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Saturday, February 2, 2019

Inspired by . . . Good King Josiah

Note: this was supposed to be Friday's daily devotional on IG but it was too long. So before I get to Saturday's chores, I'm offering it to you here.


2 Chronicles is a bit like watching a tennis match as we go back and forth between Judah's kings who alternately did either evil or good in the eyes of the Lord. Mostly evil.

Near the end, shortly before the Babylonian invasion, we read about a boy, Josiah , who did wonderful things. He followed the law of the Lord, following in the footsteps of his forefather David, never deviating to the right or the left. Under him, the entire nation observed the Passover. Something that hadn't been done since the days of the prophet Samuel.

Then, abruptly in chapter thirty-five, we find Josiah sallying out to join a battle he has no business joining.
Necho sent envoys, saying, 'King of Judah, what do you want with me? I have no quarrel with you today, only with those with who I am at war. God has purpose to speed me on my way, and God is on my side. Do not stand in His way, or He will destroy you.' Josiah would not be deflected from his purpose but determine to fight; he refused to listen to Necho's words spoken at God's command, and he sallied out to join battle in the vale of Megiddo. (2 Chr 35:20-22)
The next verse tells us the King Josiah was shot by archers and died. Such a sad end for a king who followed God's law and led the people in righteousness. You wonder how history might have been different if Josiah had listened this last time to God's word.

So why didn't he? This king who "deviated neither to the right or the left." We can't know for sure but I think two little words give us a clue: his purpose. Josiah would not be deflected from "his purpose." He was doing what he wanted, or what he believed to be right, rather than listening and seeking God's word in the matter.

It's the piety trap. We do some good and big things for the Lord and start believing we're good and wise and just . . . just like God. But the truth is, we don't have a great track record when it comes to operating on our own, in the flesh. The enemy will trip us up every time.
I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. (Joh 15:5)
Abiding with Jesus. Reading His word and remaining in fellowship with Him through daily prayer is the only way to really be wise, and good, and just. And to ensure that His purpose, becomes our purpose.


PS I had my first experience in a bird blind last weekend - I can't wait to share it with you!

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Inspired by . . .  Life thru My Lens 04:52

Always be joyful; pray continually; give thanks whatever happens; for this is what God wills for you in Christ Jesus. 

The winter birds are helping me live out 1 Thessalonians 5:16 during this wet and dreary weather we're having.

Birds have a special place in my heart and in my life. Almost every time I can recall that I've been very sick or dealing with significant issues in my life, God has sent me birds. He has spoken to me through their gentle ways. Through their complete and utter dependence on Him.

As you can see, this winter has been crispy cold. Seeing the birds all fluffed up is amusing. Knowing that He has uniquely equipped them to deal with the cold reminds me that He has provided for me as well.

The Cardinals and the House Finches may be part of my regular backyard visitors but I will never take them for granted. I never tire watching them and delight in trying to capture their beauty.

This week we had some special visitors to the yard!

The Cedar Waxwings come through only once or twice a year looking for berries. They are always a challenge to capture! This year a flock of about thirty flew through. We don't really have any good berry trees or bushes - we need to plant some!  They often stop in the Tallow and Cedar trees briefly before moving on.

These were the only two pictures I managed to capture this time around!

There is one other bird that always brings me joy. Although I'm almost guaranteed never to see one in the wild!

I'm working on this cross-stitch pattern as part of a triptych for our new grandson's nursery.

I'll leave you with a few lessons I'm learning as I stitch . . .

Lessons from a Penguin

☆Mate for Life (Matt 19:6)
☆Always dress well (Col 3:12)
☆Always wear your happy feet (1 Thess 5:16)
☆Sing to each other (Eph 5:19)
☆Never forget your loved ones (Ex 20:12)
☆Stick close together (Ecc 4:9)

What are you seeing through your lens this week?

Have a wonder-filled week, my friends!

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Inspired by . . . what is brave?

I saw a very small, pale yellow butterfly while I was out walking yesterday. I'm amazed at their resilience. Butterflies need sun. Their body temperature must be a least 60-85 degrees before they can fly. So how do they endure the cold wind and rain? Personally, I would fly south. The ones that stay seem to me to be very brave indeed.

I want to be more like a butterfly.

Love God Greatly's new study is called: Choose Brave

Are you following along? 

This word, brave, does not sit comfortably upon my shoulders. I attribute bravery to people who run into burning buildings, wear a military uniform, sacrifice personal safety for the benefit of another. I've never been put in such a position but I would likely be more of a handicap than a help.

I'm no hero. But I'm no victim either. When it comes to bravery in my Christian walk, I stand firmly behind the truths of this week's study.
"But you, man of God, must shun all that, and pursue justice, piety, integrity, love, fortitude, and gentleness." 1 Timothy 6:11
Being a man or woman of God is not a passive call. We must choose each day to actively pursue righteousness.  How do we do this? Eph 6:10, "find your strength in the Lord, in His mighty power."

Each day, at every turn, we step forward with Him in mind. Trusting in His promises. Obeying His word. It's not so much, "What would Jesus do?" but rather, "What did Jesus do?" 
"Put all your trust in the Lord and do not rely on your own understanding. At every step you take keep Him in mind, and He will direct your path." Proverbs 3:5-6
God did not create us and then abandon us. He created us for good, and for a specific purpose. (Eph 2:10) He wants us to succeed! And He has promised to be with us every step of the way. Don't get tripped up by unmet expectations. People will disappoint you. God never will.
"Let us never tire of doing good, for if we do not slacken our efforts we shall in due time reap our harvest." Gal 6:9
Forgiveness is one of the hardest tests of obedience we can face as a Christian. This is especially true when the offense has caused physical or deep emotional harm. It takes a lot of courage and trust in God to forgive and process through such hurts. 

For some of us, if we're honest, our list of offenses against us is more about our pettiness and pride than any real intended harm. Unmet expectations, misunderstandings, and hurt feelings can dig deep trenches if we let them.

Dismantling our pride is hard. Humility is risky. Both are required. [click to tweet]
"Be tolerant with one another and forgiving, if any of you has cause for complaint: you must forgive as the Lord forgave you." Col 3:13
"With the Lord on my side, I am not afraid; what can mortals do to me?" Psalms 118:6
The truth is, mortals can do a lot. But our lives and our salvation are in God's care. Ultimately, our hope is in Him. The question comes down to this:

Do you believe God and His word? 
Do you trust Him?
"Have no fear, for I am with you; be not afraid, for I am your God. I shall strengthen you and give you help and uphold you with My victorious right hand." Isaiah 41:10