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Posts Tagged ‘eyes’

I love 4:30 a.m. on a summer morning.  When I slip outside in my robe with a cup of coffee in hand it’s still dark.  And quiet – so very quiet it brings a sense of peace that I embrace because I know within a short time it will be shattered by the day’s  events.

Everything is asleep.  No birds sing.  The trees are still.  There isn’t even a hint yet of the sun stretching her arms and yawning before peeking over the distant hill.  It is a moment in time filled with expectation.

With the stretch of sweltering heat we’ve been experiencing, the early air is a kiss of cool that will not last so I let it settle around me and I sit very still.  I’m waiting for the first sense of something.

It comes with the tiniest puff of a morning breeze.  That sweet little sensation is followed by the distant sound of a car engine starting.  I feel bad for the driver who hasn’t the time to welcome a few moments of stillness.  I keep my eyes on the horizon because I want to be the first to catch a glimpse of pinkish light.  I want to see the beauty and have a flash of compassion for the sleepyheads who are missing this.

The beginning of a new day is not something to be taken for granted.  Our human minds can never know ahead of time what will follow.  Oh, we have our routines, our tasks, our plans, our responsibilities.  We are so caught up in them we miss the grace filled gifts that drop unexpectedly when we least expect them.

Take this morning for instance.  I could be delving early into my housework, repairing the damage of a busy week before we jump on the motorcycle in less than two hours.  I could be getting a start on the laundry.  I could be working on my latest manuscript that I’m always trying to find time to finish.

But if I were doing any of those things, I wouldn’t be sitting here watching the neighbor’s cat slinking along the top of a wooden fence like an Olympic gymnast on the balance beam, soundless yet alert, in search of an unsuspecting mouse in the field.

I wouldn’t notice that when the willow branches stir they dance in perfect unison to a soundless symphony.

I wouldn’t catch the beginning of light dispelling the darkness to the point where shadowy outlines begin to reveal themselves and it’s like God is creating the earth again as I watch.

I wouldn’t have the satisfaction of laughing to myself and telling the first golden rays of sun, “Ha – I win the who-got-up-first contest.”

In a few minutes I will see dust and hear traffic and feel heat.  In a few minutes I’ll be busy.  In a few minutes my plans and routine will begin to be rerouted by the unexpected turns of the day.  In a few minutes I’ll have to have conversations, make decisions, get exasperated, and keep moving forward.

But for these few moments the world is perfect.  Every morning that I get the chance to do this I think it must be like resurrection morning when Jesus stood expectantly, waiting for the weeping world to wake so He could reveal Himself as the miracle of all miracles.  I bet He watched shadows fade, saw the sun wake, felt the breeze stir, listened for the sound of approaching feet and inhaled the beauty of the moment knowing He would soon be busy with His people and His message.

Precious Lord, this morning my heart overflows with gratitude for this tiny moment in time when You come to me to resurrect a heart that has been beaten down by the pressures of living.  I appreciate your taking the time to lift Your hand and point out the beauty of stillness.  Remind me today in the valley of my life that the mountaintop awaits on the other side of the day, here on my porch just before sunrise.  Amen

His coming is as brilliant as the sunrise. Rays of light flash from his hands, where his awesome power is hidden.  Habakkuk 3:4

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Is there anything more disheartening than when someone in ministry loses their focus and goes down a wrong path?  I don’t mean they completely turn away from God.  That would be much more than disheartening.  I’m talking about the ones who forget Who is in charge and begin to operate under their own power and not His.  Invariably, as part of their new plan, they are driven to destroy what they left behind.

As Christian we want to look up to our pastoral teams and our ministry leaders.  We want to hang our hat on the security that they are solid and will always be.  But often we are disappointed, even shocked, to find them flawed.  Under the power of God’s hand their ministry is amazing.  But when they step out and begin to do things under their own power, trying to convince people it is still God in charge, the power manifests itself in the great damage that they do.

How should we react?  What should we do to assure that the least amount of damage is done and the fewest number of people are hurt?  God gives us specific instruction.

Ephesians 4:29-32  tells us “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”

Wait a minute!  That instruction is for them not us, right?  After all – they are the ones out there trashing our good name and planting seeds of destruction with their bitterness and anger.  Where’s the instruction for the ones wounded by their weapons?

For the answer to that question, go back to paragraph four.  Harming because you’ve been harmed is never God’s plan.  Retaliation bitterness, pay back rage, defensive anger – sorry, not justified either. 

If the Christ who died for us can say from the cross, “Father, forgive them” how can we not do the same? 

Our job is to pray for their angry and misguided hearts, to speak words of encouragement to others so they are not harmed, and to let the Holy Spirit work on the mess created.  Our job is to be the Christian others can look up to.  Our job is to be bold in standing up for what is right but at the same time be compassionate for the one who is being manipulated by the devil into thinking he or she is right. We can only do this if we turn away from flawed earthly examples and “fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith.”  Hebrews 12:2

Lord, help me to remember.

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My wonderful Bible study group had quite a laugh when my good friend Katie shared her story.  She had begun having terrible headaches a couple of weeks earlier and was quite concerned because they had come on suddenly.  The headaches would begin shortly after getting to work and would increase in intensity throughout the day.  She believed it had something to do with her eyes even though she’d recently had them checked.  She finally made another appointment with her vision care provider.  Each day prior to her appointment things worsened and she became more and more concerned as did her husband.  Something was seriously wrong. The day before her appointment she was getting ready for work and spotted a pair of glasses in an unusual place in her bathroom.  She pulled off the glasses she had on only to discover that for two weeks she had been wearing her son’s glasses instead of her own!  The frames were similar enough no one noticed the difference and her son hadn’t said a word (he had switched to contacts).  Only her eyes had figured things out!  The prescription wasn’t working, thus the severe headaches.

It was a funny story but at the same time illustrated how seeing through someone else’s eyes isn’t always the best plan.  When it comes to faith, we need our own prescription so to speak.  We can’t use our parent’s or our pastor’s or our best friend’s.  If we can’t stand on our own and defend what we truly believe deep in our own heart and soul, we are going to be susceptible to some pretty horrendous headaches.

You can’t always rely on someone else’s answers to pass a test!  The foundations of our faith are what get us through.  My ability to weather a storm comes from the experiences I’ve had surviving smaller storms and the repeated assurance that it was God who got me through.  He doesn’t apply the same prescription to my situation that He does to another person’s. There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all-crisis.  Every solution and every assist He offers is unique and individualized.

Reading God’s word brings new thoughts and ideas that I’m going to need at some point.  If I only let others tell me what they read, I’m not giving myself the opportunity to allow God to speak to me personally and prepare me for the road ahead. 

When I study the Bible I get inside the characters and the stories.  If I just listen to someone else retell the stories I might miss key points that are there just for my instruction.  I’m influenced by their voice not His.

If I sit back and bask in the retelling of another person’s great Sunday morning worship experience, I miss out on the soul stirring music, the heart healing testimonies, the life lifting messages.  I only get the fringe benefit.  It won’t be enough when I have to withdraw  a big measure of strength and courage.

As a writer let’s just say I need a first person faith.  A third person point of view just doesn’t cut it.  God has prescribed for me a specific lens through which I will be able to see His hand on my life.  I need to make sure I’m wearing my own glasses.  (Of course, cute frames are an added asset!)

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