Friday, February 25, 2011

The Land of Hope

"I saw God before me all the time
Nothing can shake me; He's right by my side.
I'm glad from the inside out, ecstatic;
I have pitched my tent in the land of hope."
Acts 2:26
Ps. 16
The Message

This past week was certainly filled with unsettling news ~ The uprisings in so many countries, gas prices exploding, the protests here in America, the death of 4 missionaries by pirates, and the devastating earthquake in New Zealand. Even though we may not personally be affected by much of it, our hearts ache for those involved. A while ago God blessed me with an email devotional that gave me a special Bible verse from Acts, just when I needed it.   It is now a mantra for me.   "I have pitched my tent in the land of hope."  I love this!  When I looked it up, I discovered even more to ponder, and that David had written these words in Psalm 16, and that they were also prophetic words writtne about Jesus. 

The Psalmist David knew that he needed to keep his focus on God.  He knew what we know in our hearts ~ that we need to keep God before us no matter how hard or challenging the journey.  We always need to remember that God is with us...beside us...ahead of us...behind us.  Just knowing that keeps us steady and gives us the strength and joy to be ecstatic from the inside out.... pitching our tents in the land of hope. 

Remembering that Jesus is our Guide, our Protector, and our the Land of Hope, gives us cause to rejoice! What a beautiful place is this Land of Hope. Let's place our tents side by side and build a city in there, giving thanks to God for all that He has provided to help us on our journey.  We are blessed.

Join Charlotte and Ginger at Spiritual Sundays to link up your own post, or read other inspirational posts.   

Friday, February 18, 2011

Morning By Morning

"The Sovereign Lord has given me his words of wisdom
so that I know how to comfort the weary.
Morning by morning he wakens me,
and opens my understanding to his will."
Isaiah 50: 4

This verse above speaks to the alone time my husband and I have been scheduling into our mornings.
We always have devotions together in the morning, but we decided around 3 weeks ago to keep the TV off in the mornings, and have quiet time alone before having breakfast and devotions together.  It has changed our days dramatically.
I shared once before that I sit and visualize myself going into a garden and sitting on a bench next to Jesus or sitting at His feet.  Sometimes I put my head in His lap to be comforted, sometimes I ask Him if there is anything I need to learn.  Other days I ask Him a question.  And then I wait for His answers to come...and so often they do.  Quietly and calmly, filling my heart with peace and joy.  After three weeks of this routine, I find myself getting up every morning anticipating this time alone with God.  My desire is to be obedient to His will in my and in the future.  As the verse above says, he is opening my understanding to His will.  I feel humbled by His response to my feeble attempts to speak with Him.
When Joel and I come together for devotions, often our alone time thoughts come together with our morning devotional books, giving us confirmation of what we are learning. 
It has been suggested that this time of visualization may be my imagination at work.  Okay by me.  God uses the imaginations of our minds to teach us too.  After all, His Holy Spirit resides in us and often intervenes when we do not have the words we need.  This is a precious gift that I am giving thanks for.  And another precious gift?  The fact that due to our illnesses we have plenty of time to spend in this way.  It is one of the many gifts that has come from Lyme Disease.   We are blessed.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Let Us Love One Another

When our kids were growing up we used to listen to a tape of Bible verses that were put to music.  I am not so sure any of them remember those special tunes, but they have been firmly planted in my memory!  One of my favorites was put to country music..."Let us love one another.....let us love one another....let us love one another....For love is of is of God."

Lately, due to several reasons, I have felt myself in a desert place with little to write about.  Throughout this time of reflection and struggle, I have not lost sight of God's love for me.  His amazing, unconditional love for all His children.   I have been making the effort during my devotional time to visualize myself going into a garden that is filled with flowers, happy children and adults, and Jesus.  I see Him sitting on a bench and in my mind I walk over and sit at his feet, putting my head in his lap. I tell Him I love Him and He tells me He loves me.  I often ask Him to teach me something I have yet to learn.  Remembering how much God loves me is helping me to feel a deeper love for others and for myself.  For love is of God!

Monday is Valentine's Day and people focus on letting others know how much they love them.  It is a special day set aside for love, but with Jesus, His love for us is new and special every day.  Every day is Valentine's Day!  We are blessed. 

Please stop over to visit Charlotte and Ginger at Spiritual Sundays to read other posts or link up your own.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Streams In The Desert

"Then will the lame leap like a deer
and the mute tongue shout for joy.
Water will gush forth in the wilderness
and streams in the desert."
Isaian 35:6

I have been in a desert place with my writing lately. More than once I have clicked on "new post" and started to write, only to find my mind a blank, or my words are sounding empty.  I just have not had any inspiration or felt I had anything worth sharing.   It took me awhile to realize that this has been right where God has placed me ~ in the desert, searching and reflecting on some important things that He wants to teach me.  I am still in the middle of that place, but there is now a trickle of water that is starting to refresh my soul.

When I began this blog, I was going to use it to write articles like I did for a non-profit newsletter I published for over five years.  I sent it out to around 140 Christians who were living with chronic illnesses.  It was called, "The Encourager" and that was its encourage and connect others who were mostly homebound and isolated.  I loved all aspects of this, but I became reactive to inks and could no longer continue.  Thus I started blogging.  A precious gift in and of itself!

I made a decision to write this blog without centering it on my illness.  My other blog, Renee's Reflections is where I share the ins and outs of Joel's and my journey with our health issues.   It was challenging, but I put forth the effort to make this blog inspirational without connecting my journey to our adventures with chronic illness.   What I ended up with, though, was a place where I felt limited and confined.  A place where I was not totally being myself.

Somewhere there is coming forth a place where I can be true to myself without always focusing on our illnesses.  A place that continues to feed my soul, encourage others, and glorify God.  A place of balance.  That needs to begin within me, and I don't feel balanced yet.  For several reasons, I am still in a desert place, but of course I am not alone!  God is with me, and He will lead me out of this wilderness just as He promises. For now, I wait in the desert, believing streams will flow once again.
 "A voice of one calling:
In the desert prepare the way for the Lord;
make straight in the wilderness
a highway for our God."
Isaiah 40:3