Category Archives: Assurance

There IS a Reason

We’ve had so much rain for so long the ground is saturated.  Yesterday when we went to our favourite park one of the bridges we usually cross was under water.  The roads I drive on every day were beginning to have standing water on them and I was anxious to get home where it was safe.

Last night around bedtime, which was about the time the rain stopped, a roaring wind began to blow that was so strong it scared my dog and cat.  I drifted off to sleep to the sound of my wind chimes dancing in the powerful wind.

This morning it was noticeably cooler and I noticed while taking my son to work a lot of the water I had seen yesterday was no longer there.  When we walked we were able to cross the now dry bridge that was impassable yesterday.  That scary wind through the night that I thought was bad and frightening had cleared all of our paths today.

That’s a word from our Father! Bad, scary stuff sometimes comes our way and things look washed out and impossible. We worry, fear and hopefully pray for God to remove them, make them better or rectify them.  Soon after in most cases, we find the “bad thing” was actually the blessing because THROUGH what stopped us in our tracks yesterday cleared the way for us today.

We can trust Him.  He allows what he does in our lives for many things, but I’m thinking the most important purpose is to get us to a place where we come to know Him more intimately, rely on and trust in Him more than we did before. It’s all good, my friend!

Psalm 9:10 (NASB):  And those who know Your name will put their trust in You, for You, O LORD have not forsaken those who seek You.

Romans 8:28!!!!  (ALL things)

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Shuffled

Shuffled

Some mornings I don’t listen to my music at all but more often than not, I do.  I always choose my favorite songs on my playlist to walk and worship to.  The same ones, over and over again.  I know which ones I need and what will help me get off to a good start.  This morning I decided to hit the shuffle button and I’m so delighted I did.  It was like God knew BETTER THAN I DID what I needed this morning.  I heard songs I didn’t even know I had on my list and by the time we were back to the car, I was lifted up and ready to face the day.

That’s such a good lesson for us!  We’re such creatures of habit and control!  You may not realize it but think of what YOU have planned for this day.  Better yet, think about yesterday, what you had planned and if something happened to upset your apple cart, how you reacted.  Feel me?  We think we have it so together and sometimes we do but let one little (or big) thing disrupt our flow we fall to pieces.

Sometimes God has to hit the shuffle button in our lives to expose issues we have, fears we hide and the real intentions of our heart. That’s when it gets real.  Love can quickly turn to hate, good can turn into selfish and our faith can leave us lacking.  Who are we when we’re shuffled?  That’s who we need to deal with.

The thing about a shuffled list is you don’t know what song you’ll hear next.  Life is very much like that.  Instead of wanting to hear my favourites, I found myself excited to see what God picked for me to hear next!  I surrendered to the shuffle and enjoyed every minute of it! Maybe that’s a message to us to surrender to what God has for us today and not be so naïve as to think we have it all under control.  We don’t!

Jeremiah 29:11 (NASB): ‘For I know the plans that I]have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.

1st Peter 4:12-13 (NASB):  “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation.”

 

Come to the Stable

This time of year is bittersweet.  I reminisce sweet times gone by of family and friends.  I miss them so.  Tears and smiles invade and despite my efforts to not be sad, sometimes I am.  Regardless of my best efforts to not get caught up in the craziness of the world around me and my emotions, I find myself a prisoner, right in the middle of it.

Are you there too?

Take a walk with me back to where the true meaning of this season is.  Let’s go back to the stable.  Picture with me, a young, anxious couple awaiting the birth of their first child.  They’re in a strange city where they know no one.  Exhausted from a walk/donkey ride they just want to find a place to stay and rest, do what they need to do, and head back home.  He checks every available place only to find the city is full with people complying with the census, just as they are.  She’s ready to deliver any day now and she misses her mother.  He’s still dumbfounded, perhaps a little numb with the news that his wife to be is pregnant not with his baby or another man’s baby…but with God’s baby!

He thinks to himself, “after all this, now I can’t find a place to take her to rest!  This could be my last straw! Can’t people see she’s very pregnant?  Can no one show us a little compassion?” The last innkeeper he comes to points to a place where people house their travel animals and tells him they’re welcome to stay there: “Hey, it’s a roof over your heads, that’s better than nothing!” so reluctantly the young husband-to-be takes him up on his offer.

He marvels at Mary.  Throughout this pregnancy, she’s never had a cross word and never complained.  She’s shown no fear, only the anxious anticipation of any first time mother.  She’s remained faithful…and even more beautiful than the day he met her.  To his eyes, she seemed to have an aura about her; a special glow.

Joseph makes her a place to rest and unpacks what they need for the night.  Shortly thereafter it’s obvious she’s going to give birth right there.

Wait.

Wasn’t she supposed to deliver God’s Son?  Isn’t He a King?  And…and…and…we’re here in a stable?  Have I failed God?  Have I failed, Father?  This can’t be the way you intended to bring Him into the world…or is it?  He was reminded of scripture; where the prophets said God’s Messiah was to be delivered and peace overtook him.  They were there and He is coming!

The couple see each other through the birth of the world’s promised Prince of Peace.  Joseph goes through the barn looking for something to wrap their newborn Jesus in and she wraps her son in strips of linen and holds him close to her, marvelling at her child.  Their child.  God’s child.  They look into each other’s eyes and without words, say everything their hearts are flooded with.  For a long time, no words are spoken.  They’re in awe of God’s promise fulfilled.

We stand at the door of that miraculous sight.  An ordinary girl and boy, pledged to be married, now parents of God’s own Son, the promised Messiah.  Can you see Him?  He’s your promise as well.  God came to the world just for you, wrapped in the flesh of an innocent and perfect baby.  Oh I know.  You can’t take your eyes off Him.  He’s yours, just as He’s Mary’s! He’s your King; your Promise; your Messiah.  Isn’t He beautiful?

He came this way, with no pomp and circumstance, to let you know His/Our Father was thinking of you – yes you! The one who feels forgotten, forsaken and insignificant.  YOU.  He loves YOU that much.

Merry CHRISTmas beloved child of God.

Stay as long as you want at the stable.  If you have to leave then go, but don’t forget what you’ve seen.

Don’t forget how favoured you are to have witnessed – and believe – that the baby you beheld there – in the midst of a dirty stable is the Jesus that comes in to the filth of whatever we’re going through and changes absolutely everything.  Come back to the stable as often as you like.  Stay there this season as often as you can.

FROM It!

So yesterday the car acted up and did something really weird (those of you who know what I’ve been through…I see you laughing, or perhaps holding your breath…). Because of my history with vehicles I was absolutely terrified to drive this morning. Screaming on the inside, I forced myself to take my son to work.  So far everything’s good. Anyway praying every mile & being grateful for every mile, it started to rain. The sky was the most unusual color as the sun was coming out and I was taking it all in, and thankful for the distraction from my anxiety! I looked up and there was a huge cloud. As the sun continued to rise this big cloud didn’t dissipate. I looked up again and all of a sudden there was a rainbow coming straight out of the cloud.

Several things crossed my mind, the first of which was to remember all the promises in the Bible, especially the ones pertaining to God‘s presence. He’s trustworthy. We can trust him. He will never leave us. He will never scold us because of our fear because he knows our humanness and all that encompasses. He doesn’t make fun, He doesn’t roll His eyes and he doesn’t withdraw like most people do when we’re needy or too much for them to handle and actually if we cry out to Him, our humanness draws Him even closer!

The other thing that so touched my heart was the fact that this was the biggest cloud in the sky. FROM the biggest cloud came the most beautiful thing – the rainbow.  God reminded me once again in the tests and trials in our lives, even the biggest ones, the things that cause us the most pain can produce something absolutely beautiful. I’m so grateful to God He showed me that this morning. I needed to be reminded. I need to stay thankful. I need to stay dependent on Him, His strength and His provision in my weakest most frightening moments.  Most importantly I need to keep looking to him and for him in every situation this life brings.

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My Own Way

When we go to the Greenbelt we always walk in the same direction and stop at the same spots.  Sampson loves to go there as do I.  They’ve built a long bridge people can walk on that makes a loop so you can walk laps if you like.  Sampson always sniffs the beginning of the bridge, every time we go, but I always redirect him to the paved path that runs next to the water. Part of the mission of walking is so he can do what doggies do.  Don’t want that happening on the bridge.  This morning, he sat down at the entrance to the bridge as if to say, “NO! I’m going that way. I want to go this way.  I’m not moving unless we go this way.  It’s what I want”.  So ok.  I gave in.  I let him go.

For a while he was a happy guy then every few steps, he would turn and look at me as if to say, “I’m done with this.  It’s boring.  I have to you-know-what. I want to go back.”  I’d coax him thinking in my mind, “I tried to tell you, you didn’t want to go to this way but this was your choice and we’re gonna finish it” and so we continued until he got off the bridge. He was jumping and happy, walking faster, obviously pleased to be back on the path where the grass, water and squirrels were.

Oh my isn’t that just like us!  God has set us where we are, doing what we do but there’s sometimes a tug to go in a different direction. We want something different and want to go our own way.  So we venture into a new place only to discover we want it like it used to be.   The free will God’s given us means we can pretty much do whatever we want without ever consulting Him.  We can also do what Sampson did, refuse to move on the path He’s shown us is the best one for us and insist on having what we want, when we want it. I’ve been there and like Sampson, I soon discovered it wasn’t what I thought it was and couldn’t wait to get off of it!

If you think it’s time for a change in direction, pray about it.  Until that time, stay on the path God has you on and believe if changes are necessary that will be made clear.  If you’re feeling restless and just want to change directions just because YOU want to, think about all that’s involved with that.  Pray for contentment where you are (1st Timothy 6:6); it’s a wonderful thing.  I’m learning going my own way isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

Where You Are

You’ve seen the countless pictures I post of our morning walks in Borden Park.  That’s Sampson’s favorite place as we go there every day.  It’s full of blessings for him: lots of squirrels to chase, sometimes other dogs, scraps of food (which I don’t like) and smells to sniff for him.  Often in the mornings no one is there but us so I let him off his leash and let him run while I walk.

Across the street from the park there’s an empty field and a softball field.  No trees, no nothing, a literal empty field.  Sampson goes to the edge of the park and stares at the field.  He wants – every day – to go over there. I can’t figure out why.  I mean EVERY DAY he wants to go where he’s not.  He wants to leave all the things he loves about the park and where he can walk and run freely, all the trees that provide shade, all the squirrels he loves to chase, everything he enjoys to go to an empty and barren field. So today I hooked him up to the leash and we crossed the street. He walked to the middle of the field and stood there, staring at the park!

Isn’t that just like us?  We’re in a place where we have everything we need and where without a doubt God has blessed us beyond what we deserve and yet, we’re always longing for more.  We look “across the street” and think there may be something over there that will satisfy us or make us happy that we can’t find in the middle of where we are right now.  We look at it every day; think about it every day (amongst all the blessings we’re privy to right now, not appreciating any of it) and when we walk over we find ourselves longing to be back where we just came from!

Before you “cross the street”, look around you.  Consider where you are, what you have and if not satisfied, ask yourself why. Look for – really look for – the goodness of your place, the blessings in your place and make the decision to appreciate what you have and where you are.  If you find you’re always in want of more than what you have while not appreciating what’s around you, you’re missing out on a wonderful blessing that seems to be getting lost in this world we live in: CONTENTMENT.  Society compels us to never be content, to always want more and not be satisfied until we’ve nearly killed ourselves to get it. There’s nothing wrong with wanting a better life and other things; just be sure you have a healthy grip on those things and don’t let those things have you.

Want what you have.  The abundant life starts right there. If you find yourself across the street into that thing or place you thought you wanted more than where you were and what you had the remedy is simple.  Walk back to your blessed place and look there.  Be grateful you could and appreciate where you are.  Sampson did.  As soon as we crossed back over and I let him loose, he found two squirrels to chase.  He was perfectly content.  We can be too, if we appreciate where we are right this moment.

1st Timothy 6:6  “…but godliness with contentment is great gain.”

Don’t Go Back!

I’m writing my very first novel.  I’ve written short stories and devotionals and this is my first attempt at such a big project.  Every time I open the document, I go back to the beginning and critique it to the point where my allotted time to write is more times than not consumed by this process.  Over and over and over again, I start at the beginning and find that I’m frustrated and disappointed when I’ve not made any progress.  I can’t seem to get anywhere!

Oh that’s a word for our lives isn’t it?  I see that same pattern in my life and in my walk with the Lord.  I keep going back to painful, regretful spots and “pick the scab”.  The Lord does His part and keeps His promise.  I see & feel where He’s touched that area of my life and forgiven me and helped me move past it…but I keep opening the wound.  I keep going back to that place which makes me feel like I’ve not progressed or gotten over it.

Stop going back! Stop it! When you find yourself remembering that initial pain, hurt, shame or loss, remind yourself you’ve already lived through it; why put yourself back in that spot?  Remember how sweet God was to give you just what you needed to move on and not be stuck in that place.  When familiar, painful memories of what it felt like when it was happening invade you, intentionally stop yourself and say, “God’s allowed me to live through that once, I don’t need to survive it again”.  Yes, remember all He’s brought you through.  NO don’t relive the agony again.  You don’t have to.  You’re here, not there.  That was yesterday; this is today.  See the difference?

We have to be intentional in our lives.  Yes, things happened that were excruciating but we have to sometimes forcefully remember, it’s not that way now.  We’re past it.  Let’s stay past it.  Let’s don’t go back.  Let’s move forward.

This morning I opened the novel document and wouldn’t allow myself to look back.  Not today.  Today I’m making progress.  What about you?

Philippians 3:13, 14 NASB:  “Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”