It’s so good and NOVEL for me to be on VACATION. Unheard of for me to take 2 weeks off. Great flights, to Europe, easy in the middle of the week. Even loved the cute flight food. My daughter is VERY ready to learn all about travel and to be the independent woman she will be, yes a world traveler. And already she corrects me, I’m “just a tourist”, LOL …
We are blessed. Staying with my cousins in a village of just a few hundred people, with one coffee house, one restaurant, one store…. We have the first floor of their house which they are refurbishing, so this second kitchen has a teapot and pretty much all we need here, especially peace and quiet. The only bad was the pesky fly overnight, but today I found the flyswatter.
Going to a castle today from the 1300’s. The castles may be old, but the love never gets old. This week is already filling up with love of new old family, and I still haven’t hugged most of them yet. Looking forward to that. God Loves covers the miles apart.
The oldness of some buildings is quaint to us, but might be considered “run down” to others here…. the big church building here is from 1770, not officially abandoned but not in daily use, only used at Christmas. The doors are propped open with gates locked – and although exposed to the weather, it doesn’t really get as much rain as it gets vandalism… but the solid construction is fine and hearty. I know people in the US who say “look at the lack of people in the churches” – well Europe is way ahead of us there – the indifference is strong – the Lord is stronger however and those of faith do exist, like my cousins, but it is said that Europe is less and less “religious” – even if they do have the old churches and cathedrals that stand up to time. Someday we will see how this all pieces together, but for now it’s like being a spiritual tourist into a time forgotten.
My scripture reading matches the church issues – so much comes and goes – there are good kings and bad kings – churches open and close – but the Lord never changes. Learning about King Hezekiah, we find that when presented with the future plans God had for his people, he thought, well I’m ok now. We do think just in short time frames of our time on earth, but God is ALWAYS knowing BIG ETERNAL everything. We need to think more long-term, more God-term. Love will survive above all.
2nd Kings 20:17-21
Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, “Hear the word of the Lord: The time will surely come when everything in your palace, and all that your predecessors have stored up until this day, will be carried off to Babylon. Nothing will be left, says the Lord. And some of your descendants, your own flesh and blood who will be born to you, will be taken away, and they will become eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.”
“The word of the Lord you have spoken is good,” Hezekiah replied. For he thought, “Will there not be peace and security in my lifetime?”
As for the other events of Hezekiah’s reign, all his achievements and how he made the pool and the tunnel by which he brought water into the city, are they not written in the book of the annals of the kings of Judah? Hezekiah rested with his ancestors. And Manasseh his son succeeded him as king.
There’s no feeling like stepping out from a car and realizing you REALLY ARE going on a trip. This trip is 11 days, family and freedom to wander thru the wonders. Doesn’t matter the prep, how much or little, I stepped out of my friend’s car today and WHOA, reality hit, I better be ready now. Give it up to God, He’s in control and you HAVE to believe that now. No turning back.
The train I knew, flying I knew, 50lb weight limit I knew, longish lines and outrageous prices I knew. Trusting God? That’s all faith. That’s all Him being Him, us being dependent upon Him. That’s not us being weak, that’s us being smart. We NEED God to be God. Good thing He IS.
In every moment, we need Him. Just now, after I started to write, the flight crew paged for “if there was a doctor on board”. If I couldn’t sleep before, I can’t sleep now. I pray. We are 3 hours from our first stop. Not sure what’s going on with them, but the Lord knows. We wait on Him even when we DO know. We have to have faith always.
I am carrying a rock on this trip, in my backpack – usually it lives in my car. I painted it, it says “God is in control” – He is always, not JUST when I remember He is. I like this rock and I love the Rock, Jesus, because He has us covered either way, we live because He loves. I also have a card of Psalm 40:4 near my passport: “Blessed is the one who TRUSTS in the Lord.”
And one more card in my wallet window: “I am with you ALWAYS.”, Matthew 28:20, this is Jesus telling us He IS God and with us. We must begin here, He is here, every bump of turbulence, every unknown is known to Him.
Worship in Spirit and in Truth.
Trust IS the first step of worship.
PS, no news on that passenger, no news is good news. Good news is God news, the plane is still flying, God still IS in control. Amen Amen
I am preparing for what might be considered a trip of a lifetime, perhaps I am, but since I’ve been blessed to be on many “trips of a lifetime”, to many places, and some places twice, I am going to consider this a trip of a LIFELINE instead of a lifetime. A lifetime is once so YES, I consider my repeat trip to my ancestral homeland as connecting and reconnecting a Life LINE of family, faith, friendship, and future… And since this is my daughter’s first time overseas, you could consider it a trip of a lifetime for her, YES, and I do pray a spectacular trip, but I also want it to be a lifeLINE, the first of MANY trips here!
With family here, she gets to meet her generation as well as the younger and the older, those up to her grandmother’s generation, and we can look at photos and learn some stories of survival and thriving. Instant family will be in sight from just a flight, we are sure blessed alright!
A trip of a LifeLine: How could I not think of my great grandparents who left for good reasons and never got to visit back, the world wars, local wars, the finances too… This is not a cheap trip, but worth every penny to us.
A trip of a LifeLine: Likewise, how could I not think of the Lord coming to earth and stepping out of Heaven for Good Reasons and never turning back.That was not a cheap trip, but worth every soul, to the Lord.
A LifeLine, one Life at a time. It’s worth the trip. With Jesus as our LifeLine, we will be fine.
Letter of Paul to the Ephesians 4:7-13
But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. This is why it says:
“When he ascended on high, he took many captives and gave gifts to his people.”
(What does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions? He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.) So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
Psalm 68: 18-20
When you ascended on high, you took many captives; you received gifts from people, even from the rebellious – that you, Lord God, might dwell there.
Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens. Our God is a God who saves; from the Sovereign Lord comes escape from death.
It’s in good hands I leave home while I travel, I leave home in God’s Hands.
It’s in good hands I rest my worries, I leave them in God’s hands.
It’s in good hands I trust work will get done, or at least won’t fall apart, I leave it in God’s hands.
It’s in good hands I put my stress, ego, mind, body, soul, life, loves, hopes, flaws, strengths, confidences, weaknesses, boldness, humility, humanity, whole-kit-and-kaboodle-ness, I PUT THEM IN GOD’S HANDS.
Because He already has them. Because He knows what to do with them. Because He is a Good God. Because He IS GOD.
In Good God Hands.
Psalm 24:1-2, 8-10 (of David)
The earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. For he hath founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the floods…..
Who is this King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, you gates; lift them up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. Who is he, this King of glory? The Lord Almighty— he is the King of glory.
Jesus, the Way, gave away the Whole Kit and Kaboodle of Himself for all our eternal lives. Not any human measurable items, not riches nor fame, a Gift from not just hands, but heart and whole, Jesus gave it all.
Hands down. Jesus gave it ALL.
Like the Father watching for His prodigal sons (and daughters) to return after venturing out into the world, God waits for us to return. And God in Jesus comes after us. Likewise, God gave away His richest most valuable treasure, gave away His Son’s Life for all to be redeemed, freely redeemed our sins for welcoming home all whose names are in the book of life to stay alive forever in GLORY. Oh, His Joy for when He sees us turn the bend for home. And who is in the Book of Life? All of us who believe in the redemption of Jesus for our sins. All who realize where our treasure really is. All who call Jesus Lord and Follow. We have to be Willing to Lose our Lives for Him.
We are already called to be in God’s SUV “Savior’s Ultimate Victory” biggest car wagon of Life with Jesus in the driver’s seat driving us home away from our junk. Even if we packed it – he just leaves the hatch open and it flies out the back. His Venture to Victory now becomes the finish lap to collect His Treasures: US!!!
Jesus removes our burdens, His Yoke is Light, because He has ultimate horsepower under the hood, and each of us gets a saving faith trip. Anything we think we need to carry – baggage of treasures or trash – is placed on the roof and Jesus hits the gas and it flies away – we don’t need it – we are in the car and on our way. Freed for forever. (Just buckle your seatbelt so you don’t lean out the window looking back at your old life left behind. Let the dead fall under road tread.
NO GRUMBLING ALLOWED FROM THE WHEEL WELL SEATS!
And the unbelievable part? It’s a free ride, already paid, a toll was paid by the Driver. We slide thru the scanner and all is removed from your history bank account, all is credited on account of your faith.
Our hands feet and hearts are freed to work in acts of faith as from our calling and what we are driven to say, act, be is to benefit all weary travelers, all those who need to hear “Dump your junk” – “Ride with the King” – “Lamb Lyft” – “Saved by Grace” – “Riding on the fumes of faith” – “Not Worthy Wanderers Welcome”- “Low Rider’s Dip Trip” – “Was, Is, Is To Come Taxi” – “Shining Stars Shuttle” – “Almost Home”…
The ultimate bumper sticker: “GOT JESUS?”
Gotta go, “My Ride is Here”.
Imitating Christ’s Humility
Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death — even death on a cross!
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Do Everything Without Grumbling
Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.
Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky.
God showed me an important scripture that brought me solace and peace. A personal message that God revealed – it connected to me when I asked for some gem of the day. It comforts me to stay on the right track by praying and asking, working and wondering, for particular and all people to HEAR HIM, for them to know Him, to taste His forgiveness and to know His lift.
Yes, it’s the whispers of scripture to our hearts, souls, minds which overtake any other background worldly noise. If you ask and pray, God thru Jesus, the Word of God made flesh being the bible Himself, will answer your prayers before you ask. Before Him, no prayers are wasted. It is OK – and CRUCIAL – to ask God in prayer for people’s ears to hear. People we know and a multitude we don’t. God is telling us to stay on trackand trust Him working within each person.
The scripture, an old testament little gem, 2nd Chronicles 30: prayers by the king for people who had not cleansed themselves, yet they ate... But Hezekiah prayed for them, saying, The good Lord pardon every one That prepareth his heart to seek God, the Lord God of his fathers, though he be not cleansed according to the purification of the sanctuary. And the Lord hearkened to Hezekiah, and healed the people.
A second gem:
For if ye turn again unto the Lord, your brethren and your children shall find compassion before them that lead them captive, so that they shall come again into this land: for the Lord your God is gracious and merciful, and will not turn away his face from you, if ye return unto him.
The train tracks of earthly life that we are on ARE HIS and return to Him. We have an engineer conductor and a caboose – an Alpha and Omega – JESUS… and for Him to move us, we have a Fireman Holy Spirit in charge of shoveling more coal into the boiler for steam. The caboose has grips to hold on to and stairs to climb. I climbed the caboose in joy this past weekend – and even sat in the seat with a bird’s eye view.
For those traveling with the Lord, you can stand and wave, for those who leave the sleeper car, the fresh air feels great and refreshing, and for those who ALMOST missed the train, there’s always a hand up for helping everyone.
We are the hands and feet of God – securing, pulling, hauling, holding ourselves AND anyone who we can come alongside with. Invite all to see what it is like riding with the Lord.
For those who know and don’t know Him, our prayers ARE heard. God’s spirit is telling us which side of the train to lean out – to watch and wave – to ask and pray – to reach out and save. God has been tracking all of the people and reaches for each one by name.
HE KNOWS where His train is going – to find and bring all HOME. His tracks are laid down in LOVE from His One heart. For out of Judah, the Word was commanded to come, Jesus came to Earth to bring us all along. Let us continue to pray for particular and all people to HEAR HIM, for them to know Him, to taste His forgiveness and to know His lift.
Ears and Eyes OPEN!
2nd Chronicles 30:1-27
And Hezekiah sent to all Israel and Judah, and wrote letters also to Ephraim and Manasseh, that they should come to the house of the Lord at Jerusalem, to keep the passover unto the Lord God of Israel. For the king had taken counsel, and his princes, and all the congregation in Jerusalem, to keep the passover in the second month. For they could not keep it at that time, because the priests had not sanctified themselves sufficiently, neither had the people gathered themselves together to Jerusalem.
And the thing pleased the king and all the congregation. So they established a decree to make proclamation throughout all Israel, from Beersheba even to Dan, that they should come to keep the passover unto the Lord God of Israel at Jerusalem: for they had not done it of a long time in such sort as it was written. So the posts went with the letters from the king and his princes throughout all Israel and Judah, and according to the commandment of the king, saying, Ye children of Israel, turn again unto the Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, and he will return to the remnant of you, that are escaped out of the hand of the kings of Assyria. And be not ye like your fathers, and like your brethren, which trespassed against the Lord God of their fathers, who therefore gave them up to desolation, as ye see.
Now be ye not stiffnecked, as your fathers were, but yield yourselves unto the Lord, and enter into his sanctuary, which he hath sanctified for ever: and serve the Lord your God, that the fierceness of his wrath may turn away from you.
For if ye turn again unto the Lord, your brethren and your children shall find compassion before them that lead them captive, so that they shall come again into this land: for the Lord your God is gracious and merciful, and will not turn away his face from you, if ye return unto him.
So the posts passed from city to city through the country of Ephraim and Manasseh even unto Zebulun: but they laughed them to scorn, and mocked them. Nevertheless divers of Asher and Manasseh and of Zebulun humbled themselves, and came to Jerusalem.
Also in Judah the hand of God was to give them one heart to do the commandment of the king and of the princes, by the word of the Lord.
And there assembled at Jerusalem much people to keep the feast of unleavened bread in the second month, a very great congregation. And they arose and took away the altars that were in Jerusalem, and all the altars for incense took they away, and cast them into the brook Kidron. Then they killed the passover on the fourteenth day of the second month: and the priests and the Levites were ashamed, and sanctified themselves, and brought in the burnt offerings into the house of the Lord. And they stood in their place after their manner, according to the law of Moses the man of God: the priests sprinkled the blood, which they received of the hand of the Levites.
For there were many in the congregation that were not sanctified: therefore the Levites had the charge of the killing of the passovers for every one that was not clean, to sanctify them unto the Lord.
For a multitude of the people, even many of Ephraim, and Manasseh, Issachar, and Zebulun, had not cleansed themselves, yet did they eat the passover otherwise than it was written. But Hezekiah prayed for them, saying, The good Lord pardon every one
That prepareth his heart to seek God, the Lord God of his fathers, though he be not cleansed according to the purification of the sanctuary.
And the Lord hearkened to Hezekiah, and healed the people.
And the children of Israel that were present at Jerusalem kept the feast of unleavened bread seven days with great gladness: and the Levites and the priests praised the Lord day by day, singing with loud instruments unto the Lord.
And Hezekiah spake comfortably unto all the Levites that taught the good knowledge of the Lord: and they did eat throughout the feast seven days, offering peace offerings, and making confession to the Lord God of their fathers.
And the whole assembly took counsel to keep other seven days: and they kept other seven days with gladness. For Hezekiah king of Judah did give to the congregation a thousand bullocks and seven thousand sheep; and the princes gave to the congregation a thousand bullocks and ten thousand sheep: and a great number of priests sanctified themselves.
And all the congregation of Judah, with the priests and the Levites, and all the congregation that came out of Israel, and the strangers that came out of the land of Israel, and that dwelt in Judah, rejoiced. So there was great joy in Jerusalem: for since the time of Solomon the son of David king of Israel there was not the like in Jerusalem. Then the priests the Levites arose and blessed the people: and their voice was heard, and their prayer came up to his holy dwelling place, even unto heaven.
I do love visiting with people, that’s just part of my nature… and having spent every other day for a short visit to my grandmother’s nursing home from my birth until age eleven, I understand the temporary nature of nursing home visits and the importance… And I have empathy for the permanent situation they are in… It seems like a routine of flying in like a bird feasting on love and smiles and flying just as quickly out…
Some folks entering may be overwhelmed with the sadness of the people’s situation… Some may be caught up (especially with their own family members) in the guilt of such a short visit as well as feeling the pain of seeing them decline…and not being able to drop their baggage of the inevitably grave situation…
Visit briefly, flutter in like a bird… share Jesus’s pure love, while dropping your own baggage at the door…
You are called to have compassion, as in Romans 12:15 (KJV) “15 Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.”… With this recent visit I was reminded how nice visiting the nursing home is… Nice isn’t sufficient a word… I LOVE visiting… The first man I met grabbed my hand and wished me peace. He became my go to guy for music inspirations. Joe. Such a sweet exchange… Smiles come from all the people, especially when they see the kids… I get to share smiles and hand holding, no prep work needed… Abundant Grace gifts of community all around. As a friend from our church led the service, my daughter prepped the communion cups… My shy guy just looked cute… I thought I would ask them what they wanted to sing, and being it was the 4th of July weekend we sang some patriotic songs… and I suggested Amazing Grace… they loved singing of course. After the service one woman said how much she appreciated the service, and could understand the message…
Many well wishes and compliments abound from these lovely people. We are not family, so there are no expectations, no entitlements, just affirmations of community, just free love to flow back and forth. After service they “dashed” off to bingo… I could envision them concentrating on their own boards while keeping a watchful eye over each other’s numbers… Keeping a watchful eye over each other’s lives… On the way out I met a man, a veteran, who couldn’t hear me, said he was a paratrooper jumping out of planes and lost his hearing from that, and he didn’t get the health care he needed as a vet… He told me in his youth that he could catch fish just using his bare hands… Hmmm…. He just scooped his hands to show me how easy it is to catch fish.
These people held my hands as I held theirs but truly they captured my heart… Through the love showered on me, it reminds me that I am just one of the lucky fish that HE, our Heavenly Father, caught in HIS hands. No entitlement expected, just an affirmation that I appreciate of His LOVE. Telling me to live my life in a way that when I am weak, I am strong…
The scripture reading (2 Corinthians 12) was fitting and a comfort to me and hopefully to them… God knows there’s pain, anguish, loneliness, personal battles… a thorn in your side…. Paul reminds us to remember to stay humble, to stay weak so that we stay connected to God, and look to Jesus to show us the way to true inner joy and peace… The cross you carry, no matter how painful, is there to give you hope, it’s your way to your salvation into an eternal life….
2 Corinthians 12 (NIV)
Paul’s Vision and His Thorn
I must go on boasting. Although there is nothing to be gained, I will go on to visions and revelations from the Lord. I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know—God knows. And I know that this man—whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, but God knows— was caught up to paradise and heard inexpressible things, things that no one is permitted to tell. I will boast about a man like that, but I will not boast about myself, except about my weaknesses. Even if I should choose to boast, I would not be a fool, because I would be speaking the truth. But I refrain, so no one will think more of me than is warranted by what I do or say, or because of these surpassingly great revelations. Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
I keep hard copies of my chapters of writing in a “Subaru… Feel the LOVE” bag – yeah cool… Yeah BLESSED.
Got the bag from a very spiritual friend, who thoughtfully got it for me at a car show a couple of years ago… He was the one who called me out of the blue to wish me a happy mother’s day and we caught up from a long while… How blessed I could share how God had changed me…
How blessed also I was this morning to have someone check on me, worried I was ill with my head down, when actually I was just so deep in thought sitting in my car, writing a text…. It’s nice to have thoughtful people around isn’t it???
For VBS, I know the final take home cost of our sanctuary decorations this year was zero…. Not even the tape cost us, all was donated, reused and trash picked… most of the materials were donated (even the food)… Enabling us to keep under the total expenditures way down, WOW…
Yeah, God provides…
I especially like to use trash picked stuff because I remember God takes us, picks us up, removes our trash baggage of sin with Jesus death and resurrection, and reuses us, washes us clean, and reminds us we are loved… And gives us eternal life….
Dust to dust we are all made from God’s reuse and recycling…
Thanks God for picking me up, dusting me off, and focusing my eyes on you!
All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again. Ecclesiastes 3:20
For then the dust will return to the earth, and the spirit will return to God who gave it. Ecclesiastes 12:17
In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return. Genesis 3:19 NIV
The rainbow text message photos from a local friend called to me to get off my chair and outside. And WOW, a FULL rainbow, start to finish, and it was a double too. Not much rain but a reign of blessings and promise and hope is always signaled when we remember God’s promises. The previous day there was a rainbow too.
Tomorrow, I don’t know about rainbows in the sky, but will God’s promises still be there? Yes, promises and hope from God are ALWAYS shining thru, it’s up to us to blow away some of our clouds of life and notice the silver-linings and promises fulfilled – then embrace the Lord in thanks. He will help us plant good things in our lives so that He can water them. He sends the rains and rainbows.
When Moses instructed his people about the new land God gave them, he spoke of the Lord sending the spring and fall rains. These were agricultural folk, dependent upon the land and their livestock. But we are rarely more than simple gardeners, only a few seeds here and there for colorful flair and the joy of working the soil. Oh, the vibrant colors of Fall, the harvest season are feast for the eyes. The cool crisp feeling also gives us a reminder to prepare for the winter (even if it is raking up leaves in shorts).
Some things seem easy and yet all is not all easy for so many and this life may seem to bring us storms or we feel we have too much rain or not enough. Hopefully all our angst is only seasonal, and prayerfully many do have a storage tank of rain to spare and share. We do have MANY blessings. My onerous task this morning was NOT working my farmstead but opening a can of spaghettios for my son’s lunch. Times have changed. He didn’t venture to the fields for work, but to school in a car with a friend after a trip to the local haunt for a breakfast sandwich. Our milk and honey promised land is flowing in conveniences and blessings. So, that also means we have more time to think about THANKING GOD. And isn’t’ that what our promise pledge should be? THANKING GOD.
And what about planting our fields? Our gardens? Let us now make GARDENS OF FAITH, FIELDS OF FORGIVENESS, and take on the praiseful barnstorming of worship, in our vast landscape of thankfulness.
We are to till the soil for others now too, soften our hearts and look for seed planting openings. Let’s open opportunities for sharing. When the people ask: “What’s in your garden?” Let’s reply: “I’m cultivating HOPE, FAITH, FORGIVENESS and LOVE.”
Our lives change, our burdens differ, but the Lord is the same.
God keeps His promises.
Let us also keep the HOPE.
Moses teaching how to live in a new land, Deuteronomy 11:8-15
Observe therefore all the commands I am giving you today, so that you may have the strength to go in and take over the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess, and so that you may live long in the land the Lord swore to your ancestors to give to them and their descendants, a land flowing with milk and honey. The land you are entering to take over is not like the land of Egypt, from which you have come, where you planted your seed and irrigated it by foot as in a vegetable garden. But the land you are crossing the Jordan to take possession of is a land of mountains and valleys that drinks rain from heaven. It is a land the Lord your God cares for; the eyes of the Lord your God are continually on it from the beginning of the year to its end.
So if you faithfully obey the commands I am giving you today—to love the Lord your God and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul— then I will send rain on your land in its season, both autumn and spring rains, so that you may gather in your grain, new wine and olive oil. I will provide grass in the fields for your cattle, and you will eat and be satisfied.
I knew I had to write about broken chains while popping adhesions of scar tissue in my shoulder during physical therapy… So, many parallels to the release of us from the weight of chains, of life-stress holding us down… The adhesions popped with active stretching after my post-op inactivity laid down a rare case of tremendous scar tissue. These were painful powerful releases of my shoulder’s mobility from chains… I heard many pop over the course of four months… yes, I heard them as powerful as I felt them… so when the doctor said there was no choice, time for more surgery, I REJOICED because I needed this opportunity to move from 70% mobility to 100%… A precise calculated cut of tissue… Surgery the price I gladly paid for my shoulder freedom.
Can you imagine this tremendous visual of God breaking our physical mental emotional chains in order to be free?… God calms our hearts, cheers our hearts, cleanses our hearts… God paid the price by sending Jesus to do this for us! A ransom for our bondage. We walk away from our gates of prison.
Jesus lets us break free of the chains of the world crushing in on us, radically freeing us from the chains of sin – God frees us with a Savior!
God wants us to move forward and exclaim the freedom He grants us… We are to spread the Good News… Jesus came to free us.
There’s a praise song “Love Came Down” “LOVE broke thru the darkness, now I can finally see, Paid the price for my freedom, No more chains on me…and the Savior came, and He took the blame, changed everything… “
At our women’s retreat, my beautiful spiritual friend spoke about these chains being broken – BUT WE NEED TO LIFT THEM OFF... I can see her doing the movements of removing chains… We have to stand up to shake them off.
God broke our restrictive chains, but it is up to us to realize that we are free to live in His LIGHT… GRACE is not something we deserve but we are gifted this freedom because God LOVES us!
It’s a process… It’s walking forward… It’s following stepping stones to the LIGHT… The path is narrow but it is sure… Look for the lighted stepping stones… even take a step in JOY.
Step out of your chains. You are released.
Keep walking in the LIGHT to new life… Forever… Keep walking away from your chains.
Here are two scripture stories about being released from prison chains –
Acts 12 NIV
Peter’s Miraculous Escape From Prison
It was about this time that King Herod arrested some who belonged to the church, intending to persecute them. He had James, the brother of John, put to death with the sword. When he saw that this met with approval among the Jews, he proceeded to seize Peter also. This happened during the Festival of Unleavened Bread. After arresting him, he put him in prison, handing him over to be guarded by four squads of four soldiers each. Herod intended to bring him out for public trial after the Passover.
So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him.
The night before Herod was to bring him to trial, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and sentries stood guard at the entrance. Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him up. “Quick, get up!” he said, and the chains fell off Peter’s wrists.
Then the angel said to him, “Put on your clothes and sandals.” And Peter did so. “Wrap your cloak around you and follow me,” the angel told him. Peter followed him out of the prison, but he had no idea that what the angel was doing was really happening; he thought he was seeing a vision. They passed the first and second guards and came to the iron gate leading to the city. It opened for them by itself, and they went through it. When they had walked the length of one street, suddenly the angel left him.
Then Peter came to himself and said, “Now I know without a doubt that the Lord has sent his angel and rescued me from Herod’s clutches and from everything the Jewish people were hoping would happen.” When this had dawned on him, he went to the house of Mary the mother of John, also called Mark, where many people had gathered and were praying. Peter knocked at the outer entrance, and a servant named Rhoda came to answer the door. When she recognized Peter’s voice, she was so overjoyed she ran back without opening it and exclaimed, “Peter is at the door!”
“You’re out of your mind,” they told her. When she kept insisting that it was so, they said, “It must be his angel.” But Peter kept on knocking, and when they opened the door and saw him, they were astonished. Peter motioned with his hand for them to be quiet and described how the Lord had brought him out of prison. “Tell James and the other brothers and sisters about this,” he said, and then he left for another place.
Paul and Silas in Prison
Once when we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a female slave who had a spirit by which she predicted the future. She earned a great deal of money for her owners by fortune-telling. She followed Paul and the rest of us, shouting, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved.” She kept this up for many days. Finally Paul became so annoyed that he turned around and said to the spirit, “In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!” At that moment the spirit left her.
When her owners realized that their hope of making money was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to face the authorities. They brought them before the magistrates and said, “These men are Jews, and are throwing our city into an uproar by advocating customs unlawful for us Romans to accept or practice.”
The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten with rods. After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully. When he received these orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks.
About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose.
We are loved by God, so much that He keeps us thinking about Him… it might make us think (well I certainly did) that we are crazy contemplating Him so much, but He knows it is for our own good… it keeps us bearing His fruit and that means because of Him we are spreading the meanings of His Word and encouraging others…
“Blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.” Jeremiah 17:7-8 (and Psalm 1)…
God is “pinging” us… Yes, like a cell phone, if we were lost in the woods, the ping might help find us. The ping goes BOTH ways – towers and phones – both actively involved in communication…. Isn’t that what happens with God and us too? It’s not God pinging an inanimate object, like a rock, it’s God pinging the SPIRIT within us! We are filled with His SPIRIT, we can answer back, He can stir our souls because we ARE made of His stardust…. Even those souls who don’t know Him personally are His children… He pings them all.
How will we hear? What will we hear? How can we discern thru all the noise?
Perhaps the SPIRIT within each of us is constantly adjusting our antenna?…. Click-click, click-click, is how my Grandmother’s T.V. box for the big roof antenna would sound…
Yes, we can ask Jesus to hold His hands behind our ears like a receiving dish for God’s ping! We can ask Jesus to hold His hands behind our hearts as well, to heal our brokenness… Not simply like the fairytale boy with his finger in the dam to stop it from breaking, no. Jesus can hold His hands behind our hearts to allow HIS living water to flow thru our hearts and back out thru those same cracks to nourish others… Jesus allows us to show His healing thru our brokenness… Living Water moves…
That’s us – broken but on the mend – less us, more Him – lost but found – but NEVER really lost to God, He has been pinging us all along…
The amplification of His signal drowns out the noise, we become a tree next to the noisy rippling life-giving stream, bearing more fruit, connected, rooted in the Living Water… Have you heard the pings of those fellow people calling to God? Messages in a bottle? I bet you have…
Number one message – God loves you – He wants you to accept your brokenness to accept His healing – He loves you no matter what… And guess what? it’s not just love once a day at the “same time, same God station” – it’s eternal – forever… And why? So that we LOVE HIM and LOVE all His Children… we can show our actions are from His phone conversation in our ear because we picked up HIS call…
I sat in a powerful automatic car wash and I knew there had to be devotion in that experience – somewhere… It was already formulating AUTOmatically in my head and when I saw the last sign to “DRY-N-SHINE” – AUTOmatically I knew that was God’s message today and always… He wants us to SHINE HIS LOVE!
My car wasn’t awful dirty but certainly it could have been cleaner… (what am I saying? My peanut shell crumbs and life dust go on and on, purple bird poop from parking under trees was nothing compared to the inside explosion of who knows what!)…. Likewise I deceive myself into thinking that my life my soul are not as awful as I could imagine (What am I saying? My sins of omission alone and self righteousness go on and on, and oh the mistakes, the bird poop of the soul…).
Despite of all of our humanness, the Lord finds ways for us to cleanse, to find His Way – Living Water in a car wash – a soul-soaking cycle for SAVING. Every car is dirty, every soul is a sinner – all sin is equal – all soul-saving means savoring the Savior.
Inside the wash, my car was on a single track, I had to put it in neutral and let the machine do its work automatically. In life we can look for the narrow but sure path – and we have to actually put our agendas in neutral and let the Spirit take over. Let Jesus do His work – automatically the Spirit pulls us, DON’T even think about putting it back in gear…
Inside, the car was dry, warm and dark! While the whirling bristles and flashing lights outside were like lightning and thunder, I felt the calm in the storms. Under God’s wings we are safe and sound – even if we see the enemies about – even if we hear the roar of earthquakes – calmness will help us hear the whispers of the Lord.
The car got not just one, but many many swirling brushes – many many slapping flaps… One round of clean up is never enough, nor is it sufficient if you skip the hidden areas… Likewise sin and life require lifting the dirt under the dirt… our Savior understands and comes to clean continuously…
Actually, I really wasn’t worried about how the outside looked at all, I really wanted the unlimited time to vacuum and to sort my car on the inside. Jesus doesn’t worry about the outside of you either, Jesus wants to look inside and vacuum – first you can take out the big chunks out by hand – bottles under seats and logs from eyes… God wants you to feel beautiful. GOD LOVES YOU!
At the vacuum stations, my red car neighbors were arguing about scratches, on the gas cover. I stood grateful for realizing that my life scratches, most of which are of my own doing, car AND soul, were being washed. My dents are like Mader’s tow truck dents from the movie “Cars”, they are my memories… My tears, my thorns are my humility reminders, my smiles are in that car too… My joy is measured in miles… Eternally smiles and joy are in the Lord, as eventually we will enter the body shop of Heaven.
And at the end of the car wash what sign do I see illuminated? “SHINE!” Car buffing came included with this ultimate wash package. SHINE! Guess what? Jesus sends the Holy Spirit to each of us and forevermore so that we can SHINE. We are sent out into the world, driving to wherever His SHINE is needed. His LOVE flows miles and miles.
You know this shining up of my car did not cost me anything today!!!… I texted and got a free wash – a top of the line wash for FREE!!!… (yeah sure now they have my number)… You know what? OUR choice to follow Jesus is FREE-ing and doesn’t cost us anything either but it does cost us our own lives. Jesus has got our number and He will forever be pinging us to find us. We can hand our lives over in exchange for His, because He gave His life in exchange for ours – FOREVER… Free washes, free salvation, the owner of our souls already paid…
Of course it is not my boast to SHINE – it’s NOT of my own doing – it’s not even going to prevent me from having new sins, life is life, we mess up. However, the ability to shine is going to give me a chance to heal and to tell others of my healing by the Body and Soul Shop of the Spirit. It is in humbling gratitude that we know the splashes of mud will come, we are bound to repeat our need to be cleansed, we will have remorse, and when we repent we will be forgiven, re-cleaned, souls refreshed.
So take your mud and your scratches, those in your car and in your life and keep driving forward – for you are now commissioned – you are cleansed by the Living Water- it’s time to for you to DRY-N-SHINE!
I have been called Pollyanna, often…. I forget the hard times I remember the good times, I have no idea why. I just know that I have very little right to complain, especially with how much God has blessed me.
Last time I was called a Pollyanna…. My thought was “good for me, sorry you’re not one too”, “sorry for your downer attitude”… I have to say that I should pull back my Pollyanna now and be more pensive.
From 8th grade on, when I turned into an outward-facing person, I walked away from my shyness, left it behind, I have been an enthusiastic person ever since (annoying yes, sorry)… Do I choose to show my dark places? no, not usually, and it is I who choose not to dwell there too long – or perhaps because I know God has new things for me – or because look how He has delivered me SAFE THUS FAR.
Just like this book passage states (photos attached) from a book my Pastor gave me, the writer talks about a man who looks on the bright side even in tragedy. I know someone in real life who did this, an amazing 87yr old retired coach, was a greeter at my children’s school and then the local tire place where people sat and waited and wow blessed if he came to talk to them….if I could be half as enlightened as he is at 87yrs of age, well that would be awesome…. He ALWAYS SAID: “HOW BLESSED AM I?” We always agreed – blessed and blessed because he counted his blessings.
Let’s just say God figures out how to make our enthusiasm knobs turn up to 11…. and plug it into the right channel.
The book passage acknowledges these types of people: “This true jouneyman of faith lived as a pilgrim. He didn’t deny life’s challenges. He understood that no place in this life is permanent. We just have stopping places, not staying places.”
Friday night could not have predicted Sunday night memories of a great weekend… The Mercy of the Lord abounded to me… You could say that this is TMI for a devotion, but this story is the truth: God rallies us – He rallied me when I asked… “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
Seeking the Lord’s intervention…
That Friday afternoon I had FOOD POISONING! YEAH food poisoning, knew EXACTLY what food must have caused it… But Saturday I had major plans for my Polar Plunge with 8000 other crazy fun people, plus my daughter came home this weekend. On Sunday I wanted to be singing at church AND my son had been planning a rock climbing excursion with friends.
And I got FRIDAY FOOD POISONING… UGH
And so I put my plans in His…
And God rallied me…
I turned my plans over to Him and He turned my life around. Why? Maybe because I ASKED. Maybe because of my stubborn willpower or maybe because I am greedy for my own plans? At any rate, that weekend with so many great memories now was ONLY made possible by God, requested by my fevered prayers at the guard rail, humbled and hurling…. if it’s TMI so sorry, but a guard rail makes for an impromptu Friday evening, side of the road, PRAYER RAIL… I knew EXACTLY what I ate wrong (my fault)… At that guard rail I went through hell and back in 5 minutes… I was SURE it was food poisoning not viral (an added fevered prayer was that I didn’t want my family to get sick. They didn’t, and I had no other symptoms, my body rejected that poison soon after it went in)…
I made it. God made it better as soon as I collected my thoughts to pray. 3 hours later I felt recovered and I knew WHY. He’s saved me from worse.
Today my face, and my bagged eyes, are still flushed and bruised from all that guard rail trauma and strain. But I made it, Lord. God is good.
I prayed being so very aware that I had to SURRENDER ALL my plans to Him… how I recovered so certainly and quickly was because of God… I was so surprised, maybe I shouldn’t be so surprised that God can answer so specifically…