Sunday, September 27, 2015

Changed from Glory to Glory...

"And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into His image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit." 
II Corinthians 3:18

Back in December 2008 while on one of many visits to California, the Lord dropped the idea for this blog in my heart. There was no great revelation, just an urge to write down what I felt that He was teaching me. I am not a person big on being "deep", in fact it sort of irritates me when someone tries to come off as being "deep" by acting so spiritually profound; saying big words and statements that are actually rambling and confusing.  Yep, just give me plain 'ol words that make sense. 

So while praying about what the theme of this blog would be, I felt in my heart that it would be about how I experience God's wisdom in His Word through everyday experiences. Isn't

that how God works?  I mean, why would He desire that we get to know Him and then make it so hard that we could never meet the goal...that is SO unlike Him!  Grant it, life is full of complexities and sometimes you may never on this earth, get the answers to some things, but trust me, He has surely given us THEE answer, and that can only be found in Him.

With this in mind, I am always looking for ways in which He may be teaching me, it can be very amusing sometimes. I chuckle a lot to myself, sometimes in public (I know folks may think I'm crazy); but when He drops a lesson in my heart so simple and yet profound while doing an everyday chore like grocery shopping, I have to laugh...and snort...there I admitted it. And yes I have gotten some strange looks in the progress, but I smile, nod my head and move on and pray that the wagon with the men in white coats don't arrive to take me away. 

It happened yesterday while repotting some plants. It was a beautiful fall morning and I wanted to check on my plants I keep on the back porch before bringing them in from the cooler temperatures.  Sure enough several of them had outgrown their pots and needed to be re-potted. I made preparation on the front porch with the bag of potting soil, larger pots and the pot bound plants. The season of summer with it warm temps and humidity were

good for the plants, they are lush and green and have grown quite a bit! So it was time to come out of the old containers and into a new ones with fresh soil added and more room to grow.

Repotting plants can be a messy job, but I don't mind because I love getting my hands in the soil, something so earthy about it. A side note here: if a plant had feelings mind you, it could be temporarily a little uncomfortable with it's roots being exposed and the pruning that may occur during transplanting. However once it goes into a larger pot with more soil and room to grow, it can stretch out it's roots and go deeper. I have repotted many plants in my day and even with the messiness and "discomfort" while transplanting, in time, the plant ALWAYS benefits from the process and grow even more lush, stronger and beautiful.

Can you see where I am going with this? While I was re-potting, this lesson from the Lord dropped in my heart, I chuckled, no matter of fact I laughed, out loud...yep.  See the Lord wants us to continually grow in Him.  We should not be the same person that we were a year ago. We will always keep our same personality, and some of our physical attributes, but spiritually we should be growing into His image. Some people pride themselves in being the same, that they have not changed in 50 years!  But what is that really saying? That you don't have a "teachable spirit"? That maybe you have all the answers? Or maybe you have settled into a comfort zone and have lost the desire to know God better?

The scripture above, II Corinthians 3:18 says that as we look at God's image (who He is, His character) then we should emulate Him, follow His ways and be changed, as one translation says "...from glory to glory..."  

I'm not trying to come off as someone that has made the goal, but through this life's journey I am learning to desire to be like Him. It is sometimes very uncomfortable to go through change. Sometimes, just like that plant being re-potted, your roots get exposed (meaning: what you really stand for), ever heard of the phrase "Shaken to your very roots"?  Well your roots, your foundation, really show what you believe, who you are. Come to think of it ladies, our hair "roots" shows what our REAL hair color is, just sayin' .  If our "roots", our foundation is strong in God, that is the advantage to going to the next level. 

After we have made it through the "transplanting" process, then God graciously allow us to get into a more roomier environment. A place we have never been before, uncharted territory, but more room to grow in Him.  And though we may have been pruned a bit, may have lost a few friends and acquaintances along the way, may have lost some bad habits and attitudes, may have lost some erroneous beliefs, still it will be a season to grow and spread our roots deeper in Him; making us stronger and closer to His image. 

I pray today for myself and you that our desire will be to know God better, to be willing to be "transplanted" and "re-potted" so that we can grow deeper and stronger in Him...

 "Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in Him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep His love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God."

 Ephesians 3:17-19

Saturday, September 12, 2015

"...But David encouraged himself..."

I will never forget the Christmas when I received my first bicycle, it was blue and silver with a basket on the front and colorful streamers on the handlebars! It also had training wheels attached for safe learning, but they didn't stay on there long.  My Dad taught me to ride my bike and I remember how patient he was when weaning me off the training wheels. It seemed like it was so hard to keep that bike in balance and to stop it from wobbling after my Dad released me; but after a time (and after many skinned knees and elbows from falling) I was able to keep my balance and ride a short distance unaccompanied, with him cheering me on!

There was an incline on the street that I lived on, we actually called it a "hill".  To me as a small child the "hill" looked like Mount Everest. My cousins and I have sacrificed a whole lot of skin from our knees at the altar of that "hill" while trying to run down it at a high speed.  I still can't figure out why in the world we felt it necessary to run and chase each other down "Mount Everest" KNOWING that we would probably trip and tumble down head first because of loose shoe laces, small rocks or just the inertia and gravity of the stunt! But that didn't stop us. So it was only natural that the "hill" would be my greatest challenge after learning to ride my beautiful blue and silver bike...

It was scary at first looking up that incline and imagining myself not only pushing my bike up it, but actually reaching the top and enjoying the easy ride back down. But I wanted it so badly until I was willing to try over and over again; each time I fell and at times really hurt myself (I still have a scar to prove it) I would say through my tears, "I can do this".  I don't know why I was so determined to push my bike up that incline and ride down, but to me it was something that I felt I needed to accomplish. In my young mind it was like a rites of passage to prove to myself that I was strong and independent.

After much trial and error, one day I was able to push that bike up and ride down smoothly and over time I would show off by riding down with my hands in the air or feet up on the handle bars (oh to be able to do that ain't happening though)  LOL

That was a very long time ago, though I remember like it was yesterday: my Dad encouraging me, holding the bike while I learned to peddle and balance myself, him cheering me on as I finally got the knack to stay on without falling and him smiling when he saw me riding down the "hill" with arms up raised.  It amazes me now when I visit home and see that through time and the wear and weight of many cars traveling over the "hill", that it is not a "hill" at all anymore. My sisters and I wonder if it really was that high at all back then or was it our view as children that it seemed so challenging and insurmountable.  At any rate it was a life lesson for me...

When I feel discouraged and challenged, I rehearse God's faithfulness. It does not come easy at first because it is much easier to flow with how you are feeling at the time, but I have to shake myself and remember...Remember how He brought me through so many times before. Times when I wanted to give up, He helped me to go on. Times when I felt useless and unwanted, He was there to remind me that I am important to Him. Times when the situation seemed like a Mount Everest and insurmountable...He encouraged me that "You can do this".

In the book of I Samuel chapter 30, David had returned to find that the enemy had ransacked the city and stolen all their goods and worst of all had kidnapped his family. The people understandably began to weep and grieve, and the scripture says that  "... but David encouraged himself in the Lord his God". To me I believe that he began to remind himself of how God had helped him to overcome all his previous challenges (and he had many). And in doing so it buoyed his confidence that if God did it before, He will do it again. So David began to seek the Lord through prayer and God in His faithfulness gave him clear direction on how to overcome his situation.

I was at a committee meeting recently and one of the members had lost her spouse a few weeks before. As she described what she was going through, I remembered having gone through that part of the journey and my heart went out to her. The Holy Spirit brought to my mind and heart how far I had come, things that were once giant hurdles, Mount Everest if you will, now don't seem as unbearable. God did it! He helped me through it and now I can encourage myself and others of His faithfulness.

Today if you are experiencing challenges, no matter how big or small, if it is concerning you, then it is important to God.  Give those challenges to Him, then remember the times that He was faithful to you before, remind yourself of His goodness; then take your hands off the handlebars and ride with hands up raised thanking Him!