Author: hearmorefromgod

Where is your focus?

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I walked around the lake today and watched a pelican take off. It flew more gracefully than I imagined it could.

 

 

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As it moved farther away, it became a delicate, graceful figure in the sky, deftly riding the thermal currents higher and higher, circling one way, then another. I found myself transfixed on this majestic, mesmerizing motion.

 

Without realizing it, I had covered one-third the distance around the lake. When I took my eyes off the pelican to look around it was hard to find it again.

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It grew smaller and smaller, but searching, I did find it and continued to walk and watch. I began to wonder how long I could look away, and still locate the ever-shrinking image in the sky. After several glances away I lost it completely.

It made me think about where my focus is in life.

I need to fix my eyes on Jesus and not look away. To look away from the pelican’s flight was to miss the grandeur and gracefulness of it and risk not finding it again. To look away from Jesus, is to miss His guidance, presence, protection, comfort, and have to spend time getting Him in sight again.

Even focused on the bird, I made good time walking. With my eyes lifted up I was led by peripheral vision without even realizing it. After I had lost sight of the pelican I made a second trip around the lake, I noticed the area I had crossed had quite a dirty sidewalk. Between the dog and duck and goose droppings, there was a real mess! Yet, I had crossed this “minefield” the first time without getting any of it on my shoes!

Looking up at the bird, I was spared the ugly sight of what was around me, and the misfortune of getting involved in it, yet had completed my goal of walking around the lake.

Keeping your focus on God gives you the same benefits. You are aware of your surroundings, but your focus is not on the ugliness. You don’t get so tied up in the “messes”.

You will reach your godly goals. God will lead you through the ‘minefields’ of life.

And you get, as the focus for your life, the beauty and grandeur of lifting your eyes Heavenward!

Use the wings God gave you

Sometimes a walk is just a walk. But most of the time, I have found, it is an invitation for God to speak to me.

Recently I was walking with a decision weighing heavy on my mind: Should I choose the offer that was easiest? Or the one that was attainable, but would take me out of my comfort zone?

Nearby a Great Heron began to flap its wings and take off.

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Being so close, I was amazed at the great measure of the bird’s wingspan. Usually I see them wading in the water – tall and stately, wings tucked back. With their wings fully outstretched, the width extended double the bird’s height. It reached far beyond seemingly realistic proportions.

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With an unexpected majestic grace and ease, the heron climbed, circled, and flew out of sight.

 

 

Lowering my gaze at last, I saw several little finches hip-hopping, with short little flights from the trees to the ground. Their range of flight was limited by the size of their wings. Their small wings could lift and carry their body weight for comparably short distances.

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Watching them, I realized what a great gift the heron possesses! For a moment, I pictured the heron’s body with the finches’ behavior. What if it didn’t use its God-given abilities to go where those abilities would take it? What a pity it would be if the heron didn’t use this gift to fly great distances, but limited itself to only hopping about its familiar lake home.

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There are many Christians who remain bound, refusing or unable to spread the gifted wings God has given them to fly. They make hip-hopping little moves that take them nowhere, because they are comfortable where they are. But God has given us great wings to carry us great distances.

My decision was made. I had to leave my comfort zone and fly!

What are your God-given wings? You have a talent or ability or experiences that, if shared, would reach out to others and take you to new places and new ministries.

 

Don’t be content to hip-hop when you can soar.

Recognize your wings. Spread them. And fly!

God doesn’t waste a drop

After a big snow, I noticed a drain spout exiting a building about a foot above a concrete curb. Water was flowing out in a steady trickle and splattering on the hard surface. Sunlight danced in the glistening, sprinkling water droplets and a rivulet formed carrying the water away and down the pavement. It was mesmerizing – watching the light play off the sprays of water – like watching dancing flames in a fireplace.

Entertaining, yes, but what a waste! In times of drought, like we often experience, that water could have been redirected to a flowerbed or grassy area. In fact, that building had areas with costly irrigation systems in place.

How many people are like that concrete: hard, resistant, refusing to budge, with the blessing of Living Water being poured out on them daily? And yet God doesn’t waste a drop.

flower in concreteWe all know which wins out in the encounter between concrete and water. Eventually, albeit slowly over time, the erosive power of water can change the face of solid concrete. Sometimes a crack will appear and grow. Then dust can accumulate, and a seed blown in will take root. Weeds, plants, even trees have appeared in the unlikeliest of places, like the middle of a concrete sidewalk.

Change can occur in people too. We may see on the exterior a person who seems tough, presenting a hard, unyielding face to the world. But God looks on the inside, to the heart, and sees what we cannot. He loves, when we do not. And drop by precious drop, He pours out His Living Water.

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His plan is perfect. His patience is endless. His power is supreme.

If you are living with, working with, or praying for a concrete curb, don’t give up. The possibility is there.

God doesn’t waste a drop.

I’m a horse!

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Psalm 32:8-9 says: “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you. Do not be like the horse or the mule, which have no understanding but must be controlled by bit and bridle or they will not come to you.”

As I spent some time meditating on this verse and its meaning, a whole scene began to play out in my mind. At first, God simply begins leading me beside still waters and into green pastures. In a quiet voice He says “Rest, eat, drink”. Although I enjoy this, it is hard for me to rest. I know it is my God in the saddle, and I am chomping at the bit (literally) to take Him wherever He would let me.

I turn my head around to face Him, as if to say “I’m ready! Where do You want to go?” I fully expect Him to say “To the mountains!” or “To the sea!” Or perhaps He will show me a map of where our journey together will take us.

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And that’s when it hits me: I’m a horse! A horse can’t understand a map a human has drawn. I remember riding horses as a girl when we lived in Arizona. I knew the direction I wanted to go on my rides and what I wanted to see, but never once did I make a map and show it to the horse!

I wouldn’t expect a horse to have that level of understanding. I didn’t even tell the horse what my itinerary was. And yet I would not expect the horse to be frustrated or angry if it didn’t know the length and direction of our journey in advance. As we’d leave the stable, I would gently guide it where I wanted it to go.

God is like that with us. Even though we are created in His image, He is so far above us in wisdom and power that we could not possibly understand from His perspective, the plans He has for us. If He were to show us a map as He maps out lives, we would not be able to discern its meaning in human terms. But we can be assured that He has a good plan for each of us. We can know without a doubt that from His perspective on high, He knows what is in our best interest, and we can trust Him.

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Jeremiah 29:11-13 assures us that He has a plan for us: a prosperous and protective plan, full of hope and with our best future at its heart. These verses also assure that He hears us when we call on Him in prayer and that He is accessible when we seek Him with all of our hearts.

 

So when God tells me to rest, eat and drink, I had better do that. He knows what is ahead and knows what I need to be doing. I can trust that He has planned our journey and is preparing me for it now.

morocco-555348_640He doesn’t promise to tell each of us what the plan is or spell it out in terms we can understand in advance, but like our horse, He will guide us in the right direction. And we will reach the destinations along our way if we will but attend to and yield to His hands on our reins.

Read the verse again, out loud, and ask God to speak to you through it. Imagine that you are that fast horse, or a stubborn mule like in the Psalm, and picture the LORD gently and lovingly putting the bit in your mouth and the bridle over your head. Feel the reins in His hands and be responsive to them.

The Weeds are back!

Just when I think the lawn is greening up and looking alive, I realize the green I see is mostly weeds! They probably never left but just lay dormant until Spring’s rain and sun coaxed them out of hiding.

One way to deal with weeds is to poison them. But if the weeds are in or near areas of desired vegetation, the poison will kill the good plants too. So the solution is to pull the undesirable weeds out of the places where desirable plants are growing.

I’ve learned two good steps in getting rid of weeds like this: prepare the ground, prepare yourself.

1 – Prepare the ground. In order for the ground to be willing to give up the weeds, it must be prepared in advance. If you go out and mow or just start pulling, you’re liable to only get the weed tops. When the roots remain, all you’ve done is stimulate the plant to grow more vigorously! It will come back again and again, each time more hardy than the last.

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So a day or so before the uprooting, the ground needs to be thoroughly soaked and maybe tilled a little. Then loosen with a pitchfork of sorts to break the hold the cemented soil has on the roots. When this is done pulling up weeds and getting the roots is more successful.

photo by samanthas

2 – Prepare yourself. This step is intended to protect you during your weed-pulling excursion. Sunscreen or protective clothing may be desired to limit the sun’s burning ultraviolet rays. There may be strategically located places on your body that are exposed during the squatting and bending hours of pulling weeds that burn very quickly and can leave you hurting when the work is done. Also, a mat or pad to kneel on or lean down on can save your lower back from the discomfort of bending at the waist.

Use a hand tool to break up the earth when it seeks to hold the roots tighter than your own arm strength. The final protection: appropriately thick or leather gloves to give you the firm grip you need to get leverage on the weeds as well as protect your hands from thorns and stickers.

Prepared in this way, you can enjoy a wonderful experience of clearing an area of ground to allow grass or new plants to take root. And they can grow unencumbered by the choking demands of unsightly weeds.

And so it is with life.

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Weeds of bitterness, jealousy, shame, anger, and fear can ruin your enjoyment of life. They can get a stranglehold on your sense of peace and destroy your attitude of Christian love. They show up as ugly and undesirable feelings, as cross, unkind words, as unloving attitudes. But you can tackle them!

Following the same guidelines as for gardening, you can have a beautiful, healthy, enjoyable life, growing in peace and joy.

1 – Prepare the ground. Spend time in prayer asking God to go before you and to be at work in the situation causing you pain. He may choose to change the circumstances, but He may also choose to change something in you. Be willing to accept what God tells you is needed. Ask Him to work in the circumstances and in the lives of any people involved.

If you need to go to someone and talk to them, ask God to safeguard the time set aside for the meeting and prepare their hearts to help you remove the weed between you. Also ask God to send the Holy Spirit to be in control and guide both your words and their responses.

2 – Prepare yourself. Go forward in the full armor and protection of God. To be cleansed in His perfect forgiveness, confess any sin in your life. Be especially specific involving the “weed” situation you are working on. Ask for and accept His forgiveness, cleansing you from your sin, guilt and shame.

Then prayerfully ask for God to give you His perspective on the problem. He may want to teach you something through this difficulty. Ask for His will to be done in the situation. Ask God for wisdom to show you how to get a grip on and remove the root of the issue. And put on the armor of God found in Ephesians 6 to protect you from anything that might keep the “weed” alive in your life to defeat you.

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You may discover that the biggest, meanest looking weeds give way easily when God has prepared both you and the ground.

Don’t be afraid to tackle the weeds!

 

Keep pulling on them and working the ground till they give way and are gone! In this way, you can be a victorious Christian, enjoying the fruits of the Spirit taking root and growing unencumbered in your new, weed-free life!