All God’s Children

We are all God’s children. Period.

He loves us and desires to have a relationship with us. To show us how much He loves us. To teach us. Encourage us. Protect us. To enjoy time with us just the way He created us. All the same reasons we desire to spend time with our children.

Ianunder1When they’re young there’s more protecting and teaching. But as they mature and get older the time we spend together is simply to enjoy their company. To do things together. To laugh together. Still to support them, encourage them, help them over tough times, even cry with them.

How sad to be a parent whose child only comes to them when they’re in desperate need. When they’ve gotten themselves in some kind of trouble and need to be bailed out. Not much of a relationship is it?

But how often are we like that with God? When things are going well, we keep our distance.

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Children go through stages.  Some are more demanding than others. I loved teaching them how to walk, speak, dress themselves, how to play games. And I loved teaching them algebra, how to get along with people, and how to make spaghetti sauce from scratch

Each one of our sons has left the nest and come back for a time.  It has been such a joy to get to know them as adults. When they left for college, they had gotten to such an enjoyable stage! They were pretty independent and so much fun to be around.  We missed them terribly. I felt like we sent them off to go brighten up someone else’s life.

When was the last time you spent any quality time with your heavenly Father?

wood-bench-986347_640Spend Time with God. Get to know Him as an adult. Let Him continue to teach you, to build into your life, to speak to you, and encourage you as an adult.

We are not meant to face the world alone. And He is there. As close as a prayer.

Even more than I desire to spend time with my sons, He desires to spend time with you.

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Make some time this week.  He remembers you. You’re the apple of His eye. He still has your picture on His refrigerator!

No matter your age – You are His child.

God’s Sabbath is Our Sabbath

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Thank You Lord for Your Sabbath to rest in.

Whether you celebrate the Sabbath on Saturday or Sunday, here’s some food for thought:

God created the world in six days and on the seventh He rested.

This is something we may have been taught as little children. Or maybe read it in the book of Genesis later in life. For some families and individuals, it’s a very different day from the rest of the week. For some, not so much.

I went to my first Virtual Seminar this Spring, and a wonderful teacher – Dr Saundra Dalton-Smith spoke about her book Sacred Rest.  She has identified 7 areas where we can be lacking in rest.  More than just feeling tired, a lack of rest can impact your health, your relationships, make your thinking fuzzy, cause moodiness, and more.

So we need rest. After talking about the 7 different kinds of rest we need, which you can read about in her book or on her website, she said something that struck me.

God created the world in six days, and on the seventh day, He rested. That I knew.

But He created us, man and woman on the 6th day. So His 7th day, was actually our 1st day after being created.

God made the Sabbath our first full day.  We didn’t have to work for it.  We didn’t work 6 days like He did to earn our Sabbath.  It was His gift to us.

It’s a small distinction, but it’s had a great impact on me.  God created everything out of nothing!  And then he rested. He must have known we would not be able to work for 6 days before we needed a rest, so, in His wisdom, He gave us our Sabbath at the beginning.

It’s the same now. I don’t have to work 6 days to earn my Sabbath. It’s not something I even deserve from working hard. It’s His free gift to me, that one day a week I can come and spend time with Him to be filled, encouraged, and empowered for the coming week.  He will give me what I need so that I am not pouring out from an empty cup.

It’s a small tweak in my understanding, but it’s changed the way I feel about the Sabbath. His gift to me is to prepare me for the week.  And since He knows what my week will holdHis preparation is perfect – if I will just take time to connect with Him.

calendar-660670_640On your next Sabbath, I hope you will set aside time to rest in the Lord: to listen for His voice, to accept His instruction, to revel in His presence.

And to thank Him for your Sabbath.

For more information on the 7 types of rest, take the Rest Quiz

Unity is a gift

Unity is a gift, and it comes from God. 

We are in dire need of unity today…in our marriages and families, our communities, our churches and our nation. In scripture we learn how God blessed His people with unity.

Hezekiah sought God’s guidance and blessing.  And God blessed: “Also in Judah the hand of God was on the people to give them unity of mind to carry out what was ordered… following the Word of the Lord.” 

Paul also wrote about the unity of believers: May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 

So I believe unity needs to start with us, believers, asking for and being willing to seek it in our relationships – first, with each other.

Heavenly Father, I ask for unity in our church.   As we make decisions about our future, our finances, our lives of serving and ministering together, give us agreement in these areas.  Help us see our circumstances from Your perspective.  And regardless of what the world would say, give us Your wisdom.  Remind us to put our faith not in numbers or schedules or the plans of men, but in You.   

In our church, many plans can be prayerfully considered, but only Your plan counts.  And only You can bring it to pass.  Father, honor the desire of our church to bring Your kingdom into our community.  Show us how to most effectively do that.

Help us make all who come feel welcome and make a place for them to learn and grow and use their God given gifts and talents in our fellowship.

Lord God, I ask for unity of Your believers.  So many things divide us.  Even as one body, we are many people with many opinions.  We are overcome with the world.  We fight each other over things that are disputable until the world sees an inconsistent, arguing, critical body that they want to avoid at all costs; instead of being drawn into Your love and Your care for them. 

You give us endurance and encouragement in Your Word.  Let us draw on Your Word’s truth to live our lives. 

“For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.”  Father, bring us this hope.  Bring it into our relationships, our families, our church, our nation.  

Remind us to make time to read the Scriptures so we might receive this encouragement.  Let us learn so we will have the endurance we need.  Give us patience and humility so we can be used by You.  

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And as we live and work and serve together, we can be a model for others. It will take work. And we need God’s help. Through Him we can have the encouragement, the endurance, and hope for our future.

Will you Squat or Soar?

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It may be warming up where you are, but in Colorado, we are having what may be the snowiest March on record!

And there are still lots of birds wintering here from Canada.  They’re fun to watch as I walk around the nearby lake.

Picture a cold snowy 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.

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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.

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You 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. Will you squat? Or soar?

Take the leap!  See you up there  smiley-1635449_640

Snow Storms!

it is rare that storms come that are predictable and bring a blessing and beauty.

snowprepWhen they’re predictable we can prepare for them. We can have on hand everything we need to handle whatever the storm brings. Food, a secure shelter, the ability to cancel plans in advance so no one is inconvenienced and no one is trapped without having their basic needs met. That way we can hunker down in the storm and not have to worry about the dangers because we have already taken care of our needs.

At that point the storm is more welcome. All the more if it brings a blessing. The snow storm which we have prepared for and finally come will bring needed moisture to the grass, plants, and trees, saving us the cost of watering.

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And it comes with beauty. The soft glistening blanket of snow that covers the ground renders a quiet loveliness to the landscape, encasing the trees in a surreal, fairytale-like beauty.  We can enjoy a storm like that from our warm homes, with ample food and nowhere we need to go.

If only life were like that!

But the storms in life usually take us by surprise. The unexpected death of a loved one that shatters our world. A terrible diagnosis that turns our life upside down with surgeries, treatments, and expenses. The surprise break-up of a deeply felt relationship that we have depended on for support, encouragement, maybe even love.

people-850097_640These are the storms that we seem to be ill prepared for that take us down a road we don’t want to go: disappointment, discouragement, despair; and bring their friends: sorrow, loss, pain, grief.

When I’m in the storm, my world shrinks and is completely taken over by the ordeal.  I forget that other people aren’t going through the same thing.  And then when I see that they’re not, and simply going on with their lives, I can’t understand how they are unencumbered by my pain.

But we praise You Lord that You’ve promised to be with us in the storms. Even if they are not predictable. Even if they do not seem to bring a blessing. Even if there is no beauty in them. Thank You that You provide all we need to weather the storms that come into our lives.

clasped-hands-541849_640As I look back over the joys of my life, I can see that You were there. Forgive me for not giving You thanks and praise for the highs, the joys. And as I look at the lows, the storms, I see that You were there with me also.  Forgive me for not giving You thanks and praise for being with me then too. Without You I might not have survived

Thank You too, that when the storm has passed, there is often blessing, and beauty in Your provision.

You have told us that we will have storms in our lives.  You told Your disciples, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

winner-4912049_640When the storms come, help me remember to “Take heart.”

Because You have overcome the world.  Because You are with me.  And because You share Your victories!