Category Archives: hope

Enjoy the Moment

Dear One,

Right here, right now.   If I could give you one bit of advice, based on everything I know about you, this would be it:

“ENJOY THE MOMENT”.

If I could, dear Seeker, I would take you for a  long, slow walk just before sunset and have a conversation with you much like the one I had with someone yesterday and remind you of the simple things.

I know you want to trust God.  I know you’re tired of being stressed and fearful and feeling responsible for a future that you really have no real control over.   You believe that the LORD is Sovereign; so…

“The path of the righteous is smooth; O Upright One, make the path of the righteous level.” Isaiah 26:7

Relax

Take a deep breath.  You’re alive.

Don’t let disappointments and frustrations control your day.  Days may feel long, but life is short.

  • Internet connections will run slow.
  • Computers will crash.
  • Health will come and go and come again.
  • Appointments and deadlines will be missed.
  • Events will be cancelled.
  • Kids will break things.
  • Appliances and vehicles will break down.
  • Traffic will back up and you will miss a turn.
  • Things will be misplaced.

It’s going to be alright.  You already know it: God is on His throne, and you are not.  Do you really think any of those unexpected-to-you, no-surprise-to-Him, things can thwart the plans of the Almighty?

Even “big deals” are not “big deals” unless we make them into “big deals” by forgetting about our bigger than we know God who made all things.  And, if what’s on your mind seems like a big deal to you, it’s time you put things back in perspective and relax. 

God can handle it.  He has offered to take all our cares if we cast them on Him:  off your mind, off your back, and on to his.

Don’t be shocked by these not so strange and unusual happenings.  It is what it is, and it’s not the end of the world.  He’s got it covered.

  • Things are just things. 
    • Things can be replaced, if they even really need to be.  Most things we can live without, and often living with them makes our lives simpler.  No “thing” will last forever, anyway.  And, remember, “nothing (no-thing) can separate you from the love of God”.
    • Appointments can be rescheduled.  Plans can be altered.  And, you’ll never know what you really missed/avoided by an inconvenient divine intervention.  Commit your day to the LORD, interruptions and all.
  •  People are just people. 
    • Kids will be moody and grumpy and disrespectful every now and again, just like you were when you were in the “still becoming” season of life.   (By the way, you’re in a “still becoming” season of your own.) 
    • Spouses will say things that can be taken the wrong way.  (Whether they meant it that way or not, they need to be graced and forgiven, just like you do for your own “speak before you think/pray” comments.) 
    • Friends will irritate and offend.  (Need I mention how this proverbial shoe fits you, too?)
    • You are just a person.  And, if you’re replaying something from yesterday, ask forgiveness or forgive yourself, or let it go if that is what needs to be done.

So, whatever has a tendency to upset your day, look up and say, “Thank you.”  Maybe it is an opportunity to build your character or your faith, but maybe it really shouldn’t be a big deal at all.  Maybe it’s just something you should let go and over look.

“Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.”  Proverb 19:11 (ESV)  … and I would add that faith makes us slow to fear, and it is also glorious to overlook an inconvenience or interruption or a disappointment, choosing to trust the LORD instead.

“Above all (NLT “Most important of all”), keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.”  1 Peter 4:8 (ESV)

“Bear with each other” (NIV)  “Make allowances for each other’s faults” (LNT)  Colossians 3:13

 

“The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, shining ever brighter until the full light of day.” Proverbs 4:18

Rejoice

Your blessings far out number the things that you are calling “not a blessing” at the moment.  And, in the brilliant light of tomorrow, you’re “not a blessing” may wear a new label.

And, in the meantime, thank Him for the obvious.

“In everything give thanks…” 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Like one of my favorite old Evie song my parents played when I was a wee thing said, “Just be thankful for the good things that you’ve got…  The good things that you’ve got are for many just a dream; so be thankful for the good things that you’ve got.”

“give thanks for everything”  (NLT)  “always giving thanks for all things…”  Ephesians 5:20 (NAS)

Start thanking Him, now, in this moment.  Out loud, on paper, or in your head,… always, all through the day, for everything.   This is the secret of contentment and really living in and enjoying the moment.

  • for stained carpet, wobbly tables, leaky faucets, squeaky doors, pealing paint, …  find the beauty and the blessing in it, remember the memories made and the people you made them with…
  • the old neighbor with the long-long stories, for the town gossip, the kid with the runny nose and holes in his shoes, … for all the interesting people in your world.  Every book, every movie, and every life is better with unique and well-developed characters. (I’m thinking of Anne of Green Gables’s  Marrilla and Matthew Cuthbert, and Rachel Lynn, and Anne Shirley, of course.)

A bit blurry picture, but a favorite moment of my evening.  We stood silently for quite a while watching the doe on the middle of our wooded path.

P.S.

I thought you might like to know that I was on the receiving end of this conversation, and though Handsome’s words have been expanded upon by the Holy Spirit in the past 24 hours or so, the core wisdom and truth of his message to “enjoy the moment” are probably applicable to all of us women.

“ENJOY THE MOMENT.”

Tuck that away in your heart.

Slow down.  Look around.

This is where the LORD wants you to live… right here, right now, in this moment.  Trust Him.  God’s will for you is more than just enduring life.

He has yesterday and tomorrow all under His Sovereign reign, and He really does have “the whole world in His hands”… that includes you and me, sister…and your itty bitty baby, and my not so little 6’4″ baby

…and the doctors, and the politicians, and the teachers, and the bankers, the soldiers, the college professors, the tech support, and the UPS man,  everybody here, and everybody everywhere.

Knowing God is in control means we really can enjoy life, every moment, every day, and in every season.

It’s the enemy, not your heavenly Father, that would want you to shroud your spirit with gloom, worry, anxiety, fear, bitterness, doubt, insecurity, anger, frustration, hatred, resentment, tension, strife, or any other unsettling emotion that would smother your faith or douse your joy.

Remember who God  is, enjoy Him and enjoy this moment with Him.

He is “I AM”, living and ever-present.


Dear Seeking Friend,

If you’re reading this, I am praying for you.  May you remember that you are safe and secure “in Christ” and nothing can take you out of His hand; so may you rest peacefully in Jesus tonight, wake up refreshed  in Jesus tomorrow, and walk in abundance in Jesus all through the day.   May you see the handiwork of God all around you and hear the heavens declaring the glory of God when you look up.  May the Holy Spirit quiet your heart, calm your spirit, help you to slow down, and enable you to view your circumstances with an unhurried gaze.  May you have a twinkle in your eye and a happy expression as a result of your Heavenly Father’s love and the hope of eternity in your heart.  May you be a source of contagious blessing to others as you choose to enjoy your moments, one by one.  And, may you find yourself enjoying a divinely appointed walk with the LORD and hear Him say to you the words you are most needing to hear.

Keep Seeking Him… and enjoy the adventure, moment by moment.

Sour Grapes

Poor, sad Republicans.  They lost, and they look like they have a mouthful of sour grapes.

Some have turned off the news and tuned out of politics completely to avoid being depressed.  Others have set their sights on 2016, with an unspoken, “there’s no hope for the next four years… maybe it will pass quickly… let’s just hope the damage isn’t too bad”.

(I’m not trying to pick on the Republicans.  I had even more Democratic friends posting on Facebook that they would be in tears, of joy or sorrow, when the results came in.)

So, dear friends, those who are disappointed and those who could have been disappointed, with the 2012 election results, thinking “What will become of our children?”… and …

“The parents have eaten sour grapes, but their children’s mouths pucker at the taste.”

Why do you quote this proverb concerning the land?

As surely as I live, says the Sovereign LORD, you will not quote this proverb anymore.  For all the people are mine to judge – both parents and children alike.  And this is my rule:  The person who sins is the one who will die.

(If you’re totally confused by this proverb, from Ezekiel 18, PLEASE take the time to read this.  I promise to keep this concise.)

Suppose a certain man is righteous and does what is right…. and is faithful to obey my decrees… Anyone who does these things is just and will surely live, says the Sovereign LORD.

But suppose that man has a son who grows up to be a robber or murderer and refuses to do what is right…. does evil… worships idols… commits adultery, oppresses the poor…  Should such a person live? No!  He must die and must take full blame.

But suppose that sinful son, in turn, has a son who sees his father’s wickedness and decides against that kind of life… refuses to worship idols… does not commit adultery… is fair… gives food to the hungry and provides clothes for the needy… helps the poor

‘Doesn’t the child pay for the parent’s sins?’ NO!  For if the child does what is just and right and keeps my decrees, that child will surely live…

Even in the Old Testament, before the fulness of grace had come, we have these words of a merciful God…

Do you think that I like to see wicked people die?  says the Sovereign LORD.  Of course not!  I want them to turn from their wicked ways and live.

If wicked people turn away from all their sins… and do what is just and right,… their past sins will be forgotten, and they will live…

However, if righteous people turn from their righteous behavior and start doing sinful things… all their righteous acts will be forgotten, and they will die for their sins.

…You say, “The Lord isn’t doing what is right!”   O people…, it is you who are not doing what’s right, not I.

I love these last verses!

Put all your rebellion behind you, and find yourselves a new heart and a new spirit.  For why should you die, O people…?  I don’t what you to die, says the Sovereign LORD  Turn back and live!

There is ALWAYS hope for us and for our children!

I am thankful for the election results.  Not only because I’ve learned to give thanks in everything, but because I think that a Republican win would have been a pacifier for the church.  Romney could not meeting our real need, our nation’s soul hunger.

We cannot blame anyone for the condition of our nation any more than our children should blame us.  We and they must soberly take responsibility.

Instead of posting red and blue maps of post election results by county and being angry that the cities are “godless” and “immoral”, recognize that the cities are our mission field.  Too many of us look at the city as our grandparents looked at Africa.  “Lord, I’ll go anywhere for you.  Just don’t send me to THE CITY.”  

I am amazed how many Christians talk about, pray for, send money to, and even go the mission fields of Africa!  It is a wonderful thing!  But, maybe we should also look to a closer field that is ripe for harvest that is even more “foreign” to us:  our cities.

So, what are you going to do for the next for years?   (My last post Sunrise / Sunset  sums up what I’m going to do.)

Lord, reawaken our hearts for HOME MISSIONS!  Let us bring hope, light, and truth to the rich and poor of New York, Chicago, Miami, Philadelphia, Las Vegas, Las Angeles, and all the major cities of America.  Amen.

Day 1 of 40

Dead for 3 days, we buried him.
“We commit his body to the ground and his soul to God.”

I could not help but wonder, what if this third day was the day that “the dead in Christ shall rise first”? (1 Thes. 4:16) This moment. Right here, with us gathered around this grave?

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Mid-day I was asked, “Did you realize today is the first day of Lent?”

No. My thoughts have been else where… on a funeral.

It seems strangely appropriate.
We are remembering and hoping for the resurrection.

1921
He often talked about the things he had seen:
the first family in the area with electricity,
the first phone,
his father’s model T,
the 1939 World’s Fair,
the names of everyone who attended school with him in the one room school house down the road…

He knew all about farming, plowing, milking, carpentry, cutting stone, storing ice from winter through summer…

90 years.
Living history is passing away.
I feel the loss of a day gone by.

At our neighborhood Christmas party, he looked a little tired. Still, he was strong and sharp. What a blessing to live healthy in mind and body up to the very last days! Even into his 80’s, he worked the family stone quarry with his son.

90 years.

We read Psalm 90.

1 Lord, you have been our dwelling place
throughout all generations.
2 Before the mountains were born
or you brought forth the earth and the world,
from everlasting to everlasting you are God.
3 You turn men back to dust,
saying, “Return to dust, O sons of men.”

4 For a thousand years in your sight
are like a day that has just gone by,
or like a watch in the night.
5 You sweep men away in the sleep of death;
they are like the new grass of the morning
6 though in the morning it springs up new,
by evening it is dry and withered.

What a strangely warm and beautiful day for February!
All sunshine, and no snow.

Coming to this familiar place is like stepping out of time.
Generations have stood on this same ground… what has changed?
much and little.

10 The length of our days is seventy years—
or eighty,
(maybe even 90) if we have the strength;
yet their span is but trouble and sorrow,
for they quickly pass, and we fly away.

Married 68 years… not enough.
Our hearts were created for more than this.

Desperate for words of comfort.

14 Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love,
that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.

Is all “lost”?
Those with hope, grieve with hope… (1 Thes. 4:18, Phil. 1:21)
Those without hope… know only loss.

The hearse followed me for all but the last quarter mile of our back country roads as I drove to pick up my little one. In the solemn silence of those miles I pondered…
Death is behind me.
Not chasing me… it is conquered (1 Cor. 15:55)
and
I have already died and am truly alive. (Gal. 2:20)

Driving back to the church for lunch, I pray the words of the Psalm.

12 Teach us to number our days aright,
that we may gain a heart of wisdom.

I sing, “No guilt in life, no fear in death…”
…because of Christ’s death and resurrection,
the reason for this season we are entering.

“To live is Christ, to die is gain.” (Phil.1:21)

Oh, Lord, I want to live well.

17 May the favor of the Lord our God rest upon us;
establish the work of our hands for us—
yes, establish the work of our hands.

After lunch, I went home with leftovers to prepare into freezable meals for the widow. That afternoon, I delivered my box along with soup and sandwiches. We had tea. And, thus begins the “new normal”. How shall we live?

Rushing home to feed my family, I then dash off to visit another old country church, that of the kind preacher who conducted this morning’s service. A heavy rope in the back is pulled to toll the bell; the service begins. In discussing “The Nine Tailors” this year with my children, I learned a great deal about the traditions of ringing in the year, the hour, a birth, a death. In the warm glow of the gas lit sanctuary, I pray, meditate, receive communion, and am exhorted to remember, ponder, consider, seek… I do.

“Lent” – Latin for “forty” … This is Day 1.