Monday, October 21, 2019

Purpose of Heart or Plan at Hand

When the purpose of the heart becomes more than just getting the job done, it's a wonderful thing to watch in our children.  

I will never forget the time Joseph went to feed the chickens. It was taking a little longer, so I looked outside, and what I saw brought a smile to my face. Four or more hens staring up at him through the fence, as he wiggled his body,  bobbed his head, flapped his arms, and made some type of sound that I'm sure he thought they understood.  Well they sure were as fascinated with him as I was – (or maybe just waiting for him to throw more food.)  

This simple act of childhood innocence in seeking to do more than feed, to care... reminded me of his name sake.

While serving his fellow prisoners and seeing their needs – Joseph stops and inquires because their continence is down.  This one caring question starts a tide of events that will forever change his life.  His insight arose from having a purpose of heart deeper than a near-sighted focus of accomplishing the plan at hand.

There is a BIG difference between the two and time will reveal which one we are living for. When the deeper purpose of heart is to please our Father – our steps are measured accordingly. The overflow of this will impact our relationship with others. 

Disappointments/interruptions/misunderstandings will all begin to fit like a glove, because whether it's a prison or palace – His presence and His pleasure are all that matters.

The plan at hand – is nearsighted, looking only to find fulfillment in it the present moment;  without the interference of man. It rarely looks for anything outside of the obvious, so many opportunities
to experience His presence and bring Him pleasure are missed. This is a very difficult way to live – because control always comes at a high price -seeking foremost what is in our HAND rather than His plan.

Memories of Joseph's chicken dance remind me that – a heart that serves in love, can not help but share itself with others.

You can give without loving; BUT you can not love without giving. ~Amy Carmichael

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Permission Slips

In one moment, the whole course of my life would be changed. I did not realize it then, when I held this beautiful baby girl we named Anna Hope. In her first seven years we would pass through doors, that we would have never considered going through on our own. She would introduce to me pain, suffering and weakness that I never would have signed up for...

Why didn't God give me some permission slip, lining it all out, warning me of all the side effects to the coming storms? I think He knew my prayers for “Being more like Him” and my heart did not match back then. He knew Anna, would teach me HOPE, but my small little heart could not contain all He had to give. Stretching was needed. Capacity was necessary. 

He knew I would not have signed, if I knew all then...and 30 years later I'm glad He did not ask my permission. This was His Grace and Mercy to me.

We really do not want a shallow peace or hope, but one filled to all the measure He has for us. Are we willing for Him to do what it takes to “expand” our hearts?

"Faith's most severe tests come not when we see nothing, but when we see a stunning array of evidence that seems to prove our faith vain." — Elisabeth Elliot (These Strange Ashes)

"But the question to precede all others, which finally determines the course of our lives is What do I really want? Was it to love what God commands, in the words of the collect, and to desire what He promises? Did I want what I wanted, or did I want what He wanted, no matter what it might cost?" — Elisabeth Elliot (Passion and Purity: Learning to Bring Your Love Life Under Christ's Control)

Happy Birthday Anna!  My assigned angel, to teach me HOPE. 
Her sisters thoughts on this, several years ago...

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Going to WAR

After being gone for nearly a week, our garden looked like a jungle when we arrived back. Rain the day before was a gift to our hard soil. It made weeding the larger clumps of grass easier to pull up in large masses.  It also made us sink into the wet grass and soil, covering us all over with mud and dirt. 

This business of gardening is not for the faint of heart! As I looked across at Whitney, I noticed on her face a mud line under one eye, and then the other. Pointing to her face, I asked 

What's with that?” 

“I'm going to war on the weeds” was her reply. 

Yes, this was the attitude we needed to take to have victory over this forest....knowing that beneath this jungle, was a garden!:-)

Going to war on the weeds. It may not always look like war paint of mud, but its face is set like a flint. Our life is very much like this garden of ours. 

Cultivating it is a daily task, and we will pay the price, if we do not tend it. If we treated “thoughts” like we should weeds...there would be a great harvest of fruit, flowing from our lives.

Sometimes, we find ourselves looking at a “jungle” due to our lack of tending the smaller weeds. But God's mercy comes in and rains on us, helping the hardness to give way to pulling

Remember, His mercy does not mean less effort will be given to us, but His enabling grace will allow us to endure. Pulling up, will always be our part. Endurance in hope, will allow us to go to war on these areas in our life.  We really do not want anything that will choke out being rooted and established in His love.

Adaptation with Joy

Adaptation is the Art of Surrender - learning to go with the flow

It's like the explosion of a dandelion, with each seed finding the wind as its seat to the next place. We are often sent off by the best intentions of others, and some times leaving us wondering....

"Now where will this go?" 

We learn to experience JOY when knowing all winds are sent out by HIM, and will eventually bring us back to HIM. 

Jesus told Nicodemus "So is everyone having been born of the Spirit."  Men are often the catalysts of the winds that blow us about, but we must remember that it is our heavenly Father Who has given them breath to become those winds. 

All the storms we encounter contain His winds and His purposes are behind every blast, regardless of the direction it has come from.

The lightning and the thunder are His, however frightening they appear and the darkness of the storm is the place of His abode.

Psa 91:1,1 "He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust."

In His presence is FULLNESS of JOY. 

Whatever we are waiting for - peace of mind, contentment, grace, the inner awareness of simple abundance - it will surely come to us, but only when we are ready to receive it with an open and grateful heart.~Sarah Ban Breathnach

He who has faith has... an inward reservoir of courage, hope, confidence, calmness, and assuring trust that all will come out well - even though to the world it may appear to come out most badly.~B.S.Forbes

Faith is not simply a patience that passively suffers until the storm is past. Rather, it is a spirit that bears things - with resignations, yes, but above all, with blazing, serene hope.~Corazon Aquino