became a trusted friend to many.

Life in a nursing home can be dismal so Leslie built bird houses and homes for squirrels to attract the wild creatures into the home's garden where they could be enjoyed. And even though she couldn't walk, she planted hundreds of flowers in those gardens. And she was the one who convinced the directors that a dog would be good for all the residents.

Those of us who loved her watched Leslie bloom. She'd fought God all her life, but in a modest nursing home she found purpose and she found the Lord. When she was just forty three she died from complications of lupus. But before she flew off to heaven she bloomed and became a beautiful picture of what God can do with a life bent before Him.

Even in the midst of the worst circumstances there is joy to be found. Place yourself in God's hands and He will enrich your life and you will bloom.

Grace and peace to you from God.


Monday, May 17, 2010

Quiet Moments With God -- God Sightings

Do you ever have God sightings? Those special circumstances or moments that remind you God is close. Sometimes something happens and you're certain God orchestrated it, just for you.
We all have God sightings, but sometimes in the midst of our busy lives we don't stop to pay attention.

A couple of days ago God gave me a special reminder that He cares and that He's near.

My grandson, Corey, loves my baby chicks. He's taken on their care. He feeds and waters them every day and makes sure they are safely closed up in their little house every night.

Two nights ago, just before sunset all the chicks had gathered inside their house, all but one who decided he wanted to stay out doors. He eluded all attempts to catch him and finally hid beneath the chicken house.

Corey did everything in his power to save that chick. Unwilling to give up, he wiggled beneath the coop, in the dirt and filth, just to make sure this little creature had a safe haven for the night. Unaware of his filthy condition, my grandson, cradled the baby against his chest and stroked its soft feathers, calming him. Then he gently placed him safely inside the coop.

Tired and filthy, Corey wore a big smile. He didn't care how much work it took to rescue the chick, all he knew is that he was safe.

My grandson's care and concern reminded me of God. Our Heavenly Father did everything to save us. He doesn't give up. And when He gathers us close after rescuing us, He smiles.

There is no place we can go that God is not there. And yet, I don't see Him often enough throughout my days. Maybe I'm not watching.

I have a friend who often talks about "God sightings" -- circumstances she experiences that she knows God had a hand in or something beautiful God created. It can be a sunset or a delicate flower we might not notice unless we're looking. Or it might be a bumble bee in flight--that's an all out miracle. It might be a parking space God saved just for you because He knew you needed it.

There are lots of God sightings out there waiting for us to see. We have to look.

When we see or experience a "God Sighting" make sure to share it with someone else. It will lift their day and maybe even encourage them to look for God in the day to day happenings of their life.

Grace and peace to you from God,


Thursday, May 13, 2010

Tips For Triumphant Living -- Enjoy The Moment

I've been rushing lately. I have a lot going on, including a deadline for a book. Everyday my "to do" list requires more hours than I have in a day. During my shower this morning, I caught myself washing my hair in a hurry. What happened to luxuriating beneath hot steamy water? Or maybe even singing a song while showering? I always sound better in the shower.

While the water cascaded over me, I wasn't thinking about how good the shower felt. My mind was on the list. I nearly missed the pleasure of the moment.

Almost everyone I know is in a hurry these days. We have to many responsibilities crowded into our days--work, family, church, community and that's only the beginning. It's good to be involved, but while we're in the midst of planning and fulfilling our obligations let's not forget "right now". Stop and enjoy the significance of the moment.

The "little things" in life make all the difference in how we feel. Take time to enjoy a sunset or a sunrise. Stop and watch bees gather pollen and marvel at the wonder of nature. Listen to the birds sing. Make sure to listen to your children's or grandchildren's interesting perspectives on life. Answer their kazillionth question. It only takes a moment or two.

God reveals Himself in these snapshots. He is all around us, whispering His presence, revealing to us the wonders of who He is. And He waits to hear from us. If we're in too big a hurry, we'll miss Him. We'll miss the beauty of the day to day specialness of life.

When we tell ourselves we'll make time later, sometimes later never arrives. Because after this project there will be another one and then something else after that. We must choose to enjoy the moments. They are like a string of pearls, each one unique and significant, snapshots that breathe life into our souls.

The days will pass whether we're paying attention or not. Don't miss them. Look. Listen. Enjoy.

Grace and peace to you from God.


Friday, May 07, 2010

Tips For Triumphant Living -- Meditate?

When we use the term meditate, what first comes to mind? I must admit I see someone sitting in a lotus position, hands folded in front of them and chanting. Sorry, but sometimes my mind is so cliched. But, I know there are others like me.

Philippians 4:8-9 gives us a whole different picture of meditation. It says, "Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report. If there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy--meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you."

With all the instability and violence in our world it's easy to become fearful or jaded. And peace, well it can be hard to find when our very lives are threatened. And the day to day troubles steal our tranquility. When we focus on our difficulties or the evil that might touch us or our loved ones we lose sight of The One who knows it all and who watches over us. If we're not on guard our days will be stolen from us.

I looked up the word meditate in the Webster's dictionary. It explains the word this way -- "To engage in thought or contemplation. To plan in the mind; intend."

So it would seem that the apostle Paul is saying we should not only set our minds on what is good, but to plan how we will think or what we will do according to what we see in him, and then the God of peace will be with us. So if we're wondering where our peace has gone, maybe we ought to take a closer look at where our thoughts reside.

What has captured your thoughts today? Are there troubles that tear your mind from God and His goodness, from the noble and true things around you? Then drag your thoughts back to what is good, noble, true, pure, and lovely and remember the things Paul did. It will change your the tempor of your spirit and change your day. It might even change your life.

Grace and peace to you from God.


Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Quiet Moments With God -- Not Done Yet

My chicks are growing fast. They're in that stage where they're partly fluff and partly feathers. They look rather pathetic. But as more feathers come in I can see that one day they will be gorgeous hens. They're New Hampshires so they'll be golden brown and should be good layers with gentle temperments. Perfect.

While I was out feeding and watering them today I watched them for a while and a scripture came to mind. Philippians 1:6 "And I am certain that God who began the good work within you will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns."

Like my chicks, I'm not done yet. But there's hope. My growing up is a process. One day I will be complete and perfect.

In the day to day of life I get frustrated with myself. I'm so not perfect. And I wonder, will I ever grow up and become the person God wants me to be? In this life time I'll grow and mature but perfection is out of reach. However, I can be assured that the good work God began in me will one day be finished. Amazing! I'll get better at being who God wants me to be. He promises. And God always keeps His promises.

When we're most disappointed in ourselves that's when we need to look up and look to the cross. Christ's work is finished, but we're not. We all have some growing to do. But God promises that one day we'll stand before Him, complete and holy.

Let's not waste a moment. While we linger on this earth keep moving, keep growing, loving and living. And as we grow I pray for grateful hearts, for it is a grateful heart that reaches out to others. It is a grateful heart that lifts us above the everyday and moves us along the path God set before us. A grateful heart seeks Him above all. And He will see that the work begun is completed.

God is in us and with us.

Grace and peace to you from God.