An Unexpected Interruption

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     I woke up early this morning with plans to get yard work accomplished before the heat of the day moved in but my morning plans were interrupted by an unexpected visit of three of Gods amazing creatures.

     My love and passion for nature often finds me mesmerized by the tiniest flowers that perch on top of weeds, intricate lacy spider webs and the individual trill that each bird makes; as well as the multitude of other beauties I come across. So it isn’t new for me to be aware of the beauty I find in unexpected places. However, this morning I was stunned and found myself literally holding my breath in awe as I watched the most delicate ballet erupt over my flowers.

     First one gorgeous yellow and black butterfly moved in hovering over the flowers and then the dance began. A second and then a third joined in but not just random enjoyment of their floral feast but connecting one to another. Soon they swirled around like synchronized swimmers – looping, diving, and softly fluttering. I could swear I heard music, as I stood totally amazed and engrossed in what I was being allowed to witness.

     I lost track of time as they continued oblivious of my presence. The obvious joy that this dance provided to them was contagious to watch and joy began to stir deep in my spirit as they presented this stunning ballet to their audience of one.

     But soon, as if on cue the dance was over and each butterfly flew off to different flowers leaving me with a sense of profound amazement, honored to have witnessed this intimate dance.

     The morning plans now weren’t important for God’s plan to pour out an unexpected blessing took me to a place of joy unspeakable.

     I began to contemplate what God’s “deep meaning” must be for what I witnessed and experienced today. Then as if in answer to my question laughter began to bubble up inside of me – there was no “deep meaning” it was His simple gift of love – especially for me. WOW – now that truly is a “deep meaning”!

     My day was filled with unimaginable joy because I took the time to stop what I thought needed to be done and participate in what He allowed to float into my day. My friend – don’t miss God’s unexpected interruptions of love by allowing your “to do” list to distract you from the blessings He has planned for you today.

Photo courtesy of : J.K.Sanchez Photography

Fly – Jump – Run! The Gold Medal Awaits You!

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As a mom it’s been my joy to watch my kids play, jump and run – nothing is out of reach. They fall down, we pick them up; they skin a knee, we bandage it; they even break a bone or need a few stitches in the process. But during this time in these little lives we see a freedom that most of us lose – a freedom to believe we can fly, we can reach the stars if we jump high enough, we can run the “fastest” and always WIN.

Let’s consider an Olympic gold medalist. This winner does not get to the winners platform by happenstance – not because another saw a talent, not because of special treatment but because of single focus. The journey began with love and passion – one step, one direction at a time. When this day arrived, the gun went off, the race began and the only focus was forward; there could be nothing but the finish line. Deep down inside the winner will WIN and so faith and focus prevail!

Once the gun went off was there a backward look to evaluate the “near miss”, maybe just a glance to see the cheering crowd, or for sure, to check out how far ahead of the competitors they were?

NEVER ONCE – for looking back for any reason causes distraction and can quickly end the race due to unexpected failure.

Just as in the natural so is our race in the spiritual. We often live our lives looking backwards. We find ourselves living in past hurts, joys, wishful thinking and regrets – all of which cause distractions and derailment of God’s plan in our lives. The faith for the impossible – the faith for tomorrow’s new adventures, and the finish line wins all get sidelined. We have forgotten that we can fly, we can reach the stars and we can run the “fastest” and always WIN.

When you find yourself in this place how do you get back in the race?

Just like the Olympic winner – it takes single focus! Our single focus has to be on the face of Jesus! He is and always is FOR YOU! Just ask – He will restore what has been lost so that just like a child you can jump back up, get back in the race and make it to the finish line a winner. He can restore the belief that you can fly, you can reach the stars and you can run the “fastest” and always WIN.

Don’t look back – look forward to what He has placed within you!  Get up and move one step at a time into His impossible opportunities in your life.  Run, Run, Run like a child again – for then comes the freedom to believe, the freedom to see yourself the winner that you are!

Fly – Jump – Run for the gold medal awaits you!

Philippians 3:13-14 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But, one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (ESV)
Photo courtesy of chrisroll@freedigitalphotos.net

A Place of Pause

Some mornings are just made for sleeping in.  Some are made to jump up and get going for they are pre-planned and full of expectation. Then there are mornings where you get that early morning wake-up call in your spirit.

This morning was one of those – but to wake up and wait? Garden *JKSG001 (His Perfect Timing)

As we learn to hear and move as the Spirit leads there often comes a place of pause. This place requires discipline and peace to wait and rest in the midst of great anticipation. This place of pause is much harder then to be called to “move out” because our tendency is to take it into our own hands and just get it done – but that’s not how it works in the Kingdom of Heaven.

To run ahead or lag behind is loss – but to wait and only move in synchronized perfect timing with the Spirits call is of great gain however, it comes with a great cost. That cost is to wait –prayerfully wait in readiness with lamps full of oil and ready for His call to move is much harder then it sounds.

Perfect timing, moving on time and waiting are all throughout the Bible. The children of Israel only moved when the cloud by day or pillar by night moved, the 10 virgins had lamps full of oil and waited for the bridegroom, Jesus went where and when the Father directed bringing life exactly where the Father was moving and the apostles directed by the Spirit carried the gospel to all parts of the world. But what does that look like to us? Exactly the same – simply wait, wait, wait – not anxiously but walking in peace and rest, totally at a readiness of spirit.

So, my call this morning was one of waiting, listening and being ready for the call and direction of my bridegroom – with lamps filled with oil I wait in His presence for His stirring and movement before me when my heart that is ready to  receive and quickly move will sing YES, LORD.

 

“Where’s My Keys?”

 

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     “Great, they were just here, where are they?” I mumble to myself, my frustration growing as I rummage through my purse for my keys. Unceremoniously I dump the contents into the grocery cart full of my now, getting warmer by the minute, groceries. Not there, anywhere! I look in the car window and there I see them lying on the console.

     Ever been there? Keys are important in our lives for just about everything. When one goes missing we are thrown into chaos, our normal life is disrupted.

     Without a key – the exact key – all entry is unauthorized and creates damage. Breaking, prying or any way in is forceful entry. That’s not why or how keys are made to function.

     The car fueled with gas – ready to exert power to move you forward is stalled without the key. A warm house filled with electricity is ready to provide you with heat, protection and comfort within its power-filled spaces but if you can’t get through the door you still stand out in the cold.

     Likewise as we walk through the open door Jesus created we find many doors placed before us. Some are easy access and then there are those that require the exact-fit key to open.

     In the Kingdom of Heaven we often try to get in doors we don’t have access for because we are using someone else’s keys and end up with damage control instead of living and walking in His favor and freedom. Just as my car key only fits my car, my friend’s key will not work. No matter how hard I might try, her key won’t work on my door. The only solution is either to cause damage getting in or go get the right key.

     Finding the exact-fit keys that He has designated for you is a matter of going to get them. They are there for the asking!

     Remember – no one else’s key will fit! Don’t’ try to borrow one or quickly follow through another’s door that looks more appealing. He has specific ones just for you.

     Step into a life filled with keys to doors you never knew where available as you walk out the story Jesus designed for you.

     Walking out that story is all about living in His presence, listening (not striving), doing as HE directs, and allowing ALL that He has placed within you to bring glory to Him. In faith you begin stepping out when, where and how He directs. Doors (His pre-planned assignments) will present and with confidence you will use the keys HE has placed within you to accomplish the great things HE planned before you were born.

      Let’s go get our keys and move with power through those doors!

“Touchdown” Worship

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As you see the stands explode with jumping and screaming fans you too erupt with cries of joy as the quarterback plows through the waiting wall of defense- making the final winning touchdown.

My recent enjoyment of football has my family grinning at me as I jump, shout and scream throughout – a newbie to the game. We all find ourselves expressing these same extravagant behaviors at many events in our daily lives – births, weddings, and birthdays, to name a few. These celebrations are in fact a type of worship.

Comparing these celebrations with our worship of the King of Kings brought a smile to my face; I remembered David’s extravagant – all out there – worship in the streets. Shouldn’t we have that same exuberance and freedom as we express our love and adoration in the presence of the Lord?

Our love for Jesus and our wholehearted worship of him both at church and home can be just as energetic, powerful and life giving.

The psalms are filled with life’s rough times – betrayals, persecutions and trials of every sort but the psalmist voice always comes back to a place of worship and awe for the goodness and steadfast love of the Lord.

As we look up – the very air we breathe crackles with His life. We see His glory and power in all of creation, from the towering mountains, thundering waterfalls and crashing waves to the tiny ants diligence, the bees’ productivity and the ever re-producing seeds around us. His glorious creativity blooms – the awe of who He is stirs a depth of worship beyond a song, a shout or a dance.

It’s this depth of worship that gets you through times of trial! As deep calls to deep within your spirit you can suddenly see that this type of worship is far bigger then you! It’s a response crying from within, it’s a response that brings life and freedom, and it’s a response toward your Lord whose steadfast love continually carries you. When that awe begins to grow inside of you suddenly it is just like that “touchdown”; the exuberance erupts with joyous shouts, songs and dancing.

It’s this place – this place of unabashed expression of how good God is that brings freedom, life abundant and power to overcome the “stuff” of this life.

Reach up, dig deep, go long with all that is within you – rejoice and worship at the feet of Jesus. Leave the rest behind and dive for the touchdown!

Psalm 150:1-6  Praise the Lord!  Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens!  Praise him for his mighty deeds; praise him according to his excellent greatness!  Praise him with trumpet sound; praise him with lute and harp!  Praise him with tambourine and dance; praise him with strings and pipe!  Praise him with sounding cymbals; praise him with loud clashing cymbals!

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord!  Praise the Lord. (ESV)

Let the Dust Disappear

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My recent rock garden project sent me on a hunt through tons of stone. All sorts, shapes and sizes waited my unearthing; and an “ah ha” moment ensued.

I was overwhelmed as I saw beauty hidden both inside and outside of what was present but unseen all around me every day, just simple rocks. As I began collecting “just the right sizes and types”, my fascination grew; they appeared to all look the same, covered in tan dust.

Once home, the washing began and the beauty emerged – all-different vibrant colors materialized. As the day continued the same process brought more wonder as I began the sorting of buckets of agates for my gardens riverbed. Again, one by one, I scrubbed away the sledge that had accumulated on them, revealing the glistening colors beneath. I was amazed by what lay in my hands.

Often God gets my attention in the midst of my daily activities and this was one of those times, with a still small voice that whispered, “They are just like you.”

Each of us are created by his hand with care and individuality, each getting covered with the dust from the environment around us, each needing a washing to reveal our hidden beauty, and each of us totally different in size, shape, colors and purpose.

We are like a chosen rock – ready to be found, ready to be washed, ready to sparkle and shine and ready to be placed into His planned purpose – His rock garden.

He created, He chose, He died for each of us before we were ever aware.

He has a life story for you that is just waiting to be revealed. The simplicity of it requires only for you to BELIEVE and say YES!

Just like the rocks in my garden – we walk under the cleansing water of Christ and become what we were created to be – our story begins to be revealed as all that glistens and sparkles materializes as the dust disappears.

“Higher – Daddy, Higher!”

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Children love to go higher and higher, to be lifted, to swing, to climb – always asking and desiring “Higher – daddy, higher”.

As a young child I would swing for hours pushing higher and higher until I could hear the “ker-thunk” of the swing set legs lifting slightly up and then back into their sleeves, enjoying every minute of free-flight freedom. I would also find the same release of joyous freedom when I would twirl round and round with arms stretched out and head staring straight up at the clouds; spinning like a top until I was so dizzy I couldn’t stand upright anymore – landing in a heap in the grass. And another childhood memory – my love of encountering a grassy hill! Without words the race to the top would begin, no thought given to the inevitable grass stains and no concern to the possible nauseous feeling at the end. The only desire was the exuberant release of joy and freedom that was to come as I rolled all the way to the bottom.

Do you remember those times of untethered freedom expressed in childhood?  Most of us have some or have loved watching our children or grandchildren experience them.

But then the time comes where these types of behaviors are no longer appropriate; we grow up. However, we still search to find that same release of joyous freedom. As adults we shift our search to downhill skiing, bungie jumping, skydiving, zip-lining and a myriad of similar extreme sports, finding the release of joyous freedom that explodes us out of our care, worries and craziness of life. All of these examples speak of our desire for the exhilarating joy that freedom brings.

These experiences of “letting go of everything” require a faith! It stirs a belief that we will be ok, that this is worth the risk, that this is really a safe activity.This is an ultimate trust in our God who is good and has our lives in His hands.  

We believe, desire and declare, “Higher – Daddy, higher”.

However, when life throws you an unexpected curve ball, life begins to spin out of control, life pulls you into the pit; suddenly the free fall fun is no longer joyful or freeing. Your trust is shaken, you pull back, you hang on and fear takes over! This overwhelming grief, this unexpected medical diagnosis, this heart-stopping loss or this unrelenting pain begins to run your life!

The spinning and out of control feeling has changed, what previously brought joyous freedom now is overwhelming, why?

Your eyes have become focused on the mountain not on the creator of that mountain; you have forgotten who is pushing the swing.

Looking back to the face of Jesus, His promises and His love for you is the key. As you lean into His presence – it will bring you back to that child like trust, allowing you to “let it go”; stirring joy and releasing freedom in the very center of the chaos. On this zip-line life journey, the fears that claw and grasp at your heart will soon begin to dissolve. The balm of Gilead with healing will soothe your heart and life will begin again.

 Return as a child to swing higher and higher with your daddy – He’s got you – trust in His love for you, then the exhilarating release of joy and freedom will return and lift you from the pit.

Let go of the fear, grief, pain and loss; turn and declare, “Higher -daddy, higher” as you find that place of peace and trust that only exist in the presence of the arms of Jesus.

 

Psalm 40:2 He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet up on a rock, making my steps secure. (ESV)
Psalm 103:2-5 Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.(ESV)
Photo courtesy of worradmu@freedigitalphotos.net

“I’ll See You Soon!”

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Saying good-bye is never easy – if it’s for a few months, a few years or for eternity.

The hardest is the eternal good-bye!

I look today at grief and loss of a loved one, not in a morbid depressed way but with eternal eyes.

Having lost many family members and currently grieving the loss of my brother I think – today – not of my loss but of their gain. As we shed this tent, this earthly body we receive an immortal, imperishable one that when received allows entry into a place where “no pain” exists, where freedom of earthly limitations reigns, where we can eternally walk in peace – no burdens to think of or carry; an eternal place where the presence of Jesus is our very breathe.

My heart is heavy and tears overwhelm me – but I know that to be absent here means to be present with the Lord. My faith in Christ is my solid foundation – I know that neither life nor death will separate us from the love of God.

So with a thankful heart I remember that the three most important heartfelt words “I Love You!” were spoken between us. These three words are the most enduring truth that we can hope for in this life.

There is a time we all must say good-bye, a time when our eternal assignment here is complete, a time when these bodies wear out, a time when “It is finished” must be spoken.

If we can approach death – its grief and loss – its eternal good-bye similar to when we see a loved one off on an extended trip; with farewell words – I’ll see you soon; then with anticipation of that reunion we can overcome despondency – knowing this good-bye is only temporary and eternity awaits.

So to you my brother – “I’ll See You Soon”.

 

Romans 8:38   II Corinthians 5:1-8  (ESV)