Dancing in the Sun

IMG_7616Once again, I’ve purchased a solar-powered dancing flower.  I really love these things, and they make great souvenirs.  Every time I see it dancing in the sunlight, I picture it in the window on vacation! (I couldn’t resist capturing my roses in the photo as well.  They may not dance, but they sure are beautiful!!  The gift that keeps on giving!  Thanks, kids!)

The sun has been hit and miss for the past few weeks, and I’ve noticed something else about my flower.  When it’s cloudy, it will still dance like crazy, but if I move it, and the sunlight is waning, it has a hard time starting up again.  It’s as though it has enough power to keep moving if it’s in motion, but not enough to start going again!  I’m sure one of Newton’s Laws of Motion also has something to do with it.

But the lesson for me was this: I will only get so far in my own strength.

When I stray from the Lord, i.e.—start missing church services, lose the habit of personal Bible devotions—it won’t be long before I’m stymied.  I may be able to “put on a good front” by keeping in motion for a while, but when the trial hits my path, I’m done, and I can’t get up… alone!

Who do we think we’re kidding?  What strength do we have of our own when it comes to battling our enemies: the world, our flesh, and the devil? If we don’t stay in the Son, we’ll never be able to “dance in the Son.”  What a joy to see that little flower just going crazy!  It makes me laugh, and it reminds me of how I want to be!!!  It’s as though it’s saying, “Hey!  Look at me!  Isn’t this fun?  I’m all fired up because my tank is full.  I’ve been in the sun!”

Fanny Crosby put it this way:

I am Thine, O Lord, I have heard Thy voice,
And it told Thy love to me;
But I long to rise in the arms of faith
And be closer drawn to Thee.

Refrain:
Draw me nearer, nearer blessed Lord,
To the cross where Thou hast died;
Draw me nearer, nearer, nearer blessed Lord,
To Thy precious, bleeding side.

Consecrate me now to Thy service, Lord,
By the pow’r of grace divine;
Let my soul look up with a steadfast hope,
And my will be lost in Thine.

Oh, the pure delight of a single hour
That before Thy throne I spend,
When I kneel in prayer, and with Thee, my God
I commune as friend with friend!

There are depths of love that I cannot know
Till I cross the narrow sea;
There are heights of joy that I may not reach
Till I rest in peace with Thee.

Jesus put it this way:

 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you…  James 4:8

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Meteor Showers of Blessings

What does it take for God to get your attention?  How hard must He urge you to listen to His call, and is there a direct correlation between our willingness to listen and a heart that is hard?  OUCH!

This week, my dear husband and I spent a lovely three days with our youngest son at a near-by state park – a favorite haunt of our family.  In fact, I’ve been going there for over forty years now!  (This age thing really creeps up on you!)

Hills Creek State Park is about forty-five minutes from Cherry Springs State Park which boast of having the darkest sky east of the Mississippi River; so, needless to say, we were really seeing some awesome sights.  Star-gazing is a family favorite, and Nathan and I really have had some wonderful times under the amazing starlit sky.  We got out the chase lounge and binoculars and just enjoyed the sight.

Sometime during the night, I needed to walk to the restroom.  We were in a little cottage which only had electricity and the restroom was about a hundred yards away, but I didn’t want to get up!  It was cold; there are wild animals out there (ferocious chipmunks!); and I was tired!

I tried to ignore the situation for about two hours and then decided I wasn’t ready for replacement bladder surgery!  As I got up, I heard Nathan call from the other room and together we headed out.  He had been out earlier and had hoped that I’d wake up.  “You should see the stars,” he whispered as we left the cottage.

After our bathroom trip, we decided to drive out to a less wooded area.  It was 4:30 AM and what a thrill we got!  We saw at least ten shooting stars, Venus and the Milky Way as bright as we’ve ever seen it!  I believe one little blur may have been the Andromeda Galaxy; whatever it was sure was a sight when we looked through the binoculars!  It will be a night that I will never forget.  (Of course, this mother’s heart is tucking all these treasured times away knowing very soon that this last chick is about to fly!  Boo hoo!)

So the point of all this?  God had a wonderful blessing planned for me, if only I would leave the warmth and comfort of my bed!  He nearly had to kill me to get me to move!!  Shame on me.  How often am I that way for the really important things – the spiritual blessings and experiences that He has planned for me: an extra hour in His word, a special meeting at church, an encounter with someone who needs to hear a word of testimony and I won’t even open my mouth!

We cannot see what God sees, so we walk by faith.  It’s a difficult thing at times.  The way just doesn’t seem to make sense.  All we see is disappointment and dead ends.  The way is dark and unpromising; but when God is pointing us in that direction we are fools not to follow!  Why can’t we trust the Creator of this universe to do what’s best in our little corner of it?

Two verses become the guiding lights that we need:  “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10) is so necessary in this very distracting world!  Take time to just listen!  And then remember James precious promise: “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.”(James 4:8)  The second part is necessary for a close walk with our God, but the first part is the precious promise.  If we are not close to God, it’s not God’s fault!  We’re often like the wife who complained to her husband that they didn’t sit close like they used to when in the car.  He looked over from behind the wheel and simply said, “I haven’t moved!”

So the rebuke for me is simply this: practice what you preach, Wanda.  We taught our children to obey “immediately, happily and exactly.”  I think the words of this old song say it best:

When the Canaanites hardened their hearts against God
And grieved Him because of their sin,
God sent along hornets to bring them to task,
And help His own people to win.

The hornets persuaded them that it was best,
To go quickly, and not to go slow;
God did not compel them to go ‘gainst their will,
But He just made them willing to go.

Chorus

He does not compel us to go, No! No!
He does not compel us to go.
He does not compel us to go ‘gainst our will
But He just makes us willing to go.

If a nest of live hornets were brought to this room
And the creatures allowed to go free,
You would not need urgings to make yourself scarce,
You’d want to get out, don’t you see.
They would not lay hold and by force of their strength
Throw you out of the window, Oh No,! 
They would not compel you’ to go ‘gainst your will,
But they’d just make you willing to go.

Chorus

When Jonah was sent to the work of the Lord,
The outlook was not very bright;
He never had done such a hard thing before,
So he backed and ran off from the fight.
But God sent a big fish to swallow him up,
The story I’m sure you all know;
He did not compel him to go ‘gainst his will,
But He just made him willing to go.

Chorus

When Moses was sent to lead Israel out,
To Canaan’s rich fruit-bearing land.
Resisting His Spirit they worshiped a calf,
But refused to obey God’s Command.
God did not compel them to go to the land,
Which with wine, milk, and honey did flow,
But fed them on manna for forty long years,
‘Till He got them all ready to go.

Chorus

When Balaam was sent to the Moabite king,
And wanted things run his own way,
His mule, ever faithful, spoke at the right time,
Made him willing God’s Will to obey.
God can use any man, since He used Balaam’s mule,
For He is Almighty you know;
He does not compel us to go ‘gainst our will
But He just makes us willing to go.

 

Draw Nigh to God

ID-10074372After the demise of our first rooster, we were “roosterless” for quite some time. As the months passed, a dear friend gave us another rooster; however by then, the hens were fully grown and our new rooster was just a banty rooster (which means he was small).  When we put him in the pen, the hens were none too pleased; and for a moment, we thought they would kill him.

I happened to be in the pen at the time and was wearing a long house-dress which came to my ankles. (At four feet eleven, that’s not unusual!)  As we all watched, wondering what to do, the rooster rushed under my dress and hid!

Eventually, he took his rightful place among the hens, but that picture came to my mind recently when my pastor read the following verse: Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. (James 4:8)  What an overwhelming thought: that God would draw nigh to me if I draw nigh to Him!  I can’t understand why He would do that, but I know He does!

Drawing nigh, perhaps even huddling under the shelter of His wing gives us such a joy, it is hard to describe; but I know that it is a place of great comfort, a shelter in the midst of a storm, my hiding place…Home, Sweet Home!

Just like that rooster, I know that I will find safety there.  Satan can do me no harm when I’m resting in the arms of my Heavenly Father, but to get there, I MUST draw nigh!  Then all the promises flow in.

One of my favorite songs is My God is Near by Mac Lynch.  The chorus goes:

When God is near, all the world seems far away,

When God is near, every fear is set aside.

When God is near, how can I stray, how can I falter?

I’ll stay upon the altar;  I know my God is near!

Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Try it – He’s closer than you think; however, we do need to take a look at the rest of the verse: Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. Is this a prerequisite for drawing nigh to God or is it a natural outcome of drawing nigh to God…or both? I’ll let you decide!

 http://www.freedigitalphotos.net

Desperate Parenting

This spring, Mr. Robin and Mr. Bluebird joined forces to keep Mr. Squirrel out of the tree in my back yard!  It happens to be the tree that contains my bird feeder; however, there must have been a nest up there somewhere as well.  I’ve never seen anything like it  This went on for several days.  That poor squirrel, who was used to feasting on my feeder whenever I wasn’t looking, could not even cross the yard! (Just click on the link and hopefully, you can see the video!)http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rzgk4pTrgH4&feature=vmdshb

The best advice we ever got as parents was this: you must be desperate for your children.  What does that mean?  Well, these birds went to desperate measures to keep an enemy from killing their young, perhaps robbing the nest of its eggs.  There actions were rewarded, in fact, I haven’t seen that squirrel since!

How desperate are you Christian parent to see your children live for Christ?  Are you willing to take desperate measures to see it happen?  Are you attacking the enemy with such desperation that he flees?

What would this look like?  Here are just a few lessons that I have learned:

  1. Change a bad habit in my life.  Early on someone told me that I didn’t have to yell at my children in order to make them behave.  I was a yeller!  You know what – it’s true, and it works.  What bad habit do you see forming in your children because of your example?  (Ouch, sorry!)
  2. I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes…” (Ps 101:3)  This little motto has sat on our TV for as long as I can remember.  What you view with or without your children WILL affect them for godliness or worldliness.
  3. Covetousness – Cut it out of your life.  One of my favorite scenes from Patch the Pirate is in Friendship Mutiny, when Patch is sword fighting the enemy.  Several items are destroyed and Patch laughingly mocks for Captain Fiendly to be careful with his thrift store items!  Our children will never be satisfied if they grow up in a home with parents whose goal is gain!
  4. BE DESPERATE ENOUGH TO SAY “NO!”  Why do we let our children run their lives and ours?  Don’t we know better?  Even if you are not a perfect parent, you are STILL the parent!  You  DO know what is best – don’t let them whittle you down!
  5. Be desperate enough to know your God!  I once asked our daughter why she turned out so well.  PK’s are Satan’s target; and sadly, they often follow his ways instead of the ways of their parents.  Her words were humbling.  She said, “Mom, it was real to you and Dad, and we knew it!”  Be real – you can’t fake a relationship with God.  It’s there if you make it happen.  Remember: “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.”  James 4:8  Why God chooses to draw nigh to us is beyond my understanding, but this is one of the most precious promises in the Bible!

These are just a few suggestions.  Take a look at your parenting – be honest, and get desperate.  You will rejoice for all of eternity, AND throughout this life as well!