Tag: blessing

Are you thirsting in the midst of provision?

girl snow hatI didn’t want to walk.  It was very cold, and starting to snow.  But in an effort to be consistent with exercise for my body and spirit, I headed out.  I doubted that God would show me anything this blustery day.  The wildlife was in hiding, and the low cloud cover gave a dreary monotonous look to the landscape.  Soon, I had to raise my coat collar and pull down my hat to keep the icy snowflakes from getting into my eyes and down my neck.

fog trailThe flakes grew in size and density until I could hardly see where I was going.  As the snow moved in, the wind died down.  The whole sky was gray with large spots of whiteness drifting down.  I kept my head down and squinted my eyes to keep my feet on the path before me.

The cold air made my nose stuffy and I began breathing through my mouth. Walking on, I realized how dry my throat was getting and became very thirsty. On a warmer day, I would have my water bottle at my side. But not today. Complaining out loud about the cold and dreariness of the day and about being thirsty, I trudged on.

Why had I walked today? If God wanted to speak to me, did I have to be so cold and thirsty to hear His message?

It was then I perceived a voice saying, “Look up!”

When I did, a huge snowflake hit me on the lips. Startled, I flinched my head back down to avoid a face full of cold, wet snow.

catching snowflakes tongueBut in licking my lips and tasting the moisture, I realized this was God’s provision for me! I had heard of “showers of blessing”, but this?  I looked up again, and opening my mouth, made a game of “catching” these blessings coming from Heaven. My thirst was quenched.

What a wonderful lesson!

It wasn’t the birds or the plants or the lake. Today the lesson was me – and how God meets my needs! Provision was all around but focused on my uncomfortable circumstances, I didn’t see it.

How often do we grumble and whine about our needs, when God’s provision is showering all around us? We need to:

  1.  Look Up: take our focus off the problem and put it on God!
  2.  Open our mouth: in praise to receive His blessing

Are you so focused on your problem you can’t see anything else? Look to God.

Are you using your mouth to moan and complain? Use it to praise Him

Are you standing under a ledge of bitterness or rebellion, preventing God’s blessings from falling on you? Step out from under that canopy to catch God’s provision.

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Whatever the weather –

Look up –

Open your mouth in praise –

Receive His blessing.

Does it feel like you are missing some blessings?

Sometimes water is let go from a nearby lake and the water level drops. When that happens, the most noticeable thing is there are fewer birds on the water and rocks lay exposed. At first glance the water looks shallow and scummy and the banks muddy and messy. As if the water was the blessing and it had been taken away.

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Do you feel like some of the blessings you enjoy have been removed? For a time during Covid, many of us are missing comforts we had before.

When we have the blessing of good friends and family close around us, meeting together, celebrating together, we revel in it. We immerse ourselves in God’s blessing of good times when we have them. And so often, take them for granted. It seems to lose even a little of it would not be a good thing. Like the water level dropping in the lake. This was my brief conclusion.

Ducks_'n_trashWhere the trail comes near the water’s edge, I stepped off to have a closer look. From there I could see things… the ducks and geese had gathered in this inlet to feast on algae that had grown on the underwater rocks, now exposed because of the lowered water level.  What a blessing they were enjoying!

Many bottles and cans that had stuck in the muddy bottom were also now exposed, and a couple of kids had made their way down to the rocky 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 we feel blessings have been withheld for a time?

Would our examined lives reveal hidden blessings we take for granted, or that we usually don’t even notice?

If we take the time to look, the answer is probably yes.

Like the algae covered rocks, can we feast on the growth of our faith in God that has grown in the depth of His blessings but is not fully exposed until the level drops?  Yes.

Trusting God in the good times is building our faith and strengthening it so that when challenges arise, our faith can handle them. It’s encouraging to learn that the trust we have in the steadfastness and faithfulness of God in the good times will carry us through the harder times.

Have we allowed things into our lives under the covering of God’s blessing, that we need to remove when we see their trashy presence in full view.  Undoubtedly, yes.

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

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Take a moment of quiet, and ask God to reveal a new blessing to you in the here and now.

Ask Him to reveal any attitude, behavior or relationship adjustment that needs to be “cleaned up.”

Appreciate that there is blessing in even this time.

And before long, the depths will return. my-lake

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!

HOPE ! for 2021

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I once coined a definition of HOPE to be Hanging Onto Pending Expectations.

With Covid I suspended most of my expectations for the year 2020.  Did you too?

Did things you had expected to achieve, celebrate, and get done during the year get moved to a back burner and then reevaluated or even canceled as the pandemic went on and on?

It seems odd to me then, that now, many of those expectation have returned, upgraded to a “pending” status.

What seems strange, is that we are in a worse place now with Covid cases than we were in the spring and summer – when we thought we were in the middle of the pandemic and close to it being over.

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Is it simply because the calendar page has been turned there is more hope?

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God designed this world and put us in it to learn from it. To learn about Him and to learn about ourselves. And one thing we see here is the cycle of seasons. There is a time and a purpose for different seasons here on the earth and also in our lives.

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We have a time to blossom, a time to grow and be fruitful, time to let go of and harvest, a time to rest and regroup and store energy for the next coming season of blossoming, productiveness and fruitfulness. It’s an ongoing cycle.

So there has been an imposed season of rest during this coronavirus for many of us.

I have lot of respect for and appreciate those Frontline workers who have kept our grocery stores open, our streets safe, our water and electricity running, and our hospitals working to help and heal people. If you are one of those, thank you!

But for many of us it has been a time of sequestering. I’m living within the walls of our home with no immune system, minimizing outside exposure while awaiting a kidney transplant. And although I don’t know when, I’m hopeful there will be an end to the down time.

Not for the sake of getting back to what we used to call normal. But because I trust what I’ve learned by observing this beautiful world that God has given us. That something more is coming.

As I look out the window from my exercise bike every morning I appreciate blue – the blue of the sky that was taken away for many weeks with the gray of smoke and falling ash from wildfires in my state. I appreciate green – although the grass has turned yellow and brown, the pine trees are a deep green and remind me of life.

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Many people have expressed a newfound appreciation for things we used to take for granted.  How about you?

What are you thankful for – even in this time of loss?

When the time comes, I believe we will bring all the stored-up wisdom from the lessons learned in our down time, and move forward into a new productive time – seeing all the blessings God has placed in and around our lives.

Jeremiah spoke these famous words to a people who were going into captivity.  Theirs was to last 70 years.  I believe our time will be over sooner than that.

Here lies our HOPE:  “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  Jeremiah 29:11

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Who wants to be blessed?

Godbless you

And what does that even mean anymore?

When someone sneezes and we say “Bless you!” is it just a conditioned response?  Or are we really conveying a spiritual consecration?

 

 

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In scripture, there was a special blessing spoken over the people of Israel once a year by the High Priest.  A Hebrew teacher who goes by The Rabbi’s son teaches the full meaning behind the 6 verbs that make up 6 separate elements of blessedness in this Aaronic Blessing found in Numbers 6:24-26.

 

As I was growing up, it was sung over me every Sunday in the Military Chapel we attended on the Army bases where we lived.  Whether in Arkansas, Arizona, or France it provided a sense of how constant God’s love and protection was over me.  But I never understood the full breadth of it’s beautiful meaning until studying with this Rabbi’s Son.

Here is a more complete translation of these holy words:

May the Holy One infuse you with unlimited potential and empowerment and release you from restrictions and limitations preventing you from reaching the fullness of your potential to participate in your divine purpose.

May He zealously cherish and treasure you, diligently defending and keeping watch over you to protect and save you.

May the light of His innermost being and essence illuminate you physiologically and spiritually, impacting your body, mind, soul and spirit with His warming, healing, soothing, restorative, empowering and constantly renewing energy.

May the Holy One give you what you really need, not out of pity, benevolence, generosity or some misguided thought that you have earned it, but because He has promised, as the stronger covenant partner, to strengthen you and enable you to reach your potential and enjoy the covenant He entered into with you, when you accepted Him as Savior.

 May He come out of the Holy of Holies to be present with you so you can experience true spiritual reality.

And may He place in and establish in you wholeness, wellness, purposeful living in joy, with abundant provision, harmony, safety, security summed up in the Hebrew word ‘peace.’

 

Perhaps you’ve heard this sung on you tube or facebook recently.  Several performances have been released lately as a response to the pandemic.  Here’s the link to one of my favorites:

Click here.

And if you want to read more about The Rabbi’s Son, go to: https://biblicallifestylecenter.org

Here is the scripture in Hebrew and English:

The “Priestly Blessing”

Y’varechecha Adonai

[May the Holy One bless you]

v’yish’merecha

[and zealously cherish and keep watch over  you]

Ya’er Adonai panav elecha

[May the Holy One’s Face shine upon you]

v’chuneka

[and shower you with grace]

Yisa Adonai panav elecha

[May the Holy One lift up His countenance upon you]

v’yasem lecha shalom

[and may He give you wholeness, wellness, security, abundant provision, and peace].

[Numbers 6:24-26]

 

God Bless You!