Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Wonderment Wednesday - Psalms 46

God is our refuge and strength,

an ever-present help in trouble.

Therefore, we will not fear,
though the earth give away
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea

though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake at their surging

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God
the holy place where the Most High dwells

God is within her, she will not fall
God will help her at break of day.

Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;
He lifts his voice, the earth melts.

The Lord Almighty is with us
The God of Jacob is our fortress.

Come and see the works of the Lord.
Psalms 46:1-8

Monday, April 25, 2011

Keeping Balance in a Crazily Tilting World

"But I am afraid that just as Eve was decieved by the serpent's cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ." 2 Cor. 11:3

Typical day. Get out of bed, spend a few quiet moments journaling, thinking - usually about what I'm going to do that day, along with the standard prayer "God, where do I need to be going?" Follow this by jumping into the shower, getting dressed, the kids off to school, then rolling up my sleeves to tackle that To Do list I diligently wrote out the night before.

Typical next day? Get out of bed. A few moments of quiet time. Thinking. Asking... "Where do I need to be going." Followed by the standard shower, shove the kids off and schedule tackling. Back to a "New and Improved" To Do list.

I keep asking the same question. Sometimes, I wonder, am I asking the right question, though.

Rushing from one task to another, do I miss what's really important? Do I miss out on hearing God in my haste? Do I miss out on gifts He drops during the day? Like the bird's morning songs? The beauty of sunlight beaming across the dining table? The smile of one of my kids as they head off to school?

I'm trying so hard to stay balanced in this crazy, tiltling world.

But am I simply living for the now? Here in This Moment? Stopping to listen? Stopping to see? Waiting to hear?

Or do I keep rushing ahead, searching, yearning, wanting.
Wanting when right here. Right now....

"Man is a mere phantom as he goes to and fro.

He bustles about, but only in vain,
he heaps up wealth, not knowing who will get it.

But now, Lord, what do I look for?
My hope is in you."
Psalm 39:6-7 

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Wonderment Wednesdays

Two are better than one,
because they have a good return for their work:

If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls
and has no one to help him up!
Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.

But how can one keep warm alone?
Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

Monday, April 18, 2011

When You're Eye to Eye With a Tuna

Be joyful always;
1 Thess. 5:16

When I got out of bed this morning, I wasn't too joyful. More like, overwhelmed and discouraged. As if I'd stepped out of bed into deep waters, I felt submerged in a sea of Way-To-Much-To-Do. My list of things I needed to accomplish flooded my heart, and as I walked around the house and saw how behind I was in taking care of things, I sank deeper into confusion and lack of direction. 

How do I let myself get to where I'm eye to eye with a tuna? 

pray continually;
1 Thess. 5:17

That's exactly what I began doing... praying. "Lord, how do I get all of this done? How do I focus my time, take care of my responsibilities, yet continue to do the task I need to do? 

When you ask, a way out begins to reveal itself. 
Normally, I look at my list and dive into it, then about mid-day, I wear down and it takes awhile to get myself going again. As I thought about my rhythm, I realized I'd do better working with myself, than against myself. Since I'm more creative in the morning, I should set that time aside for writing work. In the afternoon, when my mind gets groggy, its a prime time to get outside and work in the yard, or do some housework. Anything physical. 

This made so much sense, and I tried it today, finding it really did work. 

He doesn't leave us submerged for long. A hand always reaches down into the depths and pulls us back up. 

give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.
1 Thess. 5:18

Soon as the doom and gloom hit me, I fought back. I grabbed my Gratitude journal and began to think of the gifts I'd seen lately. It's amazing, how once your eyes are focused on the good, everything else falls into focus as well. Joy returned. So did an eagerness to figure a way to get everything done. 

I wrote down all the things I've started, every project I want to do, every job that needs to be done and every writing piece I need to work on. It's like putting all your ducks in a row, so to speak. Now I know what I have. Now I can begin to break down how I will get it done. 

He pulled me out, spitting and sputtering, but I feel my breaths again. I'm back on solid ground. I can see a path, a way through. Of course it's there. It's always been there. 

No matter what you are faced with, start with counting the blessings. It clears your mind like a fresh wind clears away the clouds. Don't let discouragement keep you submerged in hopelessness. 

He loves you. He has good plans for you. If He is for you, none can stand against you. He will make a way. There is always a way through. 

Go ahead. Throw back your head and smile big. Let praises rise up with reckless abandon. He is good and worth to be praised. 

Be blessed, 

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Wonderment Wednesday: Habakkuk 3

Though the cherry trees don't blossom
and the strawberries don't ripen,
Though the apples are worm-eaten
and the wheat fields stunted.

Though the sheep pens are sheepless
and the cattle barns empty,

I am singing joyful praises to God.

I am turning cartwheels of joy to my Savior God.

Counting on God's Rule to prevail,
I take heart and gain strength.

I run like a deer.

I feel like I'm king of the mountain!
Habakkuk 3:17-19 MSG

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Wonderment Wednesday: Psalm 16

Lord, you have assigned me my portion and my cup;
you have made my lot secure.
The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places,

surely I have a delightful inheritance.

I will praise the Lord, who counsels me;
even at night my heart instructs me.

I have set the Lord always before me.

Because he is at my right hand,
I will not be shaken.
 Psalm 16:5-8 (NIV)

Monday, April 4, 2011

Still Reflections- On The Road Again

(A re-post from the archives. One of my favorites!)

Staring out the backseat window of my friend Patty's Silverado truck, I half-listened to the conversation between her and our other friend, Dawn, about the need for first-hand research.

Dawn: "It would be fun to visit Connecticut, Patty, but we can't right now. We've just come from Minnesota. We need to go home."

Patty: "But in the Writing Authentic Historicals class, they said research is a very important. What better way to get the details right than to take a road trip over that way?"

I watched the white highway lines zoom past, ready to get home to my every day comfort, as well. The trip up to the conference and back had been such fun, but home beckoned.

Dawn (determination now steeling her voice)- "Maybe so, but we can't just head off to Connecticut. It's not anywhere near Texas."

At this point Patty turns to face Dawn, an eerie glint in her eyes like a toddler set on getting the last cookie from the jar placed on a high shelf. Then she says something I don't think I'll ever forget. With both hands firmly gripping the steering wheel, she stares transfixed at the winding road ahead and replies,
"I have four wheels and a tank of gas, what do you mean I can't go to Con-nec-ti-cut?"

Dawn's mouth drops, as well as my own. I swear that Patty meant it with all the sincerity of a boyscout . As long as she had a car, a tank of fuel and four inflated tires, what's to stop her?

Oh, but I wish I had such tenacity about plowing forward with my life.

We weren't meant to stand still. If we were, we'd sprout roots from our feet and grow leaves. No, God created us for the journey. He created us to run and not grow weary.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith... (Heb. 12:1-2)

Everybody is going somewhere...

Sometimes, the path is smooth and open. My feet meet the pavement like soft butter on warm toast. Everything is great. My joy explodes with each step. I have a song in my heart and a wave for every passing stranger.

Life couldn't be better!

Then other times, I stop dead in my tracks... breath, heart and stomach caught in my throat over what lays ahead.

In places like this I find myself gasping out fervent prayers for help, assistance, rescue. Yet, I venture on, steps cautious like a tight-rope walker. I see the road, though it's a bit unstable, perhaps flooded with worry and concerns.

And like David in Psalms, a cry escapes my lips, "For you are God, my only safe haven. Why have you tossed me aside?" (Ps.43:2 NLT)

That's kind of how it feels when the road gets rough and I become unsure of where to go next.
Still, other times, I stare up in disbelief at the mountain ahead, wondering how will I ever make it over this obstacle. Faith needed to cast the mountain aside, has been cast aside at the sight of such insurmountable opposition.

But once I really look, and sometimes you have to look really, really hard...there it is...
For when you did awesome things that we did not expect, you came
down, and the mountains trembled before you. Since ancient times no one has
heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on
of those who wait for him. Isa. 64:3-4
There, my eyes locate a small narrow path winding its way past tight turns and steep uphill climbs. But it's there; a way over and to the other side. It's always been there. It will always be there.
Eyes must learn to focus on the small steps, not the giant leaps.
We are called to travel, to move forward, to continue the race set before us.
Despite how the path looks, how low, how obstructed, how high- He will not abandon.

He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me;
Psalm 23:3-4

Father God, help me to walk boldly along the paths you have set before me. Help me to not look in trepidation at the obstacles that get in the way, but to always, always, always, keep my eyes focused on you. For you walk at my side. You hold my hand securely. You guide with gentle nudges. Keep me near. Keep me close. Amen.
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