Saturday, May 23, 2015

Junk Drawers and Front Yards

Not long ago my husband and I went for a Sunday afternoon drive and I enjoyed gazing at the passing homes and envisioning the people who lived there.
There was a great contrast in homes ... from the ghastly to the sublime - and yes, believe it or not, someone was living in the 'home' on the right.

I suspect that most of you, like me, have a junk drawer or closet that is on your 'to-re-organize' list. Conveniently, these closets and cupboards have doors and drawer faces that present an impressive facade to our guests and hide the chaos within.

How we keep the outside of our home and our front yard is not so easy to hide - it is there in plain view for all who pass by to see and pass judgement.

I was wondering .....

Do we also have 'junk drawers' and 'closets' in our heart that we intend to one day re-organize and clean but we put it off for a more convenient day ?  
To those we invite into our life -  our guests, as it were,  it is easy to hide what we don't wish them to see and present to them only what we choose for them to know about us.

But .....
Did you ever consider that when God walks past the hearts of men, there is no hiding what is in our hearts?  Our hearts are laid bare and displayed in every detail in our 'front yard'. He sees right through the facades we have created to hide our 'stuff' from view.    

 David understood that nothing could be hidden from God  and he cries out ...  
 "O God, You know my foolishness; And my sins are not hidden from You". Ps. 69:5

 Haggar, Sarah's Egyptian slave, fled into the wilderness away from Sarah who had punished her.  When God spoke to her, she responded with surprise that God knew about her and saw her and saw her heart thoughts  ..."Then she called the name of the LORD who spoke to her, You-Are- the-God-Who-Sees; for she said, "Have I also here seen Him who sees me?"  Gen. 16;13
To Haggar God became ..... "The-God-Who-Sees". 

If every thought, every deed, every action, every re-action,  every word was laid out in full view for all to see in the front yard of your heart .. what would it  look like ?   Would it be like the house on the left, everything in order and carefully tended? -  - OR - would it look embarrassingly like the house  on the right ?
Would you be ashamed to see God come walking down Heart Street toward your heart home?  Would you wish you had worked harder at getting your front yard cleaned up and beautified?

We have been given a sharp  gardening tool to 'landscape' our heart garden and remove from it the weeds and allow the 'good and pure' to grow and flourish. That tool is the word of God!
  Heb_4:12  For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. 

We also have a Gardener waiting and willing to help us ...
Do you need to give Him a call?
Dial ... HEAVEN 911, He is always available.

Monday, April 13, 2015

God's Supernatural Care

We recently spent a week in Maui and saw things that were so new to our 'untraveled' eyes.
 I was reminded again and again how creative our God is and varied and how incredibly beautiful His earth is.
We gazed at this lovely rainbow from our lanai (balcony) for about an hour. To me a rainbow is always an emotional reminder to me of God reaching into our physical realm  to show the reality of His invisible realm - how true His promises to us are.

This morning, I had an insight that answered a niggling question I have had in the back of my mind for years.
I wrote a post about an experience I had in July of 1998. You can find it here  

While I have always believed in my heart that Dr. Koo was an angel, I have always entertained the question I had about why she was there for ME.   The experience of course was enough ...  but I still felt that there must have been a reason other than just giving me a 'special' experience.

This morning as we were having breakfast, I suddenly felt I had just been given the insight I had sought.

Over the years, I have continued to have those painful pericarditus attacks.  I no longer rush to the hospital emergency...  I just take my Toridol medication and ride out the attack.
Recently, I had a very severe attack that lasted hours longer than the attack normally lasts .  I had already taken my daily dose of my regular anti-inflammatory meds and my rheumatologist has warned me not to take two different anti-inflammatories in one day.
So when I recognized the attack coming, I took my regular anti-inflammatory, but it did nothing to lesson the pain.

I know that my rheumatologist is somewhat hesitant to continue prescribing the Toridol for my attacks, but she trusts me not to abuse it and has always graciously continued to prescribe it.
Actually, there have been times I myself wondered if it was psychological on my part that I just believed that only the Toridol was able to control the pericarditus attacks.
I have no scientific reason for why only the Toridol anti-inflammatory med. is able to offer me relief... and it seems that medical science does not know the reason either, and therefore would never have thought to prescribe it for me/  Except for God supernaturally sending me that 'doctor angel'  I may never have known about Toridol and I shudder to think of the suffering I would have had to endure over the years ... Many emergency trips to the hospital and administered morphine.

But after that  recent last experience when I was not able to take the Toridol, I know for a fact that other anti-inflammaties do not offer any relief for my pericarditus attacks.

Does God provide all that we need ??  YES, indeed .. and if He needs to reach down supernaturally into our physical realm then He will do so !  
How great is our God ??

I read something last week  that resonated with me ...
"First God sends the solution, then He sends the problem."    
Need we ever fear ??  no ...  as Jesus said to Peter .. "Fear not, is it I!"  If Jesus is with us, we are 'covered'!

God knows every detail of our lives and all that we could ever need ... and He will provide it "out of His great riches in glory!"  How supernatural is that ??

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Knitting a Lesson

My mother taught me to knit when I was 5 years old.  At first I just moved the stitches from one needle to the other, the only 'growth' happening when my mother 'borrowed' my work for a time. I remember well how I enjoyed the hours I sat in my little chair 'knitting' and proudly showed my Dad what I could do when he came home from work. 

It has been a life long hobby for me. 

Last summer , I picked up some yarn in a specialty wool shop on a vacation day with girl friends. 
Because I was not willing  to hold the group up, I took only a few minutes to peruse this shop wishing I could stay for hours.   There was one yarn, however, that I simply could not pass by - a variegated yarn in my favourite colours,  a blend of wool and silk from Italy, hand painted in Chile - how special is that?
I grabbed a couple of skeins and quickly paid for them, thinking that would at least be enough for a scarf.  
But now, what pattern?  What width?  I soon realized I had only enough for a narrow scarf and I searched for a stitch pattern that would compliment  rather than compete with the variegated yarn.  

As I tried one pattern after another, after unraveling my work several times because it wasn't quite right, I finally settled on one that pleased me. As I worked my scarf, .my thoughts were inspired to recognize the many analogies my project pictured.

Let me share them with you.

1. I loved the yarn too much to 'pass it by'
Isn't that how God is pictured in scripture?   Each one of us is too special in His eyes to 'pass us by' and He picks us up where He finds us.

2. I willingly paid the price. The yarn I bought was a little on the pricey side but I happily paid the price - it was worth it!
Hasn't God also, because we were so special to Him, paid the highest price possible - the death of His Son? He declares that we too were worth it to Him ...

3. I needed a special stitch to suit the yarn.   Aren't each of us 'wonderfully knit together in our mother's womb' - each with our own DNA?

4. Finding a suitable  pattern - For each of us, God looks for the perfect 'pattern' - or life circumstances -  that will complement our talents, natural abilities, interests, circumstances, personality ... so that that when we are completed we will be satisfied and He will be pleased and glorified.

5. Errors and mistakes are so easily 'unraveled' ...  I am also a seamstress and when I make a mistake in my garment I have to be pretty creative to cover it up, but I always know where it is and I can point out where it is, even if no one else would notice it. When I am knitting, and I make a mistake I can unravel my work to below the mistake and pick up the stitches again and continue knitting - no one, not even I could ever point to where the mistake is - it is as if it never was.  That is how God forgives - it is as if it never was.

6. Stitch by stitch, row by row -- only the knitter knows what the end result will look like. Watching someone knit the question is invariably asked "what are you knitting?"    Do we not often wonder the same about God's plan for our life ? "What are you making, God? I don't see what I will be."

7. Often in a knitted garment the wrong side does not show the beauty of the design the knitter is creating.  It doesn't look pretty at all sometimes, especially if the design is worked with multiply yarns.   So often the 'wrong' side of our life- this earthly side - does not show the glory of what God worked in and through us until it is revealed in eternity.

8. To a knitter its all about the knitting  Someone so truly said..."My husband and kids think the purpose of knitting is the garment, but they don't know the purpose of knitting is the knitting."  I often think of God looking at us with a 'knitter's heart'.   Its all about what He wants to do for us, delighting in daily 'loading us with benefits', blessing us ... just enjoying being with us and in us... communing and fellowshipping with us.

9.  When I bought the yarn to make a scarf, it was summer !  Not the season I could wear a wool/silk scarf over a sweater, but I worked on it anyway so I would have it put away ready to wear when the winter came.  So often God also works in our lives 'out of season' and we think everything is going wrong.  On the contrary,  often it is God working into our life today what we will need tomorrow, preparing us to be ready for some purpose or task that He will ask us to do in the future.

10. I did not have enough yarn to make my scarf as long nor as wide as I would need the scarf to be to be able to wear it in any style of current fashion, so I needed to be creative.   I had a little yarn left and out of it I fashioned a cabbage rose that I fastened to a band wrapped around the two ends of the scarf and I found some complementary yarn to lengthen the scarf with a fringe.   Isn't God like that with us too?   He has to work with very limited resources, I don't have much in me that is 'enough' and so God gets creative -  He takes the 'little' I give Him to work with and He creatively makes it more beautiful than I could imagine possible !

God has worked so many ways into our daily lives by which we can 'see Him' if we are looking for Him.
 Is He not ever so worthy of our love and devotion?

Monday, February 16, 2015

Lesson from the Oak Tree

Flanking our clubhouse entry sidewalk stand two oak trees. Oak trees have a unique characteristic that sets them apart from the other deciduous trees in our area.
In fall, we enjoy the changing colour of  leaves, but we know they will shortly turn brown and fall off.   All the trees follow that set pattern every year,  except the oak tree.  Their leaves turn a brilliant colour, then turn brown but the leaves do not fall off. They cling to the branches all through the long winter months inspite of storms and strong winds.
But then in spring a wonderful thing happens.  As the new leaves begin to push their way out in fresh growth responding to awakened life in the tree,  the old dead leaves are forced to give way to the new and one by one they fall off.

What a wonderful spiritual lesson for us to see and learn.
Believers, in scripture, are compared to a tree "planted by the rivers of water" - Jer. 17:8 - our leaves are not to be withered but they are to stay green even in times of drought.
But wait ...  most of us turn to the Lord at a time in our lives when we have come to the end of ourselves - when we are in trouble,  finally aware of our failings and sinfulness and our need of a Saviour.  We come already a 'tree' with brown, dead leaves.

We eagerly embrace the life giving promise of hope in 2Co_5:17  Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.  Promised new life has sprung up with us and we look forward to walking in that life.

Then, oft to our disappointment, the 'old dead leaves' don't just fall off, but they cling to us , old habits, sinful thoughts and ways. Our actions and reactions don't always look any different, and others looking at us do not see the new life we know we have tasted of. The more we try to rid ourselves of the 'leaves' of our old life, the more they seem to cling to us.

So what do we need to do ?

What is the secret of the oak tree ?  Can it get rid of its old dead leaves?  No, they cling, they remain ..... until when ??    When the new growth pushes them off the branches !

Too often our focus is on overcoming our 'sinful habits'... we focus on the things we want to change in our character or life and though we struggle valiantly, nothing changes.

But if we, like the oak tree, focused on what we wish to be -  focus on the character traits we desire, the 'fruit' of the Spirit we wish to grow on our branches ....  then,  the old  just falls off because there is no longer any room for it.

The 'old' has to fall off, when we 'put on the new' .... as we are taught in Eph. 4:21-24
 ......This truth is in Jesus:  
 that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind,   
and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, 
in true righteousness and holiness.
 thereby putting off , concerning your former conduct, 
the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts.