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Posts Tagged ‘faith’

If you have been following my blog for very long, you know I love words. Today, God brought a thought to my mind as I pondered the letter tiles P-O-E in a game I play with friends. The only space I could place them was off an “N”.

I could play

OPEN 

or

NOPE.*

It all depends on where I place the N.

One reveals possibilities, the other shuts them down.

It all depends on where I place the N.

What is your “N”?  When faced with a challenge do you react with positive anticipation, or do you immediately turn to the negative?

Are you open to looking at things from a new angle, perhaps God’s way instead of your own, or do you sit down and shut down? “No way, can’t be done, nope.”

Are your arms stretched out in a “show me, Lord” gesture, or crossed over your chest?

Jesus said, “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in…” (Revelation 3:20).

Will you open your mind and heart to the Lord today, or say, “Nope, not my idea,” shut the door and turn away? Faith opens the way, fear and worry close it off.

It all depends where you decide to place the N.

 

*Okay, word aficionados, I could have also played PONE… and relate it to the Bread of Life, but that would be stretching it, don’t you think? Maybe in another devo…

The internet is the new mission field. At Campus Crusades of Canada’s The Life Project, our free articles and devotionals glean a readership of 500,000 plus a month.  But as with any missionary organization, we are funded solely through the donations of ministry partners. Find out more at  http://www.juliebcosgrove.com/missionary_support.html

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titles-mind-the-gap-largeWhen I was in London several years ago, there were signs reminding people to be aware of the gap between the platform and the subway car. “Mind the Gap” paraphernalia was everywhere, so I bought a magnet as a memento. I stuck it on my fridge.

Tonight, God spoke that message into my heart. Mind the gap.

There is a great chasm between earth and heaven, between the temporal and the eternal, between sin and grace. this moment and the unknown. It was bridged by Jesus’s death on the cross because we humans were unable to cross it on our own.  Our doubts, worries and sins keep us separated from the Holy.

The gap didn’t disappear.  It is still there. God in His wisdom and crack-576083_1280knowledge of all things eternal stands outside of our wisdom and knowledge of only this moment and  our memory-colored past. He sees it all, past present and future, beyond the shackles of time. He knows. That is why Jesus stated, “I am the Way.”

When life gets to me and the unknown begins to make my stomach clench, I need to mind the gap. I must remember that the One who loves me, more than conceivably possible, stands on the other side. He is holding out His nail-scarred hand, ready to grasp mine and help me across into tomorrow the way a Victorian gentleman would help a lady traverse a puddle. I must trust He will guide me safely and not let go.

Whatever happens, He is already there.  My role is to hold out my hand for Him to grasp, and then wait for the moment when His strength guides me and keeps me from tripping over the gap in trust I’ve caused by worry.

Like Indiana Jones in the Quest for the Holy Grail movie, I must have the faith to take that first step across the traverse, trusting in God to keep me from falling. That means realizing my limitations and His power.

Mind the Gap.

He is God,

I am not.

He knows all,

I only know this breath I take.

He holds tomorrow,

even though I worry about what tomorrow holds.

 

A magnet on my fridge, used by God to whisper a message into my heart.  Mind the gap. Remember who I am and that I’m here to guide you.

Tonight, I will sleep a bit sounder.

 

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Would you think me crazy to say I found God today in my tea cup?

IMAG0126As many of you know already, I ‘m an avid Anglophile. I was weaned on Earl Grey and milk…well, almost. It has always been my comfort drink. When I am hurting, physically or emotionally, just wrapping my fingers around the warm mug and inhaling the soft scent of the tea relaxes me. Then that first creamy sip…hmmm. The world is a better place.

Now, I can drink tea without the cream, but somehow it is not as the same. The swirling white liquid changes the color, the texture and enhances the taste in my opinion. It makes it oh, so much better.

This here is where the God part enters the picture.

My faith acts in much the same way. When I am hurting or frustrated I can wrap my soul around His Spirit. It envelops me and  swirls through me. Immediately, I feel as sense of calm flow over my shoulders and down my back.  When, through prayer, I drink in this holy peace, I begin to feels its effects from the inside out.

I suppose I could exist without my faith. Many people do. They drudge through life with a fatalistic, self-orientated attitude.  But like the cream in my tea, faith enhances my life. It recolors it, IMAG0127enriches its flavor, and makes my day more appealing, no matter what happens.  I really prefer having that dash of soul-cream in my day.  When I pray to my Lord and read His word, it as if I am swirling goodness into my life.

As the tea warms my belly, faith warms my soul.

Of course, there are times I just want to bask in a good cup of tea–just because.  Nothing is making me anxious. My aches and pains are minimal. Life is chuggin’ along just fine. Get the connection? I knew you would.

Enjoy some tea time with your Lord today.

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?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????I hung a bird feeder on the little tree outside my apartment patio. The landscape beyond it slopes down towards the next unit of apartments below. Today, while my coffee is dripping, I watch as doves waddle up the knoll towards the feeder. No hurry. No worry.

Did they know the squirrel had been there picking through for the sunflower seeds, and in the process, had scattered enough seed on the ground for them to fill their little bellies?

Even though it was a cold, wet morning– up they came. I imagined them smacking their lips in anticipation, if they had lips. They were that sure there would be seed waiting for them.  Quietly and calmly they approached, as if knowing just what they needed to stave off the chill of the day lay on the ground–waiting only for them.

Am I that way with God’s blessings? Do I patiently approach the throne, trusting He has cast them in His perfect timing? Do I have the faith of the turtle doves, and the wisdom, to detect His favor towards me? Or am I rushing up the hill, panting, out of breath. Do I get there at the wrong time, become anxious, then ask God, “Where are You? Why haven’t You answered my prayer?”

He has – it may be in process, as a squirrel who has just leapt out of my sight to scatter the seeds of faith and hope I need to make it through the chill of the day. Manna to sustain me through whatever comes my way. God always provides.

Take a lesson from the doves. Watch today with calm anticipation to  see how He acts in your life. Then in faith, waddle peacefully towards it, confident it is there, especially for you.

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Love the LORD, all you his saints!
  The LORD preserves the faithful
  but abundantly repays the one who acts in pride.
 Be strong, and let your heart take courage,
  all you who wait for the LORD!
(Psalm 31:23-24 ESV)

We have only two choices. Act on our own, or wait upon the Lord’s timing.  We can have the faith that God will keep His promise or strike out on our own to usher it along.

Abraham made that mistake with Hagar, his wife’s maidservant. He believed God’s promise that he would be a father of a great nation one day. But when Sarah, his wife, didn’t conceive in her old age, he thought he had to get the ball rolling.The result is he became the father of two nations and they have been at war ever since.

Now, I am not saying we sit on our hands and do nothing. Quite the contrary. We keep doing what God has called us to do, trusting that, in His perfect timing, the fruits of our labor will be revealed. God’s ways are often more like a crock pot than a microwave.

In this instant-result orientated world, that even more than ever it takes three things, as the psalmist says –

  • Swallowing our pride
  • Being strong in our faith
  • Having the courage to keep on keeping on

Wait for it. Keep believing – but keep at the task.

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