There are a few ponds I walk past on a regular basis. Many ducks make their homes in these bodies of water.
One morning I was out earlier than usual and observed several of the ducks were still sleeping. They looked so peaceful with their heads tucked down as they rested on the water.
One nearby was not sleeping, but busy diving for food. It was fascinating to watch the legs and tail flip out of the water. The duck looked as though it was standing on its head.
The thought occurred to me that this busy duck wanted food more than the others did at that point in time. It was willing to do the work needed to have what it wanted.
Relating this to my life I thought of the times I’ve let opportunities pass me by because I wasn’t willing to do the work required. Perhaps I was tired and decided to rest. Maybe it was just something I didn’t want badly enough to put effort into.
Today I consider the goals God has placed in my heart. In the past I thought I could achieve them on my own. The results were not what I’d hoped for. I grew weary and don’t have the strength to accomplish what the Lord desired of me. Now I know that was never his plan. Jesus wants more for me than anything I’ve dreamed of. He is the one who will strengthen me to reach the goal.
Brothers and sisters, I can’t consider myself a winner yet. This is what I do: I don’t look back, I lengthen my stride, and run straight toward the goal to win the prize that God’s heavenly call offers in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:13-14 GWT)
I can do everything through Christ who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:143 GWT)
It sounded so easy when I heard the directions. “Turn left at the corner, another left at the first light and that will take you back to the highway.” My friend said.
Confidently I set off, thinking there would be no problem in finding my way out of this unfamiliar city. That was my first mistake!
My sense of direction is not good. That’s why it took me so long to realize I was heading in the wrong direction. My concern now was figuring out how to get off of this very busy highway and back to where I needed to be.
It was then I remembered the portable navigation system sitting in my center console. It had been there all along. I’d just been so sure of myself that I hadn’t bothered with it.
When I stopped and engaged this device I was soon guided back in the right direction. My journey had been delayed by more than 30 minutes by my foolish mistake.
The lesson in this was not lost on me. Many times I have found myself without clear direction. When proper time hasn’t been taken to confirm my course, I’ve ended up racing the wrong way, feeling lost and unsure how to make the necessary correction.
Although Jesus is always available to help me, I’ve been guilty of thinking I can figure out my own way. When I forget to rely on him the result is not good. Jesus is my navigation system. My sense of direction may not be accurate but he will never fail me.
Show me the right path, O LORD; point out the road for me to follow. (Psalm 25:4 NLT)
The deal was too good to resist, so we didn’t! End of season sales can yield some amazing bargains. That’s how we ended up with an electronic bug zapper.
The mosquitoes were no longer a bother but we had more than our share of pesky flies. On a September weekend my husband and I headed to our trailer and brought the zapper along to try it out.
We were able to sit outside and enjoy a meal with fewer disturbances than normal from these annoying insects. The occasional crackle sound means there was one less to bother us.
I thought about this device and wondered what was capable of zapping away my doubts and fears; all those pesky negative thoughts that swarm around in my mind. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to dispose of them this easily? Something that would eliminate them before they became a problem would be wonderful.
Actually, I don’t need a device to take care of this. All I need Jesus. When I call on him, he is faithful to calm my mind and leave me with a peace that eliminates the worries of this world.
You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you. (Isaiah 26:3 NIV)
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33 NIV)
Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:7 NLT)
“I feel like I’m doing something wrong when I step on the other side of this line.” I said to my husband.
We were walking along a grassy path and the sun was hitting a tall chain link fence at just the right angle to create a duplicate fence shadow.
The line I was walking beside represented the top of the fence. Unsure which side to walk along, I was, in effect, straddling the fence!
“What a good example of life” I said. Metaphorically I sit on the fence, to keep from making decisions. I wouldn’t want to come down on the wrong side and offend anyone. It would be embarrassing to make a mistake by choosing the wrong side.
When I walked above the fence line it didn’t seem right. Unconsciously I adjusted my pace to follow the line. To do this I had to look down, to watch my steps. This meant I wasn’t looking up at what was around me.
Did it make a difference which side of this line my feet fell on? Not at all.
I was doing what I’ve always done, not veering off of the straight line before me. By watching my feet and not looking up I was trusting in my own limited knowledge and not looking up to the Lord for guidance.
The Lord has promised to instruct and teach me in the way I should go. My focus needs to be up and on him. His counsel will always direct me to the line he wants me to walk.
I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you. (Psalm 32:8 NIV)
The wise counsel GOD gives when I’m awake is confirmed by my sleeping heart. Day and night I’ll stick with GOD; I’ve got a good thing going and I’m not letting go. Psalm 16:7-8 (The Message)
My sixteen year old granddaughter jumped up on a large rock in our front yard. “I haven’t been on this for years,” she said. “It seemed a lot bigger when I used to climb up on it.”
The rock has not changed. She however, has grown considerably in the ensuing years.
Her comments caused me to think of how my perspective has changed over the years. Obstacles that once seemed insurmountable can now be conquered.
The reason for this is my reliance on Jesus. He is the rock on which I stand.
As I grow in my relationship with him, the problems of life become easier to deal with. They have not necessarily changed, but I have. When my faith in him grows, difficulties seem to shrink.
I know Jesus will lift me from the slimy pit and set my feet on a rock, the firm foundation he provides.
Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD, the LORD himself, is the Rock eternal. (Isaiah 26:4 NIV)
He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. (Psalm 40:2 NIV)
A couple of weeks ago I told you I was struggling between fear and adventure. I’m happy to report that adventure won!
The day of my big adventure had finally arrived. Why was I so calm? Shouldn’t I be nervous? The fear must be lurking, just waiting for the right opportunity to pounce.
Instead there was restlessness. I had the whole morning to kill and time was moving at a snail pace. Finally the time came to leave. I drove with my daughter and her friend while my granddaughter followed behind.
As we pulled into the parking lot at the small airport I said, “This is starting to feel real. We’re actually going skydiving!”
We checked in and were each handed a waiver to complete. If all the acknowledgements of danger and consent to absolve them of liability didn’t frighten me enough to back away, I figured nothing would!
We were soon given basic instructions and climbing into our jumpsuits. Goggles and gloves were handed out, harnesses attached and we were introduced to our tandem jump partners.
The anticipation built as we climbed aboard our small plane and watched the ground fall away beneath us. Soon my instructor was fastening himself securely to my back. As we reached 12,600 feet the door was opened and we inched towards it.
One second I had my feet on the floor of the airplane and the next I was surrounded by sky. There was no fear, no life flashing before my eyes. The sensation was incredible as the sound of air rushing past drowned out all other sounds and conscious thought. Here I was falling 6,000 feet at a speed of 200 km per hour with another adult strapped to my back! Then the chute opened and all was peaceful. The sensation was like nothing I’ve ever experienced.
One of the highlights of this adventure was sharing it with my daughter and granddaughter. That’s right, three generations went skydiving together that day, and we all loved it!
After the jump my husband said, “Now that you’ve gone skydiving, what’s next?” My mind flashed to other adventures I’d been afraid to try. I smiled and said, “We’ll just have to wait and see!”
A stage is meant for performers. Its very existence is to be a platform from which actors, musicians and orators can be seen and heard.
That is why it seemed so sad to see an outdoor stage roped off with Keep Off signs.
There have been many times in my life I would have fought any desire to be seen on such a platform. It was easier to stay quiet and anonymous, no matter what desire had been planted within. I didn’t have the confidence to step into the talents and abilities God was nudging me to acknowledge.
In this way, my life was like the abandoned stage. The setting had been prepared but I was telling myself not to go there. I had placed a big Keep Off sign on the promptings that there may be more I could accomplish. What if I stepped up and my actions met with disapproval?
Jesus was relentless in his quest to be director of my life. He is teaching me not to be concerned with the thoughts of anyone but him. Stage fright is no excuse. A Bible promise I can count on says the Lord will be with me when I speak and will instruct me in what to say.
Every time I step onto the stage of my life and trust Jesus for direction I feel his applause. He is the only audience I need to please.
Then the LORD asked Moses, “Who makes a person’s mouth? Who decides whether people speak or do not speak, hear or do not hear, see or do not see? Is it not I, the LORD? Now go! I will be with you as you speak, and I will instruct you in what to say.” (Exodus 4:11-12 NLT)
Have you ever rearranged furniture only to notice the flooring is now two different colours? The outline of the furniture placement can be seen in a darker shade than the remainder of the floor.
The sun lightens the areas it can reach. The areas it can’t access remain a darker colour.
While listening to someone describing this in a home they had just taken possession of, I recognized an analogy to my life.
There have been many changes in my life since the light of God’s son, Jesus, has been shining into it. The areas I’ve opened to him are much lighter and brighter. He has taken away the darkness.
The light of Jesus is gentle and loving. It does not cause harm by scorching. When I attempt to shine my own light it can be harsh. I don’t intend to cause damage but without the filter of Jesus, that is exactly what can happen.
My ego driven light is not consistent. The Father of heavenly lights never changes. Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” I choose to stand in his light.
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 NIV)
When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12 NIV)
Late in the afternoon I decided to make a zucchini chocolate cake for dessert.
I grated the zucchini, put it aside and combined the dry ingredients. Pulling out the mixer I beat butter, sugar and eggs. The dry ingredients needed to be added alternately with milk, so I quickly measured the liquid.
One eye was on the clock because I wanted this to be ready by dinner time. Half the flour mixture was added. While this was blending I greased the bundt pan. Returning to the mixer I added the remaining dry ingredients. I wondered why the mixture was so dry. Then I saw the grated zucchini still waiting to be added. It should have been added before the dry ingredients. I hoped this wouldn’t impact the results.
My husband entered the kitchen as I was pouring the batter into the pan. I placed it in the oven and he pointed to a measuring cup on the other end of the counter and asked, “Was this milk supposed to go in the cake?” Quickly I retrieved the cake from the oven, scraped it out of the pan and back into the mixing bowl. The milk was blended in, the cake pan washed and greased and once again the cake was in the oven.
I was upset with myself for the foolish mistakes I’d made. If I’d been paying attention rather than rushing everything would have gone smoother. All I could do now was hope for the best.
Much to my relief the end result was delicious. I admired this miracle cake that was a success despite the challenges.
If a delicate cake can endure these difficulties and still end up with the desired results, there’s hope for me! God can take my errors, oversights and last minute decisions and work them together for his good. He is in the business of performing miracles. In his hands I know everything will turn out just the way he planned.
We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God – those whom he has called according to his plan. (Romans 8:28 GWT)
He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed, miracles that cannot be counted. (Job 5:9 NIV)