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Thursday, July 20, 2017

The Dining Hall

He threw open the Door and let me in.

"What a grand welcome for a peasant girl like me." I thought to myself. He didn't seem to see me, though, as the poor gal that was just begging for bread on the streets just moments before. He acted like He already knew me and I was no poor gal at all. With an overflowing excitement, He put His arm around me and ushered me straight to His Dinner Table.

"You must be starved." He said with a smile and a twinkle in His eye that never seemed to fade. "I only serve the best to all who come in. So I'm sure you'll enjoy it all. Help yourself to anything that fancies you. And if we eat everything on the Table, I'll simply bring out more. So don't hold back!"

My eyes could barely take it all in as I looked down the unusually long Table. It was a feast for a thousand, but we were the only two at the Table. He could tell I was taken back by the huge spread and said, "Don't worry. Nothing will be wasted. My Food isn't perishable because it has Life inside itself. Eat up!"

I lifted my spoon (that actually seemed to lift itself toward me) and reached for what looked like pudding. My first mouthful brought a sort of unexplainable, instant relief. It felt like it was the first time I had ever tasted actual, real food. By my second spoonful, I was convinced of it. I had never eaten anything like this. It was like this Food was what I was created to eat. How did I live without it for so long?

Taking His advice, I dug right in. I couldn't always identify each item of Food I picked up. The ingredients didn't look like anything I had ever seen grown in any garden. They were unique, like something from another world.

He noticed how quickly I was eating and said with a smile,"You like it?"

With a mouthful of Food, I nodded vigorously as I shoved another mouthful in on top of what was already there.

And that's when He started to Laugh. Oh boy. And did He. It was a Laugh so loud that at first it made me jump and the table jolt. It was a Laugh that vibrated through my whole being. It was a Laugh that lasted longer than a normal laugh. It was more like waves of Laughter as it shook the atmosphere around us and sent electric shock waves through my heart as if I was under a defibrillator. Suddenly a rush of pure, unadulterated Joy pulsed in and out of my body. As He laughed even more, I could feel it bubbling inside me. At first it was subtle like butterflies in my stomach. But the more He laughed, the more it bubbled up in me. And it bubbled up...and up...and up...until suddenly I felt it lifting me. Yes, literally. It started lifting me out of my chair! Then the bubbling suddenly felt like rushing water springing up from inside me and it caused me to rise upward until I felt as if I was being balanced on top of a huge geyser! I looked over and saw His eyes were bright and beautiful, full of Love for me. I knew in that moment just how much He truly adores me. How elated beyond words He was to have me at His table! He took my hand and laughed even louder! And then I began to laugh! His Laughter became my laughter! And there we both sat just laughing and eating and laughing and eating for what seemed like moments but what was really probably hours.

"I have so much more to show you in my House!" He said through His bright smile. "Would you like the full tour?"

"Oh yes!" I responded with a huge grin. "I can only imagine what's in store for me to see in Your House. If it is anything like this Dining Hall, I know I'm in for an amazing time!"

"There are many rooms and many adventures in each one! Come, I'll show you!" He said, as He swept me down the long Hallway that led deeper into His Home, His Joy, His Heart. 

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Candles In A Power Outage

There is nothing like a power outage to make us appreciate the candles we have in our house in a whole new way. As the sun goes down and darkness sets in, we look at our lamps and sigh as we pull out all the candles we can find in the house and light them. The light brings instant relief to us because now we can see. 

We're not ashamed of our candles. We don't close our curtains because we don't want our neighbors to know we have candles. That would be ridiculous. And if someone knocks on our door, we don't quickly hide the candles or blow them out to conceal the fact that we are lighting our home with them. How silly would that be? Instead, we invite our neighbors in and ask if they are in need of candles themselves and freely offer them what we have. Light is never something to be embarrassed about.

In the same way, the Light we have in our hearts as believers is an absolutely beautiful thing. The Father, Himself, has lit us like candles in a world that is suffering a terrible, massive Power Outage. We are spiritual lights in every room we enter, and offer relief from the dark to those that have no Light. We are a service to those we encounter.

And just as it would be ridiculous to conceal a natural candle, it would be silly to think we should quickly run and hide our Light from anyone who 'knocks at our door'. If we do, then we are not understanding the Light we carry. We don't see that we have been lit for a purpose - not just to light our own homes, but to also offer that Light to those who come knocking. Candles are nothing to be embarrassed about. Light is nothing to be ashamed of. 

No one lights a lamp and then covers it with a bowl or hides it under a bed. 
A lamp is placed on a stand, 
where its light can be seen by all who enter the house.
‭‭Luke‬ ‭8:16‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

View From The Airplane

Perspective can make all the difference. If I'm standing at the base of a small mountain and looked up, and someone asked me my perspective on it, I'd tell them I thought the mountain was pretty huge. I wouldn't be able to tell how huge because I would not be able to see the top or sides of it. I might be inclined to say it wasn't possible to climb or get around it. But if I were in an airplane and looked down at the same mountain, and someone asked me my perspective on it, I'd probably have a different response. I might still say it was pretty big, but maybe not as big as I thought it was when I looked at it from the ground. I would be able to see the top and sides and notice that there were hiking trails all around it and even some small cabins. The mountain that I thought was impossible to climb, is actually climbed by many and even inhabited! I never would have known that from my perspective from the ground.  

Jesus is all about perspective. He understands there are always two ways of looking at any given scenario - an earthly perspective and God's perspective. The earthly perspective is like standing at the base of the mountain and looking up. The human point of view is limited and will always calculate things incorrectly. It's based on our own wisdom, understanding, judgements, limitations, and philosophies. It can often default to the answer, "It's impossible and can not be done, or should not be done."

But God's perspective is completely opposite. His perspective is like flying above the mountain and looking down. He sees things we don't and from an eternal perspective. He sees what is True and Right. His perspective doesn't see impossibilities, it sees POSSIBILITIES. It doesn't see can'ts it sees CANs! Its answer always includes "Yes! Amen!" and "All things are possible!" 

What situations are in your life right now? How do you perceive them? You have two choices. You can look at them from a human view point or look at them from God's vantage point. But just as we can only see the mountain from above by flying in an airplane, we also can only get God's perspective when we let Him take us above it all and show us. 

If it's hard to see outside of your limited, earthly perspective, simply ask God to take you for a ride in His Airplane and show you a fresh Perspective. You might be surprised at what you see! 

"You are seeing things merely from a human point of view, 
not from God’s.”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭16:23‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Friday, July 7, 2017

A Woman's Influence

The serpent was the shrewdest of all the wild animals the Lord God had made. One day he asked the woman, “Did God really say you must not eat the fruit from any of the trees in the garden?” 

"Of course we may eat fruit from the trees in the garden,” the woman replied. “It’s only the fruit from the tree in the middle of the garden that we are not allowed to eat. God said, ‘You must not eat it or even touch it; if you do, you will die.’” 

“You won’t die!” the serpent replied to the woman. “God knows that your eyes will be opened as soon as you eat it, and you will be like God, knowing both good and evil.” 

The woman was convinced. She saw that the tree was beautiful and its fruit looked delicious, and she wanted the wisdom it would give her. So she took some of the fruit and ate it. Then she gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it, too. At that moment their eyes were opened, and they suddenly felt shame at their nakedness. So they sewed fig leaves together to cover themselves.
Genesis‬ ‭3:1-7‬ ‭NLT‬‬

My husband and I will joke with each other sometimes. In playful humor he'll say, "Hey, it was a woman who got us into trouble in the first place. Eve ate us out of house and home! Haha!" 

Unfortunately, though, my husband is right. Eve was deceived, ate the fruit, and then gave the fruit to Adam. Oi! What influence she had on him because she was his beloved and he trusted her. 

As a wife, I don't always realize the effect and influence I can have on my husband. He values my opinion and listens for my perspective, and I must never forget that. I must remember Eve's mistake. In her personal life, she started listening to the wrong voice. She let herself be swept away by the enemy - away from Truth and into his den of lies. And with a mind of confusion, she acted and then influenced her husband to make the same bad choice. Not a good day in Paradise.

God values women very deeply. As wives, we are not less valuable compared to our husbands. We are equally valuable. And God has made us to come alongside our husbands and be partners - which is represented when God chose to make Eve from Adam's rib (his side). Our decisions, our perspective, and our personal relationship with God can have tremendous effect on our husbands. Like being in a three-legged race - everything one person does will directly influence the other person. 

The question for us wives then is this: What are you bringing to the table in your marriage? Are you like Eve who personally got off track and influenced her husband for evil? Or are you building your life on the Rock of Truth so that your actions are pleasing to God and your influence is always toward Love and with the fear of the Lord? Never underestimate your position of influence. 

Monday, July 3, 2017

The X Variable

X is considered a variable in Algebra. It represents a number in a math problem - a number that can change with each problem. X may equal 10 in problem one, and then equal 5 in problem six.

Life is full of variables. Income is a variable. A man can be making a comfortable income one day, and because of circumstances and unfortunate events, he can find himself five years later struggling to make ends meet. The X variable in his life changed on him.

The thing with the X variables in life is that it shouldn't be fully trusted, and we must view it as such. We must actually expect them to change at any given time. An X variable is not a rock on which we can stand on. It is more of a shifting sand under our feet. We cannot treat it as if it will never change on us. If we do, we are setting ourselves up to be highly disappointed and betrayed by it. 

Jesus tells us to build our lives on the Rock, which is Himself. He is not a variable. He is constant and unchanging. He won't be one thing for you in problem one, and then change who He is and disappoint you in problem six. 

What are you banking on in this life? Are you leaning all your weight on a Variable? If you are, beware my friend. Variables are prone to change. Put your trust and hope in the One who will never change and never disappoint you. 

Every good and perfect gift is from above,
coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights,
who does not change like shifting shadows.
James‬ ‭1:17‬ ‭NIV‬‬

He ALONE is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress where I will never be shaken.
Psalms‬ ‭62:2‬ ‭NLT‬‬


Sunday, July 2, 2017

Weeds & Storms

Some weeds are best pulled up after a good soaking rain. I will purposefully wait to weed my yard until after a storm passes through. The water moistens the hard soil and I'm able to pull out those unwanted weeds with ease.

Likewise, there are 'weeds' in our hearts that are easier to pull up after a storm passes through. It's amazing to see how trials can often humble and soften a person, if they let it. Like the grumpy old man who always wore a sour face. Nothing could pull the weed of bitterness out of him, until the storm passed through when his wife died. Suddenly he was broken and softened and the Lord was able to reach in and pull out the weed that would never budge for decades.

Storms are unavoidable. But we can take heart that when the storms do come, God will use every single raindrop for our benefit. We can totally trust the Gardener of our lives to not just see us through the storm, but to also take advantage of all the rain and pull up any weeds that will only budge after a good soaking rain.

And we know that in all things
God works for the good of those who love him,
who have been called according to his purpose.
‭‭Romans‬ ‭8:28‬ ‭NIV‬‬