Archive for April, 2010

Because of my husband’s health issues I have been doing more thinking and reading on business management as I am being stretched to oversee our home businesses. Of course the word “goals” comes up quite often in the literature as one starting point in management and decision making.  In this case the goals are financial and the action steps to achieve these goals can slowly pull one to believe that those steps are as concrete as the ones up to the front door of the house and one can confidently walk up those steps in the next few years and open the door to the goals  placed on paper today.

I look at the goals from every which way and try to find the sure proof way to bring them to fruition.  The inner dialogue begins… I should know what to do, be able to make confident decisions, should have done this or that years ago. I remember the goals from a couple years ago which were set aside with one heart beat.   Some of the goals were altered, some may never be considered again. Why even try?   How can we plan and make decisions when we don’t know the future? There are too many variables, too much is out of control, something always goes wrong, it’s hopeless.

Finally, tired of the impossible thought circle, I spiritually turn toward God and ask,  “What should I do”?

The quiet Voice patiently waits until the eyes of His child’s heart look to Him and focus on His face.  The Creator gently points out the problem to His creation, using His Word to shine Light on the issue at hand.

In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.  (Prov 16:9)

“You are looking at goals for the future, hoping to make perfect decisions so that circumstances will turn out as you plan, providing a comfortable life of total security.  I have created you to live in communion with Me and you are not capable of bearing the weight of knowing the future.  But I AM.  Your identity is in Me, not in your financial statement or in accomplishing your goals. I AM in your today and I AM in your future, we will walk the path together and I will never leave you or forsake you. I have provided, am providing, and will provide for you.”

“Choose to trust Me. Choose over and over and over and over to trust Me. Each time you feel this way, use it as a signal to stop, listen to the whisper of Truth and return to a position of trust in Me. Thank Me for the circumstances that have brought you again to seek My face. Don’t feel foolish if it is a process that happens  1000 times a day, for in time the process will train your mind to focus on Me for every need and in every circumstance. This is the goal of your life, to know Me.  From this position of trust we will find what is best to do in obedience today and how to loosely plan for tomorrow. Rest your mind, little one, hold my hand and step forward with Me into the unknown.”

God made us to plan and set goals. He just didn’t make us to do so apart from Him. It is done in conversation with the indwelling Holy Spirit and the goals are held lightly as we live in the “now” and trust God with the future.

Thank you Lord, for the circumstances of yesterday, today and tomorrow that cause us to depend on You.  Help us to focus on You and trust You fully as our provider. From this humble position we pray for guidance and strength to  step forward in obedience to Your leading.

James 4:13-15;  James 1:2-5


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Ever have one of “those days”?  Wednesday was one of “those days”!  It started out innocently enough.  The morning was cool and the walk was refreshing, even invigorating. The mind was content in the moment, emotions following along, all is well in the soul.

Then, you know, it was if I stood still and the day took off without me knowing it, the events swirling around like a Kansas tornado.  The mind was going a hundred directions and unable to concentrate, starting 10 tasks but unable to finish even one, needing to make decisions but overwhelmed by the options.  By ten I was feeling discouraged, weepy, befuddled, and discombobulated (sound it out, it’s a great word).  Thoughts of self-condemnation increased in volume starting with words such as “you can’t ever…”, “you’ll never…”,  “no one cares if…”,  “it doesn’t matter if you…” The body defaulted into a homing device for anything made out of sugar with a strong desire to (once the sugar is in hand) to just sit in a heap and not move.

Each person’s experiences are different, but can you relate? If this hasn’t ever happened to you then you can stop reading at this point and can snicker a bit.  If you do relate, do you wonder how a perfectly normal day can turn on a dime into a tornado?

Of course the reasons this happens are many.  But the Voice of Reason, the Holy Spirit, whispers in during the swirl of events and thoughts, speaking quiet truths that gently pull towards the heart, the center of the believer’s being where He resides.

“These symptoms are red flags for you to stop and seek Me.  I am here.  Be still, stop fighting and turn to Me. There are truths to guide you through these circumstances.  Let’s look at this together, what is the root of the problem and how can you apply the Truths to move through it?  I AM growing you into someone different because of these events, don’t worry, trust Me.”

I hear the Truths faintly but the roar of the events and swirling  in the mind, emotions and will are so encompassing that it takes some time to give up and listen.  Finally, while driving in the car, the mind settles enough to listen to the quiet, still Voice.  The root of the problem?… yes, I’m beginning to see it now.  I think I’m supposed to know the future. I need to make the right decisions without being able to know what will happen tomorrow, next week, next year.

“I am the Creator, you are the creature with limitations.  I know the future and all things will work together for the good.  You can trust me because I love you and have your best in mind.  Live in the now, enjoy the moment,  make your plans as you seek Me and leave the future in My hands.  Thank me for the events.”

The words come through gritted teeth in frustration, “I will trust You, thank You for these circumstances.”   There is stillness in the Center of the situation.  Why do I wait so long?  God massages the soul and re-centers the thoughts on His truth, calms the emotions that He used as red flags, and affirms the decision of submission.  The storm passes and leaves a humbled creature to wonder again at the patience of the Creator, thankful to leave the future in His hands.  The events have not changed, but there is Hope for a way through.

By the way, a shower came to water the newly planted alfalfa seed.  Was the creature’s energy well spent worrying about the future of that seed?  Did God know the need, did He hear the prayer, is He the keeper of the rain?  With that need met, will there be more rain to bring the new plants to maturity?  In that (and in the many other circumstances and decisions)  is a new opportunity to trust that, regardless of the outcome, the process of trusting Him to work and provide will grow the creature into greater humbleness, usefulness and peace.

Thank you for being my Creator.  Help me to humbly allow Your work in my life through each circumstance and event, trusting You to do Your good work in and through me as I submit to Your loving hand.  Thank you for Your forgiveness and for patiently re-centering my thoughts, the emotions, and the will by the work of the Holy Spirit and for bringing Your Peace.

Romans 8:26-28; Jeremiah 29:11

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Last night I was cutting back the overgrown plants in front of th house and finished listening to the book Peace Child on CD as I worked.  The author, Don Richardson, had spoken to our church a few weeks back and I had been pondering a thought from his presentation since that time.  The thought increased  in volume in my mind and heart several times as the CD played.

Don felt called to a jungle tribe of people that were still practicing cannibalism a mere 50 years ago. That in and of itself blew me away- that is within my lifetime! He and his wife prayed fervently for a way to reach these people’s hearts, people that revered treachery and found Judas the hero of the story about Jesus’ death.

God revealed the key through an ancient tribal tradition of finding peace between tribes by giving a “peace child” from each tribe in trade to ensure trust in the peace agreement.  God opened Don’s eyes to see a way to share the truth of God’s Son, Jesus, being the forever “Peace Child”.   Over time, many came to believe in Him as their way to eternal peace.

Don has found that God has placed in all people groups a key, some trace of God’s truth in their customs or language, that can open understanding to the message of God’s redemptive love.

Words of a hymn started to bubble up…. about a key, that will unlock and set me free.  What is the name of that hymn? A Google search solved the riddle, “Open My Eyes, That I May See” by Clara H. Scott.  Of course the tune and words well up over and over after reading the words again in the hymnbook.

If there is a key for reaching people groups, it would follow that it would be true for the individual as well.  So, our hearts have been pulled to praying specifically for the key to be revealed that will open the eyes of the hearts of several people we know that are on paths of destruction in their lives.  Praying that the Holy Spirit would even now be revealing that key to them or someone close to them that can share how to be unlocked and set free.  Praying for chains of bondage such as alcoholism and pornography to be broken, for mending of relationships, for direction and purpose, for healing of body and soul…

When I was in my Holy Place (i.e.- the shower) two specific ideas came to mind as I pondered this concept of “keys”.   First, I thought of the “key” times in my life when God has moved through a verse of Scripture, a circumstance, a person, etc, to reach and open my own heart.  In particular, I thought of a Sunday School teacher and a time of re-commitment to God while in eight grade which lead to baptism.  Second, I thought of two people’s faces and circumstances and God’s desire to be lovingly involved with them.  Specific ideas followed-  a letter of love to be written and a phone call of invitation to be made.

Did I hear correctly, is that You, Holy Spirit,  prompting and redirecting the plan for the day? What is He whispering to your heart as you commune with Him?

Lord, thank you for making a way, a key, to unlock the heart and allow us to see You, to hear You, to know You.  We pray for your power to break us free from the chains of bondage that keep us from the love, peace and joy You can grow in its place. Use us in the lives around us to show others the way to You and your redemptive love as the eternal Peace Child, the only way to true peace in our lives. Today we prayerful step out to follow Your prompts.

Ephesians 1:17-21

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Easter was just a few days ago.

So, do I really believe in God; the Father, Son and Holy Spirit? Do I really believe that He/they created the Heavens and the earth, including me?

Do I really believe that it was a historical fact that, according to God’s perfect plan, Jesus Christ, God’s Son, came to earth and lived as a human- chosing to lay aside His “God Powers” and live His life by the power of the Holy Spirit in perfect obedience to His Father?

Do I really believe that He allowed Himself to die for the sins of the people He had helped create, including me, and then be pushed and/or pulled from the grave by the power of the Holy Spirit to defeat death?

Do I really believe that He ascended into heaven to sit by His Father’s side and talk to God on our behalf, on my behalf, making things ready for all those that believe in Him to join Him there when their days on earth are over?

Do I really believe that He sent the Holy Spirit to dwell in the hearts of believers, in my heart, to empower me to live my life for God in the same way that Jesus did those many years ago?

If I do (and I do), then what difference does that make for me today, this minute, in this set of circumstances, in what I chose to do, in the way I feel or think?

It makes all the difference in the world… and all the difference for eternity.

This is the trail head, the starting place of this journey of discovering the truths that will transform our lives. This is not just a head knowledge of right and wrong, this is a relationship with “the Truth”, with the person of Jesus Christ. It is an invitation into a dynamic dialogue with the God of the universe. This dialogue will change us, it is the heart of the matter.

Ponder these words from the Apostles Creed- dated from about a half century after the last of the Biblical writings. Say them as your very own whether for the first time or the thousandth time knowing that He will come or has already come to dwell in your heart.

I believe in God, the Father Almighty,  the Maker of heaven and earth,
and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord:

Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried;

He descended into hell. The third day He arose again from the dead;

He ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty;
from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit; the holy Christian church;
the communion of saints; the forgiveness of sins;
the resurrection of the body; and the life everlasting. Amen.

Thank you for desiring to be in relationship with us. You made that relationship possible in every way making Yourself known to us through creation (Your handiwork), through the Bible (Your Words), through Jesus Christ (Your Son), and through the indwelling Holy Spirit (Your power). We say “yes” to You, to grow to know You and to be known by You.

John 3:16-17

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Exercise.  It’s a “duh” in life, and we all know we need it. Why is it so hard to get the tennis shoes on and walk or do that workout video?  I could make a list of excuses here, but suffice it to say that a new one could be given every day for at least a week!  I prefer the sedentary activities such as reading or art, and time is tight so I must move around the exercise excuses every day.

“God, I am struggling. Would you help me develop more desire to care for this body You’ve given me, perhaps even ways to enjoy exercise?”

The husband gets up and runs three days a week and he lovingly encourages me to come along and just walk. The road is finally dry, the weather cool, and the bushes are flowering- moving me around three excuses right there. So, the answer today was, “Sure, but wait a second, let me run and get the camera to stick in my pocket, perhaps I’ll click a few shots along the way!”

So I went for a walk early this morning and as the sun slid over the horizon its rays lit up the fragrant blossoms of the sand hill plum bushes along the edge of that country road. Two lines of a hymn  came to mind: “When morning gilds the sky, my heart awakening cries, may Jesus Christ be praised!”  That’s all that could be sung over and over because I had to look up the rest of the words in a hymnbook when I got home,  it’s been a long time since we’ve sung that hymn. The heart was ready to burst as it tried to absorb the beauty of the moment.

“These bushes bloom whether seen by a human or not, tucked away in their given spots, like a song of color… no, a symphony of color. God’s masterpiece of nature resonates its praise. God, give me eyes to see and ears to hear You in all things, in every circumstance, in every moment.”

Walk, jog forward, shoot a few pictures, sing, twirl and smile… “You do good work God. It is over the top. I know a camera can never do it justice”. Cold fingers pushed little buttons to try a new setting on the simple point and shoot camera. It added a few minutes to the walk, but it also added pleasure to the exercise.

“Thank you for strength to maneuver around the exercise excuses to join with the plum blossoms in worshiping You this morning, and, yes, thank you that the body was strengthened.”

This is the movement of the Holy Spirit that dwells in every believer. He brings up an idea in response to a sentence prayer of need to move His child around a hurdle that is too wide for her. He opens the eyes and ears of the heart to hear nature sing its song of worship to its Creator. He dredges up words of a song tucked away in the memory to use to spontaneously sing praise to God for creating extravagant beauty. We respond, we get in step with that inner rhythm.

He whispers to you, you respond and move in step.  What has He whispered to you today?

Thank you Lord for hearing our prayer of need and weakness. Thank you for the indwelling Holy Spirit that You sent to be our ever present Companion and provider of strength to overcome the hurdles in life. Open the eyes and ears of our heart to see and hear nature’s message of Your extravagant love for humankind. May we join today in its praise of You.  May Jesus Christ be praised!

Romans 1:20;  Psalms 9:1-2

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Jumping In!

Do you remember playing jump rope when you were a kid? I can envision being on the east side of Roosevelt Elementary School with two friends on either end of a long, heavy jump rope. They held the rope with both hands and turned it in rhythm.  It would hit the ground with a steady thump, thump, thump, brushing the dirt away making a smooth spot to jump.

Standing nearby, one of us was imitating the motion of the rope with our hands, making circles in the air, nodding our heads and moving our bodies in a matching rhythm.

From experience we had learned that just as the rope thumped down the timing was good to run to the smooth spot of ground just in time for the rope to circle overhead. It would then come down around to hit the ground again in that same steady beat that we’d been practicing. A jump with both feet at just the right time allowed the rope to slap the ground and not our bare legs.

Once we were safely jumping we would begin a jump rope chant and may even become brave enough to “turn around and touch the ground”. When it was my turn to jump there were always butterflies in my stomach in anticipation of doing it “right”, hoping to have a long turn before the rope popped me in the head or hit and scratched my legs.

Starting this blog has brought this picture to mind as I look for just the right time, a rhythm in life to emerge that will provide the perfect timing and smooth spot on which to jump into writing. Funny how life just doesn’t stay in a steady pace or provide a smooth surface for very long, isn’t it? So, I close the eyes and listen…listen for the inner rhythm of God’s leading, not the outer rhythm of life’s circumstances. Share, share, share… is the rhythm. Share the process of walking with Me with those that are close by and desire to come along on the “Trail of Truth”.

A quiet Voice promises to provide the inner rhythm needed to move forward to start this “jump rope” project of blogging and encourages the sharing together of the truths learned in the process. Ah yes, there have been glimpses of that inner rhythm that comes when listening to and obeying that quiet inner Voice, and yes, there have been the hits on the head and scratches on the leg of being out of rhythm when not listening or when disobeying.

So today is the day to jump into blogging and I invite you to jump in alongside (jumping rope with a partner was especially fun)! This blog site has a Email Subscription option that allows you to subscribe and receive the blog entry notifications by email. It would be an honor to be a part of your life in this way if you so choose.

Thank you, God, for being a steady and faithful Friend. Thank you that your Holy Spirit is present in all believers to bring an inner rhythm to our lives. Teach us to listen to Your Voice and to move in rhythm with You through each day and each task. Help us to recognize when we are out of rhythm and then how to move back into Your rhythm for us.

Gal 5:22-25

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