Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Spring Up Oh Well

"For with you is the fountain of life;
in your light we see light." Psalm 36:9

Early morning and the park is deserted or at least empty enough for me to feel like I'm strolling alone talking to The Father. I don't think I've had the same conversation with Him twice even when the subject matter was the same as the day before. (Okay, there was that time I walked around the lake singing the Cares Chorus because I just didn't know how else to pray for the heavy burden my friend was carrying and for which I agreed to pray.) The point is, my conversations are like my relationship; they are alive. They change with the circumstances--sometimes animated and happy and others, not so much. 

But always He listens.

I can't pass this fountain without thinking of the Sunday School song River of Life: 
I've got a river of life flowing out of me! 
Makes the lame to walk, and the blind to see.
Opens prison doors, sets the captives free! 
I've got a river of life flowing out of me! 
Spring up oh well, within my soul!
Spring up oh well and make me whole. 
Spring up oh well and give to me,
That life abundantly. 

The nice thing about having Jesus as a confidant is that you know He won't spread gossip and He's already said He's come to heal. (See Matthew 11:5) Since God is unchanging and unchangeable He's still in the business of healing as He sees fit. Not all infirmities are healed but that doesn't mean we can't still petition Him. Who are we to understand who He heals and who He chooses to use in another way, in spite of illness.

Now I tend to take things both literally and figuratively. God can take away your need for a wheelchair or He can kick the emotional crutches out from under you and let you run. He can heal glaucoma or open emotionally blind eyes. He IS the river of life both physical and spiritual. 

That thought is as refreshing as the mist from a fountain on a hot day. I know I can trust Him with my physical and spiritual needs because He is concerned with both. 

What about you? What cares do you have to share at the fountain today?

Monday, August 19, 2013

Caring For My Inheritance

"The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
surely I have a delightful inheritance." Psalm 16:6

An old, but recently remodeled house in Santa Ana and a LARGE bin of beads were my inheritance when my mother passed away. The blue beads above are just a very small portion of what Mom gave me. I've used some, given away some, and stashed some. All in all though, they have brought me delight by either delighting others or bringing back fond memories.

All but the light blue tri beads in the lower right corner have been used to make angels. When I'm making my patriotic version (red, white and navy blue) I pray for our military. I end up giving away most of the angels I make though I've tried to sell them. It brings me more joy to give them away. 

I don't currently have a craft pattern for those blue tri beads. But Mom used them to make little baskets at Easter time. When I gave away a bunch of beads I wasn't using I just couldn't let them go. Fond memories and "maybe someday" ensures they'll stay around for a while.

This is my tangible inheritance from my mother. I have an intangible one as well: the lessons she taught either directly or indirectly and the faith she instilled. And if I go back to that Psalm I truly have a delightful inheritance. God is my Father and I've inherited the riches of His mercy and grace.

Heavy sigh. Inheritance comes after death. It is sad to only have Mom's things and not Mom. In the same way Jesus had to die for me to inherit from His Father but no heavy sigh here. Jesus rose from the dead and lives within me, providing a living inheritance resting in pleasant places with Him.

The only time my bead inheritance hasn't been delightful was the other day when I stepped on one of the beads on my tile floor. (It's the crafters equivalent of a kid's Lego.) A container of red beads had been dropped and I got tired of picking up beads. I thought they were all in the back of the closet.

This has me wondering if I'm as careless with my spiritual inheritance. Do I sometimes falter and tire of picking up the pieces?  Have things I thought wouldn't bother anyone somehow find their way out of the closet and into the open just waiting for an opportunity? Do sins I've allowed to go unnoticed bruise my heel?

The B-I-B-L-E Yes That's The Book for Me

"Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets
so that a herald may run with it." Habakkuk 2:2

What you see in the picture above are 9 Bibles that belong to me representing 8 versions. I've got: New Century, New Living, New King James, New International, New American Standard, New Revised Standard, King James and The Message. The last one is a paraphrase, not a translation. They all serve the same purpose---to make scripture understandable, or plain. The New Century and one of the NIV's are also devotional Bibles to help me deepen my walk by spending time reflecting on The Word.

Over the years I've heard different debates on whether or not certain versions are acceptable translations. I don't care about that. I care about understanding and will sometimes consult 2 or 3 versions when reading. The versions I have are readily accepted by the church and agree with each other so I'm not likely to be steered wrong. But sometimes slightly different wording will turn the "oh I get it" lightbulb on in my head.

Isn't that the important part? Understanding? 
"The B-I-B-L-E, yes that's the book for me.
I stand alone on the Word of God,
The B-I-B-L-E." 

No, I don't stand alone on one version but I do stand alone on one Word.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Basic Istructions Before Leaving Earth

"Hold on to instruction, do not let it go;
guard it well, for it is your life." Proverbs 4:13

They're scattered all over the apartment: the kitchen catch-all drawer or as it's more appopriately called the junk drawer; the computer desk; the file marked 'user manuals'; and more than likely wherever I set one of them down after reading. I don't even think I have some of the appliances represented in the photo above and I know before I cleaned out the file I had instructions for Robby the Robot and my electric typewriter from high school. (I won't say how old they are but let's face it, there are kids today who don't even know what a typewriter is.) 

The manuals above are rarely consulted since I pretty much know how things work. Life is a different matter though, I don't know how it works. Even after all these years I need to be referring to The Manual daily and putting the instructions in a safe place. Hiding it in my heart sounds like good advice and it's found in The Manual as well.

Proverbs is a book full of wisdom. There are gentle admonishments full-blown warnings, blessings and curses. I really like how chapter 4 reads; as a father giving his son advice. It lends itself to how we relate to God as our Father. 

We must hide His instructions in our heart right next to our adoption certificate declaring us His children. When we ask Jesus into our hearts, that adoption certificate is signed by His shed blood. 

I wonder if people look at my life if they can see His instuctions scattered about at the ready for consultation as a situation arises. What about you? Are you reading The Manual and holding onto instuction?

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Cattle On A Thousand Hills

"And my God will meet all your needs
according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus."
Philippians 4:19

I wasn't worried, not really, even when our finances were as thin as tissue paper we've always had our needs met. We've had a roof over our head, food (not fancy but adequate), and at least one roll of TP in the bathroom. Now, because I'd made a decision a bit late in the game and another move later than I should have I was facing a big expense. So there I stood in the financial aide office asking why my daughter got a waiver but I didn't and how much funding I could expect and the young man had no answers.

He told me to go ahead and register and gamble that my classes wouldn't get dropped before I could come up with the money. He was sure it would be fine and explained the process to me since no one gets their disbursement until after classes start anyway. It sounded like a lot of hoops to jump through as I held my breath waiting for my first financial aide check. Then he smiled and said, "Don't worry."

But his words weren't what stopped me from worrying. It was my mother's words coming to me earlier. She'd always said God owns the cattle on a thousand hills. So once again this week I decided to trust, just like I did when I started to freak out over how hard classes would be. I know it won't be easy becoming a nurse and finances should be the least of my concerns so I'm going to rest in God's promise to never leave me or forsake me.

This bench is across the street from the financial aid office. I sat in it and thought of myself as being in the Hand of God. Well, no more time for sitting. It's time for me to follow this desire God has given me and hold His Hand as I walk a new path.

I hope you can see yourself in the Hand of God no matter what you're facing.