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Posts Tagged ‘Where Did You Find God’

Have you ever had celery go limp in the fridge? My mother told me years ago to place the stalks in water. If you have been reading this blog a while, you know I find God-messages in everyday life. Today is no exception.

Life can be like a stalk of celery. Cut off from the soil which nurtured us and allowed us to grow into who we are, circumstances can isolate us and can leave us a bit limp after a while. We don’t feel as useful. We aren’t as crisp and our posture bows with the pressures in our day, so we no longer stand upright.

Solution? Just add water- the Living Water.

That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither— whatever they do prospers. Psalm 1:3

He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, Psalm 23:2

“…but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” John 4:14
We all need water to survive. Plants can even root in water. (See the true Corn Plant Saga posted a week ago).  Our bodies cannot go without water for more than three days or we will die. What makes us think our souls can go without spending time with God for several days?
Today, a few stalks of celery reminded me how much I depend on spending time in God’s Word and in prayerful listening for His Spirit to  respond in order to keep me upright, fresh and ready to be used.

 

 

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A God lesson in the midst of a storm…

2:30 a.m. My bedroom fills with a loud, mechanical female voice – “TORNADO WARNING! TAKE SHELTER!”

My eyes fly open and I turn to see my cellphone flashing on my bedstand.  I throw back the covers and force myself to call my two cats, who had been curled up on the end of the bed, in as calm of a voice as I can muster. “Come on, kitties. Follow me.”

One immediately sails off the bed and follows me into the closet. The younger one comes halfway and stops. His iridescent eyes turn to the window as the flash of lightening filters through the curtain. Then an elongated crack of thunder shakes the rafters.  He stares at me, frozen. I beckon, a bit sterner. “Come on, kitty.”

He huddles onto his haunches. “Um, nope.”

The warning siren’s wails crescendo. “Cat. Now!”

“Uh-uh.”

As the wind howls and the rain-hail pellets pound on my rattling window, I scoop him up and rush to the closet, closing the door with my other hand.  I can feel the air pressure changing and the 85 mph wind swooshing outside. He doesn’t care. He hates closed doors. He wants out and begins pushing his 15 lb weight against it as I hold it shut.

I have been like both of my cats were last night, but I admit I am the reluctant and stubborn one more often. Unaware of the danger, I resist following God. I am not concentrating on if He provides shelter, or is blocking my path for my own good, or leading me to something so much better than what is my reality now. I have my own ideas, my own plans, my own route.

When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. John 10:4

Sometimes we don’t understand where the Good Shepherd leads. It may be in a totally different direction, or a seemingly dead end. Maybe even a dark closet with the door closed.  But when He calls, who will we act more like? The compliant and totally trusting cat, or the one who would rather have his way, even though he is afraid and unaware of what is about to happen?

 

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http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photography-road-to-success-concept-image29144642

A local Christian radio personality relayed how she was driving down the road when a cop flashed his lights and motioned her to pull over.  She admitted her blood pressure rose and her teeth clenched because she wasn’t speeding. How dare he?!

Then he told her that around the blind curve was a huge obstacle in the road and the road was very poorly lit. At highway speeds, she’d have careened into it. Other policemen were removing it now. Would she mind waiting about ten  minutes.

After she sputtered and nodded, the officer jumped in his car, and with lights flashing, swirled around to block the road for the oncoming vehicles behind her. She publicly thanked the policeman on the radio and apologized for her initial reaction.

It made me wonder how often God blocks my path and I MP900444553[1]grouse about it. How often does He detour me from danger and I complain because things are not happening “my way”? How often were those irritating moments that delayed me –like the cat hacking a furball in my shoe just before I went to slip it on, or a button snapping that I have to quickly repair, or the moving van blocking my exit from my apartment complex for a few minutes– actually work to my advantage without me knowing it?

 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

Lord, forgive me. Let me publicly say thank you to You for putting obstacles in my path and delays in my day. Thank you for the story on the radio today that stepped on my spiritual toes a bit. Next time, I will try to be more patient and praise You in all circumstances. Through Your Son and by Your Spirit I pray, Amen.

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A post-Christmas God-lesson: It looked so bare!

The Twelve Days of Christmas came to an end. So with a heavy sigh, I boxed up all the Christmas decorations. The tree, the wreaths, the garland and stockings on the mantle, the potted poinsettias (fake because the real ones are highly toxic to cats), and of course my two Creche scenes with the Holy family and my advent wreath and candles.

space-1715058_640I stacked the boxes in the back of my closet, stretched the kink from my lower spine, and walked back into the living room.

My heart sank. It appeared so bare.

Okay-maybe not as bare as in this photo, but in my mind it looked about the same.  Perhaps you have had that experience.

It made me wonder how that manger over 2,000 years ago looked after the Holy family vacated it. Did the innkeeper scratch his head in confused wonder and whisper to the livestock, “Funny, it never looked this barren before.”

As I pouted, God tapped my soul’s shoulder. Julie-I’m still here.

“I know, God. You are always there. It’s just at Christmas it seems we can see You more easily. Joy and good cheer, charity and giving make the season bright. It is as if we finally take being Your light in the world seriously.”

I heard His celestial chuckle. Christmas is the incarnation of me coming into the world, dwelling in flesh. Now, I dwell in you, and every Christ believer. You carry on my incarnation, guided by my Holy Spirit. Right before I ascended into heaven I said, “Lo I am with you always.” I meant that. You don’t need to see a figurine of me as a baby lying a manger to remind you of that fact, do you? You don’t need a candle flame or a star topping a tree to know I am the Light, correct?

I cast my gaze downward and dug my toe into the carpet. “No, Lord.” Then my mood brightened. I glanced around my living room, and then to the ceiling.

“Lord, may my life, as it begins 2017, be a bare room. May You, as the months go by, fill it to Your glory so everyone I meet knows You are here, even it is is not the Christmas season. Decorate it as You please.”

I think He smiled.

After all that is the theme of this blog, which He inspired, and ID-100141400it has been for the past four years. May this blog be filled to His glory this year with ways I’ve found God in my daily journey so you can be encouraged to seek Him in your day as well.

 

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The following is written by Penelope Marquez, an author I know. It is taken from her novella, Hoping for Joy, part of the Love Is series based on 1 Corinthians 13, releasing today.  http://www.prismbookgroup.com/love-is-series.

Soon after Logan’s sister dies, her preschool aged daughter, Joy, who is now his responsibility, disappears.  His father has had a debilitating stroke and his fiance is severely injured in a car accident, possibly intentionally caused by the drug lord who killed his sister.

Now he is stuck in a mega traffic jam and can’t get to her. His anger at God increases. Prayer seems futile. He ponders if God really cares, or is even real.

 

ladybug-169943_1280When he opened the bag, a ladybug flew out. It landed on his hand.

His sister had loved ladybugs. He glared at it. “Fine. I give up. This is a message. Give it to me straight.”

The ladybug crawled along, struggling over each hair in its path. Every hair was an obstacle to its goal. Logan pondered over his own plight. His life was littered with obstacles, too, but unlike the ladybug, his problems involved people. He could not protect them, or fix them, or find  them when they were lost.

The ladybug stopped when it reached the cuff of his sweater, which undoubtedly looked like  a mountain to the little insect. It turned around briefly and stared at where it had been before it swung back to attempt to conquer the woolen peak. He frowned at the insect, but held still so he wouldn’t disturb it. The ladybug believed itself capable of scaling a vertical wall of yarn. It fell backward and landed upside down. All six of its tiny legs swirled in the air. He gently touched it with the fingernail on his pinky and set it upright. It held still for a moment and then flew out the window.

He was sad he had lost his small friend, but hoped it would find a safe place to rest. He wondered if he was like a god to the ladybug. How many of those small insects fell over with no one to help them?  How many people simply crushed ladybugs?

A chill slid up his back. Though Logan had struggled to do what he could, he had no control over life’s circumstances. He was powerless. He was alone. His burdens would crush him if he didn’t share the load with someone. Who could help him?

For a long time, he had denied God’s existence. What if he was wrong? What if there was something bigger than everyone? He was a giant to the ladybug. Could the tiny bug see him, or only his hand and sleeve? Maybe he couldn’t see God because God was too big for him to see all at once.

But perhaps he could see parts of Him if he tried.

 

God finally got to the microbiologist  Logan, mourning for his deceased sister, by sending a ladybug. He touches each of us in unique ways. Where will you find God in your life today? What message does He have just for you?

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An author friend of mine, Anita Klumper, *took this photo.

anita klumper's hoolyhocks

I saw a godly message in it. If we stay within the boundaries God sets, we can grow high and bloom.

Decades ago, another author, a minister’s wife, wrote a little devotional book called Bloom Where You Are Planted. Hard to do. Our human nature wants us to sprawl, to go beyond the fence. But if we do, we will not grow correctly, will we? Like a tomato vine that needs training, we humans need boundaries. Today, free spirits of society whisper to  be self-orientated, follow your own path, dare to be different.

But, as Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes, this is nothing new under the sun.  How much better to be under the boundaries of the Son! Our loving God wants us to grow correctly and safely, so His Word provides a fence for us. What is His fence?

Love the Lord your God and keep his requirements, his decrees, his laws and his commands always. Deuteronomy 11:1.

Or as our Lord stated, Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. Matthew 22:37-39

So, unlike the old cowboy song sung by Roy Rogers, Don’t Fence Me In, I pray the opposite. How about you?

 

 

* check out Anita's faith-based fiction on Amazon.com

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When I went through catechism, to discern if I would claim IMG_20131030_075636_787my parent’s faith as my own before God and the congregation, they taught us that Scripture should be read, marked and inwardly digested.

Jesus, according to John’s Gospel, is the Word, and He said He is the Bread of Life. We need a steady diet of the Bible in our lives. We need M&M, and M.

Mark – not just underline verses in different colored highlighters, but memorize them. Make them an important part of your thought process so at a moment’s notice if the devil is tapping on your shoulder you can respond by praying with Scripture. Let it leave a mark on your life.

Meditate – think on that verse and what the Holy Spirit is trying to tell you through it. What lesson is there in it for you, or an answer to prayer, or perhaps a head-thunk revelation? Truly learn it.

When we combine the two, then an amazing, positive, calming power envelops us and seeps through us, does it not?  Scripture comes alive, and we feel God’s hand gently upon our shoulder. The words are now personalized. We smile and whisper, “That is my verse. God wrote it for me.”

The final “M”? Masticate.  It means to chew. Chew on what has occurred, or continues to happen, in your life because of that verse. What has impacted you? How? Is there an action you should now take? Or maybe one you should not?

Mull it over for several days in prayer until you totally digest it inwardly. Let it flow through your system giving your spiritual nourishment. Feel God’s grace as it courses through your life.

MP900443254[1]_cropA steady diet of M&M, and M when it comes to God’s Word can do wonders for your health, your faith, and your attitude.  Try it.

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