Category Archives: Perseverance

Wilted and Exhausted?

hot

Today, it is hot enough outside to melt a lizard! Even so, my husband had to work outside in this scorching heat all day, while I finished up the week’s errands, driving place to place in a van with a malfunctioning air conditioner. By the time we came home, we were both wilted and exhausted from the sweltering attack on our bodies.

Thankfully, the air conditioning does work in our home. This is one of the blessings that I try not to take for granted and thank God for often. Do we NEED the air conditioning? No, but it sure is a comfort during seasons of great heat.

Speaking of seasons, I am often amused at how fickle we humans can be. Once we are hit with the sultry days of summer, we wish for winter. Then, when winter days become a little too frigid, we long for summer. And so it goes for many areas of our lives: When we are young we wish to be older; when we are old, we long for youth. When we have little, we wish for much; when we have much, we long for simplicity, and etc.

The apostle Paul was surely no different than you and I in the beginning of his life. Towards the end, however, having matured spiritually, he began to see things from a whole new perspective, knowing that this life –with all its intricacies- is only temporal. Thus, through time and experience, he

“…learned to be content whatever the circumstances. [saying] I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.  I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”  Philippians 4:11-13

Dear reader, no matter which of life’s challenges has caused you to feel wilted and exhausted;  I pray that you find comfort in Paul’s words. We truly can learn to be content in all circumstances, knowing with full confidence that the Lord Jesus will help us and give us the strength to make it through. He is a always our greatest comfort during seasons of great heat.

I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.  –John 14:18

Strength of Flight part II

dove 2

A few weeks ago, I introduced you to the beautiful racing pigeon that I had the privilege of nursing back to health, and released. According to his leg band, Sampson was ten years old, so he was certainly old enough, and wise enough to find his way home.

Sampson didn’t return home, though. I’ve seen him around my home several times since the day he soared to freedom, no longer needing my care. Tonight, as I sat on my back porch, he flew overhead twice.

What perfect timing. I had just been pondering certain situations, asking myself, do I really make a difference? Down deep I believe that I do, but truthfully, there are times I feel that, even though I try my best to input into the lives of others, I am only repayed with scorn and spite.

But just when my eyes moistened with tears, there flew Sampson overhead, wings outstretched, beautiful and strong; and the voice of the Lord reassured me, “Yes, you do make a difference!” He reminded me:

So shall my word be that goes forth out of my mouth: it shall not return to me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it (Isa 55:11).

Dear reader, if you have ever asked yourself the same question, do I really make a difference, let me assure you that you do. Whereas you might not ever see the positive results in those whose lives you have invested in, you can certainly have confidence that your efforts are not in vain, for God will use them for His glory.

Thankfully, there are other times that we are privileged to witness the strength that others gained as a result of our obedience to God. Like Sampson, whose presence tonight was a comforting reminder to me, your benefactors will oft be near to remind you that you have helped them to gain ‘strength of flight.’

Either way, to God be the glory! And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we [and they] shall reap, if we faint not (Gal 6:9).

Strength of Flight pt I

Strength of Flight

flight

Sampson slowly made his way to the edge of the lawn, surveyed his unfamiliar surroundings once more, then rocketed into the sky majestically, with great strength of flight. Had I not been nursing this beautiful pigeon back to health for the past week, I would never have known that he had recently been too injured and too frightened to fly.

In addition to a gash across his torso, a great many of Sampson’s breast feathers had been pulled out so that his strength was diminished, much like the biblical Sampson who lost his strength when his hair was cut; thus the bird’s nickname. But on this beautiful spring day Sampson was flying superbly like the strong racing pigeon he is, even before his feathers had a chance to fill back in. Words simply cannot express how much joy I felt at seeing him soar through the air, happy and free.

Seeing how quickly Sampson regained his strength brought to my mind Isaiah 40:29:

He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength.

Actually, we can all glean a little lesson about trust from Sampson –the bird, not the Israelite.  While caged, he may not have understood that he was being temporarily restrained for his own good; he probably didn’t perceive that in just a little while he would be as strong ever, yet he was still very calm and trusting the whole time he was under my care. And once healed, Sampson did not let fear stop him from immediately soaring to great heights.

Dear reader, perhaps the situations of life have left you wounded in some way, perhaps even feeling caged in. Be of good courage, for the LORD has everything under control and He is as anxious as you to see you soar to greater heights. And in His perfect time, He will give you the necessary ability and fortitude for incredible strength of flight!

Time to Book It

books

When is the last time you heard someone say that it was time to “book it”? For those of you who aren’t familiar with this phrase, it means that the person speaking it needs to leave; usually in a hurry. Perhaps we don’t hear this phrase very much anymore because our fast-paced society has become so hurried that ‘booking it’ is pretty much implied.

I still like to ‘book it’ every chance I get, but not in the same way. When I tell my family that I am going to “book it,” they know that I’m headed to the library to load-up on books.

My love of reading started when I was very young, and thankfully, my children have inherited that same bookworm gene. In fact, there are many evenings when the only sound in our home is the sound of turning pages. I must admit, as a parent this brings me great joy.

I know of another parent who surely feels the same way; our Heavenly Father. I believe it pleases Him greatly when His children shut-out all the distractions of this world and immerse themselves in His Word; like the Bereans, for example, “…. in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things [which the apostles taught] were so.” (Acts 17:11)

Personally, I long to be a Berean. After all, 2 Timothy 2:15 instructs us all: “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” Although, truth be told, I’m not always as disciplined as I should be, and sometimes let the demands of life keep me from studying the Bible as much as I would like.

Can anyone relate? I know how overwhelming life can sometimes be, and how very hectic. Perhaps, though, (and I’m preaching to myself), those are the best times to pull out our Bibles and ‘book it’ like a Berean.

It’s True, I’m an Alien

pass through

I remember well, gazing into the heavens when I was a teenager, asking no one in particular, “Why did you leave me here?” At that time, I didn’t even know if there really was a God or not, so I wasn’t necessarily addressing Him. Besides, for all I knew, ‘God’ could very well have been one of those outer-space aliens that my parents assured me were very real. Nonetheless, there were two things I was certain of. First, I lived in a very hostile world. Second, I didn’t feel I belonged there. Deep inside, I felt that my home was somewhere far, far away; and I longed to return there.

Imagine my surprise when, several years later, I learned the truth –I am indeed an alien, and this world is not really my home. No, I don’t believe in little green men from mars; that’s not the kind of alien I am. The dictionary defines an alien, amongst other things, as a resident belonging to another country, or a person who has been estranged or excluded. (Peter calls his fellow believers aliens and strangers –2:11).

As a follower of Jesus Christ, a child of the Most High, I am an alien on both counts. John spoke of this when he wrote, “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world… therefore the world hateth you (John 15:18,19).”

Nevertheless, there are two things I am certain of. First this world is a hostile place. And second, this world is not our home; we are merely passing through, touching as many lives as possible while we’re here.

Dear reader, you know as well as I, that we will face much pain and heartache in this world, as we interact with those who despise us. In light of eternity, however, it really doesn’t matter; for our citizenship is in heaven ( Philippians 3:20) and one day soon we will be reunited with our King.

It’s true, I’m an alien.  I truly  hope you are as well.

“Do Not Touch!”

boundaries

My most favorite moment of the day is the one in which my husband returns home from work –or anywhere, for that matter. Although, yesterday was one of those rare occasions when, instead of being greeted with a hug and kiss, my beloved greeted me with the words, “Don’t touch me!” And I am certainly glad he did!

Allow me to explain. In his line of work, my husband is occasionally exposed to the one thing that I am deathly allergic to, and he is not willing to risk my well-being, should any of the nasty stuff be lingering on him or his clothes. Of course, he enjoys my hugs as well, but he loves me way too much to allow a simple moment of pleasure to put me in harm’s way.

When my beloved says, “Don’t touch me!” I am always thankful; not only for the caution he has given, but also for the additional steps he takes to keep me safe. After his warning, he immediately showers and washes the clothing he was wearing so I do not have to touch them. Afterwards, when I finally get my hug, I feel all the more loved.

And that makes me think about our loving Heavenly Father. He too has established some boundaries for mankind, which are all designed to keep us safe from harm. And He loves us enough that He takes care of even the minutest details as we trust Him, and obey Him.

What about you dear reader, have you ever been frustrated by any of those ‘Thou Shall Not’ instructions in the Bible? If so, I would like you to encourage you that any time our precious LORD says no, He is not doing so to hinder us –quite the opposite in fact; they are simply boundaries meant to keep us safe and enjoy a more abundant, healthy and happy life, as it is written:

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11).

Having said that, the next time that you hear that soft voice of conviction warn you, “Do Not Touch,” even for something as simple as a book, or a television show, I hope you will walk away, rejoicing in the overwhelming love of your Heavenly Father -a love that cares too much to allow you to put yourself in harm’s way.

This too shall pass!

bunny.engergizer

Certainly, we all need to: Put on the whole armor of God, that [we] may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. Ephesians 6:11

Although, truth be told, sometimes the devil has absolutely nothing to do with those insufferable days and seasons when everything that can go wrong does; and like the Energizer® bunny, just keeps on going. Comedian and Gospel singer, Mark Lowry, has often said that his favorite Bible verse is, “This too shall pass!” Of course, that’s not a literal verse, but the concept is certainly found within the pages of our precious Holy Bible.

Dear reader, I pray you start every day, especially the more difficult ones, with the full assurance that When the righteous cry for help, the LORD hears and delivers them out of all their troubles (Psalms 34:17).

And, if you listen closely during those trying times, you will most assuredly hear the LORD gently remind you, “This too shall pass!”

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Is your armor scratched and well-worn? If so, you may enjoy my Rays of Light blog:
KNIGHTS IN DAZE
(click on this link to view)

Normal People Worry Me

Adorning my refrigerator is a rather large magnet that reads: Normal People Worry Me! I’ve told my closest friends they have no cause for concern, though, because there’s hardly a normal one in the bunch. Still, despite the lighthearted jest, I do believe that being abnormal is, in today’s world, a good thing, because the LORD doesn’t care for “normal” either.

How can we know this?  Obviously, the LORD doesn’t rely on magnets to make His thoughts known, but He has certainly given us His word, wherein, He speaks of His children thus:

For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God, and the LORD hath chosen thee to be a peculiar people unto himself… (Deuteronomy 14:2)

Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works (Titus 2:14).

Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people… (Exodus 19:5).

The word peculiar, in both Hebrew and Greek, has the same meaning; something that is uncommon, set-apart and very valuable. Quite the opposite, normal denotes that which is common or ordinary.  Hence, when looking back on my adolescent years, I find it humorous how often I then  lamented that, “I just want to be normal.”

Presently, normal is the last thing I want to be.  Which brings me back to the aforementioned magnet; whenever I see that humorous little phrase, “Normal People Worry Me,”  I sometimes take a moment to ask myself if my witness, as a believer, is commonplace and ordinary. After all, each of our lives, like a refrigerator magnet, clearly displays a message.

Dear reader,what message does your life display? Is it “peculiar” enough that people take notice of the LORD, whose ambassador you are. Or, is your life so normal, your Christian witness so common, that the world simply overlooks it?

It’s your choice, you can either blend into the world effortlessly, or you can choose to be a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light (I Peter 2:9).

“I Was Asleep”

My son recently upgraded to a larger, softer bed. A few days later, hoping that this had helped to alleviate some of the discomfort that he had been having, I asked, “Did you sleep any better?” Without skipping a beat, he nonchalantly answered, “I don’t know. I was asleep.”

To some, this answer might sound smart-alecky, but to those who know my son to be the concrete thinker that he is, his answer was perfectly logical. It never occurred to him that within my question, there was an implied inquiry as to whether or not the new mattress had a positive effect on his body. Still, his answer took me by surprise. I expected a yes or no, at the very least, but instead, he simply answered that he was asleep.

That plain, uncomplicated response brought to my mind the following Scripture:

I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep:
for thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety.
–Psalms 4:8

Dear reader, it doesn’t get any simpler than this. The Lord has everything under control, and He will take care of us! I pray, therefore, that whenever you are distressed and discomfited, that you will not be tempted to stay awake at night fretting and worrying. Let us instead look to Jesus as our example. When the storm was raging, He was sleeping on a cushion in the stern of the boat (Mark 4:38). Likewise, when the storms of life raged so fiercely that others feared you would drown, I trust you simply, and confidently, told them, “I was asleep!”

My Reality Check Bounced


“My reality check bounced,” lamented one frustrated soul. Who amongst us has not experienced that sentiment on occasion? I remember too well the first time my bank of faith was severely overdrawn: I stood angry, throwing a tantrum,  a new-born believer accusing God, as though that were really possible, invisible fists waving, tears streaming.

You promised thus and such, I reminded Him. Yet every time I take a few steps toward you, I complained further, you kick the ladder out from underneath me.

Dear reader, if you know me personally, or read my blogs regularly, you might think this sounds nothing like me, and you would be correct. But this event happened many years ago when I was still wearing spiritual diapers, immature, not realizing that it was time to take baby steps into those trials that would serve to increase my faith and build character.

If only I had internalized Psalm 9:10 before my world fell apart, Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you, I may have behaved less like a spoiled child and fought the good fight. In those early days, however, I didn’t know how to hang on to my faith in a Job-like situation and so I grumbled and wailed.

Have you ever been there, friend? Are you there now? Perhaps you are presently going through a battle and feel, as I did those many years ago, that God has deserted you in your time of need. If so may I say, in love, that your reality check has bounced. GOD has said He will never leave us nor forsake us. And we know that He will cause all things, even our trials and sufferings, to work for our good. (Romans 8:28).

And you can take that to the bank!

Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid (of them): for the LORD thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee (Deuteronomy 31:6).

The Lord replied, “My precious child, precious child,
I love you and I would never leave you.
During your times of trial and suffering
when you saw only one set of footprints…
It was then that I carried you.

Footprints in the Sand — Leona Lewis (click here to listen)