Monday, February 28, 2011

When life seems parched

The poor and needy search for water,
but there is none;
their tongues are parched with thirst.
But I the Lord will answer them;
I will make rivers flow on barren heigths,
and springs within the valleys.
I will turn the desert into pools of water,
the the parched ground into springs.
I will put in the desert
the cedar and the acacia, the myrtle and the olive.
I will set pines in the wasteland,
the fir and the cypress together,
so that people may see and know,
may consider and understand
that the hand of the Lord has done this,
that the Holy One of Israel has created it.
Isaiah 41:17-20

I woke up feeling down and discouraged. I get out of bed and go out to find chaos slung across my house. Grabbing a cup of coffee, I retreat to my quiet spot and pour out my heart to Him.
He is faithful to answer. As I pour out my hurts, and fear, His presence is right there beside me, dabbing up every last tear. Then his encouragement follows, pouring into the empty vessel I'd become. Showing me things I'd not seen. The beauty of a sunbeam even as it hits a dirty counter. The glorious colors of a sunrise as I look across my unkept yard. The wag of a tail and eyes full of love of the very dog who messed on the carpet. Yet it's there. Those things that cause smiles despite it all.

I’ve found God right here. Even in all this mess. And I’m going to choose to glorify him today. And I’m going to pour myself out into this home, my family, friends, and into the words I write.  I’m going to keep trying not to worry. He has my days. My hours. My minutes. I have no need to worry. I just need to keep pouring. Like the widow woman. She was down to her last bit of oil and flour, and she kept pouring out until she fed the whole town. That’s God. That’s what he does for us. We just have to keep pouring.

Be blessed,

Friday, February 25, 2011

Finding the Cleft of Quietness

It's been one of those crazy, busy weeks where some things have a way of getting pushed to the side. My most sincere apologies. Here is a post from the archives that seemed appropriate for this time. Next week, I promise to be back to my regular schedule with new thoughts. God Bless.

The Lord said, "Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the
Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by."

Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the
rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind.

After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the

After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire.
And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his
cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.

Then the Lord said to him, "What are you doing here, Elijah?"

When I was a child, I loved to climb high up in the trees, find a sturdy crook in the branches, and sit there, surrounded by greenery, splattered sunlight and a gentle rustling breeze. It felt like I'd entered a whole different world. Swaying... Cool... Soothing. I could sit up there for hours and hours, just thinking... swaying... hiding away in the tree's strong cocoon of shimmering greens.

I still find a need to seek out those solitary, quiet places. Now I'm bit too old to climb trees. Darn it. But I often find myself lured to quiet shady spots beneath spreading branches. I need that quiet. It's where I hear God best.

It's so easy to get swept up in the daily cacophony of noise, stress, demands and pressures. It's so easy forget to withdraw, every once in awhile to those quiet places, whether it be the shade of a tree, cradled in the bough of branches, or swinging on a hammock, or simply sitting quietly at a desk, or a favorite chair.

I need to let the gentle breeze of His voice flow over me, tickling my skin, tugging tresses of hair, gentle air kisses on my cheek, whispered words in my ear. Time to be still before Him. Opportunity to hear Him ask, "What are you doing here? What's your purpose? Are you following mine or yours?"

We need to find God,
and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness.
God is the friend of silence.
See how nature - trees, flowers, grass -
grow in silence;
See the stars, the moon and the sun,
how they move in silence...

We need silence to be able to touch souls

Mother Theresa

Father, may I always remember you are my rock. You are my place of safety. You are the quiet place where I can seek refuge in a crazy world. Meet me always in those quiet places. Let me always hear your voice come on the quiet breezes. Amen

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Wonderment Wednesday - Isaiah 49

This is what the Lord says--

"In the time of my favor I will answer you, and in the day of salvation I will help you;

I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people, to restore the land
and to reassign its desolate inheritances,

to say to the captive,
'Come out,'
and to those in darkenss,
'Be free!'
Isaiah 49:8-9

Monday, February 14, 2011

All You Really Do Need Is LOVE...

Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so. Little ones to Him belong.
They are weak, but He is strong....

When I was very little, I knew this song by heart. And, as my family often told me, I'd sing it whenever I got into trouble.

My mom would narrow her eyes at me as she retold the story and say, "Do you know how hard it is to spank a child that's singing Jesus Loves Me at the top of her lungs?

Singing about how He loves me got me out of a lot of trouble back then.

And it still does. 

Remembering, when times get tough, when the waters begin to rise and the storms rage, that He loves me. He loves me. He loves me.

It's like a lifeboat. With a roof. And lots of flotation devices tucked inside.

Time and again, just the knowledge that Jesus loves...
It makes all the difference in the world. Even now it keeps me out of trouble. Even now, despite everything that does or can happen, knowing He loves me and has my best interest at heart is more than enough.

I hope it is for you too.

Yes, Jesus love me... Yes, Jesus loves me... Yes, Jesus loves me...     I just know it down deep in my heart

Happy Valentines Day, Friends

(turn off the music on the sidebar and enjoy.)

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Wednesday Wonderment - Job 38

Then the LORD spoke...

Have you entered the storehouses of the snow,

or seen the storehouses of the hail,

which I reserve for times of trouble, for days of war and battle?

Who endowed the heart with wisdom or gave understanding to the mind?

Who has the wisdom to count the clouds?

Who can tip over the water jars of the heavens

When the dust becomes hard and the clods of earth stick together?

Job 38:22-23 & 36-37 NIV

first posted May 12, 2009

Monday, February 7, 2011

Strongholds- looking from the bottom up

Stronghold: World English Dictionary: 
1. A defensible place; fortress
2. A major center or area of predominance.

A stronghold is meant to be impenetrable. The walls tall, smooth, unclimbable. The thickness of sheer stone unbreakable. Those that hide within are safe, untouchable. 

So when I heard someone say that they've had a stronghold in their life since childhood, I thought, it must be a mighty one to have held for so long. And if it 's that strong, that it had held firm for nearly a lifetime, what could possibly come against it? 

I can hear you now, "With God, all things are possible." or "God is bigger than any stronghold." 

My answer is, yes, this is true. But the person who spoke about the stronghold is a longtime Christian. A strong Christian. A firmly believing Christian. 

I think, no matter who you are, when you are standing at the bottom looking up, it simply seems insurmountable. No matter what or who is standing next to you. 

That's how it looks, anyway. 

Which led me to my next thought... how we look at things. 
As long as she saw this thing as a stronghold, then it would keep it's strong hold on her life. All she could see was the sheer wall surrounding her and no way out or over. Yet, in all this, the enemy kept finding a way in to steal her joy, kill her hope and destroy her will to fight her way out.

This is the enemies best trick. He keeps you looking at the wall, so you can't see that if there's a way in, there has to be a way out. He keeps that one thing prominent in your view so you don't see the One standing next to you, or the others: friends, family, your church body who are surrounding you, ready to fight with you. But your eyes are so locked on that THING. . . . 

What was needed was to change how that THING looked. To the enemy, it was nothing. I thought about the second movie in the Lord of the Rings trilogy when the evil army advanced on Helm's Deep with the intent to smash it to pieces. They nearly succeeded until the rescuer on the white horse arrived with the dawn. 

We have a rescuer. He doesn't see things like we do at all. 
"'For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,' declares the Lord." Isa. 55:8

How To Get Over The Walls of a Stronghold:
1. Make sure that stronghold isn't a safe-place for you. Sometimes we get comfortable in our pain and shortcomings. Examine your motives. 
2. Change how you view that stronghold. Change what you call it. Stop giving it so much power. It's not a stronghold, it's simply an issue that needs to be dealt with. 
3. Stop giving it more power than it deserves. God is out cleft, or safe place. He covers us with his hands. (Isa. 51). 
4. Be willing to look around at the resources God as placed in our lives. Friends, family, our church body. 
5. Get out your climbing gear and move on. 

Spend time with God and allow him to reveal the truth about this issue. Where did it come from? How can it be surmounted? Be willing to share with others, those who you feel are safe, what's going on with you. It's amazing how many other people have traveled the same road we find ourselves on. 

Strongholds are meant to be safe places. But they can also become prisons. 

See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland. Isa. 43:19

Friday, February 4, 2011


Nearly all week I've been stuck inside the house. The roads have been a sheet of ice, temperatures have been steadily below freezing and it's simply a risk to get out on the roads. 

All week, we've battled frozen pipes, rolling blackouts and trying to keep warm. I don't think our heater has stopped once and I'm afraid to see what next month's bills will amount to. Between leaving the water dripping all night for a week, to the added electricity and gas to heat the house... well, it's not going to be good. 

Our northern neighbors, I'm sure, are rolling their eyes thinking, "Oh please, are you serious? That's a spring day to us." 

We, in the south, simply aren't equipped to deal with this sort of weather. We could be. Perhaps we should be...

In the north, this is nothing. 

It made me think of how we as a people are equipped for different situations, different temps, different circumstances....

I walked out onto my porch this morning, surrounded by this amazing winter wonderland. All was still, quiet. No birds sang in the morning, as usual. No revving of cold engines, readying for the commute to work. No sleepy teens passing by on the way to school.  

All stillness. All quiet. All at peace. 

Except the chattering of my teeth. I'm not equipped for this kind of weather. I'm a pure southerner. Born in sunny California, then moved to blazing-hot Texas. I can take the heat. My northern in-laws melt and wonder, "How do you live like this?"

My exact thoughts when I visit up north in the winter. But they are equipped for the cold, and months of dark, cloudy skies and sub-zero temperatures. 

Funny how we are each equipped to live in the place God has placed us. And maybe we didn't start out that way, but we manage to adapt. We manage to accept the place we are at, eventually, some quicker than others... and we make our way. 

It's easy to look at those around us and wonder, "How can you do that?" or "What are you thinking?" or "What are you whining about? I deal with that all the time."

Throughout the Bible, God set different people in particular places. Like Ester. When her relatives, her people, were being persecuted, and she was sitting pretty in the palace, her cousin Mordecai knew it was for a reason. "How do you know, you have not been put in this place of royalty for such as reason as this?" 
(Est. 4)

What about Moses who was born just as the Pharaoh decided that all infant male Jews needed to be killed off? Moses was sent to be raised by the Pharaoh's own daughter, until such a time when he would rise up and help free his people. 

There are so many other examples. When it looks bad, and doesn't make sense. Joseph, destined to rule had to go to prison first. To look at these stories, you wonder what did people think of Ester, Moses, or even Joseph? They lived lofty lives... for awhile... while other's suffered.

As I stood on the porch, in the quiet stillness, wondering if my kitchen sink would work this morning or not, I couldn't help but think, you just never know about things when you are looking from the outside in. 

Everyone has a reason and purpose on this earth. Not everyone realizes that. The enemy seems intent on discounting that purpose. He seems intent to cloud the truth, to whisper lies, not only to us, but to those who observe us. 

But God has placed us right where we need to be. Either in a hot, sweltering climate, or a frigid one, standing up to our knees in snow. For where He's placed us, He's equipped us to deal with our situation, and to carry out those plans He has for us. If we so choose to accept them. Not all do. 

No, here in the south, we are not equipped to deal with the freezing temperatures. But we aren't meant to. No more than the north is meant to deal with the insane heat we have here. We have our means to deal with our physical circumstance. For the most part. We still complain and wait eagerly for fall to arrive, just as the Northerner's sigh with relief when the snow melts and the first buds blossom. 

Spiritually, are we accepting the place in which God has set us? Are we allowing Him to equip us for the circumstances He has called us to? It's different for everyone. Are we being supportive of our brother's and sisters, even when it really doesn't make sense? Are we asking first, "have you heard from God?" before we shake our heads and give our opinion on their plight in life? 

Just wondering. Now that my toes are numb, I'm going back into the warmth of my house. The snow is nice and fun for awhile, but I'll be glad when Texas gets back to her normal weather patterns. My sneakers aren't meant for this ice and slush and my flip-flops are ready to come out and play. 

Be blessed,
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