God’s intimate care

God’s intimate care

We walk through this life perhaps unaware,
Of what God has done in HIS intimate care.

So much we don’t know or understand,
But somehow our lives were guided by HIS hand.

We didn’t hear HIS voice as HE whispered in the dark,
“Let there be light” and light began to spark.

We didn’t watch HIM mold a man out of clay
Nor hear him breathe life into his lungs on that day.

We don’t know if HIS heart was stricken in grief
When those HE had made turned away in unbelief.

Sin is so retched and tarnished and black
It separates hearts and God wants ours back!

Since justice demands a penalty to pay
HE knew that HE’d have to establish a way.

We don’t understand HIS patience while waiting
Before sending HIS son into a world filled with hating.

We don’t know if HIS heart felt it could break
When his son spilled his blood to make a way for our sake.

But I DO know this: HIS Spirit won’t relent
Until each person has a chance to turn and repent.

So answer HIS voice if you hear HIS call
Salvation is for you, for me, for us all.

I thank you Lord, for your intimate care!
For making a way and for hearing my prayer.

“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no will snatch them out of my Father’s hand.”

John 10 :27-28 (NIV)

 

Following his path

Following his path

The ferocious wind is howling like a hungry wolf. It picks up what it wants as it races through my life. All that I thought was valuable is being lifted into its merciless vortex and speeding violently in circles around me. I grasp at items in frantic despair.

Then, suddenly all is quiet again. Nothing fills the void of quietness. Nothing fills the void of emptiness. All I see is utter darkness. The things that swirled around me have disappeared. Loneliness takes their place.

I hear a voice say, “Come this way.”  I turn towards the voice and squint, hoping my eyes can focus in the darkness so I can get a glimpse of who might be calling out to me. From another direction a new voice is heard from the depth. Its loud demanding voice pleads for my attention. “No, this way is the best. Follow this path.”

I struggle to know what I should do. Several voices join the plea. Though they seem to be growing louder, the voice I hear clearly is not heard with my ears. It is heard with my heart. I know the voice. I have heard it before many times. This voice is soft, yet vibrates throughout my entire being. This voice speaks with authority but is consumed with peace. I choose to follow the voice inside of me that I have grown to know and love.

It is the voice of my Lord.

“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” John 10:27

As soon as I take a step in the direction he is guiding me, a light shines on my feet. I slowly see where I am going, one step at a time. I notice that I am on a path that has not been well-traveled. There are dips and bumps but the light shines bright enough so that I can get a good footing. A peaceful sound, almost like the heartbeat of music vibrates from the light, as if it is alive. Though the other voices are relentless they soon begin to fade into the darkness behind me, as do my cares and anxieties. I know in my heart that if I continue on this path, things will work out for my good.

A thought flickers in my mind then travels to my heart.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart And lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6″ (NKJV)

I trust you Lord, ” I think to myself. And then I say it out loud with bold confidence, “I TRUST YOU LORD!”

And hence I keep following Him though I don’t always see the rainbows nor smell the roses. I walk in His peace, regardless of distractions that try to encourage me otherwise. I walk by faith.

This is a synopsis of my walk with my Lord. It is definately an adventure, as is your journey with Him, I am sure.

treasure map

Trust is like a treasure map. As you follow it, you will eventually find God’s purpose for your life.  I trust that the Lord has called me onto this path I am currently traveling . He is the one that has opened doors that no one could open. He has also shut the doors that were wide with wonder, but not filled with wisdom.

Why? Because he loves me.

It is amazing what he is doing in my life! I don’t always see his hand at work directly in front of me. But I always see it when I look behind me. I see the miracles from my past which confirms to me that he is working in my future.

“For I know the plans I have for you” declares he Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

There are many voices in each of our lives that call out to us with soothing tones. They are not always bad, though they can become distractions, and not always the best choice for our lives.” Come this way and follow me,” they taunt.  The distractions simply keep our eyes off of the Lord of our salvation and can fill our minds with clutter that carry confusion.

That is when we have to close our eyes and focus on the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End. Everything else…and I mean EVERYTHING else, even the blessings and good things we do, such as helping the poor, must NOT be our MAIN purpose and goal. Being good alone, though it is a good thing, CANNOT save anyone. Even that can distract us from God’s purpose. He desires a relationship with each of us.

That is why the greatest commandment is to “Love the Lord your God with all our heart, with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” Mark 12:30 (NIV)

Jesus explains:

“Many will say to me on that day, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name, drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles? Then I will tell them plainly, “I never KNEW you. Away from me, you evildoers!” Matthew 7:22-23 (NIV)

Not all endings are going to be happy, especially if we are determined to follow our own path. But even when we follow the Lord’s leading we will still need to utilize trust. One of my grandsons experienced that this summer.

I had the opportunity to take a couple of my grandkids to a theme park. One of my grandsons suddenly got filled with fear as we got closer to the front of the line of a rollercoaster. He wanted to back out. But I kept reassuring him that he would have fun.

So the brave (well not so brave) child got in the seat next to me. The person controlling the ride overheard us talking. She asked him if he was sure he wanted to go. I gave her the thumbs up.  I had never been on this particular ride but it definitely didn’t look as frightening as the one we had just ridden. I told him that there was only one big drop, the rest were little dips, at least that is how it appeared in the description.20180731_141155.jpg

Well, to my amazement those “little dips” were not as little as I thought. My poor grandson looked straight ahead and without any other visible emotions squeezed tightly onto the bar that held us in the seat.  With each drop he said in a monotone voice, “Nana, I thought there was only one drop.” He continued saying this statement several more times as we went down one “dip” after another.  A couple minutes later as the coaster cars pulled up at the end of the ride the girl who spoke with us earlier asked if he liked the ride. He said, with a straight face and a lot of pride, “I didn’t scream one time.”

He was so proud of himself, as was I.

Sometimes trust may mean that all you can do is hold on. But you don’t have to scream. You can hold on to the words of the Lord. You can hold to his promises and trust him. You can sit with someone who will endure the trials along side of you and encourage you all the way. And when that adventurous chapter comes to a close you can look at the operator and say. “I didn’t scream one time.”

The winds may blow, things may be stripped from your hands, voices may try to distract you, darkness and loneliness may encompass you, and your ride might be pretty wild. But remember what Paul said to the Philippians.

“Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you WILL complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:6 (NKJV)

Be at rest. He is holding you. Trust his voice.

TRUST HIM.

 

Which path should I take?

Which path should I take?

My husband and I traveled many times in the 80s. One of those times we were in two different vehicles. I was traveling in the first vehicle and he was following as close as he could on the crowded highway. For some reason he thought it would be funny to get off of the highway and surprise me by getting in front of me at the next entrance.

Those were the “good ole’ days” when we had no GPS, no cell phones and no family locator apps. In those days it was just a map and perhaps some good music on a radio. So when I noticed that he wasn’t anywhere to be seen I hightailed it, thinking that somehow I missed him passing me and I was falling far behind him. Unfortunately for him, there wasn’t a simple entrance back onto the highway. It took him quite awhile to find one and once he did he drove like he was in the Indy 500 trying to catch up with me. It is funny now, not so funny then. Eventually we did reconnect as we were headed in the same direction. All was well in the end.

Today we are fortunate to have a GPS in our possession at all times. If during our trip we go slightly off course we will hear our GPS state: make a U-turn. If we don’t follow the U-turn advice our GPS will inform us that we are being rerouted. We may end up taking another route all together. Whichever way we choose to travel, we will eventually get to our planned destination.

Just think: if Moses had a GPS he would not have gone in circles for 40 years in the desert. Or if Jacob had a family locater app on his phone, he could have located Joseph who was thrown into a well and then sold as a slave. The people in Noah’s time could have known using the weather app that an unimaginable storm was approaching and perhaps hitched a ride on the ark.

Of course that is all in jest as the Lord is greater than our current technology of phones or apps.  It is the Lord who leads. It was the Lord that led the children of Israel with a pillar of a cloud by a day and fire by night.  It was the Lord who put Joseph in charge of all of Egypt (in spite of being sold as a slave) to save his people from starvation during a famine. And the people in Noah’s day had already hardened their hearts towards God’s redemption and would not have gone into the ark, even IF given a weather app warning. They were given a higher warning from a man of God and ignored all that he had to say.

The GPS is like the Holy Spirit. He always whispers the way to walk when we have fallen off the path the Lord had intended us to follow. We can make all the plans we want but it is God who will ultimately direct our steps. (Proverbs 16:9) Sometimes the plans that we make seem to fall apart. How many plans have you made that have not turned out the way you first pictured it? Often times that can cause frustration, or discouragement.

Wait,” you might think, “what happened to MY plans?”  God then intervenes, reminding us that he is directing each of our steps.

I thought that life would include a white-picket fence. I thought that the hills would be gentle and the roads would be paved. I didn’t count on winter white-outs or storms to confuse my focus. Think about the pilots who fly through storms and trust in their instruments.

On our last flight our plane was delayed because of mechanical purposes. The pilot reassured us that he would not take flight if for any reason he wasn’t completely sure that the plane was safe. This was his livelihood and he was confident that when we lifted off the ground we would get to our destination safely. And of course we did. In the meantime my daughter was allowed to go to the cockpit and see all the instruments that were used. She was amazed and wondered how the pilots could figure it all out. When they were in bad weather it was these instruments that would lead them home safely.

 

The Holy Spirit is like that, as well. Though I cannot trust the things that I see at times, I focus on his voice. I ask which way I should turn or which path I should follow. At times I make a wrong turn or make a wrong choice. Sometimes I hear him clearly — he says in his own gentle way–“make a U-turn or rerouting”.

Other times there are storms that I cannot see through. Like the pilots, I focus on the instruments that the Lord has put in front of me. It is His Word that guides me when I cannot see the right way with my own eyes. It is His Word that I lean on and trust. It is His Word that gives me strength. Some days that is all I have.

Trust the GPS that is placed inside of you. Trust the voice of the Holy Spirit when he says to jump and you do not see the ground beneath your feet. He will be sure to catch you. He will be sure to guide you in the right direction just as the pilots were able to trust their instruments. You may have gotten off the path for a moment, but be sure that the Holy Spirit will lead you back onto the right path once again.

Each of us will take a different course for our lives. Though we are all part of one body ultimately we each need to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling. (Philippians 2:12) Some of the avenues will be rocky and others will accompany streams of water with green grass by the path we walk. Jesus reminds us that he is the only way, truth and life and that no one can get to the Father, except through HIM. (John 14:6). Whichever road you must travel, it is through Jesus that we will reach our heavenly Father.

At the end of our travels we will meet up at the same place. When we eventually make it to our final destination I hope we each can say with Paul,

” I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race. I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me- and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.”
(2 Timothy 4:7-8 NIV

God bless.

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Shhhh, be quiet!

Shhhh, be quiet!

Do you think the world around us is getting smaller? We know in an instant more than we used to in a week, a year or a lifetime. And often the things that we listen to or learn in an instant may not even be true or the best for our lives. Technology speaks volumes into our lives and constantly mandates what we think, buy, wear or say.

Influences will influence you no matter if you want it to or not.

Sometimes I think I know the fate of people around the world before they do because of internet technology. You and I hear about the hopelessness that has effected other lives within minutes, if not before. It was only in an instant that the massacre in Las Vegas hit the internet, or the earthquakes in Mexico, or the hurricanes that flooded the southern states and islands, or the fires that have wreaked havoc; not to mention other catastrophes around the world.

We immediately hear about the birth of royalty or can watch via live cam the birth of a giraffe in a zoo in another state or country. We know or at least think we know the decisions that leaders make regarding power and war and nuclear warheads. We know right away when famous people are getting married or divorced or even about NFL players who are not standing for the flag. And via social media we quickly know what our friends are doing as soon as it gets posted.

We, as a society, have become so information crazed that we can’t even fill our gas tanks without a video popping up on the gas pumps informing us about something, whether it is news worthy or not. I don’t even want discuss how the movie or TV or gaming industry has influenced people’s lives. We question why there is violence amongst us yet welcome it splattered before our eyes in the name of entertainment. Finally we are programmed to believe what the media chooses us to believe and then we walk away proud that we have such wisdom and understanding.

With all this techy knowledge it is a wonder that we have time to think our own thoughts or maybe we don’t. Maybe what you and I are thinking is simply something that has been placed in our minds by a society that speaks for us. Maybe the individuals that show anger in our streets are only expressing an emotion that they have been taught and encouraged through influential osmosis.

If it is true that we are what we eat and what we think and what we read and what we watch maybe, just maybe, we should consider listening to God’s word. Just think of the possibilities! Perhaps we should quiet our thoughts before the creator of the universe whether through communion with him in prayer or reading his word.

The word that he may speak can be like the voice that spoke to Elijah. He expected God to speak in the powerful wind, or in the mighty earthquake or through the roaring fire. Instead he gently spoke in a whisper. (1 Kings 19)

Is there a possibility that he would like to speak into our lives if we quieted ourselves and listened; whether it is a declaration for an entire country or something personal for us as individuals? Maybe we would be wise to consider that he might know us more than we know ourselves and want more for us than we want for ourselves. Why not try to be silent for a moment. The Lord just might surprise you and speak to your heart in a whisper.

Shhh, take time to be still and listen.

BE STILL and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10a

 

Psalm 46 (NLT)

God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble.

So we will not fear when earthquakes come
And the mountains crumble into the sea.

Let the oceans roar and foam.
Let the mountains tremble as the waters surge!

A river brings joy to the city of our God, the sacred home of the Most High.
God dwells in that city; it cannot be destroyed
From the very break of day
God will protect it.

The nations are in chaos and their kingdoms crumble!
God’s voice thunders and the earth melts!
The Lord of Heaven’s Armies is here among us;
The God of Israel is our fortress.

Come, see the glorious works of the Lord;
Come see how he brings destruction upon the world.
He causes war to end through the earth
He breaks the bows and snaps the spear,
He burnt the shields with fire.

Be STILL and know that I am God
I Will be honored by every nation.
I will be honored throughout the word.

The Lord of Heaven’s Armies is
here among us
the God of Israel is our fortress.