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Monday, October 17, 2016

Fall and Faith


Its a beautiful time of year.

Leaves start changing color.  The winds blow in cool and crisp.  The days are shorter and the nights are longer.  The animals are preparing for a long winter ahead by storing up food for the winter months.

Fall is also the sign of an end. 

The end of summer and long hot days.  The end of all things living and green.  Its a sign that its time for some things to die and slip into hibernation in order to prepare for the new life that will begin again in the spring.

Our faith can be very much like fall.  We have sailed through a bright and sunny season in our lives when the winds of change roll in.  The breeze picks up and the winds of change start to howl and the leaves of our dying faith start to fall.  We've had a fun and easy time and we haven't built up our faith.  We haven't had to exercise it because life has been good.  What do we do when the storms of life roll in?  How do we get ready for the darkness that is about to descend, before the cold winds howl around us and the doubt and fear begins to blind our eyes?

We must store up for those days by reading and studying Gods word.  Like the squirrels that scurry around picking up all the acorns that have fallen from the trees, we must take the bits and pieces of God's word that we have heard and store them up in our hearts so that when the storms come, we have the nourishment we need to sustain us.

How do we keep from getting discouraged when we can't see whats in front of us?  Read Gods word.  Store it up in your heart and your mind so when you can't see whats next, you can rely on the one who knows it all.  

 God already knows whats ahead.  He wants us to trust Him with the next step, the next day, the next week, the next season.   If we try to get thru on our own power, we will become disoriented in the storm and end up walking down the wrong path.  We will become lost and unable to find our way out.  But, if we build up our faith by reading Gods word, and praying for His guidance, He will lead us to the other side.

After fall comes the cold long days of winter.  We snuggle in, we try to stay warm, we probably eat too much comfort food, and we expectantly for longer days and warmer breezes.  This is how we build our faith.  We snuggle in, we grab our Bibles, we load up on His comfort, and we expectantly wait for the sunnier days and the end of our present struggle.  But does it end there?  No, just as there are 4 seasons in nature, we also have seasons in our faith walk.  We must ride the wave of each season with the same expectation we do when fall comes and winter hits.  We store up Gods word in our hearts so that when the winds blow in, when the doubts and fear howl around us, we have nourishment to get us through. 

Fall, its my favorite time of year.  What will you store up for the long winter ahead?

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Peace in the Pause

A few years ago I felt God stirring in my heart to "tell my story".  You see, I grew up in a small town in Northern Indiana, a child of divorce in a church that some would now consider a "cult".   I've had many experiences through life because of my upbringing and God has shown himself in many ways.  So, in my calling, I assumed I was to write a book.  

I've never written a book.  I've never really written much, except my journals.  So, with good intentions of my heart, I sat down and tried to write a book.  Didn't happen.  I didn't know where to start, what to do, what direction to take it.  I've struggled now for a few years thinking I'm supposed to write a book and nothing has happened.  Well, life has happened.  

I'm a single mom.  In these years I've raised 2 boys, taken care of a home, been the sole income earner in my home and had to deal with all the issues most women have a husband to help with. So, when would I have time to write a book?  I tried in my own POWER to do what I thought God wanted me to do...instead of waiting on God to tell me when and how to proceed forward.  So, in the time of PAUSE, I started writing blog posts.  

It occurred to me this morning that these posts very much tell my story.  I've shared some of my past, but what I've shared most is what God is teaching me through his word.  There have been pauses in my writing - either because I wasn't spending time with Him and listening, or because I was just busy doing life.  I'm at a season in my life now where the kids are gone to college and I'm starting to have more time to listen to God. 

I've done a lot of whining and crying - wondering why he has me hanging out in the pasture when I want to go running down the hillside. I've wanted to run ahead of God and do things on my own, and in the process he has closed doors, and some he has even slammed in my face.   When He told me to tell my story, I thought he meant my past.  But, now, He very well could have been meaning my present and in the pause is preparing me for my future.  I'm to tell what I'm doing while hanging out in the pasture, waiting for my shepherd to lead me to greener pastures.  You see, I have to get all I can glean from the pasture I'm in before I can enjoy the one that is ahead of me.  If I rush through this one, I may miss something really good.

Where do you feel God wants you to go?  Do you feel like you are stuck where you are?  I do.  But, when you feel that way and when I feel that way, we need to pause and ask God "What is it you are trying to teach me in this pasture?"  Many lessons will be learned at each one and we need to get as much nourishment and growth out of each one.

James 1:2 (MSG) "So don't try to get out of anything prematurely.  Let [a test or challenge] do its work so you become mature and well- developed, not deficient in any way."

So, today, I urge you to find Peace in the Pause.  Instead of being anxious about moving forward, ask God what He wants you to learn where you are, being READY and willing to take the next steps forward when He says you are ready.