Monday, September 27, 2010

Quiet Moments With God -- Trust In What He Allows

I find it interesting that my last blog was about our being focused on The Shepeherd and to follow Him, trusting that He will never let us down. The day following that blog I became one of the lost sheep.

On Thursday of last week my therapist added a couple of new exercises. They didn't seem too bad at the time, but the following morning my back told me otherwise. It screamed at me first thing and I found myself, once again, stuck in bed rotating from ice to heat and taking my medications as often as allowed. I was an unhappy and hopeless sheep. I cried a lot that day and wondered if I'd ever really be a whole person again. My eyes were not on the shepherd.

It's startling and troubling how quickly adversity dragged me away from The Shepherd. There is wonder in it, however. My Lord hadn't left me. He was still with me and He longed for me to reach out to Him, to rest in Him and in His plan. Even in the midst of trouble I can rejoice. Psalm 31:7 says, "I will be glad and rejoice in your unfailing love, for you have seen my troubles and you care about the anguish of my soul." He cares . . . always.

I'm better and I'm moving forward once again. I'm doing my exercises, only more carefully now. I will see my therapist tomorrow and we'll make adjustments in my therapy plan, but I will continue to work toward health and strength. As much as I dislike it, the truth is adversity makes me stronger. But in the midst of trouble I must remember to remain close to my Lord, keep my eyes on Him and off the hardship.

I pray that next time I'm up against it, and I will be, that I will not lose sight of The Shepherd who watches over me and to trust in what He allows.

Grace and peace to you from God,


Thursday, September 23, 2010

Tips For Triumphant Living -- Follow The Shepherd

Psalm 23 is a familiar verse to most of us. What a beautiful picture of our Lord--Our Shepherd. A shepherd looks after and cares for his flock.

This morning while reading I was touched by the picture of a shepherd who tenderly watches over and is even called to lay down his life for his sheep. Sheep are not known for their intelligence. They can be stubborn and sometimes wander away from the flock. And when the shepherd comes to their rescue they're not necessarily grateful.

I'm part of The Shepherd's flock, with all the same weaknesses as my fellow sheep. I'm grateful for the loving shepherd who watches over me. I trust Him to watch, to lead, to protect and to provide peace, rest, and strength.

What would happen if I were to wander off and lose sight of my shepherd? Most certainly destruction. There are beasts waiting to pounce and storms with the power to destroy. I dare not take my eyes off The Shepeherd. He is my haven of safety.

If we follow Him we'll never become lost. Keep our eyes on the One who cares beyond comprehension and we'll rest in green meadows.

Grace and peace to you from God.


Monday, September 20, 2010

Quiet Moments With God -- There Is No Such Thing As Ordinary

Throughout the years, I've shared a speech about gifts. Not the kind you expect, all tied up with beautiful wrapping paper and bows, but the kind that come in plain or even unattractive packages. Yesterday reminded me of those kinds of gifts.

For those of you who follow my blogs you know I've spent the last couple of months homebound, healing from a back injury. I've so wanted to get out and be "normal" and yesterday was my chance. I attended church (yay!)and then went into town to do some grocery shopping. Since I've been laid up, my husband has been trying to keep the shelves stocked with necessities, but we were woefully low on basic day-to-day items.

After church, which I thoroughly enjoyed by the way, my husband drove us to town. Our grandson, Corey, in the back seat chattered about plans that he has for our small farm. He made me smile all the way to town.

Once in the store I rode on a cart (that was a milestone)and instructed Corey which grocery items to get off the shelves. He loves to help. He placed them in the cart while my husband pushed, ran after forgotten items and paid the bill. My two boys loaded the groceries into the car.

It was a pretty ordinary day --NOT! It was a mermorable day! You might wonder why, when nothng particularly spectacular happened. Well, that's the secret--all kinds of spectacular things did happen.

First off the world seemed bright and interesting--I haven't seen it in eight weeks so I noticed all the greenery, interesting people and loved the feel of the breeze and smell of evergreen scented air. And my grandson gave me a bazillion hugs and "I love you's". I REALLY liked that. He chattered away, talking about life and smiling all the while. It felt as if I were hanging out in the sunshine. My husband was kind, patient and helpful. More than once I felt his touch on my shoulder or arm, just a reminder that he cares. And when his eyes met mine they held extra tenderness.. I felt cherished. There's nothing ordinary about that.

Feeling loved is definitely not ordinary. It's extraordinary.

When was the last time you made an ordinary day special for someone you love? Do it soon, you'll love it and so will that dear person whose part of your life.

Grace and peace to you from God.


Thursday, September 16, 2010

Tips For Triumphant Living -- Encourage One Another

Today, I just want to take a few moments to say, "Thank you." Thanks to all of you who have called or sent cards or notes via facebook or email. I'm still working my way back to health and it's not been easy. I've been told to expect a long journey but I'm moving forward. Hearing from you has made it easier. Every well-wish or prayer has brought a smile to my face and warmed my heart.

And through the years I've heard from so many of you, thanking me for a book or a story or just a line in a book that uplifted you in some way. Hearing from you brightens my life.

When we suffer, often we feel alone. It's wonderful to be reminded that we're not. And so much of a writer's life is spent alone. Hearing from readers brightens my life.

So, thank you and lets remember to take a few moments to uplift one another by praying for each other and offering a touch of love.

Grace and peace to you from God.


Monday, September 13, 2010

Quiet Moments With God -- Yield

I have a stubborn nature. It's caused me trouble over the years, but walking with the Lord for thirty-six years, has dimished some of my willfulness. I am grateful.

Sometimes to bring about change a sharp edge is required and pain follows a necessary reprimand. And then there are times when I feel like pliable clay in a potter's hands. I love those times when change comes gently.

However, change is not always pleasant as is demonstrated in Jeremiah 18:5-6 But the jar he (speaking of the potter) was working on did not turn out as he had hoped, so he crushed it into a lump of clay again and started over. Then the Lord gave me this message. O Israel, can I not do to you as this potter has done to his clay? As the clay is in the potter's hand, so are you in my hand."

I definitely do not like the crushing part of this verse, but oh how I love the starting over part. A new beginning that is carried out by God Himself.Knowing that one is molded by the master we can trust the results. We can become just who God longs for us to be.

Sometimes we fight against helping hands that mold and shape us. In my book, "Touching the Clouds" my hero, Paul tries to save a raven whose leg is broken. The bird fights him, beating the air and struggling to escape Paul's gentle hands. All the bird knows is that he wants freedom, which means he must escape. He has no inkling that his present situation is dire and that without the help of one who cares he will die. And so he fights. That's just like us. We want what we want, when we want it, the way we want it and we have no vision or understanding of the possibilities available through the transforming hands of the Lord. And so we fight.

God has so much more for us. And, yes, sometimes we must be crushed. I've been crushed and I don't like it, but transformation and a new beginning follows. And although while living in this world I will remain imperfect The Potter will continue to renew me.

Rest in the Potters hands. His touch is like no other. Be ready to be molded. Be expectant about who you will become. It may take a good deal of molding, but the pot created will be new and better and it will reflect the Father's glory.

Praise Him for loving us enough to mold us.

Grace and peace to you from God.


Thursday, September 09, 2010

Tips for Triumphant Living -- We've Got To Begin

Have you ever had what you thought was a good idea, some sort of outreach, or task or something that would just plain bless someone else? Maybe you've felt God had called you to something, but were too afraid to give it a try. I have. And too often I've ignored Holy Spirt nudges, thinking there's not enough money, or I'm not skilled enough or it's just a silly idea anyway. How many great opportunities have we passed by because we were counting only upon ourselves to pull it off?

As a body, we have an incredible number of gifts and talents, creative minds full of great ideas and a sense of purpose. And yet, we ignore them, thinking they are not enough. Well, they're not. And if we allow our self-securities to rule us we'll live a life of regret. We don't need to depend upon ourselves. There is God--remember--the One who created the universe.

There is a German Proverb, which says, "Begin to weave and God will provide the thread."

Keeping that in mind, all we have to do is begin, believe in The One and step out in faith. God will provide all we need. What's on your mind today? What idea, or project or task? Who do you know who needs help or just a hug or a kind word? Maybe you have a REALLY big task you think God's calling you to. Is it too big for Him?

Just remember, "Weave and God will provide the thread."

Grace and peace to you from God.


Monday, September 06, 2010

Quiet Moments With God -- Living Water

As many of you know I've been facing a challenge in recent weeks. But as is always true, God wastes nothing. I've drawn closer to Him and I'm learning a lot. I've got the questions and He's got the answers.

Today in my reading, once again, Oswald Chambers words ministered to me. Throughout my life I've faced a good deal of obstacles, but there is one particularly unruly affliction that persists in getting in my way. Again and again I've come up against it and today when I read that rivers of living waters will flow from me to bless others I longed to be an unobstructed river.

Mr. Chambers said, "A river is victoriously persistent, overcoming all barriers." And my mind cried -- I want to be that river! How do I overcome this barrier? The answer came quickly. "Keep paying attention to the Source (of the living water) and God will either take you around the obstacle or remove it." My vote--remove it. God still does miracles.

Mr. Chambers went on to say, "Never focus your eyes on the obstacle or the difficulty." I must confess my eyes have been firmly planted on the trial. And no good has come from staring at it. I've gained only fear. I know better, but just like you I'm not always wise or courageous. And in this I've been especially foolish, for I know that my source of deliverance is reliable and powerful. First John 4:4 says, "the Spirit that lives in you is greater than the spirit that lives in the world." Amen!

Believe. Cast away fear. We are filled with the Spirit of the Living God! We can be free-flowing rivers of blessing.

Grace and peace to you from God.


Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Tips For Triumphant Living -- Sometimes we need someone with skin.

Years ago, when my sister was going through a life threatening illness and a tremendous personal trial, she spent hours in prayer and in God's Word. She recorded her thoughts in a journal. When she shared them with me I was amazed at the Holy Spirit power and the faith within her words. As I read I was reminded of the book of Psalms. And yet, one night when we were talking she broke down in tears and said, that although her trust in God was strong and that he'd carried her through the greatest hurts and trials of her life, that there were times when she needed someone with skin.

Through the years, those words have stayed with me. And in recent weeks I've been wrestling with my own physical challenges and life-changing decisions. I've spent a good deal of time in God's Word and in prayer, but still peace eluded me. I needed flesh and blood people to help me sort out my thoughts. I met with and talked to a few very special people, friends who know me well and who walk close to God, people I knew would speak truth to me and whom I could trust.

I have a way to go in finding my answers but I am at peace. I know God will show me the way. And it is the voices, insights and Godly wisdom of my dear friends who have been a great help. I am incredibly grateful for their prayers and sincere counsel.

It is a blessing to witness God working through Christian family. We are meant to minister to one another. Just the thought makes me smile.

If you find yourself in a place where you need "someone with skin" please don't be afraid to reach out and ask for help. That's why God placed us in the midst of his family. We can breathe life into one another.

May you know His peace, glorious peace!

Grace and peace to you from God.