Monday, November 12, 2018

Glasses


When I was young, I had great vision. I specialized in finding things that seemed to have positively disappeared into thin air. I could easily spot the four-leaf clover tucked on among the rest.

For years nothing changed. The thought of having to wear glasses when I got older never entered my mind. I would be the exception to the rule.

Imagine my surprise the day I could no longer pretend the world didn't look rather blurry. My glasses have become my constant companion - giving me back something I thought I would never lose.

When I was young,  faith easily found a place in my heart. I saw the Lord clearly - nothing blurring the truth.

For years nothing changed. Then life, as it inevitably does, began a subtle battle against faith. Truth no longer stood out in stark relief against suffering, pain and difficult circumstances; a thin veil made up of doubt, worry and fear, blurred my vision. I needed spiritual "glasses" so that I could clearly see truth.

It turns out I have them - have always had them. His Word.

"The law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul. The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes. The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever. The decrees of the Lord are firm, and all of them are righteous" (Psalm 19:7-9).

Blessings,
Linda

Monday, October 29, 2018

At Just the Right Time



We have come to rely on the predictability of time. Hours become days and multiplied days swiftly turn into weeks. We count on the changing of seasons - each one flowing into another  as we tick off another year. We find a measure of comfort in knowing what comes next - at least as far as time is concerned.

How nice it would be, we think, if we could count on the important issues of our lives resolving themselves with the same predictability. We pray to the God who has promised to hear and answer prayer - trusting Him with the deepest needs of our hearts and lives. We believe all He has said, and we want desperately for Him to come through - now. We need the answer now.

Sometimes it comes right on time - our time. More often than not - we wait. Our deadline comes and goes and still the answer doesn't come. We pray all the harder and lean into faith, but the heavens are "become like brass."  (Deuteronomy 28:23)

When heaven is silent, discouragement, doubt, fear and even anger try to set up camp in our hearts. We see time slipping away. It's late - too late. It will never work out the way we planned. We wonder if the promises are true.

All the while, in the silent waiting, God moves to the rhythm of His perfect timetable. Paul tells us in Romans 5:6 "When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners." 

At just the right time.

Stories of God's perfect timing fill the pages of scripture. What looks to us like "too late," is "just the right time" to Him. If we had the ability to look into the future, we wouldn't hold God to our demanding timetable. We would see what eventually becomes evident - His ways are perfect and just. Even His timing - especially His timing.

Blessings,
Linda


Wednesday, October 10, 2018

The Village of Veritas






Imagine with me, if you will, a little village nestled beneath the protecting shelter of a magnificent mountain. Not many strangers found their way to this secluded spot, but once, many years ago, a Wise Person appeared seemingly out of nowhere to live, for a brief time, among the village people.

The Wise Person told them his visit would be a short one, but  a day would come when he would return to set up a perfect kingdom. It would be, he told them, a kingdom established in love and built on truth.

Day after day he walked among them, teaching them about love and the truths that must undergird it. Everyone grew to love him and most embraced his teachings. They hoped he would never leave them, for his wisdom and compassion filled them with a sense of peace they had never known.

However, the day came when he simply disappeared. A great sadness filled the hearts of the people, but they soon remembered his words and, with faith, began to live out the truths he had taught them - always cloaked in love. They waited, with great hope, for his return.

Generation followed generation passing down the teachings and truths of the Wise Person - for they had proven to be good and right. For many years it was so until, ever so subtly, things began to change.

Questions about the truths the Wise Person had handed down began to simmer just below the surface. Some felt that other interpretations might be considered - most often to accommodate their desire to do what they thought to be right. Some proposed the theory that truth was relative - depending on the circumstances or how you understood the context. Added to this, some believed it possible to ignore the truths altogether as long as the motivation was love.

It didn't take long for the whispers to become loud voices and for a great many of the villagers to come around to this new way of thinking. Things once known to be wrong gained acceptance until it became difficult  to recognize the truth. Love became the by-word and the license to distort what had once been so clear. Those who had never known the teachings of the Wise Person suffered most under the well-meaning guidance of those who said they loved them.

For his truth would not change, and he would be coming back.

"Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth." I John 3:18

"As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming,  but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up into all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ." 
Ephesians 4:14-15

Blessings,
Linda






Thursday, September 27, 2018

Dreams

He lived in obscurity, far from watching eyes, for thirty years – this One whose life changed the course of human history and brought salvation to every yearning soul. Quietly, He lived his ordinary life in His small village. Faithfully, He carried out the daily responsibilities that were His – never questioning, never hurried, always faithful – growing in wisdom and grace.

Did He hear a gentle whisper in His thirtieth year – “Now it is time to begin Son.”? Or did He just know in His heart it was time to lay down the tools of His trade and walk away from the insignificant little place He called home? All of those days, turned years, had prepared Him for this journey. Every moment had purpose, and now it was time to do what He had been born to do.

Every heart longs for recognition and approval – to live a full and meaningful life. We may have dreamed of accomplishing great things and instead find ourselves trapped in the mundane. It hurts a bit when the thing we dream of doing is with Him in mind. Surely such pure motives are worthy of success.

Here’s the thing. All of the ordinary moments – the ones filled with joy or sorrow, failure or success, health or sickness, blessing or sorrow – are the very ones He has ordained for you. Not one of them is wasted. He can use and redeem them all. His dream for your life may be the one you imagined or it may be very different, but it is good beyond your wildest expectations.

We don’t know the moment He will say, “Now.” He asks that we remain faithful in the waiting. When it comes, it may be a great and wonderful thing or it may be just a little something – a quiet encounter, a moment of serving, an encouraging conversation, a fervent prayer. It may be seen by everyone or known by no one. We may not even know the magnitude of it until we leave this earthly home and He takes us in His arms.

Be assured that your life is precious to Him. He has great dreams for you. Rest in the knowledge that you matter so much He would have sent His Son to die for you even if you had been the only one. When the days seem endless, and you long for something more, just know that He holds your moments in His hands and He understands.

“Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in Your books were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.” Psalm 139:16

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“For I know the plans I have for you,’ says the Lord. ‘They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.'” Jeremiah 29:11

Blessings,
Linda


Wednesday, September 12, 2018

He Will Never Forget

She came to us just before Christmas wearing lush blooms of red and brilliant green leaves- a beautiful addition to our Christmas decorations. I, who have the unhappy reputation of killing nearly every plant that comes under my care, managed to get her through not only the magical days of Christmas but all the way to another one. Somehow, she continued to bloom and grow that whole year. By summer, the red had given way to leaves of green and a bigger pot was in order.



I decided to put her outside on the patio - a risky move here in Central Texas where the sun beats down nearly every day and the temperatures soar. I chose a spot where the morning sun gave way to shady afternoons and made a fervent promise to water and feed her regularly. And for a while I did. 

However, you know what they say about those old sayings ("out of sight; out of mind" for instance); they inevitably prove to true. One morning, as I watered my indoor plants I suddenly remembered the poor poinsettia sitting helplessly outside in the bright sunlight. 


I rushed to bring her water, apologizing profusely the whole time. I had made a promise. How could I have forgotten my poor helpless plant?

We, each of us, have known times when our circumstances leave us feeling helpless and abandoned. Unlike my poinsettia plant, we have One who cares for us who isn't forgetful, who never takes His eyes off of us and always keeps His promises. When your soul cries out for help - He hears.

 So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10

Blessings,
Linda

P.S. Miss Poinsettia is doing well - despite my forgetfulness. Amazing what a little water will do!

Friday, August 10, 2018

A Beautiful Whole

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Seen from a distance the lantana blooms look like a single flower, but on closer inspection you see it is made up of many tiny flowers. Small, almost insignificant, pieces making up a lovely whole when gathered together.
We have a tendency to look at our lives with judgemental eyes - that relentless internal critic. What if we took all the little moments - the time we brought a meal to an ailing friend, cleaned the bathroom for the millionth time, visited an aging family member, listened to a teenager's heart, held the door for the elderly man with a walker, spoke an encouraging word to a weary young mom, mowed the neighbors' lawn, prayed with a friend, stayed up all night with a little one - and saw them as a beautiful whole? 
I think that's how the Father sees us. Sure, there's the "messy" part, but oh how those "small" moments bring Him joy.
"For I was hungry and you gave Me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave Me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited Me in, I needed clothes and you clothed Me, I was sick and you looked after Me, I was in prison and you came to visit Me....
'For I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these ... you did for Me."

Matthew 25:35,36,40


Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Time Will Be No More




Can you remember back to the time when you were little? You may not have to go back quite as far as I, having entered my seventh decade a year ago. Back then the days seemed to stretch out far longer than their allotted twenty-four hours.

I remember sitting at my little wooden school desk, feet dangling just above the old tile floor, eyes forever drifting to the big clock with the Roman numerals, willing the hands to move faster.

The weeks leading up to summer vacation or holidays dragged by. Christmas, in particular, with all its delightful mysteries took forever to arrive.

Now not only the days and weeks but the years fly by at warp speed. One Christmas flows into another as little ones grow and fly the nest long before we are ready to let them go.

One thing hasn't changed as far as I can see - the let-down after the long anticipated event has slipped into the past. Young or old - we can't help but feel a bit sad when all the trappings are put away or we say good-bye to loved ones after spending time together.

However, a time will come when anticipation filled with our dearest hopes and dreams will blossom into unending joy. Heaven, with every promise fulfilled, will be ours forever. No more sin, sorrow, tears or pain; no more death or hard good-byes. No more time at all. The special times won't slip away, they will stretch out before us in one unending, glorious day.

Revelation 21:1-5
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”
Blessings,
Linda