Tag: creation

You CAN Survive! And have God’s Peace

I was reading a short article from DaySpring today titled 6 Ways to Find God’s Peace in Difficult Situations. (link at the bottom) Along with myself, so many of my friends and loved ones are living with some kind of difficult situation right now…How about you?

pexels-inzmam-khan-1134204Is there some physical illness or condition you are living with? 

lady-g97a8d38b3_640Has there been emotional turmoil in thinking about your present situation? Your future?

Do you have any relationship issues with a friend, family member, or someone you work or minister with?

Have you been in a spiritual desert?

As I read, I had a bit of a different take, but found some very encouraging take-aways:

1 – Define PEACE – What does peace mean to you? I define it as Possessing Equilibrium Amid Chaotic Events. Not just the absence of war or stress. But feeling a balance in my spirit even when all else around me is in turmoil, whether in circumstances, in relationships, or just in my spirit.

2 – TRUTH – Remember that God is with you!  And has a good plan for you!  Don’t go to the “worst case scenario” or entertain your fears. See the truth of the situation before you, asking God for His perspective if you can’t see it yourself.

3 – SURRENDER CONTROL to GOD – Stop thinking there is something you can or should do to be in control. Even if you think you see something to do, and do it…your sense of control is not real. God is in control. Let Him do the driving!

4 – Read, Recite, Recall SCRIPTURE – Maybe even keep a list or journal of scriptures that become meaningful to you on your journey through marriage, parenting, grand-parenting, caring for others, or dealing with difficulties.

5 – Worship with MUSIC – Listen to it, sing it, recite the words, write it – let the music lift your heart and refocus it on God.

6 – CREATION  – Take walks or just sit somewhere you can see or feel and experience God’s Creation. Delight yourself that He created all this to be the perfect world for you! And again, let it refocus your heart on God, your Creator.

bible-ga71615e85_640Philippians 4: 6-7, Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

I am so relieved to KNOW that I CAN SURVIVE my circumstances – and so can you!  WE ARE ABLE to have God’s peace in the midst of it all – any and every uncomfortable, humbling, frustrating, disappointing, demanding pressure! Knowing He will show me how to balance my life in His truth when I surrender it to Him. That when I turn to scripture, worship, music and His creation instead of worry and trying to control, He will bless me and lead me.

But it is incumbent on me to listen and follow.

So I offer you a challenge:

people-2604834_640Sit with God for 5 minutes each day this week. Read aloud the Philippians 4:6-7 scripture above – or from your favorite translation.

Tell God about the situation or difficulty and surrender your anxiousness to God. 

underground-885206_640 (2)Pray, asking, requesting that He act on your behalf. Surrender whatever control you think you have, placing the outcome of the situation or difficulty in His strong and capable hands.

Thank Him for listening to you. For taking your anxiousness away. And for acting on your behalf. 

clef-593912_1920And then take another 10 minutes and choose worship music or His creation to refocus your heart on God.

clouds-872143_1920If you can – take a walk or sit outside or inside and look at, take in His creation. Or instead, sing or play, listen to or write a brand new melody to worship the Lord!

 

jaque-handsraisedI am praying that God will speak clearly to you. That this week you will sense God’s presence with you in real and tangible ways. That you will see that God has already prepared you to meet whatever challenge you are facing.  That you will receive that peace that God offers when you focus on Him. And that you will be empowered by a fresh anointing of the Holy Spirit. God bless you!

Link to Dayspring article 

When was the last time…

When was the last time you laid in the grass looking up through the branches and leaves of a tree? Or watched puffy white clouds float across the sky?

To be honest, I didn’t set out to ponder the universe. But after making it up the street to the high school and around the newly reconditioned track encompassing the football field I was beat.

Spotting a bench in the park on my way back to the house my intention was to sit down for just a minute to catch my breath. But the grassy hillside in the shade was so inviting that just moments after I sat down, I leaned back to take in the soft coolness of the grass and gaze up between the branches and the leafy-ness.

I found my thoughts drifting…the branches in the trees with the leaves at the end look so much like the structure of our lungs.  And as a lightning strike in the distance grabbed my attention, I noticed how much it looks like a neuron – a nervous system cell.

I marveled at how much of biology is repetitious with structure and function – like the leaves of the tree help it take in carbon dioxide and give off oxygen, and our lungs do the same for our bodies – take in oxygen and give off carbon dioxide.

But also how no 2 fingerprints are alike and no two snowflakes either.  So much simplicity in repetition, yet so much complexity in individuality.

Made me realize how long it’s been since I laid down under a tree and just watched the clouds go by and pondered the universe.

And how little time kids have to do just that these days…with the minutes that aren’t structured with school and teams and clubs being filled with technology and video games.

Anyway – had a little communing with God about creation and wrote a short poem – dictated into my cell phone, and then came on home.

Here’s the start of the poem I wrote – You’re invited to sit under a tree and finish it – or write your own!

Thank You, God, for the sun
For making trees
For sending the breeze
Thank You for making the mountains so tall
And the sky so blue
It all points us to You

The beauty of the world
The puffy clouds
The gorgeous flowers
The highest peaks
The tiny bee
Amazes me for hours

The complexity eludes me

The simplicity astounds
The repetitiveness amazes me
and the diversity abounds

How about you?  When was the last time you just looked around and marveled – thinking about everything…and nothing?

Get outside this week if you can. Take in God’s Creation. And listen to what it says to you. 

 

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

Do you need a rest?

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Do you find it hard to slow down or stop when you’re on a roll and being productive?

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I cut the rosebushes back today. The fence looks so plain without the 10-foot runners spreading out from the base and covering the pickets. And one of my oldest rosebushes, going on 40 years, wasn’t quite ready to give up.

In Colorado we’ve already had a couple of snows and we’ve had a hard freeze but this rosebush still had a bloom on it!

rose-1470263_640It’s hard when you’ve had a productive season to know when to stop to pause for a Rest.

We don’t think of it, but Rest is productive too.

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God gave us seasons so we could watch and learn.

The trees, the flowers and the animals all have their rhythmic behavior.  A season of birth and productivity, fruitfulness, then rest, hibernation and rebirth form a cycle that repeats.  We so often fail to learn the simple lessons God wants to teach us. We don’t want to have our productivity cut short. We don’t want to take time to rest, refuel.

Do the rosebushes understand that the splendor they showed this year was based largely on the rest and the nutrients they drank in over the winter?

Do we understand that we also have a rhythm of pouring out and then needing to be refilled before we pour out again?

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Wisdom is all around us. It’s in the beauty of God’s Creation – the skies, the mountains, animals, plants, the trees. Ask God to show you what your rhythms are.

Do you need a time of rest and refilling? Are you ready for rebirth? Is it your time of productivity?

In my backyard, I’m the gardener. I know what’s good for the plants and bushes, and for the most part I can provide fertilizer, water, and the right place for the right plant. They don’t fight me when I say it’s time for pruning, time for fertilizing, or for cutting back to rest for the winter.

hands-1838658_640In my life, God is the Gardener.

He knows what’s best for me. He places me in the right place at the right time. He provides me with the gifts I need to accomplish what he has planned for me.

He protects and shelters me. He guides me like the trellis provides structure for one of my rosebushes. Why is it then, when it’s time for pruning or cutting back I balk?

Lord help me trust You, my Gardener. When I don’t even know what season I’m in, help me accept Your leading, Your pruning and fertilizing, and even Your cutting back for a Rest.

God Speaks Through a Tree

When was the last time you asked God to speak to you? To give you wisdom?  Direction? Encouragement? Or even correction?

He speaks to me a lot through His Creation. And often trees have played a big part.  This year, this Fall, I’m hearing that it’s time to let go of some things, just like the trees let go of their leaves when the time is right.

fall-1072821_640 (1)

Not that I intend to strip my house bare of items we need to live, but there are some things that we’ve been holding on to that we could do without.

Beyond the physical items, there are more important things I need to let go of:  negative emotions, unmet expectations, anger, regret, hurts, disappointments.  These take up even more space in my life and have a greater impact on it.

How do you let go of past hurts and unmet expectations?  Unproductive attitudes and unresolved anger?

It starts with identifying them. 

smiley-2979107_640Set aside time to think about and write down where your mind goes along those lines and how strong your emotional response is to those things.  Make up a scale 1 – 5 and give each item a number according to how much it bothers you.  These are your leaves.  If you want you can cut them apart so that each issue/leaf has its own slip of paper.

Thinking about it, put a YES or NO by each one indicating whether or not there is something you can realistically do about the issue. 

writing-1149962_640Next write down what action you can take that may lead towards resolving the issue for you.  Praying is sometimes the only thing that comes to mind and is always a good step especially if you’re unsure how to move forward. I realize knowing what you can do and wanting to do it are two different things.   

On a separate paper, start another list.  These will be your branches.  If you indicated a YES, write down any lesson you’ve learned about the issue – like what hasn’t worked in the past and what you’re willing to try or do about the issue now.

female-865110_640If you indicated NO, write down something you’ve learned – a lesson so you don’t make the same mistake again, something you can do that will help you move forward beyond it, a way you can change your perspective so that it’s no longer so emotionally charged or even some unexpected good that has come out of it.

Here’s an example of a Leaf.  My kids moved far away to take a job they needed and it was my expectation they would always live close and I am disappointed, heartbroken.  Because I love them and it affects my ability to be with them there is a very strong emotional cost.  5 out of 5.  No, I cannot change this.

And a Branch.  Lesson learned: always show my love and appreciation while loved ones are near.  And what can I do?  Learn new ways to show my love and stay connected now: FaceTime, Zoom calls, care packages of food or gifts or just small items that say “I care,” cards, actual letters they can read, reading the same book or watching the same movie and then talking about it together, praying for them or even with them over the phone.

If you are the tree, the negative emotional issue is the leaf.  The branch that the leaf is attached to is either something you can do about it, or some lesson you’ve learned in dealing with the issue.

fall-foliage-1740841_640You can let go of the leaf – the hurt, the unmet expectation, the disappointment, the regret.  But you keep the branch – the lesson you learned, or the action you will take.  And the branch will continue to grow and bear fruit in the future.

autumn-212733_640To complete this Leaf exercise, gather your leaves, and taking one leaf at a time, read it out loud asking God to bless you as you name it and the negative response connected to this issue, and then let go of it, dropping it into a leaf bag to dispose of. 

As you drop the leaf, thank God for any lesson you’ve learned from the situation and ask for the strength to take the steps you’ve written on your branch for that leaf. 

Bag up your leaves and put them in the trash!

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Now take a walk. Ask God to speak to you through His Creation. Notice the trees, the wildlife, the sky whatever is around you that He’s made.

Ask him if there’s anything He wants to say to you personally about your life, your circumstances, your relationships, your attitude, or your behavior.

Ask Him to silence all other voices in your head that come from your own thoughts or from the world or from any source other than God.

And then open your eyes and your ears and your spirit to God alone.

When we listen…God speaks!