Tuesday, July 29

Lean into the Sun

We live in an older neighborhood. It’s your average-middle-class-built-in-the-’70s-typical-ranch-at-the-end-of-a-quiet-cul-de-sac kind of house.

The houses sit fairly close together, so our backdoor window and kitchen window overlook our driveway and the neighbor’s side and back yards. Standing as a wall of separation along the edge of the driveway is the neighbor’s chain-link fence, where the previous owner loved to plant things. The fruits of her labor protrude over the fence, concealing the chain-links in a wall of green foliage.

The other morning, as I waited for my second cup of coffee to reheat in the microwave, I looked out the backdoor window to enjoy the view of my side of the garden. The brightness of spring had pounced out from behind winter’s shadows and awakened the neighbor’s sleeping rosebush with streams of sunlight beaming down along the fence.

As I stared at this now fifteen foot tall “bush,” the profuseness of its cheery rosebuds, thrusting themselves into the sunshine, looked like little, pink heads with pixy faces, straining to absorb every ounce of warmth and light from the sun that was possible.

As the little, pixy heads had blossomed on our side of the fence, their beauty was obscured from the neighbor’s view. I thought, “Lord, the neighbors aren’t enjoying these beauties as much as we are.”

Then, the Lord impressed me with the thought that this is a picture of death with its wall of separation. Though obscured from our view, those who have left this earthly life have, in reality, blossomed on life’s other side.

If Jesus said that those who believe in Him have everlasting life and that He was the vine, then those of us, as believers in Christ, who continue in our earthly existence remain united with those in heaven. Though physically separated, we continue to be linked together through the eternal life of the Vine.

A smile then spread across my face, as the Lord whispered to my spirit, “The beauties of life on your side of heaven may fade and disappear, but they gain a new quality as they blossom on My side of heaven’s fence. Just as the outburst of beauty of My roses comes from leaning into the sun, so, too, the beauty of My children comes from leaning into My Son. Whether on earth or here with Me, their beauty explodes in profuseness when they lean into their Source of warmth, peace, love, and joy.”

Filled with that peace, love, and joy from my companionship with my Source, I took my coffee, walked into the family room, and leaned into the warmth of the Son.

Prayer: “Father, I thank You that, because of Your love for us all, You sent Jesus to be our connecting Vine to eternal life. As we are each a part of the Vine as a branch, we are connected to that eternal life, and death has no separation from You.”

Sunday, July 20

Stepping Out in Faith

God sometimes requires me to do something that appears to have obstacles and seems beyond my power to accomplish. The situation lurks before me as a rushing river, barring me from the new territory of promise on the other side.

Just recently, the Lord presented me with one of these challenges and nudged me to step out into new areas of my life. This is always uncomfortable for me, because I am a shy and reserved person. However, over the years, with the Lord’s help, I have improved.

He does not part the waters of any barrier until I take that first step forward, as the priests did at the river Jordan, “As soon as the priests who carried the ark reached the Jordan and their feet touched the water’s edge, the water from upstream stopped flowing. It piled up in a heap.” (Josh. 3:15-16a NIV)

When I hesitate, standing on the river bank, I find no comfort or peace. Only when I dare to push on in faith into that rushing river and cross over to the other side does God make His power and resources available on my behalf.

When a rushing-river circumstance exists between you and a command of God, what do you do? Do you stick with what is safe, remaining on the banks of the river, or do you step out in faith, putting your foot in the waters?

If we never take a chance and forge ahead in faith, the writer of Hebrews tells us that “without faith it is impossible to please God.” (Heb 11:6 NIV)

Lord, may I always be found pleasing You with complete faith in You.