Ready, Set, WAIT!

IMG_7323Well, the last job is done for the winter—tilling the garden.  Dear old Tilly is out there now, purring away until the gas is gone.  A good wash and she gets to rest for the season.

The garden is ready, but for what?  It’s ready to rest; however, any seeds that are still in the ground are also ready to sprout as soon as the weather gets warmer.  Even while the snow is on the ground, that seed is ready—ready for the sun! The question is: Am I ready for the Son and His Word to sprout in my life?

It’s not by accident that the next few verses in Luke eight are about soil. The chapter starts with an account of Jesus and his followers going from town to town “preaching and shewing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God.” As though to encourage the sowers, Jesus tells the parable about the four soils: wayside, rocky, thorny, and good. Our responsibility is to give the Word.  There’s nothing wrong with the Seed—the Word of God, and there may be nothing wrong with the sower—YOU!  Doing a heart-check is always good to be sure that the Spirit has free reign and our motives are correct; however, it is also good for us to remember that the fruit of the hearer is NOT our responsibility.  I can no more make someone respond to the Word of God than I can make my tomato plants grow!  How comforting!

SOOO, what about when WE are the soil, we are the receiver of the Seed–what is our responsibility to the Seed of the Word?  The question becomes: Am I responding to God’s Word correctly?  1 Corinthians 15:58 gives us some pointers on the issue:

Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.

  1. Be steadfast—unwavering, unfaltering, resolute, persistent, committed, dedicated, unswerving, firm. (Aren’t synonyms helpful?)
  2. Unmovable—unaffected, unmoved, untouched, unbothered, unbending, inflexible, unyielding, unwavering, rigid, obdurate (that’s a new one to me!), adamant, unreceptive (INTERESTING!), unrelenting, not influenced or swayed
  3. Always abounding in the work of the Lord IS the fruit of always bounding in the Word of the Lord! Be ready. Even though you may be in a ‘winter’ time of fruitfulness, know that God is always working in your heart, your children, your ministry. Be ready!  Be set! Be willing to wait!

Blue Skies Comin’ My Way

ID-1007409What started out to be a very nasty rainy day, turned into a beautiful balmy Indian-summer treat!  This morning’s sky was ominous with dark clouds; however, as I lay on my living room floor and did my Ab Rippers (hope you are duly impressed!), I looked outside and noticed that the clouds were rolling away, at least some of them.  The dark nasty ones were rolling away, revealing sun-lit puffballs above!  It was absolutely breathtaking!

As you may or may not know, our atmosphere is in layers, or different stratospheres, and each has its own wind currents.  The lower stratosphere obviously had a stronger wind current than the upper stratosphere, because the higher bright puffy clouds were just strolling along as the lower dark nasties rushed away!

Then it hit me – those bright clouds were there all along!  They were just hidden behind the nasties, and I thought about how often the dark trials that cloud our way also obscure our view of God.  We get busy trying to handle all that is on our plate, often in our own way and with our own strength, and the days just get darker!  STOP!  And look up!  He IS there – always; and if we would just “let go and let God” as the old cliche goes, the nasties would roll away and our days would be lit by the Son!

Now here’s another thought for all you sky-watchers.  This might seem kind of “duhish,” but did you ever stop to realize that the stars are always there in the sky – we just can’t see them because of the sun’s brightness.  It’s sort of strange to look up into a bright blue sky and think about the stars.  Is there a lesson there for us?

Well, have you ever felt that the ” heaven that is over thy head [is as] brass” (Deut. 28:23)?  It just seems as though God isn’t listening!  Your prayers seem to go unanswered, as though thy are going no further than the ceiling.

You can only see the beauty of the stars when the sky is dark, when the sun is lighting someone else’s world.  Likewise, take a look around in those “dark times.”  Perhaps God has something really special that He wants to show you.   Look for the hint of a tiny bright spot in your darkest hour.  It may seem like just a faint brightness to you, but remember: that speck of bright hope may be a galaxy of abundant blessings coming your way from God’s perspective!  God’s timing is always perfect, even when it makes no sense to us.  He IS listening, and waiting, and teaching, and knowing and hearing our every breath!  Wait upon the Lord.  Hang on to each promise from His Word, and He will be the North Star you need to find your way!

 Lead me in thy truth, and teach me:

for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day.

 Psalm 25:5

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To Clean, or NOT to Clean

Having a pastor-husband has many wonderful perks.  We can go to the mall at 1:00 Tuesday afternoon.  (Can’t stand crowds!)  We can spend a weekday with my in-laws who are no longer able to drive to our house.  We can take an afternoon and cut my mother’s lawn.  Our time schedule and our lives march to the beat of a different drummer and is measured by a different clock!

However, one of the “down sides” of having a pastor-husband, whose office is in our home, is that I’m never alone; and I have found that I can be a loner, even though I am in the ministry.  (Or maybe it’s because I AM in the ministry!)

Well, today I am alone!  Now, I KNOW what I should do – CLEAN!  The dust is so thick the plants are choking!  And we do have a Cocker Spaniel – need I say more?  But I don’t want to!  I’d rather do anything but clean!  I LOVE a clean house, and once I get started I’m fine; but sitting here at the computer tempts me with a thousand other desires: most of them are just plain time-killers?

So, is it God’s will for me to clean?  🙂  How do I know?  I’m being a bit facetious, but how often do we wrestle with that question: knowing God’s will?  Is there some secret formula for finding God’s will in our lives?

It’s the week after Easter.  What were the disciples doing?  How did they know what to do?  This one is simple.  Jesus gave them specific orders: And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me.” (Acts 1:4) Interesting that Peter went fishing!  I don’t remember seeing any places to fish in Jerusalem!  The command was clear: WAIT – the one thing that is hardest for us to do!  “Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.” (Ps 27:14)  When the way is not clear – WAIT!  I’ve made more blunders by pushing ahead to do MY will rather than wait on the Lord’s leading.

So what if we don’t have a clear mandate like the disciples did?  Paul gives us another great example.  When Jesus met him on the road to Damascus, Paul simply says, “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?” (Acts 9:6)  Right now, we are dealing with an important decision in our church. I know what I’d like to happen, and I do pray for that situation to come about; HOWEVER, I must always couch it in, “Lord, thy will be done.”  If it is not God’s will, it won’t be right and all will suffer.

Ask and wait, and keep serving the Lord.  When we were in India, we saw a great illustration of this truth.  We were in a nice restaurant.  It was early and the place was not crowded.  As we were seated and then received our meal, there were about 5-8 waiters standing across the room watching us. If we so much as blinked an eye at them, they were by our side, asking if we needed something!  That’s waiting and serving!  May we be so tuned in to our Master!  (And yes, I will clean today!!  As my mother used to say, “We don’t want the Board of Health to come and kick us out!”)

 “My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed: I will sing and give praise.”    Psam 57:7