Monday, September 29

Raspberry Chocolates...Oh, My!

It’s the little things that seem to bless my heart the most…or maybe it’s because I really don’t get the big things in life, so the little things mean that much more to me.

I saw a commercial for one of my favorite chocolate treats in all the world - Ghiradelli’s dark chocolate squares with raspberry filling.

My six year-old granddaughter loves them almost as much as I do, and, a few weeks ago, she finished off the last two I had, which had been a gift from my daughter. This is a treat I don’t often get, so, as they all had disappeared, I have been wanting to entangle my taste buds and wrap my tongue around one of these tempting delicacies.

When I saw the commercial, I said one of those off-hand things to the Lord that we all do once in a while…Lord, Olivia ate the last of my chocolate. I sure wish I had some more. Then, I just sighed, thinking it would be quite a while before my next delectable chocolate fix.

I have fibromyalgia and this day was not a particularly good day. As I sat in the afternoon on the couch, with my laptop in front of me, my sweet husband came in the door, rattling something in his hands behind his back.

“Close your eyes,” he said. To which I obeyed. “Stick out your hands,” also in obedience. “Surprise!”

Oh, my! A whole bag of raspberry-filled chocolate squares! Yummo! What a joyous surprise. In our financial situation, surprises are few and far between, so this was, indeed, a true surprise.

Then, it hit me…and the tears began to stream down my cheeks and I heard the Lord whisper, “They’re for you because I love you.” Oh, Lord, You really do care about my heart’s desires, even the most insignificant ones. What an awesome God You are!

God does reward us, with even the little things in life, when we make Him the love of our lives.

So, I made a cup of coffee, took my little sweet treat, and thoroughly delighted myself in my chocolate raspberry surprise.

May the Lord surprise you with a sweet, delectable treat. “May He grant you according to your heart’s desire.” (Ps. 20:4 NKJV)

~~Blessings, Lynn~~

Thursday, September 25

A Love That Will Not Let Go

On the evening of his sister’s wedding, George Matheson sat alone in the parsonage. Totally blind by the age of 20, this Scottish preacher, author, and hymn writer, who lived from 1842 to 1906, was left to fend for himself, while the rest of his family spent the night in another town.

Born with poor eyesight, Dr. Matheson’s vision had gradually declined over the years until he lost it completely. His sister had always taken care of him and now that she was married, he would be without her.

While sitting there alone, he had a deep wrenching in his soul, a severe mental anguish, which he never confided the source to anyone. Part of the reason for his anguish may have been that, as his thoughts lingered on his sister’s wedding, he remembered the pain of having a sweetheart who, after hearing the doctor’s report that George would become totally blind by the age of 20, could not handle taking care of a blind man the rest of her life, so, she left him.

As he sat there that dark evening in anguish, a song welled up within him from that still, small voice of the Lord, which he quickly jotted down in five minutes time, composing all the stanzas, which included these beautiful words:

O Love that wilt not let me go,
I rest my weary soul in thee;
I give thee back the life I owe,
That in thine ocean depths its flow
May richer, fuller be.

Though human love has the potential to disappoint and depart from us, God’s love will never let us go. He says, “I have loved you, O My people, with an everlasting love; with loving-kindness I have drawn you to Me.” (Jer. 31:3 TLB)

On occasion, we tend to forget that God really does love us, that He is always present in our darkest hours, and that He has a purpose for everything, for He “works out everything in conformity with the purpose of His will.” (Eph. 1:11b NIV)

When we struggle with physical conditions and wonder why we are not healed, when we wrestle with circumstances beyond our control, when we suffer some heart-breaking pain, we would do well to remember the words of this blind preacher’s prayer:

I have thanked Thee a thousand times for my roses,
but never once for my ‘thorn’…
Teach me the glory of my cross;
teach me the value of my thorn.
Show me that I have climbed to Thee by the path of pain.
Show me that my tears have made my rainbow.

How many of us have this attitude in our darkest hours of affliction? How many times have we endured a trial or difficult period, all the while whining and complaining? How often do we thank God for those things He allows to remain in our lives, as Paul’s thorn in the flesh?

Have you thanked Him for all your disappointments, the slammed doors, the hurts, the answers to prayer He withheld from you, and asked that He would reveal His greater purpose and plan for you?

Just as Paul’s thorn, these prickly briers of life serve God’s purpose, when we rely on Him to show us that intended design. As we trust Him, every weight of a cross will bring glory to God, every thorn will disclose its value, every tear will convert to a rainbow, every Jordan barrier will become an open portal, every pit will have its golden nuggets, and every hill of difficulty will become a mount of deliverance.

Then, we can sing those beautiful words:

O Love that wilt not let me go,
I rest my weary soul in thee;
I give thee back the life I owe,
That in thine ocean depths its flow
May richer, fuller be.

Sunday, September 21

Through a Mist of Care

“Through a mist of care no man may see My Face. Only when the burden is flung at My Feet do you pass on to consciousness and spiritual sight.” Those were the words the Holy Spirit spoke to two little English ladies in the 1930s which they recorded in the old devotional God Calling.

What do you allow to become a mist before your eyes, as a veil separating you from the radiance of the Lord’s light? Memories? Unforgiveness? Schedules? Trials? Loss? Worries? How often do you ignore Jesus’ command to “not worry about your life”? (Matt. 6:25a NIV)

When we allow all these negative things of life to cause a haze, concealing our view of our precious Lord, our spirits suffer, our prayers languish, and our relationship with the Lord deteriorates.

Though spoken in a time long ago, Jesus’ words are timeless, “Come to Me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest,” (Matt. 11:28-29 NLT). If we do not drop our cares and leave them at Jesus’ feet before approaching the Throne Room, then our spiritual vision is clouded and we lose our consciousness of the Lord’s closeness.

No godly soul ever grew in intimacy with the Lord or gained sight of His presence by carrying a load of burdens or worries. When difficulties deafen our ears from hearing the whispers of our Beloved and distract us from feeling the comfort of His arms and the peace of His nearness, we relinquish the very thing we seek.

The Lord says, “‘You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart. I will be found by you,’ declares the LORD,” (Jer. 29:13-14a NIV).

What is your whole heart seeking?

Prayer: Lord, may I always seek You with my whole heart. May no cares conceal or hinder my fellowship with You. May I be so close to You that the breath of Your Spirit evaporates all traces of any hindrance. Amen.

Wednesday, September 17

No Power Doesn't Mean No Power!

No power…no lights, no TV, no internet, no computer, no radio, no hair dryer, no microwave, no stove, no garage door opener, no dishwasher, no washer and dryer, no refrigerator.

Two and a half days without electrical power. It disappeared back from whence it came.

We got whipped with Ike’s tail, an F1 storm without the rain. Trees down everywhere. Hundreds of thousands of people without power.

I’m up early, at least, I think it’s early. All the clocks are black. I have to find my watch.
The quiet is deafening.

The only sounds I hear are an occasional truck, the scampering of squirrel feet across the patio as they run beneath the open family room window, and birds? Nope. No birds chirping. Where did they go? Did the hurricane-force wind blow them all to Ohio?

Ah, finally the twittering begins. And now the distant sound of chain saws cutting through the fallen debris.

Today, my quiet time is truly that…quiet! With the lack of power comes stillness. However, the lack of power doesn’t mean I lack Power. The world sees strength in action; in the Kingdom, strength lies in quietness.

The Word says In Isaiah 30:15b NKJV, “In quietness and confidence shall be your strength.” The Hebrew word for ‘strength’ also means victory and power. Victory and Power flow from the Lord as I absorb them from His Presence in quietness and confidence.

No power doesn’t mean no Power! Quiet…stillness…Power.

Saturday, September 13

Would You Give Away Your Last $25?

If God told you to give your last $25, would you give it? I tell you, GIVE IT! Trust me, I know! Years ago, during a very financially challenging time, I was at our bank, taking out about the last $25 we had to buy food.

As I walked to my car, I overheard a man talking to another man, “Now what am I going to do? The bank will be closed until Monday. I won’t have any money.” For some reason, he could not get any money from his paycheck.

Wouldn’t that make you just rush right over and give him some? God prompted me to do so, but I never found out what the problem was, because I got in my car and drove away - to my shame and embarrassment. I thought if I gave him the last of my money, how would I feed my family?

That was before I knew better how to obey the Lord, and to this day, I deeply regret it. I didn’t trust God and I never experienced His hand at work in that situation. God was trying to bless someone through me and teach me something, but I didn’t listen. Blessings were lost for both of us. Don’t let that happen to you.

“If you give to others, you will be given a full amount in return. It will be packed down, shaken together, and spilling over into your lap. The way you treat others is the way you will be treated.” (Luke 6:38 Contemporary English Version)

Sunday, September 7

This Old House

In the neighborhood where I live, I have one neighbor who likes to cause trouble. He picks the fruit from my trees, chops down my shade trees, and mows down my flowers.

He dumps trash in my yard, reads my mail, steals my packages from the delivery man, tries to tell me all the neighborhood gossip about my friends, and does his darnedest to make me mad.

Forever prowling around the premises, he tries to sneak in the windows and get his foot in the door, attempting to steal my belongings. So I put an alarm system on all the doors and windows.

He likes my house and wants to live here, but I’m under a lease contract for a single dweller. He can’t have it and he certainly isn’t going to move in with me! But he still continues to try to take it away from me.

It’s a comfortable old house, though it’s not the most beautiful on the block nor is it the biggest. The landlord was very generous in his lease, so I appreciate what I have, even if a few structural changes are needed.

A few of its rooms have become dusty and overcrowded and need remodeling. Some of the junk needs to be put out with the trash. Some rooms are in a constant state of upheaval; others just need rearranging.

The windows have become a little foggy, so they’re not as easy to see through as before. Some of the shingles are falling off the roof, while some of the fence pickets are missing. A few of the hinges have become a little rusty and don’t work as well as they used to, but the landlord I lease from said he would make all the necessary repairs. I know he will, for he is a man of his word. However, he does have a busy schedule, so I’m just patiently waiting my turn.

I thought it might be time to move, but he says I can stay a while longer, if I do some of the maintenance work. I do look forward to moving, though, because I’ve had my eye on this perfect, little cottage that’s being built. I’d really like to move there some day…there’s no traffic, no noise, the air is clean, great neighbors, the scenery is beautiful, and best of all, no more Mr. Meany!

I’ve called ahead to see if it was ready but they tell me they’re still working on it. Well, I guess I can wait a little longer. I’m not really finished renovating this one!

“For we know that when this tent we live in now is taken down-when we die and leave these bodies-we will have wonderful new bodies in heaven, homes that will be ours forevermore, made for us by God himself and not by human hands.” (2 Cor. 5:1 TLB)

Wednesday, September 3

Learning to Fish for Souls

Jesus said, “Go to the lost, confused people right here in the neighborhood. Tell them that the kingdom is here.” Matt. 10:6-7 The Message Remix

Learning to fish was never at the top of my list when I was a young girl. My father and I went fishing only once. He baited my hook. Squeezing those wiggly worms onto a sharp hook was too yucky. We didn’t use any fancy lures or have much knowledge of fishing.

The above verses command us, as Christians, to do the highest kind of fishing, the same kind Jesus taught the disciples to do - to fish for souls. In order to accomplish that, our lives must be fresh bait on the hook of the gospel.

The problem is that most of us don’t like to fish. We cringe at the thought of baiting the witnessing hook. It isn’t necessary to have all the right equipment or knowledge, just a willing heart. When we are willing, the Lord says He will teach us, “I will show you how to fish for the souls of men!” (Matt. 4:19 TLB)

My father and I never caught anything, but my Father and I have! I’m not proficient at it, yet; I’m still learning how to bait my hook.

Prayer: Lord, You came to seek and to save that which was lost. You died for this very reason. May the eternal destination of one who does not know You be of more concern to me than my own inadequacies to witness. Amen.