Category Archives: Musings of a blonde brain

Out of the fog <3

We have had some typical-for-harvest-season weather here in the Midwest. Which means we run the gamut from low 50’s to high 90’s to rain to wind to humid to dry….sometimes all within 48 hours.

Just about every Tuesday and Thursday morning, I drive to an early morning (as in well before the crack of dawn) exercise class.

Ok. I took the whole summer off…but this is still a valid story.

The 10 minute drive includes our own typical subdivision houses and street lights, an over pass, and then mostly through a fairly rural setting. I pass parking lots for churches and a retirement community along the way. Larger yards dotted with homes. Reflector strips on mail boxes line the curvy road. Light poles are stationed along most of the route. In my half awake state, I can pretty much go into auto-pilot on this little jaunt to class.

Except on Tuesday morning this week, there was a dense fog blanketing our entire area.

I could see well enough the stop signs as I approached intersections but the rest of the drive was shrouded in an odd dream-like vapor that seemed to eat up all the lights along the way.

Oh, I could see a few little bulbs off to the side of the road, here and there. But they looked liked glowing orbs suspended across the expanse of this murky veil.

They provided illumination for neither their surroundings nor the path I was taking.

I could guess where I was sporadically as I came to intersections and such, but for the most part I could have been traveling down that road for the very first time.

I had no way to judge how far it was to landmarks like the major highway I pass over or the next stop sign; no way to determine the expanse of the curve that I knew was somewhere up ahead.

I could only see maybe car lengths of road at a time that my own headlights were cutting a window of visibility through.

The fog consumed the beams beyond that and to all sides. I was racking my brain to think what my next stop or turn was going to be without the familiar landmarks to cue me nor the ability to see up ahead.

All perception was gone and my instincts were useless in the haziness engulfing my path.

I was disoriented as I slowly made my way realizing that turning back was not an option since I had no idea where a retreat could be safely transacted.

Our class takes place at a large church that sits on a wide expanse of open acreage.

Eventually the lights of the parking lot where class is held appeared across the final stretch of opaque air. But they offered little comfort in all of this because still the last part of the journey had to be traversed through this phantom world the fog had created. The large lighted crosses were not at all visible, just the diffused bulbs of these distorted lights bobbing over what I knew would be my class.

I finally arrived and we gathered under this strange covering and began our workout.

By the time I was headed home, the sun began to rise and burn off the fog.

As I drove home under the first light of dawn, the fog almost gone, I noticed how the lights on homes and churches and along the way helped me see things clearly.

And it hit me. Lights do shine brightly in darkness but they are rendered ineffective in fog.

How like deception.

As Christians, we are told from early on…this little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.

We encourage each other that as we encounter darkness, light shines even more brightly.

We know in the physical realm that darkness cannot extinguish light and the light penetrates darkness.

But we are increasingly encountering something more than just darkness.

The fog of deception is thick in this world as wrong becomes right and right becomes wrong.

In the confusion of deceiving voices within and without the Church, our little lights cannot be put out…but they can struggle to produce illumination for those who are trying to find their way. They can even get swallowed up and fail to provide light for OUR path.

We can shine all day but in the fog of deception, no one can see the the familiar landmarks of His fingerprints on us and we wear ourselves out trying to figure out what we are doing wrong. We can become disoriented and forget the paths of discipline that were once so familiar to us.

We need a light much greater than our own, my friends, to help us restore vision in the fog around us. Now more than ever, we who are believers must draw our life and light from only One Source and that is the teachings of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. We can not abandon studying God’s Word and then applying it through prayer – calling forth His Spirit of Truth to bring revelation into the midst of so much cloudy thinking.

Yes – be the light, but more importantly pray for Christ to shine His light on the path, for each of us as well as our fellow travelers. For those who have lost their way and for those who do not even know there is only One Way, let’s join together and ask God to bring His Truth to enlighten all of us as we….journey onward <3

Best Battle Strategy Ever <3

I have on my heart to share a series with you this week. However, before we begin I do want to acknowledge this day in the history of our country.

While there are high schoolers who were not even born on that infamous day 16 years ago, I well remember the phone call from a friend asking me if I had the news on.

This was pre-smart phone days when we used wall phones to communicate and one by one, America found out that airplanes full of people had become a new form of weapon.

I remember sinking to my knees on the floor of our family room as the newscasters tried to explain how a plane had just flown into the side of a building, even as they realized another was headed to do the same to the sister tower.

In horror and with desperate prayers to God, many followed the events of that morning.

I do believe the increasingly less effective methods of destruction were in direct answer to the prayers of those around the world as this well-planned attack became exposed.

We have been told that across Maasai-land, our Kenyan brothers and sisters were in prayer for us as well.

Many around the world were interceding for us that day.

There is an enemy that seeks to destroy all that God has created.

And while we often want to put some tangible face to this foe, scripture tells us that our enemy is not flesh and blood.

Yes, the enemy works through people…through ideologies and governments and systems; through terrorists and agendas and despots; through exploitation and greed; through the exaltation of “self”…

I am reminded of the “I will’s” of pride outlined in Isaiah 14:13 – 14…

I will ascend into heaven

I will exalt my throne above the stars of God

I will also sit on the mount of the congregation

I will ascend above the heights of the clouds

I will be like the Most High

Playing God.

A dangerous game for anyone, with tragic repercussions for all.

The hallmarks of such thinking are destruction and devastation and death.

So for our nation today, I pray that we would learn well to remain humbly before the God who blessed this land with resources and with His Spirit.

I pray that we would enter into all warfare under His direction and counsel, availing ourselves of His guidance so freely given to those who seek His face.

I pray for those who still mourn the loss of lives in personal ways, for those first responders who showed true heroism and courage.

I pray for those who still suffer today from the physical and emotional sacrifice they gave to enter into a different kind of battle as they inhaled ash to find survivors.

I pray for those who are today fighting another unthinkable kind of warfare as rains and winds and fires sweep various areas of our nation.

I pray that we would be a nation that recognizes the power of prayer, not only for our own country but for the many many people who suffer around the world.

Devastations of man and nature abound around this globe and many do not have any kind of resources with which to bring aid to their people.

May God’s mercy and grace be poured out over us as we lift our hands to Him and invite Him to come and work in ways that only He can.

I hope you will come back tomorrow and each day this week as we look at what God says about winning battles His way.

Be blessed today in all that you do, as you bless others <3

 

 

Open letter to my class <3

Hello and happy Thursday!

I am officially ready for Fall even though it is not legitimately official until September 22nd.

Whatever.

I am kind of legalist about seasons and I go strictly by months, not weather or equinoxes or harvest or any other measure.

September through November is Fall.

Period.

And speaking of this unbending nature…I need to address this whole letter to the faithful group of people that forego extra sleep on Sunday morning to sit in hard back chairs and listen to me yammer for 30 plus minutes.

I have had your sweet, wide-eyed faces on my teary mind all week.

Because hours after we all went our separate ways last Sunday morning, I sat around our kitchen table with three brave souls who sat amongst you there held hostage by my teaching earlier in the day.

And on your behalf, a very courageous member of our family…

not Russ mind you, for he knows better than to rush in where angels fear to tread….

no…our precious visiting-from-Minnesota sister-in-law Sonja asked me about an awkward moment of silence when I was trying to evoke an answer about the visitation of angels to Abraham and Sarah …

and where they were going after their visit….

and no one … no one….knew the answer.

Or at least would offer it.

Turns out….in all my yakking…there was confusion and at least three people…those around our kitchen table…all thought I meant where were Abraham and Sarah….

no…no…I meant the angels…where were the angels going.

So basically, I was absolutely and unapologetically stunned when no one knew the answer to my question, but it turns out I had completely confused them with the way I worded it.

Well.

No small amount of personal chagrin and self-chastisement followed that little revelation.

However, the Lord graciously reminded me as I beat myself up for the millionth time picturing ┬áthe absolutely most precious faces of my dearly loved Under Construction Class racking their sweet brains to try and come up with an answer…

I am a flawed and imperfect person who happens to be willing to dig through some material every week and show up.

And He is the real and present Teacher.

Always.

And it’s ok when I blow it.

Because His strength is always…always….ALWAYS… made perfect in my imperfect weakness.

And believe me…He has a LOT of material to work with there….

As the Under Construction class gives a hearty AMEN!!!!

So I guess I would say…whatever you do today for the Lord…just show up.

Just do your best and trust Him with your imperfections.

Love those who He has placed around you and love them so much that when you mess up big time, you weep buckets over those dearly loved faces.

Entrust them to the Lord and know that He has them.

Blessings on each of you today. You are loved and you are precious <3

Just an observation…

A pretty picture to start with because the rest of this won’t be.

It’s not really a theological study….so don’t think I spent a lot of time researching this but I know there is a reference in Scripture that calls Satan the “Lord of the Flies” and I think it is just a perfect name for him.

Because somehow over the weekend we let several in through the sliding door and multiple trips in and out by numerous people and sometimes..as in often…the door was left ajar.

So for the last few days we have been plagued (pun intended) by about four flies.

We thought there were only two so either they started a family or were tag-teaming us.

To add insult to injury, I managed to let one in the car yesterday as well so I have had a lot of life application for what I am about to say.

These creatures are evil and satanic in nature.

And they operate in his M.O.

They interrupt my work and my rest by causing irritating distractions….

I tried to take a nap on Sunday and one persistently landed on my arm causing me to swat at myself every time I dozed off.

They target any work I attempt to do…

and consistently land in places that are extremely impossible to effectively nail them with a swatter…

i.e….on the sliver thin edge of my computer screen…

on the lip or lid of any breakable piece of china…

literally on the flat surface of the swatting instrument itself.

And forget trying to set them free or cast them out or whatever you want to call it.

In the car or in the house, if I attempt to open an exit for them when they are perched right next to the window or door…the moment I offer them escape…they disappear in the direct opposite direction and hide deep in the recesses of OUR SPACE.

I find I am irritated, distracted, edgy, and increasingly violent.

yet quite relieved when I have eliminated one or more of them.

And I do believe that is why I have been thinking a lot about the tell-tale signs of my own battles with the devil.

While I know he rules principalities and powers of darkness, for the most part he wreaks havoc on me with the same ploys as these little minions….

distraction

irritation

frustration

anger

taunting

and like the little critter who sits rubbing his front legs together planning his next attack on my sanity…

the way to crush Satan is with the written Word <3

Blessings on you dear ones…I hope I made you laugh and think a little…and now please excuse me…we have one more tiny visitor that needs to meet its maker <3

Sharing your food <3

One of the beautiful parts about starting the day in God’s Word is, most of the time…you pick up morsels that are so good and so rich and so filling…you can’t help sharing them throughout the day with others.

This past week, I have been digesting a study I attended last Tuesday evening.

The teaching was on Prophecy.

Please don’t leave because you think this is going to be scary.

It wasn’t about the Prophets or about becoming a Prophet – it was about speaking God’s Words of healing and hope and life over others.

It was about sitting down in those moments we have at the start of the day..

(and I have some precious friends who start their day getting up in the wee hours of dawn to serve in health care or on the front lines of a young family so you all have to get your Word in at different times…but you do it, so just adjust the time frame here!)

as if you were getting a good feeding for your own soul and then some to take out there and spread amongst others who are hungry and malnourished spiritually.

As I recopy my notes, I have been taking time to really read and meditate on the Scripture passages.

This morning as I worked, I was able to consecutively read five passages recording different healings Jesus did.

As I read and took note, I marveled at the variety of ways He healed.

In the midst of my reading and jotting notes and pondering, my heart began to fill and swell and I was reminded of a precious Jesus-follower who no longer walks this journey with us named Phil.

I thought how she would take her time with the Lord and she would lift her arms straight up and shout Hallelujah! and then she would go out into the world and share with others, in the course of ordinary conversations, what God had shown her in His Word.

I am pretty certain this lady, who provided spiritual mentoring to me and to so many, lived the promise of Isaiah 55:11.

The picture of this verse is that God has spoken out His Word and as it goes around and comes back to Him, it does not return to Him without fruit.

His Word accomplishes what He has purposed it to do and so when we are taking His Word into our minds and our hearts and our souls and our spirits, it is with prayerful consideration that He intended that Word to activate things here on planet earth.

My biggest take-away from last Tuesday night’s gathering was the encouragement to intentionally look for how I can speak words of God to those I will meet each day in the way God made me to do this.

I don’t know if I will ever be able to pull off a hearty “Hallelujah! Let me tell you what the LORD showed me this morning…”

But I pray to be so filled with His Word each day that I share it the way He made me to share it.

We are each unique in personality and style and we each one have an area of influence every day.

Use the gifts He has given you to bless others in obedience to His direction.

There are a lot of hungry people out there…

let’s make sure we share what we have been given <3