Five to Six

FB95IMG951441722821172_resizedFive to six months elicits different feelings based on what the months reflect. For one given a jail sentence – it feels like an eternity; for separated lovers longing to be together – the short months are agonizingly long; for the family receiving an Oncologist report of life expectancy  – it’s all too short.

The latter is where my family is. I had not planned to write as the pressure to meet deadlines and having one more thing to do was overwhelming. I was encouraged by the Lord and a message from a reader I’ll call Mr. J, stating “The…message spoke to me right where I am in life… I have some decisions and moves to make and is often the case with your messages, they remind me of His precious promises for all of us! Thank you for the reminder that God is with me (Mt 28:20; Jos 1:8,9), for encouraging me to step out in faith, that no matter the outcome, He is on my side, and loves me more than I can ever know on this side of glory!”.

I praise and give God glory for how he touches people by the articles everyone writes; I’m certain it’s all our prayers that the Lord uses them to minister and encourage others. Late one night I felt the Lord encouraging me to write, not be silent, during the travels into unknown territory. In upcoming articles the intent isn’t to elicit sympathy or bring sorrow, rather to give hope and encouragement when facing troubling times. I’d like to be real and not try to appear super-spiritual, for I certainly have my moments.

For perspective let’s step back in time; my husband was first diagnosed with prostate cancer and treatments seemed a breeze, which was without doubt answered prayer. At the end of treatment we were told it would give him five years; the Lord blessed us with 17 years before once again hearing the words “cancer”, this time it was aggressive and too advanced for surgery and few medical options available. Treatment began early 2018, unlike 17 years earlier the cancer was not stopped; my husband made the decision to stop treatment. He knows the Lord and like all of us looks forward to being with. There are no answers to some questions and sometimes I’m uncertain how to pray; the pause button has been hit, plans on the calendar erased, and priorities changed.

I have my moments but try not to dwell there. I do not know what the future holds but I know the One who holds my future. I know the goodness of my God and His promises; he has a perfect track record. Thank you Mr. J for the encouraging reminder that “God is with me”, “He is on my side, and loves me more than I can ever know”.

Next month… What to Do.

“…lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:20

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Looking Beyond

meerkat-onlineI had a dream last night in which I was telling a neighbors daughter, who was helping her mom clear the abandoned garden, that I liked dead veggies. After a while of laboring she asked if I really liked dead veggies, she was thinking it would reduce her work if able to give me the seemingly worthless vegetables.

   Some toss aside a cabbage or head of lettuce when they see wilted leaves, yet when the outer layers are removed exposing the inner leaves there is good to be found, there is still value in what outwardly seemed worthless.

   Isn’t that what the Lord does with us? He looks beyond the outside appearance to what is inside. Consider the sons of Jesse, one would be anointed king. Samuel kept looking at the outside, but God looking inside rejected each until the one son, who was not even considered by his family, or even called in from the field, was brought before him, that was the one God chose. Inside the boy was a man of strength and courage who killed a lion and a bear, who would one day kill a giant who dared to defy the God of Israel; a shepherd boy who would be a man after God’s own heart.

   When we see others are we looking at the outward person measuring them to our expected norms, acceptable appearance, mannerisms, and contribution to society? What about the person on the street corner holding a sign asking for money? Do we see a panhandler, a lazy person, an irresponsible deadbeat, or perhaps an unkempt drug addict? Do we take the time to stop and hear their story or just brush them off, or look away not even acknowledging their presence?

   A few years back I was in Sacramento for meetings rushing from the parking garage to my location several blocks away. There was a man who looked like he had not bathed or washed his clothes in some time and appeared to be sleeping on the sidewalk next to the building. I gave a weak smile, a little nod and faint hello never slowing my pace, but his words “thank you for acknowledging me”, nearly stopped me in my tracks, they struck a nerve; is that not what we all at the core want, to be recognized? Our existence acknowledged in some small way; a kind word or look that says we matter. I think of the lepers, tax collectors, harlots, and other non-acceptable people in society, that Jesus had no qualms speaking with or even touching. He took the time to look beyond the exterior that caused others to pass by on the other side of the road, and underneath He found there was something of value; He found you and me.

   Jesus tells the parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10, He ends it saying “Go and do likewise”.

   Let’s peal some leaves and look beyond for the good…

You Matter

Margie - Burney Falls #1Your life does matter, you have value you don’t even realize, there is much in you waiting to be revealed. You are a gift to those who know you and the ripple effect touches others you will never know. Live life to the fullest, not in excesses, but in the abundance that comes from a life lived connected to Me.

Roots

Bible Pic

Let your roots run deep in the fertile soil of the Word, take of the life-giving nutrients found there, and the Living Water. Grow strong in faith and be filled with the Holy Spirit.

Don’t Be Anxious

Rita - trees and waterMy child, do not be anxious.  I know not knowing what will be can be trying, let My peace fill you today. Do not try to plan for something you don’t know what you need to plan for, it expends needless energy and causes unrest. When the unknown becomes known then you will be able to make plans with facts in hand and a direction to go.

March

exotic bird-onlineWhen we want to move forward but find ourselves restrained to one place it can be frustrating.  When it seems as if we are presently being held and not released to go – march, march in place preparing for when the time is right and the Lord says go, then march forth into the openings and assignments. A regretful place to be is one where we are being called to march forth yet, we give excuses and stay in one place.

   Moses was full of excuses, in Exodus we see where he was called by God to go, in turn Moses gave a number of reasons for why God should pick someone else. Do any of Moses excuses sound familiar or similar to ones we have used: you have chosen the wrong person, who am I, I am not holy enough, I might fail, I don’t have the right gifts or skills, I am slow of speech and tongue (don’t speak well in front of others)? Moses had excuses but God had excuse annihilators; I will be with you, I will help you speak and teach you what to do. Moses looked at himself considering his inabilities and fears, while God looked at His power and abilities to work through a flawed person; imperfect people are His perfect vessels. Moses asked God to send someone else but eventually he agreed to go, thus impacting millions of lives.

   Can we hear the Lord saying to us today, “I’m calling you. Yes, I said it before and I’m saying it again, I don’t want you to lose sight of it or dismiss it thinking it is someone else I’m speaking to, it’s you my friend. I have plans for you, you have been in the shadows, it’s time to come out, to step into your purpose, no more excuses. What is inside of you others need, you can do this for I have equipped you and I am your strength. Will you be my voice? It is time.”

   As we step out we can expect opposition, Moses had it, so did King David, Jesus had it as well as the apostles; but be strong and of good courage for the Lord is with us. And, “…great is his love toward us, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever. Praise the Lord” Psalm 117:2 NIV. Though we might find it to be extraordinarily challenging at times, the rewards are magnificently fulfilling and satisfying, they far exceed any price we pay; plus we’ll have no end of life regrets at having rejected the Lord’s call.

   What is Holy Spirit stirring within? Are we ready to end the excuses, to trust that God knows what he is doing, that he will be with us, will help us speak and teach us what to do? It’s not too late – let’s march!

Uncertain Times

It’s going to be okay, I will be your strength, lean on Me anytime you need encouragement; in fact – let me carry the burden for you. During the uncertain times of life you can be certain I am with you, you are not walking alone. I know the way through, you will be alright.

Let’s Talk Awhile

Lizard BuddiesCome closer, sit awhile and talk with Me. Do not be afraid of what I might say, even when I need to bring correction it’s from My heart of love for you, and your own best interest. It may be hard to let some things go but you have to release them in order to take hold of the better things I have for you. I always desire good for you, which is why what the enemy meant for harm – I turn it around for good in the end. You can trust Me, come – sit closer, let’s talk awhile.

Paths and Trails

  forest-of-light-1502863-639x852 When off on an adventure to climb to the top of a mountain we often have a choice of paths; I like trails with markers that give a clue as to the terrain whether easy, difficult, or expert climbers only. Alas, many do not give hints, not even if it goes to the top, into a valley, or dead ends in the middle of know where; sometimes paths in life feel this way.

   There are paths that seem right but not all lead us where we should go. Simply because there is hardship along the way does not mean we are going the wrong direction; the Lord uses difficulties to shape us, to bring out our character, to refine us. Silver and gold are purified in the heat, precious stones are smoothed as they rub against each other; gems are more valuable as pieces are chipped away so their facets catch the light to reflect their beauty. A path that seems sunny and bright, one of ease and conflict free, does not remove anything stuck to us. There is nothing to buff the dullness away or refine our character; we remain an unattractive stone kicked to the wayside, our true worth never known. The right path is the one that allows us to become a reflection of Jesus, shinning for His glory.

   When we head off on a new path it is wonderful to have a guide with us; someone who knows where we are going and the best way to get there, or at least a pamphlet they have written giving instructions and helpful insights. How fortunate we are to have the instruction manual to life, the Bible, and even better – the Author and Guide comes with it. When we are starting off we can, and should, consult with Him on the way to go; knowing we are on the right path when the way becomes challenging will encourage us to continue pressing forward.

   Paths are a training ground, a place of preparation for what’s ahead, the next step; it’s a time where areas to be worked on and developed are revealed. We have strengths and weaknesses, strengths have weaknesses and weaknesses have strengths. Strengths need to be tempered with love, humility, and a dependence on the Lord. Our weaknesses show his strength as we develop confidence to give him freedom to use them and move through us. Life is meant to be a partnership, us and the Lord, doing it together.

   The Lord has laid out a good way for us to go, one He knows we will take delight in when we follow it. He custom designed it just for us knowing our likes, gifts, talents, and abilities. It has enough challenges to keep us invigorated and engaged, yet not enough to overwhelm us or to be impossible as we walk beside him, seeking his guidance and wisdom.

   Shall we set out – it’s the perfect day to venture forth!

What’s On My Mind

Bengal Cat in the SunYou ask Me “What is on Your mind?” There is lots on My mind, everything in the universe and beyond; each one of my children, and all of creation. For you, however, it’s to say I love you, glad you have come to spend this time with me. Today is going to be a special day, I have plans for you in it, plans your eyes, spiritual eyes that is, need to be open to see. So many times what I have for my children is missed as they only see with natural eyes and not their spiritual ones.