Suddenly Taking the Hint

“How many times it thundered before Franklin took the hint! How many apples fell on Newton head before he took the hint! Nature is always hinting at us.  It hints over and over again. And suddenly we take the hint.” ~ Robert Frost

 
What’s important in all this is that if you keep a holy day, keep it for God’s sake; if you eat meat, eat it to the glory of God and thank God for prime rib; if you’re a vegetarian, eat vegetables to the glory of God and thank God for broccoli. None of us are permitted to insist on our own way in these matters. It’s God we are answerable to—all the way from life to death and everything in between—not each other. That’s why Jesus lived and died and then lived again: so that he could be our Master across the entire range of life and death, and free us from the petty tyrannies of each other.
    ~ Romans 14:8-9 
 
     What strikes me here is the folks who spend way too much time living “correctly” in front of others, saying things a little too loud, over-dramatically taking an action as if to set an example.  I can say that I have been guilty of this at times over my lifetime. I can remember when I was a small child in elementary school trying to behave on behalf of the whole class so that they would not get in trouble.  
     I can remember when I changed buildings one year, I was asked to contribute money to something. I did not want to because I did not like one decision that the group had made. I was trying to take responsibility for their actions and not joining a worthy cause because I did not agree with someone else on that committee. I though that withholding funds would “show them.”  Ultimately, I was shown that, in that particular case, I was only responsible for my own actions and intentions, not those of others.
    Jesus loved me no matter what, and, shocking to me, He also loved the ones with whom I disagreed.  Once I got that, I was able to let go of all those other folks and just get about the task of living and moving and having my being in Jesus, and doing all for the Glory of God.
    Leaving all those folks behind made it easier to walk, and follow the path set before me.  “Suddenly” I took the hint.
     Lord, help me to follow you, and be responsible for my actions.  Help my actions reflect your love, tough or tender, and your mercy, always astounding.
 
     Because of Him,
      Linda
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Ain’t No Big Thing

Aint no big thing, Bruddah.” 

            ~ Don Ho

 
Now God has us where he wants us, with all the time in this world and the next to shower grace and kindness upon us in Christ Jesus. Saving is all his idea, and all his work. All we do is trust him enough to let him do it. It’s God’s gift from start to finish! We don’t play the major role. If we did, we’d probably go around bragging that we’d done the whole thing! No, we neither make nor save ourselves. God does both the making and saving. He creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join him in the work he does, the good work he has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing.
           ~ Ephesians 2:6-10
 
      It had been years since we worked together. We changed the world around us by working together for the Lord. And then, it happened.  It.  Simple, in the length of time it took to breathe in and breathe out, we were separated.
     I did what I believed God wanted me to do.  And then this friend and I were on the “outs.”  Praying is always a good investment.  I heard where she was working, but could not bring myself to go in there, I wanted to avoid a public confrontation/humiliation.  
     I continued to pray.  Spoke with my daughter about it, prayed some more.  Waited. And waited. And waited, not specifically, but surely by design.  
     And then, it happened.  Again.  I walked into a place, and there she was, with the hostess, the blessed gracious hostess, and my friend.  And in the time it takes for a splinter to finally pop out,  we were hugging, laughing, having loving, kind words.  My pain was gone, my fear was gone, and it truly was no big thing, and it was a mountain moving thing.  In God’s time, these seemingly insurmountable pains … removed. 
     Forget the rocks crying out, the scars were truly turned into stars. Freedom from that hurt was mine.  
     Lord, dear Great Physician, thank you for removing that very painful splinter, and for beginning the restoration of yet another relationship, in your time. Help me to keep giving each big thing to you, that you might put it in perspective, in your time.
 
Who You Say I Am – Hillsong
 
     Because of Him,
     Linda

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I Go To the Rock

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter.” 

                                                                    ~ Izaak Walton

 
What’s the price of two or three pet canaries? Some loose change, right? But God never overlooks a single one. And he pays even greater attention to you, down to the last detail—even numbering the hairs on your head! So don’t be intimidated by all this bully talk. You’re worth more than a million canaries.
                                                                      ~ Luke 12:6-7
 
     Jesus has been my one faithful companion on this journey.  I have treasured many others, but Jesus has been my only constant. Family, friends, acquaintances, colleagues, all valuable relationships but none like Jesus.
     I can remember one time when I really thought I was going to be murdered. I could picture the headlines in my head as I lay there waiting for what could have been the final blow.  I cannot remember what stopped my attacker.  I cannot remember how I got up or how I got dressed or how I got the ice for my head.  
     I remember wondering if this was the end, and wondering where Jesus was.  But I am here to tell the tale, asked God to let me use the story to help others, and bear witness to the love of God.  
    During my time in the Church of God, I had the privilege to hear Margaret Becker and Kathy Troccoli sing this song.  It runs through my heart in times of trouble and in times of joy.  I heard Whitney Houston’s version when she recorded it for “The Preacher’s Recently I bought the CD and I have been having church on this song ever since.
     When all the earth around you is sinking sand, on Christ the solid rock you can stand.  I am so thankful that the rock sheltered me all those years ago, that I can stand and sing (or drive and sing!) I Go To The Rock.
Lord, help me to remember, no matter what state I am in, that I can go to You, the Rock of my Salvation without ever moving, or while moving at great speeds.
    Because of Him,
    Linda

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Shine!

“But who knows what’s waiting in the wings of time.
Dry your eyes we’re gonna go where we can shine.”
     ~ David Gray

 
 For the Lord taketh pleasure in his people: he will beautify the meek with salvation.
    ~ Psalm 149:4
 
     There is a face change that goes along with worshiping the Almighty God.  I see it from time to time to time; on the faces of children, on the faces of people lost in worship, on the faces of those who have spent a life time in devotion to God.  It outshines any adornment that man or woman can add.
     It drives away the darkness, obliterates even the fragments. The brightness discourages negativity – one gets caught up in the light and all they can see is the Lord.  There is nothing like that feeling, seeing the Lord while worshiping, feeling His warmth upon your face, your spirit.  It is something that can be seen, but not by all.
    I was reminded of this movie when I saw the quote by David Gray and the scripture.  In this scene, from “Startdust”, not only is the young man saved, but the woman he is with is, in fact, a star.  And she does exactly what stars do…shine!
     Where will the Lord use you today to shine?  Seek His face, the answer will come, not necessarily today, but it will come.
 
     Lord, make your face to shine upon me, that I might shine your light on others.
 
Because of Him,
Linda

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The Struggle

“The most wonderful thing about miracles is that they sometimes happen.” 

             ~ G. K. Chesterton
 


Just take a look at Zion, will you?

    Centering our worship in festival feasts!
Feast your eyes on Jerusalem,
    a quiet and permanent place to live.
No more pulling up stakes and moving on,
    no more patched-together lean-tos.
Instead, God! God majestic, God himself the place
    in a country of broad rivers and streams,
But rivers blocked to invading ships,
    off-limits to predatory pirates.
For God makes all the decisions here. God is our king.
    God runs this place and he’ll keep us safe.

Isaiah 33:20-22 The Message (MSG)

     In my own devotional time this morning, I read Max Lucado’s account of someone who was told that if he had enough faith, he would be healed of his cancer.  I remember Frank Krautter dealing with this with his daughter and ultimately with himself with regard to illness.
     What I remember about these two remarkable individuals is that instead of complaining, of rallying against their state, they found a way to let God use them to showcase his love, his light, his mercy, his joy.  They were, neither one, pessimists, their faces shone with God’s love, and they persevered. 
     In Frank’s case, that must have been difficult because he was a medical doctor. He knew what was happening to his daughter and to himself in more ways than the average person.  Yet he praised God, she wrote a thankful journal.
    Look at your own situation.  Is there a chance that God is using it to showcase his love, his mercy, his light to others through you?  The butterfly in the struggle?
Be patient with you, and let God shine through. Just like you watched the video, folks are watching you.
 
Lord, use my struggle to bless others, to make me more confident in you, to give me more patience with myself and others.
 
Because of Him,

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The Power of Waiting

Words, like Nature, half reveal and half conceal the soul within.” 
                                                                    ~ Lord Alfred Tennyson
 
All your words are true;
    all your righteous laws are eternal.
                                                  ~ Psalm 119:160
 
     The words we speak.  For some of us they come so easily, and for some, by the time they consider exactly what it is they want to say, the opportunity for saying it has long passed.  
      There are words we rely on, as in the case of Rapunzel, to bring healing for others.  In this scene, Rapunzel uses her healing song on Eugene, or tries to, and he reaches up behind her and cuts the traditional source of her power, her hair.
 
Rapunzel – The Haircut
 
     The consequences are immediate as you will see.  But Rapunzel then speaks from her heart, sings the song now, not out of habit, but from a much deeper place.  This brings a tear. A tear that falls and well,  you know.  
      The evil that once held her captive dissolves in the light of her hair cut.
The healing begins for both Rapunzel and for Eugene. Both had been speaking words that did not fully reveal all. both were now in a much more independent place, a place where they could stand in the truth.
      I have this habit (not necessarily a good one) of finishing other people’s sentences when I think I know where they are “headed.” And this works well with some as we can do it for each other, but for the thoughtful one, for the ones who consider their words heavily before they speak, it can be halting at best. Sometimes I never know what they might have said because of the pace at which I carry on a conversation.
       And then there are those times that I actually wait for the rest.  Just like the healing that comes to Eugene in his stupor, a new light dawns on the conversation and informs both.  
       God’s word is like that, ever faithful, ever true, and ever worth waiting for.  So hard not to jump ahead and try and finish God’s sentences…so worth the fullness of the truth that God reveals.
 
Lord, today, please keep your hand over my mouth, let me hear the truth you have in the words of the quiet, thoughtful ones.
     Because of Him,
     Linda

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Reflections

Stand before the people you fear and speak your mind – even if your voice shakes. When you least expect it, someone may actually listen to what you have to say.”

                                                                                ~ Maggie Kuhn
 
But God told Samuel, “Looks aren’t everything. Don’t be impressed with his looks and stature. I’ve already eliminated him. God judges persons differently than humans do. Men and women look at the face; God looks into the heart.”
 
                                                               ~1 Samuel 16:7
 
     There is a scene from a movie called Revenge of the Nerds, where the “Nerds” clubhouse is trashed by the popular athletes or the “Jocks” as they are known.  One “Nerd” has had enough, and goes to the football field where the “Jocks” are being honored.  He is dipped in a pond, he is threatened, yet, he takes the mic and addresses the crowd, asking if any of them have ever felt like, or been called, a Nerd. He invites those people to join him on the ground below the stage.
     There is a powerful moment of silence. And then, one by one, a cheerleader, alumni, other “nerds” and a few “jocks” join him on the ground.  At the end of the scene, there are more “Nerds” than anyone else.
     I wonder what we would all look like if what folks saw when we walked around was our heart, the way that God sees it.  I am sure there would be more than a few surprises for us all. Yet we struggle, we beautiful children of God, with how others see us, but even more with how we see ourselves. 
     Some time ago, I saw a mirror with Jesus’s image lightly etched in the background.  No matter how you looked at the mirror, you had to see yourself through Jesus. I wish there were a better way to look at others through that reflection as well. It would be the root of many surprises, and a few shocks I am sure.
     Mulan – Reflection
 
Lord, help me to see YOU in me, help me to see the hearts of those around me and see YOU in those people too.  Let my face shine with your light and let me be a lighthouse for You.
 
     Because of Him,
     Linda

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