Thursday, February 18, 2016

rest in winter looking toward spring

As I watched the snow fall out the window, I began to look forward to spring. Right now, the yard looks dead and brown. There are no plants growing.  It looks lifeless. Spring is a time of new growth and flowers. While enjoy the beauty of snow covered fields and plants, I know it is cold, and all the plants are dormant.  I begin to look forward to planting and seeing growth.
My mother was a plant person. She loved gardening, especially flowers. Her back yard was full of flowers. Roses lined the back  and the house. Daffodils, calla lilies and hyacinths were in the flower beds.  One of my favorite pictures of my mom is of her standing with a shovel in her hand and smile on her face. I like to get out in the yard and plant flowers just because it makes me feel close to mom.
Plants take cultivation, nurturing, and care. There is a time of patience and waiting to see what they will become.  I have planted some things hoping for quick return only to have to wait months before I see that little bud begin to grow. It is a great reward for the work and patience.
I guess spiritually, we can be like this as well.  We go through times or seasons when things get cold, maybe even feel lifeless.  We may feel like we are stuck, not heard or struggling just to make it through. We may feel like we are stuck in a spiritual winter. But we can look forward to our spring.
When we keep going, keep our faith in God and trust Him, he brings us through those times into a time of new growth and new expectations. We may feel like we are lying dormant waiting for something to happen.  God may be causing us to rest and prepare us for the next phase in our spiritual walk. Trees and plants go dormant during those cold months but there is still life waiting to burst forth in spring. The plants are resting and taking in nutrients that will supply them for a new season of growth. Spiritually, we sometimes need that time of rest or dormancy to rejuvenate, soak in His love and spirit for a new season in our lives. 
There is a time when Elijah ran into the wilderness from Jezebel and collapsed in despair. He cried out for God to take his life. God sent an angel to comfort him. II Kings 19:7 And the angel of the Lord came back the second time, and touched him, and said, “Arise and eat, because the journey is too great for you.”
God understood the journey had become tiresome and Elijah was at his wits end. He understood that Elijah needed rest and comfort. God provided that time of rest and restoration. He went forty days just on that food from the angel. He then had a great revelation from God in a cave. God was faithful to Elijah. He restored him even when things looked bleak and lifeless, God was actually at work for Elijah.
So, when we are faced with those times of despair and feeling lifeless spiritually, take a moment to realize that God may be working on you to provide for you a time of rest and restoration. He may be preparing to give you a great revelation or move you into a time of new growth for His kingdom. We can say like Paul We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; 2 Corinthians 4:8. or as David said, For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for life; Weeping may endure for a night, But joy comes in the morning.  Psalms 30:5.
God is always on our side and He is always faithful to provide for us, love us and care for us. There is never a time He is not near.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

making the choice

Deuteronomy 30:19-20.nasb I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants, by loving the Lord your God, by obeying His voice, and by holding fast to Him; for this is your life and the length of your days, that you may live in the land which the L ord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them."
God has given us a choice, a choice to live for him and be blessed or deny him and be cursed. To choose life, he gives us three things we need to do in verse 20.
1. Love the Lord your God
2. Obey His voice
3. Hold fast to Him
We need to love him. We love him because He first loved us. He loves us so much that He sent his son to take our place and die for our sins. He loves us and cares for us. We are to love Him in return. We need to respond to His love and demonstrate our love for Him.

We need to obey His voice. First, we need to be able to know and recognize His voice. He says, "My sheep know my voice. " Second, we need to listen for His voice.  We need to wait and hear Him. If we don't take time to listen, we will never hear Him when He speaks. Third, we need to obey His voice when we hear him speak. That is sometimes hard to do, but necessary for obedience  to God.

Holding fast to God is holding on no katter what circumstances tell us. We may go through times of feeling like God isn't there or isn't hearing us. We may feel like giving up. We may even go through wonderful days of blessing.  Through it all, we need to trust God and His plans. We need to keep our faith in Him in spite of the ways life may take us.

God gives us the choice to choose true life or to choose death. I choose life. I choose to love Him, obey His voice, and hold on to Him. He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. Take some time today to read the whole chapter of Deuteronomy 30. You may find the blessings of living for God speaking loudly to your soul.

Sunday, February 7, 2016


This morning I awoke with some images I had dreamed. I had dreamed about a treasure hunter looking for treasure. The treasure hunter knew where to look and entered a large stone place. The first room had a large wall that had some writing and while I could not read it, I knew immediately it was what he was looking for. The writings told him this was the place. The treasure hunter, however, ignored the writings and kept going. He went further into the place and searched and searched. He became more desperate and more frustrated with each room coming up empty. I kept hoping he would go back to the wall with the writing. Finally, he began to walk back and actually read the writing. He realized he had the answers he was seeking. He found the place with the treasure he was seeking. It had been in the first room all along and he had chosen not to believe it was that easy, that the treasure was right there.

As I thought about this, I heard God remind me of the old landmarks. I heard him remind me that the landmarks of those before us are important to remember. We have been taught landmarks by those before us. God spoke of landmarks in His word.

Proverbs 22: 28
Do not remove the ancient landmark Which your fathers have set.

Jeremiah 31:21
"Set up signposts, Make landmarks; Set your heart toward the highway, The way in which you went. Turn back, O virgin of Israel, Turn back to these your cities.

Deuteronomy 19:14 “You shall not remove your neighbor’s landmark, which the men of old have set, in your inheritance which you will inherit in the land that the Lord your God is giving you to possess.

Many of us have had parents, grandparents and church leaders who have set before us some landmarks. The Word of God contains landmarks. Landmarks are set for a purpose to be a permanent reminder of where the boundaries begin and end. We all have seen fences. I remember growing up, that when we went out to play, Mom would tell us to not go out of the gate. If we did, we knew we were in trouble. I have set boundaries for my own children.

God has set landmarks, or boundaries for His children. He has set them there, for our protection, our safety, to lead us and guide us. The landmarks are there to keep us in His care and provide us the treasure of His love and relationship.

Many people have looked past those landmarks. Many have tried to find the treasures that would take the place of God’s love and safety. Many people are searching for things that can only truly be found in God. They have forgotten the landmarks or were maybe never taught the landmarks. Too many people are looking for peace, love and joy in places outside of God. There are some who have attempted to move the landmarks and change them to fit the lifestyle they want to live. They have attempted to say that God’s landmarks are false, not for today, old-fashioned and unimportant. There are those who have declared new landmarks.

God is calling His people to remember the landmarks in His Word. He is calling us to put the landmarks back in place. He is calling us to set up the signposts and set our hearts back in line with His Word. His word makes it clear in Deuteronomy 27:17 that those who move the landmarks and remove them will be cursed. They will strive for food, clothes, blessings, and peace yet find unfulfillment and cursing. God set up landmarks for us to know Him and relate to Him and He does not look kindly on those who ignore and remove the landmarks.

I can imagine anyone who owns a home or land can understand that you would not want your neighbor moving into the property you own. You would not want your walls or fences moved to change the boundaries of your home or property. God has set landmarks and boundaries to lay and mark His claim on His people. He lays claim to our souls. He lays claim for himself and He is not happy to have someone else try to claim His blood-bought children. He bought us with a price and He has every right to claim what is His. Have we ignored the boundaries God has placed in our lives? Lord, bring us back to the landmarks, back to our first love. Lord, bring your people back to the place you intended for your people. What are the landmarks? Read the bible. It is full of landmarks. God will show you when you allow Him to have full reign of your life.

Start with prayer. Prayer is landmark that cannot be removed. Prayer is essential for knowing God and hearing His voice.

Keep the landmarks before you and teach them to your children. God will honor those who know His landmarks and obey His word.  Go back to the landmarks found God's Word