The Fork in The Road

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Why can’t God’s voice and the direction He desires for us be as clear as this answer I found on this path? 

What if it could be just as clear as the X and No on the left path in this picture? What if we just need to ask God some questions and then sit and listen quietly for His answer? Or seek Him through the scriptures?

You have your heads in your Bibles constantly because you think you’ll find eternal life there. But you miss the forest for the trees. These Scriptures are all about me! And here I am, standing right before you, and you aren’t willing to receive from me the life you say you want. John 5:38-40 (MSG)

I remember when the kids were small, and we took a bike ride through the NC State campus. My husband and I explained to our children that this was where we met and began dating. They asked so many questions. “What did you do on your dates? Did you have sleepovers? What movie did you watch?” And our youngest wanted to know who babysat them while we were on our dates. 🙂

They were asking lots questions to find more about their mom and dad but beyond that. . . our answers were revealing a side of us they had not seen before. Our Heavenly Father wants us (His children) to ask Him questions too. He wants us to dive into His Word, His past, His promises, and His character so that He can reveal to us who He was, who He is and who He always will be. He
wants to answers our questions and give us direction. 

I wonder if sometimes we are so busy talking to God about our problems, our wants, and our needs that we forget to just sit and listen. Will you join me in sitting quietly with our Father this week and exploring His ways? 

Open Invitation

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Be still, stop striving, let go… and know that God is God” Psalm 46:10

This is the verse I’ve been pondering for the past week, so imagine my
wonder when I looked up from the path I was walking and saw this incredible
image. The sun was piercing through the trees like a spotlight in the middle
of the night almost making the bench glow. I heard God whisper, “Come sit with me.” 

Why is being still and quiet so difficult for us? Why do we find more value
in being busy and to-do lists than sitting still and quiet? Why do we feel
lazy or guilty when we take time to sit with our Father? Why do we always
feel as if we need to be in constant motion?

These are the questions I’ve been asking myself and learning the answers to
for several months. We are in a constant battle with the world, and its
definition of purpose, success, and meaning. Over and over again, women tell
me that they struggle with saying “no.” Of course, I can relate and have to
practice it myself. It’s funny to think that such a small word with only two
letters can hold so much power over us. The guilt, shame, and fear of
letting someone down can be overwhelming. 

So, today, I want to leave you with a few examples of when Jesus Himself
said no and I pray it will give you the freedom to say it as well. The
beauty of learning to say no is that there is more time to spend with the
Lord and to focus on the few things He has called us to do for Him and do
them well. 

Jesus said no to Peter, who wanted to him avert His destiny on the cross.
Jesus even called him a stumbling block. Matthew 16:21-23

So, we can say no to friends. 

Jesus said no to His family when they claimed Him as their own. Mark 3:31-34

So, we can say no to our families. 

Jesus said no showing His great power and coming down off the cross as
soldiers mocked Him and He hung with criminals. Luke 23:35-39

So, we can say no to those mock us. 

Jesus said no to the crowd who was calling Him to be King. John 6:14-16

So, we can say no to those who call us into something we know we aren’t
called to do. 

Jesus even said no to the religious leaders who warmed him to stop alleging
He was the Son of God, even though He knew it would lead to His death. John
9:35-39

So, we can even say no to those at our church as well. 


Photo from 10/14/19 – North Carolina Art Museum

Not As It Seems

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It’s not as it seems. Our puppy, Gypsy, isn’t taking a walk on top of a house! As I walked our puppy through the art museum, I found an intriguing structure that allows you to walk on a rooftop.

Looking back on this picture, it helped me grasp the idea that I sometimes deceive myself.  I realized that when I’m asked to do something and I say no or decline, it feels as if I’m letting someone down, being selfish, or missing out.

Does anyone else have a difficult time saying, ” no” or “normally I would, but this time I can’t.”? These feelings are not as they seem. They deceive us into doing things we don’t have time for, don’t enjoy, add stress to our lives, and God hasn’t called us to do.

And most importantly, drain us the energy, creativity, and joy of doing the things God has actually created us and called us to do.  When you look through the gospels, you will find that even Jesus no. In fact, he said no to situations we would all do most anything to avoid: death, family, a show of power, becoming king.

Jesus said no to Peter who wanted to him avert His destiny on the cross. Jesus even called him a stumbling block. Matthew 16:21-23

Jesus said no to His family when they claimed Him as their own. Mark 3:31-34

Jesus said no showing His great power and coming down off the cross as soldiers mocked Him and He hung with criminals. Luke 23:35-39

Jesus said no to the crowd who was calling Him to be King. John 6:14-16

Jesus even said no to the religious leaders who warmed him to stop alleging He was the Son of God, even though He knew it would lead to His death. John 9:35-39

If Jesus said no to some of the hardest things we could ever imagine, how can we allow guilt to keep us from saying no to a few tasks and activities? Surely, our God who created the Universe and threw the stars in the sky has created and called someone to step up to the task.

Next time we are faced with a situation that requires a yes or no answer, maybe we should remind ourselves, we can’t do it all and not everything is our job! God’s got this!

 

Brevity

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I found our puppy playing with this Cicada. He was at the end of his life so he didn’t have much left in him, but enough to spudder around and generate his shrill distinctive buzz. I actually stopped and pondered their short lifespan and it made me sad to consider the brevity of their life. They incubate underground for around 17 years and only emerge to enjoy the sun, rain and life for a brief five to six weeks.

And then I realized two things. *Don’t worry – this isn’t one of those live every day like it’s your last day blogs.

1. Our life may be more than six weeks long, but it is very short compared to eternity. In fact, James describes our lives as a mist that appears for just a little while and then quickly vanishes.

Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. James 4:13-14

This encourages me to live following God and to cast my worries on Him. To do the most with it that I can, but not to please others . . . Just to follow God’s lead.

2. Some people live their lives just like the cicada incubating and living lives of sin and confusion until they come to know God and then they truly live. With God’s grace we can put all the past behind us and move towards something more. A life and heart full of grace, compassion, love and vulnerability. We may not get it right away, but as long as we are here there is hope. I type this especially for those of you who have been praying for a loved one or friend to find Jesus and it feels as if it will never happen. I have those people in my life too. It can be discouraging, but there is hope. We can’t give up. God adores them and will not stop pursuing them because the great love He has for all of His children.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 2 Cor. 5:17

And even when we know God and follow Him with all of our heart, soul, and mind. . . We will royally mess it up sometimes. Knowing God and believing in Him doesn’t make us perfect, only forgiven. It also gives us a heart that strives to know, follow and be more like Him.

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 2 Cor. 4:16-17

The brevity of this life is just as real as the eternal life that we are promised by God through His word.

May we all live it with wide open hearts and eyes upward.