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?

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

His Wonders to Perform

Recently I heard something that made me just stop.  

I was watching Downton Abbey and the elderly matron sighed, “the Lord works in mysterious ways, His wonders to perform.”  Hmm. It’s a common enough phrase yet how often we only hear the first half.  One might say it despairingly while shaking their head or in a tone of awe.
His ways certainly are a mystery to us and from Job we learn, how dare we question? (Job 40)
We don’t know how a small hard acorn can sprout and grow into a giant tree.  How does life grow from a burnt forest floor that is nothing but ash and charcoal?  The Lord works in mysterious ways indeed, His wonders to perform.  He works not just good, but shines His glory through situations we consider “bad”.

Look at Paul in prison chains.  Here he had time on his hands and a heart inspired by God to write letters to the Christians in several cities which became books of the bible where these stories of God’s love and encouragement have been handed down for centuries.    What about Moses?  He was taken from his home and sent down a river!  In God’s providence, the little basket stayed afloat and was discovered by Pharaoh’s daughter who took him in and raised him as one of her own.  This upbringing was training for later in his adult years.

That was then??  A few weeks ago after sitting for 2 cold dark hours on the side of the road with a flat tire situation I wound up having the opportunity to meet a young woman who has been coming to St. John’s.  Now she has another person she knows when she visits next.   
After  my husband died, I moved back to WI.  I could go on and on telling you how  God has used that very sad and difficult experience to  grow my faith and use me. 

What about you? How often can’t you look back to situations that were unpleasant at the time only to look back and realize how God worked it for the good of His kingdom? 

His wonders to perform and perform He does!  Shepherd boy kills giant.  Boy’s lunch feeds over 5,000 people in the countryside.   God is using me.  God is using you.  All these statements, while true, are hard to understand yet in them God is glorified.

Be alert, be on the watch and be awed at His performance.  (JH)