Worries of the Heart

When there is no peace – stop, back up, ask and wait for His peaceable wisdom. It’s always available – even when you somehow end up taking a few spins on that roller-coaster first.

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Heart

Decisions, decisions, decisions – they loom over and around us every day. Some are small and easy but then there are those “heavies”. When we are faced with major decisions that are overwhelmingly life impacting, our thoughts and worries of the heart become extremely heavy and peace is nowhere to be found. It’s in these times that wisdom is critically needed and often very hard to find.

In the midst of a month of one of those times I found myself emotionally riding a roller-coaster. All the natural solutions spun my heart and mind further and faster downward. But still the decisions kept asking to be made, drawing me closer daily to that undesirable deadline. Crying, praying, researching and reaching out to “those who surely knew the answer” – all to no avail. The more I opened myself up to hear others opinions the more I had NONE and the more confused I became. I KNEW I did not need man’s wisdom – because I had heard so much of that – I needed God’s wisdom.

Where there is no peace – fear and confusion reign. That is where I sat and that is NOT where the Lord wanted me to sit!

Asking for wisdom, when we really want to hear His wisdom is a prayer that He always answers. However, we must get to the end of us in order to hear it – that’s why we often take that horrific roller-coaster down-hill-speeding-bullet ride. We must get to the end of us and our efforts to “fix” the situation.

Thus, began my prayer for the Wisdom of God to intervene. In the midst of confusing and frustrating circumstances (God’s directed intervention) I waited as He unfolded that gift. I ended up on the end of a phone line with God’s appointed distributor of His wisdom. With patience, knowledge, compassion and wisdom that conversation brought the answers that flowed like honey and instantly peace flooded in. Within a short conversation, amazingly all that indecision and emotional struggle disappeared.

Not to say, all is now well and good – those decisions now must be walked through, but often the decision is what stifles and causes us to sit in the mire of fear and confusion. Once His wisdom is dispensed the burden lifts – His love pours in and fear must leave – leaving the peace that passes all understanding.

When there is no peace – stop, back up, ask and wait for His peaceable wisdom. It’s always available – even when you somehow end up taking a few spins on that roller-coaster first.

James 3:17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.

A Lifetime of Chocolates

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I love a new box of chocolates – surprise waits in every bite. When I was a child it took a long time to decide which was the very best one and that choice would bring delight to my taste buds – most of the time. My mom’s rule was “if you take it – you eat it.” When it was that “gooey” Caramel I was in heaven but then there were those ones – you know those ones that ruin the whole chocolate experience. The only name I had was “nastiness.” When I was the unfortunate recipient of that choice, my only focus had to be on the fact that it was wrapped in chocolate and I would will my mind to think of that. Soon I found a trick – at least until I was found out – if I stuck my fingernail in the bottom I could know what was inside, and avoid a “nastiness” experience.

Well, “life is like a box of chocolates” and we wish we could use that fingernail trick to check inside. However, just like my moms response to my great idea; life’s response is the same – “no peeking allowed”.

We receive those “yummy gooey” Caramel’s, those “ok” cream centers and those “nastiness” unknowns – in our lifetime box of chocolates. Each filling is wrapped in chocolate. The chocolate is the ultimate focus. When we get the “yummy gooey” and the “ok” ones we often miss the chocolate so lovingly covering it. But, without that covering layer those “nastiness” ones just wouldn’t make it down.

Jesus has lovingly covered each of life’s fillings with chocolate – giving us a gift of the Holy Spirit. He is always there covering us with that sweet layer as we enjoy the “yummy gooey” and the “ok” fillings of life. But when we get a bite of the “nastiness” fillings, the reality of His presence – His very taste – is our comfort and focus to get us through.

Our box of chocolates comes pre-sorted just for us from the Father’s hand and we don’t get to peek. Whatever each piece brings into our lives, we can depend on that sweet chocolate taste to get us through. As we focus on the chocolate, not the filling, we will find the surprises He has planned for us – even in the midst of the “nastiness”. Our box takes a lifetime to complete so allow each piece to produce its effect in your life – and don’t forget the chocolate.

James 1:2-4 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness, have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. (ESV)

 

Grandma Blankets

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     Pregnant with my daughter, I began a craft that has covered babies for over 40 years. Now hundreds upon hundreds of blankets made from yarn or fabric, covered with love and prayer have warmed so many little bodies.

     Recently I have begun to hear and see what I never expected – those much older children and adults still have their “grandma” or “Judy” blankets. Tattered, torn and covered with patches they still cherish those “blankies”.

Why?

It’s just a piece of fabric long outgrown.

Secondhand stores are filled with old beat-up blankets.

But these seem to be different, held in unusually high regard.

     As I pondered this I felt the Spirit of the Lord speak – encouraging me that each act of love poured out will reap a harvest and that is what I am now witnessing. He reminded me that every blanket I have made specifically for that one “special” little one – or now “special” loved one; is soaked in prayer as each stitch is added.

     It’s that Love that is felt – as it saturates and covers them right there, as they cuddle down into its warmth. It brings peace and comfort – so years later when hard, painful times are faced – the heart, the mind and the emotions return to think on the “blankie” and what comfort was found there. So they keep it – treasure it – fold it away for another time – a time to be reminded of the comfort found there.

     Those “blankie”s are simply an earthly example of a heavenly, eternal comfort available to us all. So for now, I have been blessed to pass on a little bit of heavens love to the “littles” around me – those “grandma” blankets.

II Corinthians 1:3-4 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 affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. (ESV)

 

Living a Road-kill Lifestyle

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“I have such a crazy busy day, I don’t know how I’ll get everything done.”

     We have all said those words – felt the build up of stress they evoke – experienced the exhaustion as that day ends only to begin again tomorrow in the same fashion. How do we get off this crazy cycle?

     Expectations wait for you at every corner, every event, while every individual seems to elicit more of your life. Even worse, they are all good – nothing you’re involved in says, “This isn’t worth doing”. But, still the chaos swirls around you whispering “more, more, more”.

     A day must come when the brakes are applied. The screeching of tire meeting pavement must fill the air because without that application the next sound will be the uninterrupted crunch of metal and breaking glass as you become the road-kill beneath your “I can do this” chaotic lifestyle.

     Living in a constant “flurry” of activity leaves no place for the whisper of the Holy Spirit to direct you to that broken young mother, that lonely old man, that friend who needs a listening ear. No time is available to dig deep into the Word searching for the nuggets He has stored there just for you – just for today. No time left to “pray” for your friends needs that you carelessly regurgitate “I’ll pray for that”. The enemy loves to keep you at this pace for when he does you are of no threat to him and of little value to those you love.

     The application of the brakes – the NO – has to be a choice, a very specific decisive choice. It is NOT easy but once applied – in time – you will find the rhythm of walking under the grace of God. Waiting, listening, hearing and moving as He directs. Will you never again feel that “busy” day syndrome – No – but it will be with a different mindset and with an outcome that will be eternal.

     Hit the brakes today – avoid becoming the road-kill of your chaotic lifestyle – step under the peace of His presence and learn to walk in the rhythm of His grace.

Romans 8:5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. (ESV)

Just Add Water

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     Most kids are fascinated with things that grow. Mine were the same; over the years we had countless “experiments” to watch things grow. Washcloths, rocks, crystals, submarines, dinosaurs and a myriad of other gimmicks that came up – all changing what WAS into something NEW. The experimentation always began as water was applied.

     Even in these childhood experiments the key began with the water. Water is our life source that transforms and without it dehydration quickly begins.

     Spiritually we too need water – we need to be immersed, saturated, engulfed in the water of the Spirit and the Word. The transforming presence of God must be continually entered into – it is the key that changes what WAS into something NEW. His presence is our life source and we quickly find that when we step out of that place of His presence – dehydration begins.

     You often don’t even realize you have stepped out of that flow; dehydration is a slow process. You suddenly awake to the feeling that something is missing. How did this happen? Life just got busy, distracted, overwhelmed and here you are. But, just like those tiny cardboard washcloths, the transformation can swiftly take place. You need only to submerge into His presence to watch the transformation occur – renewal begins and the old is refreshed.

     Pursue, wait and be engulfed by the presence of God – stay saturated in the water of the Spirit and the Word as you allow that water to continually change what WAS into something NEW.

IICorinthians 3:18 And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.

Spread Life

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     What a joy to observe the reproduction of plant life, every plant and tree has been created to seed – including weeds, much to my chagrin. In order to enjoy the beauty of many, we have resorted to planting them in pots, and I have a plethora of pots, loaded with beauty. But, no matter how you care for them, within three to five years the result is the same – unproductive and dying. However, upon inspection of these unproductive and seemingly dying specimens you will find a simple fact, they are root-bound. Once removed from their confinement and re-positioned into a fertile expansive bed they will flourish as they were created to.

     I think you can imagine where my thoughts went as I have watched this phenomena play out this season. I transplanted eight previously unproductive and dying pots this spring and – “presto, chango” – they have now become spots of happy growing plants covered with flowers.

     This is a true spiritual phenomenon as well. We are created to create – to produce! Often, due to many circumstances we become unproductive and look as if we are dying – we too, become root-bound. The simple fix is no different then my pots – lift and cultivate (wake-up) the root-bound entity, place it in a fertile environment with ample space to move and grow. Step back and watch as HIS new life, joy and creativity begin to bloom in and all around you. You are meant to create, to produce, to re-produce and spread – in fact His ultimate purpose for your life is just that; to spread His life, love and joy to those around you.

     If you find yourself in a root-bound place in life, decide to do some cultivating. Willingly chose to lift your eyes back to the face of Jesus – here you will find that HE will do the lifting as you allow the transplant to occur. He will re-assign you exactly where you will find new life and joy. This new fertile ground will probably be where you would never have imagined or chosen but it will always be the very best – because He always chooses the very best for His kids.

     Nestle into His chosen spot – and enjoy the journey as you grow into the beauty He has created you to be – and spread, spread, spread. Become His life, love and joy everywhere you go.

Romans 15:13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you my abound in hope.

I Corinthians 3:8-9 He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor. For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field, God’s building.

 

Every Hair is Numbered

Rest assured that He is faithful!

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Our concerns are His concerns, and He is always faithful to encourage, strengthen and sometimes make us laugh. Yep – My God has a sense of humor and I love it.

I have very fine hair – never was one with a full lush voluptuous mane of hair – and as I have recently had to ingest a rather unpleasant medication, my fine hair is changing from “fine” to “thin”. For a woman – that is just not ok! Bald guys are handsome but NOT women.

As I commiserated over this issue with God, he reminded me of this scripture:

   Matthew 10:30. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered.

With relief, I smiled and chuckled – He really does care about what concerns me.

So, now as I watch a few hairs slide down the drain or several more become entangled in my brush, I can rest assured that He already knew they were on their way out. He is in charge of every hair – either on or off my head. And if He cares about a hair – how much more about every cell in my body.

So remember – your concerns (small or large) are His concerns – and He has them covered. Rest assured that He is faithful!