Shaking My Head

A cairn. The Creator of all things guides us with prayer.

At times I find myself shaking my head in disbelief at the idea that the Creator of ALL things wants to be my friend. How ridiculous, how arrogant that might sound! That, however, does not change that fact of it. So I continue to shake my head, but instead of disbelief, I do so in awe and wonder!

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A cairn. The Creator of all things guides us with prayer.

Our Creator took the initiative to mend the relationship we humans broke after He formed us in His image. Why did He care? He cares precisely because we are made in His image. We are the closest to the nature of the Creator out of all that exists.

From Wonder to Questions

I have a lot of unanswered questions. Or maybe it is better stated, my mind is not able to understand what our Creator thinks much of the time. As Walt Kaiser, my favorite Old Testament professor says: I’ll be in that class in Heaven to ask those questions and get answers. Until then, I am content to grow in relationship with our Creator. Arrogance? Since the Creator is the one taking the initiative I want to receive and participate to my fullest ability. It is all grace: unearned favor and blessings. Count me in!

We’ve all had good, and not so good, relationships during our lives. Friends come and go. We grow in relationships through communication, especially  talking. We spend time with others to get to know them.

Questions Lead to Dialogue

In my personal experience, study of the Bible and observation of brothers and sisters more mature in the faith, I find this back and forth, genuine relationship with our Creator most often expressed through prayer. Talking with God.

We often refer to the Bible as “The Word of God” and there are lots of classes in theological schools and in heaven to explain and clarify how that works. I have taken a few of them already. The Word is our clearest guide of the Creator speaking to us. Sort of like a cairn on a trail, but so much better.

As we interact with the Word praying about our life experiences we dialogue and grow in relationship. The more we do this, the better friends we become.

Dialogue to Gratitude

As our relationship grows, I continue to shake my head in Awe and in gratitude for the fact that God took the initiative to make me a friend, even a member of the eternal family of God.

What are you reflections on being a friend of God?

The Dog Days Of Summer

Sometimes you just have to go with it.

The Dog Days of Summer: “the sultry part of the summer, supposed to occur during the period that Sirius, the Dog Star, rises at the same time as the sun: now often reckoned from July 3 to August 11. a period marked by lethargy, inactivity, or indolence.” (from dictionary.com) Basically it is heat induced laziness!

Sometimes you just have to go with it

Sometimes you just have to go with it

In the US at least, this is the time of year when most people take their biggest vacation of the year. There is no wonder in that. The temperatures outside average about 20-30 degrees (Fahrenheit) higher than most people are comfortable with. When the humidity raises too, well, you just have to slow down and go with it.

The slow down is good to reassess. Priorities have to be sharpened to prevent expending energy that isn’t there. Asking Abba to shape my day is fairly normal, but in the dog days it is more important to me. As I listen I may even hear “take the day off” or “find a friend this afternoon” or “Linger a little longer with me over your morning tea. Let’s enjoy the little bit of cool before the oppressive heat sets in.”

Sometimes I receive strategies to function more effectively. For example, Mall walking is great when it is icy out and when the heat is stifling. Also, I’m a night owl by natural make up. But early to bed and early to rise gets my best attempts during the dog days of summer.

If I’m smart and have planned ahead for the inevitable. I will have a vacation somewhere close to a body of water like a lake or the ocean

Sometimes it’s just so hot and humid, that I need to follow that lead of Snoopy and Woodstock on the roof of the dog house and take a nap!

How do you spend your ‘Dog Days?’ I’d really like to know!

One Of Those Days

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Ever have one of those days when you wanted to go hide? I’ve had more than a couple of those in the last few months. Since I sold my house March 1st I have lived in temporary housing with all my furniture and the majority of my earthly goods unattainable in storage PODS.

The completion of my new home has met with so many delays I am now looking at my 5th closing date since last December. With that has come many decisions and disruptions. My people skills are being pushed to the max and many days I have felt like this crab in the photo. Feeling like I just what to hide until it’s over.

What is this crab doing? He is on a large sandbar and it is low tide. The summer sun is beating down. The seagulls are hungry and looking for a meal. What would you do in these circumstances?

This fella, has buried himself in the sand. Not quite all the way, but enough to be hard to see from the air. He awaits high tide and if he knows to pray…I’d bet he’s hard at it… I certainly have been!

I have learned a few things through this process. I suspect I will look back once this is over to see I have learned more than I thought. The crab has helped too!

*God has graciously taught me that there are indeed appropriate times to hide.

*My responses are not determined by others. I get to choose to respond in kind or in the power of the Holy Spirit.

*Timing: Not all things are as urgent as others make them out to be.

*And this too shall pass! Like the coming high tide for the crab, I can watch & wait more often than I previously thought.

*I am looking forward to the days when I can say I survived all the, … let’s call it ‘craziness’ of my current circumstances.

*I am improving my ability to give thanks in all circumstances. Sometimes it requires a lot of focus and deep breathing. It is worth it!

*My understanding of God’s ways being higher than mine has grown a lot. He really does work all for good in the long run.

These are just a few lessons. Whenever possible I will take my lesson from the crab to enjoy the sand and sea air when my circumstances are not optimal. Hmmm…I think I sense a call to go walk the beach! ;-}

What are you facing? What do you want to hide from? What is Abba teaching you?

Abba,

Thank You! “He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.”

1 Thessalonians 5:14

 

 

We All Need To Adapt To Obstacles

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Adapting to Obstacles

This tree has learned to adapt to a major obstacle. It did not choose where it was planted and one sees clearly its growth has faced challenges most trees do not face. Normally, a tree planted by a constant water source like the river in the background has an advantage on life.

That advantage may indeed have given it the strength to persevere when it faced a major obstacle. This tree took a unique route to survival. It went around the obstacle. It did not ignore it, and it did not welcome it or become one with it.

The tree did not change the obstacle. It literally embraced it’s existence then grew around it.

One thing is clear, it did not let the fence keep it from growing into a mature tree. Does it look odd? YES! is it fruitful? YES!

So how does this apply to our lives?

For me, I see less than ideal circumstances that are not going away. Many of us come from damaged family systems. Some of us start out with advantages then meet with great obstacles to becoming who our maker intended us to be.

Things we all have in common are life, destiny and obstacles. The enemy of our souls does not want us to reach maturity and fruitfulness! Our Maker also puts things in our paths to test and mature us. No matter the obstacle, He is constantly aware and He works ALL things together for our good…as long as we do not give up all together.

It is up to us, in the power of the Holy Spirit, to learn to adapt. We get to fight for our survival and our destiny while maintaining our integrity. The tree is still a healthy tree, even with the outward deformity.

These obstacles make us stronger and more fruitful. “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” (1 Cor. 10:13)

This tree overcame the temptation to give up. It adapted and is thriving, fulfilling its destiny of being a mature tree.

How has God been faithful to show you a way of escape in the past? What are you facing now that you need is wisdom for to find a way out?

Happy Birthday USA

hope for the future

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This coming Monday the USA celebrates 240 years since the declaration of Independence from Britain. It comes on the heels of the United Kingdom voting to exit the European Union.

240 years ago the American Colonies were angry at being mistreated by King George and his British government. Britain is exiting the European Union because at least 50% of the electorate is angry with the way the European government is dealing with many issues that affect them.

The US Presidential election season feels unusually long and very angry this time around. What do all these have in common?

Injustice and Rebellion.

To be completely honest I do not know what to do or say about these affairs of State. I tried to wrap my mind around them for a while and quickly found that they are above my ‘pay grade’ as some say. But I have not given up! I know the ONE who understands it all!

Isaiah 55, emphasis mine
6 “Seek the Lord while he may be found;
call upon him while he is near
;
7 let the wicked forsake his way,
and the unrighteous man his thoughts;
let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him,
and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.

9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.

My response has been one of watch, but not too closely, wait with an attitude that acknowledges I am only one person yet I am one person who knows the creator and I have His ear because He has my ear.

I listen first as I pray for our country, asking our Creator what he wants me to pray. Good intercession is birthed in the heart of God. “Your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.”

Recently, I have felt lead to re-read Ezekiel. My heart sinks at the judgments God allowed to come down on Israel calling them a rebellious house.

When I look at our current circumstances and our history I am tempted to become nervous. No, we are not Israel, but the principles are universal. Anger, injustice and rebellion are all things God will not tolerate forever.

The good news is that our God is also a God of mercy. I am so grateful that because of Jesus, Our Creator does not treat us as we deserve. Romans 2:4b reminds us that God’s kindness is meant to lead us to repentance.

How do I approach this 240th birthday? Personally, I thank God for and celebrate the freedom we have and for all the people who sacrifice to maintain it. I try to not take it for granted.

As I look forward I listen and pray that when it comes time to vote for all our elected offices in November, that I’ll know in my heart what I need to do. I seek the Lord while He may be found. I pray for God’s will to be done on earth as it is in heaven, knowing full well that I do not know on my own what His plan is.

What’s your plan?

Enjoy the long weekend in the USA and for those outside, may we all be grateful for the kindness and mercy of our Creator. 
Psalm 103:

8 The Lord is merciful and gracious,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
9 He will not always chide,
nor will he keep his anger forever.
10 He does not deal with us according to our sins,
nor repay us according to our iniquities.
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west,
so far does he remove our transgressions from us.
13 As a father shows compassion to his children,
so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him.
14 For he knows our frame;
he remembers that we are dust.

15 As for man, his days are like grass;
he flourishes like a flower of the field;
16 for the wind passes over it, and it is gone,
and its place knows it no more.
17 But the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him,
and his righteousness to children’s children,
18 to those who keep his covenant
and remember to do his commandments.
19 The Lord has established his throne in the heavens,
and his kingdom rules over all.