The Moles Won’t Win!

Mole holes

The weather is warming and my eyes have begun to see all that needs to be cared for in my large backyard. To my horror – it appears that the moles won! My lawn looks like a war was waged and definitely lost. My looming decision is: do I allow it – covering it up, leveling the mounds and top seeding? The result to the eye, will be nice and clean. But, walking across that lawn come July, the truth of uneven “bumpy” “ankle twisting” under-tunnels will be very obvious.

The best choice requires preparation – tearing up the old. The best choice also requires a dying process – a good seed!

The best fix begins with a choice, works through the preparation (cost and effort) and ultimately requires the re-seeding of new grass. However, if that new grass doesn’t germinate (having good soil, water, and warmth) its outside hull will not burst – it will not DIE – therefore, it will not bring forth new life.

We are rather like my lawn, spiritually speaking.

When we desire more of the presence of God – we want that, but do we really want Him? The best requires a choice, preparation and a dying – both in my holey lawn, as well as in our desire for more of His presence.

How you step into that desire is the question. Do you just apply the top seeding method – keeping those “bumpy” “ankle twisting” under-tunnels hidden? It may look good but the result is not the same. However, the complete fix – the fix that gives you a life of abundance at His feet, requires much more from you. So, making a choice is your first step.

Then the preparation begins – how much time do you want to devote? In our society we run at a chaotic speed – we are inundated with constant urgent demands. Here is where you will need to count the cost. Slowing down to sit and wait at His feet; to read, study and listen to His voice; and to set aside consistent prayer time will cost you something. You will need to make choices everyday – somethings will need to be laid aside. But here is where you will find Him! He is waiting for you to enter this place.

It is in that preparation time that you will find a seed within that is ready to germinate – but one more step will be required. It is a letting go of everything, a place of release, a place of repentance, a dying to liveAn abundant life where His presence is priority in all you say and do is where you find this process – a dying to live process. It is here that new life springs forth, free from hidden, under-tunnels. In this new life you will begin to be transformed into all that He has for you, you will find joy at His feet, you will find LIFE in His presence.

Let’s make the choice – the choice to do the complete fix – the fix that will allow us to step into the process of dying to live.

John 12:24 Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.

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Shore-up Your Foundation

If you find yourself in a place where you perceive your foundation to be unstable – call your ultimate repair man. The result is always a 5-star review – He only does perfect work.

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Foundations are built to support the style of home they are designed for. A single-family dwelling foundation could never support an office building, as well as an office building foundation would be inappropriate for a single family. Foundations are in place to allow everyday living to prosperously move forward but they are also designed to withstand the environmental impact on the building they support.

When storms, floods, and earthquakes unexpectedly impact a community, often the homes still standing are those with strong foundations. The same applies to your spiritual life. Your spiritual foundation is built on Christ, the word of God. Your promise is a solid unshakeable foundation that will weather any storm.

However, during your own impacting events (your personal storms, floods and earthquakes) you may often think that your foundation has been pulled out from under you and that it no longer even exists. But, once you have said YES to the Lord He never walks away, never forgets you, and never pulls that foundation away – He knows your name.

II Timothy 2:19a But God’s firm foundation stands, bearing this seal: “The Lord knows those who are his,” (ESV)

In the natural we now have old cracking shifting foundations that can be lifted up, filled in and re-stabilized, giving strength and support back to a previously unusable building.

Though you have a promise, spiritually, that says you don’t need to ever require that type of major repair you can find yourself needing some shoring-up. It is an easy process – simply turn from where you find yourself, look up and the one who built your house stands there ready to complete all necessary repairs. He already paid for them – they belong to you free of charge. He knows your name, the building He is building within you, and the purpose He desires to accomplish.

If you find yourself in a place where you perceive your foundation to be unstable in any way – don’t hesitate, don’t continue living in that shaky building – call your ultimate repair man. The result is always a 5-star review – He only does perfect work.

Philippians 1:6 And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. (ESV)

 

Life’s Unexpected Pauses

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In the midst of life’s busyness, abrupt unexpected pauses come crashing in. Those unwanted, unexpected and usually unfortunate pauses bring everything to a halt.

It’s in these times – when the flu bug puts you to bed for a week, when you break a rib while enjoying a ski trip, when you lose your job and bills are still due, when you get the call to the hospital bed of a critical loved one, and when the final goodbye has to be said to one whose time here is complete – these are the times when life instantly is set on “pause”.

Here in the midst of these, life seems to just stop.

Just minutes before, our calendars were full, plans made and life was in constant movement. It’s in these times I find myself realizing that none of those calendars and plans really matter; everything is expendable and ultimately unimportant. For what we thought HAD to be done when it comes down to it CAN be skipped. Not much really matters in the face of these times.

Priorities are often not set by what our heart and emotions dictate but by the small busy details that can often be swept under the carpet when the BIG pauses come to visit.

 So, what really does matter?

From the flu to the loss of a loved one, these pauses cause us to STOP. It’s during these times of stopping the busy activity that we sit back (once we process the “in your face” reality) and look up to the only place our healing and strength comes from. What really is important is walking through this unexpected pause knowing we are loved and not alone – the love of Christ begins to lift the confused emotions that ride along on these journeys – as we focus our eyes upward.

There are none of these pauses that make sense –  but if our mind, heart and eyes make a decision to REST in HIS presence we will find that which matters most. His peace and love will wash over us and we will make it through this journey and out the other side with a new and stronger understanding of how much we are loved.

Matthew 11:28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

 

A New Day of Hope!

Sherry (1)

I woke this morning to an explosive sunrise, one that filled the entire sky with all shades of oranges, reds and yellows. It was literally – breathtaking and it surrounded me. Not a typical sunrise from one side of the horizon but one that seemed to be full circle, full of brilliance and fire . There are no words or photograph that can really express its phenomenal presence.

Breathing in a new day that begins like this sets a hope and a joy deep within.

In the midst of pain and suffering all around us it is easy to become wrapped up in a spirit of despondency, hopelessness and fear. These become clouds that stifle and destroy any sense or ability to move forward, to care, to love – they captivate our lives.

Nature’s transition from storm clouds to brilliant sunrise gives hope for a new glorious today. If storm clouds have kept you captive – realize it and move forward into the arms of Jesus. His presence is waiting with open arms to bring freedom to the captive. Step out of the clouds into the hope of a sunrise bursting with joy.

Psalm 30:5b Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.

Lamentations 3:22-23 The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

Photo courtesy of Sherry Phinisey

It’s ALL in the Waiting!

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“It’s a waiting game.” We hear that all the time when something we are hoping for, expecting, desiring or needing doesn’t come about in “our” set time frame. Waiting requires something from us – patience. Yes – patience – a dirty word we don’t like to think about. But patience is required whenever we find ourselves in the “waiting game” – where prayers have been lifted over and over with what seems to be no answer. But the waiting process is not in our control but His.

In my garden I plant tulips and daffodils in the fall and then I wait. They need to “chill out” in the deep cold soil – waiting for the right time. That waiting time is necessary for them just as it often is for us.

Sometimes the answer we are asking God for may not be – no – but – wait. His time is perfect. Our job is to “chill out” and allow His perfect work to develop within us, and that perfect work may require times of growing underground in the deep character areas of our lives.

This process of waiting develops many attributes that can’t come to completion any other way. Our faith is fortified – patience brings about strength, perseverance, hope, long-suffering, joy, kindness, gentleness and peace to mention just a few of the beautiful bulbs that are down there just waiting to bloom in the midst of your waiting.

Rest today in the “waiting game” that you find yourself in; trust that God has beauty planted deep within and your joy will bloom at just the right time.

Romans 5:3-5 This doesn’t mean, of course, that we have only a hope of future joys—we can be full of joy here and now even in our trials and troubles. Taken in the right spirit these very things will give us patient endurance; this in turn will develop a mature character, and a character of this sort produces a steady hope, a hope that will never disappoint us. Already we have some experience of the love of God flooding through our hearts by the Holy Spirit given to us. (Phillips)

Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. (ESV)

 

Out of Love

The desire for the “best of the best” directly from our Fathers hand is available and stretched out to us. He wants to be a Father, to welcome us and dwell with us.

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From the moment we feel the first flutter of life, excitement stirs to see this little life filled with all the “best of the best”. We protect and provide but most of all we love! There is a place within us that is so full of love for this precious one, that it often overwhelms us. As they grow and become adults – well, it NEVER changes – that love grows too. As parents we always want to see the best for our children and that desire comes directly from Heaven.

Our Heavenly Father desires the “best of the best” for us – He protects and provides but most of all He loves, loves and loves. He promises us He will dwell with us, He will receive (welcome) us and He will be a Father to us.

Just as we try to warn our children from making life-impacting mistakes, so does He. The desire is not to manipulate, control or be harsh but is poured out – out of love!

The words “unequally yoked” strike many feelings in us – most eliciting thoughts from our past; but in truth this passage is written to us out of love – great love. The desire for the “best of the best” directly from our Fathers hand is available and stretched out to us. He wants to be a Father, to welcome us and dwell with us. The HOWEVER – is our choice. That HOWEVER says light and darkness cannot share the same room – that’s our choice. If we walk unequally yoked – it is a place that “daddy” just can’t come into to visit.

Yes – there is His unmerited favor and grace extended to us through Christ – that’s a gift – given to us. BUT the “best of the best” that your Father desires to give to you is available for those who walk purely in the light. So take a minute and “reformat” your brain around this scripture – seeing what He is giving you in exchange for that choice of not being unequally yoked (those who you choose to intimately fold into your closest circle).

Daddy has the “best of the best” waiting for you – the however – is up to you.

IICorinthians 6:14 You are not the same as those who don’t believe. So don’t join yourselves to them. Good and evil don’t belong together. Light and darkness cannot share the same room.(ERV)

 

God’s Miracle Dew

dew

     The story of Gideon, a man hiding from the national chaos around him, sounds rather like us today. He chose to tuck himself in the side of a cliff (a wine press) to beat out his wheat in secret – just minding his own business. But suddenly there in that cave, he is met by an angel – there, he is called a “mighty man of valor” and told he is to save Israel; here begins his questions. Here God begins to mold him into that man “a mighty man of valor” that God already knows him as. God shows up, speaks to him, patiently shows him grace upon grace, and builds his faith.

     My interest today is on God’s confirmation of that “call” – the fleece.

     “Are you sure God?” or “Who me?” These phrases have rung out from before Gideon – right up to today – including you and me.

     We often think of this story and wonder why he asked twice – but Gideon’s belief-system was one of living with the natural course of life. He believed there was a god that created us but he didn’t intervene – life just happened “it is, what it is”. There were no miracles. Ummm – sounds pretty familiar doesn’t it?

     So asking for proof was a big deal to begin with. But though morning #1 gave a specific answer with the fleece being soaking wet and the ground dry, Gideon’s upbringing and belief-system kicked in. Fleece naturally pulled in water, so his mind questioned if this was not just a natural phenomenon. But his second request, to keep the fleece dry and dew everywhere else, was a big step of faith and when on day #2 it occurred, his paradigm shifted – this was a miracle.

     This miracle opened Gideon’s eyes to walk into all that was to come. This miracle opened his ears to hear more clearly when God said to go into battle with only 300 men – sending home nearly 30,000. God wanted them to know that it was not a natural battle but one where God was REAL, where He intervened and where He brought victory. Because of their belief-system, the people needed to see what was truth – that there was a God who was REAL.

     Are we not living in the same state today? Often we don’t ask because we don’t believe He will intervene, He is REAL, or that He cares, much-less loves us. We live a life where, life just happens, “it is, what it is” BUT I know a God that is REAL and makes Himself real in our lives every day if we open our eyes to see and our ears to hear.

     Gideon’s request – his “fleece” didn’t anger God. That fleece was a genuine heart request and God was filled with love and compassion to show His divine grace and favor over that request.

     That fleece was the miracle that allowed the “YES LORD” to leap into Gideon’s spirit and move his feet into place. That place allowed him to pick up and wear the mantle that made him God’s “mighty man of valor”.

     As ambassadors of Christ we all have been given assignments – maybe not like Gideon – but ones that impact others. Often due to insecurities, belief-systems or other obstacles we question that assignment – that’s ok – don’t allow the enemy to win. God still is gracious to confirm His assignments and build your faith – making you ready to carry all He has called you to. Taking that opportunity is where faith steps in.

     Remember, not only was Gideon’s double “fleece” confirmation a miracle in the natural it also gives us an incredible example of God’s grace and patience.

     And one more tidbit – dew throughout scripture is used as a sign of divine grace and favor. So step into it and watch as HE makes Himself REAL in your life.

Numbers11:9 When the dew fell on the camp at night, the manna would fall with it.