Tag Archive | faith

Zip Line Equals Trust

Zip Line Oahu

I’m on God’s zip line. Maybe you can relate. I know God has the best plans for me. I know His ways are higher. I know He never changes. (Can you see the “but” coming?) When I cannot see His arms carrying me, my trust level runs low. 

I have taken zip line trips. I have worn the harness, the helmet, the gloves, etc. I can see the equipment is reliable. Yet, I cannot bring myself to jump with abandon from the platform. After a half-way jump, I fly through the air enjoying the ride and the heavenly view. When it’s finished, I am glad I pushed through my hesitation. However, I will have the same pregnant pause my next zip trip.

Often, my relationship with God is like my hesitation on the zip line. I put on His armor. I have faith. As previously stated, I KNOW I can trust God, He never changes. I am safe with Abba. When I am uncomfortable with the path or have an emotional challenge during His plan, I want to stay on my platform, in my comfort zone, avoiding the plunge. I cannot understand His ways, but I know His plans are for good.

As Abba, Daddy, Father, God wants His children to prosper and for no harm to come upon them. Then, why do I doubt His plan? I admit, in my flesh, I like to have control. Trusting God completely is relinquishing control. I pray “Lord, You alone can handle life. Please be over my life.” I want to let go with both hands, but the reality is I often keep one hand behind my back hanging on to my life. The result is missing out on the best God has for me. 

Today I pray: Lord, teach me to let go and completely trust Your ways. May others see in me Your reflection of peace and mercy as I walk my path on this earth. lg

Isaiah 55:8-9 (NIV) “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

Ephesians 6:13-17 (TPT) Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV) For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

I am not a superwoman!

flickr-100-outfits-photo-set

Ahead of me was another exhausting day. My mind raced with thoughts of tasks on the to-do list. My heart sank at the enormity of the list. How could my weary brain keep up? Realization hits me: I am not a super woman. I cannot do it all. Feeling like a failure on so many levels, I wanted to run back to bed and pull the blankets over my head. Where does the pressure to become a super woman originate? I long for unattainable perfection. 

Why are we not content with what we have? What drives us to push ourselves so hard? I’m not saying to resign yourself to mediocrity. One should have realistic goals for life in a broken world. What does it mean to be content? Many would say that being content is having adequate food, shelter, clothing and transportation.  Here is Paul’s take:  Phil. 4:11-13 (TPT) I’m not telling you this because I’m in need, for I have learned to be satisfied in any circumstance. I know what it means to lack, and I know what it means to experience overwhelming abundance. For I’m trained in the secret of overcoming all things, whether in fullness or in hunger. And I find that the strength of Christ’s explosive power infuses me to conquer every difficulty. 

Being content, at peace, satisfied comes from God not man. 

So what needs to change? My sphere of influence to change is me, myself and I. I am not responsible for another’s reaction or decision. I am responsible for my own choices. I can say “yes” to tasks that I should decline. Or, I can say “no” when appropriate. When I look internally, I must evaluate the motivation behind my answer. If I am motivated by sincere desire to accept the task, great! If I am motivated by a sense of obligation or guilt, not so great. I may inadvertently lie to myself and others. We have become a culture of keeping things light. We say “I’m fine” when we’re one day out of the hospital or a loved one died. This thinking contributes to the super woman (I can do it all!) mentality. When I add items someone else should take to my to-do list, my list becomes unmanageable.  I need to know my limitations and be able to set boundaries. Personally, I find it extremely difficult to set reasonable boundaries. I lack the clarity, the wisdom, the words. Therefore, I must turn to the Creator of Perfection. Only God provides contentment. God’s plans are always better than mine.    Ps. 37:29 (ESV) The steps of a man are established by the LORD, when he delights in his way. 

I seek His will, His desires for my life.  Is. 55:9 (NIV) “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV) For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Father, thank you for having the best plans for my life! Grant me wisdom and discernment, and guide my life in this broken world. Help me remember that Your ways are perfect! Keep my focus on what is righteous and holy, so that I may be content in all situations. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

lg

I’M STAYING IN BED TODAY

I think I’ll just stay in bed all day.

I wonder: did Paul ever wake up and think “I don’t want to face the Jews or Gentiles (non-Jews) today. I’m tired. I’ll just stay in bed today.” Or “Hey guys, I’m just gonna soak in the tub today. Take the day off.” Somehow, I don’t think he did. He relied on God completely. The acts of Paul: full reliance on God, perseverance, patience, tenacity, loyalty, faithfulness, endurance…

If you’re like me, you are weary and tired.  Tired of world issues, politicians, violence, hatred, extreme reactions and, of course, COVID-19. Feeling battered and battled. Paul’s life was much worse than mine. How did Paul keep moving forward under difficult circumstances?

Philippians 3:4b-11 (ESV) If anyone else thinks he has reason for confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law, blameless. But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.

Paul endured more than I can imagine.  He CHOSE to go back to Jerusalem even though he knew it would me beatings and imprisonment, or worse. Acts 21:10-15 (TPT) During our stay of several days, Agabus, a prophet from Judea, came to visit us. As a prophetic gesture, he took Paul’s belt and tied his own hands and feet with it as he prophesied, “The Holy Spirit says, ‘The one who owns this belt will be tied up in this same way by the Jews and they will hand him over to those who are not Jews.’”When we heard this, both we and the believers of Caesarea begged Paul not to go on to Jerusalem. But Paul replied, “Why do you cry and break my heart with your tears? Don’t you know that I’m prepared not only to be imprisoned but to die in Jerusalem for the sake of the wonder of the name of our Lord Jesus?” Because we couldn’t persuade him, we gave up and said nothing more except “May the will of the Lord be done.”

He was repeatedly beaten to break his will; imprisoned to prove a point. He didn’t curl up in a ball and think “woe is me” or give in to his persecutors.  He sang and praised God from his prison cell. God met him right there with an earthquake and a beam of light. His ministry did not cease while he was imprisoned and continued long after his death. In fact, today we still read the letters he wrote while in prison. Paul’s conversion was dramatic and life changing. His passion for spreading the news of Jesus as Messiah was fueled by the multitudes who were converting. Maybe he was the original “Jesus Freak”!

Most days I don’t have 1/10 of the energy and passion we find in Paul. This world and its chaos breaks my heart. I’m talking about heinous crimes, national and international responses (or lack of response), health issues, life or death issues.  Paul’s heart must have ached for everyone to know Jesus. How can I have just half of the perseverance and endurance Paul exhibited?

Father God, thank You for Paul’s example.  Show me how to rely fully on You! Give me the acts of Paul!

lg

NOT ANOTHER NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION

snow-on-blossoms500

So, I got out of bed this morning and headed toward the closet for my workout clothes. I grabbed what I needed and begin to put on the socks first. Except, in my sleepiness, I had not removed my pajamas, including socks for my cold feet! Although there hasn’t been much restorative sleep in my house as of late (my husband had the flu for 6 days and nights), in my grogginess I realized if I do not take off the old habits and put on the new ones in Christ, it is like putting lipstick on a pig! The pig is still a pig. Christ told us in Luke 9:23:  Jesus said to all of his followers, “If you truly desire to be my disciple, you must disown your life completely, embrace my ‘cross’ as your own, and surrender to my ways.” (TPT)

What does disowning my life look like? Is it abandoning my family and giving away all my possessions? ABSOLUTELY NOT! I must evaluate all aspects of my life and purge any part that is contradictory to a Christ filled and led life. Personally, I am being convicted of the many distractions keeping me from focusing on Him. One of my favorite hobbies is putting together jigsaw puzzles. I had the app on my tablet and completed at least one puzzle per day. Notice, I used “had”. One day as I am about to open the app, I felt a nudging to delete it! WHAT? Are you sure? Deleting the app would delete all the puzzles I have added and the list of completed puzzles! Longing to be obedient to the Lord, I deleted the app. I still enjoy puzzling, but I am sticking to the tactile version on a table. In the puzzling vein, I am a bit of a wordsmith and enjoy playing and watching word games. Sometimes this “love” inserts itself before quiet time with God, before reading Scripture. My need for focus trumps my need for puzzles and games. I have found when I put those things behind me and study God’s Word, listen to praise music, or pour myself into a book study, I do not feel deprived of anything. In fact, I feel the opposite. My spiritual cup is filled and overflows.

What’s that? I’m talking about minor things not sinful habits to shed? Then, let’s get real. In our culture, it is common to speak damaging words regarding others. This can be viewed as venting or telling the facts. Matthew 15:18 But what comes out of your mouth reveals the core of your heart. (TPT) This verse has been nagging me for a few weeks. Just last evening, I was caught up in speaking poorly regarding a contractor who lives in my neighborhood. It was not my intention to make others think less of him. Or so I thought. In reality, I gave in to the peer pressure to agree with someone else’s assessment. To truly follow Christ’s example, I must refrain from even thinking disparaging thoughts about someone else! This world is deeply broken and humans disappoint other humans. If by God’s grace I can see the other human as God sees them, I can see the good person created in God’s image. I am far from perfect and have disappointed others on too many occasions to count! I would hope for God’s grace to cover my inadequacies. 2 Cor.5:17-19 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation. (NASB) (emphasis mine)

Father, thank you for revealing distractions in my life! May I be obedient to Your nudging and remove distractions. Please keep one hand on my shoulder and one hand over my mouth to keep me from mouthing off. May I remember You are the God of reconciliation and You see me as Your child, perfectly loved. Amen.                          lg

Ps. 40:3 He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God;
Many will see and fear and will trust in the Lord. (NASB)

Take this world. Give me Jesus.

imagesSomedays it seems that the world is full of more darkness than Light. Recently, I read that if I focus on the Light in the world and the good things people do, I will be less influenced by the darkness. I equate this to the “junk in, junk out” philosophy. When I continually, focus on the dark it becomes overwhelming. My attitude deteriorates. My mood becomes cloudy. When I notice the kindness of others, the beauty of nature, the smile of my grandson, the many blessings God has given, my attitude becomes lighter. My outlook reflects this with gratitude.

One recent afternoon, my attitude was flushed down the toilet (so to speak). Initially, I was unaware of the change. But, God gently nudged my inner being. Thankfully, not with the iron skillet I deserve!  He was waiting for me to reach out to Him. To readjust my focus to the Light, the Word. We were created for union with Him. Each human is searching for Him. When we do not commune with Him, we seek other ways of satisfaction and are disappointed when it doesn’t work. We must look to God first. I know I fail at this more than I’d like to admit.

My prayer for each of us: Father, thank You for Your Manual of Life! Help us not to give in to distraction. Gently, guide us back to Your Word, Your Truth. May we begin each day with praise for the many blessings You provide.

Matthew 6:33-34 (TPT)  “So above all, constantly chase after the realm of God’s kingdom and the righteousness that proceeds from him. Then all these less important things will be given to you abundantly.Refuse to worry about tomorrow, but deal with each challenge that comes your way, one day at a time. Tomorrow will take care of itself.”

In this moment

42-17251068I have been an impatient person (probably) my whole life. Many are the times God uses situations to teach me patience. Just when I think I’m mellowing-at least some-I find a new circumstance stirring my impatience pot. I put on blinders, pretending I’m not frustrated or angered, but the reality is I get stressed. God wants me to learn (and relearn) patience and understanding. As were the Israelites, I, too, am quite stubborn, pig-headed, hyper-focused, wanting things my way and in my time frame.
This is a new life season for me. Waiting for the birth of the first grandchild. Waiting. Waiting. WAITING!!!!! Past the due date, one day, two days, three days, four days…every day and every night asking for God to set the systems to go. This precious miracle of life I am longing to hold in my arms. It’s so very exciting and exhilarating! Can you understand why I am impatient? However, the expectations I have for the timing of this event have been overruled by Abba (Father). It’s a good thing He doesn’t ask my permission on these matters!
One year ago, I wasn’t sure whether my eyes would heal from hemorrhages or if I would ever drive again. (Look back to 8/24/15 entry for hiking blog beginning.) I think I had more patience then. But others may disagree. I knew regardless of the outcome, I would still live a full life albeit with some minor inconveniences. With an otherwise miraculous recovery, my God story was forming, getting ready for the telling. I was content to walk through the season of healing, sharing my miracle, drawing nearer to God.
Fast forward to celebrating life and the blessings a child brings to a family. Unable to drive, my daughter needed someone to be with her during the day.  I am blessed to have the flexibility to drop my schedule to help her.  That’s what moms do. It’s been two weeks. She has shown many signals that labor is not far away. Still, no birth.
God’s message is to enjoy every moment. Live in the now. Not the then or the yet to be. Don’t wish away life. Sometimes I am so focused on the next phase, I lose sight of the current phase. I need to embrace these days with my daughter. This time with her will never be back. Our dynamic will change as she takes on the role of mother and leaves daughter on the back burner. My prayer is that this will be a firm foundation for the changing relationship.
God’s plans are bigger and better than I can imagine. He only gives me enough vision for my current stage. I would want to jump ahead if I had the whole trip mapped out for me! He knows that too! He loves my daughter and grandson more than I do. He has perfect timing every time.
So, here I sit at her table, 500+ miles away from home. Thunderstorms rumbling the apartment. Lights flickering and lightning flashes. Waiting for labor to begin. Listening to raindrops on the roof and downspout.
Thank You, Father, for this step, for reminding me to not rush through life; for time to reflect and pray. Make me a blessing to someone everyday!

p.s. Hiking blog update coming soon.

lg

The Power of the Crumb

Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is demon-possessed and suffering terribly.”  Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.”  He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.” The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said. He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.”  “Yes it is, Lord,” she said. “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.” Then Jesus said to her, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed at that moment.  (Matthew 15:21-28)

food_breadcrumbs_f1[1]

This woman who approached Jesus had faith beyond what most of us have.   She was a foreigner rather than a Jew, so there was no guarantee that Jesus, a Jew, would even consider her request.   Moreover, she was asking Him to heal her daughter of demon possession, which required drastic intervention on Jesus’ part.  This woman was persistent, as she had been pestering Jesus AND His disciples.  When Jesus told her that He was sent only to the Jews, she humbled herself and knelt before Him; she did not argue.   However, she was most likely desperate to see her daughter healed.   When Jesus explained that it would not be right to toss to the dogs what was intended for the Jews, she pointed out that even the dogs gather up the crumbs that fall on the floor when the family has eaten.  Impressed by her faith and confidence, Jesus healed her daughter immediately.

The crumbs the woman spoke of were not just any old crumbs; they were the crumbs of the Bread of Life.   She knew who Jesus was and did not underestimate His power.  Even a crumb of His Presence would be enough to bring healing to her daughter.   Do WE really understand the power of God’s Presence in our lives?   The Bread of Life lives inside every believer; the Bread that always satisfies dwells within us!   The same Spirit that raised Jesus Christ from the dead lives inside of us (Romans 8:11).   Jesus is always MORE than enough for every need.   He is able to satisfy our hunger in every area and to fill us with enough to share with others.  Perhaps we need to meditate on the power of even one small crumb from the Bread of Life!  That little crumb could prove to be life-transforming!