Tuesday, February 27, 2018

God's Beloved


Matthew 6:28-30
And why to you worry about clothes?  See how the flowers of the field grow.  They do not labor or spin.  Yet I tell you that not even Solomon, in all his splendor, was dressed like one of these.  If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you - you of little faith?

Beginning in December of last year, two weeks before winter officially arrives, we here in northern Georgia experience below-freezing temperatures, and more than our fair share of snow fall.




It stays cold, bitterly cold for this region, right up through the middle of February.

Then it happens.  Spring decides, just as winter does, to make an early entrance.  As I pen this, our high today is 79 degrees!!!  Our air conditioner is in full swing.  Mr. Engineer, aka Danny, who has geekily kept energy records for decades, has never, and I mean NEVER, had to switch from heat to air in the month of February.  This is an anomaly to be sure!

But with the early spring arrive early delights, not the least of which is the daffodils, blooming profusely in our yard.  I plant these in the fall of 2005, the year Danny and I are married.  Yes, they have sprouted and produced flowers every spring, but nothing compared to the mass of blossoms that have chosen to display their resplendent, celebratory selves all at the same time.  I am overwhelmed by their delicate, pristine beauty.







And Jesus tells us that Solomon, in his extravagant and ostentatious splendor, could never match the glory of the least of these.

How humbling . . .

On top of that, they are here today and gone tomorrow.  And thrown into the fire?  Yikes!

I don't know about you, but this sure makes my day to day worries take a back seat.  And I'm compelled to recall that God has everything in His hands and in His plans.

Let us rest, contented and assured, in His immeasurable love poured out for us.

And know, just as the blooming flowers in their time, that we are clothed in His splendor.

Covered by His unfailing grace and forgiveness.

Comforted by the warmth of His presence.

Convinced that we are beautiful and precious in His sight.

I am, you are, God's beloved.

Forever and ever,

Amen!

Friday, February 23, 2018

Taste and See


Psalm 34:8
Taste and see that the Lord is good!

Many moons ago, my husband, Danny, plants a sugar maple fairly close to the house.  It has grown like the proverbial weed over the years, and with the shade it provides over our deck in the summer, this tree is my favorite one in our entire forest, hands down!

And it seems like it's a favorite of the wildlife, too, particularly when its sugary sap begins to rise and run.  All these scars attest to the myriad visits by woodpeckers, nuthatches and chickadees, eager to savor the sweetness this tree has to offer.




But as it turns out, the birds aren't the only creatures with a sweet tooth.  Imagine my surprise when I discover this little fellow, sent by Racer, no doubt, nibbling on the bark.


He is so enamored and enthralled by the tasty goodness, he takes no notice of the crazy lady with the camera snapping away at him.




In fact, the squirrel stays on the tree for an hour and a half, alternately indulging in the divine delicacy and resting as if he's recovering from a self-inflicted sugar high.

The squirrel has tasted and seen the goodness the maple tree has to offer.

And while the tree's goodness is fleeting, the Lord's goodness is forever.  We can savor His sweetness when we go to Him in prayer, read and study His Word, reflect upon Scripture in our journals, or sit quietly, inviting Him to be present with us in the moment.  Sweetness, pure and simple, with only positive, nourishing side effects.

Will you join me today at the Lord's Table, where He offers all we need to grow strong in Him?  Come!  Taste and see that the Lord is good!

Amen!

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Will You Trust?


1 Peter 5:6-7
Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.  Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

You can have what you want, but not right now. ~Ruth M.

Do you ever catch yourself wishing and praying for a desire you have in your heart?  Enduring endless entreaties to God that seem to fall on deaf ears?  Does the disappointment suddenly become a point of discouragement and hopelessness?  

Or are you willing to trust in God's timing for an answer?

THE answer.

I love the story a dear friend, Ruth, shares with me, when years ago, she addresses the wants and longings of a much younger woman, Carol, who is feeling frustrated that all her hopes seems thwarted and denied.  Wisely, Ruth speaks the words quoted above.  For Carol, this becomes the turning point in how she views her situation.

In short, it changes her life.

Carol no longer lingers on the false premise of immediate gratification.  Instead, she sets her sights on the future, trusting and working in faith to realize her dreams.

Happy and expectant. 

Holding the Lord close to her heart.

Knowing He cares for her and about her.

Isn't that all that matters?

Keeping ourselves humble, the Lord will lift us up in due time.

His time.

Maybe, not right now.

But He will.

And He does.

Will you trust?

Amen!

Friday, February 16, 2018

Moments and Musings


Galatians 5:4
You who are trying to be justified by the law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace.

I'm uncertain as to whether or not my regular readers here at Meditations of My heart are aware that I have a second blog, Moments and Musings.  I begin this space years ago as a way to feature Danny's photos and share random ruminations that didn't quite fit the format of Meditations.  But more recently, Moments and Musings has been a venue for poetry.

Now I'll be the first to tell you, poetry does not come easily for me, and I have no illusions that I'm in any way good at it.  But there are times when the words well up, and I know I have to answer the call.

So what I offer here today is something much more conducive to Moments and Musings, but in light of all the challenges my husband, Danny, and I are facing on the home front, this is the blog I was able to pull together.
~

Our world is hurting.  The Bible has so much to say about our sinfulness.  We have been given the greatest gift possible in Christ Jesus, yet so many choose to alienate themselves from the way, the truth and the life promised us in the Savior.  If you are like me, there are times I think the world at large has lost its collective mind.  This poem attempts to capture the lessons and the loss, when every opportunity is given, yet people remain fixated upon their own vision of right and wrong.


A Bitten Apple

A bitten apple
A snake bite
Strike discord
Separation
From the One
whose heart loves
A parted sea
A people saved
Grumbling chorus
Inept idols
Still He loves
Wilderness voices
Calling, coaxing
Cautioning, cajoling
Criticizing cries
Yet He loves
Gentle teaching
Healing words
Miracles witnessed
Then the cross
Because He loves
Rotten apples
Viper's venom
Infiltrating
Inundating
People lost
And still, He loves
And still, He loves

Amen

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

A Blessed Lent


Matthew 6:16-17
When you fast, don't make yourselves look sad like the hypocrites.  They put a look of suffering on their faces so that people will see they are fasting.  The truth is, that's all the reward they will get.  So when you fast, wash your face and make yourself look nice.

The Lenten season is upon us!  Tomorrow, Ash Wednesday, heralds the inception of forty days during which many Christians choose to fast from some habit or activity that they feel interferes with developing a closer connection to God.  Their goal is to create a deeper relationship with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, as hearts and minds prepare for the glorious arrival of Easter.

For me, however, Lent is not just about giving up something, but taking on a new discipline or practice which will align me more intimately with God.  In light of this, I will once again be reading 40 Voices by my author friend, Jean Wise, who blogs at Healthy Spirituality.  I find Jean's thoughtful reflections so uplifting and inspiring, I highly recommend this book to add to your Lenten regimen.

Another practice upon which I will embark is to seek intentional times of solitude and silence with the Lord each day.  To aid me in doing this, I will be reading Whispers of Rest - 40 Days of God's Love to Revitalize Your Soul by Bonnie Gray.  Ironically, I order this book months ago, but never take the time to delve into it.  Lent, the 40 day season, is the perfect time to start on this new adventure of learning to, as Bonnie states, "Refresh an intimacy with God in your (my) prayer life," and "Revitalize your (my) soul with His words of love and peace for you (me) each day.

Oh, might both these endeavors produce much fruit!

Okay, so that's the taking on part of my Lenten journey.  So what, you may be wondering, am I giving up?  If you were following me last year, you know I take a plunge, a deep one, and give up Facebook.  Gulp and gulp again!  Fasting from social media, as much trepidation as I have at the time, turns out to be a good and healing thing for me to do.  To this day, I've maintained a healthy limit on how much time I allow myself to engage in that realm of distraction.

But sometimes, when one bad habit falls by the wayside, another rises up to take its place.  Such is the mission of the Deceiver.  For me, that's listening to talk radio, a certain program in particular.  While this is fun, challenging and informative, it swallows up valuable time that I could be spending with God through prayer, study, reflection, and writing.  So starting tomorrow, let the fast begin!  (Please, Lord, let me be cheerful about it!  Is my face clean?)

And as you enter into this Lenten season, my friends, do remember that each Sunday during this time is a "mini-Easter," a day you have permission to indulge in whatever you have denied yourself in the preceding week.  After all, if God rested on the seventh day after all His work, shouldn't we?

As Lent progresses, I will keep you apprised of the things I'm discovering and learning, and how I sense God's presence in this time of spiritual growth.  I'd love to know, too, what disciplines you have decided to take on, and what you've deemed necessary to give up as you journey toward Easter.  Please share your thoughts freely and honestly in the comments below.

Who knows how your words will inspire and comfort the heart of others?

A Blessed Lent to you all!

Amen! 

Friday, February 9, 2018

Day by Day


1 Corinthians 2:9
But as Scripture says:  "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined the things that God has prepared for those who love him."

The great thing, if one can, is to stop regarding all the unpleasant things as interruptions of one's 'own', or 'real' life.  The truth is of course that what one calls the interruptions are precisely one's real life - the life God is sending one day by day. ~C. S. Lewis

The life God is sending day by day by day by day.

This is the real, in real time.

This is up-side-the-head-smack reality.  Conceived and prepared by a far-seeing and Holy God.

And our self-centered, myopic vision never sees it coming.

But it arrives . . .

How we deal with the uncomfortable present moments, how we navigate the seemingly insurmountable obstacles, how we play our hand of unfortunate cards, speaks volumes about the health of our spiritual journey.

Am I playing these inconvenient cards well, as the Lord would have me do?

Or am I floundering about in an overwhelming sea of doubt, unwilling to submit my will to His?

Through the interruptions, the upset of the apple cart, the intrusion of needs unforeseen, the tough hand dealt, God shines with His unfailing presence.  He grants the grace, the strength, the love, the courage, the perseverance to put our best foot forward as we cling to His Word and His promises.

Until my predictable world is upended, I could not see how God has been readying this path for me.

Accepting adversity.  Accepting life as it unfolds.  Accepting His will for me.

Completely!

And becoming, in such unexpected ways, the me He intends me to be.

So, dear friends, when your life is interrupted, and the direction you had in mind is denied, remember that God has a purpose for you.  Only for you.

Your real life is His life in you.

Play the hand you're given confidently, day by day, knowing the Lord has your back.

Amen!

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Proverbs 17:6 Children's children are a crown to the aged, and parents are the pride of their children. Even though the photo abov...