Category Archives: Weary encouragement hope

“Let There Be Light”

light vs dark

“People who walked in darkness have seen a great light” Isaiah 9:3

As a child, and even into adulthood, I had a very real fear of the dark. Sharing a bedroom with my sister was a great comfort to me at bedtime until I was seven and we moved to a larger home where we four children all had our own room. My sister and brother were ex-tactic, but I was horrified.

It was great during the daytime to have my own space but I dreaded bedtime. For awhile my sister would let me come in at night to sleep with her but it wore thin pretty fast. She was three years older than I and wanted her “privacy” so she complained to my folks, who then said I needed to stay in my own bed. Oh, they tried to console me by assuring me there was nothing to be afraid of because they were right downstairs if I needed them but this was little consolation. Downstairs was a long ways off for a little girl afraid of the dark. It didn’t help that there was a big maple tree outside my widow and after dark, especially when the wind blew, its shadow moved in front of my window. My imagination ran wild and I was certain there was a witch in the tree, looking in my window and just waiting for me to fall asleep. I would not get back up for any reason until morning because I was afraid if I put my legs over the edge of the bed the witch or something else would be under the bed and grab my legs.

Just before it would get dark I would turn the light on in my room and  check my closet and under my bed before turning off the light to get into bed.I am not sure what I would have done if someone was there, but that dilemma didn’t cross my mind at the time. As soon as the light was off  I would make a beeline for the bed, jump onto the bed, and get the covers over me. Because everyone knows if the covers are over you no one can get you. That routine would stay with me for many years, some of it, even into my adult life if I was alone at night.

I have since gotten over this terrible fear, well mostly anyway (I still check the closets sometimes if I’m home alone). As a matter of fact I like my room as dark as I can get it at night when I go to bed. There have been a few nights when I’ve been alone and there was still a little underlying anxiety at night and I have also been known to have some grandkids spend the night a few times because I didn’t want to be alone at night.

But on a brighter note, no pun intended, it goes without saying, over all I love the light!!

 I am a morning person and feel the most productive in the daytime. I love lots of windows in my house and I want all my curtains open during the day to let as much light in as possible. And I love the feel of the sunshine on my face.

Light reveals where we are.

Light shows us the path in front of us.

Light gives us our directional bearings, rising in the east and setting in the west and the stars guided sailors long before directional equipment came along.

Light warms us and creates beautiful sunrises, sunsets and rainbows for our pleasure.

It even affects our health as the sunshine provides us with vitamin D and not enough light can cause depression and seasonal affect disorder.

Light is one of our greatest blessings, the first of all God created,  and he said “it was good” (Gen.1:3-4) Light is available 24/7 to some degree.

“Then God made two great lights the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night. He made the stars also.” (Gen. 1:16)

We take this blessing of light for granite most of the time. It isn’t until we are in the darkness and can’t find our way that we search for the light and appreciate what a blessing it is when we find it.

Darkness is great when we sleep or in a movie theater but when functioning in our daily activities, trying to do them in the dark can be a problem. When we walk in the darkness we often lose our sense of direction and even lose our way. We try to feel our way through the darkness often stumbling over obstacles in our path. We may feel like the darkness is closing in on us or makes us feel cold.

 Responses to the light often depend on how long and how deeply one has been in the darkness. After a long time in darkness the light is harsh at first and we guard out eyes from too much all at once. Even watching those leaving a dark movie theater and into the daylight we see them shield there eyes until they adjust to the light.

Walking in spiritual darkness is the most dangerous of all. When we try to find our way through this world in the darkness we lose our way, we stumble and fall. We may try to find our way through the darkness by following our feelings but like the path in front of us in the darkness things we can’t see may change the course and our feelings change with them. Soon we feel the darkness closing in on us and don’t know which way to go.

Jesus told them, “You are going to have the light just a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, before the darkness overtakes you.The man who walks in dark does not know where he is going”. (John 12:35 NIV)

When God reveals his light to those living and wandering in  darkness it can seem harsh at first as it reveals where we are in our sin. And their may be guarding and shielding against the light in the beginning. It can be, as it was with Paul, downright blinding (Acts 9:3-9). But as we walk out of the darkness toward the light we will see Jesus who is the light of the world offering us a way to never have to live in or fear of the darkness again.

Unlike light made by man, the Creator’s light is: Perfect, spoken into existence, made and perfected in two days, always reliable, purposeful, perfect in timing,   it relies on no man, it’s free and available to all mankind, it controls the climate-warmth by day and cool by night, seasons, vegetation’s growth, length of days and light and darkness, it is always there, a sure thing, and provides energy.

God not only spoke the light for the world into existence, “God is light; in Him there is no darkness.” (1 John 1:5)

Then Jesus spoke to them again saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”  (John 8:12 NKJ)

Are you walking in darkness, in the shadows or are you walking in the light?

If your walking in darkness ask God to shine His light and show you the path out of the darkness. He is waiting to hear from you.

If your walking in the light of Christ let that light shine for those around you who may be  walking in darkness that they may see the light of Christ and be saved through it.

 

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Filed under Darkness, enjoyment, faith stages, Light, Peaceful, Weary encouragement hope

Looking For A Leader

Hard questions

Over the last year young and old of every race and every religion have been looking for a leader. This past years election cycle will probably go down in history as the most unusual election cycle in our nation.

The election is over now but as I think about all the different opinions I see that everyone is really looking for the same thing.

We are looking for a leader who is radically different.

A leader who will:

* stand up to the establishment

* Look out for the needs of the masses as well as the individual and provide for those needs.

* Put the needs of others ahead of their own comfort

* Give all people real hope and change for a better future

* Provide a resting place where people can feel safe and secure

* Provide justice and mercy, fairness and forgiveness

We all want a someone with a proven track record in all of the above. Someone whose plans, when followed, never failed.

Sounds impossible but that leader we are looking for has been right in front of us for over 2000 years. The most radical leader of all time, who has never been equaled – not even close. It is Jesus Christ!

“In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”                                                                                                                                                                 John 1:1

He is not an establishment figure

His message was and still is definitely one of hope and change

He never wavers in the truth and exposes the lies

He knows our every need and has the ability to meet every need and His resources are unlimited

His desire is to reach out to and meet the needs of every person of every race, gender and nation

He is always just and fair

He has a purpose and plan for every life and there are multitudes who have followed Him and give testimony to the details and outcomes of the plans in real-time for years.

His “super pack” was twelve men who spoke truth, His truth. They served and took care of others ahead of their own needs. They defended the weak, widowed and orphans. This super pack stood firm in their faith and in the truth even where there was personal insult and injury, standing up against the establishment for what was right and what was truth.

We have a new president-elect now who will soon take over to lead our country and we should be praying for him as he leads. Things are still somewhat unsettled and probably will continue to be even into the next election. It will always be that way with men!

But no matter what our political views are, with God we can always have that hope and change we long for. Christ is the Leader of leaders, the King of kings. Christ alone can bring us the peace we need in this crazy world we live in if we will follow Him.

He is the only leader I  know with the perfect resume.

Why not follow the Leader!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under accountability, assignment, character study, peace, Promises, Weary encouragement hope

Connecting the Dots

 

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In the process of learning it is the analogies and object lessons that help me learn the most, for they put a principle into simple practical pictures that I can see and relate to.

My favorite analogy of all time is found in the book, Hind’s Feet On High Places, by Hannah Hurnard. It pictures a young girl named “Much Afraid” and her spiritual journey through the difficulties of life with her companions “Sorrow” and “Suffering”. With the Shepherd’s help she overcomes her fears and facing danger and discouragements, Much Afraid, is ultimately united with the loving Shepherd in the “High Places” where she is given a new name and a ministry to those who remain in “The Valley of Suffering”.

You’ll have to read the book to know the rest!

In my meditations today, reading from Streams In The Desert (compiled by L.B. Cowman and edited by James Reimann) I found an object lesson that also helped me to relate to the evils and/or struggles that confront us.

For those who have ever asked “Why me?”, Why now?”, “Why again?” (for I have asked those questions many times) and especially for those who know God and understand that nothing comes to one of His own that doesn’t pass by Him first,  I am posting  portions of that selection from Streams In The Desert for July 23rd, and they follow:

I once saw a man draw some black dots on a piece of paper. Several of us looked at it yet saw nothing but an irregular arrangement of dots. Then he also drew a few lines, put in a few rests, and added a treble clef at the beginning. Suddenly we realized that the dots were musical notes, and as we began to sound them out, we were singing,

Praise God from whom all blessings flow,

Praise Him all creatures here below.”

It is difficult for us to understand, at times, why God allows those “black dots or spots” in the lives of His children. They often seem to come at the worst times, unexpected times and we ask “Why me?”, “Why now?”, Why again?”, and “Why did He permit them?”

But when we allow Him into our life to adjust the dots in the proper way, to draw the lines He desires, and to put rests at the proper places to separate us from certain things, then from the black dots and spots He will compose a glorious harmony. C. H. P

When an organist presses the black keys of a great organ, the notes are just as beautiful as when he presses the white ones. Yet to fully demonstrate the capabilities of the instrument, he must press them all. ” (selected)

Many people owe the grandeur of their lives to their tremendous difficulties.” Charles H. Spurgeon

As we look back over time and begin to “connect the dots” we will begin to see a picture of God’s hand at work in our lives as He creates a beautiful harmony from the events in our lives. A picture of the loving Shepherd, and His grand purpose for us and we can sing, “Praise God from whom all blessings flow”, in spite of what is going on in our lives.

I challenge you to look for the dots, the lines, the rests. Look for God’s hand at work in it all and praise Him for the work He is doing in your life to help you fulfill His purpose and plans for your life and His kingdom and glory!

“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 (NIV)

 

 

 

 

 

 

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From Frustrated Perfectionist to Perfect Melancholy!

WARNING! This may be the worst blog you ever read!

Today I am just writing what is on my mind. No planning, or thinking it all through first (as I am sure you can tell) Just writing, writing, writing and hoping that what I am working through might be of help to someone in the blogosphere or on facebook who may struggle with spinning their wheels and going nowhere.

I have been labeled, by some a perfectionist and even by a few obsessive/compulsive about it. However as I look around there seems to be a great deal of imperfection, both in and around me.

So what’s the deal here?

My intentions are good…I’m going to organize my stuff, I’m going to finish that book, finish that cross stitch I started (5 yrs ago, mind you).  I’m going to make a schedule and a to-do list for the week (and stay on it for a change), cook better meals, work on a better budget and start writing on my blog every day. Meanwhile, it all seems so daunting that by the time I get the lists made and the plans made , and re-made I end up getting very little of it done, if any.

Then I say to myself, “Self”, I say, “it’s to hard, you don’t have enough time, your no spring chicken anymore, you will just never be able to do it,” and the best of all “I’m to busy  with all the ‘urgent’ needs every day”  So I am forever planning, preparing and organizing but never actually getting the things that are important done allowing the urgent to take precedence over the important.

Heavy sigh!

What’s a woman to do?

In my striving to do better I have accepted an offer of a spiritual coach to work with me to help me move forward, find God’s direction and get on the right track. The first goal is to know what my gifts and abilities, as well as what my limitations really are. She provided me with a personality test and a giftedness test which has helped me to understand better who I am and how God made me to function in the gifts and abilities He has given me. It appears that I am what is called a “Perfect Melancholy”, and no it does not mean I am perfect or necessarily melancholy (check out “Wired That Way, Personality Profile” (Marita  & Florence Littauer). But it does give me some insight into the whys and ways that I work and respond in different circumstances and what my strengths and weaknesses tend to be.

Through discussions with a dear friend and my spiritual coach I have come to recognize some of my own self defeating behaviors, like, making unrealistic demands on my time and on others, making unrealistic to-do lists, making commitments to projects and/or other requests without thinking them through and praying about them first, and allowing others to dictate my schedule. This led me to make some commitments to my friend, my coach and myself. One commitment was to begin writing again. Therefore I am writing, not listing what I might write about or planning what I will write about, just writing.

The challenge started last Monday and I did spend an hour on my blog, however the whole hour was spent looking at my blog site, reading and comparing others blogs, and thinking and planning what I should blog about.. But alas, I never actually wrote anything!

Today is a new day and I am writing!

I will be writing on my blog for one hour or more twice a week and I welcome my blogging friends to come back and check out my progress and hold me accountable as well! I look forward to your encouragement and your suggestions to help me be a better writer.

My goal is to go from Frustrated Perfectionist to Perfect Melancholy.

What personality are you? I urge you to learn more about yourself and the gifts and abilities God has given you.

What goals do you have? What commitments are you willing to make to reach your goals?

Do you have a friend or friends whom you will give permission to hold you accountable to your commitments?

I would like to hear about them!

JB

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Filed under character study, communication, faith stages, Weary encouragement hope

Overcome Or Overcomer?

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Oh, what a difference one letter in a word can make! And even when a word is spelled the same it can have a totally different meaning depending on the context in which it is written or spoken.

In the storms of this life there are times I feel overcome with anxiety, worry and fear and what I have learned, after many years of experience in this field, is that how I handle the situation will determine whether I let the negative emotions overtake me or overcome the negative to embrace the peace that is available to me in and through the “overcomer”, Christ Jesus.

Got any rivers you think are uncrossable?

Got any mountains you can’t tunnel through?

God specialises in things thought impossible

He does the things others cannot do. (original chorus written by Oscar C. Eliason)

Lean in on the one who is the Overcomer. His promise is to give you peace, even in the midst of the storm!

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Unlocking the MInd

This is my first assignment for WP writing 101. Write whatever comes to your mind, unedited for 20 minutes.

The reason I am taking this course is to learn to be a better writer. I have been writing in journals for about twenty years and am so insecure that I even edit my journal writing for fear of what others might think if if there is no filter on what I write. The odd thing is that for years there was no filter on anything I said and I didn’t put anything in writing because I feared it would come back to bite me in the butt. d

I know now that my boldness and mouthy behavior was a cover-up for my own emotional insecurity. Now I don’t blame anyone for  that but I know a lot of it came from the way I was treated as a child and teen. I came from a home where dad was an alcoholic and mom worked all the time to get by ( and probably away from Dad). I decided as a teen that I would “do to others before they did to me”. Since I was only 4′ 11′ and 92 # the chip I had on my shoulder weighed me down significantly.

By God’s grace and mercy I lived through those teen years and did mellow with age, however went from bold and brassy to meek and weak. Man there had to be a middle road. Over the years the school of hard knocks  and a maturing relationship with the Lord Jesus I began to gain a bit of insight into who I was and how to deal with the things of the past that brought out undesirable behaviors. Not undesirable by others but by me. Your see I am my own worst critic! I double and triple check everything I do and therefore don’t do as much as I could or should in my perspective.

I love to learn and read and get excited about putting all I learn into practice but when the course work is done and the lessons are learned I seldom take action because of the fear of failure. The prompt for today’s lesson was about information overload and that is how I feel after taking a course. I have to have a step 1,2,3 to go by and be told just what to do next because I don’t trust my own thinking. I don’t feel I have anything of my own to offer so I live off the wisdom of those other bloggers, Christians, authors and teachers.

I have a lot of ideas of what I would like to write about and I love analogies but it is just like the writer of this assignment said, by the time it gets to putting it on paper or at the computer keys it just doesn’t seem as important or impressive and I delete or wad it up and throw it out. I have a whole box of analogies and stories I have jotted down that I would like  to expand on but there they sit in the box. The minute I pull one out and begin to try to expand on it my mind goes blank and I determine “it wasn’t such a good idea anyway.

Well my 20 minutes are almost up and I am surprised that I haven’t stopped once to change anything. So these random thoughts are there for all the blogosphere to see. And to my friend Lori who got me started blogging I say thank you. My filters are off and it has been a very liberating experience.  I have one confession to make though I did do a little spell checking. So take away my birthday, no please take it away, I’m 66.

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“Designed To Soar”

“Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:30-31 (NIV)

As I read this verse this morning I have to say until recently I have felt more like a turkey than an eagle. But as I have experienced letting go of some responsibilities that weren’t mine to begin with, and giving them to my heavenly Father, He has enabled me to increase my altitude. It is hard to soar with excess baggage. I may not be up there with the jet set but I am  beyond the clouds and the dark skies and beginning to see where God’s hand at work in the difficulties of this life.

Even though the eagle can not see or understand the currents of air that enable it to soar in the heavens it launches out into the air, by God’s design, knowing it was made to soar.

Even though we do not understand all the ways of God and can not see God we can, by God’s grace and power, step out in faith knowing, by His design, we too are made to soar.

As we take that step in faith and trust our heavenly Father with our lives He will lift us over the earth bound things of this world to soar “with wings like eagles” instead of flapping our wings furiously in an attempt to reach our desired destination in our own limited power. Only in letting go and allowing Him to carry us along on His grace, mercy and strength will we become all He designed us to be.

Baby eagles learn to fly by flapping their wings and hopping around the nest, along with jumping to nearby tree branches. After doing this for days or a few weeks, they are ready to fly out of the nest. After spending enough time hopping, flapping and jumping to other branches (called branching), it is ready for its first flight. The amount of practice time varies somewhat from baby to baby.Once an eaglet has made its first successful flight, called a fledging, it will continue to practice flying to nearby trees for a month or two and then leave the nest for good.  (Reference: www.hancockwildlife.org, www.learner.org)

Like the eagle, who has to go through different stages before it can soar, we are all  at different stages in our faith journey in learning we can trust Christ and soar in His strength.

Some of us are still in the nest, jumping around but going no where, in need of Jesus to help us step out of the nest and trust Him.

Some have stepped out onto a branch trusting Christ for the first time.

Some have been going from branch to branch learning to trust Christ in different areas of their life as they grow in there faith and the knowledge of God’s will.

Some have taken that first short flight but still not willing to leave the comfort of the nest completely.

And some have been walking with Jesus for a long time experience both resting and soaring in His power.(we need both)

Like the eagle who’s stages of learning to fly vary, the stages of faith vary from person to person. Therefore we can’t judge others by their how high they can fly.

Each one of us start out in the nest with no knowledge and power of our own but loved and designed by God to soar in His power in the heavens. He alone provides the power and the flight plan.

We are designed to soar!

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