Wednesday, November 28, 2012
I found a spot a little further up the grass, it had a limited ocean view but was situated far enough away from the girl and not too close to a man who was also relaxing in a chair. Just as I sat down to begin my writing, the man who had been quietly looking out at the ocean got on his phone and seemed to also have a mega phone voice! Then the girl who was quite a ways away took it to another level and screamed, "I don't know what's going on! You need to talk louder I can't hear you!" It was like I had a stereo turned up with both speakers working too good! Just when I thought, "Is this a joke?" A man in front of me who had been working at the ocean front home turned on his leaf blower, the loud humming joined in with the yelling along with blowing dirt and leaves into the air around me. I could do nothing but laugh at that point. It was full surround sound...keeping me from any thought forming in my head other than, "My perfect lunch time is ruined!"
No, things weren't perfect; I was irritated and stuck in the middle of it! Just as my alarm went off signaling my lunch was over, the yelling girl, still on her phone, walked toward me and her car to leave. "Oh perfect timing I thought...NOW she's leaving! It's funny how life is usually like that and we fall victim to our "perfect plans," usually falling short. Even though it happens time and time again, we still allow ourselves to get upset and angry.
I stood up and reluctantly packed up my things; turning just in time to see an elderly lady shuffling along the sidewalk. I smiled at her, she said, "Beautiful day out isn't it?" "Yes it is," I agreed, as I looked out at the ocean. With that, Jean Rees came over and began talking to me. She told me about her life and her travels. She had worked at the library for years to keep her mind sharp. She also volunteered at the local theater up the hill in Newport as a treasurer. I knew I was going to be late getting back to work but I couldn't find it in my heart to excuse myself. She told me about her niece who was just diagnosed with breast cancer. I asked her name, "Julia," she replied. I told her I'd add her to the weekly prayer request I send out. With that she excitedly said she went to a church up the street and she wanted me to know that recently she put a couple of people on their prayer request. The first one was a lady diagnosed with Alzheimer's at the age of 40, but miraculously after prayer, the doctors said it was a "misdiagnosis." Then she added a boy who had leukemia. He was treated and it didn't work, they gave him no hope. But after he was put on the prayer list, they put him on a trial medication and was cured. With a steady, knowing look...she said, "You can never have too many people praying for you." We walked slowly together across the street. Just before I turned to head to my car and she began to head up the inclined street to her home, I stopped, smiled, touched her shoulder and said, "It was so nice meeting you Jean, we'll be praying for Julia...prayer is powerful!" "Thank you," she said with a twinkle in her eye, "It is."
I took a few steps and then decided that I wanted to get a picture of my new friend for my story. As I rounded the corner, I looked to where she should have been because of her slow shuffle, she couldn't have gone very far but she was nowhere in sight. I walked a little further toward the curb to see past a couple of cars...nothing. Wow, that's weird I thought, where could she have gone? I quickly got into my car and turned around to look again as I passed the street and the alley. Nothing. I thought, smiling to myself, "Well Jean either lives in the mansion on the corner or she's an angel." You can bet I'm going to be looking for her next Monday!
Either way, my day had purpose. I now had someone who needed prayer. We need to be willing to look for the opportunities the Lord puts in front of us each day? Can you still look for the good in your day when everything seems to be going wrong? It wasn't my "perfect day" but the Lord always has a plan and His plans are always perfect. He has a purpose for you each day. Seek His will and not your own today!
"Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." James 1:4
"Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him." James 1:12
"Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path." Psalm 119:105
"You are my refuge and my shield; I have put my hope in your word." Psalm 119:114
"My heart says of you, “Seek his face!” Your face, Lord, I will seek." Psalm 27:8
Friday, November 23, 2012
We walked into the grocery store on Thanksgiving afternoon to pick up a few last minute items to take to the family dinner. Once inside, my husband asked, "Do you think we need a basket?" "Probably," I replied, "we have to get drinks and a few other things." I started walking toward the aisle, while he headed out to get a basket. All of a sudden I hear a loud clanking and rattling sound moving quickly toward me. I turned around to see my husband hunched over the tiniest basket...you know...the kind that the grocery store sets out for little kids to push and shop along side their parents. I started cracking up and said, "What are you doing?" He curiously looked at me and said, "You said we only needed a few things so I though this was the perfect size." I continued to laugh and said, "That's a kids basket!" He didn't seem to care and it made total sense to him, (a few items=a small basket.)
People laughed as he passed by and turned around to stare at the tough looking guy pushing the kiddy basket around the store. We continued to shop as I tried to stay quite a distance in front of him to let it appear as if he was shopping alone. Everything fit inside his little basket perfectly until he grabbed the last item, a large case of water bottles. He had to balance them across the top and carefully hold it as we headed toward the checkout line...passing the smiling onlookers.
In the beginning the basket seemed like the perfect size for the minimal items, but ended up being too small. Your life can be like that tiny basket. You may be limiting the Lord through doubt and self-defeating, destructive thoughts. Your basket of faith and trust may be too small. The negative things you are saying about yourself and others may be hindering the growth in your life.
The Lord has an abundance of blessings and love He wants to shower on you, He is your Heavenly Father. Are you allowing Him enough room to fill up your "basket"? Are you willing to seek a relationship with Jesus Christ through prayer and daily scripture study, allowing Him to renew your mind, body and spirit? Start speaking the life giving words of the scriptures over your life and all those you come in contact with. Ask yourself today, "Is my basket too small?" Don't limit the things the Lord has prepared for you.
"For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end." Jeremiah 29:11
"For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds; Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;" 2 Corinthians 10:4-5
" In the multitude of my thoughts within me thy comforts delight my soul." Psalm 94:19
"Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you." Philiippians 4:8-9
Thursday, November 15, 2012
The doors were propped open. The weather was brisk but sunny. The sounds of praise music pouring out of the church to those playing in the park. As we sang each new song, the music filled me up with joy, lifting my spirit which had been beaten down throughout the daily grind of my day to day work week. Other members of the congregation seemed to also be filled with the life giving presence of the Holy Spirit...carrying the burdens away through the joy of music.
I noticed movement out of the corner of my eye just outside of the open door. Standing there was a little boy with down syndrome about 5 years old. He was wearing a red baseball cap and looking directly at me. I stopped singing for a moment and smiled and waved at him. This sweet, happy, adorable little guy continued to watch me and listen to the instruments and the sound of our voices. Then he raised up his arm to the sound of the music. A young innocent little boy could also feel the Spirit of the Lord, inspiring him to raise his arm in praise.
Don't forget that no matter what your facing or going through...the Lord is working behind the scenes. He is seeking to draw you closer to Him. Teaching you to trust and have faith in Him. Do not hinder the Holy Spirit from working in your life. Let go of the things you are clinging to so tightly...the things that are weighing you down. Give them to the Lord, allowing Him the freedom to work all things out for good.
"The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace." Psalm 29:11
"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28
"No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us." Romans 8:37
Wednesday, November 7, 2012
Do you remember working on puzzles when you were younger or perhaps you still work on them? Each piece with its curved shapes and angles needed to be placed in exactly the right spot and position to complete the puzzle. This process can take days, weeks & even months depending on the size, number of pieces and difficulty of the puzzle. I generally liked puzzles that were not too difficult but challenging enough to keep my interest without frustrating me. I’d place a certain one down and then realize there was no way it would work because the shape of the other pieces could not fit or be squeezed into it. The best part of puzzling was being able to make a mistake and knowing I’d be able to fix it and eventually get it right. I became excited as each misshapen piece began to take form, slowly revealing the entire beautiful picture that had been hidden when all the pieces were piled on top of each other inside the box. It was a delight to know that each and every piece had a purpose, a spot, a place it belonged...eventually becoming what it was supposed to be.
Life is like a puzzle. Each piece of your life has a purpose. Some pieces may not fit right at first...circumstances, bad decisions and choices you’ve made seemed to have misshapen your hopes, goals and dreams. Your perfect life picture is no longer visible. Things seem to be scattered. But that’s the beauty of Jesus Christ and His sacrifice. You can start over. You can have everything put perfectly back together. Yes I do mean EVERYTHING. A relationship with Christ takes all of your misshapen pieces of life and puts them together piece by piece, day by day, month by month and year by year. Until one day, you begin to see what the Lord has for you. A perfect picture of a life once in shambles, put back together again. A beautiful portrait waiting to finally take form through Christ’s loving, forgiving, sacrifice of eternal love for you.
Don’t let go of your hope. Your puzzle is still a work in progress. God’s given you a very difficult one because He knows that with His help, ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE. He has a good and perfect plan for your life. Each day is being carefully placed into the exact spot it needs to be to create the final picture. Enjoy today’s puzzle knowing that it fits perfectly into God’s plan for you!
"We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction..."
1 Thessalonians 1:3-5
"My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart, for they will prolong your life many years and bring you peace and prosperity. Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight."
"Pay attention and listen to the sayings of the wise; apply your heart to what I teach, for it is pleasing when you keep them in your heart and have all of them ready on your lips. So that your trust may be in the Lord, I teach you today, even you."Proverbs 22:17-19