Archives for May 2016

And It Was So.

Those four words struck me as I read the familiar passage in Genesis 1 and 2 of the Creation. In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Six times during the six days God created everything, He said it, “And it was so.”

“And God said, ‘Let there be an expanse between the waters to separate water from water….’ And it was so.” –Genesis 1:6,7b

From the heavens and earth, to creating land and seas, seed-producing plants and trees, sun, moon, and stars, the animals, and man and woman, God said it into being, “And it was so.”

The same God who spoke the whole world into existence is the same God for you and me today. Isn’t that so refreshing?

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Several times I admit that I doubt God will answer my prayer. I am so wrong to ever have that stinking thinking. He is the same prayer-hearing, miracle-working, life-giving God then as now.

What are you praying for God to breathe life into? Is it your marriage? Is it a new home? Is it a difficult relationship? Is it an unborn child you’ve prayed about for years? Is it to know your life purpose? Is it for a loved one to accept Jesus as Lord and Savior? Whatever it is, friend, may we trust God with it.

And. It. Was. So.

Reflect:

How do those four words change your perspective on your current situation?

Renew:

“‘And all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the ground–everything that has the breath of life in it–I give every green plant for food.’ And it was so. God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.” –Genesis 1:30-31a

“Then the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah: ‘I am the Lord, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?'” –Jeremiah 32:26-27

“This is what the Lord says, he who made the earth, the Lord who form it and established it–the Lord is his name; ‘Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.'” –Jeremiah 33:2-3

“There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light…The angel said to me, ‘These words are trustworthy and true. The Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, sent his angel to show his servants the things that must soon take place.'” –Revelation 21:5-6

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Taking Care of the Rest

Sometimes it seems difficult for me to slow down, to rest. But when I do, what a gift rest is.  My body, mind, spirit all know how much I need it.

This past weekend I had the blessing of enjoying sweet quality time with 11 of my Proverbs 31 Ministries’ coworkers at a dear friend’s beautiful Kiawah Island home. Not only do I have the joy of working with these talented teammates each day, it was a joy to get to know each one even better.

We ate delicious home-cooked meals, laughed until our sides ached, rode bicycles on the island, played the piano, walked on the beach,  cannonball jumped into the pool (hilarious!). We also talked about our blessings and our struggles. We encouraged each other in our faith journeys.

This past weekend showed me even more how healthy and necessary it is to get away and rest, relax.

Brilliant Renaissance man Leonardo Da Vinci said, “Every now and then go away, have a little relaxation. For when you come back to your work, your judgment will be surer…Go some distance away because then the work appears smaller, and more of it can be taken in at a glance, and a lack of harmony or proportion is more readily seen.”

In fact, it’s one of the Ten Commandments, not a suggestion, to rest, to honor the Sabbath.

“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God…For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.” –Exodus 20:8-10a, 11.

I am thankful to my parents for encouraging our family to honor the Sabbath and rest. It helps  fuel back up for the week. If the Lord can do it all in six days, what makes me think I can’t?

Give yourself permission to rest and relax.  Let’s make more of an effort to unwind.

As Roman poet Ovid said, “Take rest; a field that has rested gives a bountiful crop.”

Reflect:

–When is the last time you truly relaxed, truly rested with friends, your spouse or by yourself? Please comment.

–How do you observe the Sabbath? Please let us know.

–Are you over-programmed?

Renew:

-“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” –Matthew 11:28-30 NIV

–“There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his.” –-Hebrews 4:9-10 NIV.

Recharge:

–What plans will you make to intentionally set aside time for vacation, rest, relaxation? Please comment.

–How will you plan to be still, be quiet for a time?

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Planting Seeds or Pulling Weeds

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I reflected  as I drove on South Carolina’s back roads, heading home from my beautiful 86-year-old aunt’s funeral. My classy, elegant aunt had lived a life filled with serving the Lord and telling everyone she could about Jesus. It was such an uplifting service.

Only a few miles into my journey back to Charlotte from Georgetown, SC, I passed this profound message on the side of the dilapidated barn. Although in a hurry to get home, the Holy Spirit nudged me to turn around and take photos of the barn.

The urgent and it’s weedy, rusty surroundings seared in my memory. The sign says it all, even amidst the unkempt bushes and vines, and rusty tin roof.

Oh, how easily life and spheres of influence  can become “unkempt” if intentionality and care are not shown. How about our marriages, our family, our friendships, our coworkers? All those relationships can have weeds of problems grow up in the middle. It takes work to keep the weeds out, to water and fertilize the relationships.  Weeds can be dangerous, stunt growth, and even choke your yard and your relationships.

Telling people about Jesus is different, though. We are to plant seeds about Jesus and His love and salvation.  Pulling those “weeds” of non-believers is God’s job.  We are not to judge.

“Jesus told them another parable: ‘The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared…’The servants asked him, “Do you want us to go and pull them up?”

‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may root up the wheat with them. Let both grown together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters; First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.'” –Matthew 13:24-26, 28-30.

As we go about our days, may we tend to the gardens of our hearts with love and tender care, planting, fertilizing, watering, and even pulling weeds of  obstacles out of our relationships.  Keep planting seeds for Jesus, friend. He will harvest them in His time. May we all sense the urgency to tell others about Jesus before it’s too late.

Reflect:

To whom have you planted seeds about Jesus and His love recently?

How are you tending the gardens of your relationships and your heart?

Renew: 

“I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labor. For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building.” 1 Corinthians 3:6-9

Respond:

What seeds will you plan to plant for Jesus this week?

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