For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. —Romans 15:4

Saturday, June 25, 2016

The Loops of Life

Psalm 25: 4-5
Show me the right path, O
    point out the road for me to follow.
Lead me by your truth and teach me,

    for you are the God who saves me.
    All day long I put my hope in you.

We left the parking lot to drive home. Tim and I enjoy going to Louisville once in a while to watch the Bats, a minor league affiliate of the Reds, play baseball. The game ended in time to get us home by 11pm. Great! Tim navigated to the exit for 71N. We looped around only to find the exit closed. Now what? Our only option was to drive over the bridge in to Indiana. We stopped at a gas station and Tim asked a fellow if he knew of a way for us to get back on 71N. He gave directions. Guess what? They led us right back into Indiana. Long story short, Tim found a different route to get us home, later than intended but home safe and sound.

Sometimes life feels like a loop. We take the same path over and over and get nowhere. Even to the point the rut grows deeper, and we forget the purpose of our steps. Maybe Satan tricks us into thinking we're on the right path. He says, "Take that road it will lead you to a new place," but it's the same old loop. God has so much more in mind for his followers. He doesn't want us in a rut. He wants us to step out, move forward, pray for direction. God didn't create us to be sedentary when it comes to serving him. He has a path for each of us, all we need to do is seek it. Ask God in the morning, "What's up for today?" Then listen and follow. The Holy Spirit's nudges are real. Listen to him.

God, I praise you for the path you lead me on, continue to guide my feet.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

A Whisper of Hope

Psalm 62:5
Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in him.
Amethyst Astilbe

Something drew me to the green plant sprouting in a flower bed where I work. The hosta leaves spread and the azaleas had finished blooming. Yet this bushy little plant tucked into the corner of the bed, caught my attention. It was as if it called me to look at it every day. Morning after morning, I'd walk by and check out the greenery. One day I noticed tiny blooms shooting out of stems. They shot up like sparklers on the fourth, but brown, like they'd already bloomed and dried up. I knew they hadn't. So like Alice in Wonderland, I got "Curiouser and curiouser!" I looked forward to seeing whether the brown stayed that way or would they transform into something more colorful. Then one day on my walk in to work, there they were. Lovely, feathery, pink (my favorite color) blooms. Like a whisper, they called me to them and said see this is what you've been waiting for.

Isn't that just how I am with God? I seek the beautiful, the colorful joy, the "happy." But when I spy a brown flower, or a bad day, a sad news story or a horrific one, I forget about the hope. My anger bubbles at the people who judge parents who are hurting instead of comforting them and at the people who kill innocent people. Instead of being curiouser and curiouser and clinging to the hope I know is God, I become discouraged.

Yet I know if I sit at God's feet and seek his wisdom, he provides hope. God is bigger than all that I face here. He's the creator of all things, yet he listens to me and whispers in my ear. He tells me he loves me and loves you. No matter what, God is the one I can count on. He doesn't change. While all the world is falling apart, Jesus is holding me up. He's sitting beside me and sharing his love. I usually end with a praise, today let's end with a prayer.

"Lord, I need to sit quietly at your feet and hear your voice. I lift up the people who are hurting this week. There's so much sadness. Please help me not to judge, but instead to love. I can't begin to thank you enough for the hope I find in you. Thank you so much for your son, Jesus. In his name I pray. Amen"

Saturday, June 11, 2016

My Lighthouse

1 John 1:5-7
This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.

The lighthouse rose from the shore of Lake Erie; a signal to boats that land was near. Marblehead Lighthouse is the oldest lighthouse in continuous operation on all of the Great Lakes. The 300 mm lens shines a green signal that flashes every six seconds. Without the light at night, boats would crash into the limestone along the shore, causing disaster and possibly death.

I love lighthouses. To me they represent the hope I find in Jesus, in a dark and difficult world. Without Jesus light I'd be floating in troubled water, not sure where I might crash. Sadness and sin are all around me. When I read the news or watch television, I'm sick from the desolation and destruction people create. That's why in all the sadness and frustration, I seek the true light, the one who gives me hope and joy. Jesus is the light that cannot be extinguished. His light of hope is eternal. So even in the midst of darkness I can walk with Him. Praise God for the light of Jesus!

Friday, June 3, 2016

Where is Your Faith?

Luke 8:22-25
One day Jesus said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side of the lake.” So they got into a boat and set out. As they sailed, he fell asleep. A squall came down on the lake, so that the boat was being swamped, and they were in great danger.
The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Master, Master, we’re going to drown!”
He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm.  “Where is your faith?” he asked his disciples.
In fear and amazement they asked one another, “Who is this? He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him.”

Tim and I traveled to the Cleveland area over Memorial Day weekend. On Tuesday, our daughter would be having surgery at the Cleveland Clinic. As we eased into the week with prayer and time reflecting on God's creation, we grabbed some sandwiches and settled into a picnic table by Lake Erie. The water stretched before us much like an ocean; where we couldn't see land on the other side. A few boats bounced along the water. The seagulls squawked. In the distance we saw what the gulls were excited about. A storm with a wall of rain was crawling across the lake. The water turned a deep, dark blue and the temperature dropped about ten degrees. Thunder rumbled and the wind kicked up and lifted the waves. The storm was heading our way. We watched for a while, mesmerized by God's power. The whole scene gave me cold chills. Yet I knew I was safe. Jesus was with us, just as he'd be with our daughter in surgery.

I believe in the power of prayer and the amazing power of God. But, like the disciples I had to find out about that power through experience. The disciples didn't know Jesus well enough to understand that he could speak to the storm and it would obey. They hadn't seen his amazing powers and the miracles he would perform. But in time they would. Like them, I had to spend time with Jesus through prayer and learn about him through the Bible. Every day I get to know him a little bit better. Praise God for Jesus!

P.S. Surgery went well!