During a walk on a frosty day, an unusual sight was seen. The pond was almost frozen over. Ice started around the shoreline and was reaching towards the centre. There, huddled together in the small area of remaining water, swam a few geese.
“Why hadn’t they flown south yet?” I wondered. It was only a matter of days before the ice would completely cover the pond. They were certainly leaving things until the last moment.
The scene made me think of the number of times I’ve acted like a silly goose. Signs of an impending freeze in my life have been ignored. If I don’t acknowledge what’s happening around me, maybe the trouble won’t materialize. After all, there’s no immediate danger so I may not have to take action.
This type of attitude has not served me well. Often the reason I put off making a decision is that I’m not sure which direction to take. What if I make the wrong choice? I fail to realize that making no decision is still making a decision!
I don’t know what the future holds but I do have a personal relationship with the One who does. God has promised to teach us what to do. I just need to call out to him in prayer and listen carefully for his response.
With this kind of power available to me, not to seek his guidance would make me as silly as those geese.
The Lord says, “I will instruct you. I will teach you the way that you should go. I will advise you as my eyes watch over you.” (Psalm 32:8 GWT)
My chiropractor schedules regular progress exams with his patients. After a certain number of treatments, an assessment is done. I have completed three progress exams.
One part of checkup is having my photo taken while standing in front of a grid on the wall. This enables us to see if I am off centre. A thermal rolling scan was done as well as a questionnaire regarding my health
The purpose of all of this is to find out how my body is responding to treatment and if any changes are needed to make it more effective.
I think of other areas in life where it would be a good idea to get regular progress reports. I’ve been working on having more patience. How am I really doing with that? It seems to be going well until I’m in a stressful or frustrating situation. Those tests clearly show where I am off center. My calm, cool demeanour is shattered and my voice takes on a sharp edge. I’m not happy with the outcome of this testing but am now aware of changes that need to be made.
God allows us to be tested to teach us endurance. It is a way to train us to persist and not give up. The question I need to ask myself is how to make the necessary changes to improve my spiritual health.
I can start by spending more time in prayer and reading God’s instruction manual, the Bible. My time with Him will reveal the answers to my progress exams.
“God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation.” (James 1:12 NLT)
My husband and I went to the mountains for a weekend escape. We arrived at night so weren’t able to take in the view until the next morning.
Our room promised a scenic vista and I was eager to check it out in the daylight. Although the mountains loomed close, they were shrouded in clouds so not as picturesque as I had hoped.
The next morning I saw an entirely different view. The mountains were the same but sun shining on the clearly defined peaks made them magnificent.
I took pictures at the same time each morning and they tell the story of the difference a day can make.
There are times in my life when the picture in front of me isn’t what I had hoped for. The days are gloomy and the future is anything but clear. It would be so easy to give in to despair.
Instead, I need to keep moving forward. My steps might not be as quick and lively as they once were but I can’t let that stop me.
I take comfort in a well-known Bible verse which says God will be with me as I walk through the dark valley. He doesn’t abandon me there. He is beside me every step of the way and will lead me to the bright sunshine once again. It may not be today or even tomorrow. All I need is the faith that a new day can make all the difference.
I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. (Psalm 121:1-2 NIV)
We were on our way to visit friends living outside of the city. When the busy streets turned into quiet country roads the only illumination came from our headlights. The air was crisp and the sky clear enough to see a few twinkling stars. As more stars became visible a decision was made to pull over and get out of the car so we could have a better view.
What we saw when we stepped into the dark night was magnificent. The black velvet sky was filled with twinkling stars.
These celestial lights were there before we stopped but the distraction of streetlights, headlights and other man-made illumination kept us from seeing them. Closer lights with a much lower wattage kept us from seeing the brilliance in the heavens.
The analogy to life couldn’t have been clearer. It is so easy for me to be distracted by something close at hand. Often I’ve been drawn towards a glimmer of hope that has proven to be nothing more than a distraction from the light which is truly important.
To appreciate the light that was given to guide me, I need to look up. Not just up twenty feet to a street light, but way up to the one who created the stars.
The brightest hope and promise I will ever experience comes from a relationship with The Lord. Anything that keeps me from pursuing Him is an unwanted distraction.
Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path. (Psalm 119:105 NLT)
My husband and I have just returned from a mini-vacation. We travelled a little over an hour from home and spent three nights in the mountains.
In such a short distance and time frame we enjoyed a complete change of pace. No goals or expectations were set ahead of time. This proved to be key to our experience.
Jagged mountain peaks were visible from our room. We appreciated some time outdoors in the crisp mountain air, but had no desire to fill every moment with activity. Instead, we spent quiet hours relaxing in the spacious lobby area where a large rustic fireplace dominated one wall.
Any other time we would have felt guilty for not being outside exploring. On these days we relished the time to rest and recharge. This is something we would not have been able to accomplish at home where many tasks constantly call out for our attention.
There are always things we can be doing, but how often do we give ourselves permission to just be still?
Rest is a biblical concept. Jesus took time from his hectic life to withdraw to a quiet place for prayer. This was a necessity for him. After spending quiet time with God, he was better prepared to face the busy and trying days to come.
When I do the same, I am allowing the Lord to breathe new energy and focus into my life, preparing me for what lies ahead.
The news about Jesus spread even more. Large crowds gathered to hear him and have their diseases cured. But he would go away to places where he could be alone for prayer. (Luke 5:15-16 GST)
Canadian Thanksgiving has its origins in Europe, where festivals of thanks and celebrations of harvest took place in the month of October.
Today, Thanksgiving is a celebration of being thankful for what one has and the bounty of the previous year. For some, the main focus is a turkey dinner followed by pumpkin pie.
I do appreciate gathering together with my family and turkey is one of my favourite meals. However, I don’t feel one day is enough to express gratitude for the abundance in my life.
I like to start my mornings by giving thanks for a new day. God has given me a fresh page on which to write the next chapter of the story of my life. I want to express my gratitude for this gift and use it to make a positive difference. I say I want to, because it doesn’t always happen. I do know my day will be off to a much better start when it begins with this kind of communion with The Lord.
In the past, I thought I’d have to do something huge and life changing in order to make a difference in the world. Now, I know it may be as simple as having a positive attitude. I may never know the effect a smile and friendly hello has on a stranger I pass on the street. The same goes for holding the door open for one following behind or allowing someone to merge in traffic in front of me. It is possible my words and actions will have a ripple effect much larger than I could possible know.
I will never be in control of every event in my day, but my attitude is totally within my control. I have learned that I can choose how I act, despite how I feel. After all, God gave me the gift of free choice. In that case, why wouldn’t I choose to be positive and thankful?
Always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ (Ephesians 5:20 NIV)
Do you hear that sound? The Canadian Geese are doing practice runs and we seem to be in their flight path. Maybe you are, too.
They spend weeks practicing before they actually attempt their long distance flight. On occasion, we have witnessed a gaggle of geese on a nearby pond start to honk as two or three were landing. It was like they were cheering the others on.
Did you know that the reason geese honk from behind is to encourage the ones in front of them? Also, when the lead goose gets tired, it rotates back and another takes its place as the lead.
I could learn from their teamwork. It makes sense to take turns doing the hard jobs and to encourage those who are taking the lead.
The V formation geese fly in allows the whole flock to have a much longer flying range than if one bird flew alone.
Again, this can apply to us. When we share a common direction, we can get there faster and easier if we travel with others. Not only can we learn from those we travel with, I find it more pleasant than travelling alone.
A flock of geese is like a family. They look out for each other. As part of the family of God, I am instructed to do the same. What a wonderful world it would be if we took our cue from the geese and everyone worked together and encouraged each other.
“Be devoted to each other like a loving family. Excel in showing respect for each other.” (Romans 12:10 GWT)
Help carry each other’s burdens. In this way you will follow Christ’s teachings.” (Galatians 6:2 GWT)
Summer weather has stretched into September and we are taking full advantage of it. The weekend was a perfect time to head to the lake and enjoy our RV.
During the heat of Saturday afternoon, the power went out in much of the campground. We were told it might not be restored until the following day. There was a fire ban so we couldn’t keep warm in the evening by sitting by a fire.
The next day was cool with a threat of rain and still no power. Brian and I watched as many people packed up and went home. It was gloomy and there was no electricity so they didn’t want to stay.
It was the power that made the difference. The parallel to my life was not lost on me. There is only one power source that will never let us down and it is found through a relationship with God.
Unless I plug into my power source first thing every morning, my day is not going to have the outcome that would otherwise be possible. I start my day by connecting with God in prayer. The wonderful thing is there is no worry of a fuse or transformer blowing. A long extension cord is not required.
God’s power is eternal and available whenever I choose to make the connection. I have a choice to make. Either I can sit in the cold and dark, or plug into the power source God provides. With this source freely available, constant and reliable, I would be fooling not to remain plugged in and fully charged for the Lord.
“Our Lord is great, and his power is great. There is no limit to his understanding.” (Psalm 147:5 GWT)
Are you a dabbler? To dabble is to take part in a casual or superficial way. In other words, you’re not fully committed.
I must admit that I’ve been known to dabble. I’m not a dive in headfirst type of person. No, for me it’s been more stick your toe in the water and see if you like it.
Maybe that’s why I’ve worked in so many types of jobs. This means I know a little about a lot of things but I’m an expert in none.
In the past, it was the same with hobbies. Once the novelty of something wore off, I’d be on to the next thing. I have a sewing machine that hasn’t seen the light of day for years, cross stitch canvases that are still unopened and racket ball gear that was eventually given to someone who would use it.
While it may be acceptable to dabble in many types of activities until I find the right one, there is one area where this is not advised.
My spiritual life is not an area to be dabbled in. There is nothing casual or superficial about my relationship with God. He has repeatedly shown his commitment to me. How can I not have the same commitment to him?
When I spend time with him, in prayer and reading The Bible, I will learn how to live a life that is fully devoted to him. My goal is to honour and please the Lord, no dabbling allowed.
“Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord, and your lives will produce every kind of good fruit. All the while, you will grow as you learn to know God better and better.” (Colossians 1:10 NLT)
It was time to let go of some items not used in our home. After deciding on prices, my husband took pictures and posted the items for sale online.
Responses started coming in almost immediately. We knew the value of what we were offering and priced everything lower than that. Even so, most inquiries included the phrase, “Will you take less?” They might suggest a lower number or in some cases asked what our lowest price would be.
I found it amusing when one woman told us of her experience selling things online, stating she never negotiated her asking prices and then turned around and asked if we’d take less!
My mind went to times in life I’ve settled for less than I am worth. I have often sold myself short. When I’m not confident of my value, it’s difficult to expect others to appreciate it.
The truth is my life is of great value, as is yours. God loves me so much that he sent his son to die for my sins in order that I can live in Heaven with him forever. He wouldn’t have paid such a high price for me if he didn’t believe I was worthy.
Each day is a gift from him, filled with beauty, challenges and opportunities. The adventure I’m on with the Lord is like nothing I could ever have imagined. Knowing this, how could I possibly settle for less?
“Consider this: The Father has given us his love. He loves us so much that we are actually called God’s dear children. And that’s what we are.” 1 John 3:1 GWT