Monthly Archives: October 2013

Don’t Fall for Deception

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Yesterday I made a to do list that filled an entire notebook page. Then I grabbed my camera and drove around town taking pictures of fall leaves before the forecasted rain knocked them all off the trees. I do have my priorities.

While there are many great shots within walking distance of our house, I wanted to get some photos of a particular beauty that I saw earlier that morning on a walk around the lake. The shape of the plant, kind of a round ball, caught my eye, but it was the berries that merited the drive. They were absolutely the most incredible shades of turquoise, blue, purple and then iridescent combinations of all of the above.

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I parked my car on a side street and crossed the road to get a picture. Two walkers were approaching close enough that conversation was inevitable. It’s me, what would you expect, right?

The man asked what I was looking to photograph and as I described the plant, he started shaking his head. Oh yes, he knew it. He called it by its Latin name and said he had battled it for years in his yard. In his words, “It’s a vine and it is as invasive as hell.”

As I looked, I saw that the plant was probably completely covering some other plant or perhaps a utility box. The tendrils were spreading in all directions, climbing every tree and pole in its path. What a great description of the sins that so easily entangle us.

They are so beautiful, we don’t notice how they are choking out the life we were given. As they creep over us, they begin to cover the work of God in us and take over our identity in Him.

I never have a lesson to teach that God does not make me walk through myself.

A few hours later, I stood at the counter of a clothing store. Oh, just picture one in your mind =0)

I was purchasing a few things that I had carefully thought through and felt were somewhat warranted for the new season. I had even put a couple of pieces back that I knew were just luxuries. While waiting for the total, I saw some new bracelets that had come in for the holidays; several bright colors to choose from, all with little sparkly poinsettia leaves around the circumference. Oh, so pretty! Which one to choose? Or maybe two?

And then: the check in my spirit. And the argument….They are a good price. I like them. I really don’t “NEED” any of the things I bought. etc, etc, etc….

A pretty vine for me, creeping its way over my heart.

In and of itself, the purchase would really not have been wrong. But ignoring the still, small voice would be a deadly vine. I would be choosing between obeying this clear check in my spirit and satisfying a sudden, seemingly harmless, desire.

I want to hear from God. I am always listening for His voice, asking Him to speak to me AND through me. Picking and choosing when I want to hear and obey is, well, as invasive as … you know….

I pray each of you today will hear the still, small voice in little and big things. I pray you will have hearts that listen and obey!

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Flashback Wednesday <3 September 1, 2011

* For over two years, I have sent a weekly encouragement by email. Wednesday’s posts: “Flashback Wednesday”, will catch you up on those “treasures”  from the past . I  hope they bless you, either for the first time or again!!!!

This week, I was reading in John 5. The chapter begins with the account of Jesus healing a man at the pool of Bethesda. The Hebrew word “bethesda” translates literally as “place of outpouring” or “house of grace”. The pool at Bethesda was a place where miraculous healings occurred.

The Bible tells us that an angel went down from time to time and stirred the waters. Whoever stepped in first, after the stirring, was made well of whatever disease he had. The account tells us that around this pool there was a great multitude of sick, blind, lame, and paralyzed people. They were all waiting for the water to move, hoping to be healed.

In all this scene of a large number of people, Jesus saw one man. The terms used to describe him include – “a certain man”, a man who had had “an infirmity thirty-eight years”. Jesus asks him if he wants to be well and the man answers that he does and has tried, but somehow in many years waiting, has managed to come in no better than second in the race to enter the pool of healing on time.

Jesus speaks to him directly – “Rise, take up your bed and walk”. This brief account ends with two facts – 1. The man was made well and 2. The day was the Sabbath. God may be speaking something different to you, but let me share a snap shot of my own.

 In the right hand margin of my Bible, at some point in time, I have drawn two arrows for these verses. They create a path that goes from the place in time where Jesus sees this one man and speaks to him (v. 6), backwards to the first scene where He came upon a multitude (v. 4). In the left hand margin, I have written these words of observation:

“There are many there. Jesus chose this one – Praise God; whose ways are beyond understanding.” I am sure when I wrote those words, I was perplexed.

So many waiting to be healed. Surely He had the power and surely the will to heal every single one. I don’t understand but I trust.

 Maybe you are in a place of wondering what God is up to. Where is He and why is He not doing what you fully believe He is able to do? I encourage you to choose to praise Him even in what you do not understand.

Be assured that at just the right time and in the right way, He will move. While others wait for the “waters to be stirred”, I urge you to be looking for your Savior and listening for His voice.

Monday Monday…..

What is it about Mondays? Especially when you are coming off of a particularly perfect weekend.

 

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Mine included attending a great leadership conference, AND a Beth Moore live event WITH some great sisters and a daughter in Christ. We had two overnights with the grandsons and same daughter.  Add to that a trip to the pumpkin patch to meet up with Tia and Tio from St Louis. Although we were missing two from the circle, we got to hug and spend time with dear family.

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Perfect fall weather, great times of worship and teaching, Thursday through Sunday, and the grand finale: the FCC staff/leadership gathering complete with a huge fire and sweet fellowship last night.

My heart is so full this morning; refreshed and renewed. I woke up energized, and then I looked at the calendar and the house and…. whoa!

The reality hits and I am asking where to start digging back in to my life. I have a tendency to run and hide when I feel overwhelmed. But this morning, I am reminded of one of the sweetest lessons I learned this weekend.

It happened in the early morning hours when our little Graham woke with some tears and fears from the shadows of the ceiling fan in our room. Don’t judge. He’s two.

His mommy gently reminded him what they do when they are afraid. Pray to Jesus. And so she prayed as he repeated her simple words: Dear Jesus, help me to not be afraid. I know that You are with me. I don’t have to be afraid.

I think I can remember that today. I think He will understand if I substitute afraid with overwhelmed; or confused, or prone to procrastinate; or whatever the issue might be as I journey onward through Monday!

I pray God blesses each one of you with the knowledge of His presence in whatever you are facing today. I pray His goodness and mercy follow you throughout your Monday and your whole week!

 

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Taking the Plunge

Do you remember the old Nestea Plunge commercials? In googling this to check my facts, I discovered that if you are nodding your head, you are most likely over the age of 30. I guess these ran in the 80’s. Time flies.

A fully clothed, extremely parched actor is featured, frantically searching for a beverage. As he lifts a glass of icy tea to his mouth, he is suddenly on the edge of a huge pool. With a big smile, he falls straight back into the depths of the water. Nary a drop of tea spills as the splash surges up around him.

I have a tendency to see spiritual pictures in things like this. Tell me you did not see that coming….

We call it a leap of faith. To me, it is just about the same sensation as if I let myself do a dead man’s fall backwards into a swimming pool. Forget the tea.

It happens to me when I have an idea that I think might be from God; an idea that is bigger than I want to deal with and I try to talk myself out of. As I am explaining to God that He has the wrong person, I can already hear the swimming pool filling up behind me. I pray and I listen and I follow the little steps as He gives them to me. All along the way, I offer to opt out if this isn’t His plan.

At some point, after I have prayed and listened and prayed and listened and checked to make sure there is enough water in the pool and prayed some more; I get the nudge: It’s time. Take the plunge!

So a few week’s ago; I put a smile on my face and fell backward into an attempt to take my writing to a new level. With the help of our very talented Tech expert at FCC, I now have a website where I will be posting my goofy stories, meditations and other things that God pours into this blonde brain during the week. I will also be adding some writings from the past several years.

I am a little scared and nervous – ok, a lot scared and nervous – but when God has filled the pool and says it’s time, you gotta take the plunge! I pray with all my heart that He uses this new adventure to splash others with HIS Living Water!

I Want to be That Person

I finished the book of Isaiah this morning. The final passages are marked with much ink and tears. God speaks to His beloved and I am, thankfully, globbed on to the family. A branch grafted in. Undeserving. Born outside His chosen people. Now I belong.

“But here is something I’m looking for: a person simple and plain, reverently responsive to what I say.”                                       Isaiah 66:2   The Message

One life; one simple, plain life, offered to You. Responsive to what You are doing in this world. Responsive to Your interests.

So many needs and tasks to be done when I look around. But when I look up; only one. To serve You faithfully each day.

One simple and plain heart; dedicated, consecrated, set apart to You, the One and Only God.