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Posts Tagged ‘Julie B Cosgrove’

When I smiled at them, they scarcely believed it. Job 29:24a

I met a friend for lunch. For the first time in a long time, it was actually an almost cool day in north Texas. Therefore, we sat on the front patio of the restaurant. It is a popular lunch spot, so if you love to people watch, this is the perfect place.

I imagine close to a hundred people passed by in the time we were there. Students from the university down the road wandered in, as did the medical staff from the hospitals and clinics up the road. So did business people in their suits, ties or heels. Sprinkled in between were retired couples, tourists, moms on a rare lunch out, and workers with their names on their uniform shirts or badges.

What surprised me the most was the countenance on most of their faces. On a cool day after a good rain that was so needed during our stretch of 100 plus temperatures, you’d think people would be uplifted, walk with a spring in their step, feel rejuvenated. But most wore a scowl or straight face.  Many seemed bent over with the weight of the world on their backs. A few, who had arranged to meet, nodded at each other, and then fell into mutual silence.  Some ignored everything around them as they stared into tiny screens as if it provided an invisible shield. Couples walked together in a marital patterned, robot-like pace without touching each other.

The only ones who broke the drudgery lunch time routine with laughter were three women taking out indulgent deserts in boxes, trying to convince each other they shouldn’t feel guilty.

I thought of how our Father in Heaven must see us. All His children running around like irritated ants whose mound has been kicked. How it must break His heart to have so many pass up His freely given love and choose the world view instead. It made me realize how far from God our daily lives have drifted here in America where we are supposed to be one nation under Him. I almost wanted to stand on the table and shout out, “Smile, people. Jesus loves you!”

But I didn’t. Instead, we linked hands and prayed. Will you pray with me, now?

Heavenly Lord, draw your creatures back to You. Let them realize they are not alone and to seek You each day. Help them to see You are right there, waiting. You came down in the form of Jesus, Your Son, to bring us back into Your merciful grace. Through His sacrifice, we can have direct access to You with each and every breath we take.  Help us, who believe, be more and more in touch with your Holy Spirit in us and to see evidence of Your presence in our daily walk so we can guide others to You. We pray this through Christ and in His name. Amen.

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If you have been reading my blog for a while, you probably know the saga of my 43 year old corn plant. Today it taught me a lesson from God.

In my new apartment, I have the plant sitting in a south-facing window. As I drank my morning coffee, I noticed something unusual. One leaf had bent its way through the slats. It wanted more light. Evidently it wasn’t content like the other leaves to just get a smidgen that filtered through the window covering.

Can you see the lone leaf weaving it’s way through the wooden blinds? It is the brighter green one toward the middle of the plant.

Anyway…as I stared, God whispered into my spiritual ear, “Daughter, are you that tenacious?”

I wanted to answer, “Yes, of course, Lord.”

Instead I paused to reflect. Am I content to only get small doses of God, slatted and deflected by the world I live in, by my environment, and where I have been placed? Or do I stretch and reach out to grasp the full mercy and grace He offers so I can grow even more in His light?

Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you.” Isaiah 60:1

As I gazed at my old corn plant, I wondered if the other leaves will eventually get the idea? Even more, I wonder if those around me will if they observe me constantly, consistently stretching to be closer to Him who is The Light of the World? To be totally exposed so I can soak in His goodness no matter what is going on around me or what obstacle blocks my path to growing in Him. To let nothing stand in the way of receiving my Savior into my life each day.

I nodded and closed my eyes in prayer. “Yes, Lord. Show me your presence more each day so I can be like that leaf and reach beyond my circumstances to You.”

 


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. I am seeking 40 people who will pledge to provide  between $10-$25 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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“Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth” (John 17:17).

I have this in a frame over my desk…

But recently, I read a devotional that reminded me we have a gentleman God who knocks and asks to enter into our lives, our souls, and our thoughts. The writer asked if our daily Bible time had become bone dry? Were we praying for the Holy Spirit to join us and reveal the meaning to us?

I thought about how many times I yawn as I sip my coffee, crack open my Bible, find the passage of the day, read it, and then check it off my to-do list. My feelings would be crushed if I knew readers treated a book I wrote in this manner.

When did I lose the idea that this is a love story?

I truly believe “All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness…” (2 Timothy 3:16)  I have known times in my life a passage has pierced my heart with the truth of it’s message as if God reached down and typed it onto the page.

Perhaps you have as well.

We are blessed in the western world to have the Bible in so many places and in so many translations. It is on my coffee table, on my bookshelf, in an app on my phone, and bookmarked on my computer. Framed verses scatter the walls of my apartment. Some are taped to my desktop monitor and secured with a magnet on my fridge.

I am surrounded by the Word, hemmed in, armored. Do I take that for granted sometimes? I confess. Yes, I do.

Forgive me, Lord. Speak to me anew. Enter in…the door is open.

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Show me your ways, Lord, teach me your paths. Psalm 25:4

I spoke with my insurance agent about renewing my policy. As she clicked away on the keyboard at her end I heard her frustrated sigh. “Sorry, this computer keeps wanting to take me where I don’t want to go.”

I’ve been there. Click and a screen appears that I didn’t expect, or a pop that tells me a new password is required (and I have to rack my brain to recall it), or requesting the answer to a security question. Or my favorite, READ ERROR 404. Argh.

After a few more huffs into my receiver, she acted surprised. “Oh, here we are. It got me to the screen I needed. I didn’t think about going this route.”

courtesy of Facebook posting – no artist noted.

It made me think though how often these digital incidences raise my blood pressure…

Then God whispered into my heart,”How often do you react the same way when I detour your plans?”

Lately, God has been yanking me out of several comfort zones, and I haven’t wanted to go!

But the truth is, rerouting is a part of life. Abram was called to leave his homeland. The Hebrews had to relocate to Egypt during a famine , as did Joseph with Mary and the baby Jesus. Jesus rerouted his followers through Samaria, a land where no good Jew would venture back then. God rerouted Paul in his ministry when he wanted to go to Asia.

Today, believers are often rerouted as well. We are constantly in the battle to die to self and live for others. To go against the grain of self-centered secularism and show hospitality,

sacrificial love and forgiveness.

Where has God rerouted you, perhaps dragged you against your will? How did it turn out? Probably pretty well, despite the doubts, hardships, and stumbles. Sometimes He  has to takes us where we never thought we’d go so He can teach us, comfort us, correct us, or grow us.

At times our faith walk can be a drag…in a good way.

 

 

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But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.  2 Peter 3:18

This is hardly a new observation, but it is something I observed anew…perhaps because God wanted me to be reminded of this simple truth.

I bought a planter to grow “cat grass” because it was less expensive than purchasing the planted ones already growing in the pet store. My always-indoor beasties need grass every now and then to aid their digestion, but no access to it other than what I bring to them. To keep them from chomping on my house plants, I give them their own.

The kit arrived, containing a planter, four small mulch discs, and a packet of grass seeds – rye, barley, wheat, and oats. The instructions said to place a disc into one of the planting squares and add water. Wait ten minutes. Then make a well in each square, plant the seeds, and cover them with the damp soil. Place it in a diffused sunny place and keep the room temperature at 68 degrees or above. In 3-4 days, my cats would have grass. Easy enough.

Still I was skeptical. How long had those dry seeds been in the packet? No expiration date on them. They could be years old and I wouldn’t  know. Sure enough, by the end of day two, tiny shoots of grasses began to emerge from the mulch. It worked!

You see where this is going. Jesus told parables about seeds. We’ve read them, heard many a sermon on them. So, what did God remind me?

First, that seeds can lay dormant for a long time, but with the right elements (water, nutrient soil, and sun) they can suddenly sprout. Same thing goes for people. You may think you have had no influence, but given time and the right circumstances, what was lying dormant can begin to push through.

Second, follow instructions and leave the rest up to God. Put aside skepticism. I didn’t know if I could trust this manufacturer to produce a product that would do as it claimed. But I do know my God keeps His promises. If He says it will happen, it will.

Third, in order for me to grow, I need three things – the Son shining gently in my heart, the Word to be a nutrient for my mind, and the Living Water soaking my soul with faith and trust. Eventually what God has planted in me will begin to grow so I can be of service to others in need.

Speaking of instructions…The Lord told me to write this. So I am obeying. Maybe because you needed reminding as well? Seeds planted.

 

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Then the Lord said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on”  (Exodus 14:15)

I am soon moving to a new apartment, so I figured it is a good time to weed out what I have and decide if I need it or if someone else can use it. As I sort, I’ve noticed a few yucky things have been hidden from my view. Dust between books in the bookshelf, dust bunnies clinging to the baseboards behind large furniture, and tufts of lint lurking behind the fridge and washer/dryer units. And I thought I kept a clean house!

And of course, there will be the desire for new things in the new place to replace some of the old. New dish towels in the kitchen or drapes in the living room. Perhaps a throw pillow or two to match the new decor.

And, I shouldn’t assume the furniture will fit the exact same way as it did in my old place. I need to be open to a lamp ending up in the bedroom instead of the living room, or an end table that always sat next to a chair being across the room by the sofa.

God brought to mind that perhaps He moves us out of our comfort zone so we can find the areas we have yet to clean in our souls. Stuff we have hidden from ourselves, and perhaps from Him…or so we think. Until we move, it won’t be revealed.

And He may want us to take on a few new things as well. Things not needed before. Or perhaps what we have will end up in a different place in our lives, similar to an end table or a lamp changing rooms in a new locale. We need to be flexible knowing things may not be the same as they were before. Some of our gifts may not fit where we thought they would.

Moving into a new ministry or situation is also a time to reevaluate our talents. Is there something we should give up and let someone else to do instead? Perhaps a leadership role has grown a bit stale, and another person needs to be stretched into it so they can grow and bring in new ideas. Maybe putting out the hymnals or setting up the potluck dishes, which we have done for ten years, is just what a new person in the congregation needs to do to make them feel they are contributing.

Moving is scary, unknown and, to be honest, a hassle. However, it is necessary now and then so we can get a different perspective and take inventory of our lives. And the best thing is that God goes before us, and with us, in the process. He knows where everything will fit.

Soon the new place we end up will begin to be a tad more comfortable and familiar. We will wonder why we stressed about it in the first place.


My passion is to help people find God moving in their world. One way is being a digital missionary, writing and editing for The Life Project.  Click on it to find out more. Last year we touched over 4 million lives over the internet. This year, our works are being translated into French, Spanish, Hindi and Arabic so we can reach even more souls with the Hope of Christ.  If you want to  find out more, or perhaps become involved in this vital internet ministry through praying, volunteering to be an online mentor or writer, or contributing financially, contact me though the comments. Thanks.

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I found God moving in my life this week – literally – as He answered two prayers: finances and living conditions.

My doctor says I should not climb stairs again. Hard to do when you are planted in a second floor apartment. The only first floor one available in my complex is $72 more a month! OUCH! The new manager wouldn’t negotiate, so it’s moving time in a few months. (I have to give 60 day notice — she wouldn’t budge on that either.)

After a teary weekend praying and looking online, I found three I could afford. A friend drove me around to each.  Nada. Either no first floor unit or a long waiting list.

We pulled over and prayed, then turned the corner and saw another complex. It looked nice.  Never saw it online, and I’d virtually looked at 62 listings of available apartments in my city over the weekend. Even so, we both felt a strong urge to go check it out.

Sure enough, a unit on the first floor had  become available that day, scheduled to be ready for occupancy on the very day I am released from my old lease in 60 days! Thank you, Jesus!

Ready for this? There is a handicap ramp and parking space right at the front doorway. I will be needing that for quite sometime yet.

It get’s better. It is $84 less than I am paying now.  That’s a utility or cable bill difference.  When you are on fixed income, that is HUGE! Prayer number 2…answered.

Yep, I cried again as we drove away, this time in gratitude. God is so amazingly awesome, I cannot begin to describe His wondrous power.  But this is just a hint of what He has planned for those who trust and believe in Him.

Sure, I will basically be sequestered in my second story apartment a while longer. Gives me lots of time to slowly pack! (If you live in Fort Worth and want to help for an hour or so in early March…)

Whatever you are going through, whatever obstacles loom in front of you casting a shadow of gloom, our Lord knows about them and has a plan to explode them into tiny pieces you can kick aside. Or He will offer you a way around them.  No, not a way — the best way. Just keep on praying. His timing is always perfect.

God definitely “moves” in mysterious ways. If you are not planted where you are supposed to be, He will make arrangements to move you — just as He has for me.

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