Tag: lessons

Geese: Silly or Smart? Part 1

Here in Colorado we get a huge influx of Canadian Geese this time of year.  They have migrated south for the winter from Canada.  And will be here till spring when they make their return flight.

Pomona GeeseGoose interaction with people usually leaves something to be desired. But observing the geese relating to each other and watching their behavior together can teach some valuable lessons to Christians.

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#1     Travel in a group
Not only is there safety in numbers, but the principle of flying in a V shape in the wake of the bird ahead has been proven to save a lot of energy. This allows the group to go much farther than the individuals could travel on their own.

When we pray together, encourage one another, mentor each other and work together, we can accomplish so much more than we can being loners. The Christian lifestyle is hard enough in our world today. With all the pressures and temptations, we need one another to stay on track and accountable.

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# 2     Take turns leading.
Because the lead goose literally pulls more weight than the others by being the first to break the air resistance, it tires out more quickly. So as they travel, the lead position is rotated.

The lead goose drops back to the end of the V and another in the line takes the lead.

Because of the energy conserving benefit to the other geese in the V, this allows the group to go farther, faster than they could go alone.

We tend to go till we drop, burn the candle at both ends, wearing ourselves out. Especially in positions of leadership, share the responsibilities. Sure there are some things we need to do ourselves, but knowing when to simply say “no” or delegate is great wisdom.

To maintain this balance in your life, learn that there are seasons for the flow of activity. Balance refueling with expending energy to stay effective. And training up others to take our place should be part of our plan. Even if we continue in a ministry, sharing the load teaches and enriches others.

goose-1391251_640More lessons next time, but try these in your life and ministry. 

God has placed wisdom all around us, in all shapes and sizes.  We can learn from everything He’s created. 

Try out some wisdom from a “silly goose” and then decide – silly?  Or smart?

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.

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.

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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.

Jericho Lesson 1

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The last two posts told about my Jericho Walk, and asked if 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 those posts out.

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

As we began to walk, our paces spread us out.  We weren’t far apart then, but it was clear I wouldn’t be at the head of the line.

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Soon thoughts of whether I could catch up by the end began to dissolve into panic that I wouldn’t be able to finish at all.

 

My heart began to race.  Halfway around the first lap, I had the distinct thought that I would have a heart attack, literally, before this was done.

 

first-responders-3323385_640Rather than question this thought, I began processing how God might use this turn of events – I could witness to the ambulance and Emergency Room people!   Telling them all about the Jericho Walk would be a great way to get the word out and share God’s love and plan for their lives too.

Perhaps the local papers or tv stations would do a story on me – even a heart attack couldn’t stop her!  Or maybe I would just die.  My thoughts were running wild and my heart was pounding harder.

Then, it became clear: this was not God speaking to me.

chalk-board-303457_640Satan will attack you!  And if your mind is unguarded it will run away with those thoughts.

Any time you step out in obedience to God, the enemy will try and defeat you with whatever means he can.   And the thoughts and fears you have may not be your own, but a form of spiritual attack to dishearten and oppress you.

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Pray on the armor of God.

 

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At that point, I began to pray on the spiritual armor from Ephesians 6.  The helmet of Salvation protects your mind and thoughts, and bears the insignia of God Almighty in whose army you fight.  It allows you to take every thought captive to God and hold it up against the truth of His Word.  Instead of taking that first thought captive, I accepted it as a real possibility.

The breastplate of Righteousness, forerunner to the bullet-proof vest, protects your organs, heart for instance, and allows the enemy’s bullets and glancing blows to bounce off.

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The belt of Truth helps you discern truth from the lies and deceit of the enemy. I should have taken that lie and rebuked it with scripture “God has not given me a spirit of fear.” 2 Timothy 1:7 So I didn’t need to fear an imagined harm.

When we put on the shoes of the gospel of peace we say we are ready for God’s marching orders.

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And we take up the shield of Faith and the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God.  Our head to toe protection can repel the enemy’s launched attacks.  And speaking God’s Word in prayer and praise can launch attacks of our own.

After I prayed the armor on, I felt much more protected from outside attack.  With a renewed and energetic step I began the third lap.

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Remember that when you step out in faith for God, you need to be armed for battle.  And you can trust that God’s armor is the best.