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Archive for the ‘Life Experiences’ Category

But in your great mercy you did not put an end to them or abandon them, for you are a gracious and merciful God. Nehemiah 9:31

 

Perhaps it’s because I’m a child of the 1960s, but I can’t throw out a plant.

Years ago, I was given a Chinese evergreen in a sympathy basket when my husband died. When it grew, I replanted it and all went well…for a while. Then the leaves began turning yellow, one at a time. A few cat teeth marks appeared on a leaf that had become torn. I kept watering the plant, but finally, the only leaf remaining was the torn one. In fact, one could barely call it a leaf.

But it still was alive. I couldn’t bring myself to carry the thing to the dumpster. I watered it, talked to it, put it in a different part of the room. After a few months, another leaf appeared, and a few more teeth marks. So, I dabbed the leaf in vinegar and moved the plant from the floor to my desk, away from tempted felines. I aerated and added nutrients to the soil. Slowly, another stalk emerged and unfolded into a wonderful green leaf. I propped it with a gardening stick.

Now it has four healthy, thriving leaves. It’s taken almost three years to get this far, but I have hope that one day it will be full and lush again.

Today, as I watered it I heard God whisper into my spirit, “Now you understand how I feel.” When it comes to saving souls, God is even more tenacious than I am with plants. What others may see as worthless, He sees as potential.

Life may have been harsh. Perhaps we feel as if someone has gnawed on our egos awhile or ripped through our hearts. We droop, feeling useless.

Our loving Lord will allow His spirit to nourish us, prop us up, and give us what we need to once again grow. He won’t give up. He is patient. He has the time to continue to care for and encourage us. None of us are worthless in His sight.

Thank you, precious Lord, for your loving, caring, tenacious attitude towards us to have potential but are right now barely thriving. Thank you for not abandoning us, but mercifully nurturing us as we learn to grow in Your spirit.  Amen.

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HERE IS ONE I POSTED IN 2016…revamped a bit, of course.

 

While lecturing and book signing in San Antonio, I spent the night with my sister. When I blurry-eyed stepped into her shower, this is what greeted me.

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SIN AROMA. I had to laugh. It was 6:30 in the morning and I’d already found God today.

San Antonio is a bilingual city, so labels are in English and Spanish. “Sin Aroma” means “unscented”, but it got me to thinking. What is the aroma of sin? Isn’t it often undetectable?  Unlike natural gas, which is also undetectable, nothing is added to temptations to let us know danger lurks. No nasty, scrunch-up-our-nose odor to warn us to back away. Unless we have our holy prompter inside of us, the Holy Spirit. But even then, do we always obey His whispers?

Sin should leave us feeling dirty.  But too often, don’t we cover it up like an aromatherapy spray?  If you can’t smell it, it isn’t there anymore, right? Other times, it may be masked with an enticing whiff that pulls us in like walking by a bakery just when a batch of freshly baked bread is being pulled from the oven, even though you are on a low-carb diet. Yeah. Been there.

James wrote in his letter, “Then after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin, and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.” (1:15) The father of lies’ temptations are often what we think we want, need, or even believe is God’s will for us. Whatever it is, he knows it is a lure for us. So we dash ahead without taking it to God in prayer first for verification and blessing. We don’t detect the smell that might otherwise cause us to back away.

Back to the soap I saw in the shower imagery…

The fact that sin can wash over our body and we still “feel clean” is evidence that we live in a fallen world. But when we become part of the Body of Christ and He lives in us, sin’s enticement is more detectable. The more we allow ourselves to be washed in His Blood, the more protected we will become.  As believers, we all need a “body wash” (jabon corporal) to slough off the sins that have begun to stick to us like sweat.  That is why going to church is so important. So we can be in “corporate” worship together.

Hey, I am not trying to revive the 1970’s adage, “Save water shower with a friend.”  (Just to be clear.) But the same way a friend can pull you aside and tell you that you have a smudge on your blouse, as members of the Body we can lovingly and quietly point out a spot on each other’s souls that need to be scrubbed a bit. But spot cleaning doesn’t always do the job.

As individuals, just as we cleanse our skin each day, let us also remember to wash our souls daily by spending time with our Lord.

Now everyone sing …“What can wash away our sins? Nothing but the blood of Jesus…”

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“that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth…” Philippians 2:10

Today I saw the last part of this passage “under the earth”  in a new way. In my neighborhood, all the utilities have gone underground. Cable, phone, and I think even some of the electrical wires, are now all zipping through fiber optic pathways. No more tangle of wires weaving across tar-coated poles. It looks nicer as far as the landscape.  But out of sight out of mind, you almost forget they still exist until someone has to dig up the street. Then, what a hassle and a mess! Traffic has to be rerouted. People run late. Blood pressures rise.

Sometimes, God works underground. His love flows as a constant current.  We rely on it, and sometimes consciously forget that it is there, until we need a dose of it in our lives. Like flipping on a switch or remote control. Click. “Oh, there you are God. Hi. I need you.”

But we are the conduit of His love as well. We are supposed to be passing it on. to others, letting it flow through us and our day to day lives. It should underground all of our thoughts and actions.   And yet, we are also constantly under construction.

The old adage, “God isn’t through with me yet” is true. We all need repairs. Our emotions and human-ness can interrupt the flow. Sometimes, God needs to put on His hardhat and start digging down deep. At first, we think it messes up our daily routes. We get a tad annoyed. Right?

God’s constructive work can jam up a few things in our lives, but it is necessary work.  One day we all will have an uninterrupted flow of faith and every knee will bow at the name of Jesus. But not yet. Until then, we are in a construction zone, and miraculously, God’s love still moves along in spite of it.

Lord, let me welcome your digging into my life so I can be a better conduit of your love and commandments. In Jesus’ name that one day everyone will worship, amen.

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Bubble lights are one of my favorite holiday decorations. They are glass cylinders filled with a colored liquid that slip into a base, each of which houses a small Christmas bulb as the heat source. As the cylinders heat, the liquid inside begins to bubble. When I see one bubble up, it makes me smile and lift my spirits.

The ones that are the closest to the plug seems to heat up and bubble faster than the ones at the end of the string. I guess it takes time for the energy to get to them. And even then, sometimes I have to thunk them with my fingernail and thumbnail to get them to start effervescing.

I can relate. There are times I feel downright bubbly for Jesus. I feel close to Him as the source of my energy. Maybe it is a passage I read in my Bible that truly spoke into my life. A hymn or song on the radio. A friend who has a prayer answered.

Other times, it may take a thunk to get me going. The energy takes a while to make it’s way to me. I fell distanced from my Savior, at the end of the receiving line of His grace. When will it be my turn?

Of course, I know it is all a matter of perception. God’s circuit never wavers. It is the same for all of us, all the time. I’m the one who is blocking the flow. My emotions get in the way — jealousies, anger, hurt.  I confuse faith with feelings.

So God needs to take His holy thumb and gently thunks me to get me bubbling. And each time, though it may jolt me a bit, I am thankful He does. Why?  Because then others notice my faith effervescing. It makes them smile — and maybe, that lifts their spirits as well as my own.

This new year, may I continue to bubble up, long after the tree and lights are packed away and Christmas is another memory.

In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew  5:16

 

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I love it when other people let me know they found God in their day.

This is from Debbie Haney, who is an excellent amateur photographer, so God used this to catch her eye.

She sat down to breakfast and saw the ceiling fan reflected in her spoon.

It reminded her that God is with her and she should thank Him for His blessings. The “cross” gives her hope.

 

Where will you find God in your day?

He knows your interests, faves, talents, and desires. He will use them to get your attention. Just adjust your faith-eyes to see them.

Six years ago, I told Him if I was going to start this blog, as I felt He instructed, He had to be faithful to show me blatant evidence I could share with others. I can be a bit dense and unfocused at times.

He has been faithful to do so.  I believe He will for you as well, just as He did for Debbie.

 

Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law. Psalm 119:18

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Rise up; this matter is in your hands. We will support you, so take courage and do it.” Ezra 10:4

courtesy of twitter@bigtoe.

After surgery, I learned I could only put “big toe” weight on my right leg for a month. That meant my left leg, supported by a walker, had to bear the load. In order to keep me from ending up with one weak, puny leg and one buffed one, I have non-load bearing PT exercises for the right one.

Did I mention this is a huge “adjustment”?

Why only big toe weight? Our big toes are big for a reason. Our bodies use them to balance. Ever watch a ballerina “on toe”? It provides the rest of the foot leverage. Without thinking about it, you put your weight mostly on your big toe when you lift off a chair. Go ahead, try it using any other toe or your heel instead. I’ll wait…

Back now? To continue…

For now, my right side is weak. The surgery on my right pelvis needs to heal. The pins need to knit into the plates and bone. So, I must rely on my left side.  But, without the walker or crutches, I’d be catawampus and fall down a lot.

That has made me think about how much I lean on God for support, especially when I am weak. But even if I feel strong, I should still use Him as support. I need to consistently practice this unique way of walking through this journey we call life. We all do.  It feels unnatural. Most of us don’t want to lean on a crutch. We were taught to stand on our own two feet.

I’m not saying Christians should be wimpy. Actually, it takes strength of character to admit you need assistance.  The winds of change in our culture are blowing hard. We can only stand if we press into God’s Word and prayer for support, and lean on His understanding, as it says in Proverbs 3:5, fulling trusting in His strength to bolster us. In the meantime, we can strengthen our stance by practicing our faith through the life exercises we are given. But as long as we exist in this cultural environment that wants to pull us out of balance, we need our Lord for support.

Christ gives us strength when we yoke to Him. (Philippians 4:13, Matthew 11:28-30).

He is my spiritual walker, and I don’t want to let go, lest I fall.

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Oh, did God ever whack me over the head with His velvet-covered two-by-four today! Through two circumstances, God blared His truth in my ear. “It’s not what you are doing that is wrong, it is how.”

He has been tapping on my brain for several weeks, but I had failed to acknowledge it.

Another missionary gave me a card that says, “real missionary work is done on your knees.”  Nice, I thought. It didn’t really sink in.

Then, in a Bible study I am doing with ladies of my church, we read this in 2 Corinthians: Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit. (verse 17a.)

BAM!  For over 18 months I have been trying everything I know how to do to raise financial partners as a missionary. And I have failed. The missionary society continues to fund me, even though I am not pulling my financial weight. That stresses me out. I so want to continue this work.

I could blame it on my being housebound for the most part. I cannot travel to meet and greet, which is the tried and true pattern for missionaries raising funds for their salary. I have only been able to contact folks digitally. But since my missionary work is solely in the realm of the internet though writing and editing for The Life Project, I figured raising support could be accomplished in the same way.

I have been fretting over not making my monthly ends meet instead of meeting with God’s will. If He wants me to continue touching lives over cyberspace then He will provide. I do not need to peddle my missionary work. I just need to be obedient and do the work He has called me to do.

Matthew 6:33 states to seek God’s righteousness first, above all else, and then everything else we need in life will follow. How easy it is to believe that in our brains but not follow through with our hearts.

God knows who my supporters will be. He also knows my physical limitations. My job is to keep the conduit open by delving more into His word and increasing my prayer time. He will open opportunities for me to speak to people and open their hearts to support my work.  By keeping in tune with His will, and trusting in His timing instead of my own, I can better serve Him and others.

I have placed that missionary’s card on my fridge where I can see it every day as a reminder of what my primary job is. If I keep filling my heart, mind, and soul with God, He will fill my fridge, my support list, and my bank account. That is the true profit.

If you feel as if a giant wall has loomed between you and what you think you are doing for God, perhaps He is telling you to sit down and ponder your motives. Really ponder. Are you doing it for your profit, or for His glory? It is so easy to confuse the two because it is in our human nature to do it. Spending more time on your knees can alter your perspective.

 


One way God has stretched me is to become a digital missionary with The Life Project. However, to continue to grow in this ministry, I need to become fully funded by partners who will pray and financially support me. Will you join my 20/20 Vision? I am seeking 20people who will pledge to provide  $20 a month.  You can learn more here.  Comment and I can send you more material to peruse so you know this cause is legitimate, why I am so passionate about it, and be assured your money will go to reach people around the world with the message of Hope in Jesus, one click at a time. Thank you for seriously praying about it.

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