Welcome to my blog...

Green trees, cool water, a gentle breeze...the perfect place to sit at the feet of the Master and learn. Jesus taught so often on the shoreline, and He's still speaking today.

This is where I share the lessons He teaches me, often during the time I spend on the shores of a local lake. I don't have all the answers...and some days I don't have any. But I go here when I need to draw near to Him in a tangible way. Come with me...

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

DETOUR AHEAD!

I've finally realized something. 

Life is full of detours.

You're probably not shocked or surprised by my detour discovery, but I can be a little slow on the uptake sometimes.

Somehow, that big orange warning always catches me off guard.  I'm riding along, everything going according to plan, when suddenly, the signs tell me I need to go a different way.

A way that I don't know. 

A way, that I suspect, is going to take me longer to arrive than I anticipated. 

But the way forward is blocked.

I have choices.  I can be short-sighted and become frustrated and angry by the roadblock.  I can turn around and give up.  Or I can trust that the one who put up the signs knows the lay of the land far beyond my limited scope.  I can believe those detour signs will lead me to where I'm supposed to go.

So, I trust and follow the arrows.

Because the detour wasn't my choice, I view it as an inconvenience at best, and at worst, it's downright scary.   The way can seem dark and winding.  It often leads me deeper into unfamiliar territory.

But I continue to look for the arrows to guide me. 

Maybe my realization isn't so much that there ARE detours but that there are REASONS for the detours.  They aren't as random as they appear.

I may be heading toward potholes big enough to do real damage.   I have discovered this truth when I've insisted on ignoring the signs.  Proverbs 14:12 says:  "There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death."

And Proverbs 16:9 instructs: "The mind of man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps."  Sometimes, I'm in such a rut, going the same way day after day, that my route needs a fresh view.  

A view that's unexpected and beautiful...maybe even life-changing.

It may be that I was never supposed to reach my intended destination at all.

As I contemplate some of the major detours in my life, I realize that each one brought me to a better place.  Every exciting opportunity that has come my way has been an unforeseen detour from the road I was on, from the destination I had in mind.

Conversely, when the detour signs were ignored...when I grabbed the wheel for all it was worth and plowed ahead in spite of warnings, I got stuck in the mud, ran off the road or in some way or another, found myself in trouble. 

The good news is, God has always been gracious to bring me back to the road he wanted me on.

Have you been detoured?

Maybe you didn't get the job you thought was "perfect" for you.  Or into your first choice of school - or second or third.  Perhaps something that appeared to be working out, didn't - a business deal, a relationship, a bid on your dream house. 

Don't stare at the roadblock.  Don't high tail it back home and abandon your journey.

Follow the detour and see where it leads.

It may take a little longer than you'd like.  It may look like you're heading deeper into the woods.  But if God puts up a detour sign, he'll get you where you need to be, because it's where he wants you to be.  Don't fight the detour...enjoy the ride!

God-sized dreams link up




Saturday, March 16, 2013

A God Who Sings

Once again, I find myself in a tough set of circumstances, and once again, the verse Zephaniah 3:17 "crosses my path".  So I have updated this post with some additional impressions as I read it through again.  Here is the post from this past March with "enhancements":

It has been a tumultuous week hampered by physical ailments (both my son and I), personal issues, and ministry uncertainties.

In the midst of all this upheaval, I have come across Zephaniah 3:17  three times. That kind of repetition usually means God is holding up a neon sign saying "pay attention and listen to what I'm saying!"   The verse says:  The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save.  He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.

Two short sentences, packed with power and promises...break it down with me:

The Lord your God:   He is Lord...THE Lord...He has all authority.  But while He is over me, He is reachable...He is mine.

is with you:  He is a God of personal relationship.  He is beside me everywhere, at all times.

he is mighty to save:  He is powerful.  He saves me both eternally and from harm.

He will take great delight in you:  He is caring.  The Lord...mighty and awesome God...delights in ME. Not just a passing fancy, it is GREAT delight...I please Him...He is pleased with me.

He will quiet you with His love:  He is loving.  When I am anxious and fearful...when I am angry...when I am in despair...this strong and mighty God who delights in me reaches down to quiet my churning soul...with His LOVE.  He loves me.  Can you hear him?  Hush my child...do not fear...do not despair...I am with you...I love you.

He will rejoice over you with singing:  He is expressive.  I love to sing praises to the Lord...it brightens my day and lifts my mood...but this says He will sing over ME with rejoicing.  Does this mean I brighten His day too?  Rejoice means "to be glad...take delight in".  Remember what I said about repetition?  It's an indication to 'take notice...hear what I'm saying'.  Yes, I give him joy.

What are you facing today?  Are you feeling less than worthy?  Unloved?  Anxious?  Alone?  Be still and know that He is God...your God.  He is with you and His power and might will save you.  But not only does He wield power and majesty, He is tender and loving.  You are so worthy that He rejoices over you in song.  Doesn't the thought of that bring a smile to your face?  Let go of your worries and bask in His love.


Monday, March 4, 2013

The Purple Sock




It was seeing the purple sock that "put her over the edge"...that caused her to make the call.

She had thought about calling when she didn't see me in church yesterday.  I had gone to service the night before, but she had no way of knowing that.

She had thought about calling me when she hadn't seen me much on Facebook...I guess she missed my post that I'd be off social media for the next month to refocus (with the exception of an occasional blog post).

But when she was in the mall parking lot killing some time waiting on a family member and looked down to see a purple sock on the ground by her car...well, she knew God had been prompting her all along to call me.

What on earth do God and purple socks and phone calls have to do with each other?  For this friend and I, it is a special bond created almost 3 years ago.

In 2010, the head of the women's ministry in our church was looking for a way to keep women connected over what was usually a 'hiatus' period...the 3 months of summer.  She came up with the idea of a book club with a twist.

We were all challenged to read books from the Yada Yada Prayer Group series, about a group of women from very different backgrounds relationally, financially, and culturally.  They meet at a women's conference and while there, one woman experiences a life crisis.  This becomes the impetus for them to stay in contact even after the conference, eventually forming a prayer group and a bond of friendship that lasts a lifetime.

We could read the books at our own pace - it didn't matter if it was just one or the entire series, but at the end of the summer, we were invited to come together for a pot luck to discuss the books, the characters, and how some of what they experienced impacted us in our walk with God.  Although this was a fictional series, there was a lot about the circumstances in the characters' lives that could be applicable to each of us.

August came and the women's ministry leader had a job conflict that kept her from attending the pot luck.  That was unusual because normally, she had the entire month off as vacation - the timing of which was imposed by the very employer who now needed her.  But God is no respecter of routines when it benefits his purposes.  She phoned me a few days before the dinner to ask if I would oversee it.  "Can you just facilitate it?  Ya know, ask a few questions to get and keep discussion flowing?  It's pretty informal."  I hesitantly agreed.  I had just started heading up the CommunityConnections outreach ministry earlier that year and didn't want to take on even a simple "overseeing" of an event...but I acquiesed.

To make things a little festive, I began thinking about how to decorate the room.  Those who know me well, know this is NOT a gift or ability I possess in my natural state, although God is faithful to provide ideas when the need arises, and this was one of those times.

It dawned on me that on the cover of each book, the women in the group wore crazy colored socks.  I went to the dollar store and bought several pair of the craziest I could find, unmatched them and arranged them in the center of the tables.

After we had eaten and the discussion began to wind down, I told the women to each choose one sock.  When they had done so, I told them to find the person who'd chosen the 'mate' to their sock and that was to be their prayer partner.  The women, who wanted to continue meeting just like the characters in the book, loved the idea. 

That was the birth of the monthly women's prayer group I facilitate to this day.

I and my phone-calling friend each chose the purple sock.  We have it as a tangible reminder to pray for each other.  In fact, sometimes, when writing to one another, we address each other as "PSF" - purple sock friend.

The amazing thing is, when this friend made the call to tell me I had been on her mind, something was happening at that very moment.  Something even I was not aware of until several hours later because my phone was turned off. 

That evening, now aware of those circumstances and trying to process what had occurred, I was standing in my kitchen praying when God brought her to mind.  I have many friends and a good number of people to whom I can turn if I need prayer, but I immediately thought of my PSF as the only person I could unburden to in this situation.  As I picked up my cell phone, I saw I had a message. 

Her message. 

The one telling me that God had been prompting her all day to pray for me. 

Later I learned how she had seen the purple sock and how it was then she knew it was a real call to prayer, and I began to cry. 

We had just been studying the first half of Psalm 139 in that prayer group the week before.  We talked about how God knows and sees all - before we speak he knows what we will say...and before things happen, he knows what will occur.  I said my favorite verses were 5 and 6:  "You have hedged me behind and before, and laid Your hand upon me.  Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;  it is high, I cannot attain it."

He hedged me in through the prayers of a friend.  Through the reminder of a purple sock.  What the prayers were for is not the issue.  What is important to me is that even when I didn't know what was happening, God did.  And even when my friend didn't know what was happening, God tapped her on the shoulder and said..."call".  The situation still happened, but knowing that God saw it and was preparing my friend to offer comfort, gives me tremendous peace and confirms what I already know - that He is in control. 

The next time God prompts you to call someone, do it.  And the next time you lose a sock and have no idea where it's gone, don't get upset...God may have need of it as a divine intervention.