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Archive for February, 2011

need some hope?

Hey, happy Friday to you.  I wonder. . . . have you had some trying times lately?  Is that answer you’ve been looking for moved farther away, rather than within your grasp?  Are those you love seemingly against you?  Are you weary of it all?  You need a good look at hope, my friend.  I found this in my inbox this morning, and celebrated.  God never leaves us, nor forsakes us, and even when I know that, there are times I may not feel that. What to do when your feelings, emotions, are not in line with what you know as truth?  Go ahead, and read this little piece on hope.  It’s from Max Lucado, and I hope it reminds you, and blesses you this day.

Hope.  It’s a beautiful thing.

When You Are Low on Hope

by Max Lucado

Water. All Noah can see is water. The evening sun sinks into it. The clouds are reflected in it. His boat is surrounded by it. Water. Water to the north. Water to the south. Water to the east. Water to the west. Water.

He sent a raven on a scouting mission; it never returned. He sent a dove. It came back shivering and spent, having found no place to roost. Then, just this morning, he tried again. With a prayer he let it go and watched until the bird was no bigger than a speck on a window.

All day he looked for the dove’s return.

Now the sun is setting, and the sky is darkening, and he has come to look one final time, but all he sees is water. Water to the north. Water to the south. Water to the east. Water to the …

You know the feeling. You have stood where Noah stood. You’ve known your share of floods. Flooded by sorrow at the cemetery, stress at the office, anger at the disability in your body or the inability of your spouse. You’ve seen the floodwater rise, and you’ve likely seen the sun set on your hopes as well. You’ve been on Noah’s boat.

And you’ve needed what Noah needed; you’ve needed some hope. You’re not asking for a helicopter rescue, but the sound of one would be nice. Hope doesn’t promise an instant solution but rather the possibility of an eventual one. Sometimes all we need is a little hope.

That’s all Noah needed. And that’s all Noah received.

Here is how the Bible describes the moment: “When the dove returned to him in the evening, there in its beak was a freshly pluckedolive leaf!” (Gen. 8:11 NIV).

An olive leaf. Noah would have been happy to have the bird but to have the leaf! This leaf was more than foliage; this was promise. The bird brought more than a piece of a tree; it brought hope. For isn’t that what hope is? Hope is an olive leaf—evidence of dry land after a flood. Proof to the dreamer that dreaming is worth the risk.

To all the Noahs of the world, to all who search the horizon for a fleck of hope, Jesus proclaims, “Yes!” And he comes. He comes as a dove. He comes bearing fruit from a distant land, from our future home. He comes with a leaf of hope.

Have you received yours? Don’t think your ark is too isolated. Don’t think your flood is too wide. Receive his hope, won’t you? Receive it because you need it. Receive it so you can share it. Receive his hope, won’t you? Receive it because you need it. Receive it so you can share it.

What do you suppose Noah did with his? What do you think he did with the leaf? Did he throw it overboard and forget about it? Do you suppose he stuck it in his pocket and saved it for a scrapbook? Or do you think he let out a whoop and assembled the troops and passed it around like the Hope Diamond it was?

Certainly he whooped. That’s what you do with hope. What do you do with olive leaves? You pass them around. You don’t stick them in your pocket. You give them to the ones you love. Love always hopes. “Love … bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (1 Cor. 13:4–7 NKJV, emphasis mine).

Love has hope in you.

The aspiring young author was in need of hope. More than one person had told him to give up. “Getting published is impossible,” one mentor said. “Unless you are a national celebrity, publishers won’t talk to you.” Another warned, “Writing takes too much time. Besides, you don’t want all your thoughts on paper.”

Initially he listened. He agreed that writing was a waste of effort and turned his attention to other projects. But somehow the pen and pad were bourbon and Coke to the wordaholic. He’d rather write than read. So he wrote. How many nights did he pass on that couch in the corner of the apartment reshuffling his deck of verbs and nouns? And how many hours did his wife sit with him? He wordsmithing. She cross-stitching. Finally a manuscript was finished. Crude and laden with mistakes but finished.

She gave him the shove. “Send it out. What’s the harm?”

So out it went. Mailed to fifteen different publishers. While the couple waited, he wrote. While he wrote, she stitched. Neither expecting much, both hoping everything. Responses began to fill the mailbox. “I’m sorry, but we don’t accept unsolicited manuscripts.” “We must return your work. Best of luck.” “Our catalog doesn’t have room for unpublished authors.”

I still have those letters. Somewhere in a file. Finding them would take some time. Finding Denalyn’s cross-stitch, however, would take none. To see it, all I do is lift my eyes from this monitor and look on the wall. “Of all those arts in which the wise excel, nature’s chief masterpiece is writing well.”

She gave it to me about the time the fifteenth letter arrived. A publisher had said yes. That letter is also framed. Which of the two is more meaningful? The gift from my wife or the letter from the publisher? The gift, hands down. For in giving the gift, Denalyn gave hope.

A Love Worth GivingLove does that. Love extends an olive leaf to the loved one and says, “I have hope in you.”

Love is just as quick to say, “I have hope foryou.”

You can say those words. You are a flood survivor. By God’s grace you have found your way to dry land. You know what it’s like to see the waters subside. And since you do, since you passed through a flood and lived to tell about it, you are qualified to give hope to someone else.

From
A Love Worth Giving:
Living in the Overflow of God’s Love

Copyright (Thomas Nelson, 2002) Max Lucado

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a lesson from the woodpecker

I love my job.  Truly, there are fewer places I love to be.  I love what I do and who I get to do it with.  And on most of my days off, I miss it tremendously.  I have this habit though. I  tend to pack too much into my days off – appointments, errands – longs lists of things to do, things to read, chores, etc.  So, at the end of my Wednesdays, sometimes I just long to be back at work, to “rest”.  (grin)

But I’ve been trying lately to simplify.  Making deliberate decisions towards that. For many reasons, but I’m thinking it may be a new theme the Lord has for me at this time.  New year, new ways. Focusing more on Him.  NOT filling my days with things that “need to be done”, chores, but filling my time more on those that satisfy deeply.  eternally.

And, honestly, I’m fighting that.  Still battling.  Because, truly, some things just must get done.  (and I’m such a do-er!  oh, my!  If I don’t have it on my list, and actually do it, I’ll write it down, so I can scratch it off!  I really don’t claim to have it all down yet. still such a work in process.)  So, I’m working on it.  Asking God to lead me.  Because when it’s all said and done, I want to please Him.  honor Him.  worship Him in all that I do.

So, I got a little more rest this morning.  Needed it.  Then went on my run.  Always.  As I rounded the corner for home, I heard a familiar spring sound.  A woodpecker.  I always try to get a glimpse of them, and most often can’t.  But today, the sound was especially unusual.  As I slowed, and listened more carefully, I realized why.  He was on top of a street light, just pecking away.  In clear view, he just went after that street light, over and over again with his pointy little beak.  After a few goes at it, he flies off.  I was stunned.  Kept thinking about it as I continued my run. As I came down the last street, I heard that familiar sound again.  There he is again!  At another street light. The picture could not have been clearer for me – do not run after things that will never, could never, satisfy. I could see it so clearly.  And I love that my Creator, who knows me, and loves me, let me see it, so I could remember it.  forever.  It was profound.

“Because your love is better than life,
my lips will glorify you.
I will praise you as long as I live,
and in your name I will lift up my hands.
I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods;
with singing lips my mouth will praise you.”

Psalm 63:3-5

Today, I choose You.  Today, I run hard after You.  amen.

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I am with you…..

From Jesus Calling this morning…..

I am with you. These four words are like a safety net, protecting you from falling into despair.  Because you are human, you will always have ups and downs in your life experience.  But the promise of My Presence limits how far down you can go.  Sometimes you may fell as if you are in a free fall, when people or things you had counted on let you down.  Yet as soon as you remember that I am with you, your perspective changes radically.  Instead of bemoaning your circumstances, you can look to Me for help.  You recall that not only am I with you, I am holding you by your right hand.  I guide you with My counsel, and afterward I will take you into Glory. This is exactly the perspective you need: the reassurance of My Presence, and the glorious hope of heaven.”

Zephaniah 3:17 “The LORD your God is with you,
the Mighty Warrior who saves.
He will take great delight in you;
in his love he will no longer rebuke you,
but will rejoice over you with singing.”

Psalm 73:23-26 “Yet I am always with you;
you hold me by my right hand.
You guide me with your counsel,
and afterward you will take me into glory.
Whom have I in heaven but you?
And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart
and my portion forever.”

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apple pie = true love…..

Pioneer Woman's amazing apple pie

I just pulled this glorious offering out of the oven.  Oh. My. Gosh.  If you could just take a whiff of this!  Cinnamon, pecans, delicious apples……smells so delightful!  As long as it took to peel and slice the apples, mix the crumb topping, add the other ingredients to the apples, chop the pecans and walnuts, assemble……as long as that took, I had time to think, to ponder my love for my man.  What a delight he is to me, what a love he has been for 31+ years!  He’s put up with a lot (me!).  He has patience, wisdom, loyalty, insight, humor (oh, my!), and a love for God that I’ve rarely seen surpassed.  A quiet love, but a fierce love. He is a great great leader, and has been an exceptional father.  The assembly of this pie took a while, but now that it’s out of the oven, it was so worth it!  As with my man, it’s been so worth it during the hard times, to be able to enjoy these sweet days with him.

To you, my Valentine:  I am so very blessed to share this great adventure of life with you!  Thank you for loving me, and choosing me over and over.  I thank God for you.  every day.  Now, let’s eat some pie!!!

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As I woke this morning, I was hopeful, and anticipating some snow beauty outside.  Hopes however, were dashed, as the ground appeared just as brown as yesterday.  Not. One. Flake.  Snow fail.  We DID however, have ICE.  nice.

By mid-morning I had layered my running clothes, and headed out for a good, long(for me), chilly run.  It was indeed awesome.  My little community is really a city – not just a suburb of H.   So, we have our own city workers who are so wonderful – many have been around since my kids were little, and remember them gathering around whatever tractor or backhoe happened to be working on nearby streets. Watching dirt being dug up was a favorite pastime of my kids growing up.  Anyway, these wonderful city workers had prepared our little bridges well, so I did not fear the ice that the weathermen were so warning us against.  Even just in my little run around the neighborhood, I crossed three bridges – so I blessed God for the safety preparations.  Not many cars at all on the road – it was quiet, and peaceful.  I extended my run time a bit, and returned home refreshed, and energized.

As I prepare to work from home the rest of the day, I wanted to share with you one of my devotionals from this morning.  Why?  Cause it rocked, and I think you will be blessed by it.  You have heard from this one before, if you have read this blog – Jesus Calling.  By Sarah Young.  It is not my only daily devo, but it is consistently one that speaks to me.  So I tend to share it often.  I will also include the verses that go along with it. Because it is paramount that we don’t just listen to others talk about God.  We must listen to, and do, what God says.  Enjoy this day to the full.  and stay warm……

“Bring Me your weakness, and receive My Peace.  Accept yourself and your circumstances just as they are, remembering that I am sovereign over everything.  Do not weary yourself out with analyzing and planning.  Instead, let thankfulness and trust be your guides through this day; they will keep you close to Me. As you live in the radiance of My Presence, My Peace shines upon you.  You will cease to notice how weak or strong you feel, because you will be focusing on Me.  The best way to get through this day is step by step with Me.  Continue this intimate journey, trusting that the path you are following is headed for heaven.”

Psalm 29:11-“God makes his people strong. God gives his people peace.”

Numbers 6:24-26 -“God bless you and keep you, God smile on you and gift you,
God look you full in the face and make you prosper.”

Psalm 13:5- “I’ve thrown myself headlong into your arms—I’m celebrating your rescue. I’m singing at the top of my lungs, I’m so full of answered prayers.”

The best way to get through this day is step by step……with your Jesus.

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I’ve had lots going on lately.  I mean LOTS.  SO much.  Wish I had time to tell you all about it.

grin.

But, here’s the thing…..it’s all been eclipsed by this story I’ve been watching unfold.  A real live love story.  I’ve loved it.  And been encouraged by it, because God is such a big part of this love story. That makes it my favorite kind of story.  One full of surprises that God Himself planned.  (And, as I imagine, He grins when He watches it play out.)

Gosh, I wish I could tell you about it!  However, for now, just know this. . . . . He has plans for you too.  Great, great plans.  Plans that He can hardly wait to see you discover.  Keep your eyes open.  And live expectantly.

“No one’s ever seen or heard anything like this, never so much as imagined anything quite like it— What God has arranged for those who love him. But you’ve seen and heard it because God by his Spirit has brought it all out into the open before you.” 1 Corinthians 2:9 the message

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