Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Green Pastures

There's a little farm I pass every day when I drive to work. As with most farms, there is always some kind of amusement so usually I try to go a little slower as I pass the that stretch of highway.  Sometimes the new lambs are chasing old unplayable sheep or llamas are lazily chewing or the beauty of it is simply calming.

One morning I was especially caused to pause. Across the beautiful lush green pasture was a llama at the far end up to its shoulder blades in the fence. It hurt my neck just looking at how much it was straining to stretch to reach the long grass on the other side.  Silly llama I thought.  Why stretch so far when there is rich thick grass right under you?

Then the Nathan and David moment hit me upside the head and a voice inside my head scolded, "YOU are the llama!"

How often does something out of reach that is not mine appear so delectable? The greener grass on the other side of the fence. I stretch for it. I am willing to endure pain to get it. I am disillusioned by its appearance.  Satan makes me see things through rose colored glasses.  You'd think by now I would no longer fall for his tricks. I should be able to respond raising my own doubt. Is that grass really more tasty than what I have?  Is that house truly better for me? Is that model phone, dishwasher, oven, sewing machine, fill in the blank really something I need to be completely happy?

If that___________ really was something I needed, would not God give it to me?  A friend of mine often reminds me macaroni and cheese  is "daily bread"  just as much, if not more, than steak.

I, like you, are abundantly blessed with more than I could ever ask for or deserve.  God promises to provide for me when in actuality He blesses my socks off.   Shame on me for wanting more.  God gives what I need when I need it.

Lord, help me keep my neck from stretching and help me to be thankful for all of my blessings on this side of the fence.  (JH)

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Peaceful Trust

As darkness covers the town like a blanket and neighbors begin to head off to bed, there is peace.

The dark of night can often bring unrest.  It is during the night sickness escalates, sleep is interrupted by worry and things overall seem worse.  Yet as I go to put my phone on the bedside stand I notice the Bible verse displayed.  Proverbs 3:5-6 telling me to trust in the LORD with all my heart.  This means trust God with everything and to lay it at His feet and leave it there.  Too often we give our troubles to God and quickly take them back.  That is trusting with only part of our heart if it is even trusting at all.

Psalm 139 explains why we should and can trust wholly in God.  He knows everything about us. When we sit, what we think, how we feel.  With Him we are never misunderstood.  There is nowhere we can go that He is not there.  For some this may be intimidating, yet who would want to be separated from a Friend who loves us so very much?  There is no fear in love. Love drives out fear and fear has to do with punishment.  Not to say we don't deserve to be punished, we most certainly do. Thankfully, our Father sees us through the death of His Son  Jesus and finds us washed of our sin.

With Him we are always safe.  Darkness is not dark to Him.  In His loving care we can peacefully sleep and wake again to face a new day of grace.  So, sleep in peace, dear child of God and wake with praise on your tongue that nowhere can you go during your day where God is not with you. (JH)

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Life - Death - Life

It’s not by chance that God often uses the picture stories of gardening to teach basic biblical concepts.  It is also no coincidence, but by God’s providence that life began, ended and began again in gardens.  
Life had its beginning in a garden.  It was there in Eden where God place the creatures He created ending with the crown of His creation Adam and Eve.  It was also there from the fruit of a tree that sin was brought into the world.  Due to this sin, in His great love, God declared man to die.  This may sound like an oxymoron or some sick response, especially to those who may be grieving the loss of a loved one.  Yet declaring that each person will die was truly a blessing from our very loving God.  For if people were to never die, we would continue to live in this sinful world forever.  Instead, this earthly life has an end and those who believe in Jesus as their Savior will spend eternity in a paradise that can never be tainted by sin.  In heaven there is no sin, no tears and no more death.

There is another story of death and life occurring in a garden, one that is just as familiar, maybe even too familiar.  Satan taking on the form of a serpent hanging out in a tree and using the fruit from that tree started the temptation leading to sin.  Yet, on another tree cut and bound into the shape of a cross this sin was overtaken.  Here Jesus gave up His life for all sinners wiping out every sin from the beginning to the end of time.  The sentence of death was once again defeated when the garden tomb where Jesus’ body had been  laid was echoingly empty on that first Easter morning.   Jesus victoriously defeated death by coming back to life.

Life, death, life, the cycle of garden activity and even more, the story of creation and salvation.  We don’t know what heaven will be like, but if God is showing us a pattern, might it not be something like a beautiful, lavish garden?  No matter if it is or isn’t we know completely and confidently that it will be perfect and we will be forever with Jesus.  Oh, that we were there! (JH)

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

The Things that I Think

  What do you say to yourself when you are alone?

If you are like me, the words you speak to yourself are not always very encouraging. If we really listened to the words we repeat to ourselves, we’d would never say them aloud to others; they’d be hurtful, self defeating, and rude.
God knows the struggle we have.
The bible asks in Psalm 13:2,  “How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and day after day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me?”
We need to consider the damage that our negative thoughts have in our life, and replace them with the promises God has for us.

The Bible says,
“Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17).
Listening and believing to what God says through his holy word will build your faith, your belief and your confidence.
As Jesus said, “All things are possible to those who believe!"

Your thoughts determine your attitude and your attitude determines your actions and your actions influence your future. The Bible says, ‘as he thinketh in his heart, so is he’ (Proverbs 23:7). Fill your mind with Godly statements and positive things.  Be filled with wisdom. Be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Memorize the promises of His word, pray his word, and speak his word to yourself. Let God’s promises sink deep into your heart. Then, let them overflow and speak His promises into other’s lives to let your faith-light shine before all men.
Recently, while on Pinterest, I found a ‘pin’ that substitutes some negative thinking with God’s promises.
Take a few minutes and reflect on how many times you, your family or friends have wrestle with these thoughts too. In the comment section, share other truths from God’s word have you used to replace your negative thinking and let His word be where your treasure is found today.  (rs)

Click here for full size link: "You say...but God says..."

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Walk Don't Run

Sometimes when I am driving along I just have to stop.  Perhaps the sun is sculpting the clouds allowing a few rays to filter  through or it is dancing across the water making  it sparkle like a thousand diamonds, or maybe a flock of birds are playfully flying above me causing me to pause.  Too often we hurry along our way looking without seeing what is around us -  Beauty, the needs of others,  so many blessings and reasons to praise our almighty God.  

Many times I’ve sighed to think how sad it was to get my driver’s license.  So excited for the newfound freedom, but the bike got used less and less with the ability to get places faster and eventually found its place on a hook in the garage.  It’s not our lifestyle here in America to usually walk or bike to our destinations and yet, in our hurry we miss so much.
In Jesus’ time walking was the normal means of getting around.  We read several times where the disciples barely made it to a destination that took hours to walk to and they turned around to get back to where they left.  It all took time. 

 What does one do with all that time? Talk, pray, meditate, plan, observe the list goes on….
Jesus made His triumphant entry into Jerusalem on the first Palm Sunday and yet in all the pomp and circumstance, He did not rush into town on a galloping steed, but slowly on the back of a baby donkey.  Jesus came to Jerusalem to be murdered.  He didn’t wait until the last minute and have His enemies rush Him away,  but came a week ahead of time.  He lived purposefully and even while on the cross, made use of every minute He had left on this earth. 

As  we reach the height of Holy Week, take your time.  Linger in the garden and pray.  Carry the weight of the heavy steps along the Via Dolorosa.  Observe the subtle meanings in the events and feel the very deep love.  The love our Father has for each one of us that send Jesus to the cross. This is a good opportunity to develop the habit of daily bible time.   Steep in God’s Word.

With the shepherds we rush to the manger, but let’s walk ever so slowly the road to Golgotha. (JH)  

Wednesday, March 16, 2016


I love being around talkative small children. The world is one big wondrous learning experience and everything is possible. Superpowers, astronauts, president, firefighters, ballerinas - children dream big dreams and nothing holds them back. Adults encourage these big, childlike dreams because we want our children to fulfill their God given purpose.

As we grow though, something changes and reality has a tendency to stomp on these dreams. The responsibilities of life pile up and those big dreams are set aside or forgotten altogether. Our days are filled with concerns and challenges like our dwindling saving account, demanding work or school deadlines, health issues, children’s needs, or aging parent’s needs. I remember once as a young mom that I simply dreamed of simply getting all my young children in bed with my insanity in tack. A bubble bath?…..that was way too much to dream for. Maybe you’ve been there too.

The bible tells us that God chose us to be born in this time of history and in this place on earth for a special purpose. He knew us before we were born, and he created us with great love, molded each of our personalities, inserted all our talents, our strengths, and our weaknesses and he knows the potential we have because he place it within us. The things we have in our heart to accomplish, knowing that with God all things are possible, lay in wait for us to draw upon God’s Spirit to empower us to pursue the work he called us to do. Then, the more impossible the dream, the more we can give God the glory for getting it done.

I know. I hear your thoughts as you scrap peanut butter off the light switches or arrive late at your second job to just pay bills. How could God have chosen me to do anything impossible or great when Satan tells me there is nothing special about me? Or when other people are more important than I am; or while my children are having a meltdown in the grocery store and while my bank account is empty? Understandably, to often we let our human reasoning, day to day challenges, the facts, figures and other people’s opinions determine the fate of the special joy of fulfilling a God inspired dream.
What if we chose instead to believe God? What if we scraped off the impossibilities and explored our hearts desires and a willingness to be open to and do God what called us to do?  What if we began the journey, the small steps, to accomplish the very thing he created us for and begin to depend on God’s power to accomplish that thing? It might be to solve a great world need, but it might also be willing to be the vessel to mirror the Lord’s deep love and the gift of salvation to our children, dying parent or an unbelieving neighbor. Be assured, confident and have the courage that God has equipped you with everything you need to fulfill that purpose he placed within you. 

Whatever the dream God has placed in your heart, today I encourage you to rip the label “impossible” off. Toss out the ’I can’t do that” excuse; throw away fears and doubts and renew a childlike spirit within you. Replace it all with the thoughts of what would you do if you knew God would give you the strength to accomplish it?  Let all the talents, strengths, and potential God loving placed within your inmost being take hold, bubble out and bring glory to your God.

If the Lord has planted a seed in your heart, no matter how impossible it sounds, please take a moment to inspire other ladies and leave a comment below. Jot down your dream, or your challenge to fulfill a dream so that others may pray for you. You also can leave a bible passage that you rely upon and have found about fulfilling your purpose and God’s promises.

I will leave you with just a few bible passages to begin your journey. As you read, each time you see (****), insert your name and personalize the word of God and let God speak to you. Be empowered by God’s spirit as you read these assurances and discover your superpower. (rs)

Before I formed (***) in the womb, I knew [her];   before (***) was born I set [her] apart.    (Jer. 1:5a)
You, (***) did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you (***) ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. (John 15:16)

For you created (***) inmost being;  you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;   your works are wonderful, I, (***) know that full well. (Psalm 139;13-14)

For (***) is God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for [me] to do. (Ephesians 2:10)

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Consider the Birds

This is a beautiful time of year!  Each day Spring gently approaches  a little more.  I lay in my bed as a new day dawns, fresh and full of promise and I listen to voices. 
 For several months  the days  have begun in silence as the world was hushed by winter.  Now the happy voices of the birds of the air come together, a new one each day adding to the choir of praise which wakes us from our sleep.

 Some rough and hardy birds remain through the winter protected by the extra feathers God gives for insulation. Other birds fly to warmer climates for a time. Like clockwork, they return. They know nothing of how the winter up north has been while they were away or what temperatures they will return to. 
Day by day new birds see the calendar and         

make their way back north. 
The time is now no matter what the weather.         

What a lesson in trust. As they fly the air gets colder, they press on. Not knowing how long the landscape will remain desolate, and where they will find food.  Yet, they return, they don't turn back.

God tells us to live without worry. Trust Him in all circumstances and for all things. When you begin to feel concern approaching be reminded by the birds flying by. Put your Hope in God. He's not only trustworthy but loves you so much, He provides abundantly. (JH) 

Matthew 6:26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?