Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Caution, a rainbow, an egret, and a king tide


With dawn just breaking, I peered out the window at leaden skies. It rained most of the night, and I wondered if it would again. I wanted to ride my bike around the island, but being on a bike in a downpour is not much fun. Besides getting soaked to the bone, you can’t see for the rain pelting your eyeballs. Plus, my respiratory issues had only recently come under control. I didn’t want to set the stage for getting sick again. The prudent thing was to stay home.

But this was our last day here and my heart longed for a little adventure outside the confines of our four walls.

Maybe I needed to let caution go.

I went.

Here’s what I would have missed if I’d stayed home.



In the larger context, we may face situations where prudence would call us to do one thing, but if we’re prayerful, we could see God might call us to do something else . . . to let caution go.

That’s a hard ask for someone like me who has a tendency to suffer from the paralysis of analysis. I just want to walk around a decision and weigh every possible outcome. I want to make the right decision . . .  the wise decision.

However, if we can go with God in faith, that’s when we often encounter the amazing perhaps something like the rainbow, the egret, and the king tide.

Maybe you’re facing what seems leaden skies today and you’re wondering . . . should I or shouldn’t I.

Pray, listen for God and how He will lead you.  Chambers again, “We have to learn to walk according to the standard which has its eye on God.” 

“The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail” (Isaiah 58:11).
 


If you haven't bought The Key to Everything yet, please check it out.




Also consider Faith in the Fashion District for those on your Christmas list. It's the story of how One Woman's Life on Seventh Avenue launched a lifetime in ministry.

 

 

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

The answer to worry

I'm pulling this post from the archives today. I know you're out there busy, trying to get it all done this week, but friends, take time to worship the One who graciously gives us boundless love and beauty. From our house to yours, Happy Thanksgiving. 

It’s the day after Thanksgiving, and I sit by the water’s edge at sunrise as bottlenose dolphins arc and dive just a few hundred feet in front of me.


 
So very much to be thankful for, and yet here I am wrestling with a disturbing situation that caught me so much by surprise, it seemed like a solar eclipse, now threatening  to block the sun's rays as they spill across ebbing waters.

The dolphins circle back, and my gaze follows them, but I don't really see.

That’s when I remember what she once said about how worship is the answer to worry―how when we make a practice of getting out of our own heads and focus on the One who really is the King of the World, anxiety begins to dissolve.

That’s where I’ve been today. In my own head. Anxious. Worrying. Even with all this beauty. 

So, I make a choice―a choice to worship.

A choice to live the current moment of rising sun in praise to the one who created all of this wonder, and I start to actually feel the warmth on my face, the hope of what only God can do. And I see, really see those gleaming sea creatures now cruising so close to where I am. Anxiety begins to fade.

In a couple of days, we light the candle of hope. As the flame flickers, I remember again worship is the answer to worry. If we are to have hope, we must worship.

I read again the words of George MacDonald, the one who made such a difference in the life of C.S. Lewis,  “And the wind that blew from the sunrise made me hope in the God who had first breathed into my nostrils the breath of life; that He would at length so fill me with His breath, His mind, His Spirit, that I should think only His thoughts, and live His life, finding there in my own life, only glorified infinitely.”

Those words seemed to describe a life not vexed by solar eclipses.

A life . . .  lived in worship.

"Thank you! Everything in me says 'Thank you!' Angels listen as I sing my thanks. I kneel in worship facing your holy temple and say it again: 'Thank you!' Thank you for your love, thank you for your faithfulness; Most holy is your name, most holy is your Word. The moment I called out, you stepped in; you made my life large with strength " (Psalm 138:1-3 The Message).

Anaiah Press, publisher of The Key to Everything, has just let me know they're running a special from Black Friday to Cyber Monday.  If you haven't bought The Key to Everything yet, please check it out on Friday.



Also consider Faith in the Fashion District for those
on your Christmas list. It's the story of how One Woman's Life on Seventh Avenue launched a lifetime in ministry.




Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Heartache in the Christmas pillow aisle

Sad week last week.

And it all happened within twenty-four hours.

 
A man walked into a bar . . . and oh, how we wish it were just another joke.  But you know what happened. Twelve fell in a rain of gunfire, one a survivor of the Las Vegas shooting. 
In another circumstance, friends  lost their daughter in an accident leaving two teenage children without parents, their dad having died a few months earlier. Then, another heartrending situation close to us that I’m unable to share. Compared to these, this next one is the least, but our eighteen-year-old cat went into a steep decline. Her departure seems imminent. Now, I know she’s over a hundred in human years and has had a great life, but somehow those facts haven’t helped much. She sits on my desk as I write.

So,  I stood in a craft store last Friday looking at Christmas pillows and yet not really seeing them. I was praying in my spirit, consumed by the heartache of people I knew, and people I didn't know. I wanted to get my head above an ocean of sad. When I did focus on the pillows, the cheery sayings almost seemed mocking. It was NOT beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

The owners of this store chain are Christians so instrumental hymn arrangements piped through the overhead speakers and one of them filtered into my spirit. I tried to think what the words were and hummed it to myself. Oh, yes, “Be Still My Soul.”
 

As I pondered those words I heard someone say, “Beverly.”


I turned to find my friend, Sue, whom I don’t see very often.

“How are you,” I asked.

“Sad,” she said.

It turns out their family had also been dealing with a terrible tragedy this past week in addition to losing their beloved next door neighbor.

I shared a bit about our week and pointed to the words of “Be Still My Soul” that I’d pulled up on my phone. “The Lord is on our side,” I said. “We’re not alone." I told myself the Lord is also on the side of those who I've been so burdened for.

She nodded, tears in her eyes. We hugged standing in the middle of the craft store aisle, carts zooming around us, the overhead speaker breaking in for someone to bring Christmas tree G from the stockroom.  I thanked God He is indeed a faithful Friend in every change. And I thanked Him for an earthly friend, too. Right there in front of the Christmas pillows, God poured out a healing balm in my heart and Sue’s heart.

So, even through the sadness of these days, I’ve had a song. God met me with a touch of his grace in an unlikely way and He will do the same for you, too, friend. When those waves of heartache threaten to unravel your spirit, remember"Be still my soul.” God is on your side.


Amazingly, we may soon find, it will be looking a lot more like Christmas.

 "The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and save those who are crushed in spirit" (Psalm 34:18).
 
Many prayers for those touched by these tragedies. Listen to "Be Still My Soul," here or here.
 
The books:

 


Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Speak no evil and gentle spirits


A few days ago, my sister Tammy sent me a quote she’d seen online. It offered wisdom to always take the high road.

Before I shared the quote, I wanted to authenticate the source, so I went to a shelf in our den, and pulled down volume four from among fourteen.

I turned to October 6, 1774 in John Wesley’s journal.
 

  "I met those of our society who had votes in the ensuing election, and advised them, 1. To vote, without fee or reward, for the person they judged most worthy 2. To speak no evil of the person they voted against 3. To take care their spirits were not sharpened against those that voted on the other side.”


Wesley rode over 225,000 miles on horseback (a distance equal to 10 times around the earth), preached 40,000 sermons, and God used him to turn a nation to Christ. I pay attention to what he said, and what he said about speaking no evil of the candidate we voted against and having gentle spirits toward those that voted opposite us is particularly appropriate for today.

You might say, oh it was different back then. Maybe. Maybe not.  The Boston tea party in December of 1773 had thrown a wrench in the political landscape in England, with some feeling the punitive measures too severe against the Massachusetts Bay Colony. It was not all unicorns and fairy dust in 1774.

We have a close friend who is a bishop in Nigeria. When he visits, we drive him around, and he’ll say, “This is God’s country. No potholes.” We laugh, but during an election several years ago, we responded differently and told him we have our problems, too. He said, “Yes, but you can have a change of power in your country without gunfire.”

Back then, we agreed, but since that time, civility has taken a serious hit and political tension is increasing. I’m praying whatever the outcome of these midterm elections today, our Nigerian bishop would still be impressed by our ability in this country to have an election without unrest.

So friends, please vote if you haven’t already done so, but take Wesley’s words to heart.

I saw this video a few days ago and it touched my heart.

Yes, let it be so, “. . . a landside victory for civility.”
 
 
 If video fails to load https://bit.ly/2NVJWfz
 
"A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger" Proverbs 15:1.

 The books:

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