Friday, May 22, 2015

Beauty and Blessing

I spent this  week at the Blue Ridge Mountains Christians Writers Conference, lovingly called BRMCWC for short.  Ridgecrest Conference Center - what an amazing place.

In between the classes, there are the reunions with precious writer friends and the excitement of making new ones.

And then there is the beauty!

And, above all, the amazing presence of God! Peace, joy - this place is a sanctuary for me.

Is there a place that brings you close to God?

Friday, May 15, 2015

All in the Family

I haven’t been in Memphis in years. 

Way too long. 

I planned a visit several times but something always came up. Something that seemed more important at the time. 

Now, as I sit and look around at Aunt Jo Anne, Uncle John and a room full of cousins, I realize that those things weren't so important after all. 

Praise God for the love and joy I feel in this room. For the shared stories and the laughter. For the pictures from long ago. 

I pray that my priorities never get quite so messed up again!

What do you cherish about your time with family?

Friday, May 8, 2015

Chasing Rainbows

 "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?’ Your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Matthew 6:25, 31-33

This is my bank. I run in there to get money. If they’re closed, I whip through the drive-thru or the ATM.

There’s always something. A new top. A pair of jeans. Breakfast on Saturday mornings.

It’s quite fitting that the name of my bank is Chase Bank.

The question is, what am I chasing? The pot of gold at the end of the rainbow?

We’d like a new car. One of ours is getting old but it’s still reliable.
The people down the street have a nice patio in their backyard. It would be great to have one like that.
Half my clothes are long since out of style. They’re still in good shape but I’m tired of some of them.
We’re careful not to spend more than we can handle but I sure would like the things some of my friends have.

I’m chasing things.

Seek first… I say that verse all the time.  Of course I seek Him first. Don't I?

Do I? 

But there is a word in that passage that I’d just as soon ignore: need.

I have a very loose definition of the word need. For me, want and need have vague edges and overlap a lot.
  • I need to be decently clothed; I want the latest style.
  • I need to be nourished; I want to eat until I’m stuffed.
  • I need a reliable car; I want a new one.

The list goes on and on. In truth, 
  • I need God.
  • I need His Word.
  • I need His presence.
  • I need fellow believers to love and support me.

I want to be able to say with David: But I will see Your face in righteousness; when I awake, I will be satisfied with Your presence. Psalm 17:15 (Holman Christian Standard Bible) (emphasis mine)

How does God meet your true needs? 

Friday, May 1, 2015

The Grace to Bloom

And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. 2 Corinthians 9:8 

When Ruby and I were walking in the park the other day, I spotted this determined little flower blooming in the middle of a patch of dirt and rocks.

Now that's determination, focus, and faith!

Three things I sometimes lack.

I know the little flower doesn't think things through but, if it were me, my conversation with God would go something like this:

Me: Hmm...I don't see any other roots around me so that means it must be kind of harsh above ground. I'm sure I don't have what it takes to grow and bloom up there
God: I am able to give you grace, pouring over and spilling out. My strength will enable you to poke your head up above the dirt and grow in the sun.  

Me: Oh, I know that. You tell me that all the time. But...It's hot and dry up there and the wind is blowing like crazy.
God: I'll make sure you have all you need to grow tall and green. I'll give you deep roots and healthy leaves.  Don't look around you, look at Me.

Me: You say that but it's not easy. It's a strange world out there. I know I can grow but can I bloom? I want people who walk by to see the beauty You've created and to smile.
God:  I promise you will shine with My love. I have work already planned for you and I will guide you to bloom beautifully.  

Me: Well, here goes! Gee, it's beautiful! The sun is so warm and I love the sound of my leaves rustling in the wind. There's a bud opening up. Look, that lady and her dog have stopped to look at me and she's smiling. She's even taking a picture!
God: Isn't it wonderful? This is just what I created you to do. No other flower can bloom quite like you.   

It always me a while to step out onto the path God has for me. When I do, I find so many blessings and I feel such joy when I'm able to reflect Jesus to others around me.



He has truly given me all I need to bloom for Him!