Noticing

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Watering:

 

The whole earth is filled with awe at your wonders;
where morning dawns, where evening fades,
you call forth songs of joy.

 

Watching:

We will always find what we are looking at…

If we are looking at things to worry about,

or thundering Goliaths to cower under,

or a world going to hell in a hand basket… they will fill our view.

But the Truth is:

the whole earth is filled with his wonders.

The Truth is:

these wonders deserve our awe.

 The Truth is:

from the first peak of sunshine to its last, God calls for Joy to be sung.

 

Wondering:

The goodness of Life is smack in front of my nose. It is my choice whether I see it or not, whether I pay attention to it or bury it under all the “disses” of the enemy

distractions

disillusionments

discouragements

disappointments

 

It takes work to see each day as brand new.

It takes guts to see beyond the subtle despair and focus on the beauty and abundance of every day life.

It takes eyes to see and ears to hear… that

 

God is good.

He is loving, all knowing and kind.

He is not rattled by my foolishness, nor “put off” by my questions.

He is merciful and faithful

and keeps his word in each turning of this planet.

 

Everyday he whispers.

Everyday he waits.

And every. single. day… he creates joy

orchestrating its song to be sung…

 

Will I listen?

Will I sing?

 

Waiting:

Lord, today, I will remind myself that You are good. All the time.

Today, Jesus, I will awaken the dawn.  I will leave behind my grave clothes, and let you drape your robe and your rightness on me…

I will listen

and I will sing your song of Joy.

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Fightin’ Words

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Watering:

Now this I know:
The Lord gives victory to his anointed.
He answers him from his heavenly sanctuary
with the victorious power of his right hand. (Ps 20:6)

Watching:

“Now this I know…” them’s fightin’ words.

Powerful words.

Anchors of Truth.

Seeds of Life.

 

Wondering:

So, what is it that I know?

Know for sure.

I mean really know

– in that up-close and personal way.

What beautiful knowledge changes me, guides me and leads me beyond any tickle of doubt?

 

* * *

I know

that God is for me, and not against me.

I know

that he hears me when I call.

I know

that he called me from the womb and has ordered every day of my life, every step and every good deed that I should walk in them.

I know

that His ways are not my ways; I cannot out guess him, out smart him, or even begin to out wait him. And yet he waits for me and nudges my heart to surrender into the peace of “nevertheless.” Nevertheless, Father, not my will, but your will be done.

I know

he forgives me every time… every Fall-On-My-Knees-I-Need-a-Do-Over time.

I know

that he knows me. He made me, for goodness sake. He’s my dad. I will never be good enough, kind enough, holy enough, wise enough, selfless enough, loving enough – not even thankful enough – to earn anything He’s given me. And yet I know he’s not asking me to. He’s not asking me to be anything more than just me, his little girl on her daddy’s knee.

I know

he simply (and oh so not) loves me. The One who fashioned me to. be. me. from the womb cares for me with an everlasting love.

I know

I am His, and His alone.

Forever and always.

By wisdom a house is built,
    and through understanding it is established;
through knowledge its rooms are filled
    with rare and beautiful treasures. (Prov. 24:3-4)

Waiting:

Lord,  my house is not filled full enough with your rare and beautiful treasures. Teach my heart and spirit to know you more and more and more.

Watering Today: Prov. 25; ps 20, 85; Jeremiah 31-32; 1 John 4

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This I Know

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Watering:

“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me—” (John 10)

Watching:

Jesus told stories.

He told stories about life that people around him would understand.

And those listening to Jesus that day knew sheep; and they knew shepherds.

Dotting their hillsides, herded across their paths, shepherds and their charges were part of the day to day scenery. In fact David, their beloved king had roots as a shepherd. Experience that probably helped him be a good king, come to think of it.

A different breed, these shepherds were. Loners some might say. Night owls. Seemed they never slept. Wandered the hills – watching, protecting, leading their sheep to new pastures. Constantly guarding and skillfully herding, always making sure their sheep were safe.

But goodness knows they’d seen their share of bad ones.

They knew the shepherds that pretended they cared. The ones in the dark of the night, when Push met with Shove, who let their true colors shine – and let the wolves take their pick. (… always with a ton of excuses, mind you.)

They also knew those who just put their tunes on. The ones who let their charges do whatever, and go wherever their foolish sheep hearts pleased – only to curse and rage to get them back.

And those listening to Jesus that day had seen plenty of shepherds that hovered and yelled and drove their poor sheep batty.

Yes, they knew about bad shepherds. But they knew, too, the ones that treated their sheep like precious children. Those that loved them, guided them, and called them gently – each one by name.

“I am the good shepherd,”  Jesus began, “The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.

Conjuring up an instant image, the people listened… Here was a leader, a man of God who was herding them with a gentle voice of authority and care.  Someone who would never leave them – who’d watch and guide them, who would lead them to green pastures and refreshing, still waters. Someone who would give His life to save them from the wolves.

…They just didn’t know He had to save them from themselves first.

Wondering:

Jesus loves me this I know.

And more than that, He knows me…

He knows you.

“I am the good shepherd. I know my sheep. I know Janie over there – she tends to wander and scatter at a stone’s throw, I need her right next to me to keep her safe. And that one over there? The one with the black scruff of fur right under his chin? He thinks he’s hot stuff. He thinks he can go anywhere and do anything. In fact, he thinks he’s leading us all. Heh, can’t help but love that guy. But I’ve got my eye on him… And look at this sweetie. She’s worn herself out, fretting over her little one – forgot that I’m watching them both. She stumbled over that last patch of hill. Twisted her leg. I’ll be her legs for a awhile.”

Jesus knows me.

He rescued me. He made me his own. He whispered my name over and over and over again, until He was sure I knew the sound of His voice, the pace of His gait – the calming presence of His rod and His staff.

I don’t ever have to be afraid when I’m near Him.

Ever.

Jesus loves me… this. I. know.

Oh, let this truth settle over me like a warm summer night.

 

Jesus, my Good Shepherd, he’s got my back

… tattooed in the stripes on his own.

Waiting:

Lord, there are so many times I wish I weren’t such a silly sheep. But the truth is – I am. And the truth is, I can’t change that. I am just so, so thankful for a kind and caring (and understanding) Shepherd. Thank you, Jesus. Today, let me listen closely to the voice you’ve taught me to know.

Watering Today: Prov 30; ps 30, 130; John 10

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Overwhelm Me

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Watering:

Since you trust in your deeds and riches,
you too will be taken captive

Waiting:

As soon as we begin to rely on what we do…

As soon as we hope in what wealth we think we have…

As soon as we wander to the right or to the left… God steps in to take us captive.

To capture us again with His love

To overwhelm us in the Truth of what matters most:

God is our source. And His grace is our sufficiency.

…Trusting in anything less is deception.

Wondering:

It is way too easy to trust with my eyes- to gauge my present standing by my lack of worries.

It is also way too easy to start trusting that what I DO for God, is worth more than the hill of beans it is.

Because, seriously, hello? Anything I give to God is already due His name.

The fat bank account, the ‘good person’ resume, the strong boot straps to grab – all are the infamous dust in the wind blinding my eyes and caking my lungs.

Since you trust in your deeds and riches,
you too will be taken captive

Trusting in anything and anyone – except for Jesus causes Him to move on my behalf  – to capture me again.

And I am convinced that being hog-tied by the love of God

however that may look as it plays out in my life

is by far the preferable captivity than being left to my own devices.

Waiting:

Jesus, YOU are my source — not what flows from Your hand. Help me keep my trust in You, in oh-so-NOT-simply You. Not in my deeds or the riches you’ve blessed me with. Not my hopes or even the dreams you’ve put in my heart.  Capture me, Jesus. I want to  be overwhelmed by you. Over and over, moment by moment. Always.

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Just Plain Stupid

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Watering:

Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge,
but whoever hates correction is stupid. (Proverbs 12:1)

Watching:

No mincing words here.

Knowledge is not cheap. It requires disciplined dedication… and if you don’t like correction along the way then you’re just plain stupid.

Wondering:

I’m a teacher, so I see a lot of the parenting trends. (Sadly, discipline is not one of them.) … But funny enough, the not-so-new trend over the last several years is the staunch adherence that “Stupid” is a swear word. (And, Mrs. Williams, hate is a strong word and you’re not supposed to hate anything… remember?)

The good intention, I know, is to teach children not to call any person Stupid (and hate IS a strong word.) But as a teacher, if I utter that anything is ‘stupid’ a hush falls over the class and I realize I have some quick backtrack explaining to do: “Yes, class, computers can be stupid! Shoes, phones, choices, actions… they CAN be stupid. And, yes, I can hate things that are stupid!”

… which is why I find this Scripture so refreshing in its non-politically correct way: “If you are looking for the knowledge of God, and you hate the correction that comes with discipline, you’re stupid.”

Uh oh… I mean, I’m not much on discipline and I hate correction.

Discipline means sacrifice and grueling schedules and commitments I’d rather let slide. And correction means I’m wrong. Not that I think I’m always right, but I don’t like it being pointed out that I’m wrong… I’d rather find out, in quiet, on my own, thank you very much.

Apparently what I need is a new mindset. The kind of mindset that concentrates on discipline from God’s perspective:

“whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

The kind of mindset that is melded into the understanding that our coach equips us: “His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.”

The kind of mindset that follows the plan, and uses good ol’ math… that sometimes needs correcting:

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins.

Therefore, my brothers and sisters,make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. (2Peter 1: 3-11)

Bottom line:

Discipline is the evidence that I am a disciple of Jesus.

It is the knowledge of His love and goodness which keeps me going.

Correction along the way is the Good Teacher doing his job…

Stupidity is simply forgetting who loves you.

Don’t be stupid, Jane.

Waiting:

Lord, I know I’m a bit flabby. Looking for new perspective and ready for some personal training, Coach. Wake within me new passion for you. Not even going to ask you to go easy on me… Okay, maybe a little. Love you Jesus. Thaks for putting up with me.

Watering Today: Prov 12; Ps 12, 112; Nehemiah 7-8; Acts 1

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When you find yourself coming up short

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Watering:

A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. He wanted to see who Jesus was, but because he was short he could not see over the crowd.  So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way. (The whole story Luke 19- 1-10)

Watching:

Zaccheaeus was known – defined – by his career.

Zacchaeus was “that” guy. He was the hated, money-loving cheat with a short man’s complex. The conman. Chief of the heartless IRS men. The guy people steered away from as they mumbled curses under their breath. So, it’s probably fair to say Zach didn’t have any real friends, and the friends he may have had were most likely deceptive cheats as well … it was the nature of their job, circa year 30.

But lately there were rumors buzzing around the watercooler that a man they called Teacher was causing a stir: he was befriending tax collectors! He healed and he talked with audacious authority and some were calling him The Promised One. There were stories of demons sent running… and others, of co-workers whose lives were changed. And Zach couldn’t shake the hope-filled rumblings: “… he even eats with tax collectors! Can you believe it? Someone who doesn’t want to spit on us?!”

Everywhere he heard the buzz. Zach heard it too from those “religious zealots” whose money he stole as they spat it out in conversations just loud enough for him to hear: “Jesus of Nazareth. A carpenter’s son. Blasphemous. He’s a religious fraud… ‘Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar. Give to God what belongs to God’… Pffft… What does he know … and who does he think he is?… He eats with sinners and tax collectors, for God’s sake!”

Oh, Zacchaeus must have marveled. It must have pulled strong at his heart… “He eats with tax collectors!”…Who is this guy? Can it really be true? Is it possible this Teacher might he see me beyond all my misbegotten choices? Is there a chance he might want to eat with me too?

Zacchaeus wanted to see for himself. No, it was more than that… he had to see. But, really, all he wanted was just a peek. Wanted it so desperately he planned ahead. He outwitted the crowds. He anticipated Jesus’ next move.  He used his brain to access the available resources in order to compensate for his shortcomings. (In other words, he climbed a tree.)

In every way, Zach was ready and willing. And he ran hard and fast.

Because Zacchaeus

was reaching for his only Hope.

Wondering:

I wonder how long Zacchaeus had been discontent? Had he longed for a different career, a different life? Did he feel stuck – branded forever by his life’s choices?

Who was the man that shed his pride, shimmied up the tree and became a boy again? But more importantly: how awesome this Hope that looked up, called out his name, and changed him from the inside out.

I’ve been feeling like Zach lately: defined – boxed in – by a career that threatens to wrap my identity into labels and rules and numbers. And for too long now, I’ve felt like I’m been coming up short.

I need to run ahead, climb the tree, hope the impossible… I desperately need to see Jesus. I need to see His eyes, hear His voice. I need the Hope of knowing He’ll look up and see me and just want to hang out. Maybe we’ll go grab a burger and fries, and He will remind me who I am again.

I am chosen.

I am beloved.

I am His.

Waiting:

Jesus, you are my hope. You are always my only hope. You are worth running towards. Please keep changing me from the inside out.

Watering today: Prov 10; ps 10; Ezra 4; Luke 19

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of Spit and Mud

Scripture: John 9: 5-7

 After saying this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes. “Go,” he told him, “wash in the Pool of Siloam.” (This word means “Sent”). So the man went and washed, and came home seeing.

Observation:

Jesus didn’t need to spit. He could have just said, open your eyes and see. He could have just gently touched his eyes or called down an army of angels to stir the healing waters.

 He could have healed so many ways…But he chose to paint healing with mud.

The God of all the universe used heavenly spit and mixed it with the down-and-dirty earth from which he first made man…  and He created again.

And in the process He got his own hands dirty.

Application:

My filth. My disease. My germ-ridden life is no match for my Maker. Never has been. Never will be.

… and He’s not afraid to get dirty to make me clean and new and whole.

Prayer:

Lord, I am so often blind, this day to day living can do that… can blur the vision, and dim the light. But I stand now, this moment, caked in the Truth of your love for me again, ready to wash up and live in the Light. Thanks for finding me,  for stopping for me. Thanks for listening and caring and seeing beyond the hurt. Thanks for spitting and using my mud to make something beautiful.

Help me live loved.

 “They overcame the world by the blood of the lamb and the word of their testimony.”