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Saturday, May 31, 2014

God’s Guidance Doesn’t Have to Be a Guessing Game

One of the most challenging aspects in growing a vital, intimate relationship with God is discerning His guidance. Other messages, streaming from social media, television, movies, and books, always attempt to pull us this way or that. Lack of sleep and unsettled emotions block clear thinking, too! The discernment of God’s guidance usually feels like a steep uphill climb.

Speaking of guidance, I’m referring to daily choices. God’s Word doesn't specify how to number our daily “to do” list. It doesn't tell me where to vacation, which movie to watch, how much money should I donate, or when to... On a weekly basis, there are dozens of decisions I’d like God’s guidance for. But, they don’t have biblical clear cut answers. God's guidance doesn't have to be a guessing game.  

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Giving Thanks is Powerful!

The enormous Sheraton ballroom, downtown Kansas City, filled with Salvation Army leaders and patrons. I and my husband were graciously invited to their elegant luncheon with guest speaker, Laura Bush. An attractive 20ish year-old woman sat beside me at the round table covered with a white crisp table cloth and a sparkle of fresh flowers.

She and I chatted before a Salvation Army officer gave thanks for the food. Then we dived into our fresh lettuce salad. I couldn’t help notice Mindy’s unusual behavior. Between bites she was writing feverously in a small journal.

Since I’m curious, OK… nosy, I leaned toward her and boldly asked, “What are you writing?” Mindy obliged with a stimulating answer.

“I’m writing what I’m thankful for. About a year ago I was challenged to think more positively, to write 5 things each day I’m thankful for. Each one has to be different.” 

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Our Tears are Never Wasted

My favorite place to retreat used to be my master bedroom closet. No matter how large or how small, I could always somehow squeeze myself, a pillow, a journal, and my bible into that 4’ x 6’ space. Oh, Kleenex accompanied me too. The dimly lit closet felt safe and the canopy of clothes overhead created an aura of coziness. And best of all, my kids never thought of looking for “Mom” in the closet!

Why did I find the closet so desirable? I needed a place to deal with life’s hurts and disappointments, my anger and frustration. In quiet seclusion I could share conversations with God, sorting through reasons why I was in the closet. Allowing my emotions to surface, and having a good cry, cleanses my heart and heals my soul. Tears are like words the heart cannot express.

To be honest, I really don’t like “losing it,” or some say be “reduced to tears.” That implies weakness of character. Quite the opposite. Getting in touch with our sorrow, pain and needs, requires slowing down enough to cry out to God. It calls for honesty, humility and courage.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

When God's Too Early or Too Late!

A woman on a mission trip landed at the Singapore airport. She was mistaken for a wanted criminal and thrown into a filthy prison. A few days later authorities realized they had the wrong woman and released her.

A doctor forgot to sign his patient’s release papers and couldn't be reached. The patient remained confined to his hospital bed while important things at home went undone. Time was being wasted!

I’m a list maker. A prayer list, grocery list, daily “to do” list, a packing list for my suitcase (so I won’t forget anything).  I used to think making lists would guarantee me security and a sense of peace.

In spite of our finely tuned schedules, interruptions show up and expectations fizzle. Our best laid plans sink, often taking us down with them. Trying to manage life the way we want takes an incredible amount of hard work. It steals joy from the journey. It’s energy draining!

That’s when you and I query God, “Are you paying attention?” “Did you hear my prayers?”  “Are you aware I need help and now!”