Beauty, Bluebonnets, Buttercups and Bulrushes
Have you ever witnessed the beauty of fields adorned with wildflowers and thought about how that compares to our walk with the Lord? In the following post I have tried to explain the message God laid on my heart to share with you. Read on and see if you agree.
Have you ever driven down the Texas highways in Springtime and found a stream of wild flowers adorning the median or sides of the highway? Well, if you have never done so, you need to schedule a trip to Texas during wild flower season. It will bless your socks right off your feet! Believe it or not, this topic really does apply to my spiritual journey. Read on to find out more.
This year seems to have more wild flowers than I have ever seen. At least in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Although, I have tried to find any article that says so, I know what I have seen before and I know what I see this year. There are at least double the wild flowers than I have ever seen. Every day seemed to be a new patch of color that wasn’t there the day before. You see, I am an Uber driver and I see lots of miles a day. Some are in the cement jungles but many of those miles are spent on the roads to and from cities. Even the neighborhood fields, parks and some private residence’s lawns are overflowing with wild flowers. I love the Texas wildflowers. I can never get enough of them! Especially the Bluebonnet, it is the state flower.
As you drive along and see an ocean of wild flowers swaying in the wind, you may or may not want to stop to take pictures. If you do stop there are usually some Texas Wildflower etiquette.
Here is an excerpt from the Texas Department of Transportation website that might interest you before you step out of that vehicle.
Maintenance techniques used to encourage wildflower growth include safety, or strip mowing which allows the wildflowers to bloom and native grasses to emerge.
TxDOT buys and sows about 30,000 pounds of wildflower seed each year. The peak wildflower blooming season draws tourists from all across the nation to see the color unfold each spring.
The department is pleased with the attention wildflowers attract; however, we discourage picture-taking that damages the flowers. If too many wildflowers are trampled, they will die and not go to seed. Since many of these flowers are annuals, this means they have to go to seed to come back the next year. Naturally, we discourage picking the flowers for the same reason.
The wildflower program is part of good stewardship. Today, TxDOT not only plants and enhances wildflower areas, but more importantly protects and maintains the investment made in years past.
Another thing you may notice when you step out to take a closer look at those pretty wild flowers is that there is another side to the beauty. I experienced it first hand and was a bit shocked at first.
When I got out to take some pictures along the side of the road, I stepped out ever so gently out of my truck. Then looked down to find a new place to put my feet so I could get a better angle on the flowers. I am not sure what I expected to see but it wasn’t trash. I thought it was just a piece of trash right there at my feet but no. As I gazed out over the beauty of the wild flowers and grasses swaying back and forth, I admired the serene beauty that God has adorned our highways and byways with, but I noticed the trash under some of the beauty. But for now the beauty covers up most of the ugliness of the trash. I have seen the road crews picking up trash also, especially when the wildflowers are gone and they are allowed to mow, it may uncover some ugliness. So the road crews will be diligently picking up all of the trash that got blown all over the place when the mowers came through.
So … you ask how does this parallel our spiritual journey? Well, here’s what I think God is wanting to share with me and then in turn with you.
Let me begin with a little background first. God has changed my life. He has taken this gal, that lived for Leah, and transformed … or is transforming her into someone that loves God. She is learning about Him as much as she can, considering this finite, human mind and is growing in my walk with Jesus. I love spending time just talking with Jesus. He understands me so well.
I had moments in my life when I was walking with the Lord. I cannot tell you exactly what happened that would cause me to slip back into the “Leah” mode. However, I do know that the enemy was very sly and quick. When a vulnerable spot was uncovered, there was always the chance to fall back into whatever that “sin” was. And unfortunately, I fell more than I care to remember.
God’s Word says that the devil prowls around looking for “someone to devour”. Those vulnerable spots in folks like you and me are laid bare sometimes and then he pounces. He will meet you in your weakest moment and He will devour you in the blink of an eye – if you allow it! But it’s not with a roar, necessarily. He can speak with the softest and most tender voice. He is soft and gentle when he needs to be to convince you that you need to do that “forbidden” thing. You give one slight look or hesitation towards his way and he will pounce! He has you! Then before you know it, you are doing the “thing” that led you to your demise before you met the Lord. The “thing” could be anything. Smoking, drinking, pornography, adultery, stealing, cheating, lying, or anything else that is against the good morals and ethics that Christianity is built on. That your faith is built on.
1 Peter 5:8
8 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
But you know what? I know Someone else who also knows our weakest spots in our lives. He created each of us, so He even knows us down to the number of hairs on our head.
We have a choice. A choice to either listen to the lies and inviting voice of the enemy or we can choose to turn to Jesus and say… “I need You, Lord. I need You now!” Jesus is always there. He will never leave you, but He will not force you to love Him either. It’s your choice. He is a gentleman. Forced love has never been true love.
I know that I have done things that definitely have been detrimental to my well-being, however, there are also things that others have littered my life with. I am sure you know what I mean. Hurts from others that have caused you pain or problems along your life journey.
Some things are just on the periphery of your life. Some are just below the surface. Others are buried deep. So, no matter what, they are still there. The things that keep you from seeming to go forward in your life. Things that you believe have affected you or your life in such a way that you will never be able to live a normal life in this world.
Well, I am here to tell you that there is HOPE! Hope in a “normal” life. Hope in happiness and fulfillment in life. I have found it or better yet… I have found Him! NO! He has found me! He never was lost. I was! He is the Creator of everything! He is my Friend, Savior and King! His name is Jesus! And I love to share Him with others!
The way I have compared this information to the beautiful fields of Texas Wild Flowers is this. I look at a big beautiful field of flowers and think of my life. Before Jesus came into my life, it was so cluttered with “stuff”. It was very unappealing at times. Downright disgusting, at times. I look back and ask myself… “How did you tolerate this?” I am not real certain of the answer to that question, all I know is that I kept putting one foot in front of the other one to get here today. Of course, there is much more to it than just one foot in front of the other, but in a nutshell that’s it.
So, let’s look at the field that is cluttered with “stuff”. Whether the “stuff” is there by your own mistakes and bad decisions or someone else’s carelessness that was allowed into your life – which would be under the “bad decisions” category.
That field has lots of “stuff” all throughout. On the edges, deep in the middle or just scattered around. You continue to go through life not really living the way you know is “right”. Then one day, through a series of events, you meet Someone that changes your life. He takes your hand and walks around with you. He walks with you through that cluttered field that is and has been your life. You begin to tell Him about things that you have done that you are sorry for. Things that you don’t want to do any longer. Things that you are so ashamed of that you don’t even want to tell Him. Walking and talking with Him seems to be easy. No condemnation from Him. He listens and is very sympathetic to your struggles. He seems to understand each struggle as you explain it, as though He has been there also. He continues to listen as you begin to have tears well up in your eyes and then they make their way over your cheeks and stream down your face as you tell of things that have been so very hurtful to you. You are so ashamed of some of the things you are sharing with Him and you are now sobbing uncontrollably. Your knees buckle under the weight of the moment. You hit the ground, yet He picks you up gently. Somehow, though, you feel comforted and realize He has embraced you. It seems so foreign yet so peaceful.
You notice that you begin to relax, every cell of your body absorbs the love and comfort that He is showing you. You have never felt this comfort and peace. Is this the peace that you have heard people talk about when you meet Jesus? A peace that goes beyond our understanding? It must be.
As you regain a little composure, He helps you stand on your own. He encourages you to look back over your “field”. As you turn to look, all you see is beautiful wild flowers everywhere. Color that bursts out of the ground in so many places that the colors run together. There are some flowers and colors that you have never seen. The landscape is resplendent with color! It is so beautiful it makes you smile. Even giggle a little to see the beauty. He has given you beauty where once there was ugliness. A sweet-smelling aroma where there was nothing but stench. There is such beauty that only He could create. Such peace and comfort that only He could give.
This is but one scenario that God has laid on my heart for the wildflower theme. Maybe I will be able to write another soon but for now I just want to say this… If you allow Jesus into your life, He can bring you such joy and peace and that resplendent color in your fields of life. If you have questions about how to do this, click here and it will take you to a website that explains what it means to be a follower of Jesus.
The Beauty of Christ
If you are already a follower of Jesus Christ and have experienced the “cluttered” field in the past or maybe you are experiencing it right now, Jesus can still help. You just have to cry out to Him and He will walk around with you and clean up the mess that has been left. He will guide you and direct you when you give your life fully to Him. He will help keep the beautiful wildflowers in your field and help you weed the field as needed. He loves you so much, after all, He calls you His beloved.
Excellent song and video. The message is for all of us “Broken Things”.
Video– Broken Things
The 2nd Mother’s Day without My Mother
You ask… what happened to the 1st? I was in such a fog last year. All I know is this is the 2nd Mother’s Day without my mother. I didn’t think I would make it through the 1st Mother’s Day and here I am almost a year and a half after her departing to that Blessed Place.
I think of her daily. I cry almost every day for her smile, laugh, touch. She, of course, wasn’t your average mother. And I am aware that every daughter and/or son of a “good” mother says this and sometimes they even say it of a not so good mother. Nonetheless, I believe that she was a very special and oh so not average mother. She touched people’s lives in a very real and powerful way. She met people where they were and accepted them. She always wanted to give. Share. Help them to feel comfortable, safe, loved. Many ladies I know, that had never even met my mother, were touched by her love and sharing and servant’s heart. She would always crochet little trinkets every season. Rabbits and Crosses for Easter. Pumpkin faces for Halloween. Crosses and Santas at Christmas and so many other things throughout the year. I always had a basket full to take to church for my ladies in my Sunday School class. They all seemed to be touched by them, too!
Mom In Every Room
I moved mom and dad up here from Southeast Texas in May 2009 to live with me, so it has been especially hard since she’s been gone. The house is her. I see her in every kitchen utensil I touch. In every towel I fold. In the recliner that was hers. Oh, how I miss my mother. Her laughter would fill the room when I acted like the dove at the striking of the bird clock at 4:00 pm.
She loved the sunrises and could see them from her chair. She was always quick to tell me how pretty the sky was and I better hurry if I wanted to see it. She would sometimes quote a little phrase that is years old… “Red Sky at morning, Sailors take warning. Red Sky at night, Sailor’s delight.” So, if it was a red sky in the morning, she would tell me so. If not… it was just a beautiful sunrise. She knew I loved sunrises, too.
Texas Wild Flowers and Christmas Lights
Mother also loved the Texas wildflowers this time of the year. I would drive her and dad around to look at the beautiful canvas that God had created that year. There would be a quick, “Oh My! Look at that!” and we would all look and oooo and ahhhhh over the next sea of beauty swaying in the wind. This year, she would really love it! The wildflowers are in such abundance. Like I have never seen in all my years! Something else she always loved was to drive around at Christmas time and see all the lights. The ooos and ahhs that came from our vehicle definitely showed our love for the lights, too.
Well, this year is definitely different in more than just the extra abundance of Texas Wildflowers. I am truly feeling her absence. Last year I think I must have been in a daze because I don’t even really remember Mother’s Day. This year, I feel the emptiness of the house. The lack of her beautiful smile and dancing eyes. The fullness I felt when she told me she loved me and the warmth that came from her hand and heart when she reached out to touch my face. Her hugs were the very BEST! You could feel the love down to your toes!
So, this Mother’s Day, Mom, know, as always, that I LOVE YOU SO VERY MUCH! You are desperately and deeply missed and thought of every single day … many times a day! I will see you again and that can’t be too soon! I expect a dance down that main street of gold in that Blessed Place we call Heaven or better yet… where we call “Home” for those of us that know Jesus the Son – our Savior! The One who took our place in punishment for our sins. Our Home with Him. That is very hard to fathom. I bet when you look into His face, you just break out in exuberant song and unending praise! I can’t wait to join you in that exciting time. To have you hold my hand as we praise the One who loved us first, will be heaven in another way!
Thank you, Mother!
Thank you for being just the wonderful one that God made you to be. I feel like I am the most blessed daughter on this old planet – NO … in the whole Universe… to have had you as my mother! Until we meet again, I will continue to live here honoring you and your legacy! I love you so very much and miss you so much more! I will see you soon!
Mother’s favorite song that Dad sang at her memorial is following. This, however, is not dad singing but George Beverly Shea. Please take a few minutes and listen. She called it The Angel Song. But the actual name of the song is:
Today, I was reading some comments from one of my previous posts on running. The comments were from readers of various posts. One reader had some nice things to say. I began to think what an appropriate post for January 1, 2018. Running for the Prize. OK, OK, yeah, I will be using an old post for a new post, again. The Blog Post Etiquette Police can advise me after the fact.
Let me start with saying I AM SO GLAD 2017 IS OVER! It has been a trying year, to say the least! I feel like I have been running and running and running all year. My family has gone through a great personal loss and my health has taken hit after hit after hit. I just know 2018 will be better.
Running for Self or Spirituality
I do feel, from time to time, that I am “Running for the Prize”. Sometimes it seems a spiritual prize and at other times, it’s just running for the prize to just finish the day and to get home to my quiet house with my father and my Zuckie (my standard dachshund). My home – my Solace .
If you know me at all, you know that I do love my home. I love to be at home and I love my family. So, with that said, I will tell you that I do long for the time when I finish this race that we call “life”. When that occurs for me, I will be home where my heart has always been. In the presence of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. But until that day, I will continue to run this race on earth. Striving to make the most of each moment in this race for the prize. Striving to forget the past and pressing on towards the future because that is where the prize is.
Philippians 3:13-15English Standard Version (ESV)
13 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 15 Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you.
So, with that said… I will continue with this old post made new, once again.
Running for a squeaky ball
Have you ever seen a dachshund race? Oh My Goodness! It is the funniest thing I have ever seen! I follow a little dachshund on Facebook and he is quite the celebrity! His name is Crusoe and he is from Canada. He was in a “wiener dog race” and he finished 3rd and the prize was a squeaky ball! (see it here and if you still want more see his blog… here) It is so much fun and the funniest thing to watch! If you know me at all you know I L-O-V-E love dachshunds and everything about them! These races are so funny because these little guys are so excited at the starting line. They are so wound up to get going on that race and for what? To get a squeaky ball!? Not much of a prize as far as you and I are concerned… (or Zuckie – one of my dachshunds – for that matter. He does not like anything that squeaks! He doesn’t like noise… loud trucks, loud anything and especially sirens).
Running with Vim and Vigor
But let’s focus on how the dachshunds begin the race. These little guys are so excited and so ready to get going! Excitement, anticipation and readiness are the traits you see in them! They are full of joy and life! You know we run a race too! Every day! And we run the race for a far greater prize than any squeaky ball. We are running for the prize of an imperishable crown
1 Corinthians 9:24-27
Striving for a Crown
24 Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. 25 And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. 26 Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. 27 But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.
We should be running for the prize daily! So shouldn’t we begin our daily race the way these little dachshunds begin their race? With excitement, anticipation and readiness? We as Christians, in our walk with the Lord, should be filled with excitement, anticipation and readiness. If we meet every day with that frame of mind we cannot loose!
Jesus left us a Helper which is the Holy Spirit, our closest friend! That means He can help us throughout each day! I have a friend at work that when she gets there and walks to her desk we speak the “Good Mornings”. Then we ask one another the usual “how are you doing?” We usually say…”Blessed and Highly Favored!” and yesterday I added “…because I am a child of the King!” If we truly believe this we can meet each day with an attitude of excitement for what God will do in our lives that day, anticipation of how it will change us or someone around us and readiness to be used for the Kingdom of Christ.
Daily Running Challenge
Try it out! When you first wake up in the morning, focus your mind on God and how He has blessed you by giving you another day to tell someone about Him. I love this scripture:
Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.
Therefore, thank Him for all the blessings you have whether it be a little heartbeat at your feet (human or animal) or a job, or a vehicle to drive, or a nice soft (or firm) bed to sleep in, or food on your table or any number of things! You choose! Focus on what blessings God has bestowed on you in your life and not the worries, problems and trials you face each day and THANK HIM FOR THOSE BLESSINGS! I know… I KNOW if you do this you will feel better and you will be ready to run the race for the day!
Psalm 95:2-3 tells us
“2 Let us come before him with thanksgiving
and extol him with music and song.
3 For the Lord is the great God,
the great King above all gods.”
The Song – Hezekiah Walker – Every Praise!
The other day I received an email from Crossway.org. It was a post by a man that I have never heard of but the post made quite an impression on me and I wanted to share it with you. Here is some information on the author.
Donald S. Whitney (PhD, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa) is professor of biblical spirituality and associate dean at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. He has written several books, including Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life. Don blogs regularly at BiblicalSpirituality.org.
So, I want to share his post with you because I believe we all could gain some insight from it. I am just copying and pasting his blog (with his permission) below. Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoy it!
10 Questions to Ask at the Start of a New Year
by Donald S. Whitney
(This is a post on Crossway’s blog site. Here is the link to the post)
Consider the Direction of Your Life
Once, when the people of God had become careless in their relationship with him, the Lord rebuked them through the prophet Haggai. “Consider your ways!” (Haggai 1:5) he declared, urging them to reflect on some of the things happening to them, and to evaluate their slipshod spirituality in light of what God had told them.
Even those most faithful to God occasionally need to pause and think about the direction of their lives. It’s so easy to bump along from one busy week to another without ever stopping to ponder where we’re going and where we should be going.
The beginning of a new year is an ideal time to stop, look up, and get our bearings. To that end, here are some questions to ask prayerfully in the presence of God.
- What’s one thing you could do this year to increase your enjoyment of God?
- What’s the most humanly impossible thing you will ask God to do this year?
- What’s the single most important thing you could do to improve the quality of your family life this year?
- In which spiritual discipline do you most want to make progress this year, and what will you do about it?
- What is the single biggest time-waster in your life, and what will you do about it this year?
- What is the most helpful new way you could strengthen your church?
- For whose salvation will you pray most fervently this year?
- What’s the most important way you will, by God’s grace, try to make this year different from last year?
- What one thing could you do to improve your prayer life this year?
- What single thing that you plan to do this year will matter most in ten years? In eternity?
In addition to these ten questions, here are twenty-one more to help you “Consider your ways.” Think on the entire list at one sitting, or answer one question each day for a month.
- What’s the most important decision you need to make this year?
- What area of your life most needs simplifying, and what’s one way you could simplify in that area?
- What’s the most important need you feel burdened to meet this year?
- What habit would you most like to establish this year?
- Who is the person you most want to encourage this year?
- What is your most important financial goal this year, and what is the most important step you can take toward achieving it?
- What’s the single most important thing you could do to improve the quality of your work life this year?
- What’s one new way you could be a blessing to your pastor (or to another who ministers to you) this year?
- What’s one thing you could do this year to enrich the spiritual legacy you will leave to your children and grandchildren?
- What book, in addition to the Bible, do you most want to read this year?
- What one thing do you most regret about last year, and what will you do about it this year?
- What single blessing from God do you want to seek most earnestly this year?
- In what area of your life do you most need growth, and what will you do about it this year?
- What’s the most important trip you want to take this year?
- What skill do you most want to learn or improve this year?
- To what need or ministry will you try to give an unprecedented amount this year?
- What’s the single most important thing you could do to improve the quality of your commute this year?
- What one biblical doctrine do you most want to understand better this year, and what will you do about it?
- If those who know you best gave you one piece of advice, what would they say? Would they be right? What will you do about it?
- What’s the most important new item you want to buy this year?
- In what area of your life do you most need change, and what will you do about it this year?
The value of many of these questions is not in their profundity, but in the simple fact that they bring an issue or commitment into focus. For example, just by articulating which person you most want to encourage this year is more likely to help you remember to encourage that person than if you hadn’t considered the question.
If you’ve found these questions helpful, you might want to put them someplace—in a day planner, PDA, calendar, bulletin board, etc.—where you can review them more frequently than once a year.
So let’s evaluate our lives, make plans and goals, and live this new year with biblical diligence, remembering that, “The plans of the diligent lead surely to advantage” (Proverbs 21:5). But in all things let’s also remember our dependence on our King who said, “Apart from Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5).
Thank you, Don, for providing us some very good and wise words to begin this new year with.
It was a rainy night in the city
as I drove picking up passenger after passenger.
It was a rainy night in the city I drive Uber in. You may or may not know that I am an Uber driver now. I clock a lot of windshield time. I drive in the sunshine or rain. I really do not mind driving at all … through the rain or sun … makes no difference to me. I just don’t drive after dark. Except now during the Fall/Winter when it gets dark so darn early. I do try to be off the paying road and headed home by dark anyway. I have a thing about people getting into my vehicle that are … well … a little inebriated. You see, my “new-to-me” vehicle, that I have had a year now, is the first vehicle I have had that has all leather and loaded. Yep, I made a heck of a deal Black Friday 2015. I love it! It is a Toyota 4Runner and it is probably the nicest vehicle I have had since I have been single. Anyway, I digress. Back to the windshield time.
The other day it was raining on and off and I found myself headed home in the rain. So… I noticed something that spoke volumes to me. Actually, I heard that familiar voice in my spirit that said… “This is a good topic to write about.” To be honest, I have heard that voice a lot in the last few months and just never wrote about any of the topics. I made a note about the topic but just never put the words down that went with it. That happens from time to time. I just seem to think I am too busy and do not take the time to write those important words that are waiting to be put to the keyboard. As you have read before, if you have ever read any of my blog posts, that I don’t really know what I am going to write fully until I sit down and do it. It seems as though God is guiding my thoughts and fingers as I type. I like that too!
It usually takes me anywhere from 3-4 hours to write a blog post, proof it, add scriptures and pictures to it and then do the “Yoast, SEO perfection”. That is why I don’t do much writing lately. I am trying to drive and do many other things to earn $$$ so as NOT to return to “Corporate America” to work. I love being more available for mom and dad and for a few other things. Really, I am so much happier now than I ever was before in so many areas of my life. One of the many things that makes me happy is having mom and dad living here with me. God has truly blessed me with their presence, every day! We have a lot of fun together. Yes, it’s not always peaches and cream but it is life. It is real and it is love. It is family! We do love each other and we are learning how to co-exist and have a grand time doing it.
Is Jesus Lord of your life?
So, back to the rainy night on my way home from “Ubering” all day. It wasn’t really raining hard, just a little sprinkling. One of those kinds of rain that if you are in the darker areas you can see just fine through that windshield, but once the light of an oncoming vehicle shines on your windshield the reflection of the light on the rain droplets makes it difficult to see unless you use your windshield wipers. It was just about the time when the light from an oncoming car hit my windshield and my eyes couldn’t adjust to see when I heard … “This is a good topic. The spots all over the windshield represents the sin in your life and the light … well, represents Me.” Also, when you turn on the windshield wipers they wipe the rain drops (sin spots) away like Jesus does when He becomes Lord of our lives. It brought tears to my eyes, as it always does. I immediately knew in my spirit what was being said and knew I was going to write a post about it someday!
We may have a clean windshield for a very short time, but then that old sin nature creeps back in – because we are human – and we sin again. Just because Jesus comes into our lives and becomes our Lord doesn’t mean that we become perfect and never sin. There will always be those showers of just sprinkles of sin or the “Oh My Gosh! Downpour!!” of sin. I have experienced both, more than I care to say, since Jesus shined His Pure, White Light onto the windshield of my life and exposed all the sin spots and wiped those sin spots away.
You know, we are human and God/Jesus knows us better than we know ourselves. He knows that we are going to sin and sin again. He is our Creator. The Creator always knows what the created is going to do. However, Jesus didn’t come to this earth to just be an excellent example. He came to do just what He did. Live a sinless life, be crucified on a cruel cross and die there. Then be buried in a borrowed tomb and RISE AGAIN on the third day, after defeating death and Satan. He is now in Heaven awaiting the time when the Father says “Son, go get my children.” That will be THE MOST AWESOME DAY!!! We will meet Him in the air and live with Him forever. That is if you have asked Jesus into your heart to Shine His Pure, White Light onto the windshield of your life and wipe away those sin spots and the sin that you will commit in the future.
1 John 1:6-8 English Standard Version (ESV)
6 If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
You say, well, “If Jesus is going to wipe away my sin now and in the future, I can sin and not worry about it.” That, my friend, is one way you can look at it, however, if you truly give your life over to Him and want Him to lead and guide you in your daily walk with Him, you will not EVER have that attitude. He loves you and wants a true and healthy relationship with you. Let’s look at it a different way. If you are married, you don’t say … “Well, since I am married I can do anything I want.” WRONG! You want your relationship to be a good one. You want to please the person you are spending the rest of your life with. You love them so you want to do whatever it takes to make them happy and feel loved. You don’t want to hurt them intentionally.
Although we want these things for our loved one, sometimes, we mess up. They mess up. We neither one are perfect. We should know this going into the relationship. Likewise, in our relationship with Jesus. Although He is perfect, we are not and never will be. We should want to please Him and want Him to feel our love. You don’t ever want to do something intentionally to hurt Him but it happens. When we begin to live our life for ourselves and do it “our way”, that is basically a sin. It is not easy to live with one foot in the world and one foot with Jesus. It pulls at your heart and it hurts Jesus’ heart. He wants all of you, just like you want all of your spouse’s love. This is the way we should feel if we have a “real” relationship with Jesus. Sometimes, though, we do hurt Him. We do disappoint Him. We are human and He knows it. This is a link to a very good website about hurting God. It speaks to many different things.
Pure White Light
Anyway, the raindrops on my windshield will always remind me of my sin and how Jesus shined His Pure, White Light onto the windshield of my life and wiped away my sin because of His death on the cross. His blood on that cross covered my sins. Even 2000 years ago, He knew then that I would need His cleansing power over my life. His blood has wiped my windshield clean of those sin spots, so-to-speak, and always will.
If you would like to know this Jesus I have been speaking about, click this link and it will take you to a website that will explain what it means to be saved and it will guide you into a relationship with Him. He loves you so much. After all, He calls you His beloved.
Covers All – Powerful Worship Music by gloryfall
We will never forget what this day was in the past It will always bring sadness and quiet tears. However, America is strong and we must continue to fight for her. We are America! Do not forget and keep fighting for our freedom! Thank you to those who have lost their lives knowing and not knowing they were fighting for her freedom.
Is God like that Utility Pole in your neighborhood? God and the Utility Pole is about His presence. Read on and enjoy.
There are so many things that grab at my mind at any given time. Especially when I sit down to write. Things that try to take my focus off of the “MAIN DEAL”. Simple things,too. I hear that familiar voice that says, “This is another good topic to write about” and the next thing I know… I am reaching for my computer to type up some thoughts and “BAM”… I am off looking at the bank account online, or my phone vibrates and I have to pick it up to see what it was. Oh, it’s an email or another message from someone. Then I remember, oh yea, I gotta see this or that….STOP!!!! FOCUS LEAH!!! What was God wanting to tell you in HIS MESSAGE?
OK, let’s get started… do I need to eat breakfast first? My tummy is growling… so I must nourish my body and brain first, right. This goes on and on sometimes more than I really care to admit. Seems I have a mix of ADD and OCD and any other acronym you might want to attach to me. No matter… God loves me.
Really though, my attention gets pulled here and there at any given moment by the “world”. There are so many “things” that are simply hard to resist. I just have to… I MEAN HAVE TO… STOP and focus on God and His Goodness. His infinite love He has for me. When I do that… I can usually find my way back to where He was and listen and actually hear His voice. Not an audible voice, but in my heart or spirit. He is there, always. His presence is so real to me … and when I get pulled by the “things of the world”, His presence seems to be overshadowed… but how can God be overshadowed? Well, He really can’t except for in my heart. My heart replaces His rightful “center stage” place with “stuff”… Stuff that really doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things. Really, folks. How much more wonderful it is to sit at the feet of the Creator of everything than to check Facebook! The Creator that knows my name. He knows my struggles. He knew I was going to be sitting here this very moment long before I was born. He knew me then and knows me intimately now! That is the most wonderful thing I can ever imagine.
Yes, there are tasks that needs to be done, on time, and other things that need to be taken care of in a timely manner. However, I figure if I would manage my time in a better way, I would be able to do those things (for the most part) in the right time. In a good and complete way and then I will have time for my time with God, or better said, God’s time with me. I like to think that will work. Some days it does and other days … well, not so well. But I have a very loving and forgiving God and He doesn’t reprimand when I miss most – if not all – of my quiet time in the morning. He is always there so I can talk to Him and fellowship with Him all day long.
This past week has been a week from another world, it seemed. There was some BIG news from a test my mother had and then I was dealing with the most awful hives/rash situation and doctors that didn’t have a clue and very little sleep and on and on. The good thing from this past week was that mom’s test came back as a positive outcome. That is about the only great thing from this past week. I searched for God all week and would find bits and pieces of Him here and there, but I didn’t want bits and pieces. I wanted more! So much more!
I have a very favorite and comfortable chair in my bedroom. It is a great chair to just sit in and think. A very good place to listen for and to God. It’s the kind of chair I have always wanted and when I am in that chair, all seems well with the world… well, my world at that time, anyway. I sat there one morning this past week and gazed out my bedroom window at the Northwest sky. I can see a pretty good portion of it along with my thornless blackberry bush and the fence. However, there are some very pretty sunsets I can see remnants of through that window. This was a morning time though. What caught my attention was the Utility Pole… not the “telephone pole” that some folks call them, but the Utility Pole. That pole has about 3-4 different kinds of wires on it. It supports wires for the telephone company or the electric company or the cable company or any number of other service type companies. There are probably hundreds of conversations being carried over those wires… or maybe those conversation wires are underground. Humm…. Never thought about that before I began writing this post… you know though, that is just how it goes when I begin writing. My brain begins to look at things a little differently. I love that about writing. Anyway, let’s say there are telephone conversations going on along with the power that supplies our electricity to the homes in my neighborhood along with all of the television shows being watched or recorded and any number of other things. WOW… that’s a lot of stuff that the utility pole is supporting. There has to be several poles to support the heavy wires too. I don’t know how much the wires or bundle of wires weighs but I do know it is a lot.
The pole itself has quite a history (Wiki history info). I just looked up Utility Pole and came across the Wikipedia about them. Now you know Wiki is the ultimate source … other than Google … of information. Wiki has so much to say about Utility Poles. They have a myriad of criteria to be a Utility Pole. Most of which I never thought of. The first Utility Pole was used by Samuel Morse. Yes, of the “Morse Code”. This was in 1844 when he first used them to hang the first wires on them to carry those Oh-So-Wonderful dots and dashes conversations. Oh but I digress a bit here. I didn’t intend to write about Utility Poles, really.
The Message that I believe God has here is this. God is kind of like that utility pole. He is present. He has many things going on around Him. He supports things around Him. He has ways of getting messages to us (albeit not wires and cables, but people and situations) in our lives. We rely on those utility poles to send and receive messages, telephone calls, television programs, etc. every day and never think twice about them being there, really – unless you are me and gaze out your window and see one and hear God say… “This is one…” Honestly, though, how many of us ever really pay much attention to the utility poles in our neighborhood?
There are so many things about utility poles that the average person or even an expert might spend years learning about. Many laws that govern the placement, the size, type, etc. So, let’s compare again. God … there are so many things that the average person or even an expert (preacher, scholar, student, etc.) might spend years learning about. But with God, I believe we will never know all there is to know. He is God. If we knew then we could be God… right? God is God and I am not! Remember that! An expert may learn all the ins and outs of a utility pole but any expert or anyone else, for that matter, will never “know” all there is to know about God. Period!
Now I never truly mean any disrespect to God by comparing things like this with Him. He created me. He knows how my brain works. But think about it. God is present and sometimes we never even pay attention to Him being there. God is supporting many things that support our world but we still are not aware that He is there. Right there in the midst of us. He allows people and situations to cross our paths and we sometimes don’t realize where they ever come from. Not that God causes problems for us but I believe He allows things to happen.
What about that gorgeous sunrise or sunset that He blesses us with from time to time. Or the clouds in the sky? My dad loves that scripture in Nahum about the clouds.
3 The Lord is slow to anger and great in power,
and the Lord will by no means clear the guilty.
His way is in whirlwind and storm,
and the clouds are the dust of his feet.
Then last… I think… there are so many things about God that we will never know. He is an ever present help in time of need
God is our refuge and strength,
a very present[b] help in trouble.
Yes, if that utility pole was not there to carry that wire to carry that conversation then… well, you get the picture.
God loves me so much and tries to get my attention so many times of the day to tell me just how much. I have to stop and be quiet and “know that He is God”.
10 “Be still, and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!”
11 The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah
God loves you too! He loves you so much He calls you His beloved.
Song: Your Presence is Heaven – Darlene Zschech
I have never suffered from Writer’s Block! But I think I have had it lately… well, in the last 6 months or so. Writer’s Block. Who Me? Why am I having such a hard time with writing again? There has been so much happen in the past several months I just don’t know where to start. There have been many times when God has pointed something out to me that spoke to my heart. I was going to write about it that evening and it just never would feel right.
I am one that has to feel it before I write one word. I have to feel God speak to my heart to say “This is something…” and then when I sit down to write, I pray the entire time I am writing and searching for scripture. Why? So I can make sure it’s His message and not mine. Writer’s Block. Who Me?
By the time there is quiet time, it seems I am so tired and all I can think to do is to play a stupid game or read a few pages and close my eyes. I remember when I would stay up until midnight writing and researching scripture and commentaries to complete my post. It doesn’t seem that there is time for that any longer. Why? I want to know why!? Writer’s Block. Who Me?
When I was so prolific in my writing I was working in a call center. I had a mindless job and when I got home I didn’t really have a lot on my mind. There wasn’t really any stress in that job… well, there was some, but not like when I was a Trainer or Project Manager. Anyway, it seemed so easy to write at night then. I had an outlet for my energy that I had built up all day. Many times I would write during the day and then type it at night. There were times between calls that allowed the writing and then sometimes it was constant phone ringing. Nonetheless, I wrote almost every day. I got a lot of good stuff written too! I reread some of my posts and ask myself… did I really write this? Then I remember… ahhhh… well, God and I did.
I just looked back and saw that the last post was exactly one month ago, July 7th. That was about a friend’s new website that I helped him with. The post is here – Hello Baseball Fans. This was not my normal post. It was one to introduce you to his new website. I had fun helping with that and it did consume a lot of my time and energy. It was an experience for both him and me. I was so glad to have been able to help. Check it out… especially if you are a baseball fan! You will love it!
So, one month ago I was talking about baseball. This post will be about something much different. Something that most of you, if not all, can relate to and understand. Let me explain.
Tonight I was not feeling very well. I have begun to feel a little sick, like I felt in January and February when I had pneumonia. It is not something that ever want to relive or wish on my worst enemy. Anyway, my dad invited me to watch a church service with them. I used to watch it with them years ago and enjoyed it then. I wasn’t doing anything particularly so I sat down and watched. The music that this church sang was always good. Mostly old hymns. I really love the old foundational hymns. Some folks simply don’t like the old hymns and only go for the new Contemporary worship. I enjoy that too. I just like a mix.
Then the pastor began to give his sermon. It was quite interesting. It was on Jonah. If you don’t know anything about Jonah you can read it here. It is a rather short book. Only four chapters in all. The general gist of the story, as the pastor told it, is Jonah was called by God to go to a city to preach against their evil ways. Jonah didn’t want to go so he fled as far as he could go. The Bible states Jonah went to Joppa and boarded a ship there to go to Tarshish which would have been about 2,000 miles from where he was. But he didn’t quite make it to Tarshish.
1 Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, 2 “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and call out against it, for their evil[a] has come up before me.” 3 But Jonah rose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. He went down to Joppa and found a ship going to Tarshish. So he paid the fare and went down into it, to go with them to Tarshish, away from the presence of the Lord.
The preacher pointed out that Tarshish was about 2,000 miles from where Jonah was. He really wanted to get away from God. No telling how much it cost him to travel to Tarshish by ship. Well, it really did cost him a lot more than the money he had on his person. It cost him spiritually, too.
Jonah was trying to run from God, but I think we all know that is impossible. God is everywhere. I cannot imagine what Jonah was thinking. Jonah was a prophet of God in those days. He had seen what God could do! He knew God and walked with Him regularly… all the time. He was a prophet!
Well, one thing about it though… he was human. Ahhh yes, human! The human factor seems to always raise its not so pretty head in the thick of things. Well, Jonah didn’t want to go to Nineveh because Nineveh was not liked. Where Jonah lived was being controlled by the Assyrians. Nineveh was Assyrian territory.
Here is an excerpt from a document I found on the internet. The website is Entrusting the Word and the document is here. The document is actually a PowerPoint presentation. I will say I have not researched everything on this website and I may or may not believe what they believe. I just wanted to share the link so you could do a little checking for yourself – if you wish. I also liked the information presented about Jonah and the map.
“Israel in the Reign of Jeroboam II
Jeroboam II (c. 793-753 B.C.) was king of Israel. “He was, in fact, the greatest and longest-reigning of all the kings who reigned over the northern kingdom. In a moral and religious sense there was little to choose between him and his evil predecessors on the throne, but in military prowess, he remarkably excelled. His recaptured and newly annexed territories reached up as far as Hamath, over 200 miles north of Samaria, so that his domain became almost as extensive as David’s has been! – and all this is plainly said to have been the fulfillment of a prophecy by ‘Jonah, the son of Ammitai, the prophet which was of Gathhepher.’… Gathhepher is now identified with a village name El Meshed some miles north of Nazareth, in Zebulon, where, according to a firm tradition dating back to Jerome’s time, the tomb of Jonah is pointed out even to this day.
“Incidentally, the reference to 2 Kings fixes the time of Jonah’s ministry. It was during the later years of Joash, and (presumably) the earlier years of Jeroboam II. He would probably be one of the leaders among the ‘school of prophets’ when Elisha was nearing the end of his remarkable ministry” (Sidlow Baxter, Explore the Book, p. 148). Since the days of King Omri (c. 885-874 B.C.) the northern kingdom had been attacked by Syria and Assyria.
The Israelites particularly hated and feared Assyria because its growth as an empire threatened their national security. In the midst of that tension, God called Jonah to go to the capital of Assyria: “The word of the Lord came unto Jonah, the son of Amittai, saying, Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me” (Jonah 1:1-2). We know little about Jonah, but his name means “dove,” symbolic of a messenger of peace.”
Back to Jonah and his … “running” from God. I can say that I have done this. In my past for sure and in the not so distant past, also. I know logically that this is a silly thing to do. It simply makes no sense to do so. Because God is everywhere! He is with us when we sleep. He is with us when we are in the shower. He is with us when we are driving, eating, working, playing, etc. He is everywhere! He is Spirit! (John 4:24 – “God Is Spirit…”) So He can be everywhere all at the same time! I am so grateful for that too! We never have to wait for our turn in the Que or never have to take a number to get an audience with God. He loves to talk to us and loves to hear us call His name. He is waiting now to hear from you. Just call out to Him. He will answer.
One thing He does not like is for us to ignore Him or not be obedient to His call. I know I have heard God tell me to do something and I have not done it. For example, writing a blog post. I have heard so many times in the last six months… “Leah, this is a good thing to write about.” It seems that I have had writer’s block. I used to immediately make a note so I could write about it as soon as I got home or to a place to write. Now, the note is taken, but it gets put in a stack just like the rest of them. I can’t seem to actually sit down and write about any of the notes I have taken. I have NEVER had “writer’s block” to where I couldn’t find something to write about. I am very seldom without words. Writer’s Block. Who Me?
So… tonight when I heard that sermon on doing what God has called us to do, I felt very convicted. I know God has called me to write. I don’t write about the usual things that you would expect a devotional blog to be about. I write about every day things that coincide with my walk with God. I write just like I speak. I try to not be too “churchy” with my writing, either. I love to tell others about Jesus and what He has done for me with my writing. He has changed my life and I know when I hear that familiar, still, small voice, I am to respond with “Here I am, Lord” and follow through. Unlike Jonah that tried to run as far as he could. Writer’s Block. Who Me? Let me start tonight!
You know, Jonah never made it to Tarshish. I am sure you know the story of Johan and the whale. I loved what the preacher said tonight about the whale swallowing Jonah. Jonah was thrown overboard by the fellas on the ship (read the story – it’s quite interesting – Jonah 1). He said that the Lord provided a safe place for Jonah (albeit in the belly of that whale) until he came to his senses. So after Jonah prayed a prayer to God, the whale got rid of him out of his belly.
2 Then Jonah prayed to the Lord his God from the belly of the fish, 2 saying,
“I called out to the Lord, out of my distress,
and he answered me;
out of the belly of Sheol I cried,
and you heard my voice.
3 For you cast me into the deep,
into the heart of the seas,
and the flood surrounded me;
all your waves and your billows
passed over me.
4 Then I said, ‘I am driven away
from your sight;
yet I shall again look
upon your holy temple.’
5 The waters closed in over me to take my life;
the deep surrounded me;
weeds were wrapped about my head
6 at the roots of the mountains.
I went down to the land
whose bars closed upon me forever;
yet you brought up my life from the pit,
O Lord my God.
7 When my life was fainting away,
I remembered the Lord,
and my prayer came to you,
into your holy temple.
8 Those who pay regard to vain idols
forsake their hope of steadfast love.
9 But I with the voice of thanksgiving
will sacrifice to you;
what I have vowed I will pay.
Salvation belongs to the Lord!”
10 And the Lord spoke to the fish, and it vomited Jonah out upon the dry land.
So, yes, Jonah got swallowed by a whale, but God provided that whale to protect him from drowning. Isn’t that just like God! He provides a safe place (it may not be the most comfortable but safe) for us until we come to our senses and say… “OK, OK, Lord. You win!” Maybe not in those words, but you get the picture.
So the question is this. Have you heard from God and are you trying to either pretend that you really didn’t hear that still, small voice in your heart or are you running as far away as you can from God? Are you avoiding doing what God has called you to do? If He has called you to it, He has equipped you for it.
I can tell you that if you step in that direction, He will guide you the whole way. He will provide you with whatever it is you need to do the job He has asked you to do. Mine is writing and telling others about my walk with my Savior Jesus and how God in His infinite wisdom and grace, provided His one and only Son to save me from myself and my sins.
Jesus can save you also. He wants to walk with you daily and help you through any problems and doubts you may have. If you click this website name here – Bible.org you can read about what it means to be a Christ follower. If you have any questions, feel free to send me a message. If I don’t know the answer, I will be happy to find out and get the answer for you.
God loves you so much! After all, He calls you His beloved!
Listen to Charles Billingsley sing “For God So Loved the World”. It’s a wonderful song!
Video – God So Loved the World