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)

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Who’s In Your Boat?

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The darkening clouds began to swiftly swirl around them as the waves surged. The sea had been tame as the short journey began but now waves crashed over the bow and threatened to take their lives. They had seen His hands do many miracles – how and why was He sleeping as they struggled in the midst of this aggressive storm? Waking him from his slumber brought rebuke – first for their lack of faith but then of the very wind and waves that threatened their lives. Quickly the tumultuous sea became still as they stood astonished at His authority.

As we walk through life’s journey we are also surprised by storms that threaten our lives – some mild, some crashing the bow and some that have begun to sink our boats. How we respond – How we get through it depends on WHO is in our boat.

     All of us – in the midst of the storm begin to falter, question and grow weary. However, if we know Jesus is our rock – our salvation – our hope; we know He is in our boat. He is always there for us and has our back! Going down with the boat is NOT His plan! We need to wake up – look up – and with faith reach out for His hand.

     It’s not in our ability to silence the storm. We only need to look to Him and He steps in. He rebukes the winds and waves – He calms the storm.

Matthew 8:26 And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?” Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm.

Stronger & Higher Together

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With a 6ft wooden fence between them my 20ft majestic Purple Robe tree stands beside my neighbor’s spectacular Wisteria vine – both prolific in growth and multiplication. Shoots abound underground – both ways – between the fence line. Each spring to early summer both flower with intoxicating floral blooms that are glorious to behold. This summer, however, I have noticed an exciting merging of the two. The Wisteria, now strong and flourishing, has “jumped the fence” and has begun intertwining with the strength and height of the Purple Robe, reaching its tendrils higher then it previously could. OH, MY – anticipation waits for next springs glorious sight as they erupt – stronger together – each increasing the others beauty – transforming from glory to glory.

Spiritually, we too are meant periodically to “jump the fence”. Those who believe in Christ are many – many different individuals in many different buildings – each prolific and multiplying in their own sphere. As one body through Christ – it’s ok – to “jump the fence”: to intertwine and to bring the beauty of one into many.

We, individually plant our roots into a single place of growth. There we are safe, nurtured, grow, and produce; reaching the top of that 6ft fence, our strength then can be shared, expanded, enlarged into the body of Christ around us.

We as a body require and thrive in unity and connection to each member – whether that is individually or as complete groups of believers. We are all one in Christ!

Just as the strength of the Purple Robe will support the continued expansion of the Wisteria vine (even over the fence) so should we strengthen and support our sisters and brothers in faith. Together we will produce the glorious sight of growing from Glory to Glory. We will grow stronger and higher as we become one body – loving and walking together.

I Corinthians 12: 12-13As the human body, which has many parts, is a unity, and those parts, despite their multiplicity, constitute one single body, so it is with the body of Christ. For we were all baptised by the Spirit into one body, whether we were Jews, Gentiles, slaves or free men, and we have all had experience of the same Spirit. (Phillips)

Short-term Life in a Bud Vase

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     I love flowers, pretty much ALL of them, but my favorites are those with lingering intoxicating scent. In the NW, roses are rather temperamental due to our abundance of rain and most of mine end up bedraggled.  However, this year I decided to find the perfect one, pot it and plan to carefully tend it. The first two buds appeared and expectantly I watched as they began their slow burst into bloom. OH, what reward! They unfurled with glorious swirls of yellows, oranges and crimson with a smell that was heavenly. They spent several days on the stems before a torrential downpour came. As the rain began pelting down I darted out to protect them from destruction; the only way, was to cut them off and bring them inside. The scent that filled my living area was quickly released as they accepted a short-term life in a bud vase. They quickly opened continuing to show off their splendor of colors while their scent seemed to grow stronger.

     Each day I have sat writing in front of these beauties and I am blessed to breath in a scent that makes me smile – one that continues to grow as the petals start to fade. Now, the petals have begun to drop to the table, but the scent is still my writing companion. Now residing in a small crystal dish – their scent lingering as a little reminder that they aren’t gone.

II Corinthians 2:14 But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere.(ESV)

     We, like my roses, live a short-term life in a bud vase. We show forth our colors (our gifts and talents) throughout that time, but do we leave a continual aroma? Is ours one of sweet enjoyment or do we carry an uninviting one? What is our life changing fragrance that lingers and intoxicates? With Christ as your eternal life source you become that sweet intoxicating aroma that draws life and invites others to partake. Without the presence of Christ as your focus, your flower is beautiful but the scent, like my Daisy’ is not one that others desire.

     Our time is fleeting, limited and fading but when you walk this life journey spreading the fragrance of Christ, you will be as my fading roses – a scent that will linger as a reminder that through Christ, you are present – now and forever.

     Step into a new life with Christ and allow your fragrance to become a sweet intoxicating aroma as you walk out your journey of short-term life in a bud vase.

Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. (ESV)

Out of the Box Proposal

My Jesus likes to surprise us, to step out of the box and present us with new life options, outrageous abundance, and all things unexpected – His box is so much better then what we could ever expect.

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Recently my son set up a marriage proposal – his girlfriend unsuspectingly participating. A front row seat was acquired at a well known magicians show and the stage – literally – was set as the magician stepped down to take her hand, to be his assistant for a particular illusion. A huge box was seen to be empty as she checked inside and all around it – it was closed up tight and turned completely around. As the box was re-opened to her utter amazement, out stepped my son. Ring box in hand and with one knee pose he presented to her his request to be his wife. Her expectations of this night where totally blown out of the water. That box held a new life – a new abundance that was not expected.

Our expectations of life, of dreams, and even of God are mostly pre-packaged and boxed into our personal paradigm of tidy thinking. But, I have found that the older I get the less “boxed” those expectations seem to be. Over the years, most of those boxes have come up empty. Trusting God with all that was previously stuffed in them I have chosen to do the best thing. And that “best” thing is to take the empty boxes and close them up – better yet – get rid of them all together.

Ephesians 3:20 Now glory be to God, who by his mighty power at work within us is able to do far more than we would ever dare to ask or even dream of—infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, or hopes. (TLB)

Funny thing is, our God never seems to work within our exceptions’ or on our timetables. His plans and purposes for our lives can never fit in our small thinking, pre-packed boxes.

My Jesus likes to surprise us, to step out of the box and present us with new life options, outrageous abundance, and all things unexpected – His box is so much better then what we could ever expect. When we step out, say YES, accept the request for participation – watch out – we have just been given access to more then we can think or imagine. That’s just how good HE is!

Join me on stage to accept His proposal and allow your boxes to be blown away.

 

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.

 

Freedom in Your “hodgepodge”!

Enjoy the walk exactly where you are and walk in that assignment. Your design, your purpose may be “hodgepodge” – enjoy it and find freedom in your difference.

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We hear about “style” in all areas of our lives – clothing, decorating and even in cooking but what does that mean? There is no right or wrong, (REALLY – though some will disagree) it’s just different. It comes down to what you prefer – what makes you happy – what looks good to your eye – what brings life and freedom to your life.

In the midst of this style conscious world I have observed and questioned my oddity. But, I have a wonderful friend who’s decorating style is “minimalist” – I go into her home and it has a peaceful flow, clean and open. I love it! But, it’s not me. I’m not country, or contemporary, and surely not modern, so – maybe I don’t have one, and my hodgepodge style struggled on.

For years I have contemplated the word “hodgepodge” – a word my mom would use – sounding like a swear word. I have carried that “hodgepodge” like shame over my head – but it’s not wrong – it’s just different. I enjoy multiple types of wood furniture in the same room, different art pieces of every style and “clutter” treasures tucked here and there. It is funny, how a name changes everything! One day I found the word “eclectic” attached to a home decorating magazine and my heart skipped a beat – that’s me – I have a “named” style – I am eclectic! Wow – freedom!

Now I can enjoy, embrace and walk in my “style” freedom; finding freedom in who I am – in my hodgepodge. And now a recent example of this presented it’s self in my beautiful courtyard. Within our back yard, I have a secluded little courtyard – my secret garden, and I have it filled with pots and plants. As I originally designed it, I worked hard to keep the ceramic pots color coordinated, the plants all in shades of purples and blues with a touch of pink and white. It was nice, but now as those pots are overgrown they are ready to be re-done. Pondering this job, a freedom emerged and I am embracing my “eclectic” style and began choosing just what I like – I now will have reds, yellows, and oranges right there next to the blues, pinks and purples and I even added different colored pots.

Spiritually speaking – BE who you are – find true freedom in who HE has created you to be! Enjoy the walk exactly where you are and walk in that assignment. Your design, your purpose may be “hodgepodge” – enjoy it and find freedom in your difference.

I Corinthians 7:17a Only, as the Lord has assigned to each one, as God has called each, in this manner let him walk. (NASB)

John 8:32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free (ESV)