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Thursday, January 18, 2018

Inspired by . . . two promises

Psa 1:1-6  Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers;  (2)  but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on His law he meditates day and night.  (3)  He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.  (4)  The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away.  (5)  Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;  (6)  for the LORD knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.

The prayer ended, "Give me stability and contentment regardless of the circumstances. How I need that! Amen," and I realized the author was exactly right. To be content is a wondrous blessing and an admirable prayer. 

But it is not enough. Not for these days. We must be and must pray for, stability.

The stability of mind that comes only from meditating on His word. 

I'm reminded of this passage in James, "A man like that should not think he will receive anything from the Lord. He is always in two minds and unstable in all he does."

A man like that. A man like what? Answer: A man who doubts God.
Jas 1:5-6  If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, Who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.  (6)  But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.
Not someone who doubts that God exists, necessarily, but one who doubts what God has said.
Gen 3:1  Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, "Did God actually say, 'You shall not eat of any tree in the garden'?"
From the beginning, the evil one has set about to twist the Truth in our minds so that we question God's goodness and His love for us.
Jas 1:13-15  Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am being tempted by God," for God cannot be tempted with evil, and He Himself tempts no one.  (14)  But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire.  (15)  Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin, when it is fully grown, brings forth death.
I've been reading C.S. Lewis' The Chronicles of Narnia and there are people in this age, in every age, who, like Digory's Uncle Andrew in The Magician's Nephew, believe that the rules don't apply to them. They either ignore Truth or deny that it exists. 

Uncle Andrew had made a promise to his late aunt. A promise that he did not keep. He had convinced himself that he was a "great thinker." Someone with "hidden knowledge" to whom "common rules" (like keeping promises) did not apply.

Uncle Andrew's broken promise brought a great evil into a brand new, innocent world: Narnia.

But all was not lost because Aslan, Narnia's creator, knew about the great evil and already had a plan of protection and redemption. (Another story for another time)

There is, however, one more promise in this story that I want to share with you. Aslan sends Digory to a garden high in the mountains to a tree bearing silver apples. Digory promises Aslan he will bring him back an apple from this tree.

All is well. Digory has the apple in his pocket and is about to return when - evil makes her appearance. 
"Do you not see, Fool, that one bite of that apple would heal her? You have it in your pocket. We are here by ourselves and the Lion is far away."
Do you see how the evil one speaks directly to Digory's greatest desire? His mother was dying. His greatest desire was to heal her. Our greatest desires are not necessarily and not always bad in and of themselves.

But Digory had made a promise. He remembers the tears in the lion's eyes when they spoke about his mother. And as hard as it is for the little boy, he takes the apple back to Aslan.

With it, Aslan grows a great tree that protects all of Narian. Then, he allows Digory to pluck an apple from that tree to take back to his world and heal his mother.

Aslan grants Digory's greatest desire in the right way, at the right time. All is well.

Digory didn't know much about Aslan. Not nearly as much as we think we know about God. But he remembered Aslan's tears and he remembered enough of what his mother had taught him that the witch's words rang false and hollow.

What about us? Can we recognize the false and hollow words of the enemy when he speaks? We will if we know the Truth. [click to tweet]

And this, I hope, circles us back to the beginning.

Stability of mind and deed, the ability to be content in all circumstances. Knowing what to ask for when we pray. Waiting for God to act. All these things are realized only when we know the Word of God for ourselves. When we meditate on it day and night. When we seek God in relationship, not simply as a religion or a set of rules.

It's a tall order, friends. A life-long commitment. An eternal reward.


Sharing inspiration here:
#TellHisStoryFaith On Fire, Grace & Truth,
Inspire Me Monday, RaRa Link Up, Intentional Tuesday,
#WordswithWinter, Titus 2 Tuesday, Thoughtful Thursdays,
Encourage Me Monday, Wholehearted Wednesday,
Women with Intention Wednesdays, Word Filled Wednesday,
#GiveMeGrace, Sitting Among Friends, #Glimpsesofhisbeauty
Counting My Blessings, Grace Moments, Heart Encouragement
#DanceWithJesus, Salt & Light

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Inspired by . . . Life thru My Lens 3:52

Some of you know that I'm not a native Texan. It seems strange to type those words because, well, moving to Texas felt like coming home. I won't say I'll never leave, only God knows that, but I truly love it here.

Prior to moving to Texas, I lived in Arizona for nearly twenty years. If you've never been to Arizona you're probably thinking hot, dry, desert. You'd be right.

And you'd be wrong.

Arizona is an incredibly beautiful and diverse state. In fact, AZ Highways once did an issue that featured places in Arizona that compared to every state in the country. Even Alaska! From sand dunes to ski mountains, Arizona has it all. Well, everything except oceanfront property, as one famous Texan reminds us!

One of Arizona's hidden gems are her lakes. Saguaro Lake, just north of Fountain Hills and northeast of Scottsdale is one of my favorites. Formed in 1930 by the Stewart Mountain Dam, Saguaro Lake is the fourth reservoir on the Salt River. With 22 miles of shoreline, there is a lot to see an enjoy!

My Dreamer and I took the Desert Belle cruise and tour when we were there this past November. It's a well-run, narrated tour and highly recommended.

Desert Belle

Heading into the canyon

Big Horn Sheep - I spotted them too late to get a good picture.

Various waterfowl. American Coot, Clark's Grebe, and Ring-necked Duck were a few I could identify.
Rare, cristate or crested Saguaro

The majestic Four Peaks

Web formation on the canyon walls caused by cooling strands of lava.

Saguaro Cacti

The yellow is lichen on the rock surface.

As well pulled back into dock we sensed we were being watched. We finally spotted a droid hovering just off the side of the boat. Upon exiting we found the operator standing on the dock. It was a little unnerving to realize we were being filmed. In truth, there are few public places where we are not being filmed these days. You learn to get used to it, if not accept it. But having a teenager film you in a completely natural (as in, out in nature) setting seemed a bit intrusive. I suspect we'll be seeing more and more of these droids in the not so distant future.

What are you seeing through your lens this week?


Sharing inspiration here:
Nature Notes, Through My LensBird D’pot,
Saturday’s Critters, Life thru the Lens,
Wild Bird WednesdayOur World Tuesday,
Community Global, Photo Friday, Little Things Thursday

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Inspired by . . . His terms

I was reviewing last year's journal entries this week and found an entry from January 4, 2017, that I want to share with you.

It's hard to know what God is allowing to happen in view of the fallen state of man and what is His will. I write this even as I realize that is wrong.  We can know, to a certain extent, although not fully in all things.

Those things that stand according to His word are certainly within His will. Those things clearly contrary to His word are outside of His will - but not, however, outside of His sovereign control. It is these things He allows to happen yet works for the good of all who love Him and who act according to His purposes. These are the things that are often the hardest for us to understand and accept.

We ache to know His will, yet we will not ask on His terms. We will not do the work of emptying so that He can do the work of filling.  We want change in us but not change in our world.

The truth is that any growth, or any movement whether physical or spiritual affects the things around it. You cannot ask God to change you and then not expect to see that change play out, good or bad, in your relationships.

Salvation is not a static state of being for God's love is constantly propelling us toward a state of purity in Christ Jesus.

The Son of God appeared for the very purpose of undoing the devil's work. When we agree with Jesus and do the things He's told us to do we take part in that undoing. A worthy goal for the New Year, don't you think?

Lord, help me to be at work undoing the devil's work today and every day. In the name of Jesus, Amen. [click to tweet]


Sharing inspiration here:
Faith On Fire, Grace & Truth,
Inspire Me Monday, RaRa Link Up, Intentional Tuesday,
#WordswithWinter, Titus 2 Tuesday, Thoughtful Thursdays,
Encourage Me Monday, Wholehearted Wednesday,
Women with Intention Wednesdays, Word Filled Wednesday,
#GiveMeGrace, Sitting Among Friends, #Glimpsesofhisbeauty
Counting My Blessings, Grace Moments, Heart Encouragement