Purpose was the Lord’s word to me for 2012. I really thought that perhaps He had made a mistake because that sounded more like Jim than me. However, as the year unfolded I came to see that purpose was indeed God’s word for me.
Contentment can be an elusive state. For me, my contentment usually ebbs and flows. I believe that contentment is a choice. In contrast, peace is a gift from God.
Over this past year, the Lord has been teaching me about His timing. I certainly don’t have the answers about timing but here is what I have observed.
First, God has an incredible sense of humor. When I tried to do or make something happen, the humor that God displayed in the answer made me laugh instead of being hurt when He said NO.
On Saturdays I love to go to the Farmers’ Market. I always go to one particular stand because they have the most flavorful peaches, apples and fresh vegetables. At the Farmers’ Market I enjoy the eclectic mix of people as well as the fresh produce.
Because it is the fall season, apples and pears are in abundance. The number of varieties is astounding! When I go to the market I look for the fruit that is unblemished. If I arrive near closing time, often the bruised fruit are the only ones left. Everyone seems to desire the perfect fruit, not the damaged ones.
Are we living up to God’s plan for His body? What is His plan for His body? Are we all heart? Are we all head?
I believe a spider web exemplifies the body of Christ. A spider web is both beautiful and useful, but also very complex. The spider’s silk has the unique ability to become softer or stiffer depending on the stress the web receives. It is not stagnant but active. God so designed the spider’s web that when one strand breaks, the strength of the entire web actually increases.
God desires the same for His church. There are times when a situation requires softness and the “web” needs to reach out and actively demonstrate that attribute. In contrast, sometimes the body needs to show stiffness and resolve, so rushing to the rescue might not be the best answer.
We have all heard the expression “hanging on by a thread.” Did you ever stop to think about what it might mean to be “hanging on by a thread”?
Faith is a much maligned word.
“If you only had enough faith…”
“Where is your faith?”
We have all heard these words either spoken to us or to someone we know. The Bible says that “we walk by faith not sight” (2 Cor. 5:7) and that if we have faith the size of a mustard seed we can move mountains. (Mat. 17:20)
Sitting on a log beside a quiet stream as it weaves it way through the forest, to me is peace. I used to do that often before I married Jim since my house was very close to Bull Run.
I spent many hours in those woods, near the stream, because it was my favorite place of solitude. That scenario is not as available now, so the Lord has been teaching me that peace is not dependent on location.
Streams are interesting. They display a multitude of facets. After a storm they can race, foam and spill over their banks. During a drought, they can dry up or stagnate, with mosquitoes hovering over the scummy pools. Throughout a normal spring season, the water flows serenely as it curves around the bends. Streams, like rivers, only flow in one direction. There is no going back.
So are the streams in my life.
Like a comfy, worn, ragged, favorite sweatshirt, life sometimes meanders along. Then a tidal wave comes and drastically alters the course of the stream.
So it is with the Lord. At times He allows me to peacefully follow His path; but then He turns my life completely inside out, with all of the fuzzy, bumpy, frayed edges exposed instead of hidden beneath the surface.
To me His ways are usually convoluted.
My wife, Marianne, wrote this. Where I am vision and logic, she is feeling and heart. The Lord speaks to us in very different ways, and we have learned to passionately value those differences.
Anyway, I think this was for both of us, and maybe it will speak to you too as the first of hopefully many devotionals from her.
As I was in the midst of an intense struggle over some situations in my life, the Lord spoke to my spirit: “Acceptance with joy.”
I responded, “Lord, I don’t even know what it is that I am to accept, but whatever it is, there certainly is no joy.”
For me, it became pray, pray, pray: I cried my heart out in hopes that somehow He would let me see what He wanted.
With me, the Lord speaks in pictures, and the picture He showed me was not encouraging.