Thursday, August 25, 2011

Run to Him....

My dog, Clair, loves to chew on things.  If she doesn't have enough toys she will start looking in my office trash can for empty water bottles.  The water bottles happen to be one of her favorite things to chew and I might add one of the most annoying because of the  crinkly noise the plastic makes as she mauls it...annoying to me and anyone else who happens to be in the same room when she is attacking a plastic water bottle...but I think the noise is, for her, a reward for a bottle well chewed!

Every once in awhile Clair will find something, as do most young dogs not quite out of the puppy stage, that she should not be chewing on.  Usually, when she has something in her mouth, I will tell her to show it to me.  At that point she will hunch down over the object as she drops it between her two front paws, ready to snatch it up quickly in case I attempt to take it from her.  Interestingly enough she rarely runs at this point and I am able to retrieve whatever it is she has chosen to turn into a chew toy.  

This morning as I was sitting in my office reading, I noticed that I had not heard any noise from her in awhile so I decided to go find her and see what she was up to...you know the rule...if they are too quiet, they must be into something;  same rule that we think of with children.  I know...dogs are definitely not children but, strangely enough, there are times when I think Clair has striking similarities to a toddler.  Anyway, as I went to check it out I found her on my bed with something in her mouth.  I asked her to show me what she had and she did her usual quick drop between her paws, but then immediately grabbed it back up and ran with it in her mouth, as she leapt off the bed, out the door, and into the other room as fast as she could go.  It was a Halls cough drop.  She must have loved what she had and decided that this time she was going to get what she wanted and the best way to do that was to leave my presence. 

Suddenly, a thought hit me!  Isn’t this what I do…what we all do...at times?  When we know we are coveting something we shouldn’t have…when we are craving after things that are not in God’s will for us...we run from God.  We get far away from His presence so that we can feel good about this new thing, or selfish choice, and not feel His displeasure. 

Jonah did this too.  Remember him, the guy who spent three days in the belly of a big fish because he chose to run from God instead of doing what He knew God wanted of Him?  I remember doing an in depth study, an inductive study, on the book of Jonah and even though I had read that story many times before...new truths just jumped out at me.   Not only did Jonah run, but he ran in the opposite direction from where God had wanted him to go.  He was willfully disobeying God.   I had written in my notes, "I can't imagine running from God...but I guess not doing what He clearly tells me to do in His word is the same as running from God."  When Job was still on the ship and trouble came, he knew the trouble had come to them because he was running away from God... yet he didn't choose at that point to run back to God.  Instead, he chose to be thrown overboard...at which time the great big fish swallowed him.  WOW! Talk about stubbornly going your own way!  Now I would think at this point he would have immediately called out to God, saying I will go and do whatever you say...but no, he stayed in the belly of that fish for three days, and three nights!!!  Yuck and gross!!  Can you imagine? Yet, how many times do we choose to wallow in our own self-pity because of the circumstances that our own selfish choices have brought about in our lives. How long before we repent and turn back to God? 

The most amazing thing about Jonah's story is that when he finally cried out to God...as he was entrenched in bile,  seaweed wrapped around his head, growing faint almost to the point of death...he looked  toward the LORD's Temple and acknowledged that salvation comes from the LORD...God heard him!  God heard his prayers and rescued Jonah from the pit of despair!!  Not only did God hear him but He still allowed Jonah to be His instrument, His prophet. When Jonah ran from God's presence, he was willfully disobeying God; obedience moved him back into God's presence. 

Time and time again through the Bible, we see God's people turn away from Him as they choose to go their own way, leading them away from the presence of God; first in the Garden of Eden, then through the sacrifices, the Tabernacle, and the Temple.  

Finally,  God sends prophets to instruct and warn His people,  that even though the Temple will be destroyed,  there is  One who is coming ,who will set all things right...the Messiah.  One of the first names given to this Messiah was Emmanuel, God with us!!  Jesus came, God in the flesh, to dwell among us and to offer Himself as the only perfect and acceptable sacrifice for our sins.  His death, burial and resurrection give us  a hope and a future and provide  a way for us back into relationship with God, the Father.  

When he ascended to Heaven He didn't leave us to continue on in this harsh, sin ridden world alone.  We now have the Holy Spirit...His presence in our lives!  Time and time again, we see God establishing His presence among His people. His love never fails...even when we do!  The book of Jonah and all of God's Word teaches us that compassion and grace and His active presence in our lives are not given based on  what we deserve, but they are based on our responsive steps in the right direction.  I am amazed and in awe of how loving and forgiving God is to us all!!

Aren't you glad that we have the stories of the lives of those who have gone before us written in the Word of God that show us how much God loves us and to what great lengths He will go to make sure we are in a right relationship with Him!!   So... as the saying goes, "if you don't feel close to God...guess who moved."  I, for one, want so very much to be moving in the right direction...in obedience towards my heavenly Father!! 

I am so thankful that He gives me these glimpses from time to time, these "sacred echoes", as Margaret Feinberg calls them...as reminders of God's desire for me and my desire for God.  Sometimes the glimpses come from a deeper reading of His Word...and sometimes...well sometimes they come in the form of a chocolate brown lab, named Clair. 







Saturday, August 6, 2011

Let's put this in perspective...

I have been on a Sabbatical for the whole month of July...well...technically I was supposed to be.  We took a week to go out of town and play and rest…See feet/selfie to the right.

The rest of the time has been a stay cation.  Now, as I understand a stay cation is supposed to be a vacation that you spend at home...relaxing, reading, maybe doing a few projects around the house…you get the picture.

 However, as a minister's wife in a relatively small (around 19,000) town, a stay cation doesn't quite work the way I had envisioned.  As it turns out;  everyone knows where you live, knows you are home and knows you are available if needed.   I will say that our church family was wonderful in honoring our sabbatical and other than a couple of emergencies, most left us to ourselves, to relax and restore.  I think my biggest problem was...well...ME!  Being home it was hard not to think in terms of what needed to be done...get those women signed up for the Women of Faith Conference, work on the nursery volunteer list and make sure the nursery was staffed during the month of July...and then there was my Tuesday morning Bible study group which I still led of course since I was in town, after all. And of course...there was the house.  It is incredibly hard to truly relax and read for hours when there is housework to be done!  Vacuuming and laundry and dishes...not that I actually got a lot of housework accomplished...just the guilt of knowing it needed to be done seemed to block my ability to enjoy myself.  I was, indeed,  my own worst enemy.


There is one thing that happened  to put so much of this in perspective...one incredibly sad and yet amazingly wonderful occurrence.  My friend, Joni, unexpectantly went home to be with the Lord.  Joni is the reason I even had a summer bible study to begin with.  Normally,  we just take a break for the summer with our women's bible study groups.  She really wanted to be in a study group because she felt she would learn more than if she just read the bible and studied on her own.  She was so hungry to learn more about God and His word that she didn't want to wait until we started back in the fall to begin.  How could I say no to that?  So I found the 90 Day study.  It sounded perfect...we would follow a reading plan to read through the entire bible in 90 days, while meeting weekly for discussion.

My beautiful friend, Joni...you are missed by so many!

Joni loved this study and her enthusiasm for the Word was contagious to the whole group!  She had shared with us that for years she went to church and did volunteer work and church work and thought that was what made her a Christian.  In her pursuit of God, she had also tried so many things that were not at all what someone would think of as "Christian", even being a wiccan for a time. Joni's approach to this search for God, as her approach to life, was one of over the top, infectious enthusiasm.  However, she shared that only in the past year or so had she really been a Christian...that she discovered the work was already done...not anything she did, but what Christ had done in dying on the cross to take her sins away, and to restore her relationship to God.  Since then she has been hungry to know Him more, to grow in her relationship with Him. She finally knew that being a christian was about relationship and not religion.  Now she didn't want to waste any more time!!  She hated missing even one week of Bible study...and then the unexpected happened.

It didn't make much sense;  I mean she was on dialysis. She  had recently gotten home from the hospital from an infection and then went in for one more day of dialysis, which seemed to tire her more than usual.  She went home, went to bed and never woke up.  Wow! How can you explain that?  Finally she has found her path to God...she is on a good path in her journey.  Her family is all the world to her, besides her new found relationship with Christ and she loves her church...even her health problems appeared to be manageable. So why would this happen?

 I'm not sure we will ever truly know this side of heaven. I like to think that Joni's desire to know the Lord was so strong that He just took her on home rather than have her endure the pain and trials she had yet to suffer in her time with her illness on this earth. But, really...I just don't know.  One thing I do know..Joni is now walking...no...dancing with the Lord!!  No more canes, no more dialysis, no more tears!  All her questions can now be answered by the King of kings and Lord of lords!!  She is now among the great cloud of witnesses waiting for her friends and loved ones to join her in due time. Let's not disappoint her!!!
                                                                           



                                                 

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

You Complete Me...or not?

I really believe that we all long to have a relationship with the one person with whom we will feel safe, secure, accepted, respected, cherished, wanted, encouraged to be all we can be...shall I go on?   Most seem to be either looking to find that relationship, or longing for it while feeling stuck in one that doesn't seem to be giving them what they are looking for...or expecting.


So many women I know seem to see more faults than strengths in the person they have chosen to spend the rest of their life with.  It's amazing to me that we can think positive in so many other areas of our lives even giving  most friends the courtesy of trying to think the best of them in the most trying of circumstances...but when it comes to our husbands...we turn into "negative Nellie's".  As a result, so many women, and men, jump ship before really trying to figure out what is going on in their relationship.

Ladies...if you want to have a good relationship, a ten...then don't be a five...what are you bringing to your relationships?   Maybe we should put into  practice the verse that is referred to as the golden rule..."Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." Luke 6:31.  Clinical psychologist, Dr. Henry Cloud says, " If we want the great things that relationships offer-like love, security, and growth-then we have to be capable of building love, providing security, and fostering growth. When we are, we can have the relationships we want. Until we are, great relationships will elude us.".  Imagine if  we all took those words to heart and acted on them?  All men and women...wow...can you imagine the results?

If you are single and looking for "the one", don't allow all of your energy to be focused on the pursuit. Your energy needs to be focused on "being" the one. Pay attention to the person you are becoming. Do you have healthy relationship skills , healthy coping skills? Work on developing the kind of skills that will give you the kind of relationship you want. Yes, it is important to find the right person, but if you are not the right person you will just bring the other one down to your level. "Relationships fail when the skills to make them work are not present in one or both of the people involved."~ Dr. Henry Cloud,

If you are married please know that I am not saying that if you work on you and practice treating your husband the way you would want to be treated then all your marital problems will be solved.   I know that it takes two to make a marriage work.  But you do have to start with you. In your relationship with your husband, the only one you have control over is you.  Ladies, I have said this many times as I have taught and counseled with women throughout the years...we cannot be our husbands Holy Spirit!  Last time I checked that job has already been filled by One who is so much more capable and powerful in His influence than we could ever hope to be.  So what do we do?  We work on ourselves and pray for our spouses.  We practice good communication skills.  If necessary, in extreme circumstances, and with the help of godly counsel, we create the crisis that may be needed to nudge our spouses to wake up to that fact that they have married a daughter of the KING OF KINGS, who is worthy of his adoration, respect, love, protection...need I go on?

So...how about it?  Who makes you miserable or happy in your relationships?  You or the other person?  Or just maybe we are looking at this all wrong.  As my dear hubby is so fond of pointing out my very own words on this matter..."I can't be your everything...I will never be the one to completely fulfill you, nor should I try to be...only God can do that."  Are you allowing God to fill in the empty spaces?  Those spaces are God shaped holes and no human being on this earth will ever be able to completely fill them up.




Now that is something to think about...




Monday, May 30, 2011

Do we really remember on this day?

Memorial Day is often a day spent with family and friends...filled with family backyard barbecues,  a day at the beach/lake, or maybe spent getting summer gardens readied. For some families it means making sure the graves of their loved ones have flowers. Those flowers are placed there out of  respect for the lives lived and died in sacrificial service to  our country. For others, it's just another day off work...a time to relax or play or sleep. 


 I'm not sure that I have ever been alone on Memorial Day...ever.  Well, that is until today.  I find myself alone today.  My husband and son are visiting family in KY/MI for my husband's nephew's wedding...their presence was required as they were both actually in the wedding.  My daughter and her husband are on their first road trip as a married couple to visit family back east.  So here I am with my two dogs.  I was okay being left back home...until today.  I'm not sure why. Maybe it's because my husband has been gone for almost a full week...or maybe it's just being alone on a holiday when I am accustomed to being with family. 

So I find myself doing laundry, a little cleaning, making plans to do some reading in the sun this afternoon, and making a trip to Walmart.  Now usually at the check-out line in stores on a holiday the typical greeting would be, "Happy (insert name of holiday here)".  I didn't hear that today...well, there was this one woman in the aisle saying, "Happy Memorial Day" to someone as she passed.  I couldn't help but think, is that an appropriate greeting on a holiday such as today?  Is it a day to say be happy or somber...or just grateful?   As I sit and reflect on this day I wonder how many people really know what it's  all about.  To many it is merely the weekend that represents the beginning of summer vacations and activities.  Some people think it is a holiday for remembering any and all dead.  Wow...it saddens me that we are so easily forgetting a meaningful memorial to our nation's history. This holiday represents a memorial to all of those who have died defending the freedoms of this country...a time to show our thanks and gratitude for all of those living and dead who were and are willing to lay their lives on the line so that we continue to have the privilege of living in a free country.  If you are interested in a bit more about this holiday you should check the website, www.usmemorialday.org/backgrnd.  Among the origins and the meaning of the holiday, it mentions the origins of the red poppies I remember seeing being worn on this day when I was a young girl. I didn't see any of those poppies today...hmmm....

So in honor of all of those who laid their lives down for the freedoms we are privileged to experience in this great nation of ours(yes...in comparison to so many other countries and in spite of its flaws, we live in a great nation),  I will say a personal prayer of thanksgiving and leave you with these words:

A Soldier
By A. Aguilar

There is  discipline in A Soldier you can see it when he walks,
There is honor in A Soldier you hear it when he talks.

There is courage in A Soldier you can see it in his eyes,
There is loyalty in A Soldier that he will not compromise. 

There is something in A Soldier that makes him stand apart,
There is strength in A Soldier that beats from his heart.

A Soldier isn't a title any man can be hired to do,
A Soldier is the soul of that man buried deep inside of you.

A Soldier's job isn't finished after an 8 hour day or a 40 hour week,
A Soldier is always A Soldier even while he sleeps.

A Soldier serves his country first and his life is left behind,
A Soldier has to sacrifice what comes first in a civilian's mind.

If you are a civilian - I am saying this to you…
next time you see A Soldier remember what they do.

A Soldier is the reason our land is 'Home of the free',
A soldier is the one that is brave protecting you and me. 

If you are A Soldier - I am saying this to you…
Thank God for EVERY SOLDIER Thank God for what YOU do!

For EVERY FALLEN HERO,
The ultimate sacrifice they have given is beyond any words, God Bless the 
families and loved ones that have had to endure the pain of losing their HERO. 
My sympathies, prayers, love and respect are with you all. 
Remembering all those who made the ultimate sacrifice. God bless. ✝


"Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends." - John 15:13


Have a memorable Memorial Day.







Wednesday, May 25, 2011

No one knows the day or the hour...not even Harold.

OK...so I find it hard not to write something about the recent (turns out...non-eventful)  prediction made by Harold Camping, 89 year old founder of Family Radio.  I have to admit that until I saw a few, rather mocking, comments on Facebook about this man and his predictions, I really didn't know much about him. So being the student that I am I proceeded to do a little research.


 Turns out his specific prediction was that the Day of Judgement was to begin on 6 p.m., Saturday, May 21st...beginning with a tremendous earthquake..as he states in his very own words,
  "when we get to May 21 on the calendar in any city or country in the world, and the clock says about — this is based on other verses in the Bible — when the clock says about 6 p.m., there’s going to be this tremendous earthquake that’s going to make the last earthquake in Japan seem like nothing in comparison. And the whole world will be alerted that Judgment Day has begun. And then it will follow the sun around for 24 hours. As each area of the world gets to that point of 6 p.m. on May 21, then it will happen there, and until it happens, the rest of the world will be standing far off and witnessing the horrible thing that is happening."  
Well that clears up everything...NOT! Is it just me, or did that statement make any sense at all? 

 In an interview conducted by New York Magazine, in reference to his most recent May 21st prediction, he is quoted as saying this:
“God has given sooo much information in the Bible about this, and so many proofs, and so many signs, that we know it is absolutely going to happen without any question at all. There’s nothing in the Bible that God has ever prophesied — there’s many things that he prophesied would happen and they always have happened — but there’s nothing in the Bible that holds a candle to the amount of information to this tremendous truth of the end of the world. I would be absolutely in rebellion against God if I thought anything other than it is absolutely going to happen without any question.”   
This prediction from Camping, was not his first prediction of this event...nor his last. He had actually made a similar prediction in 1994, and now that this one didn't pan out he is now trying to say that...oops,my bad...It's actually October.

 This man is not the first to make such predictions and sadly, not the last.  What a sad commentary that  many believed this man. Yes, even those who profess to be Christian, yet really don't even know the Word...they are so unfamiliar with the scriptures that they begin to question the validity of false prophets such as this man, even when he has a proven track record of being a failure as a prophet proclaiming the Word of the Lord!  Shouldn't we search the scriptures everyday, as the Bereans did in Acts 17:11, to see if what is being proclaimed to us lines up with the Word of God? 

Albert Mohler addresses this very issue in  an article on Harold Camping. The following points are an  excerpt from this article:

First, Christ specifically admonished his disciples not to claim such knowledge. In Acts 1:7, Jesus said, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority.” In Matthew 24:36, Christ taught similarly: “But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only.”
To state the case plainly, these two verses explicitly forbid Christians to claim the knowledge of such dates and times. Jesus clearly taught that the Father has not revealed such dates and timing, but has reserved that knowledge for himself. It is an act of incredible presumptuousness to claim that a human knows such a date, or has determined God’s timing by any means.
Second, the Bible does not contain hidden codes that we are to find and decipher. The Bible has been given to us in order that we might know the truth, and the truth is clearly revealed in its pages. We are not to look for hidden patterns of words, numbers, dates, or anything else. The Bible’s message is plain and requires no mathematical computation for its understanding. The claim that one has found a hidden code or system in the Bible is an insult to the Bible as the Word of God.
Third, Christians are indeed to be looking for Christ to return and seeking to be found faithful when Christ comes. We are not to draw a line in history and set a date, but we are to be about the Father’s business, sharing the Gospel and living faithful Christian lives. We are not to sit on rooftops like the Millerites, waiting for Christ’s return. We are to be busy doing what Christ has commanded us to do.
In Hebrews 9:28, we are taught that Christ will come a second time “to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.” That is the faithful Christian response to the New Testament teachings about Christ’s coming. The church is not to be arrogantly setting dates, but instead to be eagerly waiting for him. Of that we can be truly certain.

Well said!!    As we are looking forward to His return, and as we wait what is required of us?

 "He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God." Micah 6:8

In eager anticipation of His return,




Thursday, May 5, 2011

Today is National Day of Prayer!!!

Were you aware that today is National Day of Prayer ?!  In honor of this day I wanted to share  this Focus on the Family broadcast.


Prayer is so important for all of us!  It needs to be not just another spiritual discipline but a defining part of our relationship with God!

So...get a cup of coffee... sit back in a comfy seat...click on the link below and enjoy!!

 (Update: the original link I had submitted for this post had expired so I found one that works).

http://www.focusonthefamily.com/media/focus-on-the-family-minute/hanging-onto-god-through-prayer







And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight. ~Philippians 1:9
 

Monday, May 2, 2011

Rejoice or gloat?

Let us never forget the victims of 9/11 or those who have bravely fought for our great country. God bless America!


As I sit and contemplate the news of the past evening and morning I am wondering... are we missing the boat ?   Osama(or Usama) Bin Laden is dead. Wow...this is history in the making!   Justice has been served.   There is a flurry of news articles and personal commentary going on as I write this that saddens me just a bit.  Oh...don't get me wrong!  I believe that OBL was an evil man bent on the destruction and death of  all who opposed him and his regime. I'm thinking that any man who would use a woman as a human shield is not a man at all but a monster.  I believe that in his death there is a victory in one of the major battles in the war on terrorism.  But there is such a confusion in the responses to this news. 

Let me explain...

As I begin to read the things people are posting on facebook I see alot of rejoicing over the news of Bin Laden's death...then as I continue to read I see the rejoicing turn into gloating. Gloating, such as pictures of the Statue of Liberty holding forth, not the torch leading the way to  freedom, but the bloody head of  Osama Bin Laden...such as posts stating, "rot in hell".  Then I begin to see posts, I believe trying to counter the gloating, of scripture such as..."Do not gloat when your enemy falls; when he stumbles, do not let your heart rejoice." Proverbs 24:17.  Wise advise from the Word.  In responses to the posts of scripture such as this one, I see a conflict in the minds of those who want to rejoice but now feel guilty.  So how do we reconcile this verse with the fact that this is indeed a good thing that good has triumphed over evil and surely that is something to be happy about ? 

I believe we need to determine if we are indeed gloating or just rejoicing, then determine what it is we are rejoicing over.  Let's look at the definition of  gloating.   Dictionary.com defines it as, "to look at or think about with great or excessive, often smug or malicious, satisfaction."  No doubt after reading that we know there is no room in the heart of a true believer(Christian) for gloating.  Actually our hearts should be saddened Osama Bin Laden went to his death rejecting Jesus Christ.  It is a sad fact that he will spend his eternal destiny in hell.  Not my judgement, mind you, he chose that path when he rejected Jesus Christ.  God's word tells us that no man comes to the Father except through Jesus Christ (John 14:6).  Knowing that...I cannot rejoice over this man's death and eternal place of residence. 

I am still, however,  going to rejoice over the fact that another battle of good vs. evil has been won.  Another verse in Proverbs states: " ‎"When justice is done, it brings joy to the righteous but terror to evildoers" Proverbs 21:15.  I find a bit of irony in the fact that the day Bin Laden was brought to justice was the very day Christians all over the world were celebrating the resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  THAT was the final victory over the evil one...there will still be many battles to fight, but the war has already been won!  He has risen indeed and because of that I know that I will one day see Him face to face!

Rejoice or gloat?  Where do you stand?

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Windmill Farmer...seeds for thought???

I saw this video posted on another site and couldn't help but see the analogy to the way God is at work in our lives on a daily basis in a very real and very personal way.

 Take the time to watch the video and let me know what you think about it.
                            
                                 The Windmill Farmer from Joaquin Baldwin on Vimeo.

 Here's my take on the video:


God is in control. We plant the seeds and then need to step back and let God do His good work...we can't micromanage everything. Sometimes the worst possible things that happen(in our eyes), turn out to be the vehicle through which God can do His greatest work! So no matter what you may be going through...no matter how hard it may be, trust that God is in control and loves you beyond your wildest imagination.  

Romans 8:28 tells us that..." in all things God works  for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose."  Wow..."all things"..the good, the bad and the ugly!! God can do His good work through anything that fallen mankind, fallen nature, or the enemy throws His way!  He can and does take those things which are meant to do us harm and works it out for our own good when we are living according to His word, His will and His way! 

We are called to live according to His purpose...how will we respond?  
What are you planting today?


Thursday, March 17, 2011

Savor The Taste...a lesson from fresh ground coffee

            I love coffee!!  A lot of people say they love coffee, but really it's just the caffeine they are addicted to...not so with me.  I really love the taste of pure unadulterated coffee...no cream...no sugar...and definitely no "flavors"! I want nothing to get between these taste buds and that wonderful  taste and aroma of black coffee.
In fact, once I savor my one-to-three cups of "fully leaded" coffee, I then switch to a good brand of caffeine free just to continue enjoying the deliciousness of the coffee flavor.



Coffee is a very important part of getting my mornings off to a good start. So pouring a hot, steaming cup of coffee is the first thing I do …that is unless the hubs leaves the house before letting the dogs out and getting them through their morning routine…in that case, of course, I have to take  care of their needs first.  Once done...I pick out one of my favorite mugs and pour that first cup, just basking in the delicious aroma as I carry it up the stairs to my office...to my big comfy chair, where I curl up with my coffee, reading glasses, and bible. 

Now at this point I would love to say that nothing comes between me and the "pure unadulterated " quiet time I have with the Lord ,with His word, and in prayer and meditation...and some mornings that is absolutely true. However, my office can be a whirlwind of distraction with unfinished projects, to do lists, books, books and more books; just waiting to be tackled, checked off , and devoured (I am a voracious reader).  Not to mention the noise and flurry of whatever new "adventure" my puppy, Clair, is getting into. So...some mornings the distractions lead me away from my intended goal of spending time in the Word , listening for His voice, and praying to have "ears to hear and eyes to see" what the Lord has for me.  Instead, my ears and eyes are being bombarded with Clair bringing me some new "toy" she has just discovered from the bathroom trash can, and now the utterance, "dear lord", is not exactly the beginning of a heart felt prayer! 

So I contemplate this morning...I absolutely love my morning quiet time and I really do hate when I let distractions interrupt that time...but do I crave those times as I would that first cup of coffee?  Do I "wait in expectation"as David says in  Psalm 5:3. To hear God's voice in answer to my prayers?  I don't want anything to dilute the pure taste of my coffee. Am I allowing the silly distractions of my mornings to dilute my time in the Word, in quiet contemplation…listening for His voice? 

As I have stated before, I named this blog "Captive Heart" because that truly is my greatest desire...to have a heart that is captivated by the grace and love of my Lord and Savior...a heart that is not distracted by the busyness and noise of this world.

I want to savor all that God has for me...to have eyes to see and ears to hear what He has in store for me this day and everyday!   I want to be used by God in whatever way He chooses to bring love and healing to those He puts in my path. I want to hunger after His Word.  I want to say with the psalmist, "How sweet are your words to my taste".  So, with coffee in hand, I will continue to my office each morning with expectation.


    How about you...how do you begin your day?
For me...to savor the pure undiluted/unadulterated time with my Lord...ahhhh...now that hits the spot!!








In the morning Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly. ~Psalm 5:3                                                                     


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Morning Musings From My Patio…Another lesson

It is a gloriously beautiful morning!  I am sitting out on my back patio listening to the birds singing their little hearts away.  The promise of spring is in the air today.  I can feel the anticipation of new growth and new beginnings as I sit here, taking it all in...the gentle cool breeze, the warmth of the intense Nevada sun, the trilling of the birds, and the sound of the water cascading down over the rocks of the waterfall in my backyard pond.

 As my eyes seek out each stump of dried old flowers and the still bare limbs of the trees and bushes, my mind begins the mental checklist of things that still need to be done to ready the gardens.Things like cleaning out the dead brush and sticks...it's so much easier to cut back the old growth that was left for winter protection before the new growth gets tangled up with it.  My mind continues down the list...thinking of those things that will need to be done to make room for the new growth that has been laying dormant all winter and now is just waiting to burst forth with new tender shoots reaching up toward the sun.  I even think of the spring blooming Lilacs, whose buds actually formed late summer or fall and lie dormant until they are ready to burst open...it is important to prune  the flowers directly after they flower, if you wait too long you risk cutting off the already growing buds for next year. 

What a picture of spiritual renewal the Lord gives us through the season of Spring!  I think that I love that this is not a one-time occurence, but an event that needs to take place year after year in order for the plants to remain healthy.  It's important to know exactly the best time for the pruning of each type of plant if you want to make room for healthy growth.  The plants are always ready to grow and flourish through the seasons, but the right conditions must be met in order for this to happen. When those conditions are not met, the plant can remain stunted and unhealthy; some won't produce the fruit they are meant to produce and some will even shrivel up and die off completely.  The same is true in our own lives.  We need to allow God to cut back those things in our lives that are keeping us from producing the fruit of the Spirit.  Sometimes we need to choose to let go of things in our lives that we have been so desperately holding on to. We need to let go because they are  keeping us from growing and flourishing in our journey with God.

Yep! Spring is in the air! There are still so many things I  need to do in order to prepare the garden of my heart for the work that the Master Gardener has planned for me.  How about you?


                                             

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

A lesson from my puppy...

I have a puppy!  She is a chocolate lab and we named her Clair(that's short for Chocolate 'Eclair).  We've had her for a few months now and I have fallen in love with this bundle of love and joy!  From the moment she wakes up in the morning she is just a boundless mass of energy.  She leaps from her kennel and bounds down the stairs with two barks, hits the tile floor sliding into the lazy boy and making the slippery turn to head into the kitchen in search for her morning breakfast. However, she is redirected to the back door to head out to her morning piddle...then back in and back to the food bowl.   After devouring said breakfast and sniffing out any tidbit of a morsel that may have escaped the confines of her food bowl, she then heads to the back door to be let back out to  finish her morning "business".  We are so proud that she has this routine down pat.  "What a good girl," we say to her as she comes back into the house...and it is from that moment on that the whole "good girl" persona seems to be "gone with the wind" as she rushes about looking for that which must be fully destroyed..uummm I mean...explored.

Now puppies are a bit like toddlers, as they go about exploring  everything ends up in their mouths.  Clair has now become well acquainted with the words, "no", "quit", "put that down", and "spit it out...NOW", oh... and "that's my shoe, thank you for bringing it to me but I would rather you had left it in the spot by the door".
This morning it occurred to me, as I was yelling once again,"Clair...where are you and what are you into this time?",  that I am a bit like my puppy...and maybe you are too.  You see, Clair likes to please us and she is a very loving puppy, but she has a tendency to test every boundary that we put into place.  Some things she learns rather quickly, but some things we are still working on.  She is a work in progress.  Aren't we too, a work in progress?
 God in His loving kindness has set boundaries for us.  He created us and knows what is best for us.  Some of those boundaries aren't really hard for us to abide by...I mean most of the Ten Commandments are easy to keep aren't they?  After all, I've never killed anyone.  But there are those things that I know God asks of me that I don't always follow through with.  How about you?  Like Clair has found...some of the bad things we do are well...just plain fun...but the end result is well...not fun.  Obedience is a hard lesson to learn.  When Clair is being obedient she is anxiously waiting at my feet either for her reward, a loving word and a hug, or she is waiting for the next command.  When she is not being obedient, she is so busy getting into trouble she misses out on the reward and instead suffers the consequences of her actions.
Sound familiar?  I thought so too!!

I want to be known as one sitting at the feet of my Master, anxiously awaiting my reward, a loving embrace, and looking forward to the next command.  I want to have a heart that is captivated by His voice and His love!! How about you?