Category Archives: Spiritual

Hungry

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I know,

I’m not a food photographer.

However, I was hungry when I sat down to this: my supper.

I was more than physically hungry.

I was spiritually hungry as well.

So, I read my Bible while pacifying my tummy.

I read the gospel of John.

To be exact I reread the section beginning just after Christ is raised till the end of the book.

It struck me.

Mary was far more than hungry for a glimpse of Jesus that morning at the tomb.

She must have felt bewildered, frightened, and possibly even desperate.

Her sorrow at the loss of her Lord was made even worse by what she thought was the theft of His body.

-sigh-

She sees the angels in the tomb and then turns to see Jesus Himself.

She failed to recognize Him, mistaking Him for the gardener.

At this I closed my eyes and prayed:

Lord, how often have I missed You in my every day? How often do I allow the circumstances which cause me sorrow and pain to distort my vision to the point of being blind to Your face? How might I change so I never again miss seeing You?”

-sigh-

“Because you have been using your eyes to look for Me. Look with your heart instead.”

Hunger subsided.

I felt my spirit overflow with the beauty of God’s truth.

I can choose to look for Christ in ever piece and bit of each day.

I can continue to hide His word in my heart. As I walk with Him I learn ever more Who He is.

I can lean on the Lord to fill even my most basic need and trust Him that He’s working even in the bleakness of wretchedness.

How great is our God!

May His name endure forever!

Jesus Christ, of Nazareth.

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Unwanted

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This is Rose, our Golden Retriever and Grace our cat.

For some reason the cat wanted to snuggle the dog,

to love on the dog,

to rub herself back and forth under the dog’s nose.

This is a never before witnessed occurrence.

(Our cat isn’t known as a snuggly, lovable pet to put it nicely.)

Yet, here she was trying very hard to love the dog.

It was decidedly UNWANTED.

Rose put up with it, but didn’t like it at all.

How interesting to see so clear a picture of life’s circumstances.

How often have I been unwilling to experience the love of God through circumstances simply because it didn’t come in the form I wanted?

Rose loves to be petted and played with and snuggled by our daughter, but the cat, NO.

How often have I missed a blessing because it wasn’t packaged according to my personal comforts?

Honestly, I don’t know.

I do know God doesn’t love only one way.

He isn’t a vending machine Who waits for the list and then pumps out my requests.

He is all powerful and all knowing and He’s always working.

As I explain to my kids that I’m not going to give them the answers to their school work, because learning and growing in knowledge is effort, I know it doesn’t feel like I’m loving them, but I am.

How willing am I to search, study, and learn who God is through His Word?

Or do I just want the answers given to me so I can go on to other things?

I admit that sometimes I just want the answers.

This morning was one of those moments.

I have a full schedule and I don’t want to do any of it.

I’m trying not to focus on myself, but I keep finding my attitude degrading.

So I stopped and opened my Bible.

I’m in Psalms just now and this is what I read:

“I LOVE the LORD, because He has heard my voice and my supplications,  Because He has inclined His ear to me, Therefore I will call upon Him as long as I live.” Psalm 116:1 NKJV

It’s TRUE.

I love God because He has heard me, over and over and over and over and…

Yes, there are things which are unwanted.

But my prayers today are that it never happens that I’m unwilling to feel the love and blessings of God no matter the package He sends them in.

Up close

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The details.

The beauty.

The focus.

All those things are easier when I’m up close.

It’s easier to focus on God when I’m as near as possible.

It’s easier to see His beauty in nature and in people when I’m dwelling in His shadow.

It’s easier to see the details of life and how He is constantly changing evil into good and preserving us from even worse when I’m leaning into Him each day.

You see I’ve been struggling.

Our year has been filled with change.

And to be frank I’ve been morning.

I miss my school and the staff and the kids.

Although I’m rejoicing at the hand of God and all the good I’ve seen come from the changes, I’m sad sometimes.

I miss my daughter.

I love our son-in-law and watching them love each other.

I love the new family which has sprouted and is taking root.

But it’s not easy to let go and simply say “good bye! “.

I’m heart broken over changes in personal relationships.

I can see God’s hand and He told me they were coming.

He made it clear that He was allowing this change and I needed to step away.

But I’m watching my dear friend be hurt and I’m powerless to stop it.

I love and encourage as much as I can, but it has nothing to do with me and I am unable to bridge the gap between those people involved.

Because sometimes people choose things which cause pain and brokenness.

I’m scared.

At least I was, until God broke through the lie.

I was cowering with fear from the weight of homeschooling our three.

Until Jesus reminded me of the truth.

Their future is His responsibility.

Mine is to do what He tells me each moment.

Until I drew near, up close to Him with my fears, failures,  pain ,and loss I was pretty depressed.

Life had become tasteless and futile.

But I heard Him calling my name.

I learned from Adam and Eve, don’t hide when called, run towards Him with all my junk.

He embraced my heart and brought peace to my mind.

He revealed His truth and shattered my fear.

He reminded me that sin hurts and people will sin, but He heals and shall always be there to comfort and guide.

He pointed out that He is working and I was failing only because I was trying to do it myself.

An ant wasn’t designed to be an accountant and I wasn’t designed to strive on my own.

He brought me comfort and hope to mend my sad and morning heart.

And He’s still working.

As I have been leaning towards Jesus, doing all in my ability to get up close He has been faithful.

He has listened to my hurting, He has comforted my sorrow, He has guided me in my prayers.

And I can see the beauty, the details and my focus is on Him.

Growth

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This is a pumpkin plant in our garden.

Jase is holding the ruler because we are charting several plant’s growth this summer.

Yet, the idea of growth prompts me to look deeper.

How am I growing?

Have I allowed the Lord to water me today with His Word?

Are there any weeds in my heart which seek to choke out the seeds God has planted?

How do I tell the difference between a baby seed and a baby weed?

In the garden it normally takes a little time.

The same it true for my heart.

I have learned when I’m unsure if something is of the Lord I need to wait and not commit myself to it.

Prayer and patience have saved me from poor choices more than once.

A few days ago I was feeling tired and sad.

The garden of my heart seemed to be wilted.

I had sought the Lord in prayer, yet something was lacking.

I felt led to read Psalms.

I read and read, yet had not found the key to my need.

Psalm 139 was it.

“O LORD, You have searched me and known me.  You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off. You comprehend my path and my lying down, And are acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word on my tongue, but behold, O LORD, You know it altogether. You have hedged me behind and before, and laid Your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; It is high, I cannot attain it.” Psalm 139: 1-6 NKJV

Softly the truth of God, His love, His care, His understanding, renewed my strength.

I’m still growing with the Lord each day, and at times it feels fruitful and others it just hurts.

Yet, as I tend the plants in our garden I look to Jesus.

Dear God,

   Please continue to grow me in Your word and Your plan. Help me to recognize weeds and to uproot them. Show me where I’m lacking and please guide me in growth. I want to be a fruitful vine, yet I know it can only happen through You. Thank You for Your faithfulness, love, patience, and so much more. Thank You for never giving up on me. I love You.

Amen

Wild beauty

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The sound was loud.

The air was crisp.

The moment awe inspiring.

We had stopped here, because of need.

Yet, I was surprised to hear the kids had no memory of the place.

So, I decided to take the time and walk them up to the falls.

(Actually, I watched them run up the trail, I walked!)

This photograph is one of the places we stopped.

The falls are huge, and I couldn’t get a really good picture with my phone.

As we walked back down and I listened to the thunder of the water and the comments of awe from the kids it struck me.

God did this.

The only man made thing was the trail and the bridge.

Man only saw the beauty and built a way to share it with others.

God created the wonder.

Man can only stand in awe of the power and admire He’s creation.

Our pastor taught on Psalm 8 yesterday and it is so fitting.

“When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers,
The moon and the stars,
which You have ordained,
What is man that You are mindful of him,
And the son of man that You visit him?”
Psalm 8:3-4

What a great God!

He created so much beauty and majesty and yet He loves us even more.

No tree or bird or mountain can say that the very breath of God caused them to have life.

Only mankind.

What an amazing and awesome God!

In the midst of the storm

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This was last Thursday.

The track meet continued even though it was raining.

The track meet continued even though it was very windy.

The track meet paused briefly while it hailed, but didn’t stop.

In fact, I was impressed at the drive of the athletes in such weather.

Our daughter asked her coach if she had ran faster in the races she entered than her best times at other meets  (it’s called a pr).

“PR? Not in this weather, you’re not going to PR.”

Then he assured her she ran very well.

Just as the meet was finishing up the sun broke through the clouds.

A rainbow.

In the midst of the storm our athletes gave their best.

In the midst of the wind blown rain, they ran their races, or jumped or threw.

It is in the midst of trials, tragedy, and tests we prove a few truths.

When I’m struggling with poor health I’m not going to run my race as well as when I feel fine.

When people I love are dealing with weighty circumstances the effort to continue in the daily grind will be more.

When God is showing me areas of sin in my life, I’m going to feel discomfort, even pain.

Yet through the storm He is ever constant.

Through the effort, He builds strength.

Through the clouds, He breaks through with beauty.

In the midst of the storm it is going to be difficult to run my very best, but the self discipline and perseverance I gain are well worth it.

It causes me to be able to run the race of life even better when times and seasons are sunnier.

As I look toward another weekend and the week following I’m asking the Lord to break through the storm of busy.

To help me run no matter the weather.

I look toward the Lord instead of the storm.

Keep it simple

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Beautifully simple.

My husband coined the phrase while gazing down at this lovely flower.

He’s not the kind of guy one would expect to be looking at flowers.

Yet, the simplicity of the white petals against the dark center attracted his attention and we bought the plant.

How often I forget the beauty in simplicity.

It has been a very full and often rushed two weeks since coming home from our trip.

I’ve slid into the error of working hard, harder, and hardest on my own strength, guaranteeing I’ll get it all done.

Nope.

It normally guarantees nothing but a headache, literally, and my poor family trying to get Momma back to her happy face.

The Lord spoke to me about all the work and try I’ve been putting out.

He reminded me He never called me to do it alone.

He has been with me from the beginning and when I rest in His ways everything gets done, well.

The simplicity of waiting on the Lord.

The beauty of living a flexible schedule, open and willing to change as He leads.

I’ve been neglecting that truth.

My morning devotion brought me back to the excellent truth of resting in God.

“I cried to the LORD with my voice, and He heard me from His holy hill. Selah
I layed down and slept;
I awoke, for the LORD sustained me.
I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people who have set themselves up against me all around. ” Psalm 3: 4-6 NKJV