As the cool of early morning covers my yard I see activity in my filbert tree. Every year there comes a harvesting time for the local squirrels. We have grown to expect and joyfully watch when these few days each year arrive. It is fascinating to watch the acrobatics and diligent work that begins at sunrise and continues to sunset for several days in a row. Every nut is gathered, checked, shelled and tucked away for future use.
However, that tree has now grown to be nearing 20 feet tall and this morning I found myself holding my breath as my little woodland critters began this tenacious dance. They teeter on thin branches pulling and shelling nuts, then as if the height doesn’t matter; they jump and swing from branches high in the air to reach the next tiny treasure.
They have no fear and nothing distracts them – even my yapping dachshunds who circle the base of the tree. Their eyes are focused on the assignment at hand.
Prov. 4:25 Let your eyes look directly ahead and let your gaze be fixed straight in front of you. (ESV)
We can learn a spiritual lesson from these little squirrels.
They woke to have one assignment today and that has been their job – and only job – all day long. Nothing distracted them from that purpose.
Jesus walked with so many needs and expectations circling him every day but He chose to focus on the voice of His Father. Only doing what He was called to do – thus when His short three years of ministry was complete, He could say “I glorified you on the earth, having accomplished the work which You have given me to do.”
We allow everyday expectations and needs to pull us, run our lives and distract us into exhaustion. We must choose to listen and obey the Spirits voice. When we say no, begin to manage our own expectations-as well as realign others expectations; we are then allowed to joyfully pick up His specific assignments, stay on task and with joy have plenty of strength to accomplish what He desires for us.
Just as my little squirrels focus only on the prize – the tiny nut treasure – our forward focus on God’s assignment for TODAY will bring an eternal treasure and allow us to rejoice with the words that Jesus spoke – “I glorified you on the earth, having accomplished the work which You have given me to do”.
Join me today in a choice to jump and swing from the highest branches – reaching for the next treasure – HIS assignment set up just for you to complete. Willingly lay down those urgent things that distract and open your eyes to His eternal plans for your TODAY.
Philippians 3:13-14 Forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what is ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (ESV)
Life is all about waiting. We begin that “waiting game” within the womb – waiting to make the first appearance into this world. From then on, it’s as if we are always pushing forward – waiting for the next big life experience. To walk, to talk, to go to kindergarten, to go on a first date, get a first kiss and graduate high school; life is always rushing forward. The list goes on throughout our lives: we are always pulling at the harness to go faster and sooner.
Human nature doesn’t like to wait. However, to wait is necessary in every arena of life. All of those “hurry up” things, that we feel are just not happening fast enough, are only good when received at the God ordained time.
If a cocoon is opened early or a bird egg is helped to hatch – the butterfly and the bird will die. The same is true of the plans God has for us. Often, we jump in, run ahead and find ourselves crying out for Him to fix the mess we made by our impatience. The true answer is to wait!
Waiting is not the same as inactivity!
Seeds that are planted wait as the germination process takes place, each having a time table that is appropriate to its ultimate production – only producing what it was created to. But that germination process is not inactivity.
Though nine months is required for a baby to develop, every second of that time-frame it’s cells are actively working, creating a miracle of life while we wait.
Jesus waited, listened and moved only where and when He was directed by the Father. Learning this discipline requires just that – discipline. When our tendency is to move forward, to do something just because we always have or others expect it, often we are stepping out from God’s planned purpose for us.
If you feel rushed to make a decision or pressured to move forward (from any outside expectation) – slow down, stop and wait. If your next step doesn’t find you at a place of confident inner peace, be aware – this could be that God hasn’t directed you yet. Only when He has spoken will you find anxiety lift and peace flood in. I am not saying that it won’t be difficult, stretching or that you will have all the answers; that’s not how He operates. Just as a baby doesn’t jump up and walk or talk in full sentences at birth, we must grow into who He has created us to be.
Waiting is the key! Learning to wait and listening for the Spirits stirring and direction will bring you to a life where you will see the Father working and your next step will be to go there. Until that direction is heard be committed to the last thing you heard Him say!
Join me in the “waiting game” as we wait in His presence – listening and moving only as He speaks.
John 5:19 So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise. (ESV)
Ecc. 3:1 There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven (NASB)
God’s agenda and ours are usually different. As we reach out for freedom in our lives we begin to realign our internal thoughts and expectations – finding that saying YES to Jesus is the answer to living a life of freedom.
Our expectations, thoughts and dreams begin to match His promises and priorities.
Once that realignment begins we will find our place at the foot of the cross. Here we can surrender our fleshly desires and step into freedom – here is where freedom brings love, grace and deliverance beyond anything we could ever want or need.
Starting a journey realigned to His priorities can begin today – simply say YES and watch a new life where life stands in front of you at every corner you turn. Eyes wide open to His agenda for your day – not yours.
Aha – what a way to live.
Romans 8:5 Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit have their minds set on the the things of the Spirit. CSB
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 live. An 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.
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.
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)