Monday, October 29, 2012

Ecclesiastes 8:15

"So I commended pleasure, for there is nothing good for a man under the sun except to eat and to drink and to be merry, and this will stand by him in his toils throughout the days of his life which God has given him under the sun."

**The grass glistened with the light drizzle that had fallen, and it beckoned them..."come and play!"  Quickly, they stripped themselves of shoes and socks...and began to run through the plush green carpeting.  Giggling, they romped and frolicked...**

Kids can be amazing.  They see the wonder in all things.  Their eyes shine with unbridled excitement, and they don't hesitate to see the good and the joy in everything.  Do you remember being young?  The days when you would try anything once?  The days when a simple hand in yours made your entire body weak from young love?  Where does that enthusiasm for life go to?

Often, we age in our minds before we age in our bodies.  The trials and tribulations of life darken the skies, and our eyes no longer reflect the passion of youth.  The light goes out...and once out, it can be difficult to relight.  We begin to think things like retirement, and sitting back, watching life roll by.

But retirement isn't biblical.  The leaders of old led until God took them home!  He expected them to get up each day, and have renewed fervor for Him and his commandments.  He called them to do very difficult things, like lead nations, at ages we would be considering our rocking chairs.  We, too, should be so excited about our lives, which are of course, precious gifts, and each day of our lives, that we seek Him with the faith and vibrancy of a child.  Isn't that the model Jesus gave us in the New Testament?  

**Indeed, two fifty year old "children" ran through the turf, laughing in the drizzle, and enjoying the precious moment that God had provided them.  Their hearts were renewed, their souls replenished by a perfect moment grasped from the hands of the ho-hum adult world where what the neighbors think means more than appreciating every second in their brief lives.**

Tonight, become a child again.  Don't just walk through life with no energy, attack it with passion and exuberance!  

"Dance in the Rain"
I will raise up my head I will stretch out my arms 
for the Lord He is good and his love never ends.  
I will face to the heavens and circle before Him
Your love never fails and your mercies are new
Clouds they will not cover me
and the darkness will not silence me
i'll look to the sky and lift up my voice
with a childlike heart i will say 
let me dance in the rain
dance in the rain
let me dance in the rain
dance in the rain

Link to "Dance in the Rain" by the Chic Band (scroll down to find the song)

Monday, October 8, 2012

Psalm 103:4-5

"(Bless the Lord oh my soul) who redeems your life from the pit; who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion, who satisfies your years with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle."

We are all on a quest for good things.  We spend our lives trying to amass good things don't we?  I certainly have.  When I was seventeen and ready to launch my own life, "good things" meant a place of my own, a corner office in New York City editing some national magazine, looking down on people from my ivory tower.

As I journeyed forward, I wanted a home, a nice car, pretty clothes for the girls.  But that wasn't enough.  Pretty soon, I was sitting in an amazing home with a pool, gathering more checks than bills from my mailbox and I still wanted MORE good things.

Then came the Lord, to change my perspective.  He took my definition of "good things" and turned it all around.  Two weeks with my kids on a beach, watching Mike make a perfect catch and chase down a runner, standing in the rain, watching the homeschool teens honor their parents with tributes, and being able to lead a student to the Lord at Dare2Share....those became my new "good things."

Not a new car, but a hand in yours.  Not a bigger house, but a hug from a true friend.  Not more precedence in the community, but more opportunities to serve.  God does change our perspective...and THEN and only then can He satisfy our years with good things.  He always wants to, but our viewpoints are so skewed sometimes, that though he is trying to give us so many good things, we refuse to see them.

I've learned that the following are all good things. They are more valuable than jewels, cars, houses, or money.  In fact, most GOOD things cannot be valued in dollars and cents, that is how you know they are GOOD!  

I'm sure you have good things in your life, that perhaps you have forgotten to be thankful for--never forget to thank Him.  For He is the creator of all things good.

Good Things:

The crash of a wave, and then another, and another.
The flight of a gull over the beach
The smile of a child who just found a treasure
Watching lovers walk together--who have been together for fifty years.  
A treasured family photo
Memories of our parents
A promise kept
Snuggling on your husband's chest, and feeling him breathe
Watching your child take his first steps--into the world of adulthood
Having the Word of God warm you up on a very cold morning
A good friend who comes from far to care for you
The day AFTER you have the flu...when you start to feel better
The bloom of a flower
An agate on the beach, and the SEARCH for the agate, which is better than the agate itself
A journey, any journey that involves a dirt path
The sound of a bat contacting the ball
The sight of a child in a sleeping bag
The purr of a cat
Worship so intense you feel like the heavens are opening up
A letter or card from a friend
A call from a far away child
A great doctor's report
The satisfaction that you feel when a friend has good news in their life
A strong hand in yours
A journal left behind for you to read...where you are called "honored, precious, treasured"
A moment in time where you have NOTHING to do
The sound of the wind through the trees
Your children...anytime, all the time.
Being told "thanks for making me the man I have become Mom"
A hug
Soft warm knee socks
The opportunity to make new memories
Watching the woman in front of you at church take off her shoes and worship God with all her might
The sound of a hammered dulcimer
The time spent with a piano, alone.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Romans 8:26-27 Clarity

26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.

A trip to the beach is always a healing thing for me.  When covered in the worries of life and suffocated by the extreme heat in Las Vegas, we would spirit away to the Oregon coast.  There, we would rehydrate, and nourish our souls among the waves and sand.

This weekend, I spent some time at the coast with my daughter's family.  We walked along the beach, we laughed, we ran, we enjoyed the salt spray.  Much time was spent walking along the shoreline, praying.

One of our family activities is searching for agates.  Agates are rocks that have been smoothed by the ocean, and they are clear.  You can see through them...they gather the light and refract it, and in their transparency they are beautiful.  They glitter on the sand like diamonds.  

As I gathered, I thought, oh, how nice it would be if my life were so clear, if I could shine like these lovely agates in the wet sand, as a testimony that my Lord always has me, that He has YOU as well, if you will accept his free gift.

I was searching for clarity--clarity in my life mission, clarity for my next steps.  I listened so closely, but I wasn't receiving any shouts from the Lord.  At one point, I put some of Layne's ashes out, and I said to God, "You want me to do all these things, but you won't show me how to get them done!  How am I supposed to get into churches to tell our story?  How am I to publish the book?  What parts of my life should be in the book?  Are you going to TELL ME?"  Then I just got on my knees and I cried...and I moaned, and I let God know I'm broken and I want nothing more than to serve Him.  I want to tell others that He has them.  But I need for Him to show me that my steps have been ordered BY Him and that I'm on the right path.

Sometimes, we don't have the words.  We have great need--a healing, physical or spiritual, a new direction, financial help.  And the needs are so great we can't even put them to words.  We are lost, and we just need our father to come along and scoop us up, and take care of us.  

It is then that the Spirit helps us.  HE speaks to the Father for us.  HE knows us intimately and can turn our cries, our sobs, into pleas to the Father.  And this is why Jesus wanted so much to send Him to us.

Today, spend some time --without words.  Reach out to God with those groanings of your soul and let the Spirit do the translation for you.  He will bring your requests to the Father, and the Father will refine you, like the ocean refines the agates, into transparent glory that shines out to those who seek.