Monday, April 22, 2019

Easter Monday, 2019 - Heading Toward Pentecost

 Let All Creation Sing! 

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. 
Praise the Lord. (Psalm 150:6) 

When God created his works of creation, He declared everything He made as very good (Genesis 1:31). In Psalm 150, every part of God’s creation is exhorted to give him praise. 

God is immutable, incapable of changing (James 1:17; Hebrews 13:8). He looks upon the good in his creation, yet acknowledges the evil that exists from the ways mankind has marred his work. 

In Hannah Hurnard’s book, Hinds’ Feet on High Places, the heroine, Much-Afraid, is on a journey guided by her loving Shepherd. As she travels, God’s creation is prominent in the lessons she learns as she encounters flowers, waterfalls, rainbows, mountains, and deserts. 

My perspective thrives when I read this book. It handed me strengthening lessons before chronic illness became my constant companion. Now, insights go deeper with each reading, encouraging me to stay focused and strong. One lesson connects to Psalm 150. 

Much-Afraid discovers a single small flower in the desert. It is sustained by keeping its face toward the sun and drinking an occasional drip of water coming from a leak in a pipe. The flower’s name is Acceptance-With-Joy . 

Unlike mankind, all other creation dwells contentedly in being. Its existence breathes out its praise. Mankind alone chooses if he will respond. From a worldly perspective, this is often viewed merely through one’s accomplishments. 

God asks that we be content in him. He looks on each heart’s intent. There is a place and a balance for both accomplishments and stillness. 

I am not to shy away from tasks He equips me to perform but they do not identify me. He does. I often need renewal in understanding this as there are limitations to what I can now do. 

I want to accept with joy each season in my life. My Creator asks that I turn my face upward to be nourished by him. Throughout all seasons, one constant remains for me. I am his. 

This is my praise and 
He declared everything He made as very good !

Prayer



Lord, I join in the chorus of your loving creation that praises you with joy! May you delight in the gift of songs that breathe out our thanksgiving. Amen. 


Saturday, April 20, 2019

Holy Saturday, 2019 "A Peaceful Heart"

A Peaceful Heart 

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from my cries of anguish? (Psalm 22:1) 

We can recognize our feelings mirrored in the Psalms. None of us will ever suffer the torments that Christ suffered on our behalf. However, we will have times of feeling we have been forsaken by him, and by others. Such emotional pain is unbearable.

 In reading this psalm, a memory was triggered within me. I recalled an innocent comment that had stabbed at some deep unmet needs in my soul, mind, and emotions. For days this particular pain would not leave me. It was not so much a feeling that God had forsaken me, rather, I was unable to release the pain. My cries were repetitive and coming from a desolate place. I was so busy calling out to God, that it was not until I stopped to take a breath that He could respond. 

As his loving answers came, the emotional pain subsided. Tears of gratefulness streamed down my face. 

This psalm continues in verse 24 to express more of Christ’s tenderness. “For he has not despised or scorned the suffering of the afflicted one; he has not hidden his face from him but has listened to his cry for help.” 

In my self-centered maze of pain, it may have appeared that God was hidden from me. The reality is He wanted to speak. I needed to get quiet—able to listen. 

“Come. Face Me heart to Heart. You will be able to hand Me your bruised emotions when we are that much closer. Let Me take the broken pieces. Let Me hold you and transfuse new life and hope from my Heart to your heart. I came for this reason so long ago as I cried out in the pain of forsakenness. Only I know how to truly help you now. Receive my peace-filled Heart. “

Prayer

Lord, I hear your invitation to enter your heart and offer you my pain. Thank you for the agonies that you bore for me. As I let go of the burdens I carry, I receive your gifts of all I need. Amen. 




Sunday, April 14, 2019

Palm Sunday, 2019 "Confined or Content?



As we enter Holy Week, 2019, our thoughts go to the realities leading up to the Cross and then Christ’s death and victorious Resurrection.
Yet first, He was content in the Godhead. In loving obedience to the Father, He chose to empty himself (Philippians 2:5-11) and enter the confines of an earthly body subject to all its needs and yet never giving in to the temptations we do. The devotional I am posting today speaks to how I wrestled with finding contentment in a body less-abled than it once had been. Perhaps you can relate for different reasons to how He helped me. 

A blessed Easter to all. xo Lynn

Confined or Content? 
I, the Lord, have called you in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand. I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles, to open the eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness. 
(Isaiah 42:6-7) 

Any challenges require adjustments. When vestibular dysfunction threw me into a constant state of dizziness and physical disorientation, it happened in one instant. I was blindsided, as if trapped in a dungeon. 

What had happened? Why? 

Some suggested my faith was lacking or I would have been healed by praying—or by others praying for me. I wondered if I was holding myself captive. I became exhausted believing I had to come to some definitive answers.

When all my efforts seemed a failure, I discovered a new level of dependence on the Lord. He patiently waited for me to understand that He was the only strength I had as I learned to live differently-abled. 

I questioned my God-given vocation to be of encouragement to others. Was it possible to proclaim freedom to others and be credible when I felt confined? 

Choose life, Lynn. I am asking you for deeper trust. Surrender. I define your life. Let me.

God helpd me take small steps. I experience him literally work through me in spite of how I feel. As I have died to my own endeavors, I somehow rise with him above my circumstances, despite no physical release from their impact. 

As confined as I have felt, He has remained the open door to meet all my needs. He has shown me the only captivity that ultimately matters is being held captive by his faithfulness. 

It is in his faithfulness, I know contentment. 

Are there times of struggle? Constantly. 
Do I choose to trust God and proclaim his freedom?


When hope rises to view in spite of my pain and his strength is manifested through my limitations, yes! 

Prayer
Lord, you gave your life for me. Help me continue to recognize the freedom I have in you. You set this prisoner free so I can stand content in you. Amen.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

A Gift of Remembrance (Book Excerpt)

 A Gift of Remembrance 

See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands. 
(Isaiah 49:16a) 

Since I am engraved on the palms of Jesus’ hands, then everything, including his recorded days for me, must be there too. His wounded hands, healed, yet scarred, remind me of his sacrifice and death that enabled this engraving. 

My memories, thus engraved, are deeply embedded within me. I love the good memories. What takes courage is facing devastating memories head on. Yet God cannot impart his gift of healing until I acknowledge my need for it. 

Chronic illness entered my life when I was a mid-life adult. When I suffered intensive flare-ups of internal vertigo spinning, my mother was the person who would leave her home and come to help me. She would hold my head until the worst was over. Remembering her presence brings 
cherished memories. 

The memories needing healing were devastating images of her during her last days and moments. I held her head as she took her last breath and died. 

God’s healing gift came in personal ways. The journey was slow. He streamed an image of my mother—whole, healed, and with him. He did not let up until I could see this stronger image through the dimmer nightmarish veil of other ones. 

Her unexpected death left me weak. An opportunity to travel to England quickly surfaced. I questioned if I was strong enough to go. I felt the courage to attempt the trip when I remembered my mother’s caring hands that held my head steady. 

Far from home, the steps of healing continued. They were ones that only those who have grieved deeply understand. 

Walking a sunlit trail in Cambridge on my last day in England, I became aware of a flighty companion. A butterfly was keeping pace with me! My mother loved butterflies. This one was donned brightly in her favorite colors. Cautiously turning on my camera, I captured the priceless moment. 

God sent a butterfly. It was a gift of remembrance that my mother was but a breath away with him and, in many ways, still with me. 

Prayer:
Lord, some remembrances are difficult. Thank you for the scars you bore so I can turn to you in deep need and come away graciously renewed. Amen. 



Monday, February 25, 2019

Being Summoned by God - Book Exceprt

The Mighty One, God, the Lord, speaks and summons the earth from the rising of the sun to where it sets. (Psalm 50:1) 

Reading the description of creation in Genesis, I am aware that initially God summoned me from the dust of the ground and breathed the breath of life into me (Genesis 2:7). 

He created me in his image to give glory back to him. I am equipped to respond in a variety of ways. His giving me free will leaves this life-giving choice in my hands. 

I allow other things to summon me. They grab for my attention. I do not mean the important things that need to be tended regarding daily care. For me, it is either busyness or lethargy leading to unrealistic expectations that can throw me out of balance. I desire to be watchful, intentional, and tuned in to what God wants for me and from me. 

Jesus sought his Father at the rising of each new day. He was summoned by him so they could commune. With the plans for the day established and their fellowship enriched, Jesus went about fulfilling those plans that had been established. 

I may not be called to do great things as the world defines great . I want to persevere in partnership with God, grateful for the work He has created that is mine. I get caught up in comparison traps—others being summoned by him for different tasks and my covetousness of what they accomplish. 

How subtle it can be. Their specific plans are not the unique plans God has for me. He longs that I focus on how I am being summoned by him—what He is saying to me! 

I am not to summon myself. That could steer me off track. As I seek direction from God, He will see to it that I hear. If He is silent, that means I am to rest until all becomes clearer. It is important that I am expectant, willing to listen, and ready to follow through. 


Prayer

Lord, from the rising of the sun to its setting, the daytime and nighttime are yours. I commit myself to listen and respond to your daily call. Then, the entire day becomes ours! Amen. 

from: "Seeking the Light of God's Comforter - When Challenges Dim Our View. Available at the Redemption Press Website (soft cover, hard cover, eBook)

Photo Credit: Lynn's photo taken in 2002 - Cambridge, England


Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Shadows

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High 
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty
(Psalm 91:1) 

The word shadow evokes a variety of feelings. Unexpected shadows can bring delight when I see them cast a beautiful design. Conversely, some can bring alarm with their foreboding forms. 

This psalm exhorts me to rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I know I can trust his emanating light to provide shelter if I stay close to him. It can deflect shadows that would attempt to intrude on my life and bring confusion. Therein, he offers safety, comfort, and guidance. 

As I pondered this concept of shadows, I wondered if faith might be like a shadow. Scripture tells me that faith is, in part, “assurance about what I do not see” (Hebrews 11:1). 

As I  am walking with the Lord, I depend on his light and his sight. The past lies behind me, covered by the shadow that his light, grace, and forgiveness cast upon it. 

I am to live in the now, trusting the One in the lead. My future, vague to me, is clear to him. My faith becomes sight when the Lord chooses to move me into the light of what He already sees. 

Both connotations of shadow are depicted in Scripture. 

“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me” (Psalm 23:4a NKJV). 

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows” (James 1:17). 

I’ll have times of fear. The challenges that life brings long for restoration. When I step outside God’s zone of comfort, I falter. I am reminded of how much the security of his shelter provides. I need but take one step back to where He will envelop me.

Faith. Shadows.

Both are gifts from God. Both are places where He dwells and invites me to enter in and share the security of a safe space with him. 


Prayer
Lord, our adventures have been many. Your light sheds meaning when I cannot see clearly. I remain grateful that you are my haven of peace as I choose to remain close to you. Amen. 


Monday, December 31, 2018

Reflections as a New Year Begins - 2019

Seasoned

But the land you are crossing the Jordan to take possession of is a land of mountains and valleys that drinks rain from heaven. It is a land the Lord your God cares for; the eyes of the Lord your God are continually on it from the beginning of the year to its end. (Deuteronomy 11: 11-12) 

On the first day of each new year, I read this Scripture passage. It is a reminder that another year has arrived. I know it will hold seasons of days. 

Before I look forward, I look back on the highlights from the year just completed. Yes, there were mountains and valleys. I came through them! I will face joys and challenges in the year ahead. I intend to walk into the unknowns of each new day aware of God’s faithfulness. He guides me if I choose to let him.

True. The Lord cares about the land and the year. But He cares about me more. 

His presence is steadfast. His eyes are continually on me. He desires my cooperation as He accompanies me daily with his grace. I best not dwell on each day of the whole year. That would be overwhelming! God sees those days ahead. I release them into his caring hands.

I commit to accepting his grace as I live out one day at a time. Will I discover it to be a mountain or a valley day or somewhere in between? Maybe it will be a day comprised of all three! 

As I read this Scripture, I know I will have questions as some of my days arrive. That is alright. Seasons from other years in my life have helped me recognize that my not-knowing is simply part of God’s all-knowing. He sees the land’s obstacles. I trust and follow his lead. I become a seasoned traveler by choosing to accept both the mountain days and the valley days. 

Each nourishes me as I drink the rain from heaven— God’s presence itself.
Prayer

 Lord, you are my constant Comforter as I face the seasons of my life and the unknowns of each day. Thank you for being my hope, my trust, and my guide as I treasure you in each of my moments. Amen.



(This passage is from Lynn's Devotional Book: "Seeking the Light of God's Comforter - When Challenges Dim Our View".  Redemption Press, 2017)