Category: lake

Through Nature – God Speaks

The air was still, and cold enough to make your breath visible. There was a crispness in the crunch heard underfoot. The panorama of clear blue sky, bright shining sun, frigid lake and majestic mountains lay ahead like a still life watercolor. The one newly added element of beauty: a crystal, sparkling cover of frost on everything close to the ground.

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Just yesterday, each individual blade of grass stood erect at attention, solid in its color, shape and form. Broad leaves on the grapevine fanned out, completely concealing clusters of heavy, ripe fruit. Tiny blossoms on the ground cover delicately looked up to form a carpet of color.

Beautiful? Yes. But this morning, the frost gives a fantastic surreal quality to the whole scene.

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The cold has caused everything to bow down.

The tall blades of grass, still firm at their bases, are bent low in their length, all in a similar posture. The grape leaves droop from the stem, revealing bountiful clusters beneath. The small flowers, already low to the ground bend in humble submission. And yet, in this portrait of prostration, this vista of genuflecting humbleness, there is an exalting of each individual entity.

frosted leaf

The frost has covered and completely encased each blossom, each leaf, each blade of grass, redefining its shape and form in glittering beauty. The special uniqueness of each stands out and is magnified in glistening profile by the sun! What a picture of being humbled, but exalted, of bowing low, yet being lifted up!

Scripture tells us that one day every knee will bow, and for those who humble themselves in the sight of the Lord, He will lift them up. This very scene is played out in nature for us to see and appreciate.

frosted bent flower

It’s as if the plants represent us: bowing in the presence of our Lord. The frost is like the Holy Spirit on those who are believers. His light will shine on us and define us with a beauty that surpasses our own and exalts us in His presence.

 

This magnificent scene, so uplifting in its beauty, was short-lived; lasting only a few minutes before the heat from the bright shining sun took its toll on the icy beauty..

The image it created in my mind of what is to come will be with me always.

I remain grateful that through nature…God speaks.

Will you squat? Or soar?

Picture a cold winter day. There is a white, icy bed of snow on the ground; ice creeping slowly across the lake.

Your eye moves from the white of the ground, to the gray of the freezing water, to the haze of the sky, hemming in the horizon with a veil of frosty air. The sun is only a bright spot in the gray blanket of low, snow clouds tucked in around the lake. Not much is moving as you gaze out across the expanse of grayness.

There are groups of ducks and geese, tightly tucked and asleep on the ice. Another group of nondescript white birds is clumped together near the water. But there is none of the clucking and chatter that usually accompanies their presence. Not a sound is heard. The frigid air threatens to stop any communication cold, as it freezes every breath taken.

Then, above the lake, a bird appears: silently soaring, in seemingly slow motion. Its graceful wings, stretched to its farthest reach, give it a look of majesty as it hangs upon the air. It is joined by another. They turn twice, together, and are joined by a third.

The mid-air ballet continues for several moments before they separate and go in three different directions. As one flies towards you, you can see the graceful curve of its pure white, broad wings, and the delicate black tips that reach out to capture the air that lifts it higher.

seagull-1550224_1280You recognize this bird. It’s the same kind that you noticed before, squatting, clumped together with others like it in a huddle on the ground. This same little nondescript bird that blended in so plainly with the frozen background displays a Godly majesty when flying. But of course! Flying is exactly what God created it for!

Soaring, is what God created you for. What is keeping you squatting in the snow?

It’s so easy to stay on the ground with our friends, huddled against the circumstances of our lives, fearing the cold, the wind.

But the air is warmer higher up. And the wind lifts you. And God has prepared you to enjoy using the gift of soaring He has given you! And His glory and majesty that you reflect, will inspire others and honor Him.

But, the choice is yours. Are you gonna squat? Or soar?

Jericho Lesson 6

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Sharing the 7 lessons I learned on my Jericho Walk, I’ve been asking: Do you have a “Jericho” in your life: a blessing you believe God wants to give you, but you feel unable to achieve on your own?

Read Joshua 6:1-20. Ask God to speak to you and show you what He has for you in this passage. Is there a Jericho, a blessing, a gift He wants you to have? How do you need to be obedient, trusting Him to bring the obstacle down? Are you prepared to go straight up and take hold of it?

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Following the example of Joshua’s battle, I walked around a nearby lake for 7 days.  Once each for 6 days and then 7 times the seventh day.

 

 

Shofar-Israel-001Halfway through my sixth lap, I heard an unusual sound. God brought friends to join the walk all week for their own personal “Jericho”  situations.  One friend brought her Shofar, a Ram’s horn, and was blowing it as she and each of the other women finished their seven laps. That was our Trumpet Blast. just as Joshua had done.

I could faintly hear each one give a shout when the horn was blown as their Jericho walls fell. They were overjoyed and filled with excitement! I shared in their victory from a distance and congratulated them as I came around again for my final lap.

20190526_215702I was the last one with still a lap to go.  Trying hard to motivate myself, I thought of the world’s wisdom: “Focus on the goal.” “Keep your eyes on the prize.” The goal in this case was seven laps, one more than I felt I had in me.

Thinking about the distance I still had to cover was so discouraging. It was overwhelming to even imagine myself fifty feet from where I was! Then I tried focusing on all I had already accomplished: the six laps completed. That just made me more tired!

chalk-board-Lesson 6

The wisdom of the world may not motivate you.

 

 

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Turn to God for motivation and support.

 

I looked up and asked God for help. It was as if He said, “I’m right beside you. Let’s take one step together. Focus on where you are, and take a couple of steps to get to the bench. Now a few more to the fence.  Now to the flower bed.” It really helped to just be where I was, not thinking about all that had come before or would come after.

I teach Childbirth classes. What I tell labor loaches to do when Mom is in labor is to motivate and support her wherever she is in the birth process. Since you don’t know how long it’s going to last, you can’t give a time countdown.

labor 1Even if you could, it might not be helpful. Trying to be supportive, you might say to a mom in hard labor that she’s only got twenty more minutes to go. In her heart, she is totally defeated because she feels she has only ten minutes of energy left. The truth is, you deal with what you need to deal with right in front of you, and the time or distance factor works itself out.

So when it gets hard, I encourage coaches to have coping strategies for three to four contractions at a time. That way, you make intervals of progress towards a goal without focusing only on the goal or the time it takes to reach it.

board-1273117_640This is exactly what God did with me. He coached me, motivated me right where I was. He moved me little by little around the lake till the end was almost in sight.

Is there something that feels overwhelming in your life?  Ask God to show you only the very next step. 

And ask Him to help you take it. 

 

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Father in heaven, thank You for loving us, and for giving us purpose in this life.  Thank You that when the going gets tough and we don’t think we can make it, that You come along beside us and coach us to win the battles we face, whatever they are.

Whatever each of us is in the midst of, protect us from feeling discouraged.   Help us each see the next tiny step we can make to keep us moving forward.  And give us the courage, the energy, the whatever we need to take it with You.  Amen

 

Jericho Lesson 4

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Do you have a “Jericho” in your life: a blessing you believe God wants to give you, but you feel unable to achieve on your own?

Following the example of Joshua’s battle, I completed a Jericho Walk.

As I walked on the 7th day circling the lake 7 times, God continued teaching me lessons.  Check out the last 3 posts to read the first 3 lessons..

tree-933075_640I had completed four laps and by now the sun had risen in the sky, but because of cloud cover, the sunlight was not direct.  It was, however extremely bright.  Looking towards the sun, there were parts peeking through, but the thin clouds were so brightly illuminated they were glowing!  God was showing me something new.

Seeing the brightness reminded me that we, as Christians, are to be light in the world.  But the sun is so bright!  I told God that I couldn’t possibly be a sun.

It was as if God heard my comment and replied with, “You don’t have to be.  But see how much brighter it seems because the clouds are scattering the light?  And what are clouds made up of?  Tiny droplets of water!”

His revelation brought tears to my eyes.

Lesson 4

 

I can do that!  I can be a drop of water!  I can reflect and magnify the light God illuminates my life with to others!  That is so doable.  And not threatening at all.

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All you have to be is Yourself.   A drop of water!      

 

droplet-161679_640How uplifting!  God won’t demand something impossible of you.  But He can use who you are, who He created you to be, to show His love, His mercy, His grace to others.  Whatever is happening in your life, God will equip you.

 

You never know when times of frustration and waiting will bear fruit in the growth of perseverance or preparation for action.  Or times of prosperity will reap a harvest of generosity.  Or times of pain will cause strength and wisdom to grow in you.

You can trust that God will provide you with what you need, even before you know you need it.

Could it be that He is calling you to simply be yourself?  Even a small drop of water can reflect and magnify the light He is bringing into your life, to those around you.

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Let me encourage you to take a walk.  And ask God to speak to you.

Then be quiet, wait, and listen.

 

 

Jericho Lesson 3

Joshua_Jericho_1024Do you have a “Jericho” in your life: a blessing you believe God wants to give you, but you feel unable to achieve on your own?

Following the example of Joshua’s battle, I completed a Jericho Walk.  Check out the last few posts to read more about it.

Besides the big victory I was walking for, God met and taught me lessons along the way.  These came when our group circled the lake 7 times on the seventh day.

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Lesson 1 came when God reminded me that when I step out in faith, I need to wear His spiritual armor to protect myself from outside attack.

prayer-888757_1920Lesson 2 showed me that my own inner thoughts and fears will work against me.  That solution is to pray for God to remove those things from me and to hold on to His promises.

After those realizations, there was more spring in my step and I felt a physical heaviness lift.

By this time I saw that 3 of my friends were a lap ahead of me.  Knowing I would never catch up, I turned my thoughts to what else God have to say to me.  It was as if I could hear Him asking why I was out here.  Was it to simply plod thru the exercise of circling the lake?  To race in competition with my friends?  Or was it to connect with Him?

So I asked Him to speak into my heart, and whatever He had to say, I would listen.  It was as if He could hear my thoughts about not being in the lead, and dealt with this idea first.

chalk-board Lesson 3

It’s not a competition

 

 

elephant-1090828_640Accept who God has made you to be.  And thank Him for who you are. Don’t compare yourself with others, or the life they are called to or the gifts or talents they have.   Accept God’s love for you – just the way He created you.

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I could hear God saying to me, “Go at your own pace.  Take breaths!  Stretch!  You don’t have to match your sisters’ walk.  It’s not a competition or a race.  Just be with me.”

That was so freeing.  To hear that God wasn’t disappointed in me because I wasn’t in the lead felt incredibly unexpected and liberating!  I had put that burden on myself.  To know that it wasn’t part of God’s expectation freed me from the shame and judgment I had placed on myself.

Now I could be joyful in the knowledge that the longer I took, the more time I would be spending with God!

armwrestlingSo much of our life is spent comparing ourselves with others and ranking our performance.  Men compare jobs, incomes, physical strength, intellect, cars, houses and material possessions; then often glean their self-worth from how they rank against those around them.

Women will gauge their success by their career versus home choices, their physical appearance, their children’s behavior and successes.  Even Christians will compare ministry participation, or missions’ involvement, or spiritual gifts.

Then we place ourselves on some kind of ranking continuum, and it affects our attitudes, our behavior, and our sense of worth.

But what God is saying is “I love creativity!  And I made you each different intentionally.  I love you and I’m pleased with you regardless of who else I made, or how I made them!”   It’s something we don’t often hear.  But then, how often do we make the time to listen?

We walk the path God puts in front of us, in the way He made us to walk it. 

For the next two laps I focused on listening to what God had to say to me, unhurried.  I drank in His encouragement.

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I encourage you to make time this week to get alone to ask God to speak to you.  And be prepared to listen.

Carve out some time.

Maybe take a walk.