What Do You See Outside YOUR Open Window Today?

What Do You See Outside YOUR Open Window Today?
Remember: "When God closes a door, He always opens a window!" You never know what might be out there waiting for you!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

God Is In Control...

II Timothy 1:7  "For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind."

Tonight I have heard some disturbing news...news that could strike fear into the heart of any mother or father.  God has blessed us with three wonderful sons.  Each one is uniquely talented and gifted in special ways. As is the case with most parents, we do not love one child more than any other...we love them equally and fervently.  But one of our sons has been especially close to our hearts throughout the years because it seems as though God has set him apart for a unique purpose...to be a witness to us and to those with whom he has come into contact of the miraculous, gracious, amazing power of God to work in mysterious and marvelous ways, His wonders to behold! 

For those who know our son Matthew, you are aware of the story of the miracles that surrounded him and touched his life when he was diagnosed with a brain tumor at the age of eighteen. The fact that God not only healed him of one brain tumor, but two within the course of a couple of years remains one of the beautiful mysteries of life that cannot be explained by normal human ideologies.  Matthew is now 37 years old, married, and the proud father of our only grandson, Noah, who is ten years old.  His life has been blessed and we never cease to praise God for how He has intervened on his behalf many times.

Today Matthew had a CT Scan to examine a small lump that appeared on his lower abdomen.  The original thought was that perhaps he had a hernia, but the radiology report revealed that this is an enlarged lymph node, and that he has many more such nodes on his torso.  The doctor has scheduled a biopsy for this Friday to determine the cause of the swelling.  Matthew lives in Maine.  We live in Florida.  That's a long way away for my son to be when such news comes. 

A few years ago, when we were in the midst of another son's trials and tribulations, I learned a little song while leading the music for our church Vacation Bible School.  The name of the song is, "God Is In Control", originally sung by Twila Paris.  It goes something like this:
"God is in Control...we believe that His children will not be forsaken, God is in contol, We will choose to remember and never be shaken. There is no power above or beside Him we know! Oh oh oh, God is in Control!
I have sung that song many times since those days of concern and distress; sometimes with tears streaming down my face, but I had to accept the fact that GOD IS IN CONTROL! Not me! God!

Isaiah 41:10 says, "Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you.  I will uphold you with My righteous right hand."

I love the emphasis on the words "am" and "will" in that verse.  Almighty God clearly and emphatically states that He is with us, He is our God, He will strengthen us and He will help us. He will uphold us with His righteous right hand.  So no matter what the tests may reveal, no matter what the prognosis may be, we can trust God.  He will not let go...He will carry us with His righteous right hand.  He may even choose to perform another miracle, but either way...we will trust Him.

IT IS ALL ABOUT TRUST~Can you trust the One Who died for YOU? If He was willing to DIE for us, then He is also willing to take care of us in this life.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

I Will Go in the Strength of the Lord

Psalm 71:16-18  "I will go in the strength of the Lord God; I will make mention of Your righteousness, of Yours only.  O God, You have taught me from my youth; and to this day I declare Your wondrous works. Now also when I am old and grayheaded, O God, do not forsake me, until I declare Your strength to this generation, Your power to everyone who is to come."

How appropriate these verses are for me today!  If you read my short little blurb last night, you know that I came home "too pooped to participate" in writing, in cooking, in life in general. A couple of you indicated that you would pray for me to get a good night's rest.  Thank you...I wish I could report that your prayers were answered...unfortunately, my brain just couldn't shut down enough to truly rest through the night. 

As I was reading the above verses from King David's writings in the Psalms, I totally related.  He starts out in verses one and two by saying,  "In You, O Lord, I put my trust; let me never be put to shame. Deliver me in Your righteousness, and cause me to escape; incline Your ear to me, and and save me."   I don't know if you have ever had this kind of experience or feeling before in your life, but if so, you are in good company!  David was considered by God to be a "man after His own heart" (I Samuel 13:14), and even though David made some big mistakes and fell into sin, God still loved him, forgave him, and continued to empower him as the King of Israel. 

I am going through a time of training and expanding my "mind" (what's left of it) in learning my new job.  At times I feel like giving up before I even get totally started because the task is looming too largely before me in my mind.  I fear that at my advanced age my brain is not able to comprehend so much new information, and it may just explode in a great conflagration of overburn, and I will disentegrate into ashes and crumble to the floor.

But then I remember that I've been through tougher times than these before, and God brought me through it.  In verses 20-21, David says to God, "You, who have shown me great and severe troubles, shall revive me again, and bring me up again from the depths of the earth. You shall increase my greatness, and comfort me on every side."

So today "I will go in the strength of the Lord", since I do not have any strength of my own to go on. And I will trust that God will indeed "revive me again", and "comfort me on every side."

"O God, do not be far from me; O my God, make haste to help me!"  (Psalm 71: 12) 

Monday, March 29, 2010

Too Pooped to Participate

I'm begging the night off, friends!  It was a mind-boggling day at work...stayed late at work learning new stuff...poor old brain is frazzled tonight. 

I will catch up with you tomorrow, Lord willing and the creek don't rise! Thanks for your prayers! I need them!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

A New Week...A Most Significant Week...

"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! See! Your house is left to your desolate; for I say to you, you shall see Me no more till you say, 'Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!'"  Matthew 23:37-39
As we begin this most significant week, better known as Holy Week, or the week of Christ's Passion...our world is still in great turmoil.  Our country is in great turmoil, and for many, our homes are even in great turmoil.  As Jesus entered Jerusalem that day, He wept, because He had come to save them, and they did not realize how very near their salvation had come.  Although on this particular day, they hailed Him as their Savior, and spread palm branches before Him, just a few days later those same people were hurling stones and crying out "Crucify Him! Crucify Him!".  They did not know Who He was...they did not realize how close their long awaited Messiah was to them at that very hour.  They rejected Him, and in so doing, they missed the blessing of what God had prepared for them.

I don't know about you, but I don't want to be guilty of missing the blessing that God has prepared for me.  I want my ears to be ready to listen, I want my heart to be open to His message of love and forgiveness, and I want my feet to be ready to go wherever He might lead me. As we enter this week, I pray that God will attune my ears and heart to connect with His heartbeat...  I pray also for our nation, that we as a people would put aside our feelings of hatred and anger and take time to stop and listen to the voice of the Savior as He cries over our "Jerusalem"...I hope we don't miss out on this opportunity to be gathered together under His wings and be sheltered and protected...and saved.

May your week be blessed...and holy.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

What's Your Passion?

If we could go around the "room" and ask each of you what you are passionate about, I bet we would come up with as many different answers as there are people.  Think about this...what is your greatest passion?  Spouse, significant other, children, family notwithstanding...I'm talking about other stuff...like your hobbies, your work, your home, the things you say "you'd just die for"... For some it may be a car, or a vacation in the mountains, or a cruise to the Bahamas, or a ski resort...others may be passionate about a flavor of ice-cream or coffee (Starbucks?), or perhaps a movie or a book you've read that left you breathless and craving more from the same author.  I know many who are passionate about clothes and shoes, or jewelry, or pets, or even... chickens.  My apologies to my new facebook friend with the same name as me...but she is the one who got me thinking about this today...and I do not write this in any way to embarrass or pass judgment on her because I found what she said so very interesting in such a way as to open my mind and eyes to the unique differences in each of us. 

My friend made the statement that "some things are just too horrible to contemplate."  I wasn't too sure to  what she was referring, so I asked.  Her response was that she had a chicken in her bathtub and it wasn't doing too well.  My first reaction, as I envisioned this chicken thrashing around in her bathtub, was actually one of laughing right out loud. It was such a funny picture in my mind that I couldn't begin to grasp the seriousness of her situation.  This is why I am so thankful for the protection of facebook...it gives us a few minutes to hopefully think before we respond in a knee-jerk fashion.  After I composed myself it began to dawn on me that my friend was actually grieving and feeling very sad about this chicken.  You see, she raises chickens and loves them...she connects with them much like I connect with my owls.  They aren't just something to feed, gather their eggs, and later put on the grill for supper...she cares about her chickens. They are special to her, and that's okay.  I need to respect that and understand and try to empathize with her feelings.  I finally came out with a rather lame response, but it was all I could think of..."I am very sorry. I don't know what else to say. I've never known someone with a chicken in their bathtub before.  I will keep you in my thoughts and hope for the best."    A few minutes later she responded, "And just like that, no more chicken in the bathtub, she's gone."  I do feel sad about that.  My friend is grieving for that which she loved. 

See, I never cared much about chickens before...probably because when I was a child I ventured too close into the chicken coop on our farm and was savagely attacked by a very territorial mean old rooster, leaving scars on my legs from his sharp claws and beaks and scars in my mind for the rest of my life. But just because I have been injured by a rooster doesn't mean that I shouldn't sympathize with someone else when they are hurting at the loss of a special chicken...and this can be applied to many other circumstances in life. 

Oftentimes we allow our hurts and prejudices to keep us from caring about others in their time of need.  Or perhaps because we don't feel the same way about a particular subject or haven't suffered the same kind of loss as another person we don't respect their feelings or can't comprehend why they should feel so passionate about something or someone. But we need to try...we ought to remember how others may have comforted us when we were grieving or hurting, even though they may not have completely understood our sorrow or pain...and we need to pass that same compassion on to others during their time of need. Yes, even when they are grieving for a chicken.

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God."  II Corinthians 1:3-4.
Lord, please help me to be more compassionate with others, just as I would want them to be compassionate with me in my time of need.  Help me to take my eyes off of myself and my personal passions long enough to see others the way YOU see them, and to care for them in the way that YOU would want me to care.  Forgive me, Lord, when I fail to show your love to others. I'm still learning...and I thank you for your patience with me.  Amen.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Have You Entered the Fort?

Psalm 18:2-3  "The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; My God, my strength, in whom I will trust; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I will call upon the Lord, Who is worthy to be praised; so shall I be saved from my enemies."
When I was a little girl growing up in the back woods of our little town, there was a woodpile in our back yard that became my fort. With my trusty plywood rifle, I could fight off all the imaginary indians that were attacking from the woods surrounding our house.  Soon my big sister and I built real forts out in the woods where we would escape from the neighborhood boys (our big brothers and their friends). These forts were quite elaborate, made from sapling pine trees slashed together, with thatched palmetto branches for the walls and roof.  We spent many a day perfecting our fort and making it better than the boys', or so we thought.  Then they'd come and attack the fort and tear it down, and we'd have to start all over.  Of course, we retaliated and tried our best to destroy their fort as well. 

Ah, the innocence of youth! You know, the interesting thing is, these forts were in the thickest palmetto scrub of the old Florida piney woods, and we were often barefooted, without any kind of weapon to protect ourselves from the wild reptiles, scorpions and other creeping things who were the natural inhabitants of those woods.  When I look back on it now I realize that our guardian angels must have been working overtime to keep us safe from harm.  We never so much as saw or heard any snakes while playing in the safety of our woodland forts, but we know they had to be curled up and hiding nearby. We would often come home on a sunny day to find a six-foot rattlesnake stretched out across our road, and even one time actually lying across our doorstep, barring our path into the house! Our big brother became our hero that day as he quickly snuck around to the back of the house and found a sharp garden hoe with which to decapitate the unsuspecting slumbering diamondback. You can bet we each had a good story to tell our friends at school the next day!

Today I still live in a woodsy area, but I haven't seen a live rattlesnake in the open for many years. However,  the dangers that surround us now are oftentimes much more sinister and creepy than snakes that can be destroyed with a garden hoe.   The nightly news often reminds us that there are many two-legged enemies out there seeking to destroy our peace and sense of security, and we find ourselves barring the doors with more locks and alarms than any fortress ever had in the old days. Certainly there are real dangers there, and we need to practice proper safety techniques lest we be caught unaware.

Because our world has become so fraught with terror and insecurity, it is easy to give in to these fears and become captive in our own minds, afraid to venture out lest someone might unknowingly step onto a tender place in our hearts. Oftentimes our biggest enemies are the ones we create in our own hearts and minds...the internal enemies of self-defeat, self-pity, fear of failure, and lack of trust.  There is no weapon formed by man that can defeat these enemies, because the enemy is often within.  But there is One Who can deliver us from all fear...One who wants to be our fortress, our shield from danger, our stronghold in the face of the attack of any enemy, whether real or imaginary...Who is this strong deliverer? 
"Who is this King of glory?  The LORD strong and mighty, The LORD mighty in battle...Lift up your heads, O you gates! Lift up, you everlasting doors! And the King of glory shall come in.  Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, He IS the King of Glory!" (Psalm 24:8-10)
"I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised; So shall I be saved from my enemies..."

Why not come into this fort and be saved from all your enemies...?

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

How Far is the East from the West anyway?

Psalm 103:11-12  "For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward those who fear Him; As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us."
Have you ever sat down and tried to figure out how far the east is from the west?  It's a kind of cunundrum, one of those things that really can't be defined in geographical or mathematical terms, although I am certain some of our more astute scholars out there may have some logical answer that none of the rest of us can comprehend.  I personally like the solution that the songwriters for Casting Crowns musical group came up with. In their song "East to West", they ask Jesus just how far the east is from the west, and the answer is, "One scarred hand to the other."  Think about it.  That is so profound, and yet so simple; that is, if you realize just what those scarred hands are all about.

As we approach Holy Week next week, the time of Christ's passion, crucifixion, and resurrection from the dead, we will be reminded again about those scars in His hands...the scars where the nails were hammered through as He stretched out His arms to hang on the cross; where He suffered and died for the sins of the world...for my sins and yours. When we think about how far away our sins have been cast from us, think about this picture of Christ, with His arms stretched out wide as if to beckon each of us to come to Him, and there to find rest for our weary souls. That's how far the east is from the west.

Psalm 103:2-5 further explains just what the Savior did for us that day:
"Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits: Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases, Who redeems your life from destruction, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies, Who satisfies your mouth with good things, So that your youth is renewed like the eagle's."

"Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends."  John 15:13

Thank You, Lord, for laying down Your life so that I might find life everlasting. Thank You for casting my sins as far as the east is from the west, so that I don't have to be burdened by them anymore. Thank You for loving me that much, in spite of myself.  Amen.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Do You believe?

Mark 9:23-24  "Jesus said to him, 'If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.'  Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, 'Lord, I believe; help my unbelief.'"

A friend called me today to request prayer for herself and also for her husband, who is recovering from surgery, and has recently been diagnosed with cancer.  Now today they say he has a blood clot in his leg.  This has been a struggle and a very trying experience for them both.  She said that she was just so tired, and trying to maintain her composure and strength, while trying to keep up with work and his doctor appointments at the same time.  She was also struggling with her spiritual strength and lack of faith.  Someone had told her that her lack of faith was the sin of unbelief, and she needed to confess it and repent of it.  I told her that her lack of faith was not a sin, but a symptom of the thing we all have in common...we are human and subject to fear, anxiety, unbelief, and being just plain worn out.

On my way to work this morning I was listening to a new song by Amy Grant entitled "Better Than a Hallelujah".  I really liked what the lyrics of this song had to say as they were speaking to me this morning.  I tried to share them with my friend this afternoon. I couldn't remember exactly how it went, but I just looked it up online, and here is what the main chorus of the song says:

"We pour out our miseries, God just hears a melody. Beautiful the mess we are, the honest cries of breaking hearts are better than a hallelujah sometimes..."  (sung by Amy Grant, written by Sarah Hart and Chapin Hartford)
 God understands when our hearts are breaking and our faith is weak. 
Psalm 103:13-14 says "As a father pities his children, so the Lord pities those who fear Him. For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust."
We will all have times in our lives when our faith is weak and our hearts are breaking. That's not a sin...that's our human condition...the very same human condition that Christ died for...why?  Because He loves us, that's why.  He told His disciples in John 14:16 that God would give them another 'helper', or comforter, that He may abide with them forever...and in John 14:18, He said he would not leave them orphans...or comfortless (KJV)...  He promised to send us the Holy Spirit as our Comforter...and why should we need comforting if we were always perfectly strong and full of faith?  Jesus knew that we would need the help that only the Holy Spirit can give in times of sorrow and distress. 

So, let's be honest with our deepest feelings and emotions...there's no need to cover up and pretend everything is okay when it's not.  Someone said that "tears are a language that God understands."  He will gently wipe away your tears and cradle you tenderly in His arms and rock you gently to sleep as He whispers a lullaby of love over you. 
"He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing." Zephaniah 3:17
If that isn't comfort, I don't know what is.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Joy Comes in the Morning...or afternoon, or evening!

Psalm 30:5b "Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning."
I'm not going to comment on the current state of the union regarding the passing of the Health Reform Bill...I think it has been discussed enough online, on TV, on facebook, and everywhere else already.  God will reveal the truth regarding this whole "event" in due time.  Just please continue to pray for our nation, our leaders, and our families and businesses.  Enough said.

Now on to other things...Yesterday I was having a rough day as I mentioned in my blog last night.  I had another restless night, this time not so concerned about my new job, but my son.  I prayed the night through for his safety, security, and his emotional and mental state.  It's hard when your child is hurting and is too far away for you to hug, reassure, and show him that you love him.  I don't care how old he or she is, he will always be your child; the one that you loved and cared for, prayed over, doted on, and had on your heart from the moment you were aware of his conception. As I said last night, I just had to commit him to the Lord and trust that God would come up with a plan.

This afternoon I was elated to speak with him on the phone and discover that he was at his older brother's home, which is a couple of hours away from where he staying, and that they were enjoying one another's company and spending some time together.  Some of the issues of concern were being addressed, and he has a second interview for a new job scheduled for tomorrow.  His cheerful voice was reassuring me that he was going to be just fine and that I shouldn't worry about him.  (Who me? Worry? What makes him think I would ever worry???) 

Whew! What a relief!  Now I can get back to concentrating on my new job...which went very well today, praise the Lord!  Oh, yes, there were issues...and moments of wonder and confusion and semi-panic...but with God's help, (and your prayers) I got through the day.  The mess on my desk will still be there tomorrow, and I will tackle the stack one page at a time. Several people stopped by to visit and introduce themselves, and I was able to share with them the story of the painting on my wall...you remember? The harp and the grand piano (it was a grand, not a baby grand...) and how it reminds me when things get hectic to stop and "Praise the Lord with the harp and make melody to Him with an instrument of ten strings."  They may even hear me let out a "shout of joy" now and then!

Yes, "weeping may endure for the night", but JOY DOES come in the morning! Praise the Lord!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

So Many Interesting Discussions Going On!!

After spending the day away from my computer it is interesting to come home and discover all of the most interesting discussions on facebook...some are talking about the 144,000 who will be saved out of the Great Tribulation, others are discussing politics, and others what kind of church is too "churchy", and some others talk about the birds and the bees and the flowers and the trees, and a thing called love...(oh, pardon me, that was a song...forgot who sang it). 

I do not have any great words of wisdom to share with you tonight...I am very tired...I didn't sleep well last night or the night before...I keep waking up and thinking about my new job and all the stuff I don't know yet that I will be expected to know very soon...and I have little panic attacks worrying about things I really can't do anything about except pray and commit them to the Lord...

I am burdened tonight about several things...I won't go into details, but it seems as though one of my sons who lives far away from home has lost his good job, and he is now out of money (again), and has no where to go and no way to get there, and no money or prospects, and bills that are due. Unfortunately, we are not in a position to help him right now having just spent the last eight months unemployed, and even though I just started a wonderful new job, pay day is still a ways off...and our bills are piled quite high too. And besides, would I really be helping him, or enabling him at this point...that is a question that keeps coming back to me frequently....but there was something in his voice on the phone that struck deep at the chords of my soul...my child is hurting and is far away from home.  It's not the first time, and probably won't be the last...but he is still my child, and I love him and want to help him in the best way that I can.

I have to place this and all the other concerns in the capable and loving hands of Christ my Savior.  He will do the right thing in all circumstances.

Tonight I must pray this prayer:
"The Lord is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid? (Psalm 27:1)
Then I skip down to verses 13-14: 
"I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.  Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the Lord!"
Ok, Lord, I will trust in YOU.  I KNOW that You will hear and answer my prayers in accordance with Your plan and will.  Thank you.  Good Night and God bless you all.  Tomorrow is a new day...

Friday, March 19, 2010


How often have we said, "TGIF" in our lives?  I know I've said it frequently throughout my years of employment...and even during my times of unemployment. There is just something special about Friday.  Today I am particularly giddy because I completed my first full week of my new job and survived.  Additionally, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that I have Friday afternoons off...that's almost as good as a four day work week! 

So today I celebrated by rushing right home to enjoy an absolutely gorgeous afternoon by dining out on my patio for lunch, surrounded by the joyful melody of so many birds I can't begin to count them! The bright yellow goldfinches are enjoying the thistle seed I put out for them.  Their golden bodies are such a bold contrast twittering back and forth against the spring green background of newly budding trees in the little copse of woods behind my house. Just as beautiful are the brilliant red cardinals and their more subdued colored mates as they chip chip chip away at the safflower seed in the other feeders. 

Earlier I heard the loud cukcukcukcukcukkkk of the tall pileated woodpecker as he flew from one tree to another in search of dead wood to peck away at.  There are several other red-bellied woodpeckers hopping up and down the tree trunks and on the ground in search of bugs, larvae, and acorns. 

A few minutes ago there was a war between the red-tailed hawk and our Barred Owls...apparently the hawk flew into the wrong territory...I am expecting the baby owl(s) to make their debut any day now. We are hearing a lot more owl activity at night....last night the adults were calling back and forth to each other from opposite ends of the woods, then just as I was watching out our back door (it was dark), I saw one of the owls fly pell-mell across our yard, calling "Who Who Cooks for YOU?" very loudly as he flew in the direction of his responding mate.  I think she was letting him (or vice versa) know that she had found some tasty rodent for dinner.  Food becomes a major issue when they are feeding newborn owlets.   

I know, this is a lot of jibberish about birds and stuff...but tomorrow is the first day of Spring...and all of God's beautiful creation is celebrating!  This is just the way He intended it to be right from the start...
Genesis 1:20-22  "Then God said, 'Let the waters abound with an abundance of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the face of the firmament of the heavens...and God saw that it was good...And God blessed them, saying, 'Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.'"
And yet even more significant is what Jesus taught His disciples about the sparrow...
Matthew 10:29-31 "Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father's will.  But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.  Do not fear therefore; YOU ARE OF MORE VALUE THAN MANY SPARROWS!"
Yeah, I know, maybe being more valuable than a little sparrow doesn't sound like much to you, but the fact remains that we were created for a noble and unique purpose...not to worship the "creation", but the Creator, and to one day dwell with Him forever...ONE DAY may be sooner than we think...so we may as well start celebrating now!
Revelation 5:13 gives us a bird's eye view of heaven at the end of the age...
"And every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, I heard saying:
'Blessing and honor and glory and power be to Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, forever and ever!'"
Amen and Amen!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

What It Looks Like From My New Open Window...

  • Psalm 20:1-5... 
  • "May the Lord answer you in the day of trouble; (He did)
  • "May the name of the God of Jacob defend you; (He did)
  • May He send you help from the sanctuary, (Wow! He literally did this)
  • And strengthen you out of Zion...(ok, He did that too)
  • May He remember all your offerings, and accept your burnt sacrifice. (Hmmm, does that include burnt cinammon rolls at midnight? I did that once, preparing for a Women's Bible Study that was supposed to be at my house in the morning...but that's another story)
  • May He grant you according to your heart's desire, (Yep, He did that too)
  • And fulfill all your purpose. (A "purpose-driven life"?...Yeah, got that one too)
  • We will rejoice in your salvation (Praise the Lord!)
  • And in the name of our God we will set up our banners! (Yes, wave the banners high!)
  • May the Lord fulfill all your petitions." (I believe He is already doing just that!)
Yes, this is what it looks like from my new open window...
I'm not saying that there is a bed of roses outside my new open window....no, there are a lot of brambles and briars to work my way through before they will become beautiful fragrant roses.  There are even some weeds and thistles to pluck out of the way...but with the pruning shears of God's wisdom and His help from inside the sanctuary, the roses will begin to blossom one by one. So wave the banners high!

Psalm 20:7-8 says "Some trust in chariots, and some in horses; but we will remember the name of the Lord our God.  They have bowed down and fallen; but we have risen and stand upright." 
Thank you, Lord, for your blessings today.  Amen.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

"It's What's in the DASH that Counts"

I don't know who said the above quote, but I read it somewhere probably in an email.  What this is talking about is the time-line of our lives; i.e.,  Mary E. Smith, Jan. 1, 1901--Dec. 30, 1986

Someday my headstone will record the date of my birth, and then there will be a "dash", and next will be the date of my death.  Everything that is between those two dates, "the dash", is my entire life!  When I let myself think about that I realize that everything I do here matters.  Nothing in my life is insignificant to God. Neither is it lacking in value to those around me, my peers, my family, my co-workers, my friends, and even those of you who may be reading this at this very moment.  True, you may not always like what I do or say, and even less often will you agree with me. But what I do does have an impact in one way or another...whether it be for good, or for evil, there are many witnesses, both here and above...

Hebrews 12:1-2 says, "Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God."
So, what's in the "dash" of your life?  Have you thought about who might be watching, listening, reading, wondering?  I know since I have determined to write these daily blogs I have had to think deeply about what I am going to say, because I never know who might actually be reading this.  I want my life to reflect what I am trying to convey here in words...otherwise it is worthless dribble. 

What about you?  What's in the "dash" of your life?  Let's all give that some thought...and then see what we can do about it.  Pray for me...and I'll be praying for you.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Do You WANT to be Made Well????

John 5:6-8  "When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he already had been in that condition a long time, He said to him, 'Do you want to be made well?'"
The above verse is about a man who had been sick for over 38 years.  There was a pool of water in Jerusalem that was known to have healing powers. When an angel stirred up the water, whoever stepped in first would be healed of whatever disease he had.  So Jesus came to town and saw this man lying near the pool.  When He asked him if he wanted to be made well, the sick man answered that he had no man to help him get into the pool when the water was stirred up, so he just never could get healed.  Then Jesus said to him something very important...He told him to "Rise, take up your bed and walk."  The Bible says in verse nine that "immediately the man was made well, took up his bed, and walked." 

I find it interesting that there is no record that the man ever thanked Jesus for healing him. To his credit, he did do as he was commanded...he got up and walked...but you would think that after being unable to do that for 38 years he could have at least said "thank you".  The other thing I find interesting is that when Jesus asked him initially if he wanted to be made well, he never really said that he wanted to be made well. He actually made an excuse for why he couldn't get well, because no one else would help him.  Isn't that just like human nature?  We have that same problem...we make up excuses why we can't do this or that to help ourselves, or we blame someone else for our problems...like our parents, or our teachers, or our employers (or former employers), or the government, or the police.  We seem to have a difficult time admitting our own problems or taking the initiative to do anything about our problems. 

I realize that there are many legitimate situations where people really cannot help themselves. I'm not talking about that or trying to belittle those who are truly helpless.  But there is a large number of people in America today who are much like that man lying beside the pool.  They really aren't too sure they want to be healed, or employed, or taken out of their "comfort zone".  They've gotten too accustomed to blaming others for their problems or expecting others to fix their problems for them. And when someone does come along and offer them hope, or a way to improve their situation, they may take advantage of the offer, but they forget to say "Thank you."

The question God may be asking us today is, "Do you want to be made well?"  Jesus offers us much more than a quick fix to our problems... He offers us a complete healing, from the inside out.  What He wants to give us is an answer that will last for eternity...actually, eternal life.  And it's free for the taking. No strings attached...just come as you are, and He'll take care of the rest.  Now that's a great deal!!!!  Any takers?

Monday, March 15, 2010

I Thessalonians 5:24  "He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it."
Psalm 138: 8  "The Lord will perfect that which concerns me; Your mercy, O Lord, endures forever; Do not forsake the works of Your hands."

Have you ever been chosen for or asked to do a job that you felt unworthy of, or perhaps overwhelmed with the miracle of how it all came to be in the first place?  That's kind of where I am today.  As most of you are aware, I was job-hunting for over eight months.  During that time I had many, many interviews, and quite a few second interviews, which all ended up with the same result...I was not selected.  Then, last week, out of the blue I received a phone call from one of those places where I had previously interviewed.  A new position had become available, one that was much better than the original position for which I had been interviewed, and they wanted to know if I was still available and would I be interested in applying!  Many of you have already heard this story, but I wonder if you realized what a magnificent miracle this was! 

I started this new job on Friday, and each day I am discovering more and more about just how amazing this whole story is.  There were other people available who could have done this job, and possibly even better qualified than I.  But for some reason, God reached down and whispered into their ears, "choose Pam."  I don't know why, except for the fact that I was getting pretty desperate and in dire straights financially. But lots of people are probably worse off than me.  I only know that I am there, and for whatever reason, God has placed me there.  His reasons may be way beyond anything that I can think of or even understand at this moment.  Only time will tell...and maybe only eternity itself will reveal the whole story. 

I have a lot to learn about this job...and I am a bit overwhelmed...but I stand amazed at the beauty of what God is doing...amazed and humbled, and oh! so thankful! 

Have you ever felt this way?  Have you ever wondered just what God was up to in your life?  I cling to the verses that are quoted above..."He Who calls you is faithful, Who also will do it"...which means that as surely as God has placed me in that position, He will be faithful to do the work through me that He has already planned.   

And then in Psalm 138:8...I love this one, because the psalmist believes fully that God will perfect or complete that which concerns him, but notice the humanity of this man (King David), when he almost pleads to God, "Do not forsake the works of Your hands."  In other words, even though he knows God will do what he has set out to do, he is almost afraid that He might give up on him, so he asks Him to please not forsake the work of His hands.

Yeah, I know that feeling.  Now that God has brought me this far, I don't want Him to forget about me and leave me to do this thing alone.  I know He will be faithful to complete what He has started...I just hope I can do my part.  Thank you for your prayers, friends!!! Please don't stop now!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

New Creature or Old? Which are YOU?

2 Corinthians 5:17  "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new."

Wouldn't it be nice to wake up some morning and find out that you are a whole new creature...that your body has been totally renewed and your outward appearance is like that of a twenty year old in his/her prime?  Even better, to realize that your inner person, your heart, lungs, bones, muscles, teeth, eyes, brain and nerves are also brand new and in perfect condition; wouldn't that be marvelous? Who among us wouldn't jump at the opportunity to be completely restored to our youthful perfection (if we ever were that perfect)?   I know I would, but only if I could keep the wisdom that I have learned through many years of trial and error. I certainly wouldn't want to have to learn those lessons all over again.

According to what I am reading today in 2 Corinthians 5:17, we can be a new creation, and perhaps many of us already are.  This verse tells me that if I am in Christ, I am a new creation; "old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new."  So just what does this mean?  I certainly don't look like a new creation...I look more like a worn out old shoe...comfortable, but very well worn.  And even more than that, I definitely don't feel like a new creation, especially today after springing the clocks ahead one hour last night! That always throws me off kilter for about a week!

The key is: "if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation..."  When we invite Christ into our hearts, when we accept the free gift of salvation that is only through faith in Christ, He comes to dwell within our hearts, and we become new creatures.  Our old sinful nature passes away, and our hearts and souls become like brand new babies...clean and pure.  He takes away the old and replaces it with the new.  That is better than any botox or plastic surgeon or heart surgeon could ever do.  The new creation within us shines through, giving us a happy, joyful spirit that nothing can ever take away.  Even when difficult things happen in our lives, that new spirit within continues to mature and grow and blossom into the beautiful new creature that is designed specifically by God.

If you are tired of the old creature that is dying within you, why not invite Christ in today?  He is only a prayer away...and He is always ready to create a new person.  Wouldn't it be wonderful to wake up tomorrow a new creature in every way...inside and out?  Think about it.  Better yet, just do it!
John 3:3 "Jesus answered and said to him, 'Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.'"

Friday, March 12, 2010

"You Called, and I Delivered"....

Psalm 81:7  "You called in trouble, and I delivered you; I answered you in the secret place of thunder; I tested you at the waters of Meribah." 
Perhaps you are still in distress of one kind or another.
     Perhaps you have been calling and calling, and you still haven't received the answers you were hoping for.
Maybe you are ready to give up.
     Maybe you don't think anyone is listening.

In the Gospel of Luke, chapter 18:1-8, Jesus tells a parable about a judge who "did not fear God nor regard man." There was a certain widowed woman who pleaded with that judge to "Get justice for me from my adversary."

In verses 4-5 it says that the judge "would not for a while; but afterward he said within himself, 'Though I do not fear God nor regard man, yet because this widow troubles me I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.'"

"Then the Lord said, 'Hear what the unjust judge said.  And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though he bears long with them?  I tell you that He will avenge them speedily." 

I don't know how many of us are actually asking God to get justice from our adversaries. I think most of us just need answers to difficult questions and help with distressing situations.  But the premise is still the same...God hears our pleas, and He is not disregarding our condition. Hold fast...help is on the way.  Perhaps He has already answered our prayers...Maybe we need to take the time to recognize that and say, "Thank you." 

Lord, I thank You tonight for the answer to many prayers...most particularly right now for the provision of a job...I am so grateful.  I lift up my friends to You also...Hear their prayers, Lord...meet their needs in a real way...and we give You praise for what You are going to do. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Window is Open Wide!!!!

What a day this was!!!  Those of you who have been following this blog since day one know that I began this because another door had been closed to me regarding a job.  My premise was that "When God closes a door, He always opens a window."  Writing this blog was the window that God chose to open for me.  It has been a daily challenge and discipline to take the time to listen to what the Lord was speaking to my heart, and then finding ways to share it with you.

Many of you have been praying for me as you discovered that what I really needed was a job!  I have been seeking employment for over eight months, with many many interviews, 2nd interviews, and hopes and dreams shattered along the way.  But...what I learned during the process was that God was protecting me from moving into situations that may not have been the best for me...and also making it possible for me to be free to pursue some other dreams...like attending the Florida Christian Writer's Conference last week!  That was a miracle in itself!  Had I already started a new job it would have been difficult for me to have that time available to attend the conference.  I would have really missed out on a great blessing!

Today a miracle happened.  Actually two days ago, when I received a call from a place in which I had already interviewed for a job, but had not been chosen.  They now had a new position, one that was even better than the previous...one where I would actually be supervising the person in the position for which I had originally interviewed!  They asked if I was still available and interested...of course you know what I said!
To make a long story short, today I was hired for that position, and I will actually start tomorrow morning!!! This position is better than any other I have applied for during these past eight months! It is at a church, which is where my heart is...in ministry.  It is a miracle to me in so many ways.

What I am asking of you, dear friends, is that you remember to pray for me as I begin this new position. I will need your prayer support even more now than before.  I am humbled by this opportunity and amazed at God's gracious goodness shown to me.  I pray that I will be worthy of this calling.

It is my greatest desire and plan to continue writing this blog on a regular basis. It may become difficult in the next couple of weeks as I learn my new job, but you will always be on my heart and mind.  I hope this will actually give me some "new material" to write about! 

So, here I go...going through this brand new "open window" that God has set before me.  Won't you come along on this journey with me?  Buckle up! It's sure to be an adventure!!

God bless you all! Love in Christ,   Pam
Deuteronomy 3:24 "O Lord God, You have begun to show Your servant Your greatness and Your mighty hand, for what god is there in heaven or on earth who can do anything like Your works and Your mighty deeds?"

Multitude of Anxieties...Hmmm...

Psalm 94:19 "In the multitude of my anxieties within me, Your comforts delight my soul."

So, how many of you out there have a "multitude of anxieties within you?"  May I see a show of hands?  Oh, yes, I see that hand, and that one, and that one, and that one...thank you sisters and brothers for your honesty today!  Anyone else want to raise your hand?  You have a multitude of anxieties within you...yes, I see your hand also!   I wonder if anyone would care to help me list what some of these anxieties might be:

  1. Loss of job
  2. Financial difficulties
  3. Health issues
  4. Concerns for children
  5. Concerns for elderly parents
  6. Marriage issues
  7. Spiritual concerns
  8. Can't find a job
  9. Loneliness
  10. Depression
  11. Grief over loss of loved one or friend
  12. Fear of dying, serious illness, or any of the above
I am certain that many of you could list several of the above as your personal anxieties.  Most everyone will admit to having at least one of the above concerns.  I know I could claim several of them.

Obviously, each of these concerns are valid reasons for anxiety. We can all agree on that. And we could also agree that there is no one easy answer that will remove all of those anxieties. These feelings are real, these problems are real...many of these issues will not be resolved in one day or even possibly during our lifetime.

So, what is the answer to life's anxieties? How do we get from point A to point B:
A.  In the multitude of my anxieties within me  ~  to ~ B.  Your comforts delight my soul.

I am not here to wave a magic wand and say "presto-change-o; your problems have all gone away." Don't I wish I could?  But, no, none of us have that power.  But what I can tell you is where the comfort that delights my soul comes from...even in the midst of tragedy, sorrow, fear, distress...and yes, I've been there too...

The verse right before the one quoted above is Psalm 94:17, and it says:
"Unless the Lord had been my help, my soul would soon have settled in silence." 
Then the first part of Psalm 94:18 says:
"If I say, 'My foot slips,' Your mercy, O Lord, will hold me up."
I know I can hear some of you saying, "That's too simple", or, "That's ok for YOU, but it wouldn't work for me."

Listen to what Jesus says in Matthew 11:28-30:
"Come unto Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." 
"Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls."
"For My yoke is easy and My burden is light."
Lord, I pray that each person reading this will release their personal anxieties into Your loving, compassionate hands right now. Hold them up in the midst of their sorrows and fears, and give them Your perfect peace and rest.  In Jesus Name, Amen.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Take Time to Be Still Today...

Ecclesiastes 3:1-2 "To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck what is planted."

I woke up thinking about spring this morning...after yesterday afternoon's beautiful sunshine and warmth, we know that spring is certainly in the air.  Here in Florida we've had many flocks of robins bobbing around for several weeks, even though it has been quite cold (for Florida).  I've noticed the azaleas starting to bloom here and there and beautiful lacy white flowered trees are blooming in the woods around our house. 

The other day I saw a pair of Eastern Bluebirds flitting nearby, so we immediately set  up a bluebird house on a tree in the back yard. I made sure that I could see it from my kitchen window so I can keep a close watch on any activity.  One year (in another location) I set up a bluebird house, and I watched Mr. and Mrs. Bluebird come and check it out several times over the course of a year before they finally decided it was suitable for their home.  I'm not sure why they were so finicky about it...the rent was extremely "cheep".   :)   Anyway, I sincerely hope we will be fortunate enough to attract this new couple to our neighborhood.  Bluebirds are becoming a rare sight in this part of Florida.

Of course, those of you who have checked out my facebook photos know that we have a very active Barred Owl community here in our backyard as well.  From our very first spring here in this house we have been privileged to observe the nesting activities of a pair of Barred Owls and the flight and hunting training of their resulting offspring.  The first year there was one owlet.  The next year there were none.  Then last spring there were twins!!  Now we are hearing the adult owls making their frequent "Who who cooks for you?" calls back and forth in the wee hours of the morning and often late in the afternoon and evening.  They are becoming more noticeable flying to and fro in the region of the hollow tree that is their nest, so I am anticipating that very soon we will be observing the debut of another baby owl.  I can't wait to see if there will be more than one owlet again this year!  Be sure to stay tuned for more details!
Maybe you really aren't into all this bird and nature talk.  Perhaps you are just too busy to notice the beauty of God's creation around you.

Psalm 46:10 says, "Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!"

 I see the glory of God reflected throughout His amazing creation everywhere I go.  Here in Florida we are blessed with magnificent and glorious sunrises and sunsets...each one a unique creation in itself...no two are the same.  When I lived in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, the majestic views of snow-capped  Mt. Washington could be seen from almost every direction ("on a clear day you can see Mt. Washington from here" was my favorite thing to say to our guests). In Ohio it was the waving fields of corn  and lush green meadows of the farmland surrounding the towns.  Even in Kansas we were astonished at the beauty of the thousands of acres of sunflowers arching their bright sunny faces upward to God as if to say, "Thank you for the warmth of your sunshine on us today." 

If all of creation can pause in their day to praise God, then what's wrong with us, the most precious creation  God ever made?  Why not take a moment out of your busy day today, find a quiet place away from the noise and strife, and just "be still, and know that He is God,"  and give Him praise for what He has done for you.  You will be amazed at the joy that will bring to your soul.

Have a blessed day!  I know I will!

Monday, March 8, 2010


Jeremiah 18: 3-4  "Then I went down to the potter's house, and there he was, making something at the wheel.  And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter; so he made it again into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to make."

Have you ever looked at yourself in the mirror and said, "I wish I could have an 'extreme make-over?'" I know I probably think that every day!  My hair is getting gray, my face is getting wrinkled, and my body, well, we just won't go there.  You get the picture.  As our bodies age we begin to sag and droop, or worse yet, we become flabby and lumpy in all the wrong places. No matter what we do to eat properly and exercise, some things just can't be changed.  Oh, I know they could be changed if one has enough money for surgery, face lifts, or frequent applications of hair dye, but even those extreme measures are only temporary.  Sooner or later we must all accept the fact that our bodies are literally dying and all the face creams, body lotions and health spas in the world cannot change that.

However, today I am thinking about the internal body of clay; my inner soul and spirit.  Every day I look into the mirror of my heart and realize that I need a makeover.  I see parts of my spirit that are sagging and drooping.  My soul has become flabby and lumpy with the cares of this world and the anxieties and fears lurking in the recesses of my mind. I keep trying to cover up these flaws by pretending they don't exist or by applying the world's ointments of working harder to make them go away.
Dear Lord, Master Potter, Take this clay pot that is my heart, soul, and spirit.  Break it down and reshape it into the vessel that is most useful for the work that You desire me to do. As the Psalmist pleads in Psalm 51:10 ~
Isaiah 64:8 says: 'But now, O Lord, You are our Father; We are the clay, and You our potter; and all we are the work of Your hand."

"Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me."  Amen.
How about you?  Do you need an "extreme makeover?"  Why not ask the Master Potter to reshape your clay pot into a vessel of beauty today. I know you'll love the results!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Now Comes the Exciting Part!

Psalm 119:105  "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path."
Psalm 119: 130  "The entrance of Your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple."

I just returned home from four solidly packed days of listening and learning at the Florida Christian Writer's Conference. So, now what?  That's what I am asking myself as I sift through the vast accumulation of brochures, notes and other important information that I packed into my bags and my memory banks...what should I do now?

To answer the question that is probably on your mind but you are afraid to ask: No, I did not receive a book deal, and that is okay.  But I did discover that God may have a totally different approach in mind for me at this time, about which I will tell you more as each day reveals the complete plan.  For now I am praying, thinking, organizing, and preparing. 

The scripture verses above show me that God's Word, the Bible, is a lamp not only for my feet and my pathway (the road on which I am traveling), but His Word also provides illumination (understanding) for my simple mind, which is very comforting.  Today's guest speaker,  author Eva Marie Iverson, made a very profound statement which I felt was a message meant especially for me.  She said,
"The road may not look like you think it should, but it is the path GOD knows will keep you moving forward."
So here is my prayer for now,
"Lord, Although it may appear that another door has been shut, I can see a light shining through an open window up ahead. Help me to keep my feet on the right path, and my "simple" mind illumined by Your Word, and we'll reach that window together. Amen."

Stay tuned in for further developments!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

The Door Which No One Can Shut

Revelation 3:8:  "I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name."

Even though the above message is given to the church in Philadelphia at the end of the age...I am claiming it as God's message to me today.  This is personal!  You see, I've been attending this "writer's conference" the past few days, and I must admit I am exhausted and have just a little strength left in me.  My greatest temptation this morning is to crawl back into bed and pull the covers over my head and say, "I'm too tired, I'm sick from coughing all night, my Nyquil didn't work, and I would rather just stay home and recuperate!" 

To be quite honest, I've felt a bit discouraged in my so-called writing career as I've heard over and over again from so many just how difficult it is for a first time author to get a book published in today's market.  Afterall, the Rick Warrens and Max Lucados and Jerry Jenkins don't come along every day!  One must have a have a unique message that has a waiting audience clamoring to purchase your long awaited masterpiece. 

But then there have been those voices which have risen above the others saying, "Don't give up!  Be true to yourself and the message that you believe God has given you.  You may need to redefine your purpose and the direction in which you are headed in order to reach your desired goals...but don't quit now!

"I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it."   Yes, I like that voice; It's God's voice above the din...Yes, Lord, I will listen to Your voice and trust that You will guide me in the right direction. That way I can't go wrong!

Friday, March 5, 2010

"Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in THY sight, Oh Lord, my strength and my Redeemer."  Psalm 19-14

Dear Friends...This message will be brief today as I am in the middle of attending the Florida Christian Writer's Conference.  What I have discovered so far in the conference is this: 

  1. WOW!!!  Such amazing people...extremely helpful and approachable...so very talented and gifted, and yet humble and Christlike.
  2.  I have a LOT to learn about writing and getting published as an author.
  3. Everyone has to start somewhere.  Even though I have been writing for a while...I am really just beginning.
  4. I need your prayers and support more than ever!
  5. I am so very thankful for this opportunity...it is definitely a gift from God.  Only time will tell what He will bring out of this whole experience, but it is my hope and prayer that whatever I do, it will bring glory to God and encourage and inspire others in their walk with Christ as well. 
I must sign off for today, but please keep praying!  Knowing that you are all "out there" praying for me and sending such encouraging words my way keeps me moving forward.

"Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen."   Ephesians 3:20-21

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Closed Doors? No Surprises Too Big for God to Handle!

Psalm 139:1-12 - "O Lord, You have searched me and known me.
You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off.
You comprehend my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways.
For there is not a word on my tongue, but behold, O Lord, You know it altogether.
You have hedged me behind and before, and laid Your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; It is high, I cannot attain it.
Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence?
If I ascend into heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.
If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there Your hand shall lead me, and Your right hand shall hold me. If I say, "Surely the darkness shall fall on me," Even the night shall be light about me; Indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You, but the night shines as the day; The darkness and the light are both alike to You."

How comforting it is to know that the Lord, the Most High God, knows everything about me! I don't have to pretend with Him. I don't have to put on a smiling face and say cheery things when I feel like I'm going to die inside. The fact is, I can't fool Him! I may fool others, even those who are closest to me, but I can't fool God. He knows my thoughts completely...even when I don't comprehend my own thoughts...He knows what they are, and why I thought them! He understands them far better than I ever could. He knows why I aimlessly wander down the paths I wander, and He protects me and even turns me around before I wander too far away. He gives His angels charge over me to guard and guide me when I don't see the dangers lurking around in the shadows waiting to overtake me. He builds His heavenly hedges high about me and shelters me in His loving, protecting arms. He is acquainted with all my ways...everything I think, say, and do, He knows all the reasons...even the reasons I can't remember and don't want to remember. And He understands...He never holds it against me. Such knowledge is to high for me! I cannot understand it! But it is so glorious to realize that the God of Heaven loves me, yes, even me!

Oh God! Where can I go from Your Spirit? Where can I flee from Your presence? Really, Lord, I don't want to ever be out of Your tender watch-care. I want to stay right here, where You are watching me and caring for me, and guiding my footsteps aright. If I stray into darkness for a little while, You are there...keeping me from bumping into the unseen obstacles that could cause me more pain. You shine Your enormous searchlight down on me and light my way so that I can get back on the right path. Of course, You don't need that light, You can see me even in the darkness...there is no darkness in Your eyes.

How comforting are these thoughts to me, O Lord.

Proverbs 139:13-18 - "For You have formed my inward parts; You have covered me in my mother's womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them. How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand; When I awake, I am still with You."

Can it really be? The God of Heaven truly knows everything about me, even knew me before I was born? And all my days are already written in His book...He knows what I am going to do even before I do it! The beautiful part of that is, there is nothing that I can do of which He is not already aware and for which He has not already made preparations. God cannot be caught off-guard. There are no surprises with Him or for Him. “Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain it.” Thank you, Lord.

Dear Blogger Friend...I don't know if you realize yet just how precious you are to God, but this Psalm assures us that He has known each of us since before we were ever even formed in our mother's womb! The truth of this scripture should blow your mind if you've never read this before.  I know it may raise a lot of questions for some...but hopefully it will also answer some even deeper questions about your eternal value.   The important thing today is this: Whatever obstacle (closed door) you may be facing, it is no surprise to God.  He's already got the window open and waiting for you! Don't lose hope!!!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Refining Fire-Preparation for that "Open Window" ?

Proverbs 17:3: "The refining pot is for silver and  the furnace for gold, but the Lord tests the heart."
Malachi 3:2b-3: "For He is like a refiner's fire and like fullers' soap. He will sit as a refiner and a purifier of silver; He will purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer to the Lord an offering in righteousness."

Have you ever seen a rough nugget of gold fresh out of the rocks and dirt? When I first saw a real gold nugget at one of those places where you "pan for gold" along the road (a tourist trap) I thought, "How can anything so beautiful come out of something so ugly and lumpy and dirty?" One would wonder why people would literally kill to have such precious metals! But then you go to the jewelry store and you see all the gorgeous rings, pins, necklaces, brooches and other priceless items that have been fashioned out of those ugly lumps, and you marvel at the difference! What could have happened to make such a change?

In the case of gold, it must be crushed, ground, soaked in a chemical solution and melted at a temperature of at least 1063 degrees C and poured into a mold. Silver also goes through this refining process and melts at 960 degree C. When the metals are soaked in a chemical solution, they are sifted through and all of the dross is poured off and discarded. In other words, it is purified, refined, strengthened, and formed into a thing of great beauty.

All of this process takes time, careful guidance, and skill. It also takes some terrifically high heat. Without following all these steps completely, gold and silver just wouldn't be the beautiful and precious metal that we know it to be. It would be like any other rock...nothing about which to become very excited!

We are much like gold and silver in its natural state...lumps of clay without any real beauty and use. Oh certainly, we would make a great paperweight or door stop, but without careful cultivation we would not become the beautiful person that God intends us to be. Sometimes the refining process takes a lot of high heat, grinding, melting, crushing and sifting out the ugly things of our lives so that we may become useful, strong, and beautifully fashioned for God's use. This process is never pleasant, certainly not very desirable, but oh so necessary. God's Word says that the Lord tests the hearts. This refining process is purifying the innermost being of our hearts and souls, purging out the dark and ugly things, cleaning the dirty corners and grinding away the rough edges. It's very painful going through this process, but the end results certainly justify the means. God's refining fire does not consume us, but it purges us of all unrighteousness that when He returns we "may offer to the Lord an offering in righteousness." (Malachi 3:3b.)

Lord, I do not like the fiery trials through which You have allowed me to travel, but I thank you for them. Even though the heat was sometimes more than I could bear, You, oh Lord, did not consume me. You have tested my heart, and have strengthened me in my innermost fibers. You have created in me a clean heart, so that I may shine as pure gold and silver. I know that I am not alone in these fiery trials, for Christ Himself had to suffer for my sake and for the sins of the whole world. Therefore I rejoice in that I am a partaker of Christ's sufferings, and when His glory is revealed, I may also be glad with exceeding joy. (I Peter 4:12-13) Lord, just help me to remember when the trials come that the final result will be precious in Your sight. Thank you for caring about me enough to take the time to purify and refine me as gold and silver. Amen.

Are you going through some fiery trial right now, and you just can't see how anything good could possibly come from it?  Or maybe you have already been there, and you are still reeling from its heat.  Perhaps another door has slammed shut in your life, and you feel abandoned and angry.  Please HOLD ON, dear friend! You are NOT ALONE in your furnace!  Like Daniel's friends, when King Nebuchadnezzar had them thrown into the fiery furnace (see Daniel 3:8-25), the Son of God, Jesus our Redeemer, is right there in the midst of the flames with you! He will NEVER leave you or forsake you! (Hebrews 13:5) Be ready and watching...that "open window" from God may be right around the corner.  Hey! That 'pot of gold' we've all been looking for isn't at the end of the rainbow afterall! It's right here, inside each and every one of us...if we'll just let God finish the work He has started!  I guess that makes us very precious indeed!!!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Reading the Road Signs Along Life's Journey

Psalm 32:8 “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye.”

There have been many times throughout our lives that we have come to crossroads which have made us wonder which way to go. There are so many distractions along this road of life that we can sometimes become confused as to what we are supposed to be doing. Thankfully, our Heavenly Father has placed “road signs” along the way to give guidance and help us find our way. For example, there is the “STOP” sign, which is pretty emphatic. God often places that sign in our path so that we will do just that, “STOP!” He seems to say to us, “STOP, take a moment to rest and wait for Me to instruct you when to go on ahead.”

Of course there is the railroad crossing sign that says, “STOP, LOOK, AND LISTEN”. Here again the Lord is saying to us, “Pause in your busy day and look at Me and listen.” I know He has to use that one with me quite often because I have a tendency to fill my day with too much activity and not enough time for looking in to the eyes of Jesus and listening to what He wants to say to me. He places His warning sign in my path to remind me that there are dangers ahead and I had better be watching and listening for His instruction!

How about the “YIELD” sign? That’s one of the more difficult ones to follow. Why? Because it tells us to YIELD to the other guy…to prefer others first…to give in to someone else’s thought or idea. When the Lord puts a YIELD sign in my path, I realize I have to give up the fight and YIELD to His will. My human nature recoils against yielding to anyone else, but when I finally let go and YIELD to God’s will, I can relax and let Him lead the way.

Along the highway of life we often see the “MERGE” sign. It instructs us to blend in with the flow of traffic and keep on going. In the ministry and in life in general we have to “blend in” with the people God has called us to serve, not run ahead or behind, but become one with them. This can often be a difficult task if our cultural backgrounds are really different or if we have the idea that we are unique and special. I call it the “I gotta be me!” attitude. As servants of Christ in the family of God there really is no room for egocentrism. We have to be willing to unite our hearts and minds with the people to whom we are ministering if they are going to be able to identify with us and with our Lord. This could certainly apply to our families and co-workers as well.

Then there are the “NO U TURN” signs, usually right where I was hoping to be able to turn around and head in the other direction! Oh! Why does God do that to me? Doesn’t He understand that I don’t want to go any further? Can’t He see that I need to turn around and head back to where I was safe and secure? No, God isn’t cruel and uncaring for my needs. But He has a plan for me to keep forging ahead. To turn back too soon might cause me to miss the blessing of reaching our destination. I say our destination, meaning God’s and mine together, the place of joy and completion to my journey that He has prepared for me. If I’ll just stay on the road, He’ll get me there safely and happily.

Perhaps the most disconcerting sign while traveling any distance is the “DETOUR” sign. We are going along our chosen route just fine when all of a sudden a DETOUR sign shows up! We have to endure the inconvenience of getting off the known path and venturing through unknown territory and possibly not reaching our destination on time. However, if we choose to ignore the DETOUR sign and keep going on the way we thought best, we would find that we had made a big mistake. God often places DETOUR signs in our path that we can’t understand at that time. But when we reach the end of the road, if we could look back and see what would have occurred had we chosen to ignore God’s DETOUR signs, we would rejoice that He was in control and forced us to choose a better way!

Isaiah 55:8-9 says: “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways, says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.”

Thank you, Lord, for Your guidance along my highway of life. Thank you for the “STOP” signs, the reminders to “STOP, LOOK, and LISTEN”; the gentle nudges toYIELD” and “MERGE” with our co-workers, spouses, and friends. Thank you that you kept me from making that “U-TURN” in the road when it was really best for me to keep forging ahead, and then also for the “DETOURS” that I just couldn’t understand at the time. Help me to stay on the path that YOU have chosen for my life and not be distracted by the billboards that could lead to destruction. Amen.

What about you?  Have you experienced some of these "road signs" in your life?  Have you ever thought about the consequences you may have suffered if you had chosen not to obey these signs?  If, perhaps, these "detours" in your life have led you to a new and better destination...think about that...and if you can, share it with us!  My prayer for you as you travel on the road of your life  is that you will enjoy the journey and arrive safely!