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Monday, September 7, 2020

Inspired by . . . Expect good from Me





Do you expect great things from God?

"The shaping of the way we choose to think and tend our heart may be the greatest act of cultivation that any of us ever perform. We choose how we think, we choose the framework for our emotions and our actions. That choosing is the elemental act of a Cultivator."
Whether or not you've considered yourself a "cultivator" this word from Lancia Smith is worthy of your consideration.

The more I read her words the more I realize what a radical statement it really is. In a world where everyone wants to blame someone else or something else for their circumstances the idea that "we choose" (and are therefore responsible!) runs counter to our culture.

The world, is a great influencer. Our families, and those in authority who we are taught to trust, can have a deep impact on the shaping of the way we think. That is why the framework is critical.

We choose the framework:

Our Feelings
Public Opinion
Academia
Peer Pressure
Authority Figure
God - The Bible

The framework we choose will also impact how we answer the question posed at the beginning of this post.

Do you expect great things from God?

I've been asking myself, really asking myself, this question ever since Lancia shared the Mueller quote in her introduction to Cultivating last month. I've struggled with the answer because I found that if I answered honestly, I could not unequivocally answer, "YES!" In other words, my "YES!" came with conditions.

I believe God can and does do great things. No issue there. No doubt! But experience has taught me that He often allows less than great things in our lives.

And if your response to that is that I'm missing the point, you're exactly right. And you're a lot farther along in this journey than I.

You see, experience is one of those things that shapes our thinking. Sadly, for many of us, experience has taught us not to expect great things from God. At least, not for ourselves.

Even when we have the right framework in place, i.e. The Bible, we can still get mixed up in our thinking.

The key is which side of the frame we choose to stand on.

Do we view our experiences through the Truths of the Bible or do we view the Bible through our experiences?

5Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
6In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths.

Ironically, for someone who tends to see the glass have full, I can be very cynical at times. I have to constantly redirect my weight from leaning on my own wisdom (and sometimes that of others) to leaning on the Lord. To trust Him, wait on Him, believe His promises. To acknowledge His right-ness in all things. Even when they don't make sense.

Our experiences are vastly one-sided and can quickly skew our perception.

The truth is, God saved us and gave us a purpose [in Christ Jesus] before time began. (2Tim 1:9)

Before time began. Did you catch that?

This is not a God capable of doing less than great things!

My experiences have blinded me to reality. They have blinded me to the Truth!

Maybe some of your experiences have done the same. Maybe even now your circumstances are blinding you to the Truth about God.

It's imperative that we view our circumstances and experiences through the framework of God's word. Only God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Everything else changes. Everything. He alone remains steadfast and true.

He alone remains faithful to His promises.

From Him we can, and should, expect great things!

Shalom,













































Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Inspired by . . . My cup runneth over




I know I wrote about this passage last week but I keep coming back to it.


David wasn't perfect but he was quick to acknowledge goodness and blessings from the Lord even when, on the surface, his life was anything but blessed. David spent more than a decade running from a Saul, who was intent on killing him. Chaos, uncertainty, and danger had become the new normal. A far cry from the peaceful life of a shepherd boy that David had once known.


Anyone else out there longing for a peaceful meadow dotted with lambs about now? 🙋‍♀️


Yet, in the midst of the chaos and danger, David was able to write this:


5You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.
6Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord
Forever.



David knew where his true dwelling place was and because of that he was able to be content, even call himself blessed, despite the reality of his circumstances. He didn't check out or pretend they weren't happening. Rather he trusted God at His word. He trusted God to redeem, restore, and protect him. And God did. In His time.


1The Lord is my light and my salvation;
Whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the strength of my life;
Of whom shall I be afraid?



"Strength" in this passage is the Hebrew word mâ‛ôz. A fortified place, a rock, a stronghold. David was able to survive ten plus years on the run because God was the center of his life.


We serve the same God, friends. He will do the same for us that He did for David. He will redeem, restore, and protect us. In His time.


Perhaps the hunger for normal that you're feeling is really a hunger for Him.


Let's dive deep and abide long in His presence, putting Him at the center of our lives while we navigate this new normal.


Shalom,













Thursday, August 27, 2020

Inspired by . . . Life thru My Lens Revisited, Vol. V


A brief dip of overnight temperatures into the low 60's last week gave us a hint of the changes to come. Yet a scroll through the 10-day predicts September arriving in the triple digits. While other regions are enjoying the last of the sunflowers and the first of the pumpkins, summer shows no sign of lessening its grip on central Texas.


Since it's too hot for a walk, let's just sit here on the porch and enJOY the birds, blooms, and flying flowers.



It's hard not to be impressed by the Vermilion Flycatcher. We don't see him in the yard often, he prefers a copse of trees further on. A few times every summer he'll visit the birdbath and it's always a treat!



We had some rain last week which caused our Texas Sage to burst out in joyful bloom. This Pipevine Swallowtail took full advantage!


I just love these sweet little Inca Doves. They come to feed in the evening and are always together. As ground feeders, they are constantly moving and it is difficult to get a clear shot!



Finally, the female Summer Tanager! She has been alluding me all summer. 



Are you tired of seeing pictures of butterflies on zinnias? Sorry. Not sorry. I could chase this Painted Lady from bloom to bloom all day long.


I have so many Cardinals this year! Based on their behavior patterns I'm pretty sure one pair had two hatches. This immature female is from the second hatch. It is beyond entertaining to watch them feed. The younger males wait their turn while the older males feed. I think they may deserve a post all their own!

Thank you for stopping by and letting me share my porch view with you. I pray that you catch a glimpse of His majesty in these images and feel His love surround you as you go about your day.


Have a wonder-filled week, friends!