Thursday, April 30, 2015

When the Lord speaks, it is for a REASON

I have learned through the times in my life when the Lord speaks a word into my heart, that it comes with purpose and for a reason.  I shared with you earlier this week about having a Perfect Life or a Perfect Peace here, and also about Abiding in Him here.

After sharing that with you on Monday morning, it didn't take long for me to have to turn to those words that I both heard, and wrote - for comfort, strength, and purpose.

I received a phone call late Monday afternoon from a friend of mine who I have known for several years.  I was introduced to her because her daughter and my daughter are friends.  We became friends because of our daughter's friendships.  My dear friend is not a believer though, and so I believe the Lord brought our lives together for just that reason, to encourage her to find true life in Him.  I cannot share all the details of her situation here, but trust me in the fact that she and her children are living in a very difficult situation with domestic violence being a constant issue.  Through the last couple of years that I have known her, the problems have been steadily increasing.  This Monday afternoon, when I received the phone call from her, things had become intense, and very dangerous for her and her children.  She called me again at 11:30 Monday night, as she was hiding outside in the cold, and crying. I told her I wanted to call the police, but she said nothing would change because he hadn't done anything "physical", but she was still scared.  I prayed with her, and talked with her and we both felt peace after praying.  The next morning she called me to say that her husband had admitted he needed to go to rehab, which we felt was a breakthrough.  However, the situation de-escalated again last night, despite his words of changing, and again, tremendous fear and emotional abuse taking place.  I have talked with her throughout the day today, and also have spent time talking with those who know her situation well.

If any of you have any experience in working with a situation of abuse, you know how difficult it is for them to leave.  She has known she needs to leave, but for certain reasons, feels that she can't... at least not yet.  In about two weeks, the possibility for her to leave may be possible, but her husband knows about that possibility, and so, the violence between them has escalated.  She feels she needs to stay for the next two weeks, but the violence is at a point, that she really needs to leave now.  The problem is convincing her to leave now, before the point in two to three weeks when it would be easier for her to leave.

I have spoken with the local police, crisis counselor, and a physician's office involved with the situation.  All have advised that nothing can be done unless two things happen - someone gets hurt, or she leaves voluntarily before something happens.

All advised that they have been counseling her to leave for at least a year now, and she has been unwilling.

For those of you who believe in prayer, and who are reading this... I know that there are so many problems in the world, and people who are hurting in your world too, but if you wouldn't mind just praying for "T" and asking the Lord to give her the strength to do what she needs to do, and keep her safe, I would appreciate it.

One thing I know for sure, is that there is no greater power on earth available to us than when we pray. I believe the Lord spoke the words earlier to me about abiding in Him, and having perfect peace so that someday "T" can see and know that the Lord is able to do just this for her too.  Pray for the Lord's will be to accomplished in this situation, and that it will end peaceably, and without violent confrontation.

There is a plan that the crisis intervention lady has shared that seems like a viable plan.  However, "T" needs to be convinced to do this, and  have the strength to go through with it.  She is the one who must decide though, and I have told her that I am willing to help and encourage her through it, as are others too.

I am expecting the Lord to do something great, because the situation - in my eyes, and to all those who are involved - seems discouraging.  Yet, I have learned that when situations seem the worst, this is truly when the Lord can do the greatest.

So, if you would pray and believe with me, I truly would appreciate it! When the Lord speaks, it is for a reason, and I want to continue to trust, abide in Him, and remain in perfect peace, as this situation unfolds.  Thank you!

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

We All Need Each Other - A Lesson Taught by the Geese

The sun was hot and lovely yesterday!  80 degrees in April!  Wow.  Pretty unbelievable to have such warm weather here this early in the year.  While the rest of the country has been suffering from unusually cold weather, we have been enjoying unusually WARM weather here!  For which we are thankful, and not complaining about!  There have been days of showers interspersed with the sunshine, which has been just wonderful!

Since it was such a beautiful day yesterday, I had to get outside, away from my responsibilities at home, and just enjoy the sunshine for an hour or so.

I didn't have to call the dogs twice to ask if they wanted to come!

Both of them ready to go!  They love to ride in the pickup, and I love it too that they can come with me. They ride in the back of the pickup with the camper shell keeping them enclosed, so that I don't have to worry about them falling or jumping out as we ride along.  Annie fell out of our 4x4 pickup once as we were driving, and ever since then, I have been reluctant to take her in that pickup, and choose to take them with us when we are driving our smaller Ranger. 

As we walked through the woods, the dogs found lots to explore.

A single happy dandelion blooming away in the heart of the woods.

Our little path through the woods.

Lupins popping up everywhere in the woods!  Come June they will be a sporting a brilliant shade of blue-purple flowers!

Annie was full of anticipation as we walked.

Our path leads through a very rustic, and somewhat overgrown forest.

Downed trees from the winter that just mean a bit of extra exercise for us all!

This tree created its own little archway for us.  

After we left the forest, we headed down to the river.  What a surprise for me to see that the baby geese had been born! We have seen the mothers (and fathers too!) sitting on the eggs, waiting for them to hatch.  Today, they are in the water!  After doing some research I learned that  male and female Canada geese mate for life, and they help each other out to keep the eggs warm and safe.  It is common to see the male sitting on the eggs while the female stretches her legs for a bit.

Annie and Roger enjoying the chance to get wet!

And I... just enjoying the warm rays of sunshine on my skin... along with the beautiful views of mountains all around.

A quick drink for a thirsty soul.

Maybe even a bath!

Some rustle and tussle in the water makes things more fun!

Watching the geese and their babies swim around.

The growth of a new leaf silhouetted in the distant horizon mountain grandeur.

Another quick drink and splash!

Enjoying the cool refreshing water to play in.

Many other geese arrive on the scene to join the mommas and their babies in the water.

Loud calls back and forth as they swim around.

They really weren't happy with us on the shoreline.

Watching the little babies as they swam close by their mothers.

More and more geese fly in to swim with the babies.

Made me think of the saying "It takes a village to raise a child."  It is obvious the geese are doing just that!

When Annie and Roger would run down the beach towards the group of geese, they would all swim to each other in a circle, gathering the little babies into the circle and two geese would remain facing the dogs.  It was amazing to watch their survival instincts at work.

Such gentle beauty in action!  So wonderful to watch the little babies follow their mothers around, and other geese helping the mother to watch out for the little ones.

I was amazed at how many geese continued to fly in, and put themselves between the beach, the dogs and the baby goslings.  It was as if a call had gone out "danger, HELP!" and all who could arrived to help.  It just amazed me to see it happen.

Annie and Roger tried to swim out to the geese a couple of times, but some really loud honks and squawks caused them to retreat.

What a beautiful picture of love and community! I marveled at how the geese were so willing to help each other out to protect the goslings from danger.  What a marvelous life lesson was being enacted before my eyes.  We all need each other!  Mothers and fathers simply cannot do every possible thing that needs to be done to protect and help raise their offspring.  Family members, friends, community - are all important in raising healthy, happy, wonderful children.

What a beautiful day it was, and a lovely lesson shared with me by the geese and goslings.  :)

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

A Perfect Life... or... A Perfect Peace?

Who does not desire the “perfect life?”  None of us really want to say we desire a life of pain, suffering financial woes, misery, hurt or despair.  If I were to ask a room full of people to choose between a perfect life or a life of suffering, I would probably be mocked and laughed out of the room.  What kind of a choice is that?  Who would choose a suffering life over a perfect life?

In reality, the perfect life is just about as elusive as the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.  For many, their lives are consumed with striving to have that perfect life and thinking that “when” we get that perfect house, or perfect job, or perfect mate, finally THEN life will be perfect.   

For a moment, let’s just picture what would a perfect life look like.  Perhaps most would say it is a loving family, no financial worries, perfect health, a beautiful home on acreage with gardens and beautiful landscaping, the ability to travel and explore with leisure with no financial cares, and a job or hobby that satisfies without any difficult bosses or coworkers.  I’m sure there are many other things that we could add to the list. 

Have you ever looked at someone, or a family having fun together and thought – “They’ve got it all together!  They’ve got it all, health, happiness, wealth,” and then a wee bit of envy rises in your heart because that person or family seems to “have it all together.” 

However, what you cannot know and perceive simply by looking at someone, are all the difficulties lurking under the surface that are most likely covered up so no one can know.  There is no way you can know by observing someone just how perfect or imperfect their life may be.  Looks can be so deceiving, and we, as humans, are masters at wearing “masks” and covering up the reality that exists just below the surface of our smile.  How many times have you smiled at someone when you didn’t feel the smile in your heart? 

We all work so hard to convey that we have the “perfect life” happening here, or if not, at least it is on the horizon, and we will have it just when that perfect job opportunity opens, or the right house comes for sale on the market, or when we win the lottery.  There is a lot of hope and anticipation that we live with daily that just around the corner things will be better, and then you think...  "I won’t have any problems."

I want to help you understand that the “perfect life” idea is simply an illusion that will never be a reality.  Having that life without any struggles, imperfections, or difficulties really is as elusive as the mythical pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.  It simply does not exist. 

However, there is something far better that exists than having that “perfect life.”  It is called PERFECT PEACE.  Having perfect peace is not an illusion, it is not on the horizon, it is not for tomorrow, and thus never within our grasp, but it is for us TODAY. 

Isaiah 26:3 
 “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, 
whose mind is stayed on thee: 
because he trusteth in thee.” 

Perfect peace comes when our mind is stayed on Christ, and trusting in Him.  There is no promise anywhere in scripture that says we can have that perfect life.  However, we have been promised to have perfect peace. 

Perfect peace comes to you when you begin to understand that your hope does not end with this life, but it extends into life eternal.  Perfect peace takes place when you can look above the situations that life throws at you, and know that despite the circumstances you are finding yourself in, that there is a peace in knowing the Lord is watching over you, and when you can content yourself with that knowledge, despite the difficulty of your circumstances, it is then you can hear these words speaking loudly in your heart: 

And the peace of God 
which passeth all understanding, 
shall keep your hearts and minds 
through Christ Jesus.” 
Phil. 4:7

Jesus told us what would happen when His peace comes into our hearts: 

Peace I leave with you, 
my peace I give unto you, 
not as the world giveth, 
give I unto you.  
Let not your heart be troubled, 
neither let it be afraid.”  
John 14:27

The peace from the Lord does not allow our hearts to be troubled, nor to be afraid.  The peace from the Lord will not be “world peace” either (not as the world giveth)… but the peace from our Lord comes to comfort our hearts in the MIDST of our difficult life circumstances, and to allow us to not have troubled hearts, or be afraid! 

There is no promise here that our lives won’t be difficult, or that there won’t be circumstances that cause us to be troubled and afraid!  There is no promise given in scripture anywhere that once we place our trust in Christ that we will forevermore never have any worries or difficulties to face!  NO!  This is the lie Satan wants us to believe, and this lie has caused many faithful believers to falter and fail. 

I’ve heard many Christians say, “I don’t know why the Lord allows so much trouble in my life, so much heartache, after all, I’m a Christian!”  And I have to respond - Jesus never - NOT ONCE - gave a promise that we would never have trouble, worry, difficulty, or despair in our lives. (In fact, He said we WOULD have those things!)  However, Jesus did give us a greater promise that HIS PEACE would come to us in such moments, and would comfort our hearts so that we would not be troubled, nor afraid in the times of distress!

When you begin to understand that the “perfect life” is a lie from Satan himself, and begin to see that the truth from the Word of God teaches that we can have peace in the MIDST of our difficult circumstances, and it is this peace that passeth all understanding, it is then that this understanding will help to calm our hearts in the moments of distress.  We will know that in the time of distress, that is when the peace of GOD will surround us, protect us, and encourage us THROUGH the difficulty, and it is because of this, that our Lord will receive the glory when others see the peace of God at work in our lives despite the circumstance!

You see, the reason the Lord does not take the difficulties out of our lives, is because it is when we are faced with the greatest difficulties, distresses, sickness, worry and fear, that we can have the promised perfect peace in HIM, and the miraculous can take place. 

Living out a life of perfect peace is simply this – a life of adventure!  There are great highs, and great lows, billows that rise, and storms that come… but through the adventure, there is a peace that comes, that passeth ALL natural understanding!  We can have the peace of God that is supernatural, and comes to us through faith, in the midst of the most tremendous, and difficult circumstances we can imagine. 

I want to encourage you today to take off the foggy glasses that you have been looking at your life with, hoping to find that “perfect life.”  Remove them from your understanding.  Recognize that a “perfect life” is not scriptural, and is a lie from the enemy.  Destroy the vestiges of the lie that all should be well with you since you are a Christian.  This is simply not so.  It was never promised by the Lord, and will only serve to defeat you in your walk with the Lord.

Instead, accept the fact that you will have circumstances in your life that are not what you “signed up for.”  Accept the fact that life may not bring you the things you thought it should.  Accept the fact that there will be circumstances brought into your life that will bring fear, trembling, worry, pain and suffering.  However, when you understand that these very things are allowed to enter into your life, so that you can experience perfect peace, you can look at these things that happen in your life as an adventure that the Lord is carrying you through, and the miraculous most certainly is about to happen.

Don’t despair, as Mary and Martha did when Lazarus died.  It was simply a doorway to a greater miracle than ever possible, if he had not died!  They didn’t know it at the time, but Jesus did!  Don’t despair as the disciples did when the boat began to rock, heave and shake as though it was about to sink!  The Master was on board, and they were about to see a miracle such as mankind had never seen – when Jesus calmed the storms and the winds with three words – PEACE BE STILL!

You see… the storms in your life are perhaps planted and arranged by the Lord simply so that you can see His mighty hand at work.  When difficulties and despair comes your way, just look up, and trust your Master!  Wait for Him to send that PEACE into your storm!  He will not fail, nor delay, and His timing will be perfect.  Accept the adventure that He is taking you on… it may be the most miraculous event you will ever witness in your life!

The peace of God comes to us in moments of distress accompanied by the miraculous, but it cannot come without a storm, without a trial, without a difficulty, without pain, without suffering, and without hurt. 

 A rainbow cannot be seen without a storm! 

Miracles cannot take place without the impossible circumstance.  

A storm in your life may be the highway to the miracle you've been wanting to have!

If we can accept this fact, it will be THEN that we can see the miraculous powerful Hand of the LORD bringing His PEACE into our situation. 

Don’t seek for the perfect life.  It does not exist.  The miraculous does not exist in that illusion. 

Seek to have your mind stayed on Christ!  When troubles come, look up, and trust.  Praise, and don’t despair.  Trust and obey.  Believe the words of our Lord.  Your miracle is coming!  Peace is on its way!  The PEACEMAKER needs your storm to calm! 

It is all about perspective.  Troubles come and go.  Life ebbs and flows.  We have good days and bad days, sunny days, and rainy days, storms and clouds.  That’s okay!  Enjoy the journey, both the good and bad, recognizing that it is in the BAD times and BAD days that we can see the HAND OF THE LORD moving to calm that storm. 

Do you want to see the miraculous?  Don’t waste your time pining for that perfect life!  Accept willingly that the miraculous comes with that PERFECT PEACE from our Lord, and no other way.  Choose this life of adventure!  Don’t sour the journey through life hoping for only the good things.  Instead… chose the life of adventure with the Lord, learning to trust Him in both the good and the bad.  That life of adventure – that will be your “perfect life.”  It is a perfect life surrounded with perfect peace. 

Change your perspective.  Don’t look at your troubles as something to despair in.  With a change of perspective, you can look at the storms in your life, and wait expectantly for the MASTER of the storm to do the miraculous. 

Colossians 3:15  “And let the PEACE of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.”

May the peace of God that passeth all understanding serve to calm your storm, change your perspective, and bring thankfulness into your heart today!

Monday, April 27, 2015

Spring Around Town

Oh the loveliness of spring has arrived! 
I took a little walk around town this past weekend, 
Come with me and see
The pretty sights I saw!

No matter how long the winter,
Spring is sure to follow! 

If we had no winter... 
Spring would not be so pleasant... 

Nature does not hurry... 
and yet everything is accomplished. 

Earth laughs... 
in flowers! 

There are so many beautiful reasons to be happy! 

You know spring is here 
when tulips have arrived!

Let your joy burst forth 
Like flowers in the spring! 

Some old fashioned things like 
fresh air and sunshine are hard to beat.  
~ Laura Ingalls Wilder ~

God's touch ... 
lights the world with color 
and renews our heart with life. 
~ Janet L. Smith ~

Is there any prettier sight to see
Than tulips waving in the breeze? 

The heavens declare the glory of God
and the firmament shows his handiwork. 
Psalms 19:1

The miracles of nature do not seem miracles 
because they are so common
If no one had ever seen a flower
even a dandelion would be 
the most startling event in the world. 
~ L. B. Cowman ~

Jesus Christ opens wide the doors 
of the treasure chest of God's promises
and bids us go in and 
take with boldness
the riches that are ours. 
~ Corrie Ten Boom ~

If we are children of God, 
we have a tremendous treasure in nature
and will realize that it is holy and sacred. 
We will see God reaching out to us
in every wind that blows
every sunrise and sunset
every cloud in the sky
every flower that blooms,
and every leaf that fades. 

~ Oswald Chambers ~

The longer I live
the more my mind dwells upon
the beauty
and the wonder 
of the world. 
~ John Burroughs ~

God is the sunshine that warms us,
the rain that melts the frost
and waters the young plants. 
The presence of God
is a climate of strong and bracing love, 
always there. 
~ Joan Arnold ~

There's not a tint that paints the rose
or decks the lily fair
Or marks the humblest flower that grows
But God has placed it there...
There's not a place on earth's vast round,
In oceans deep or air,
Where love and beauty are not found, 
For God is everywhere. 
~ Unknown ~

When I look at the galaxies on a clear night - 
when I look at the incredible brilliance of creation
and think that this is what God is like, then
instead of feeling intimidated and diminished by it,
I am enlarged - 
I rejoice that I am a part of it. 
~ Madeleine L'Engle ~

This is my Father's world
He shines in all that's fair.
In the rustling grass I hear Him pass;
He speaks to me everywhere. 
 ~ Maltbie D. Babcock ~

In the beginning 
God created the heavens...
and the earth...
God saw that all he had made...
and it was very good. 
Genesis 1:1, 31

How beautiful it is to be alive
To wake each morn as if the Maker's grace
Did us afresh from nothingness derive,
That we might sing - 
How beautiful it is to be alive! 
 ~ Henry Septimus Sutton ~

I hope that you enjoyed 
this little tour of spring around town... 
and that the quotes along the way 
served to brighten up your day!