March 4 – I’m Blessed, and That’s My Problem!

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The relationship I have with my wife is very special to me. We enjoy working together and love facing the daily challenge of life. Yet, sometimes our focus temporarily shifts to the “things to do” list, instead of relishing in all the blessings we enjoy right now. I have come to realize this is a trait of humanity; more blessing equals more pressing!

To those who see great provision, protection, and success comes the challenge close behind. God warned His people in the days of Moses to remember all the blessings when they came into the land flowing with milk and honey (Deuteronomy 6). He knows in the midst of greatness, the temptation to become disgruntled can be pretty strong.

Jen and I have discovered that when we take a moment to rehearse just a few of the good things we’ve experienced, our attitudes shift to the positive in a hurry. We find ourselves invariably giving thanks to God because we see His fingerprints all over the place.

That is my prayer today for every person on this planet. This is my prayer for America and every free nation in the world. May those who live and legislate in them awaken to the handprints of God and see all the blessings He’s poured out on them. May the sacrifices of those who’ve gone before speak loud and clear. And may we all realize and never forget that without the presence of God we would be nothing.

Lift up your head today. Look up from the task at hand for just a moment. And catch a glimpse of all the blessings surrounding you!

See, I am sending an angel ahead of you to guard you along the way and to bring you to the place I have prepared.   Exodus 23:20

 Deuteronomy 30:19 This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live.

March 3 – Musical Chairs

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The business of life swirls on and if you don’t move out of the way, in many cases, you get ran right over.   So, it is true, all of us have “business” to be about and yet, there is a divine purpose connected to an eternal clock ticking in the background of the daily hustle and bustle.   Since the ticking is not loud and obnoxious, it is often drowned out by the sounds of cultural norms and common noises.

But when asked what’s most important, many would unequivocally say the quiet ticking of eternity. So why are we so often consumed by the here and now and thus unaware of the ageless sound of God’s plans unfolding?

I believe it’s because the process is much like musical chairs. Musical chairs is one of those games that draws a crowd wherever played, especially if there are cakes or pies to be won. The game starts with a set amount of chairs, adequate for most of the contestants to get a seat.   And as the music plays, the people meander around the chairs in some sort of rhythm. But inevitably the music will stop and all must scramble to find a seat. And the game continues in this way until all but one contestant is left.

Hearing God’s ticking at the proper time, for me, is kind of like that process. I must move in sync with the motion of the day. But I must set my eyes and ears on the sound of the “music in the background.” When it is time to act, I must not be late or aloof.   True, the Bible speaks of a day when our Savior will come and wrap up what we call “today.”

For every day, in every life, He stops the music and speaks to us His direction. It is our habitual response to those often “quiet” directions that will prepare us for the day the whole world will know this game of musical chairs is finished!   For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; Matthew 24:38

Ecclesiastes 3:11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.

March 2 – Music In The Making

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Can you tell by now there is a rhyme and a reason to what’s going on? Somebody is orchestrating a piece of music that has been written for quite some time. And you and I are coming in at this particular stanza.   You probably feel like I do; sometimes ill- equipped! What am I doing? I don’t know the first thing about playing an instrument. By the way, which one am I supposed to be playing?   Stop! Stop worrying yourself. Close your eyes and lean into the rhythm. It’s there. It’s you! Not only are you part of the music, you are the actual “notes” themselves. You are destined and designed as a song of honor by the Father of Creation Himself.   So no time for wandering and worrying about stuff! You’ve got music to make! Press in and focus on the Conductor’s every direction and let Him take you where He wants your song to go.  

The LORD will command His lovingkindness in the daytime, and in the night His song shall be with me– Psalm 42:8 New King James Version

1 Chronicles 16:31 Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad; let them say among the nations, “The LORD reigns!”

March 1 – Get on the Train and Enjoy the Ride

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Who made you? Who knows you, I mean really knows you? Listen to King David pour out his heart to God in Psalms 139:

God, investigate my life; get all the facts firsthand. I’m an open book to you; even from a distance, you know what I’m thinking. You know when I leave and when I get back; I’m never out of your sight. You know everything I’m going to say before I start the first sentence. I look behind me and you’re there, then up ahead and you’re there, too—  your reassuring presence, coming and going. This is too much, too wonderful— I can’t take it all in! Is there any place I can go to avoid your Spirit? To be out of your sight?  If I climb to the sky, you’re there! If I go underground, you’re there! If I flew on morning’s wings to the far western horizon, You’d find me in a minute— you’re already there waiting! Then I said to myself, “Oh, he even sees me in the dark! At night I’m immersed in the light!” It’s a fact: darkness isn’t dark to you; night and day, darkness and light, they’re all the same to you. Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out;  you formed me in my mother’s womb. I thank you, High God—you’re breathtaking! Body and soul, I am marvelously made! I worship in adoration—what a creation! You know me inside and out, you know every bone in my body; You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit, how I was sculpted from nothing into something. Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth; all the stages of my life were spread out before you, The days of my life all prepared before I’d even lived one day.

God knows each of us better than we know ourselves. If the truth be known, He longs to introduce us to our real life (Colossians 3:1-4). Therefore, our lives are designed to simply be a journey with Daddy God guiding us from one place to the next. My prayer today for all of us is one derived from the statements of a dear brother in Christ; may we choose to get on the train and enjoy the ride! There is no need to worry about a thing because our heavenly Father has paid the tab and He is well able to handle any obstructions amidst the train tracks of life. Happy Travels!

Therefore I tell you, stop being perpetually uneasy (anxious and worried) about your life, what you shall eat or what you shall drink; or about your body, what you shall put on. Is not life greater [in quality] than food, and the body [far above and more excellent] than clothing? Matthew 6:25

 

 

February 28 – Special Access

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Learning curves are wonderful. They can be wild and wooly rides, but they are oh, so needed in this life. My husband experienced one of these early on in our country move.

We had decided to ride our bikes one evening here close to our house. My dad has a group of cows and calves and one bull in the pasture right next to us. As we rode that evening, we made our way down the road right by the cow pasture. Animals can really tell you a lot about life, by the way.

They are easy to read most of the time. In this case, the cows looked at us like a dogs at a new pan. They all looked up, stopped eating, and stood motionless as we, the “strangers,” rode right by their territory on funny, shiny metal things that moved in circles (our bikes). They were obviously thinking, “We have no idea who you are, you look strange, and we are watching you and guarding our babies like hawks until you make your happy way back down the road. (The bull didn’t look like he was saying anything.)”

Lorenzo was asking me a ton of questions as we made our way back and we laughed about their obvious opinion of us as “foreigners.” The next day, he happened to help my dad with some cattle chores on another place. He watched as he has several times as my dad’s truck gets into view and suddenly the cattle are surrounding the truck, hoping for some cubes (kind of like a treat that he gives them.)

My dad asked Lorenzo to get something from the truck after they unloaded some hay. As he was trying to walk, the cows were so close to him he could have petted them, not to mention how close they were to him! He was a bit unnerved at their total abandonment in his presence, each of them weighing around 800 lbs. and being so friendly, remembering the evening before! But being with the owner of the herd in the white truck made all of the difference in the world. He had gained special access!       

This is a beautiful truth! Jesus is the One who gives us special access to the Father. His sacrifice gave us the right to walk right in to the throne of God as His children, free and without guilt. When we confess him as Lord, something inside of us snaps together and we literally become a “new creation.”

This transaction gives us the liberty to walk as He asks us to walk in this life with the garment of a Father’s unconditional love wrapped around our shoulders. How wonderful, how marvelous!!!!   May we never lose sight of this awesome gift, and may we convince others in the way we live and the way we love that they, too, can have special access to the God and Father of all creation!

Jennifer

He said to them, “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to. Luke 13:24

 Biblical Meditation: John 14:6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me..

 

February 27 – Say What?

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When you move back home, you find so much that is familiar. And those things are constantly warming your insides up because it’s all connected to your childhood “hard drive.” I’ve been experiencing that over and over the past few weeks, and wow, I like it!

But another part of the familiar is the small part of UN-familiar. We’re in western Oklahoma flatland here, and the hills and gullies we have are few and far between. In the continuous spaces of grass pasture, there is an evil and devious enemy to all who live and work in these parts: the musk thistle.

Now if you’re like me, you have trouble even pronouncing that! And I don’t know a thing about this tacky weed. I have no familiar memory of battling it while I was being raised here. My cousin brought up his task of the day a few weeks ago: spraying all of the musk thistle.

I just looked at him in confusion. Say what? What is a musk thistle? Oh, by the way, it’s even against the law to allow them to grow. They have to be sprayed or dug up from the roots. Hmmm, that pesky intruder has to be eliminated, or else.

Sin is like that. Evil, deceptive, destructive, as Romans 6 says, it leads to DEATH. We’re talking basic right and wrong here. I know it’s not politically correct to talk about it, but the facts are, sin exists, it can ruin our lives, and it is insidiously persistent.

It doesn’t need an invitation, and no one is exempt from its advances! But like the musk thistle, with determination and a plan to root it out, the weeds of sin and all the little tiny seeds they hold can be bagged up and stopped in their tracks.

Don’t let those thistles and thorns of sin overtake your time here on earth. Place your trust in the One Who paid for them, and follow His directions for chopping them down. One at a time. You won’t be sorry!

Jennifer

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23

Biblical Meditation: 1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

 

February 26 – Scooter’s Big Day

 

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Do you remember the last time you tried to give your dog a bath? Our son Nathaniel tackled the job recently, and I was excited to be walking by the dining room window so I could catch some of the drama.

I have never seen a dog with such a stalwart opinion about getting wet, much less, being shampooed and combed with a brush! I can’t say that I would normally have equated a dog getting a bath with “discipline,” but the “not pleasant” and “painful” part of a verse in Hebrews I came across some time ago assures me I’m making a safe analogy!

Obviously, our dog hasn’t reached the point in training that she experienced “peace” while taking a bath. In fact, the comical part of the whole thing was her unwillingness to surrender to her present circumstances. She wiggled and squirmed like a greased pig.

Still, Nathaniel was stronger and determined, and the bath DID happen. Oh, how like that I can be. Wrestling with God like my arms are stronger, when all I have to do is take the plunge….fall into His loving embrace and ride the storm until the dawn.

Those stormy times train me to walk in peace and assurance, knowing that the Captain of my ship is fully aware and fully in charge.

You know, I don’t know who was wetter and soapier…Nathaniel, or Scooter. Make no mistake, God will roll up His sleeves and get dirty and wet right there with you, no matter where you are or what you are doing. And you’ll come out better for it by the end, knowing you weren’t alone!

Jennifer

No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. Hebrews 12:11

Biblical Meditation: John 14:23 Jesus replied, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.