God’s thoughts are not our thoughts, His ways are not our ways

When I woke up, my throat was dry and sore. My head was stuffy and my nose was running. I began reorganizing my day so I could get the kids off to school and then snuggle back into my warm bed for several hours of recuperative rest.

There are not many things that would have thwarted this endeavor. But, when I called out to my youngest son to wake up and he responded with a raspy, croupy voice, that was one of them. I got out of bed and ran a tub full of hot water to make a steam room, and got him in there. Silently, I hoped my plans of sweet slumber would only be slightly delayed.

A trip downstairs to look at the calendar revealed that he was not buying the hot lunch selection offered at school, necessitating making him a lunch. AND that it was Band day, meaning an extra heavy load for him to carry. As I started the lunch, his friend and walking buddy phoned to say he was ready to go early. Since Collin was not ready and the steam would take a little while to work, I told his walking buddy to go on without him. Now the prospect of making him walk to school, late, alone, and carrying his trumpet was too much. The obvious solution: I should drive him.

I made his breakfast and took it on a tray upstairs to the steam room. He was sounding much better. After making his lunch and filling his backpack with various permission slips and homework papers, I resigned myself to get dressed.

In 20 minutes, he was looking, feeling, and sounding fine. With one last glance at my now coiffed covers, we were off.

my-lakeRight by the school is the lake I usually walk around for exercise and inspiration. While it had not been my plan for this morning, (remember my dreams of snugly slumber?) the fact that I was up and dressed and all the way to the school left me no acceptable excuse.

Even though walking the lake is something I really enjoy and something I know is good for me. I can come up with a myriad of excuses to avoid actually doing it. But God seems to know when I need it most. And when he wants to teach me something. Being close to nature makes me look and listen more intently to what He might have to say. So forgetting my sore throat, I began walking.

dahlia-2823975_640Not even a quarter of the way around the lake, I stopped to admire a beautiful dahlia. This tall blossom had grown huge and strong and boldly faced the sun. I remembered how many flowers bend to grow towards the sun; some even track the sun as it moves across the sky each day. I began noticing that other plants had oriented themselves towards the sun too. Not only the flowers, but some bushes had obviously sent more branches out in the direction of the sun.

What a lesson!

How often do we stand tall and face the Son? And how often do we shade ourselves a bit? Are we afraid of what His true light would reveal?

Facing the sun/Son is saying, “I am ready to receive what you will give me.” The flower receives sunlight that helps it live and grow. We receive life and growth and so much more from the Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. God is prepared to send down His grace, forgiveness, love, peace, joy, guidance, direction, protection. We need only turn to face Him.

This flower, looking full into the face of the sun, reminded me of the words to a song I love:

Turn your eyes upon Jesus

Look full in His wonderful face

And the things of the world will grow strangely dim

In the light of His glory and grace

©1922 Helen Lemmel

As I continued around the lake I realized the truth of the statement in Isaiah 55:8-9 “God’s thoughts are not our thoughts, His ways are not our ways…”. My thought had been to stay in bed, hidden from the sun. But God knew I needed the healing power of facing and focusing on the Son. Being up and out had cleared my head and encouraged me for the day. I am so glad I walked around the lake and saw that dahlia.  So glad I can trust that He knows what I need better than I do.  So can you.

 

Advertisements

You Light My Path

flashlight-325462_640

Recently I found myself walking with a group of friends in the dark. I had a small flashlight that came in handy as the sidewalk had a broken and uneven surface.

 

detective-flashlight-260x300We huddled together and moved forward cautiously. At first, I thought it would be best to shine the light up ahead of us so we could see where the path curved or stopped at a curb or was cut off by bushes.   But it became clear that we could walk with the most certainty and speed when the light shone brightly on the very next step we were to take.

Looking ahead is good for getting a sense of direction, but we needed the close, step by step guidance to be sure our ankles didn’t turn or slip off the narrow path.

“Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” Your Word, the Bible, is that light for me. The scriptures come alive in the circumstances of my life.

Pros_and_Cons_of_Tech_Communication_When I am not sure which option is best, Your Word tells me “Trust in the Lord with all Your heart and lean not on Your own understanding.” So while it is wise to make a list of pros and cons and count the cost of decisions, the logic of the world is not the final answer. Trusting in You to lead me through prayer and Scripture helps me make my final choice.

When I feel frustrated with something I had hoped would turn out better, You tell me “Do not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time [you] will reap a harvest…”. It picks me up and lets me know that instant gratification isn’t always available.   And reiterates that some things take time to see desired results.

smartphone-1987212_640

Or when I feel discouraged, alone and depressed, You tell me “I have carried you since your birth…I will continue to be with you and sustain you, even when you have gray hairs. I will always carry you; I will always sustain you; I will always rescue you.” [paraphrased to personalize] Your Word reminds me I am never, ever, no never, not ever alone.

book light on girl

Like the flashlight on the path, Your Word helps me see that next step and take it.

Thank You Father, that You care so much for me that even in the darkness of this world and its ‘wisdom’ You have made a way for me to stay on Your path and keep moving ahead safely.

Click on these to read the scripture again and see what God might be saying to you:

Psalm 119:105; Proverbs 3:5; Galatians 6:9; Isaiah 46:3-4

Be a Pink Flamingo for Christ

There were two Pink Flamingos on my lawn today! Can you imagine?

flamingo-600205_640

Standing so very still, it was hard to believe they were real. What an attention getter these brightly colored birds are! Soon, all the neighbors noticed and commented on their presence. Their long legs and necks, their large bent beaks and the unusual color of their feathers makes them a most noticeable bird. Okay, they were plastic – left as a joke!

I have seen these birds before, but only at the zoo. Usually the beauty of their gorgeous orange/pink color adds to their stateliness as they pose, standing still in the water.

gray flamingo

But once at the zoo, I saw several gawky looking birds. Their long gangly legs looked uneven as they waded in the pool. Their shaggy feathers appeared a dirty white and gave the impression of being uncared for. Surprisingly, these too, were flamingos.

flamingo-1386714_640

The color in their feathers comes from their diet. The Pink Flamingos have a diet rich in a kind of shrimp that is filled with a pink that dyes the feathers of the bird that eats them. So, these other flamingos were simply dining on something else.

What a pity, that they miss out on the beauty they were created for! They too, could be transformed by consuming the right nutrients.

Can you imagine being so filled with something that you take on the very appearance in color of it? As Christians, we are given the opportunity to dine on the very Word of God. Doing so will transform our lives.

As we consume His Word and absorb the personality of Jesus Christ, we will begin to look like what we are taking in. We can become “Pink Flamingos” for Christ! We can stand out in a crowd, be noticed, point the way for others.

flamingo-1792211_640Maybe that is what scares us. Maybe we don’t want to be noticed. Maybe we want to be ‘lukewarm’ so as not to call attention to ourselves or offend anyone. We can be so stubborn and refuse God’s Word and eat what we want. Then we become like those dingy, drab, dirty-looking birds: recognized as Christians, but with a note of pity: that we have missed the beauty God created us for.

God’s Word tells us in Revelation 3:16 that lukewarm Christians will be spit out of God’s mouth – He wants nothing to do with them.

Feed yourself on God’s Word! Let the power of his plan be revealed in your life as you become transformed into a “Pink Flamingo” for Christ.

“O taste and see that the LORD is good.” Psalm 34:8

flamingo-1346642_960_720

I lift my hands

ceiling fan

The other day I was helping put up a ceiling fan. We had to work with our hands above our heads; and quickly, it became very tiring. Soon, all the blood ran out of our arms and our hands got numb. Our shoulders ached and muscles we didn’t even know we had, cried out in rebellion.

 

We don’t often hold our hands up for very long periods of time. It isn’t the natural relaxed state for our bodies.

009-moses-amalekites

In Exodus, while Moses held up his hands, his army had victory. When his hands dropped, they began to lose. Moses needed help. Two assistants came to help him by bracing his arms so his hands could remain uplifted. And his troops gained a victory!

In 3 of the Psalms, David records that he raised his hands to God. And in I Timothy, we’re told to raise our holy hands in prayer. So in the Bible, it seems holding up your hands is a good thing.

If this is pleasing to God, why didn’t he create us like that? It would have been a simple thing for Him to do. After all, trees lift their branches. It’s their normal position – a stature of having extremities raised heavenward.

I think it’s because He wants our lifted hands to be voluntary – our choice. It’s a way of offering praise. And it’s a way of asking for the gifts He’s prepared for us: salvation, blessings, answers to prayer, in a posture of readiness to receive them.

fist-424500_640

 

Too many times, we go around with our hands clenched in anger, fear or frustration — or just trying to hold on to what we have. So that when we pray, we are unable to receive what God wants to give us.

 

Givinghandsandredpushpin

 

 

Because to receive, you have to open your hands.

 

 

I like the song written and recorded by Sandi Patty I Lift My Hands To You because it encourages me to lift my hands. Join me, lift your hands to God – showing Him that you’re ready to receive the blessings and answers to prayer He has for you today.

Are your Blessings running low?

When I got to the lake to take my walk today, the most noticeable thing was the water level. It had dropped to an extremely low point. Very few birds could be seen on the water. Rocks lay exposed. At first glance, the water looked shallow and scummy, the banks muddy and messy. It was as if the blessing of the beauty of the water had been taken away.

rock-328783_640            Could this be like our lives? What would they look like with God’s blessing withdrawn like the water in the lake? We immerse ourselves in God’s blessing when we have it. We revel in it! It surrounds us and holds us up as we float on it. My first thought was that to lose even a little of it would not be a good thing.

But where the trail came near the water, I stepped off to have a closer look. I saw hundreds, perhaps a thousand tiny fish! Fish not usually see because the regular depth of the water obscures them from view. This blessing of these fish had been there all along but had gone unnoticed.

Ducks_'n_trash

From there I could also see that the ducks and geese had gathered in a small inlet to feast on the algae that had grown on the underwater rocks which now lay uncovered. What a blessing they were enjoying!

Many bottles and cans stuck in the sandy lake bottom were also now exposed, and a couple of kids had made their way down to the rocks’ edge to pull them out. So, this ‘clean up’ effort was made possible by the lowered water level.

If these benefits were occurring when water was withdrawn from the lake, could there be benefits in our lives when God seems to withhold His bounty for a time? Would our examined lives reveal hidden blessings?

If we take the time to look, the answer is probably “Yes”.

Would we discover blessings we often don’t notice, or take for granted? Probably yes. God blesses us with every new day, each breath we take, every friend, every sunset. There is even blessing in times of hardship. We just need to take the time to look and notice, like the tiny fish in the lake.

Could we feast on the growth of our faith that has grown in the depth of God’s blessings? Yes. Perhaps it is not fully exposed and realized until the level drops, like the algae covered rocks.

Have we allowed things to creep into our lives that we need to remove? Undoubtedly, yes. But like the garbage on the lake, we may ignore them until we see their trashy presence in full view. Then it’s an opportunity to clean things up.

Ecclesiastes says, “There is a time to every purpose under heaven.” And if you’re feeling like God’s blessing is somewhat lower than usual in your life, don’t be discouraged. You have a wonderful opportunity for discovery, feasting, and clean up before you.

And before long, the depths will return.

my-lake