Archive for the ‘Inner Rhythm- In Step!’ Category

The young father lifts his child up overhead and smiles as he looks into the face of his baby that brings him such great joy.  He speaks up at the child playfully and then brings her down into his arms and tucks her  into a tight hug.

Do you need a picture to visualize how God responds to His children? Then keep the picture of the young father and his child in mind as you read this part of God’s blessing from Numbers 6:24-26 that is often read at the end of a church service.

“May the Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace.”

The position that God has towards His children as He “lifts up His countenance” is one of a Father lifting His small child high over head and looking up in loving pleasure.

Spend a few minutes imagining yourself being lifted up by the Lord and looking down into His eyes full of love, joy and peace.  He desires you to be at peace with Him and at peace in your soul.

Peace.  If you cannot look into the eyes of God, is there sin in your life that needs to be confessed?  Is there shame or fear that makes it hard to believe He could want you as His child?  Are there circumstances that whirl around you that pull your eyes from His face?

Whatever sin has been committed, confess it quickly and look into His eyes of forgiveness for restored relationship.  Whatever the source of your shame or fear, dare to lock eyes and find understanding and a source of courage.  Whatever circumstance you find yourself in this day, seek the eyes of your Savior and return to this position of peace in your soul.  Seek Him and walk through the circumstance with Him in His peace.

Dear Lord, thank You that You are a loving heavenly Father.  Help me to believe that You love me and desire to be in constant relationship with me.  Help me to picture myself as Your child looking down into Your face and seek to restore or keep my relationship with You strong and constant.  May I find the peace that comes from looking into Your eyes.

Job 33:26;  Psalms 123:2;  Hebrews 12:2


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Okay, so as the pastor was ready to let us out of the church service,  he raised his hand and said, “Receive the blessing.”   Now I ask you, if he goes ahead and says the blessing over us, do we really have a choice but to receive it? 🙂

The word “receive” has been rolling around in my brain for the past several days.  When my husband speaks loving words to me or a friend gives a compliment to encourage, how many times do I allow it to run off like water and not receive it into me to glean its intended benefit?

If the words of a blessing are like a gift, then let’s pretend that you think of the perfect gift and then place it in a box to give to the person of your choice.  You go to your loved one’s door and with anticipation, ring the bell.  When they come to the door they say, “Thanks, just leave it there on the porch.” and return to the house.

It has been received in one sense of the word, but not as the giver intended.  How disappointing to you, who so wants the gift to be opened and used.  If the gifts keep stacking up on the porch, you are so sad that your loved one isn’t really getting the benefit of your gifts.

The word “receive” can mean something is given, but in the deeper sense it means to welcome, to hold, to accept as true or valid.

In the book “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen Covey, he states that each person has a gate to change and no one else can open it for them.  Do we also have a gate for receiving, a gate that no one else can open so that we can’t be truly encouraged or blessed without opening that gate and receiving it?

The Bible speaks of many things that we are to receive, to allow in through the gate; the gospel, salvation, Jesus Christ, baptism, the Word, the Holy Spirit, power, God’s promises and blessings, forgiveness, love and grace to name a few.

So today let’s examine the gate that may be preventing us from receiving the blessings from God and from others who desire to encourage us.

Find one verse in the Bible that addresses a challenge in your life and visualize it as a wrapped gift from God.  Take it in your hands and unwrap it, look at it from every angle and enjoy it.  Let it come into your heart and have its intended result of encouraging, directing, or convicting you.  Look into the eyes of the Giver and see the love He has for you, His desire to give good gifts to you and to help you.  Use the words to ward off discouragement or hardship as they are intended to do.

If a friend or spouse compliments you, stop, look into his or her face, think about what they said and say “thank you” (with no “but…” or “if only…”).  Take the words in and let them speak to your heart and encourage you.

I know that gates also keep certain things out, and for a good reason, but we’ll look at that another time!

Now, receive Gods blessing;

“May the Lord bless you  and keep you; may the Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;  May He lift up His countenance upon you and give you His peace.  Amen.”

Lord, thank you for Your Word that is full of promises and words of help and direction.  May I open the gate that allows me to receive them into my life and use them as You intended.  May I better understand Your love for me and Your desire to walk through every moment of every day with me.  Bless me, keep me, shine on me, be gracious to me, lift up your face to me, and give me Your peace.

Numbers 6:24

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Process.  Isn’t that a great word?  It’s a noun that means something is going on, there are gradual changes that are leading to a particular result.

Process.  Process isn’t an excuse word (as in- don’t expect anything, it’s in process), no, it makes it clear that a work is ongoing, and best of all, it implies that it is going in a forward direction towards a specific end.

We are in process.

Paul said, “I press on to the goal of the upward call of Christ Jesus”.

When I was young I wondered if I was really a Christian because I still did things wrong.  I asked Jesus to forgive what I did wrong and come into my heart over and over thinking that perhaps this time I’d get it right.  What a tremendous relief it was when someone made it clear that God makes a person good, He removes the heart of stone, forgives the wrong doing,  and then replaces the heart with one that is perfectly holy so that He can set up residency there.

So my heart is a holy place because the Holy God made it that way.  The rest of me is, well, in process.

Yes, we’re in the process of becoming holy throughout this life… but we’re not alone in that journey.  The God of the universe honors a believer with His very presence and strength as the director of the process.  He wants us to be Holy like He is Holy.  By ourselves, that would be impossible.  Believe me, I’ve tried.  But nothing is impossible for Him, if He’s allowed to direct.

Ever wonder why God did that?   Why He didn’t just make us perfect the moment we committed our lives to Him?  Seems that there is great value to Him that we are in process together as a team.  That we turn to Him, the director of the process, constantly, in every thing we do, in every aspect of our lives, each and every day.  He values constant relationship and does not condemn the process of pressing on to the goal, because our goal is to be with Him… He is the one calling us upward towards holiness.

It’s a win, win, win.  We’re placed in process by His cleansing our hearts of sin, we’re with Him in the process of becoming Holy as long as we live, and He is the goal at the end of our process.

I am in process.  You, my friend, are in process.  We are in process together.  Let’s press on to our goal with God who is our Goal.

Dear Lord.  Sometimes I am frustrated by being in the process of  the upward call of becoming holy.  Thank You for being present and active in me and for providing the direction and strength for the journey.  Please help me to allow you access into every area of my life so that you may direct my process.  Forgive me for trying to go it on my own.  Help me to desire being in relationship with You more than anything else and to set my eyes on You only.  May I give encouragement to others as well as receive the encouragement they give as we press on each day towards the goal of being with You forever.

Philipians 3:7-14

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To live on a farm and work on a farming schedule is both a great joy and a great challenge.  It is a gritty occupation with little buffer between the worker and nature.  As my husband says, “nature always bats last”.

A farmer is said to live by faith.  He or she places seed in the ground in faith that the cycles of nature will continue for another year and there will be sufficient sunshine and rain to bring forth a crop.  Personally I have a love/hate relationship with this occupation as its’ uncontrollability does just what it is supposed to do, challenge my faith in God’s provision.

But lately I was again presented with the thought that God linked the events of His plan for human kind to the farm calendar.  One could say He “planted” His plan in the calendar that He set at the time of creation.  It is not a coincidence that the festivals for His people, the Israelites, were connected to the yearly farming schedule and the crops that they grew and harvested.  Their work and celebrations placed them in a God given rhythm that pointed them to Him.

The set of spring feasts, between the barley and wheat harvests, recount the events of the Jewish exodus from Egypt.  It is no coincidence that Jesus died on the day  Passover is celebrated (Passover remembers the death of the historic passover lamb) or that the Holy Spirit came on the day Pentecost is celebrated (Pentecost is celebrated to remember the giving of the Law on Mt. Sinai).  They are divine appointments set at the time of creation to show God’s glory in His plan of salvation.  Nothing is by accident.

On this day in May, we are currently in the time between these spring feasts when the Jewish people count the 49 days until Pentecost.  They count the  days with a daily blessing.  It reminds them that they had to learn to trust God for His promised provision each day in the desert.

What a reminder, to count on God daily for His provision and blessing.

For all the times I bang my head in frustration over the challenges of farming, it has certainly provided me reasons to count on God.  The rhythm of the calendar (not just the rhythm of me banging my head!) and the lack of control over nature are reminders to lift my eyes to God.  He made the regularity of the seasons, the water and mineral cycles, the seed that is able to reproduce its own kind.

What is it that you are banging your head against?   What is providing the opportunity to depend on God?  What is the “gritty thing” that is the constant reminder that you are not in control?  Is this the very thing that may be teaching you to live by faith, to count on God?  Nothing is by accident.

As uncomfortable as this position may be, could one actually say “thank you” to God for this gritty thing, grateful it brings us to count on Him, and counting the blessing that each day is one day closer to the fulfillment of His promises?  Follow God on whatever path He provides and celebrate His presence within you as His child.

Lord, thank you for the gritty things in life that cause us to count on You.  We acknowledge Your sufficiency to meet our needs and our inability to go it alone- for in times of strength it is easy to forget Your presence and provision.  In times of weakness help us to seek You and focus on You to lead and empower us to walk through the situation in Your strength.  Grow us up into a person that reflects Your glory as we count each day with a blessing until all of Your promises to us are fulfilled.

Deuteronomy 16:9-12;  Deuteronomy 8:10-18

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What is it about some spots of paint on a styrofoam plate that make me almost giddy? As a “hands on” person, working on a project is like a dose of medicine for the heart, soul, mind and body.

Time disappears and a sense of energy rises that feels like a massage for the things that are sore inside. Thoughts are totally focused on the project and solving the issues at hand, they do not wander to and fro but are absorbed in the present, the “now”.  It’s as if nothing else exists, like one has taken a short step off the timeline into a place of creativity.  I call it my right brain world and it takes some effort to pull me back onto the timeline to visit about anything that requires an answer!

I am sure that each person loses themselves in various ways- reading a good book, solving a puzzle, loosening the dirt and placing plants in a garden or landscape, cooking a new recipe, playing basketball, organizing a workspace… you know, the type of activity where you suddenly look up at the clock and can’t believe that two hours have passed?  Don’t you wish we could operate in that realm all the time?

This short absorption in a task and the loss of a sense of time seems like a small taste of heaven.  One senses a bit of Holiness,  a sense of God’s pleasure in discovering this place of timelessness and creativity, a sense of belonging.  It develops a stronger hunger for the eternal and an increased desire to be finished with the pressures and concerns of this world.  But it also refreshes a person to return to the other tasks at hand knowing that God’s  thumb print  can be seen in all activities and His presence will help guide the decisions of how to use the time He gives.  It is a gift that colors the world with His presence.

Thank you Lord for the gift of Your creativity that you have given each person in some manner. Thank you for the way that it connects us to You and makes us hunger for the eternal.  May we see You in every aspect of our lives, explore the ways that You have gifted us , and enjoy the ways You uniquely created us.  We do all things to glorify You.

Genesis 1:16-31; Psalms 139:13-16

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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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