Archives for October 2015

The Journey

As you read this, I will be taking a pilgrimage. A pilgrimage to the Holy Land. To walk and breathe where Jesus walked and breathed is a humbling, lifelong dream. The dust and sand of Jerusalem, Sea of Galilee, Dead Sea, Garden of Gethsamene, Mt. Arbel, Pool of Bethesda, and many other sites will be on my shoes.

Lysa TerKeurst and 126 of us from 34 states, Taiwan and Canada, are taking this transformational leap of faith. We will falling more in love with Jesus, His Word, and His people. I can’t wait to relay to you what the Lord reveals and share some of this experience.  Thank you for your prayers, love, and encouragement.

“Sing to the Lord a new song, for He has done marvelous things..He has remembered His love and His faithfulness to the house of Israel; all the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God. Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth, burst into jubilant song with music…”–Psalm 98:1,3-4.

 

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The Cost of Paying Attention

Fall yard raking brought on a much-needed life lesson for me.

My family’s huge oak tree sheds practically every leaf each fall and winter. At the base of this tall oak tree is a small dogwood tree. As long as I can remember, both the oak and dogwood have been there, coexisting sweetly in the front yard. I appreciate the oak’s shade and its majesty. I appreciate the dogwood’s beautiful white and bloodstain-tipped blossoms in the spring, right around Easter, reminding me of the blood sacrifice Jesus made for all of us.

Back to my story. So I was raking, just as I have raked much of my adult life. Soaking up the beautiful autumn blue sky, gentle breeze, crisp air, I looked down and noticed a bright red berry in the grass. Where could a berry have come from in my front yard? I looked up and saw the dogwood. Squinting, I noticed something different. Clusters of deep, red berries amidst the changing leaves of the dogwood!  Beautiful. The sight was beautiful!  Blood red berries, as deep as the red on the bloodstain-tipped blossoms in the spring. I was awestruck.

All these years, all these autumns. I missed it…until now. I paid attention.  Grabbing my phone, I captured this photo.

How have I never noticed the autumn berries on my dogwoods before now?

Why have I never noticed?  Why have I not paid more attention?

“Pay” attention. The verb we use before the word “attention” causes me to ponder. Pay. Like paying for an item in a store. There is a cost. There is value. There is sacrifice. Yes, I desire to pay more attention.

The Bible is full of passages about “paying” attention.

Pay attention and listen to the sayings of the wise; apply your heart to what I teach.” –Proverbs 22:17 NIV

Forgive me, Lord. Forgive the blinders of my eyes and heart. Forgive my hurried pace. Please help me pay more attention.  Help me notice You, Lord. Help me pay attention to Your majesty, from the gorgeous full moon last week to the fresh morning dew in my front lawn to the bright red berries on my autumn dogwood leaves and branches. Beauty surrounds us if we look.  Paying attention is worth the cost, Lord. I pray to experience life through Your lens and Your timing. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 Reflect:

–How would you rank your life’s pace? Please comment.

–What intentional act will you do to unrush yourself? How?  Please comment.

Renew: 

–“The Lord will make you the head, not the tail. If you pay attention to the commands of the Lord your GOD that I give you this day and carefully follow them, you will always be at the top, never at the bottom.” –Deuteronomy 28:13 NIV

–“My son, pay attention to my wisdom, listen well to my words of insight.” –Proverbs 5:1 NIV

–“You have seen many things, but have paid no attention; your ears are open, but you hear nothing.” –Isaiah 42:20 NIV

–“We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away. –Hebrews 2:1 NIV

–“And we have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.” –2 Peter 1:19 NIV

Recharge:

–Please enjoy at least one unrushed moment with your spouse, child, loved one today.

–Savoring a few minutes of prayer and quiet devotional time in the Bible sets a more unrushed pace and peace for the day.

Resource:

–www.thebestyes.com

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It’s Electric–A Lesson Learned on Light and Darkness

Understanding electricity is not a top priority for me. Please don’t get me wrong–I love light. I like to see the results of inserting a light bulb… and voila, let there be light. I learned a humbling lesson this past weekend about photocells, yes, photocells, and how they relate to our faith.

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In my front yard is a cool “dusk-til-dawn” lantern. It’s peaceful to drive up to my home at night and see it shining brightly.

Recently it burned out. Bummer. Taking the step ladder, I gingerly removed the globe and old light bulb, replacing it with a new. Waiting for the light to radiate immediately, I waited and waited. Still darkness.

Remembering the GFI circuit thingy inside, I went inside the house and reset that little button. Craning my neck to look out in the yard, the lamppost was still dark. I even flipped the breaker switch doo-dad, still nothing. Obviously I had maxxed out any slight inkling electrical knowledge I had, which wasn’t much.

The next day when telling my dear friend about my yard light situation, her husband remarked matter-of-factly. “Some debris may be blocking your light’s photocell, keeping it from shining.” Do what? What in the world is a photocell?

He explained that a photocell is a sensor that detects light. The photocell is what makes my lamp know to shine in the darkness. Ahhh. Once the debris was cleaned from the photocell, my lamp miraculously began shining again.

So what does all this mean? How is our faith’s “photocell?” What “debris” in our lives may be keeping us from shining our Light of Jesus? Could our debris be busyness, unforgiveness, unconfessed sin, jealousy, envy, a critical spirit? Ouch. Any of one these and so many others could be the debris blocking the Holy Spirit’s “photocell” connection in our hearts. God desires a total heart connection with us.

“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good words and glorify your Father in heaven.” –Matthew 5:16 NKJV

Anne Graham Lotz, in her book Just Give Me Jesus, tells this story I’ll soon not forget.

“One night when author Robert Louis Stevenson was a small boy, his nanny called him to come to bed. Oblivious to her summons, he was staring at something outside his nursery window. The nanny walked over, stood at his shoulder, and inquired patiently, ‘Robert, what are you looking at?’

The little boy, without taking his eyes away from the window, exclaimed in wonder as he pointed to the lamplighter who was lighting the streetlamps. ‘Look, Nanny! That man is putting holes in the darkness!’

With the Holy Spirit as our faith’s “photocell,”and with Jesus as the Light of the world, may we each be totally empowered to go “put holes in the darkness!” You shine!

Reflect:

–How is your light of faith shining right now?

Renew:

–“When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, ‘I am the the Light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” –John 8:12 NIV.

–“For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ made His light shine in our hearts to give us the light of knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.” –2 Corinthians 4:6 NIV

Recharge:

–What is one action item you will accomplish this week to get rid of any “faith photocell debris” you may have?

Resource:

What is a photocell?

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