Thursday, September 24, 2015

For I know the plans

I have a childhood friend who grew up to be a missionary, an author and eventually the president of a large bible college.  He recently visited his extended family back in Alabama.  They were many...his tribe is small...they were less than middle class...he is very successful...they are close...he is far.  And he wondered...wondered what his life might have been.  Did he miss out?  Wouldn't it have been grand to be raised in the circle of extended family and know the many cousins and relatives that pepper the region we grew up in?  Shouldn't his children have had the benefit of relatives nearby even if the monetary benefits were less?  Wouldn't it be a blessing to have family close and culture that is warm and familiar?
And perhaps we all have questions...questions about the what-ifs of life....what if we had taken a different road, gone to a different college, chosen a different career, married a different person and on and on....we can never know for sure what might have been...but there is One who knows...
From before the beginning God had His plans...He laid out the course of our paths in eternity past...before we came to be in this natural world.  He has long had us on a trajectory of His choosing...laid out specifically to intersect with His Spirit at a particular place and time so that we might become born of Him and travel onward from that point to do great things in His Kingdom.
He knows the plans He has for us...for He sees the end from the beginning...and His ways are perfect.  His vision for us is His Son...His plan for us is to know His Son...His purpose is that His Son be shown forth in the earth...
I am so happy He had a plan for me and that He had one for thankful that He has one still.  And the end result is all about Him and for Him...and in Him.  He is the Plan. 

Monday, July 20, 2015

He gives....


I live in the suburbs of a major city....its is busy and crowded.  Nearer the city's edge the shops and businesses start to thin and the housing picks up, mixing car traffic with pedestrian traffic.  There are lots of people on the streets walking to or from the store or school or just out for a run on the trails that meander near the main streets. I was driving home from work this week through this transition area when it came to me...every one of those people I see on the sidewalks as I drive by were made by God, He loves them, He sent His Son to die for them.  I know it sounds strange...and of course I've known these facts forever but for some reason it was hitting me fresh this week....I was really seeing them...they have lives and families and problems and He loves them...every single one of them.  And I have prayed for them this week...individually... as I see them on the sidewalks going to and fro...with friends or alone...pushing baby strollers or walking their dogs..I have prayed for them...that they would be blessed...that they would have their eyes opened to His love for them...that He would draw and win them to Himself....  and if I step back and look at myself...I feel rather proud of myself....yes, I am being a very good Christian, praying for complete strangers on the street and I feel rather smug....and then I wonder...why don't they listen? can they not hear? can they not see?...the Truth is all around them and even when many who do see and hear...something....why do they return again and again to their sin and bondage?  Jesus is So well publicized in this country...especially in the South...the gospel is on every corner...every television channel.. How in the world can this country, this people...these specific people not know?  It truly is unfathomable.
Then He reminds me...only those who have eyes to see and ears to hear can see and hear....and so I pray for that...for those random strangers on the street...that they would have eyes to see and ears to hear....and then I think...but how can they hear without a preacher?  so I pray for that too...that there would be laborers for the seems I am praying for everything to be given to these strangers...where does it end?  when does their responsibility kick in??

Then I am reminded yet again that He is the Source...of ALL our our talent or education or community standing or monetary value...we have nothing and can do nothing of any eternal value.... all that we have...all that I have...all that those strangers on the street have..comes from God above...the eyes to see and the ears to hear...the very breath to breathe...and even still....we think so highly of ourselves, that if given the right setting and opportunity and pulling of heartstrings we or they can repent and turn toward this great God who is the Giver of all things ....but not so....Proverbs says that He turns the hearts of kings and directs them like a waters course....that He directs our paths....Luke says "does He not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it?"

It is clear...He does the seeking...He does the calling...He does the eye & ear opening....He is the Giver of All things...for without Him we truly can do Nothing.  We are all helpless and wandering... lost...just as I perceive those strangers on the wayside to be in need of revelation and conviction, of blessing and purpose...we all need Him to give us All things....He calls, He opens our eyes and ears...He is even the One who causes us to believe. He grants repentance, it is His gift to those He has chosen...In ourselves we can do nothing...hear nothing...see nothing.  We are fallen, lost without hope....  Lord, thank you for seeking me, for calling me, for pursuing me...for causing me to see and hear your voice, for allowing me to turn to you, day after day...for granting me repentance.  Enable us to shine Your light in the darkness ... keep us against that day...for we are powerless to keep ourselves.
 Give us what it takes to Stay

Friday, May 08, 2015

Savoring Springtime

I love is the season of joy and newness, excitement and is truly the time of singing for me.  A song is never really far from my heart or my lips but sometimes I think that may be more from habit than actual joy.  Not so in Springtime...the air, the scents, the sun, the birds...all of it brings such joy that how can a song not burst forth?!
But this has not always been the case....I am a type A personality, I think...a straight line, bottom line kind of girl who doesn't really enjoy meandering...Just let me "get there" has been my motto for most of my life!  Unfortunately this means that Spring has mostly been bypassed as quickly as possible to get to my favorite seasons of Summer and then Autumn.
 Big mistake, Girl!  
As I have grown I have begun to learn about the journey...the moment...about time running quickly by and about savoring it before it is gone.
And so I have come to see the beauty and benefit of Springtime......I have learned to savor the open windows and cool breezes...the birds and squirrels chattering...the smells of all too short lived flowers..and I think "savor" is the key word here...Anyone can enjoy these things..and we all do or there would be no such thing as Spring Fever...but to "savor"...this is the thing....
Winter is have come...and so the time of singing...Savor Life!

Friday, March 27, 2015

Tis the Season

I have always thought that the seasons began at the beginning...:)  with Spring being first and Winter being last and in my mind I matched up the seasons of life in that way...Spring being birth and childhood and Winter being old age and death....but of late I have been seeing it differently....Perhaps this is not what the Maker had in mind at all...perhaps Winter is the first seems to me, looking backwards, that this may be the case.   Just think of it....Winter is a quiet season...all the work of nature is mostly being done in a quiet way...underground without a lot to show....wildlife and humans are hunkered down often buried by a blanket of snow...plant life is hidden, resting...could this not be when we are children..being formed in our mothers wombs, being born and proceeding to become....eating and learning and practicing skills...hidden and growing within our own family units and being fed and shaped into what will that when Springtime comes...we blossom forth...reaching out into the world.. to begin expressing what has been nurtured with in...we laugh and breathe and everything is exciting and new...we scamper to and fro gathering, experiencing, absorbing....still growing and becoming, still being fertilized and pruned and taught so that in Summer we can bear fruit...the fruit of a profession, a home, a family of our own, the time when our own specific gifts and contributions to society can come forth....Summer has a steady rhythm and is truly the heart of the year.... in the South it is the longest season...certainly it is the most fruitful and gratifying.
And then your responsibilities to the future begin to slow a bit and before you know it Autumn is upon you...And it is Glorious!  All your senses are assaulted by crispness and color and startling beauty...hard work and years of contribution come to fruition ... it is the time of full harvest, a time to survey all you have built and earned...all that God has been faithful to give ....a time to tie up loose ends, rest and reflect a bit and enjoy the fruits of a lifetime of preparation and labor.  Truly a glorious season of life...and for all the Seasons may He say "Well done, my good and faithful servant".

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Ready, Set, Go


I have been thinking on seasons...seasons of life.  Unlike the natural seasons that turn round and round reliably every year, we as humans do not necessarily get to repeat seasons in our lives...our teen age years...our child rearing choices...on and on...time runs in a linear fashion for us...going forward but not going back...and yes, sometimes we do get a "do over"...we go through a second dating season or start a second or third career...we get to have input into the raising of our grandchildren....but mostly time marches forward...and that is usually a good thing.  Because although we may have learned much the first time seems to be God's plan that each generation learn the hard way and we only get to share insight with those behind us...

I/we, my husband and I are entering the almost retirement phase of our lives and we are looking very much forward toward relaxing a bit, enjoying each others company more often, traveling and so forth....and it has come to me that although I really miss the ministry season of our lives...I do not necessarily desire to return to it.  We recently have had several former ministry connections to contact us and perhaps the door could be open to that again...but I just don't know...I can't tell if this is "trying to return to a season that is past" or the glimmer of a new season entirely...only God knows and He will surely have to lead the way because right now I have no desire for that season again...I keep thinking of the verse in Ps 92 and looking forward to the promise that since we are planted in Him we will continue to grow and flourish and show the Lord's righteousness in all the upcoming seasons of life, this I am ready for.

Ps 92:12-15 
The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree: he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon.
Those that be planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God.

They shall still bring forth fruit in old age; they shall be fat and flourishing;

To shew that the Lord is upright; he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him.

Friday, February 27, 2015

the solid rock

In thinking about setting my heart on things above, this song comes to mind....
On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand, all other ground is sinking sand.
My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness,
I dare not trust the sweetest frame...but wholly trust in Jesus' name..
On Christ, the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

God's Heart

We all know about setting our hearts on things above....and how it should be in heavenly places and all...but in my devotional reading I have come upon a passage that makes me think about the Lord and where His heart is.  The passage is Psalm 87 and here is the gist...
He..being the God of heaven....has set His heart in a very special place...a very special that He has built and established by His own hand....and the name of His House is Zion...the place He loves more than any other.   Glorious things are said of Her...He has set His very foundation in Her.   He has recorded those who acknowledge Him, indeed saying, this one and that one were born in Her.... me and you and whosoever believes....and all His Life flows within Her.  

I have to believe that Zion, this beautiful house He has built, the place where His foundation is set,  is His Church...She is His sacred dwelling whom He loves more than any other place and I am born in Her... and you are too, if you acknowledge when He says "Where your treasure is...there your heart will be also."  He knows of what He speaks ...He speaks from His own experience....for His treasure and His heart are in Zion and His own Life springs forth in that House.