Tag Archives: spiritual sight

On the Surface

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1 Samuel 16:7
English Standard Version (ESV)
7 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”

I love that God finds my beauty on the inside and not on the surface. Sometimes it’s not a pleasant experience to look in the mirror because time is not forgiving and gravity takes it’s toll. Some people are blessed to have a good genes and they retain their figure and youthful look but for most of us, it’s a daily struggle to be one of ‘the beautiful people’.

Often, a thought builds in my mind and I feel led to share what ends up becoming a full article. Sometimes, I am fueled by outrage at a current event and have to address it immediately. There are times though, where a subtle conversation or comment shared in passing is repeated over the course of time. When this happens, I know I have received a prompting from God to share what He is revealing to me.

I spend some time, not by choice, at the dermatologist several times a year reversing sun damage in the hopes to prevent skin cancer from surfacing. As a teen, I spent hours soaking in the sun as I tried to obtain a golden tan. Unsuccessful in most attempts, I would end up suffering from burns and the resulting peels that revealed only freckles and no tan. Unfortunately, I never learned and repeated this process so much over the years that now I have to reverse the damage that took years to build. Frequently, the damage to cells in your body take place years before the evidence of the resulting skin cancer can be seen. I’ve been told that typically, the length of time from initial damage to visible results can span ten years. I think there’s a lesson to learn here….(besides the obvious of avoiding sun damage). How long does it take for damage to reach the surface?

In casual conversation, I mentioned to a friend that she has flawless skin and she looked really great. After thanking me for the comment, which was genuine admiration, she clouded for a second before she said that my compliment made up for years of feeling ugly because she couldn’t tan. She was always more pale than her friends and didn’t feel like one of the “beautiful people.” I can relate because I’m so pale that I can literally blind people from the sun’s reflection off my skin. I felt immediately humbled to receive a glimpse into what had been years of suffering that my friend had experienced. In her case, she has emerged as the recipient of flawless and youthful skin because she avoided the sun. The feeling of beauty is only skin deep though because the feeling of inadequacy runs deeper than the surface.

Later, the same week, I was talking to another friend and somehow the conversation turned to her years of feeling invisible. In her youth, she had been heavier and always felt as if she was completely invisible to the world. As she matured, she lost weight and became more comfortable with herself so that people started noticing her. The attention she received could have easily gone to her head but she knew that regardless of what she looked like, the real person could only be known from the inside out. She said it was eye opening to see that people want to associate with those they perceive to be beautiful, so much so, that sometimes it’s hard to know who your real friends might be.

How many other people feel like this? How many neighbors, co-workers or relatives are suffering from what lies below the surface? If it takes ten years for some skin cancers to surface, how long does it take for emotional scars or feelings of inadequacy to become apparent? How many people do you know who are suffering in silence? Are you someone who has a hidden hurt? It’s such a comfort to know that there is One who looks past the surface and not only knows the real you but who can also hold and heal those secret scars. God knows you and He loves you! Psalm 139:13 New International Version (NIV) says, “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.” How awesome is that! Not only does God see you and know you, He is the one who created the inner most you. He formed your soul and knows your secret thoughts and painful past. Turn those hurts that you have held on to for years over to Him and let Him free you from long held feelings of inadequacy.

“For man looks on the outside but God looks on the heart!”

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Who’s Your Creator?

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imagehttp://christiannewsservice.com/thousands-flock-to-download-movie-that-debunks-evolution-atheists-furious/

This is the debate of the century – Darwin, Scopes….on and on, there have been many who have debated the origin of the universe. Dating back to the Egyptians, Phoenician’s and Caananites, men have attributed the creation of all there is to the gods they worshipped: the sun, the moon, cows. They were at least smart enough to know that a Higher Being had to be part of the process. Then came Darwin with his nonsensical theory that men evolved. This is another example to prove what I have written about in prior posts, satan will do everything he can to mimic and blaspheme the works and word of the One, True God. Follow the above link for information about this new documentary debunking evolution.

I heard a co-worker talking the other day of how ‘people say evolution is not true, but if that’s the case then why are teens hitting puberty earlier and children so much larger.’ Really? Is there seriously a valid point there? The answer is that yes, there is indeed an evolution taking place, but only in that we, as a society, are evolving our food processing and preparation standards to allow for GMO’s and hormones that are adversely affecting our bodies. We manipulate genetics and chemicals forcing anatomical reactions as our bodies try to metabolize things we were never meant to ingest. This is NOT evolution!

There has never – EVER – been a true and documented case of a living thing evolving over the span of mankind. Just because human skeletons have been found with smaller bones, larger heads, different shapes means nothing aside from the obvious which is that someone looked different than the person who found the bones. Not only have we not evolved, we cannot create living from nothing. This is something that only God can do.

Evolutionists and atheists are only puppets in the hands of satan as he works to spread his perversion of God’s creation. Only God can speak and have sunlight cut through the vast darkness of the universe and then position the earth in just the exact proportion to this sun in order to sustain the heat and light necessary for life to continue for thousands of years. God also placed the earth in orbit to circle the sun and He added a moon so that the night would not be black and the oceans would have a current. He then doodled the stars in the heavens to shine at night as a testament of His majesty. He created animals. Every animal known and unknown to man. Flying, walking, swimming and now extinct animals were all created by Him. Finally, He topped all of His other creations, and formed man. This is a dumb-downed version of creation, but think about each item that God created and then ponder how everything is affected by the most minute effects of each aspect of life. From the cause and effect of the combination of wind and light to the oxygen created by plants, all of these results prove the genius and mastermind behind what could never happen randomly. I am not even qualified to describe how a human is formed. Two cells – two tiny cells converge and multiply in just the right combination to form a baby. There is so much detail and complexity involved in this process that I could never imagine trying to duplicate it. Our finite minds cannot come close to understanding the infinite power and intelligence of God. He is far beyond our understanding.

Satan will continue to try and blind people to keep them from the truth but I believe that God is allowing so much to be revealed to this generation in order to awaken the consciousness of everyone. He loves all people so much!

2 Peter 3:5 But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens came into being and the earth was formed out of water and by water. 6 By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. 7 By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.8 But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. 9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

Evidence of the flood from Noah’s time keeps surfacing as do Hebrew antiquities that support writings in the Old Testament. Daily revelations and discoveries are showing up in the news. God is making sure that everyone knows who He is and what He has done. There will be no excuse, as He wants no one to perish and is giving everyone an opportunity to turn to Him. There is one Creator, one God and that is the Lord God Almighty who made a way to Him through Jesus. Don’t miss this opportunity. He is knocking on your heart’s door and revealing Himself to you!

Not My Home

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“Home Sweet Home”….”There’s No Place Like Home”….”Home is Where the Heart Is”……”Home Where I Belong”….I could go on and on.  There are so many references to home in our everyday vernacular, idioms and weaved into every fabric of our memories and plans.  Home is where we should feel safe and loved.  Many people across America grew up in the same home that they currently live in today.  Home is  different things to different people.  Home can be a brick ranch with a white picket fence, an apartment in the middle of town or a shack at the beach.  Regardless of where you live, your home is an investment.  Maybe your investment is not financial but rather an investment of time.  My home reflects me:  my personality, my likes, my hobbies and the comfort I want for my family.  I have spent hours painting, cleaning, polishing and decorating in order to create a home that I am proud to live in and show off to friends and family.  I figure that I spend about forty percent of each day at home, so why not make my home a place I feel welcome and happy?  In fact, I have lived with this motto for so long that I have spent more time decorating and loving my earthly home that I have neglected, for the most part, my investment in my heavenly home.  I would even venture to guess that I have spent more time decorating my virtual home on Pinterest than cultivating treasures for eternity.  When I examine this fact, I can view my priorities as seen from God’s perspective and it makes me sad.  I’m sure it breaks His heart.  After all, He told us in Matthew 6:19, “Stop storing up treasures for yourselves on earth, where moths and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal.”  This is not an optional statement.  If you know anything about grammar, then you will recognize that this verse begins with a verb behind a subject that is an “understood you”.  Basically, Jesus said “You, stop!”  If I told my children to stop in that manner, it would be viewed as a command.  Are you following this?  God gave Moses the Ten Commandments in the Old Testament.  The “Thou Shalt Nots” are such a part of society (at least it used to be) that most of us know some or all of the Ten Commandments.  The legal parameters of America were founded on these commands.  IF we know what’s good for us, we will listen when God commands.  Here He is, in Matthew 6:19, commanding us to stop decorating our homes on earth where they will rot and can be robbed.  Instead, in the next verse He says, “Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal.”

So much of my time, I say my time as I cannot speak for anyone but myself, is spent on useless things that I think are important but when put into the perspective of eternity are actually useless.  What a waste of the precious time and resources that God has given me to use for Him.  Obviously, He wants us to enjoy life or He would not have created an ocean for us to play in or sunsets for our visual delight, but He wants us to live like Jesus who had no prized possessions that eventually become idols because He was “about his Father’s business”.  Ultimately, this is not my home.   My heart is longing for my eternal home where I will live with my Father forever.  I hope I can keep this in mind as I continue on my journey.  I want to continue decorating my home…. my heavenly home.

In Matthew 19:21, Jesus told a wealthy young man who had asked Him what he needed to do in order to inherit the Kingdom of God, “sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven”.  This life will be over in the blink of an eye and before I am ready, I will be kneeling in front of the Creator of everything.  It will be my greatest honor to be able to place crowns at His feet.  “Lord, please help my focus to be on eternal treasures and to keep my eyes on You!”

Mean Girls

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“Mean Girls”…. if you haven’t watched the movie, more than likely you’ve heard of it or at least have a good idea what the plot might reference.  For the most part, human behavior follows a predictable pattern.  As a child, a person is typically loving and trusting.  As a teenager, that same person becomes self-centered and critical of others, almost certainly to the point of mean.  Then, usually during college years, a responsible and consistent adult outlook and actions develop.  There are those few, however, who are and will remain – MEAN. In the movie, a group of teenage girls band together to form an elite (at least in their eyes) group.  They proceed to mock and torture anyone else who does not meet their lofty standards.  Predictably, they turn on each other, disband and the process of maturity begins after feelings have been hurt and consequences have been suffered.  In real life, the same plot plays out in every middle school and high school across America.  Basically, it’s a right of passage that every person participates in, whether they want to or not.  Most people outgrow this stage, but there are those few “mean” girls and boys who never manage to grow up.  It’s always disheartening when you have to interact with these people.  Unfortunately, they live and work among us.  It is an unavoidable, unpleasant experience of life.

Recently, I had the disappointing misfortune to cross paths with a few of these malcontents.  Human nature takes over during moments like this and propels me to levels of great revenge plotting.  Fantasies of lightning bolts flashing from my eyes to zap and torture these “mean” girls run rampant through my mind.  Alternately, deep and gaping holes in my heart weigh me down and crush my spirit.  At some point, in every person’s life, an experience like this will take you by surprise and will come from someone who should have grown up and from whom you least expect this action.  Catty, infantile, mean, hurtful and juvenile are all words that aptly describe these individuals.  In the last couple of years, a person who becomes prey to a ‘mean’ girl or boy is actually labeled a victim of bullying.  The media has ensured public awareness for this growing problem.  Despite this knowledge and labeling, meanness still exists.  We live in an imperfect world with imperfect people, so the only thing we can do is to choose to respond with love and kindness.  This is completely contrary to my first instinct to plot revenge.  In order to repay hatefulness with love, I have to actively choose to die to myself and let Jesus love through me.  If I react in anger, which is that first human instinct, then I not only do not reflect Jesus and His love, I also become a victim, because anger is a self-consuming emotion.  Anger is an active pursuit.  It is not passive, but rather is a driving force of reaction to something perceived as insulting or damaging.  As a Christian, I am called to a higher standard.  Romans 12:2 says that we are “not to conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of our minds.”  It’s not natural, nor is it easy to react to a negative situation with love.  The only way this becomes possible is to have a mind that is focused on Christ.

Think for a moment about Jesus’ three years of ministry on earth.  We have only been given a small glimpse into the activity that took place during these 1095 days.  Over 60% of our known history of Jesus’ actions is based on His healing of other’s hearts and bodies.  The last verse of John says that if all that Jesus did was to be written down, he supposed that there would not be enough books in the world to hold all His activity. This tells me that Jesus loved and He loved a lot.  It’s one thing to say you love someone, but actions are the proof.  Angry people don’t usually help those to whom their anger is directed.  Conversely, someone filled with love is guaranteed to help all.  In the same way that anger is an active emotion, so is love.  If we are to be like Jesus, then we are to love with our mouths and our actions.

Matthew 5:43-44 ~ 43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbors and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,”

Mark 12:33 ~ “To love Him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”

These are the verses that I am focusing on to ingrain the spirit of love in my heart (the renewing of my mind) in hopes that my first reaction to meanness will become love.  I am not quite there, and I am not sure that I will ever get to that level of Christianity, but I strive towards that goal.  I can hear the Apostle Paul cheering me as I run the race, pressing toward that mark.  The finish line is still in the distance where Jesus sits with crowns and trophies and is ready to say, “Well done, My good and faithful servant.”.  I want to be found faithful on that day.  Lord, please help me to love as You have loved me!

Putting Words in My Mouth

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I love May in the South!!  The warm Southern breeze usually sails in sometime in the early afternoon hours, just in time to cool the day off from the noon heat.  As luck would have it, I had a moment of free time to enjoy this airy sensation while going back to work from a late lunch.  As I paused to fully take in the moment, I overheard a woman talking on her cell phone.  I did not have to try too hard to hear what she was saying, and I would not really work hard to eavesdrop – unless it involved a birthday present for me….lol!  It was clearly evident to me, judging by the volume of her retort to whoever was on the receiving end of her conversation, that she was irritated to the point of exasperation.  In one final, breathless gasp, before disconnecting her call, she bellowed, “I wish you would just stop putting words in my mouth!”  Wow!  This sentence pushed my thoughts in a completely different direction than I’m sure she intended.  What if God could put His words into my mouth?  I could certainly save myself a lot of grief and trouble.  I might be more encouraging and less likely to tear down others.  What would it take for this to happen?

How delightful that God has put his words in my mouth.” ~ Psalm 119:3

How blessed we are that God always provides for us long before we ever think or need to ask Him for help.  He has always had a plan for our lives!  These plans for our success have been in place since before the beginning of time.  Not only did He start compiling His words of truth and guidance in written form, in the very language that we speak every day so that we could understand and relate to them, He also gave us His Spirit to direct our thoughts and actions.

I am free to do anything I want to do.  I can listen to anything that I want to hear as well as watch anything that I want to watch.  Although I have the Holy Spirit inside to guide my actions, words and thoughts, I do not have to listen to Him if I choose not to pay attention to what He says.  God gives all people free reign to make their own choices.  If I choose to watch Barney or Sesame Street all day, it won’t take long before I might be caught singing nursery rhymes or skipping.  If I choose to watch karate or kung-foo action shows, I might easily start kicking and chopping.  We are products of our environment.  It does not take much reasoning to follow this line of thinking and connect it to training for successful living.  If I choose to fill my mind with God’s words then I will be more likely to speak and act in the way He wants.

Over 2000 years ago, David wrote in Psalm 119:11, “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against You.   This is the secret to success, written for my eyes many centuries ago!  If I want God to put His words in my mouth then I might want to know His words.  In the same way that I would practice any other hobby or vocation, I must practice being a Christian in order to become the best that I can be.  In my efforts to make every moment count and to really know Christ, I am going to challenge myself (and you!) to “HIDE GOD’S WORD IN MY HEART”!  Feel free to post ways that you are actively trying to do this.  (I write verses on index cards to keep in my car and pull out while waiting in a parking lot or on errands – repetitive reading helps me remember).

I have put My words in your mouth and hidden you safely in My hand.” ~ Isaiah 51:16

You Can’t Outrun the Long Arm of the Lord

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The phrase “Long Arm of the Law” dredges up Marshall Matt Dillon from the ‘Gunsmoke’, Cowboys and Indians and gun fights in the streets of the Wild West.  Wherever the bad guys were (always dressed in black), you were sure to see Marshall Dillon show up to save the day.  The good guys always win, right?  Hi Ho Silver, awaaaay!  Even the Lone Ranger rode in on a white horse to make sure that good prevailed and bad was punished.  The cries of the poor, needy and down-trodden were heard three states away and drew the masked man to come save the day.  Unfortunately, all of this only took place on a Hollywood set for the entertainment of television viewers.  Real life is not fair.  The good don’t always prevail.  The cries of the poor and needy are not heard….or are they?

Psalm 33:18 “But the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love” ~NIV

God never sleeps and never tires of reaching out to help those who cry out to Him.  Just like a parent who rushes when they hear their child crying, He is there to help – if only we call on Him.  When my children where little, they sometimes worried that I might not hear them if they cried in the night.  I reassured them that I could sleep through an earthquake, but should they need me, I was awake and alert.  God is better than that because he doesn’t even rest from searching for those who might need Him.

Psalm 139:1-18

1 You have searched me, Lord,
    and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise; 
    you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
    you are familiar with all my ways. 
Before a word is on my tongue
    you, Lord, know it completely. 
You hem me in behind and before,
    and you lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, 
    too lofty for me to attain.

Where can I go from your Spirit?
    Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
    if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
    if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me, 
    your right hand will hold me fast.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
    and the light become night around me,”
12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
    the night will shine like the day,
    for darkness is as light to you.

13 For you created my inmost being; 
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb. 
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful, 
    I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
    when I was made in the secret place,
    when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. 
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
    all the days ordained for me were written in your book
    before one of them came to be.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts, God! 
    How vast is the sum of them!
18 Were I to count them, 
    they would outnumber the grains of sand —
    when I awake, I am still with you.

This is one of my favorite passages from the Bible!  Where can I possibly go that God can’t find me?  According to these words written by David, there is no where on heaven or earth that He is not already there.  Sometimes I may not want Him to see me because I am ashamed of my actions or I have traveled away from Him, but He will not let me go!  His love for me is so strong that no matter how far I try to run or the dark places that I may try to hide myself in from Him, His eyes are watching.  I am sure you are familiar with the game of Hide and Seek.  Who as a child has not played this favorite game?  I used to have the best hiding places.  One of my favorite things to do was to sneak into the dining room and squeeze myself into one of the side doors in the serving buffet.  I have no idea how I was able to fit into such a small place, but nevertheless I did.  No one could find me in that spot.  I would sit there in silence waiting, but no one would come.  Even in that dark hiding place, I was not alone, for God was there with me.  It is impossible to hide from Him.  In good or bad, He is there.  He rejoices in our happiness and triumphs but he is there to hold us and heal us in our hurts and sorrow.  His presence is not dependent upon our good behavior, thankfully, but is a gift to us because He loves and cares for us.

“Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully.” 1 Peter 5:7  ~AMP

Are you lonely, tired or hurt?  Are you excited with good news?  Look to your Heavenly Father, for he waits anxiously for you to call Him.  He is always there!

 

Full Access

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I have a key card or an “access card” that allows me to enter my office building, parking lot and restricted areas.  Without this card I am unable to access these sites.  I become  a person non-grata without my access card.  I can knock as long and and as loud as I want and I will not be able to enter.  I can sit at the gate to the parking lot but never gain access without my access card.  If I forget to bring it with me at any point, I am out of luck.

Aren’t you glad that we have Open Access to our Heavenly Father any time and all the time!  We are privileged to be able to go into His presence for any reason and He encourages us to do so.  We do not need a special key card that we have to carry and present in order to gain His attention.  We have only to believe that His son, Jesus, paid the price required as the penalty for sins by taking our place and dying on the cross.  This gift did not end there or Jesus would have been just like any other person on earth who died and was buried.  Three days after His death, He rose from the grave forever canceling the death penalty required for our sin.  This gave us Open Access as well.

Ephesians 3:12 “In Him and through faith in Him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.” ~NIV

In the beginning of the Israelite history, as documented both in the Old and New Testament, only the High Priest would be allowed to speak with God directly in His presence.  The priest could enter into the Holy of Holies inside the Temple in Jerusalem where God resided inside the Ark of the Covenant.  He could do this only once a year.  The Holy of Holies area was separated from the rest of the temple by a veil (curtain) that hung from a very high ceiling. At the exact moment of Jesus’ death on the cross that very veil was ripped in half from the top to the bottom (no human hand could reach that high) thereby exposing God’s presence to all mankind.

Hebrews 10:19-23  “And so, dear brothers and sisters,we can boldly enter heaven’s Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus. By his death, Jesus opened a new and life-giving way through the curtain into the Most Holy Place. And since we have a great High Priest who rules over God’s house, let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him. “

 God gave us this Open Access card to allow us full access to Him.  I want to take every opportunity to use this access and communicate with Him.  Make every moment count in your life for eternity’s sake and get to know the God who made you, who loves you, and whom you will see the minute you awake from death into life and see Him face to face.
Psalms 27:4 “One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to inquire in His temple.” ~ KJV
Aside

Did you ever play the game ‘telephone’ when you were younger?  That was a favorite of mine.  The game worked best with a large group and the results were usually very comical!  Everyone sat in a circle.  One person started the game by whispering a phrase or story to the person next to them who would repeat what they heard (or what they thought they heard) to the person next to them.  This process would continue until the story got back to the person who originally started the game.  The original story would be revealed as well as the story that had made it’s way around the circle and through many ears and translations.  The two stories never matched and really took on a life of it’s own.  One of the reasons that the story did not remain intact is that people hear what they want to hear.  Perhaps one of the translators was distracted and only heard half of the story and then made up the part they missed.  Perhaps, and this is the reason I tend to place most weight on, people anticipate what the story might be and as their focus is on their own anticipated outcome, they miss the actual information being passed to them.  This game taught many lessons to my group of friends and I:  Don’t believe everything you hear; Gossip can be painful and untrue; Lies spread like wildfire and never end the way you intend…..the lessons that can be drawn from this game are innumerable.

I was thinking about this game today as I heard about a young lady whose feelings were crushed as a result of a conversation that she didn’t hear.  She saw people whispering and immediately imagined that they could only be talking about her.  This propelled her to criticize herself as she pinpointed the root of the imagined conversation.  ‘Her outfit must be out of style, although she had recently purchased it and thought it looked alright when she got dressed this morning.’  ‘She must look ugly today.  She was definitely having a bad hair day so that must be the topic.’  ‘Her work production was down and she is probably about to be called into her bosses’ office for discipline.”  On an on these thoughts ran through her mind until she had worked herself into a migraine and overwhelming sadness.  In reality, her co-workers were talking about a picnic they were planning for the following weekend.  The conversation had absolutely nothing to do with her and yet, she had made herself sick as a result of her runaway imagination.  Has this ever happened to you?  I can raise my hand to admit that I am guilty of presuming myself the topic of secret conversations.  Why do we do this to ourselves?  How silly!  We have enough trouble to deal with that we know about without creating trouble where there is none.  If we would only keep our eyes on Him, we could avoid so much hurt and suffering!

“You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in You, all whose thoughts are fixed on You!  Trust in the Lord always, for the Lord God is the eternal Rock.”  Isaiah 26:3-4 (New Living Translation)

I love this verse!  I am making a concerted effort to keep my focus on Jesus, where my thoughts and focus should be rather than down in the weeds of imagination.  Please join me in this effort.  Leave comments of encouragement or suggestions to help myself and others as we endeavor to keep our eyes on Jesus!

Telephone

Opportunity

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How many opportunities come your way that you miss out on either because you don’t recognize them until it’s too late or because you are too scared to seize the moment?  I was thinking about this very question today.  There have been many times that I have prayed, and prayed for God to show me what He wanted me to do only to hear silence – or so I thought.  Maybe there were answers that I missed because I wasn’t “in tune” with the quiet voice of God.  (I Kings 19:12, “After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.” (NIV))  I was waiting for the earthquake and fire to announce my direction and guidance.  I would have settled for a personal suggestion in an audible voice.  I did not receive any of these revelations or occurences, and so I wallowed in indecision and uncertainty.

I have recently been made aware that the more time I spend in quiet reflection and devotion with God, the clearer His answers become.  There is no mysterious secret to hearing His voice because He speaks to you in the quiet of your heart.  All of the good plans He has for you become like neon signs to your soul as you become close to Him.

Tune in to His voice today!  

Safety in the Storm

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I am not a fan of thunderstorms!  I do enjoy a nice, quiet and gentle rain – especially if I get to lay in bed and read a good book while I hear the rain in the background.  Once you add the sound effects of thunder and lightning though, I lose my sense of relaxation.  In fact, I tense up and jump as the thunder snaps.  We had the pleasure of encountering one of these storms the other evening as we were driving.  The sky was alive with electrically charged and vivid displays of white heat as lighting sizzled across the black sky.  This was followed immediately by the loudest sonic booms that I believe I have ever heard.  The highway shook underneath us from the power of this storm (maybe that’s exaggerating a bit, but it very well could have been shaking).  A few minutes later, the rain fall became more forceful until it turned into hail.  This was a severe thunderstorm, in the words of the emergency message that sounded a few minutes later over the radio (thank you, National Weather Alert System!).  As I watched nature’s drama taking place outside the windshield while gripping the seat with white knuckles, my husband said, “relax”.  Huh?  Are you kidding me?  Who could relax in all of this cosmic chaos?  “Relax.  You are in the safest place,” he said again.  Whoa!  I surely did not feel relaxed and I may be slow on the uptake, but what was safe about this situation?   I know that my wide-eyed look of horror must have conveyed this question to him, because he continued, “you are surrounded by rubber tires which grounds you and prevents the lighting’s electricity from harming you.”  That sounded familiar.  I do remember hearing that from childhood and oddly enough, I started to calm down.  My husband has that ability.  He is truly my rock!

I have another Rock!  He is my anchor in a troubled storm.  He gives me peace when chaos is all around me.  “In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, LORD, make me dwell in safety.”  Psalm 4:8 (NIV)

Mark 4:35-40 tells the story of a violent storm:     

35 And the same day, when the evening was come, he saith unto them, Let us pass over unto the other side. 36 And when they had sent away the multitude, they took him even as he was in the ship. And there were also with him other little ships. 37 And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full. 38 And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish?

39 And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. 40 And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith? 41 And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?

Jesus is our example of how we should live our lives – in every aspect of our daily activities.  I believe that many lessons can be learned from this story but the most obvious truth is plainly spoken by Jesus.  “Why are you so fearful?  Why don’t you have faith?”  Even in His sleep, He was not afraid when everything around Him was swirling with unsettledness and danger.  This is the model by which He shows us how to live.  We are not to be afraid of anything for He holds us in the palm of His hands.  Nothing can harm us for He is our great Defender and Deliverer!  What are you afraid of today?  Give your fears to the Master of the wind and the Maker of the rain.  He will keep you in perfect peace when you are focused on Him!

“You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in You.”

 Isaiah 26:3 (NIV)