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Posts Tagged ‘Julie B Cosgrove’


The LORD says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you.” Psalm 32:8 (NLT)

Today a memory floated to the forefront of my mind. We’d moved to another metropolis.  After a while my mother came to visit. The second day, as I drove her around, she gazed out her passenger window and sucked in a shaky sigh. “I’m sure glad you know where you’ re going because I haven’t a clue.”

I bit my tongue, but in my mind I thought, “What a silly thing to say. Of course you don’t. You have never been here before.”

But now, years later, I understand her angst. She had grown up and lived (and later died) in one city all her life. She knew the streets, the neighborhoods, and the detours. It was her comfort zone.  Riding around with me in a new town, she was way far out of it.

Why did this surface in my brain today? Because right now I relate to my mom. I have whispered in prayer the very same thing to God. I have no idea where I am headed. Nothing seems familiar on this road…except the other person riding with me.

But instead of saying, “Silly woman. Of course you don’t. You have never been this way before,” God gently reminds me, “Yes, but I do. Trust me one more time. I’m right here with you every step of the way.”

I can feel Him pat my shoulder and almost see Him wink. “And by the way, I’m driving so sit back and relax.”

I suck in a shaky sigh….

 

 


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 about my work as a writer and editor at  http://www.juliebcosgrove.com/missionary_support.html

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I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago. Psalm 77:11

You probably have a shelf or two of them as well. Photos, knick-knacks, chotzkies. Things that are precious to you and evoke memories as soon as you notice them. A figurine from your great-grandmother, which you might take to that Antique Show one day to have it valued, sits next to the clay thingamajig  your child made for Mother’s Day in second grade. Fading photos of your kids, siblings, parents, and maybe relatives long crossed over to the other side of eternity brings happy tears welling in the corners of your eyes.

You love to point them out to visitors and tell them the story behind each one…if they’ll listen, that is. If you move, I imagine they’ll get an extra layer of bubble wrap.

IMG_20170911_082056584

Do you have a similar, mental shelf filled with the serendipities and miracles God has performed in your life? Do you hold them close to your heart and keep them fresh in your mind to meditate upon on those days you wonder what the purpose to all this is, if things will really turn out alright,  or if He hears your pleas?

Maybe you do, and they are recorded in the back if your Bible or in journals. If so, carve out some quiet time this week to go over them, savor them and thank God anew for them.

If you don’t, that’s okay. You can begin to collect them now. How? Simply ask God to help you recall them. Then be attentive when He brings them to mind.

He has caused his wonders to be remembered; the Lord is gracious and compassionate. Psalm 111:4

When we recall all that God has done for us, our attitude can’t help but shift towards the positive. Just like a gas tank, the recounting of His past mercies and favors pumps into our emptiness and makes us full again. As we think about what God has done for us in the past, we can’t help but know He will come through again. His nature is constant. He is unchanging.

He was your Help, your Strength, your Refuge, your Joy and Salvation yesterday, and six months ago, and five years ago. He will be so again today, and for the rest of your tomorrows. Remember that, always.

 

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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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“Oh, that I might have my request, that God would grant what I hope for…” Job 6:8

I used to walk in the door at the end of my workday and find my cat sitting on his haunches, waiting.  Not because he missed me. No delusions here.  I know he waited for me to open the can of food since he has no thumbs. Now that I am working at home, he doesn’t get it. He thinks he can beg whenever he wants and as his dutiful servant I will pop another lid off a can.

“Meow?”

“Not yet.”

Purrs louder. “Mew?”

“Nope. You have to wait.”

“MEOW!”

“I said, “No.'”

We have this battle often throughout the day until it is finally time to feed him.  Each and every day. Yep, gets on my nerves…

Then I thought…

Is this how I treat you, Lord?

Do I come to You, yank on Your luminate robe and whimper, “Daddy, please. Can I have it now?”

Do  I respect Your no, not yet and you-have-to-wait answers? Or do I tug some more?

Just because I know You are around, is that any reason to keep bugging you, or can I simply bask in Your presence knowing You will provide when it is the right time?  I know You want me to lay my requests at Your feet, Lord, but not to daily whine to You about them, unwilling to listen to  and obey Your response.

Forgive me, precious Lord when I act as impatient as my cat and only want from You rather than desire  to serve You. Remind me You are the Master, and You know what is best for me. Your timing is always perfect. Calm me down and bring me the peace of trusting in You for all things. In Jesus’ name and through Your Spirit, Amen.

 

The internet is the new mission field. At Campus Crusades’ The Life Project, we have a readership of 500,000 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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It seems a good many microwave meals have directions like this:

Why make a slit? I’m no scientist, but I know when heat is applied to frozen things, pressure builds. If there is no slit, you’ll probably hear a loud pop and find your dinner splattered all over the inside of the microwave.

The God lesson? Our habits can freeze us. We become hardened and unable to receive God’s lessons. So He adds a bit of heat to our lives. They’re called trials.

Even the Apostle Paul felt it. He wrote in his second letter to the church in Corinth: We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about the troubles we experienced in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. (1:8)

However, when the pressure begins to build, I often see Our Lord’s loving hand making a slight slit in the situation. A small reprieve. Perhaps it is a wonderfully painted sunset, or a little bird that lands on my fence. Maybe it is a hug from someone or a text telling me a friend felt lead to pray for me that day.

Did you notice what it says in the top of the picture? Ovens may vary. Isn’t it the same with us? I’ve heard it said God will never give us more than we can handle. These holy hiccups in the midst of all that is going on are precious signs that He is releasing some of the pressure in my life at just the right time. His hand is not always heavy on the potter’s wheel as He molds me into what He knows I can become.

Paul realized that as well. Two verses later he sates: “He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us again. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us as you help us by your prayers. …” (1:10-11a)

Lord, thank you for those slits in my life.

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I admit it. I have always hated Romans 12:1 – Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.  (NASB)

courtesy answerfitness.com

Why do I hate this verse? Because most of my life I have hated my body. I have the metabolism of a sloth. I’m short and stocky, and have struggled with my weight since childhood. When I look in the mirror standing in the buff, all I see is buff –  Big, Ugly, Fat, Frumpy. I wobble between hating myself and being angry with God because He made me with this propensity to be overweight. Health issues prevent me from exercising, but even when I could, it didn’t seem to make any difference. The inches kept piling on, no matter what I ate or didn’t eat. Nor how many hours I sweated working out or not. I’ve had test after test and no doctor can figure out why.

I’ve blubbered to God so many times. Why is it so easy for me to put on pounds and so hard to take them off?  Why does it seem that no diet works? I’ve tried them all. Pounds melt off others while mine stay on. (and no – I don’t want to hear about your miracle diet and how well it works.)

How can I present Him my body when it is un-presentable to me? How can it be holy and pleasing when it is so unpleasing to look at in the mirror? Presents are supposed to be pretty so people ooh and aah over them, right? How can I be acceptable to God in my “present” state?

The other verse I hate? The one they want all women with poor body images to memorize – Psalm 139:14:  I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. Yes, the human body is wonderfully made in its mechanics, ability to heal itself, etc. But my body isn’t marvelous to behold. Sorry. Can’t go there. I have pictures to prove it.

The funny thing is I don’t mind presenting other ugliness in my life to my Lord. I have no qualms about confessing a nasty attitude about someone else. I often offer a problematic thought to Him to rebuke or reform and let Him expose my misconceptions that are blocking His blessings. So why is so hard for me to present my body? It’s not as if God doesn’t know what I look like.

Today, in a Bible study by Priscilla Shiver, I saw the verse with new eyes. Present means surrendering control — like kneeling before the king with arms stretched out and handing it to him. Here. Take it for your use.

This struggle is beyond my capabilities. Obviously- since I have battled and never won in sixty-plus years. However, I can choose to acknowledge this conflict cannot be totally mine anymore. It’s not up to me to win it, but to surrender it.

If I daily present my body to God, He will transform it–if He so desires. I’m not saying I will wake up a size 8 in a few weeks or even in a year. Whether that happens or not, I must trust that He will transform my attitude about it.  His Spirit will provide the power and tools I need. All I am required to do is present it, each and every day.

Whatever you are battling in your life–whether it is your weight, an addiction, an attitude like anger or unforgiveness, a grudge–daily present it to the Lord. First thing before your feet hit the floor.

I’d say we can do this together, but I know we can’t. Only God can, with His Spirit renewing our minds, souls…and perhaps bodies.

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People have asked me to tell this true story. It’s long, but here goes….

Back in 1974, I bought a small corn plant at a local nursery because, well in the 70’s, everyone had a jungle in their apartment. But it didn’t thrive, so I put it in the bathroom to get more moisture. Every time my to-be-hubby came over, he’d been down, waggle his finger and tell the scrawny four-leafed heap, “You better grow, little guy, or I’ll make her pitch you out.” Yes, we talked to our plants back then. It was a 1970’s thing.

Fast forward through the years. We moved 22 times in 33 of them, and the corn plant was always last on the truck and first off. Then in 2005, we had to leave because of Katrina. All of our salvageable items were put in a storage pod and sent to San Antonio. Only some of our clothes, the “very breakables” and our prized possessions (well, and the cats) would travel with us. People from our church gathered to help us pack and bid us farewell. Corn plant by then was over seven feet tall…a scrawny-trunk thing we tied to the wall with string and thumb tacks.  No way would it survive months in a storage unit. Six men stood in our garage constructing a container to house the plant, which would travel in the bed of my husband’s truck. Using cardboard and plywood they encased it as if it was Michelangelo’s David.

As I followed in my car, I watched through the windshield wipers as the the wet winds whacked the carefully plotted-out tower. When we crossed the border into Texas, I gasped as it bent into a jack-knife. Tears welled. For three hundred more miles it bounced and bowed toward the bed of the truck. About 1 a.m. we arrived at my family cabin in the Texas Hill Country, which would be home until he found a new job. That’s when my husband analyzed the damage. I blubbered as he dismantled what remained of the tower and confirmed my worst fears. All the angst over the past few days following the hurricane poured down my cheeks. I took the top of the plant and jammed it into a gallon jug, filled it with  water, and set it by the window. My husband, instinctively knowing not to question my futility, carried in the pot with the bare trunk and plopped it next to the same window. Somehow, we just couldn’t toss it down into the ravine gully.

The snippet grew roots inside the plastic jug. Hubby found a job in Florida, so we moved – this time with plant-jug steadied on the floor board of my car. We left the scraggly trunk behind. Later my cousin opened the cabin for the spring and found it had sprouted! She kept watering it and the next summer we snipped it off the trunk, jugged it, and took it back to Florida. Now we had two corn plants, side by side in the same pot.

In 2008 we moved back to Texas. For reasons I will not go into, my husband developed medical problems and grew more and more ill. During this time, one of the corn plants wouldn’t thrive. It’s leaves were lighter in color, the other was lush and green. As he diminished, so did the plant. One by one the leaves yellowed and withered. I planted it in it’s own pot but no amount of soil, food or horticultural care would stop it’s decline. Eventually, two years later, the scraggly one died. The last leaf dropped off. It left me with an eerie feeling, to be realized forty-eight hours later when my husband died in the shower getting ready for work.

I moved with the healthy one to an apartment, and my son later moved in with me to ease my widowhood. Lo and behold, a “shoot” began to grow off the surviving corn plant. An offspring. Here is the plant today, June 2017.

My son no longer lives with me, but often when he comes over, he bends down, looks at the corn plant and says, “Well, I guess God wants us both to live a bit longer. Lookin’ good, plant.”

On the “bad days” when my chronic pain gets to me, I see the lush green plant and it helps me put things in perspective. It is as if God is telling me He still wants me to “bloom where I am planted.”

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