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)

 

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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)

When You’re Broken Beyond Repair

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     Football practice wouldn’t be the same today. With the snap of his arm bones, my grandsons’ hope for a winning season was broken before it began. Silence and chaos broke out all at once; covering the field quickly as realization of the accident spread. In the midst of the shouting and ambulance ride comes a calming voice from a trusted friend, “It’ll be alright, it’s a clean break – it will heal.” Surgery waits, not once but twice to repair this double bone compound fracture but in the hands of a skilled orthopedic surgeon it will heal, he will play again – life and his arm will be “good as new”.

     There are times in your life when you feel that you have been broken beyond repair. The tragic loss of a loved one looms over your heart. The betrayal of a trusted friend crushes your spirit. The angry vicious words spoken against you grip your mind. But through the pain there is a calming voice that can be heard – He is speaking in the midst of that pain – “It’ll be alright – you will heal – life will be good again.”

     Your brokenness can heal – It’s not quick, it’s not painless, it’s not easy – but the skilled hand of a surgeon can repair it. And you have a skilled surgeon waiting for you – one who knows intimately the pain and hurt you are walking through. Jesus is waiting; His surgery heals, restores and gives new life. He is there wiping every tear, whispering His love back into your broken heart, pouring restored trust into your broken spirit, eradicating lies from your mind – whispering “Life will be good again.”

     When you feel you have been broken beyond repair – remember – in the hands of a skilled surgeon you will heal, you will play again and life will be good. Trust your brokenness into the hands of your surgeon – He is waiting for you.

Psalm 34:18 The Lord is near to the broken-hearted and saves the crushed in spirit. (ESV)

Psalm 147:3 He heals the broken-hearted and binds up their wounds.(ESV)

Where is Your Trust?

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     Fear has become a constant whispering companion as destructive acceleration surrounds us…global warming, earthquakes, famine, increased hate and violence as well as the rumors of a possible approach of nuclear war. It is so easy to “buy in” to that fear and panic, that “be prepared” mentality that is erupting all around us. Here – in the midst of this chaotic surge – is our place to walk in a different spirit.

     It is now that the LOVE of Christ is needed to dispel that fear. It is now that FAITH in Christ can shine in the darkness – teaching and building hope in the confused. It is now that the HOPE in Christ within us must stand firm, declare and encourage in the midst of what is seen.

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.  I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge his faithfulness is a shield and buckler. You will not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness, nor the destruction that wastes at noonday.              Psalm 91: 1-6 (ESV)

     Let these words infuse in you today the strength to stand firm. Find rest under His wings – find peace in His refuge as you trust in Him. Remember in HOPE the goodness of your God, remember in FAITH you are called to proclaim that goodness, and remember in LOVE all that Christ did for you and those around you.

     Fear not what you see with your eyes and hear with your ears – look only with your Spirit to the promises of His faithfulness. Breathe easy today as you walk in peace in the midst of this storm, finding refuge in Christ – for there is where your trust dwells.

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.

Keep Out the Weeds

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Weeds, Weeds, Weeds! If I desired to grow only weeds, I would have a garden paradise with no effort. I could choose to let those weeds go, flourish in their own right – many even are pretty as they bloom. But I love flowers, so spring through fall requires a continual effort of picking, pulling, and digging. Keeping my flowerbeds happy and productive proves often to be back and knee breaking work. The effort has it’s own reward though, as my plants and flowers are freed from the weeds that steal their nutrients and space – they begin to flourish and grow into what they were created to be.

Awe…..just like us! Weeds crop up, often unbeknownst to us. We can indulge them, allow them to grow – it’s easier – maybe no one will notice – it is our choice right? Or, we can grab the garden implements and get them out.

Your choices each day can allow the seeds of many types of weeds to be distributed all around you and suddenly you will find those weeds chocking out your life nutrients and crowding out what is important. Many of those choices are good, they don’t look bad, won’t hurt you; but deep down in the roots they are determining how and if you will grow to be all you were created to be.

Pulling, picking and digging those weeds out of your life will take effort – back and knee breaking effort. In fact, to keep the weeds out requires a daily diligence of looking to and listening to the Holy Spirit as He enlightens exactly where the weed needs to be attended.

Thankfully, cleaning out the weeds of wrong choices is well worth the effort and really rather simple. Begin making all your life choices as you abide in His love, choices that speak loudly of your desire to serve Christ and not your own desires. These types of choices will allow the weeding process to become easier. The reward will become apparent as your life begins to flourish and grow – showing forth the beauty of whom you were created to be.

Choose today to keep those weeds out and become His Kingdom garden.

John 15:8-9 By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. (ESV)

Joshua 24:15 If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”(NASB)