Month: March 2020

I am the Lord and there is none beside me.

Isaiah 43 is one of the most wonderful chapters in all of scripture. (Of course I say that about a lot of chapters.)

But what draws me to this particular chapter is how many times God draws attention to his own lordship. God is not capable of arrogance as it would sound coming from human lips.

He’s doesn’t repeat this time after time for his own benefit but for ours. He is reminding us that he and he alone deserves to be called the one and only Lord.

He goes on to recount his creation of all living things on this earth, we humans in particular. Paul quotes Isaiah 9b, “Will the clay say to the potter, “What are you doing?” In Romans 9: 20-21, it states that we are his to shape and mold as he sees fit without question.

To give someone else control isn’t easy. Giving our government control over our actions isn’t easy. None of us like being told where we can or cannot go.

But maybe we can use this restriction on our lives as a way to remind us that this is how we are supposed to place ourselves in the Potter’s hands to do with as he wishes.

Think of this portion of scripture the next time you bristle about your restrictions and confinement. Let those feelings of irritation remind you, remind me, that we are usually wrangling with God over these same control issues.

Assuming we are in right relationships with God, his molding of us will only draw us closer to him and his purpose for our lives.

If we are not in right relationship with God, he will have to continue getting us back to that starting point as a lump of clay and start all over again, many times all over again.

Doesn’t it make sense to cooperate with him the first time?

Let’s allow God to really shape us during this shut-down. Let’s think through our reactions about giving up control and try and determine if we treat God this way sometimes. Is there a correlation? Can we learn from this how it feels to give God control?

I wonder why we are all looking for something to do. I’ve even got a post coming soon with some ideas for you. But I wonder, why are we trying to occupy every minute?

I’m guessing it’s because we’re scared and being busy helps. But I’m not sure that’s so good. So while I, too, am getting bored and want to fill every moment, I’m also trying to make sure I have plenty of contemplative time. I want to think about this crisis and how it can make me stronger in my faith walk.

What about you? Are you taking time during this quarantine to simply think?

God bless and stay safe.

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What my messy devotional table looks like.

Today I am sharing what my messy devotional table looks like. First of all, here are the pictures of the devotionals I am using right now. “My Utmost For His Highest”, is a standard. There is a reason I added a few more for my time with God.

I thought it would be interesting to see if some days I received the same “message”. And there were. One day in particular.

I was pondering an action to take so I read from each devotional and two of them pointed me very specifically to the answer. That was exciting.

So here’s what my “messy devotional table” looks like most morning. Some days it’s worse! That’s my BUJO at the bottom of the page. It is a messy devotional table, isn’t it?

I am always on the search for good pens so, of course, that justifies having so many. How else will I find the right ones?

I have found all of these, except for this particular My Utmost For His Highest at thrift stores or garage sales although I have two other MUFHH’s that I have bought at thrift stores or garage sale. However, the bottom two are the newest and I’m really enjoying them. And, of course, Joyce Meyer is always spot-on because she doesn’t mince words.

The pens and pencils are from my never-ending supply which adds to my messy table.

I tried keeping them in one spot but I need them everywhere, so everywhere is where they are.

I told you my table was messy. Right?

And, of course, the never-ending cup of coffee. I bought a small Keurig at a garage sale and we are loving it BUT, I also order a “milk frother” from Amazon last week and now I am brewing up lattes. I’m going to try and learn “latte art” in the coming weeks. I’ll send you pics.

The point of it all, my time with God

Anyway, I guess the point of this post is that it doesn’t matter how messy or how obsessively neat we are, devotions are highly personal. But some days I’m even messier as I usually have my laptop and phone nearby for research.

Do what you need to do to make your time with God as special as it can be. Overflow your table or not. Have something to drink or not. Just spend time with God. Just pray.

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Why it’s really good to expect God to show up.

Why it’s really good to expect God to show up is really not hard to understand. It benefits us because it makes us more alert to God’s interventions in our lives.

We should expect God to show up. We don’t always though. Last Saturday God showed up three times for me. Maybe I should say He surprised me. Three times!!!

Now, if you haven’t had this experience, you might not believe this but I can only share my experience with you. God surprises me often. However, by surprise, I mean I see His hand in the process. I see His hand in the circumstance.

Of course, we can choose to not believe that way. But the reason I do because every day I ask God to reveal himself to me. I expect to see Him in my circumstances and I usually do, right at the moment it happens.

But do I always? No. Not because Goed isn’t showing up, but because I’m too preoccupied and don’t always recognize Him.

First of all, we were at our cabin. I have a dear friend of many years that lives a few minutes away from there. I only see her when we are up north. We had decided that because of Covid, we probably shouldn’t get together. She is maintaining her “bubble” and I am doing the same.

But I had made her a darling DIY pumpkin and wanted to get it to her. I needed to go to Hobby Lobby anyway so I thought I would drop it off at her house. Hobby Lobby first, or drop off the pumpkin first? I wasn’t sure. Hobby Lobby first, I decided.

I. The surprises begin: number one

It had snowed just a little at the cabin but nothing was lingering on the trees right at our cabin or anything. But as I got about five miles from home and on to the highway, can I just say it was absolutely breathtaking!

The sun glowed. The snow rested on the outrageously colored leaves that had not yet fallen. On those that had, the snow laid heavily on the skeletal branches making them look outlined against the warmth in the sky.

The snow sparkled like diamonds hanging from a woman’s ear lobe, as it often does in winter but this wasn’t winter. The white snow shimmering on the trees, the glowing sun, the sparkle…….

Unreal. A blend of fall and winter. God’s surprise number one.

nature red forest leaves

(a.) God’s surprise number two

I got to Hobby Lobby and as I got out of the car, I heard someone call my name. Looking in the direction of the voice, I saw my friend. It was so good to actually see her and take a few minutes to talk before she had to leave. And, of course, I gave her the pumpkin. God’s surprise number two.

But now it really gets good.

(b.) God’s surprise number three

First, of all, have I told you how much I love used book stores? More so than new bookstores. Want to know why?

Well, even if you don’t, I’m going to tell you.

Very often I will find various items tucked inside the worn pages, the older the book the more likely this will happen. A note. An inscription. A bookmark. A receipt. I love it when that happens and it happens a lot to me. (Of course, I am in used book stores a lot, so there’s that.)

Listening to a Hope@Writers podcast last week, I learned writers can hone their skills by reading poetry. The owner of the store directed me to the right area and I immediately spotted an older red book.

I picked it up and started rifling through some pages. As I got ready to close the book, I flipped back to the cover pages and spied a page where there was an inscription.

Bingo!

I looked at the handwriting and then looked again.

Not possible, I thought. No way.

But it was. It was my husband’s handwriting, an inscription for our friends, a couple we cherished then and now as well. It had been a Christmas present.

You got it. Right?

It was a gift we had purchased for my friend I had just seen at Hobby Lobby and her husband. What are the chances?

I couldn’t help but tell the store owner the whole story. She was pretty amazed as well. When I told my friend, she was astounded as well. I was pumped all the way home.

It has been often said, that you get out of life what you expect out of life. I agree.

2. Expecting God to show up

And I think the same could be said of our relationship with God. If we expect God to show up, we are much more likely to see Him when he does. God’s surprises shouldn’t really be surprises anyway, should they?

It’s kind of like when you wake up in the morning. If you decide that the day is going to be good, it probably will be. (Not counting, of course, that life can sure throw us some curves some days. Like this whole pandemic. Plus, I am not suggesting a Pollyanna attitude. I’m about as a realist as you can imagine. )

It does no good to expect the bad when we can expect the good just as easily. Click To Tweet

Life is short. We don’t like to admit it, do we? There are going to be enough bad times for all of us. We are going to experience struggles. That’s a guarantee. We are all going to experience grief as well. Again, a guarantee.

I feel it makes sense to anticipate the good for as long as we can. The more we train our minds to expect the good, the more we might well strengthen our resilience for the tough times. It’s kind of like building an inner-strength muscle.

I hope you have a really good day today and God bless.

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This is my autumn porch. Some good ideas. Enjoy

This is my “porch” for autumn.

I found the black wrought iron candle holders at a garage sale because I’m going to use them for Christmas and put trees on them. So I thought, why not use them for pumpkins?

For the pumpkin you see below, I cut out a hole in the bottom and pushed the pumpkin down it. The other pumpkins sat on the holders with no problem. The chairs are antiques. Arent’ they wonderful?

The fall sign is from Hobby Lobby. The “Harvest” sign further down is one I made a couple of years ago.

Now, I’ve got to remember to cook up these pumpkins!

Have you created some autumn decor for your porch or landing? Don’t ignore doing what you normally do just because of Covid. Do it for yourself if for no one else.

God bless and have a good day.

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